Private Tales Lethality

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Kristen Pirian

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It wasn't the first time Kristen had seen the grandeur of Vel Luin with her own eyes. Even putting aside a rather poor mission involving guard duty at a warehouse, Kristen had visited Vel Luin several times during her childhood (how it felt now so akin to a past life!). Her father Neil had trade business here in Vel Luin, and though Kristen had no part in that, oftentimes trips here for business included leisure as well: socials and parties and all the like. Vel Luinara, despite its outwardly imposing appearance, had some grand interior halls within it to rival its sister structure of Vel Aerelos in Vel Anir proper. Kristen remembered those halls and the gatherings within them well.

But, alas, these were not those times, and she was not here for leisure.

At least this time, on the mission currently assigned to her, she did not have as companions Liliana and Beatrix (were it not for the interventions of Henk and Delaney, that warehouse mission would have been entirely awful). This time she was accompanied by two Initiates of the "Gilded" Class whom she did not know overly much, but whose reputations were not nearly as bad as Liliana and Beatrix's own. One was Ambrosie, who had before the Revolution famously suffered extreme punishment in the Box for saving another Initiate's life—she seemed quite nice. And the other was Malik, who was as quiet as Fennec and as terse as Soleil when he had to speak, but seemed to at least be thoughtful and inwardly reflective rather than brooding or plotting.

Presently, however, neither Ambrosie nor Malik were with her. Because...well...they were all waiting.

Their mission here in Vel Luin was a straightforward one: they were to assist the renowned and rich merchant, Aulane Markle, in transporting a large gold donation to the Treasurer of the Army of the South. This was, apparently, a regular occurrence for Markle, not necessarily out of altruism so much as his notable outright hatred for elves and support of, specifically, the Army of the South and their endeavors. Aulane Markle was a Vel Luin native, and he remembered the Elven Wars very well.

Markle was, also, a busy man. Quite so. When Kristen, Ambrosie, and Malik first arrived in Vel Luin, they were informed that Markle was out of town on some other business, but should arrive back in a small matter of days.

It was day four now, and Kristen was considering sending a prayer up to Aionus Himself for Aulane Markle to be urged along in whatever other business was stealing away his (and by extension, her) time. She kept up with her physical training during the downtime, but that only covered so much of the day, and she was half-worried that the workers at the docks might start to think her running past in the morning to be a now permanent fixture to tell the time by.

Midday.

Kristen was craving a snack. There was a dwarf in town selling Roasted Belgrath Chestnuts, and though the aroma had enticed her yesterday she ultimately decided on another option. Yes, mayhap that would make for a fine treat today. So Kristen started down the busy streets of Vel Luin toward that vendor stall.

And once she got there, she saw a familiar face nearby.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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Alistair's life had been rather busy as of late. Any noble would tell you that running the family business, now increase the difficulty because Alistair wasn't running the family business. He was bringing it back from the doors of death. That often meant constant traveling to assure trade deals as House Krixus was finally beginning to get it's Alchemy business back on track.

It was also the reason why he found himself in Vel Luin. The young lord had just finished a rather productive business meeting that had secured the family's largest order of healing salves to date. With his mother beginning to get back into the swing of her craft, they would be able to fill the order and get some much-needed income.

The success certainly excited him, but Alistair was tired. The bags under his eyes were the signs of several days of almost minimal sleep. He deserved a reward for his hard work. Al had decided to go find something to eat, and maybe some coffee if they had it.

His eyes were currently inspecting some sort of baked good before he caught a familiar figure out of the corner of his eye. He turned and broke into a big grin.

"Kristen? What are you doing here?"

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Kristen Pirian

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Today was one of those days when fortune was kind.

"Oh! Alistair!" Kristen said, coming up beside him and returning his grin with a warm smile. "What a wonderful surprise."

The smell of the Roasted Chestnuts and other confections that the dwarf was selling was enticing, but easily enough did she set that temptation aside for now. She'd only seen Alistair once before at Vel Numera after he became a full Dreadlord. Now, more time had passed and things for her (and him) had changed and grown with this passing, and it would be delightful to catch up.

She clasped her hands before herself and stood primly. "Same as it is for most ventures until I join you in Graduation. Though this particular mission has gotten off to a rather slow start."

How could the bags under his eyes not be noticed?

"Have you been sleeping well?" she asked, a hint of concern coming through.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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Alistair had not had the chance to see many of his former classmates in recent months. His time was either spent along on business trips or alone working trails with the Vigilite. Hell, the last classmates he had actually seen were Edric and Henk on a mission, and it was a miracle none of them had killed each other.

His smile dropped slightly when Kristen asked about his sleep. He turned away to offer a stall owner some coin for two of the baked goods. While he was turned, he took the chance to rub at his eyes like maybe the intensity of the bags would lessen. Why did he have to look like this with her here?

"Oh, no I am fine. Just been a bit busy the past few nights. Things with House Krixus are finally starting to get under control. I'll soon be done with it."

Ok, the last part was a flat-out lie to try and put Kristen more at ease, but she could probably tell he wasn't telling her the truth. He made sure to keep the smile on his face as he accepted the baked food that was handed to him, and then quickly offered one to Kristen.

"What's the mission?"


Alistair had nod heard of any murders, criminals, or monsters nearby, but he had only been here for a day.

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"That's quite good to hear," Kristen said, Alistair's lie working as intended and indeed putting her mind to ease.

Kristen grinned with delight when Alistair handed her the confection. Belgrath Honey Rolls, so the sign posted by them in the stall said they were. "Oh, thank you! I'm feeling quite peckish right now." And living up to this, Kristen also asked for a bag of the Roasted Chestnuts from the dwarf and paid him and accepted it.

What's the mission?

"A simple one, yet they all sound so simple at the outset, do they not? Nevertheless, I am here with Ambrosie and Malik—if you by chance remember them from the class below—and we have been waiting for a few days to even get started. We have been tasked with assisting the merchant Aulane Markle, who is to be transporting a donation to the Army of the South."

She shrugged. It wasn't particularly glamorous work despite the personage of Markle himself, and to some extent it was disappointing to be given such an assignment after surviving the rigors of Proctor Magomo's "remedial training," but she would do as instructed.

"'Tis guard duty, essentially. Though I imagine that the caravan, being so heavily guarded, will make for an uneventful mission."

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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Oh, it was nice to be reunited with Kristen again. Talking with her was always so relaxing. For lack of a better word, Kristen was oblivious. That might not be a great thing for her depending on one's viewpoint, but it was incredibly freeing for him. So many people in Vel Anir felt like they could look right through you and see all of your deepest, darkest secrets. Kristen just saw the best in people.

Alistair took a bite of his own pastry and then smirked as he watched Kristen buy herself more food. Boring operations like this use to always build up Alistair's appetite.

He had no problem admitting that he did not much remember them. Alistair had bothered only learning a select few of the names from the year below him. Most of the names he knew had actually only been recently learned because of some missions he had gone on with a few of them. During his time at the Academy, Alistair only had a select amount of space in his head to remember things. No point in filling it up with the names of useless people he may never speak to again.

The explanation for the mission was pretty simple. Basic guard duty job with even more failsafe options given some of the recent activity in the kingdom. Sadly, Kristen was likely right that she and her companions would not have much to do.

However...it was strange that such a shipment was behind schedule. Usually, the military was very strict with shipments of supplies, especially when such shipments were donations to themselves. He wondered how long it would take for the military to get nervous.

"I'm just it will arrive soon. The roads are always in terrible shape this time of the year."

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Kristen Pirian

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Oh this Honey Roll was delicious. Vel Luin, perhaps more than any other town in the Republic, wasn't so keen on outsiders, but Kristen had to say that the dwarf knew how to bake (or knew another dwarf who knew how in his stead). Whenever her eventual trip to Belgrath came, that chance she longed for to soak in the wonders of dwarven invention right in the very heart of their ancient civilization, her stomach, she felt, would not be displeased by the foreign foods on offer.

"Our poor horses," Kristen joked. Though it wasn't even all that long ago when she had to replace a horseshoe on her mount when one had snapped off through some mishap with a rough road.

"Mister Markle was out of town when we arrived. But I cannot imagine whatever ancillary business is keeping him will last for much longer. Fortune be with us, he might even be due back today. Though I have never personally met the man before, from the plenty that I have heard of him simply by asking around town, he will be quite keen on seeing his donation promptly forwarded to the Army of the South."

She took another bite of the Honey Roll.

"Have you heard of him, by chance?"

Once Kristen had the name of Markle on her tongue, she had heard plenty, as she said. The fast-talking, eccentric, charismatic, fiendishly intelligent, Aulane Markle. To some dyed-in-the-wool Vel Luinians, he was something of a folk hero, fighting the good fight with coin rather than blade.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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Alistair actually snorted at the question. Who did not know of Aulane Markle? The man was a legend in the surrounding area, but even those from all the way in Vel Anir knew of him, at least those interested in the mercantile market.

They all knew that if you really wanted to make it big in Vel Luin, then at some point you would need to deal with Aulane Markle. A goal that Alistair shared with many others. He hoped that the meeting he had recently finalized with prove successful and also allow him to gain a meeting with the man, at a later date.

"I have. While it is uncommon for him to be late, he is one of the few that could talk his way out of it, if someone actually had a problem with him being late."

Alistair polished off the last of his honey roll before explaining further.

"I guess that makes sense. Not many others from around here that would be able to make any donation to the military that would actually make a difference."

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Kristen started to work on the bag of Belgrath Chestnuts. She might not even need lunch at this rate.

"Indeed. Apparently, his donations are sizeable enough to account for a impressive fraction of the Army's treasury—well, impressive considering that it is from one man."

Her feet got to strolling and the scenery of Vel Luin, tough stone and hard angles like its big sister city of Vel Anir, rolled by.

"I wonder how willing he would be to part with some of his economic acumen," Kristen mused. "If it's to be a long and dull caravan ride as I imagine, then I should like to speak with him about it. Surely, even a hazy picture of mercantile dealings would do my aspirations well."

She smiled then, glancing to Alistair.

"You yourself know a thing or two in that regard now. What was it like? Something similar to what the Proctors did to me in the Academy, mayhap? Like being 'thrown into the deep end of the lake,' as they said of me?"

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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Alistair followed after her down the street, but could not withhold an involuntary shudder at the last question. It was a lot as Kristen had just described, except if he failed, the ones who would pay the price would be his family and not just him.

His early dealings had been...awkward to say the least. Even now, Alistair relied on letting the numbers do the talking because numbers could not lie. If you understood the numbers then you understood the truth of the matter.

However, numbers were not everything. A lot of merchants would not accept a trade, even with good numbers, if they feel like he did not talk to them in the right way. That had been the hardest bit to learn. What words to use and when. The correct time to smile and when to frown. It was like a secret language that he was only just beginning to understand.

Not Markle, though. He was a savvy businessman, but he could also supposedly sell sand to the Empire. The man did not have a silver tongue, he apparently had a golden one.

"It was all...complicated, to say the least. I'm starting to get the feel for it all, but there are still some who would take advantage of me if they could."

Little did Alistair know, that his title as a Dreadlord had protected him from some of the worse deals. People often backed away from taking advantage of the rookie merchant when they became aware that he could easily behead them if he got angry.

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Kristen sighed mournfully, knowing Alistair's response to be the unvarnished truth, and what it meant for her if and when she herself entered into this arena. "Would that we could all trust in the best of each other."

It was not so long after she said this when she heard her name being called from further down the street. She looked, and through the passersby she saw Ambrosie and Malik there at an intersection in the streets, waving her and Alistair down.

"Well," Kristen said to Alistair, "there is only one reason why both Ambrosie and Malik would be out seeking to find me. It seems as though by speaking of Markle that we have summoned him back to Vel Luin."

She laughed lightly, and then said, "If you've time available, what better impetus and opportunity to make acquaintances with so esteemed a mercantile figure?"

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Alistair Krixus

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If all merchants just told the truth...they probably would not be very good merchants. There was also something exhilarating about a clash of the minds and then coming out on the winning side of the deal. It certainly wasn't as thrilling as the battlefield, but it was a close second or third.

Alistair could not find a flaw in Kristen's other logic. For all the fucked up shit that had been done to them as children, the least Alistair could do was use his connections as a Dreadlord to make some mercantile affiliations.

He smiled and held his hand forward motioning onward.

"A good point, after you."

Alistair did not know when another chance like this would come around, but he needed to remind himself that this was a mission for the other three. He would take advantage of this situation if given an opening, but he would not ruin their assignment.

"Maybe he will also explain what delayed him to such a degree."

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Kristen Pirian

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"I would think so. Even for a man of his standing, it is not a good idea to petition the Academy for assistance and then keep its Initiates waiting."

She didn't imagine that he did so frivolously. Markle's eccentricity came up often in Kristen's talks around town, but, giving him the benefit of the doubt, she thought his professional business character would prevail.

Upon approaching Ambrosie and Malik, the strawberry-haired girl and the lanky boy both came to recognize Alistair and each one tensed up just slightly, almost coming to attention as though he were a Proctor. They each seemed caught between whether they should or should not do so.

"Greetings, Dreadlord," Ambrosie said, keeping a keen discipline about herself, not letting her apprehension best her.

"Dreadlord," Malik said, standing straight and rigid and almost like a trained falcon ready to receive a command.

"Oh, Dreadlord Alistair would like to join us for a time," Kristen explained, shifting an upturned open palm toward him in introduction. "It happened that there is some overlap between our mission and his interests."

Ambrosie nodded quickly. "Just in time then. We were coming to get you, Kristen, because Mister Markle is said to have just arrived back in Vel Luin."

"He's probably still close to the gates, or on the main avenue," Malik said.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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Alistair's eyes inspected each of the other initiates, taking in every bit of information that he could fit into his head...The faces were familiar...maybe. He might have walked by them during his time at the Academy, but he had certainly never spoken to them or bothered to learn their names...Thank goodness for Kristen.

He politely nodded to the both of them.

"Initiates Ambrosie and Malik, I look forward to joining you for the moment."

He did not wait for a confirmation or even explained the reasoning. He headed straight for the Main avenue. You hade to go through Main Avenue if you came from the gate, so if they did not find Markle on Main then they would simply move to the gate and meet him their or on the way to Main.

"Arrived back? Any idea where from?"

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Kristen, Ambrosie, and Malik all fell in behind Alistair, moving in tandem step, when he started walking. It took Kristen a few seconds to realize that she had done this automatically, maybe because Ambrosie and Malik both did it and she, like them, were Initiates before a Dreadlord.

She advanced just a little to be in stride with Alistair instead of behind him.

Arrived back? Any idea where from?

"Well..." Ambrosie started, scratching at her neck.

"That was our problem," Malik finished.

"Indeed," Kristen said. "On the first day here in Vel Luin we asked around in Aulane Markle's own Spire." Aptly named, it was one of the taller buildings in Vel Luin, that tower which rested atop the Markle Guild Hall. "His staff and servants all said the same thing: that he had taken off without nary a word of explanation to anyone."

"Apparently he's prone to doing that," Ambrosie said.

"Very prone," Malik echoed.

"Everyone in the Spire was unconcerned, and to a man essentially said that he would return when his business, or his fancy, was done." Kristen shrugged lightly. Then smiled. "Mayhap that is the secret. Have a mind finely tuned for commerce, and let the winds of your sharpened whims take you where they may."

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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The initiates following behind him were not missed by Alistair and he was quick to allow Kristen to move in step beside him without making it obvious. He was not a team leader here, just an observer tagging along for his own goals.

The explanation of Markle was not completely surprising. After all, it was exactly as he had heard, but to take it to such extremes still made him frown ever so slightly.

No, he would choose to believe it was not on a whim. Whims were for gamblers and fools. Markle may not look it, but he was intelligent and had to have some sort of reason for these disappearances.

They said he was prone to doing this. So, it was a habit. Maybe he was following a set schedule of some kind...Making guesses about the man would do Alistair no good, at this point. It would be better to just hurry up and find him, and then figure out the man from there.

"Yes, possibly." His tone was flat and emotionless, showing no sign of actual agreement.

As they neared Main Avenue, the crowd grew ever thicker as commercial activity picked up. Alistair's eyes began to glow with a soft light as his eyes trailed over the crowd looking for anyone that matched the appearance of Markle.

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Even without being able to see the man, Markle wasn't hard to miss.

Close to the main gate of Vel Luin, in the shadow of Markle's Spire as it were, a large circle of people stood out from the rest of the crowd. It had the outer shell of an entourage—servants and attendants and the like—and an inner core of fellow merchants and Vel Luin notables.

At its heart, Aulane Markle himself, chatting with friends and colleagues and business partners, seemingly holding no fewer than five conversations at once. Tall and slender, Aulane, with a beakish nose and well-kempt, smooth black hair, and eyes possessed of a gaze which could grind a jagged rock down to a pebble if he so wished. Yet he was fast-talking and affable, the sort of man whose tongue could say naked truths firmly and genially, those same truths perhaps prone to offend if spoken by someone of less skill and natural talent.

Kristen's upbringing as a noblewoman would absolutely have prevented her from barging in to seize Markle's attention if she adhered to it. But here in Vel Luin she had come more in the capacity of a Dreadlord, albeit an Initiate, and a Dreadlord who had been made to wait.

She and Alistair did what they had to in order to peel through the people surrounding Markle and get within his presence.

"Aulane Markle," Kristen said, but her first attempt was drowned out by the conversations of all the other men around him. "Mister Markle!"

Aulane Markle snapped his head over once he recognized his name, and then in two rapid assessments looked both Kristen and Alistair up and down (Ambrosie and Malik spared this by virtue of being a little more behind them).

"What? Who are you? Am I expecting you? I don't believe I'm expecting you," Markle said in that quick tongue of his.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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Oh yeah, this guy was the worst type. One of those people that he hated to like. Hated him for the ass he was, but liked him because it was all hidden behind skill and talent. This man might make Alistair feel uncomfortable, but he would never disregard the level of success someone like this was prone to.

He and Kristen did not wait for long and pushed their way to the front of the crowd with Aulane at its center. Some of those around them nudged and pushed the two, their desires to speak with Aulane outweighing their desire to be polite.

That was quickly stopped with a harsh look from Alistair, and the perpetrators realized that not only were Alistair, Kristen, and the others armed, but wearing the attire or badges of Dreadlords and initiates.

Alistair was hesitant to take too much command of the situation since this was technically not his assignment. Better to let Kristen and the others showcase their own abilities.

However, that line of thinking was quickly halted as Aulane began to speak. A flurry of questions was followed quickly by a definitive statement to dismiss them. All with the speed and force of someone who was used to being right.

His polite smile dropped into a reserved straight mouth, Kristen would know that this indicated displeasure.

"These are the Dreadlord initiates who are to assist you in transferring your donation to the Army of the South."

Alistair left the fact this was supposed to happen days ago unsaid, leaving Aulane to realize that on his own.

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Markle looked to Kristen, to Ambrosie and Malik beyond, and said, "No you're not."

So definitively had Markle said it that Kristen was stunned, teetering on the verge of actually believing him, thinking that some sort of grievous mishap had occurred at the Academy and they had been sent in error. It took her moment (Aulane almost turning away to resume the multiple conversations he was holding with the other distinguished men about him) for her to work up to saying, "Y-Yes, we are."

Gosh, the words felt awfully feeble on her tongue and sounded worse to her ears.

Markle looked back to her then, sparing a quick glance to Alistair (perhaps wondering if the Dreadlord was put up to this by one of the very friends around him now), and then said with that same confidence to Kristen, "No you're not. Because I just got back with the Initiates from the Academy. They're helping consolidate that donation now. We're—"

Glass shattered, and a light concussive wave, like the whip of a playful wind on a breezy day, came from the Spire crowning Markle's Guild Hall. Indeed, the twinkling of falling glass could be seen as the top windows in the Spire were blown out by some explosive force within that top floor room.

At the same time, a bright glimmer from lower in the Spire. A glimmer like sun reflecting off of metal.

Ambrosie couldn't even let out a scream, so fast had it happened. A sharp rod of iron, like a javelin, impaled her through the breastbone, just below where her neck met her chest, and the force of the impact slammed her body to the ground. These Iron Javelins were the signature magic of a Dreadlord who had graduated before Alistair's class, Kester Fulkreath, and who had also recently been reported missing in action.

The panic was immediate, the crowd dispersing every which way, city guards leaping into action and trying to direct people away and to safety. Markle looked stricken by paralyzing disbelief. Malik had without a word grabbed Ambrosie, whether she was still alive or dead, and begun to drag her out of line of sight from the Spire.

Kristen, in the sudden and violent emergence of danger, thought of one thing.

And it wasn't Markle.

It was—

"ALISTAIR!" she shouted, reaching for him.

That metallic glimmer again from the Spire. Another Javelin on the way.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

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The past few months had not been all action and glory for Alistair Krixus. While many of his other classmates went on harrowing missions, growing stronger through their experiences on the battlefield. The young Dreadlord had felt the existential dread of being left behind by those he considered his brothers and sisters, while Alistair had been stuck looking after his family and his actual new brothers and sisters.

However, that did not mean he did nothing. Alistair's journeys had introduced him to new magics, new techniques, and new runes. He would not be left behind, he was a Dreadlord of the third level while he had heard stories about some of his classmates already being promoted. It was time to dust off the cobwebs.

Alistair moved quickly, reaching out one hand for Kristen, while on his other gloved hand, a rune flared to life. Instantly, a force field rose around him, Kristen, and Markle. A shock wave blasted the area as the iron rod collided with the field, but it did not break, only turning a dark shade of purple.

"It seemed you were tricked, Mr. Markle. Don't worry. We will fix this. I suggest you take cover."

His eyes looked to Kristen and just gave her a nod.

"Just like last time, let's do this."

He dropped a single coin onto the ground, similar to one she might have remembered from the north.

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Kristen would have thrown Alistair and herself to the ground in the attempt to evade the next Javelin, but, to her surprise, it wasn't needed. She had reached out for him and him for her and when they were entangled together did one of Alistair's new techniques shine: the force field was conjured, and the Javelin stopped just a meter from Aulane's head—seemed he was the second target after Ambrosie.

Ambrosie. Who had a kind of static-field magic which was very effective at longer ranges. It made sense then that the Rogue currently attacking them from afar would target her first.

But this Rogue did not know of one of Alistair's unique rune-magic tricks.

As the Javelin stopped the force field fell to the ground (and transmogrified back into the scrap of wood from which it had been magically made), Kristen let go of Alistair and took a step back and glanced down at the coin. Perhaps it would be less unnerving, wildly sailing through the air, this time around? Especially now that she had a more firm grasp on the utility of her Chains for acrobatic feats.

"Malik!" she called to the other Initiate. "Assist Markle!"

Aulane, still a bit stunned, was saying to himself (even as Malik grabbed him and began to pull him behind the same building he had dragged Ambrosie), "I can't believe this happened. How could this have happened!?"

Then to Alistair, Kristen said as she drew her sword with her left hand, "We should combat that Javelin-thrower first!" Else, Malik and Markle would remain in mortal danger. Whoever else was at the very top of the Spire would, presumably, have nowhere to go, and she and Alistair could ascend the few stories to the top to apprehend them afterward.

Kristen stepped on the coin.

And immediately felt the rush of wind, the flattening of her blood down into her feet and her legs from the sudden acceleration, as she was launched into the air. Vel Luin, its people, flew by beneath her, shrinking down into a perspective rarely seen by anyone on Arethil. Her bangs and ponytail whipped around, but neither obscured sight of the window in question—second to the top floor, already broken open.

A glimmer of metal, and a Javelin sailed past Kristen—uncomfortably close, forcing her to jerk her head away—when she reached the apex of her arc and began a descent. Another glimmer and another Javelin, this one aimed for Alistair. Kristen flung out a conjured Chain from her artificial hand and it found purchase on the Spire and she swung herself neatly through the window, spiraling inside and sliding long across the polished wooden floor of the landing to a stop.

Aulane's personal study, this room of the Spire (his bedchambers presumably the top floor above). Kester Fulkreath was inside awaiting the arrival of Kristen and Alistair, taking cover behind a haphazard barricade of toppled over bookcases and tables. With long, greasy black hair and a face like a wild dog, Kester looked all the part of a Dreadlord who subscribed wholly to the notion that murder was always the solution. In both hands he held Iron Javelins.

"Republic dogs," he said, ready to throw.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

The Rune Knight
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Alistair was thankful that the shield had worked. A lot of his new runes were powerful but had their own limitations set to them. So for example, the shield itself braced itself against the ground and then used incoming inertia to reinforce its own structure. That made it good for stopping physical attacks, but it could also not be moved and it had to be used while Alistair was braced against the ground.

He watched with a small smile as Kristen took off into the air, after jumping from his coin. Just like in old times, he stepped on his own coin before being vaulted into the air.

It quickly became clear just how much Kristen was improving. She not only seemed more comfortable in her own body, but the way she used her magic was more fluid and natural than before. Her expert movements dodging the next attack while also swinging with her chains left him impressed.

Alistair's movements while calculated were not nearly as fluid, at this moment. He saw the javelin incoming, and since his shield would not work up here. He simply created a small blast of concussive force that shifted him in the air every so slightly. Rune lit up across his body before landing next to Kristen with a heavy thud. Not very smooth, but it worked.

"Dogs? Have you looked in the mirror?"

Alistair took a hilt from his belt with no blade. His lovingly named, runesaber, sprung to life as the magical blue blade appeared.

Kristen Pirian
 
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Kristen Pirian

Pirian's Chosen
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That seemed to be something of a soft spot for Kester, insults to his looks. He scowled (which ironically made him like even more houndish) and, because Alistair had drawn his ire, launched the first of his Javelins at him, these flying at the same terrifyingly supernatural velocity up close as they had from afar.

Kristen, meanwhile, thought there was no better time to employ her Impalers—having practiced and tuned the spell to an acceptable level—than now. With her porcelain hand outstretched, focusing her will and directing her aim with somatic aid, she cast the spell.

Kester sensed the imminence of magic from it, and he wasn't so tunneled in on his ire toward Alistair to forgo defense altogether. He threw himself back and to the side, his shoulders leading the way and his feet following, as an Impaler burst the study's floor and its very tip pierced the ceiling above. It would have ended Kester right there had his reflexes not been so keen.

Alistair Krixus
 

Alistair Krixus

The Rune Knight
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Alistair just grinned at seeing their opponent's annoyance at his taunt. He should have never made it that easy to read. There was no way Alistair was not going to keep digging at that.

Runes glowed around him in an instant, as his speed and reaction time increased, allowing him to dodge the javelin.

He watched Kristen's spikes appear, an attack so rare in the north was now so easily used by her. Not wanting to pass up on the chance, Alistair rushed their opponent while Kristen kept Kester busy. Kester was primarily a ranged specialist, so Alistair just needed to get in close to finish this.

"C'mon Kes, the spikes actually might do some good for your face...Also, whose the dog's master this time?"

Kristen Pirian