Private Tales Strained Beginnings

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Lexi Quinzell

Commander of the White Ravens
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Astrova, 10 miles outside of Evora

"GET DOWN!"

Alexandria Quinzell, Commander of the legendary Templar Chapter of the White Ravens, threw herself off of the stone all upon which she had been fighting and straight into the muddy bank of the river. Overhead a fireball rolled outwards and burnt everything in its wake. She could hear the echoing screams of people - civilians and soldiers alike - who hadn't heard the warning in time and now paid the price. One man went running for the river with a howl that would be seared into her nightmares for the next few nights.

"Don't-!" she called out but it was too late. As the man plunged himself into the water in the hopes of ridding himself of the fire a new horrific screeched came from his mouth instead. It was a wicked trick of the Chimera's flame to turn to acid when water was thrown upon it. It ate at flesh and bones far quicker than the fire would and was far more painful from what few accounts she had read. She turned away with a grimace and looked back over her shoulder to see if the cost was clear before pulling herself to her feet. Her armour was either covered in mud or charred and singed but it mattered little to her. Armour could be remade, houses rebuilt, but lives... Lives could not be brought back. Her face twisted into a grimace as she looked out over the bodies that lay sprawled before her on the other side of the low stone wall which had once been the towns protection against such beasts. What a waste.

"Why must they always meddle in things they don't understand," she growled to herself. For the chimera hadn't chosen to appear at this town, it had been summoned from an old book. A book that when she got her hands on it would stay locked in the Vault with all the other texts humans couldn't be trusted with. The creatures devout worshippers still ran amuck within the town, slaying those the beast missed with its poison and flame. She needed to go after the beast itself but she also needed these civilians out of here. Where was Cassian? It had been the job she had entrusted him with, she just hoped... Her eyes ran over the bodies with a sickening feeling. No... if he was dead she would know, she would feel it.

Wouldn't she?

* * *
Cassian Fraeya
 
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Cassian

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Cassian was not dead. He'd managed to herd a small group of frantic people into a crumbling building, his finger pressed to his lips as he urged them to hush their whimpering. He was peeking through the cracked windowpane out onto the burning street, trying to catch sight of any of his comrades.

"Fuck.." he huffed as the screams died away to silence, his guts twisting. Where the fuck were they? He pressed his back to the wall as the chimera came back into view, tossing around the scorched bodies of those she'd already killed as though looking for something else to play with. The creature's ears pivoted, her nose dragging in scents of what living were left to be hunted, and Cassian groaned. She'd find them, and he knew it.

"Alrigh'..." he whispered, his fingers curling around both axe and sword to grip them for dear life. "Get yourselves over the wall, stay low and stay quiet. Got it?" he told them, and each terrified face nodded timidly at him. "You wait until her back is to you and you make a run for it. No fuckin' around.". They nodded again.

Cassian let his head fall back as he dragged in a focusing breath, silently wondering why the hell he always seemed to find himself in these shit show situations, but the answer was simple. Lexi.

He rolled his shoulders as he stepped boldly out onto the road and he made a run to gain distance from the little group before he clattered steel against steel, and the beast's attention snapped toward him with a snarl, her head bowing low as she stalked toward him.. "That's it, you big dumb bitch." Cassian murmured to himself as he anticipated the creature to make a lunge at him, his weapons ready. Instead she pulled in a breath, and he could see the heat radiating from her open mouth.

"Fuck... GO!!" he yelled, and the group fled the building as planned. Cassian ran as the breath of flame came at him, finding an overturned wagon to hide himself behind as the creature geared up for another. He felt the heat sear into his shoulder and realised that his shirt had caught alight, and so his axe fell to the ground to allow him to pat the flames out with a frantic 'fuck shit fuck' and a hiss as his scalding skin flared in pain.

"Are you fuckin' kiddin' me?" he huffed as he stared down at the charred hole in his shirt. Another day with Lexi, another shirt ruined. It was beyond a joke now, and he considered just giving up on clothes entirely. He felt the wagon jolt, the sound of claws scraping wood, the splinter and crack of it protesting under the weight of the beast now climbing over the top of it in search of him.

"Could use some help about now!!" he called out, and jarred his blade up through the wagon's side and through the beast's paw.. it didn't sound pleased.
 
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Fraeya

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She had to wonder if they were behind this.

Her gods damned fae overlords. They loved to see humans squirm. Living centuries had made them addicts to entertainment no matter how sadistic and harmful it was. Fraeya knew it would only be a matter of time when the one she was promised to would come looking to collect. Some 800-year old prick-ass prince.

Hard to believe it had only been a fortnight since she'd gotten word about her birth-father dying. Traveled to what was left of his estate in search for something...anything that might help her pay off her debts from the fae and free her. She didn't find anything that would help her except...a rumor. A witness. An old friend of her father's and a businessman who claimed that her own brother and someone named Lexi murdered him.

It was the first time she even knew she had a brother.

And Fraeya was certainly curious enough to find out what kind of man he was.. Enough to get her here where she'd tracked the murderers. And she'd be damned if some asshat creature decided to kill her brother before she did.

In an Inn across the square, she'd aim down the ancient bow shaft and release an arrow at the creature about to claw her brother's face off. The arrow itself would seem strange to any mortal who saw it. Ancient fae writing scribed upon a rare and polished wood as it embedded into the creature's neck. With a roar it turned, locking eyes with circlets of verdant, releasing a mouthful of fire at her Inn.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi grunted as she heaved the shattered wall onto her shoulders.

"Go!" she barked to the trapped group she had heard calling for help. A man covered in dust and bits of rubble stumbled out into the sunlight then turned to help pull the others from the remains of what must have been their home. A woman sobbed as she clutched a baby to her chest and stammered her gratitude before her husband grabbed her arm and began to usher her away. Once they were clear Lexi let the stone drop with a soft gasp of relief before turning her attention to the sounds of the animal. On her way she went past row after row of decimated houses, pubs, shops and more. The town would need to be rebuilt from the ground up and Lexi would see it done, even if a part of her didn't think they deserved her help.

She picked up her pace and started into a slow jog towards the centre of the town.

As she rounded the corner the Commander came to an abrupt stop. She was pretty sure that was her idiot of a partner under the cart that was being used as a plaything much like a cat would a mouse, but she didn't recognise the shooter who drew its attention.

"Bravery is a fancier way of saying stupid," she muttered to herself as the beast reared back its head and let loose its flame.

It cost the Commander every time to draw on the strength of the demi-goddess she had tied to her soul. A little bit more of her humanity, a little chink in the only prison she could concoct for the fiend who would see the world turned to stone. But she spent it without a thought to put herself between the archer and the flame. Her shield came down in front of her, large enough to cover a woman if she stooped her back behind it. The flames hit the surface and spilled out and around. It might not have saved the inn but it would save the girl from being burnt to a crisp.

"Get OUT of here," she snapped. The last thing she needed was another dead hero.
 
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Cassian

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The chimera's dagger-like claws slammed down into the wood above his head and curled before it yanked the plank free and it's face appeared in the hole it'd made, it's nose pulling at his scent and rows of razor-sharp teeth snapping inches from his face. When she couldn't reach, she used her paw to swipe blindly, catching his back and tearing through his shirt. "A-fuck!" he yelped and ducked out of range. He twisted his blade in his hand, about to take a swing at the beast's leg when something hit it.

Cassian grimaced and shook his head, cursing to himself as he felt the hot blood trickle down his spine. He took a moment to breathe and to listen, his eyes peeking through the gap in the wagon's side and catching sight of the arrow protruding from the beast's neck. It didn't belong to any of theirs, and Lexi's intervention confirmed it. His shoulders rolled and he took a second to breathe before taking the opportunity and using the beast's distraction to duck under the wagon and making an attempt at driving his blade into its ribs.
 
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Fraeya

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"Flaming shit-nuggets!"

She did duck down and was pleasantly surprised not to be roasted alive. But the room she was still in? Flames everywhere. And she couldn't get out through the door. The heat pressed against her like a giant's thumb.

Head lifted to the strangely unburned window frame she'd just ducked behind and saw a woman in front of the inn, just below her second-floor window. Gaze shifted to Cassian and the beast as she scrambled out the window, thick, black smoke billowing out behind her. Heaving herself onto the roof, she stood, balancing for a moment, took another arrow, and released it at the beast's eye. The Inn shook beneath her.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi wasn't sure what the creature was more pissed off at; the attempt on its belly or its eye.

The Chimera howled and reared up as its stomach was pierced by the blade, though its thick hide meant it didn't look like much more than an angry gash. As it reared it flung its head about like a creature possessed, putting its eye in the perfect line of fire of the arrow. Another scream so terrible echoed about the tumbled down town square that Lexi dropped her shield and through her hands over her ears. What glass had remained in the panes of the houses that looked onto the square shattered and sprinkled their diamond like shards across the cobbles. It looked like a thousand tears had been shed by the people for their home.

The Commander staggered one step, two steps forward in an effort to get closer to the creature to try and stop its scream before she fell to her knees under the weight of it. For what seemed like an age it wailed on until eventually its great jaws snapped shut and it threw its head from Cassian to the archer and back as if deciding who first to kill. Considering he was in front of it, it only seemed logical. It took a deep breath in and...

"NO!" She slammed her hand down to the ground. Stones, cobbles, bodies went flying as a force ripped its way from her hand to the creature. The earth exploded upwards onto the creatures back end knocking it from its feet and flinging it into a wall.
 
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Cassian

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The sound of the creature's anguish tore through his ears and his weapons clattered to the ground as his hands too, slammed over his ears to stop his eardrums from rupture. He dropped to his knees and closed his eyes tightly, feeling the sound tremble through his very bones.

He blinked dizzily as the scream ceased, his eyes narrowing in a grimace as the beast turned her head toward him and opened her mouth, and before the flames could be thrown from her chest, the ground shook and he was thrown back with the shockwave that rippled out from Lexi's hand. He shielded his face from the debris of crumbled rocks and dust, and turned to witness the beast collide with the wall. He coughed out the breath he'd been holding and sat up with a look to Lexi and a brief nod in thanks.

As he got to his feet, his stormy eyes rose to the girl on the roof, his brow etching together with a look of irritation and his lips parting, ready to project a torrent of what-the-fuckery when he heard the inn creak and tremble in protest of the inferno inside.

"Jump!" he barked at her, for it was either land on the street and risk breaking an ankle or two, or plummet into the jaws of hell. "Now!"
 

Fraeya

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Heat rose up from the crumbling building beneath her. Feet feeling the singe even through her boots and socks. Knees buckled beneath her and she still heard his voice over the roar of the flames and rumbling of the Inn.

Yeah, thanks for mansplaining that to me.

A slight glare in his direction even as she took one wobbly step forward and then pushed off her toes and jumped into the air as the roof and building began to collapse behind her. The ground rushed up to meet her. She tucked in and prepared to roll. Someone used to jumping from great heights. Usually it was trees and landing in cold streams or fields of grass.

Unless the fae around her were feeling particularly cruel. Which, most times they were.

Fraeya was used to pain, might as well embrace what was coming.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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The way the girl looked at him...

Lexi paused, brows pulling down into a thoughtful frown. There was something oddly familiar there, like she had seen that enraged expression before but directed at her after she had done something reckless. It wasn't motherly, no it was too young and heated. What...

The sound of the creature slowly dragging itself back to its feet drew her attention back to the reason there was a burning inn, a decimated town square, and several hundred dead bodies littering the area. Whatever train of thought she had been on was promptly gone as she heaved herself to her feet and brought her blade up into a ready stance. If the legends were correct then the best way to slay the beast was to kill the snake first; that cut off its ability to spit acid into its flame. Next it was the goats head and finally the lion. She wiped a hand across her forehead to remove sweat and blood from her eyes and then glanced about her. The over toppled wagon could work...

"Get her out of here!" she shouted to Cassian as she took off at a run. Once she reached the wagon she jumped up... leapt... And collided onto the beasts back. There was a shriek of outrage was the heads tried to turn and reach her on its back but it was too late. In one slash the head of a snake it used as a tail crashed to the earth.

Now it was really pissed.
 
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Cassian

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Cassian's gaze narrowed as the girl scowled at him, as though it'd been he who'd started the fire under her feet. His arm raised to shield his face from the waft of hot, black smoke and ash as the roof caved in, and he followed Lexi's gaze toward the creature.

"Get her out of here!"

His brow furrowed and his jaw clenched but he nodded at the command, tense as he watched her take off after the creature. It was always difficult to watch her run toward the jaws of death, but she always came back, and whether he wanted to help her or not, he was still learning to take her command over his love for her, still trying not to get in her way.

He growled to himself and turned back toward the girl, offering his hand if she needed it. "Y'alright?.. Let's go." he jerked his chin toward the river where those who'd lived had gathered in safety as the beast rampaged through their little town.
 

Fraeya

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Her legs barked in pain as she took the impact of that jump. But she managed to land without breaking anything. This time. A cough raked its way through her lungs and a hand came up to brush at the ash and smoke that drew smudgy lines across her face.

For a moment, she froze and just...stared.

She saw some similarities they shared. A bit of the hair color. A similar nose. Did he look like their father had? Did she look like her mother? A gulp clawed its way down her dry throat. What kind of people were these two? At first, a part of her thought they'd brought this beast to the village on purpose.

But now...

Now she wasn't so sure.

Finally, she extended her hand and accepted his help up. But she quickly released it as soon as she got her feet beneath her as if his very touch burned like the fire raging behind them.

"Why're you here?" Her tone snapped more than she meant it to. She couldn't release the anger she felt for any of her family left. They'd all abandoned her. Given her away as if she was no more than a pound of potatoes. Never come looking for her.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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The Chimera reared onto its back legs as the coil of serpent crashed to the ground. Black blood oozed over the cobblestones and hissed, eating through both rock and earth beneath. The smell made her gag but she brought the red scarf she wore about her neck up for such a purpose, up and over her nose. It muted the scent of rotting corpse but it didn't get rid of it entirely. With the creature rearing and bucking all Lexi could do was grip onto clumps of fur and pull herself up its mountainous back.

First the goat head tried to bite at her from its position and then the head of the lion did too. It was usually the snake that guarded this part of its body and it floundered without it, which was what she had been counting on.

What she hadn't been counting on was the lions paw.

It swiped across its shoulder and caught Lexi in the side sending her flying into one of the few standing stone walls.
 
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Cassian

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Cassian stared back at the girl, his brow creased in confusion as she seemed to study him. He was too preoccupied to realise how familiar she looked, but there were days he forgot what his mother looked like at all. There was some distant stirring that he could not place, that he'd seen her some place before perhaps, but right now wasn't the time or place for questions. And yet she asked them.

"Wha-" he shook his head in frustration. "To get rid of this thing, now c-" Cassian turned, colour blanching from his face as he watched Lexi fly into a wall. He took a step toward her and remembered the girl, Lexi's order, and he turned to her with a look of desperation.

"Go find safe shelter - please." he asked, recalling the scowl she'd given him the last time he assumed to bark instruction at her.

The beast was already trying to amble after it's prey, and Cassian made a run for it, his blade flourishing before slamming down to sever the offending paw.
 
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Fraeya

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She gawked for a second as he turned away. That look in his eyes for the other woman. They were...of course. That friend of her dad's said they'd killed him together.

She swallowed.

She didn't know what to do. Did they really think they could take on that beast with just the two of them? She should walk away. Run away.

A strange feeling wormed its way through her attention and made her look toward the river where the others had gathered. She knew that feeling even as dread formed in the pit of her belly. She saw the fae that lurked on the shores of the river. Gifted with the Sight from being taken by them when she was a baby.

This one had nails that were sharp and long. Pointed teeth. Some water fae. Its eyes were all black and it was creeping toward one of the human kids; a young boy with strawberry hair. She wondered what it looked like to him. A school of fish playing in the water? Because he was teetering toward it.

"Shit," and so, she did follow her brother's orders as she raced toward the boy. The rest of the survivors were watching the main fight and not paying attention to what was behind them. What they couldn't see.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Gods did everything hurt.

Her vision, hearing and ability to move had all deserted her. There was nothing but the subtle tug of sleep that called to her and the whispering sweetness of Gaia begging for release. It was too soon after she had used the Gorgon's Gaze to turn Cassian's father to stone to try and use the magic again. If she did she might not be able to claw the witch back inside of her and then the devastating force would be loose on the world once more. With a groan she forced herself away from the dark temptation of sleep and back to reality. Back to pain.

Stone fell off of her back as she pushed herself to her hands and knees. The Chimera was already lumbering towards her. Lexi could feel the vibrations of its bulking form through the Earth but she could also just about make out the little pebbles of debris bouncing up and down with every bounding leap. She could make out the sword just in front of her and through gritted teeth she lunged for it then spun just as the Lion's mouth opened to take a bite.

Her sword pierced through the creatures mouth and up into its brains. Blood gushed onto her like a foul black waterfall and she swore as the acid ate at her unshielded skin.

"The goat head!"
she shouted to whoever it was running towards her.
 
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Cassian

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Cassian had never sprinted so fast. She wasn't moving, and he didn't think she would as the creature started moving toward her again. Fear drove him forward, fear of the worst thing that could possibly happen to him. Then movement. And the beast would get to her before he could.

"Lexi!!!!" he screamed out at her as the lion's mouth opened, fearing she'd be too late to move. He should never have doubted her. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears as he finally reached them, and as she yelled his blade was already in the air and on it's way down. He roared out in exertion as the blade severed the goat's head from the body and it hit the ground with a sickening splat.

The ground trembled as the chimera's headless body fell, and Cassian dropped his blade to skid to his knees in front of her, tearing his bloody shirt from his body to mop the steaming, acid blood that covered her.
 

Fraeya

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The little boy was at the edge of the water now. Fraeya got to him just in time, heart in her lungs as she tugged on his chubby little wrist and he cried out in alarm. The water fae hissed at her.

A strange language left Fraeya's lips as the villagers finally turned their attention away from the slayed beast and the two who had done it and to the girl holding onto the struggling child. It looked like she was talking to a school of fish. And probably slightly mad.

Fraeya couldn't afford to let the boy go because her attention was focused on the fae, negotiating. Reminding this fae who she was promised to. Fraeya's grip tightened on the boy as he began to cry.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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"I'm fine," she lied as he mopped at the burns on her skin and grimaced. Despite the pain her hand slick with blood found his face and cupped his cheek, making him look at her. She knew the demons that plagued him and the worries he fought every day to go on the field with her; Lexi would never make them worse. He had to see her, had to really see her and the life still shimmering in her eye. "I'm alright, Cassian," her thumb left a smear of blood across his cheek as she stroked it and offered him a weak smile. "Unless you let Kain see me like this then I might be fucked," she chuckled though it trailed off into a hacking cough and several winces. When it died down she motioned for him to help her to her feet; it wouldn't do her any good to be sat so close to the wretched thing.

It was when she was on her feet she noticed the commotion down at the river. People were already on a knife's edge because of the Chimera that it was understandable small things would set them off. Though, from what she could make it, it might not exactly be a little thing.

"What is she doing now?" Who is she, was the second question on her mind. Lexi grimaced as pain stabbed through her side but she patted Cassian's arm. "We should find out. If the creatures blood is in her system she might be going mad."
 
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Cassian

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There was little point in trying to hide his panic from her. He could barely breathe until she steadied his face and forced him to meet her gaze. A breathy laugh was forced from his lips and he pulled her in to press a firm kiss to her forehead. He'd thought the worst, his hands were shaking, and as he helped her to her feet he tossed away the ruined shirt and dragged her against his torso to calm his heart and his breathing for a moment.

Cassian's brows rose in question as she spoke, and he looked down at her to follow her gaze toward the girl by the river and the squirming child she held onto. The child's mother had started yelling and Cassian groaned with a nod.. "Aye, we should.." he sighed, grimacing as he looked down at his bleeding shoulder and rolling out the tension. "Let's go." he rumbled into her hair as he left another kiss on her head and turned to approach the unsettled scene.

"What's goin' on?.. Lass, put the kid down yeah? You're upsettin' him." he frowned, his arms reaching to take the boy from her grasp and return him to his mother.
 
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Fraeya

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She held that gaze of the water fae, not daring to turn even as the sound of her brother was behind her. He and Lexi would hear more strange words. An ancient language leave her tongue and hushed and hurried whispers. Then a subtle nod of her chin at what appeared to be a school of fish swarming at the water's edge parted as one to the center of the river.

Shoulders caved inward as she finally turned.

Fingers flexed into fists so they wouldn't see them tremble. "It's fine now. He's safe. They're all safe."

For now.

Fraeya needed to offer payment though. To prove her heritage. Vibrant green eyes of hers flicked to Lexi and then to her brother-who-didn't-know-he-was-her-brother. Hand held out expectantly. "You got a knife? I need one."
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Clearly, she was a fucking lunatic.

"Come away from her, kid,"
Lexi said softly and motioned for the boy to walk towards her. The kid all but ran to her, throwing his arms around her waist and sobbing. His mother, who had been going hysterical and was behind held back by some other guy, soon broke away to collect him from her. The Commander looked more than a little relieved to not be responsible for a small child and turned her attention back to the girl.

"I don't think we'll be giving you a knife any time soon," she frowned. Was she one of the psychopaths who had summoned the Chimera? She had attacked it but then it could be a bluff in order to make them think she was on their side. The rest of her group had been slaughtered after all. "Who are you?"
 
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Cassian

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Cassian turned back to the young woman after letting the kid run to Lexi, his brow knit with concern as she appeared to be speaking to the fish in the river. "Aye..They are safe.." he nodded slowly. He'd been about to answer her question about the knife before Lexi answered it for him. There was no chance in hell he would be giving her a blade.

He studied her face and rubbed at the back of her neck, she hadn't seemed to have been touched by the creature's blood, and he could only assume that she was just another wahoo, but something bothered him about her too much to just turn and leave her. He looked to the others gathered to offer them reassurance of some sort..

"The creature is dead; salvage what you can, but be careful! Many homes and businesses will need to be rebuilt. If any of you know how the beast came to be here in the first place, it would be in your best interests to tell us..We will do what we can to help you recover!..And, if anyone has a spare shirt, I'd be grateful.." he cleared his throat.
 

Fraeya

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A confused look to the bloody woman in charge.

What the actual fuk?

That woman didn't know she was dooming everyone on this river. Fraeya held the older woman's gaze. She'd give the name her brother might know. It was the name her father gave her, before he gave her away like she was nothing. She didn't know if he know or if he'd even remember. But she'd give it.

And as he went on with his karking hero's monolgue.

"Fraeya."

She'd lunge forward and go to grab the knife he had on his belt and if she got that far, she'd sprint by him and miss bloody bossy pants and go toward the fallen creature.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Alexandria was in no fit state to be moving quickly; she knew several of her ribs were broken and was pretty sure she had some internal bleeding from being thrown into the stone wall with such force. It annoyed her her human body held her back and wasn't able to stop the girl from snatching Cassian's knife like she would have been able to had she been fit. With a bitten off curse she turned - too sharply, she realised with a wince - and set off after her.

"Don't you touch that creature!" blood from a Chimera had a whole host of properties which were both lethal and medicinal. A group of White Ravens were already milling about it trying to work out how best to have it moved. One of them was Kain, she realised with relief. It was short lived when their eyes locked and he saw what a state she was in. Before he could tell her off though she pointed to the kid.

"Excuse me Miss, no closer please," he frowned, hand on the hilt of his blade.
 
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