Completed Lethality

Instantly an energetic light (even more so than Markle usually displayed) flared in his eyes, as if Markle was simultaneously working on a handful of plans and weighing an assortment of options; one could almost see behind his eyes something like the frenzied character which must have been present at his Guild meetings. Markle said, "Right! Yes! Of course! Elves are the absolute scourge of Vel Anir, but traitors are not so far behind! Might as well have knife-ears themselves. Korric! Korric! Come here."

Without any a goodbye or manner of pleasantry in any form, Markle set off after this apparent Korric, an associate of his, to begin making those arrangements for sending word to Vel Anir. The man was industrious, no doubt about that.

Meanwhile, Kristen had jumped onto her horse and took the reins. She said in parting to Malik, "Stay on your guard, and take care!"

"These are dangerous times," Malik said curtly in response. By the gods, how right he was. The collapsed Spire, the devastation left by its ruination, stood as undeniable evidence to it, and all it could be said to be caused by someone in their own midst.

Kristen and Alistair were off with all available haste. The gate guards hurriedly and without any questioning opened the gates for them. With the walls of the city behind them, still that lingering cloud of dust, thinning though it may be, was visible, like some festering boil blighting the city's body.

"This is awful," Kristen lamented as they rode, raising her voice over the whipping wind of their galloping steeds. "They knew. When will this plague of treason come to an end? The Republic is the best hope for Vel Anir, a monumental occurrence in all our history, and yet..."

There were those who would see it fall for their own malevolent ends.

Alistair Krixus
At least Markle was a man who did not linger long on his failures. He nodded approvingly as the man turned into a dervish of activity as he tried to get things under control. Al was going to have to leave the city to Markle and the other city officials.

The journey outside of the city was quick, neither Alistair nor Kristen was taking this slow. They both had their own reasons for wanting to end this, and those desires drove them to push their mounts hard.

"Treason had always been a part of Vel Anir...Unfortunately, we live in an era where it is far more...ostentatious."

They rode on for a few more minutes before Alistair voiced another growing concern.

"From my knowledge, Vel Acan has not been taken under the control of rebels. However, it is best for us to assume that we are hunting not only Bull, but other reinforcements that may have been waiting for him."

While killing Bull was a strong desire, Alistair had to remind himself that the priority should be getting the stolen goods back. The rebels were dangerous enough as they were, but giving them enough money to buy out several mercenary groups was not ideal.

While they road, every few minutes, Alistair would trace one finger through the air. A look of annoyance would cross his face before he would wait again to repeat the process.

Kristen Pirian
  • Popcorn
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Treason has always been a part of Vel Anir...

Were that Alistair's assessment not true. It seemed an immutable fact that wherever loyalty to one's country could be found, so too could treason, and the agents goading men and women to it were familiar devils: greed, resentment, corruption, so on. Yet there was solace in the warm truth nestled in Kristen's heart: that she would never be one amongst such vile company. Sooner would she die than turn her back on her homeland.

No strike could yet be leveled against the elusive Gilram himself, but in slaying Kester? In slaying Bull? These were blows which Kristen would find satisfying enough for now.

"So far as I know, Vel Acan is still much in ruin," Kristen said. Then came a small grimace, "Fertile ground for any potential cohorts of Bull's to lie in ambush."

Alistair Krixus
Alistair took in every that Kristen told him and capped it off with a simple nod. Ruins, the perfect stage to set various traps for them. Bull would know they were coming, or at least someone was coming. He wasn't an idiot, although he certainly looked like it.

"We will need to be cautious when we arrive. I have a few ways of finding Bull quickly, but if we run in then whoever else is with him will just kill us."

Once again, Alistair drew another rune into the air, but again quickly ignored it. He had not explained it, yet, but during their last battle, Alistair had snuck in a tracking spell into the barrage he had sent at Bull before the towers collapse. The spell would work, but it had a maximum distance. They would need to get closer before it started working.

Kristen Pirian
  • Yay
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Kristen watched again as Alistair performed the motions for a specific kind of magic. One of those few ways he had mentioned of finding Bull she assumed, and this was good. Even if it was merely Bull and the other Rogue with him, then still the ruins of Vel Acan presented problem enough from the sheer task of finding him.

Well...if he and his cohort intended to hide among the ruins. But what about the parts of the city that had been rebuilt? Indeed, the question stirred in Kristen's mind, why was Bull heading to Vel Acan, precisely?

She voiced this aloud. "Why Vel Acan? Markle said he had reason to believe Bull was heading there, and this was good enough to set us on our present path, but he did not have time to elaborate on his reasoning."

The hard, galloping hooves on the road punctuated her thought.

"Does Bull intend to embarrass the Republic? Markle? The Guard and the Dreadlords?" she mused. "Is there a hive of Rogues in Vel Acan? It is where, um..."

Unfortunate memories had to be recalled. Like Kristen mistaking an Archon for a Proctor. She grimaced a little at this.

"...Gilram was first encountered by our erstwhile class."

Alistair Krixus
Alistair paused his second casting of the spell and looked at her with a raised eyebrow. He had not known that last bit...So, Vel Acan held some special meaning to her and their class. Was this Bull's way of trying to send a message? If the ruins had a history of dealing with Gilram once, then Gilram may have continued to send more reinforcements to this place.

Could he and Kristen handle all of them?... Yes, they could.

"I take it you were there that first time...It didn't go well?"

There was no reason to think too much on some of those questions. If anything, they would only cause more anxiety and it would not change what they needed to do.

The best he could do was learn a little bit of a story since it seemed like Kristen had more of a history with Vel Acan than he did.

Kristen Pirian
  • Popcorn
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Kristen kept a straight face, which was certainly more than could be said of her past instances of speaking of Vel Acan aloud. Though, despite the effort, bright red embarrassment still flushed her cheeks. She hoped that in their the galloping ride Alistair wouldn't notice so much.

"Yes, myself and a numerous group of other Initiates. It was the single largest mission in which I had partaken, and it was in fact my very first. An...unexpected development occurred in one of the ruined libraries: the floor gave out and revealed a enormous system of tunnels beneath. As we searched, we came upon a laboratory, a laboratory which housed children—or what seemed to be children—on the tables. And this is where Gilram revealed himself."

Kristen had come to know in the time after Vel Acan what everyone suspected Gilram to be doing down there: creating Dreadlords. Making artificial human beings. Even though she herself had laid eyes (whoever naïve her eyes were at the time) upon his works, still, even now, she had much difficulty in believing that such a thing was possible. People, she believed, were invested with souls from the gods. Man could not by any means replicate that, not even the most powerful of magic-users. Gilram could not invest those creations of his with souls—no, she wouldn't believe it.

"He, of course, was never found in the aftermath. But, gods, could his agents have recently returned for some nefarious purpose?"

Alistair Krixus
It was unclear whether Alistair noticed the blush, but he never said anything about it if he did notice. No, he was far more worried about the story had hand. He had heard of some of Gilram's experimentation, but he wasn't aware it had occurred at Vel Acan.

Could the rebels still be using Vel Acan to retrieve the remains of the experimentation? What if they were about to run into a small army of deformed, magical abominations...and Bull?

"That's enough information to make us more cautious, but it still doesn't change the fact that we have to go...We just may be fighting something that we don't expect. Once we deal with Bull, it might be a good idea to dig around and see what else we can discover in Vel Acan, just to make sure they aren't using the ruins for something."

He grew silent after that, a small part of him wanted to ask about the blush that was beginning to leave her face, but that was none of his business. If she did not want to talk about it then he would not ask.

Kristen Pirian
  • Yay
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
"Yes. Prudence would suggest we inform the Guard, even it so happens that there is nothing more to discover."

A thorough search had already been conducted a year ago after the initial incident, of course. But was there something missed? Something reestablished after said search? Could it be that the Rogues were relying on the idea of "lightning wouldn't strike twice" to hide in relatively plain sight? It wasn't terribly far out of the question, no. Mayhap Bull and his cohorts had no long term business in Vel Acan at all, either passing through or looking to cause trouble and taking flight once the deed was done, but she and Alistair knew for certain that there was some kind of interest that vile traitor had there. It would be found out in due time, and until then, a mystery all the possibilities of which was left for the mind to conjure.

There was one thing of which Kristen was sure, however.

"I'm glad that you are with me, Alistair," she said, looking over to him, smiling and keeping her gaze as steady as she could on her galloping mount.

Alistair Krixus
A small smile crept on Alistair's usually stoic face as he turned to lock eyes with her. Kristen was caked in dirt and blood from the recent disaster that they had been a part of. Her beaten and battered armor stood rigidly against her form. She looked absolutely perfect.

"Agreed, there is no one I would rather go into battle with. It will make our victory all the sweeter."

Focus, Al! Not the time. That could come later. First order, hunt down Bull. Second, don't die. Third, victory. Fourth, then celebrate.

They continued on their journey and only after a few hours did Alistair's spell finally begin to react to traces of Bull. They were close.

Kristen Pirian
  • Ctuhlu senpai
Reactions: Kristen Pirian

Familiarity had all the potential to sting in the right circumstances. Here, seeing this same bend in the road, the same sloping hill on the roadside to the west, the same vista of Vel Acan framed through the parting of trees, all of it summoned the prelude to Kristen's terrible debut, the outing of herself as a pathetic sister-in-arms, as a "spoiled noble princess" in over her head, as a sheep among wolves. Embarrassment of such a resounding level had a way of calcifying upon one's heart, that wretched pain available to suffer again at a moment's notice.

But time had moved on. She had moved on. She had more proficiency with her magic and martial skills, she had made that solemn promise to herself during the Festum Libertatis to always stand again if ever she should fall, she had taken a life (and many more since) in that dreadful assault upon Godendrung in the Blightlands. She was still the Daughter of Neil and Josephine Pirian, but there was hardly any Darling left in her now. In that stead, there was far more Dreadlord.

And she would need it. For this, she would need it. The Republic needed every loyal and capable warrior possible, especially in this desperate times. She needed to be such a one. She couldn't fail. Not again. Not against him.

Kristen brought her exhausted mount to a halt, the poor beast almost shivering from the fatigue.

"Still I fear the sight of this place," she murmured quietly, the words simply unable to stay held beneath her tongue. She gazed over the city from afar. The north side, that which was closest to them, still looked to be in shambles, as the sorry state of the walls attested. The south side was where all the reconstruction efforts had been concentrated. Indeed, visible even from their great distance, wooden scaffolds could be seen closer to the southern end as a legion of masons, stoneworkers, and laborers were hard at work repairing the walls.

Kristen looked to Alistair. "What does your magic say?"

And mayhap Alistair could precisely pinpoint Bull, or mayhap his information was approximate. But the rogue Bull was definitely in the ruined side of the city, yet close to the dividing line between the ruin and the reconstruction.

Alistair Krixus
It was fairly obvious where the rebels would be hiding, but that did not make the situation any less difficult. The massive amounts of construction would essentially turn that area into a literal urban jungle. A place that Alistair and Kristen would not want to be if they were outnumbered. The ruins, while a little less confusing would leave them for more isolated.

He drew the rune in the air once again and frowned.

"Bull is definitely there," Alistair said with a point in the direction of the ruins.

"Roughly where my finger is pointing, but it will get more accurate the closer we get."

The horses were exhausted at this point, and bringing them into the city would do little good. It was best to leave them here to rest, and then retrieve them when they were done. Alistair slid from his saddle and quickly made sure all of his equipment was there.

"No time to mess around. We know where he is. Let's finish this...Kristen, there is nothing to be afraid of. You are a different person...You are strong."

Alistair was not one for lying, especially not to his friends. People got further in life by being told the truth of the matter and then thinking logically. Kristen could be assured that what Alistair said, he believed in.

Kristen Pirian
  • Aww
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Nothing could lift her heart more in that moment than hearing those words spoken from Alistair. What lay before her was that daunting combination of the site of her first and most colossal failure in addition to the presence of her first and most infamous antagonist. It was Bull who had shattered her pristine perception of many things, this act one not of kindness but of raw, predatory malice. Here he was now, skulking in Vel Acan, now a traitor to his country, and here she was now...

Strong. As Alistair said. As Alistair believed the very truth of it in her.

Kristen had tethered her horse to a nearby tree, and had only just turned around when he said it. She was almost compelled to face about again, to try to hide her bashful expression, the grateful smile. She could have cried tears of joy and warmth; she wanted to, in fact, but now was not such a moment, and so with self-control it did not graduate above a light sting in her eyes.

"Your words..." she caught herself, letting out a small, slightly overwhelmed breath and touching a hand to her breast, "...they mean a great deal to me."

She finished tending to the horse and securing her gear—a bit more fiddly with it than she needed to be—and then stepped off with Alistair.

"It will be longer," she said as they began, "but we could detour around to the southern side, and in so doing approach the ruined portion of Vel Acan through the civilized and, presumably, safer path."

The other option, of course, being the shorter and more direct route right through the ruins of the north end.

Alistair Krixus
Alistair's forehead creased in thought, contemplating several of the options. The detour would be safer, but was that necessarily a good thing? They wanted the rebels to come to them, so did it matter how. Either way, this all felt like a trap, something they were going to have to run into.

Kristen's demeanor was threatening to pull him away from his planning, but he had to force himself to stay logical. He could speak with her after all of this.

Bull...he wasn't dumb. Too many people underestimated the former Dreadlord when it came to his intelligence. He just had a real talent for brutality, even when it seemed like a senseless choice.

"No, we take the direct path. Bull will be waiting for us to come in from the safer part of this city. This way we can hopefully get far into the ruins before Bull and any of his friends know we are there."

Alistair took off at a jog, heading straight for a hole in the walls that let into the ruins of Vel Acan.

Kristen Pirian
  • Yay
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Kristen kept pace with Alistair. She trusted his judgment in the matter of their approach. The truth of it was, they just couldn't know if the southern, civilized route would be safer or not. With the eyes of the Vel Acan denizens upon them, if any harbored sympathies toward Gilram's cause, it may well be the worse of the two routes. And going through the ruins had the benefit of precluding the possibility of civilians being around once the fight began. Gods, that would be awful; killing Bull and his fellow Rogue was a priority, but if it came with nauseating collateral damage? Unthinkable. Unacceptable, especially since it would diminish trust in the Republic. And the last thing Vel Acan needed was some incentive to treasonous thoughts again, to turn against the Republic again and to be demolished again.

The jog was long, but the old gate was before them now. Those same grand doors were still broken and fallen as they had been almost two years ago now, the same arch overhead shattered at its apex and the stone dilapidated were still it meagerly clung to the walls. The destroyed gates stood as a reminder: that while the Republic promised change, there were indeed some things which would never change. War was and would always be a constant, and these were its most common fruits.

Kristen gazed through the gates, doing so by peeking around the outside wall, the memory of what happened to Ambrosie all too vivid and advising a healthy dose of caution.

"Seems as quiet when last our class was here," she said. Then she looked to Alistair. "We will pass by it. That library..."

Where Gilram had done his vile work.

Alistair Krixus
"Nothing but scenery..." He trailed off from his attempt to put Kristen at ease as another thought occurred to him. The library was the center of what was once Gilram's primary work. If he was a rebel following the man's orders, then it seemed like an obvious place to stage their mission.

It was this logic that started Alistair down this train of thought, but it was oddly something else that cemented his decision. This was Bull, someone who was an expert on psychological warfare. Bull had been on the same mission that had so vividly scarred Kristen. Yes, he would be there.

"Kristen...He will be there. I just know it. We will find him at the library."

Not wanting to sit there and let Kristen marinate on the idea too much, Alistair slipped through the dilapidated gates. Speed and stealth as far as possible would be pivotal to determine how far they could get before any traps were sprung.

"Let's move, quickly."

Kristen Pirian
  • Yay
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Nothing but scenery.

Kristen nodded solemnly, taking heart. The trepidation she felt, like a thin layer of ice beneath her flesh, was but an irrational figment. And perhaps, better still, the stain of her past failure and all its attending emotions could be in some part erased by overcoming now, by finding victory now.

She took a breath, and then followed Alistair through the gates.

"I am right behind you."

* * * * *​

"They aren't dead. They will come," said Bull.

"Lovely. A larger audience," said Gail, unphased. She was Bull and Kester's accomplice, the third impersonator, and in addition to her explosive magic she also had a silver tongue. It was this latter quality she believed would be of the most use here in Vel Acan, here for the final stage of the plan.

"We should stay here. Wait for them. Kill them. And then go," Bull insisted.

Gail waved off her companion's thoughts. "Everything is going to go exactly to plan," she said, smiling and full of confidence, "and then what will they do? Play right into our hands? Have all of Vel Acan turn against them? It'd make for a spectacular show if they did."

Bull was none too happy with his fellow Rogue, if for no other reason than it would be more convenient to take Kristen and Alistair's ears here in the ruins than in the city proper. But Gail had that stupid smug look on her face, and he knew well enough she was going to go ahead with or without him.

So he hefted up all of Markle's stolen gold, the gigantic sack slung over his shoulder with an enlarged arm, and said, "If your way fails, then we do this my way."

Gail laughed haughtily and said, "I won't fail."

And the two of them stepped off from the library, Gilram's old haunt, and made toward the rebuilt city.

* * * * *​

Some time into Alistair and Kristen's trek through the ruins came a sudden and portentous sight. A magical flare sailed up into the sky, hanging high for all the city to see for a long moment, and then burst and dissipated from being. It had come from the direction of the rebuilt city side of town.

Kristen had watched it with a keen edge of apprehension.

"What are they planning?" she said quietly, glancing to Alistair with eyes widened by alertness.

Alistair Krixus
The next few minutes went by successfully, but every second frayed Alistair's nerves. Each shift in the wind or fall of some random rubble, made the Dreadlord worry further that they had finally been discovered. Funny enough, Alistair had focused so heavily on his immediate surroundings that it was Kristen that brought his attention to the magical flare.

He could feel his stomach drop as he was sure that they had been discovered, but...something wasn't right. If they had been discovered, why was the flare coming from the rebuilt city? How had that side of the city known they were here? They couldn't. So that meant the flare had to have another purpose.

His hand had dropped to his sword hilt, as the library was only a few minutes away, but...He had to make a quick decision.

"Signal flare for something that isn't us...We should follow it."

There was a tension that did not need to be spoken into existence. If they strayed from the library and Bull was not heading to the flare, then that would leave him plenty of time to prepare. It was a gamble, but it was the only answer that made sense.

"I don't know."

Kristen Pirian
  • Yay
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
"PEOPLE! OF! VEL ACAN!" Gail proclaimed after mounting a stack of crates. "Hear me!"

The flare she had shot off high into the sky had already garnered much attention in the square, laborers and citizens and what passed for a guard force in these dreary days for the city. Bull stood to Gail's left, sack of treasure slung over his shoulder still, scanning the crowd, alert and awaiting the inevitable arrival of the Governor. Behind Gail and Bull both were the ruins yet to be repaired, the evidence, as it were, of the Republic's wrath.

And with all eyes upon her, Gail began her speech. Immediately she expressed sympathy for the beleaguered people of Vel Acan, their suffering at both the hands of the short-lived reign of the previous monarchist Governor, Lilen Aldereth. She praised the people for their eagerness for liberty, their willingness for independence. And then she launched into scathing condemnation of the Republic for having stolen that away from them; even if the brutal Lilen Aldereth had indulged in power unchecked, was it not within the hands of the people of Vel Acan to control their own destiny, to depose the tyrant and keep their independence if that is what they wished?


At this, Bull gave the sack a hard upward swing and it burst, a shower of golden coins flying high up into the air and reaching their apex and then coming down in a glittering rain. Many in the crowd were astonished at first, numb even to the coins bouncing off of their heads, but soon, with the encouraging sight of some of their number already bending down to eagerly scoop up coins into their hands, set to doing the same.

The current Governor, Albis Goethe, had at this point been alerted, and was making his way down to the commotion from his office chambers, his retinue of guards in tow. He couldn't know that some among his retinue carried not just daggers on their belts but in their breasts, for they were part of a conspiracy for a coup arranged by Bull. Yes, if Gail's words couldn't sway the people of Vel Acan to oust the Republic-appointed Governor, then the spilling of blood would.

Gail continued in her speech as the citizens clutched for coins, knowing that most might well already be swayed by this act of 'philanthropy'. She continued to speak on freedom, that now was the time to lay its foundations, and that tomorrow, when the hour was right, would be the time to see it built.

The Governor arrived in the square then, he and his men forcing their way through the crowd. "Who are you!? What is the meaning of this!?"

And, as it happened, just as the Governor arrived from one end, Kristen and Alistair arrived from the other.

* * * * *​

"Something isn't right," Kristen said, watching the last sputtering of the flare before it dissipated. "But there, all will be revealed."

Neither she nor Alistair could guess at Bull's designs here. But the time for pondering was over. That flare, that herald of whatever nefarious plot was in action, demanded they make haste. Whatever was happening, it was happening now.

Blessed Aionus, Holy Sentinel, give her strength.

She ran as hard as she could, no rubble nor debris on the ground able to slow her pace. She kept up with Alistair, and was briefly reminded of how lacking her body once was for physicality of this kind, how winded she would have been after just a short distance. Here was another small reminder that things had changed. That things could be different here in Vel Acan.

They ran, and at last the ruins began to give way to civilization, like night before day. Ahead, a great crowd in a large open square. A woman, standing on crates, whose voice carried long and far. Next to her...Bull.

As if by premonition, Bull turned and looked back, seeing Kristen and Alistair arriving on the scene. Gail was still in the throe of her speech, condemning the newly arrived Governor in the crowd.

Kristen came to a stop, her hand clutching the hilt of her sword in its sheath. Anger coursed through her. "Bull!"

Bull flashed that predatory, toothy grin. Sniffed long and hard. "The stink of the Republic..."

Alistair Krixus
Alistair only nodded in confirmation as they neared the city proper. He could hear the sounds of some large speech, and at first, wondered if they were about to run into some governor's speech. Instead, they were met with Bull and his accomplice, on boxes, standing over a crowd.

They were trying to start a rebellion.

The woman was certainly loud, and the gold was being used to incite the crowd's passions. Who would have thought that Bull would be used as some sort of demagogue?

Only one thing was wrong for them, Alistair could be louder.

His hands shot out, drawing a complex rune that hung in the air. When it was finished, the air around the rune seemed to vibrate with power. Without missing a beat, he unsheathed his normal sword and slashed at the rune. The rune shattered like glass but also brought with it a loud thunderous boom that echoed through the square.

The shockwave of the blast was directed at Bull and Gail, even knocking over a few citizens that were reaching for gold.

"Rebels, you are under arrest for stolen property, property damage, wanton endangerment, the killing of a Dreadlord, and the attempted murder of another! All citizens please return to your homes!"

Silence followed after.

Alistair glanced at some of the crowd who already looked at him with fear. He was not someone that could manipulate crowds and pluck at heartstrings.

But he knew someone who could.

He whispered to his partner. "Kristen, do not let that woman take control of this crowd. No matter what."

Kristen Pirian
  • Aww
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Bull countered with his grotesque flesh magic. He hurriedly stepped into position to shield Gail, and then his torso enlarged to such an extent that his head was swallowed by it, his legs and feet became like the trunks and roots of a pair of trees and thereby lodged into the ground, and the shockwave struck his body. He whipped back some, enough to bump into Gail but not to knock her from the crates. Bull then shrank back down to his normal bulky size.

Gail, alerted by the bump and Alistair's proclamation afterwards, seized the opportunity. She declared to the crowd, "Wanton endangerment, so says the representative of the Republic! But look! See with your own eyes!" She swept her hand out over those few citizens who had been knocked down by the shockwave. "See how little they care for you and how much they care for their orders!"

...Do not let that woman take control of this crowd. No matter what.

Kristen, meanwhile, had Alistair's words sinking in. Her chest was aflame with the agony of fear and the blaze of indignation. The ground she stood upon was dreadful, but how dare they, how dare they, Bull and this other Rogue, make such an attempt as this to undermine the Republic, to court disaster in Vel Acan yet again.

"Ready yourself for anything," Kristen whispered back. She gave Alistair a longing look, full of emotion of varying kinds, and then stepped forward.

Stepped up to the other side of the stack of crates, beside Gail, and began to address the crowd herself, "People of Vel Acan, I implore you to hear me! Hear me, as I pour out to you the contents of my heart, with all of its sincere and earnest beliefs! I am Kristen Lucretia Pirian, and I was born here on Anirian soil, the same soil of which Vel Acan is a part. For centuries, have we men and women been one in the same shared project; for centuries, have we journeyed toward the same common goal; for centuries, have we been bonded more tightly together by the ties of blood and family! Think, if you would, of your mothers and fathers, your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, whom you may have elsewhere, perhaps in Vel Luin, perhaps in Vel Lameus, perhaps in Vel Anir city, or mayhap even further beyond. Yet distance of earth can never cause distance of heart for those who harbor true love! Hear me as I say..."

As Kristen continued in her impassioned fire of a speech, Bull gave a glance to Alistair and snickered and remarked, "Do you really think this will work?"

Alistair Krixus
Bull's abilities were always enough to make Alistair's nose wrinkle in disgust. It was like he was the literal definition of a meat shield. Luckily, Alistair knew how to handle a meat shield.

Alistair never broke his gaze from Bull, as he was sure he would be the next one to make a move, but better to get out in front of it. Finally, Alistair drew the runesaber, and it blazed to life as soon as it was activated.

"It will, and I only need it to work long enough to take your head Bull."

The words that followed, from Kristen, were enough to even set Alistair's heart ablaze. Although, his emotions were not one of kinship, but admiration for just how far Kristen had come. If there was anyone that he trusted his life and the life of this city too then it needed to be her. They had pulled off the impossible once, and they would do it again.

Quick and without warning, Alistair lunged for Bull with a swift strike at his abdomen. Runes flared to life across his body granting him increased strength, speed, and reaction.

"I'll ask you the same question now."

Kristen Pirian
  • Dwarf
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Alistair initiated combat with Bull, and this is what stole the attention of the crowd. Words could not be heeded when a frightful magical duel was afoot. Kristen's speech was interrupted as the panic began. Those in the front, those who could actually see the Dreadlord and the Rogue fighting, turned with terrified cries and began to push their way back. Those behind them turned as well, knowing only that something fearsome must be happening up front, and this continued until the whole of the crowd was trying to take flight, and any who stumbled or fell were merely swept under the tide. The Governor and his men struggled to hold their ground.

Bull's defense for the strike was simply to absorb it. His gut swelled with bulbous flesh, and he'd all the likeness of a potbellied ogre in that moment; the runesaber blazed through his enlarged belly but reached nothing vital.

"You won't live..."

He shot out a huge hand, trying to grab for Alistair's face, his palm literally pulsing with his flesh magic.

" see the answer!"

All the while, as the panic began and Alistair and Bull fought, Gail snapped her attention down to Kristen. The Rogue levitated up and off of the pile of crates, her upturned palms blazing with orbs of explosive energy.

"So! This is the best the Republic can offer! Pitiful! But maybe I should thank you for ridding us of greasy old Kester!"

Kristen drew her sword. Fright had dispersed the crowd, and so the time for words was over. Order could be restored after these two instigators were slain.

"You will soon see the folly of your disloyalty."

Alistair Krixus
Time seemed to slow for Alistair as he ducked the incoming hand dodging the blow by mere centimeters. He could still feel some of his hair get blown back, and he even heard the squirming of flesh as it morphed and expanded...Disgusting.

Bull featured one of the strongest defenses during their time at the Academy and that likely had not changed. Shallow cuts were not going to do anything to him.

The crowd was in an uproar as they retreated. That was not as glorious as he expected, but he would take what he could get.

Once again, Allistair lunged in with several quick slashes. He knew his attacks would not immediately work so he needed to set everything up for later. The runesaber began to glow with more fervor with each slash leaving behind a glowing trail of light.

"I don't know. I think you will tire yourself out. You might even beg me to bring you in."

Kristen Pirian
  • Yay
Reactions: Kristen Pirian
Kristen chanted a verse and up from the ground beneath Gail's levitating feet burst forth a host of Withering Chains. Gail glided about in a mostly zigzag motion, deftly avoiding the grasping chains, and with casual flicks of her wrists setting miniature explosions to destroy and dissipate them.

"What paltry magic! Are you what passes for an Initiate these days?"

Meanwhile, Bull caught nothing but air, and he growled and ineffectually swung a backhand Alistair's way, his opponent clear and away before the backhand even had a hope of connecting. He just needed one moment! One solid and sustained grasp! And then he could suck the flesh right off of Alistair's body. But failing that, maybe he could simply beat him to a pulp, or maybe he could grab one of the bystanders from the fleeing crowd—use their flesh to power the more offensive components of his magic.

And, from the sound of it, he might be getting some volunteers.

"Slay them! Slay the rogue Dreadlords!" cried the Governor to his guards, pointing in the direction of Gail and Bull both.

Bull stayed on the defensive against Alistair's assault, parts of his body bursting with sudden size and absorbing sizzling strikes and falling away, the man himself reshaping like molded clay (something he couldn't keep up forever).

The Governor's guards had their swords drawn...and then it seemed like no less than half of them turned on the other half. A vicious brawl, with fury on one side and shock on the other, erupted around the Governor.

One of the conspirator guards seized the Governor from behind. Brought his sword to the Governor's neck. Prepared to slice his throat.

Alistair Krixus