Knights of Anathaeum The Get Back

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A Sight Unfolds
Character Biography
The halls of Dunhold were cold and empty. Howling winds and dancing shadows gave the place a sinister air. A lie, Faramund knew. It was warmer inside the keep than it was outside, and the ghosts all wore friendly faces. Still, the prospect of spending another blustery night cooped up inside this giant ice block of a castle didn't exactly fill him with glee. But then not much did these days.

Striding through the moonlit passageways, past the aged, ever-watching portraits of the Dunstable family tree, the knight of dawn made his way into the great hall, as if carried there by the breeze.

They had been here for nearly a week now, and still the Lord's advisors hummed and hawed and dragged their heels. Faramund wondered if they were even trying. The battle at the hill had confirmed Lord Järnberg's intentions. The presence of the Cult, even more so. Since then, the Marcher lords had been at each other's throats, worrying away, biting and gnashing their teeth like unthinking beasts. Lord Järnberg surely was. To ally with the Cult of the Everwatcher...


A madness you are still a part of, the voice in Faramund's head whispered, testing boundaries, pulling at the edges of his psyche like a child afraid of being left in the dark. A madness you will continue to be a part of, my good Syr. Have no fear. For He is watching you. Always.


'Doubtful.' Faramund grumbled, slipping between sleeping hounds and men to find himself a seat by the hearth. A figure awaited him there, her face a mix of flame and shadows. 'Roe.' The dawnling greeted his sister-knight with a nod. 'Couldn't sleep?'

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Amber eyes turned yellow in the light of the flames roaring with life within the hearth, flicking towards the now settling Syr Faramund in the armchair opposite from her. A book was laid open on one arm of her chair, and a sketch book laid open across her lap, which she subtly closed.

'Couldn't sleep?'

"There's a shutter outside that kept getting caught in that wind." She shrugged. "Didn't wake the old fart down the hall. His snoring was somewhat louder." There was humour there, only in spoken word, but not expressed by the short haired dawn knight.

She tucked her legs up and away from the fire, which she had been previously watching before company came.

"Have they finally come to an agreement or are we to sit here and fiddle our thumbs some more?" Earlier in the day, when the winter sun has graced them with a light that only blinded against the snow, her patience had been tested long enough and had been taken out on some squires that spent the rest of the day and night looking her way with wariness. At least that meant she could have moment of solitude with no interruption.

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'Haven't the foggiest,' the dawnling replied, stretching his legs towards the hearth. 'I hope they've come to some sort of agreement. The longer we sit here, twiddling our thumbs and warming our feet by the fire, the more the situation deteriorates out there.' He tilted his head at the nearest window slit.

Snow swamped the sill outside, smothering the moonlight.

Bad night to be one of Lord Järnberg's men, that's for damned sure, Faramund thought, glancing over at Monroe. 'Suppose Syr Eironmar will be wanting another patrol soon,' he said, smiling some. 'I'm slated to go out next. If you want, I could put your name forward?' It wasn't a nice prospect, heading out in the middle of a storm in search of the enemy.

Piss-poor sight lines. Cold that cut through you like a knife. And to top it all off...

He had forgotten to pack his snowshoes.

'Wonder if that... thing is still out there,' he mused, watching as the fire spat sparks towards him. 'Y'know. The Construct.'

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Monroe sat up straighter, placing her books down the side of the chair and onto the floor space away from the fire. "Oh? I wouldn't mind wanting to get out of castle. I will even brave the cold." To have a taste of action with that skirmish and then a week of wait? It drove her near mad. "Impossible to sleep, so I may as well be useful."

She did her best not to sound too eager, not wanting to give away any true feelings, just her intentions. She could be prickly at times with the squires, or distant with her fellow sworn knights, but Monroe knew she could let her ice thin a little with Faramund. There had been no use in her usual attitude when it came to him, and eventually, Cathmore came to the conclusion not to waste her energy at keeping such distant from a kindred dawnling.

"The Construct... heard you got practically up close and personal with it on the battlefield. What it could do..." Monroe had been right behind one unlucky victim, and as the imagery replayed in her head, she had a sorry time with the medics emptying her stomach, still covered in the blown remains that clung to her. "Need the other lords more proof the dangers of letting this cult run rampant?"

'You tell me, Roe. All our claims seem to be met with these days is disbelief and ridicule.' Faramund had heard about how Lord Dunstable's retinue had laughed it up upon hearing of the Construct, what it was doing to the men under their command. Nonsense cooked up by these backwoods knights, one had claimed. 'Tis battlefield hysteria, nothing more. The kind of words spoken by "well-educated" fools, those.

If they had seen what he had seen, experienced the battle up close...

Never mind. That day was over and done with. No point looking back. 'I'll have a word with Syr Eironmar,' the dawnling promised, swapping smiles like one might a death mask. The wind outside picked up suddenly, rattling the stained-glass windows, as if itself desperate to come in out of the cold. 'What fools we must be,' he chuckled, 'wanting to go out in that!'

It was the waiting that was killing him. Any action, right or wrong, was better than inaction. Or so he believed.

A door at the back of the hall creaked open. Tilting his head to listen, Faramund's eyes wandered to Monroe as a figure approached through the half-light, their footsteps soft and steady.

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She let out a snort as the wind whipped harder at the walls and windows, "I would rather be useful than to attempt sleep again. I would rather be out there, frozen to death doing my duty than to be dead in a cold bed." Monroe would not reveal to Faramund her inability to sleep was due to feeling restless just waiting for something to happen. How often she imagined cutting the head off of a cultist to throw before the other lords as proof... ignoring the fact they could still deny action was needed.

There was retribution to be had, a feeling that only grew fiercer in the past few years hearing reports of the movements the cultists took.

With a quirked brow, Monroe, too, watched Faramund as the doors creaked and announced another presence joining them. She broke eye contact to lean forward and peer to where the footsteps approached. When she recognised just who entered the hall, Monroe was quick to her feet.

"Syr Eironmar." She would offer a curt nod, face settling into that permanent scowl everyone that knew Cathmore would not bat an eye at after this long being on the receiving end of such a look. "Your ears must be burning as Syr Faramund mentioned you."

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Faramund had gotten good at distinguishing his brothers and sisters by their footsteps. Syr Eironmar's steps, soft as they were, had a sense of purpose to them. Guess the talks must have concluded, the dawnling thought, staying seated even as Monroe jumped to her feet to welcome the Pursuant like the good little soldier she was. Finally.

'Did he now?' Smiling slightly, Syr Eironmar waved the dawnling back to her seat. Tall, though not so tall as to be imposing, the Knight-Pursuant made to stand by the fire, his large figure casting a long shadow over the hall behind him. 'And what, pray tell, inspired Syr Mund to invoke my name so... readily?'

Staring into the flames, Faramund looked up in time to see Syr Eironmar gazing back at him.

'Oh, nothing in particular,' he said, amused by how Monroe had thrown him under the wagon without a moment's hesitation. 'Syr Monroe and I were just talking about the patrol structure, and how we both believe she would be better served accompanying us the next time we head out, instead of staying cooped up here.'

'I see!' Massaging his jaw thoughtfully, the Pursuant turned to regard them both fully. Faramund could not have claimed to know the man well. Indeed, like most Pursuants of the Order, he was a damned mystery. But he recognised the heavy thoughts swirling behind the knight's eyes. It was the same look he had seen in his own after...

'Well, your prayers may finally have been answered, Syr,' the Pursuant's voice fell to a whisper as he glanced at Monroe. 'Our patrols have uncovered a cultist listening post in an abandoned hillfort two miles south of here. Upon further investigation by our units in the field, it is believed that a Seer has taken up residence there. And that's not all!'

He turned again. This time, to Faramund.

'Our people -and by that, I do mean our people- also spotted a strange figure moping around the foot of the hill. It's description matches that to which we saw during the battle a couple weeks past. Her Lordship and I both agreed they need to go.' Pausing, he glanced at the hall around them. Dozens of figures, knights and men-at-arms, lay wrapped in cloaks upon the cold stone.

Sleeping, for the most part. But then you never could know who was listening in.

'Let us take a walk. There are a few others I wish to round up.'

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Monroe did not return to her seat, not when she realised she had been sat for a while and it felt good to stretch her legs after sitting to draw for the past couple of hours. The serious expression faltered only a little as Eironmar looked to her, softening her expression as he began to impart some information. As he spoke, Monroe crossed her arms and leaned into the armchair she had vacated.

Two miles. So close, so ready for action, Monroe snapped her gaze to Faramund as the Pursuant regarded him with the next bit of information. There had been no time for her to ask questions before Syr Eironmar suggested they take a walk, and Monroe gathered her two books in arm and followed.

"Well? What are we to do with the listening post?" She asked as soon as the doors closed behind the trio, tone hushed. "There must be something we can do to convince the other lords to take action." If they wanted true results, Monroe was more than happy to oblige to help provoke those that were not convinced into considering changing their minds.

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The fight against the Everwatcher required constant maintenance. A teacher at the monastery had taken an interest in Nacht’s ability to hide within the darkness, and recommended he help the war effort by hiding supply runs using his darkness manipulation.

That technique did not take too much mana if he used it sparingly, and he was excited to be put on a mission, so Nacht accepted. Back in the present, he speedwalked across the ground in front of the wagon, holding his hand out and continuing to harness his magic.

It was tiring, and he felt a bit lightheaded, but that didn’t matter. They were so…so close. Most of all, though, it was boring. He momentarily quit holding the spell and moved to a different space, having noticed that the space around him was no longer darkening and that he felt somehow…empty. Thusly, he moved away to natural darkness and stood there for a second, recharging.

“Blast it, Squire Nacht. What the flying fuck are you doing?” A voice would sharply ask. Nacht quickly attributed the voice to Syr Dania, the knight assigned to oversee himself and two other squires so they didn’t die. How amazingly nice of them to have such high expectations, He’d chuckle, truly appreciative but a bit irritated.

“Syr, I have never used my magic this long and did not expect to. I have not an unlimited pool to pull from.” He’d say back, holding out his hand in a wait gesture as the space around him became less dark, the more heavy gloom being sucked into what seemed to be his back.

When he finally stepped back into the path of the wagon, they continued walking and a rather unhelpful rude snort of disdain could be heard from behind him. Luckily, though, years of positivity had taught him to not immediately jump to the worst case, so he chose to believe the knight was only worried for his peers.

Finally, they approached the castle and Nacht let go of his spell, waiting for the others to cease their racket. Finally, they did, which meant the smaller carts had been taken down with all the materials inside. Moving around to pick up the handle of a wagon and turning around, he would momentarily stand amazed at the sight of Dunhold.

The castle was huge, cold, and unforgiving, but somehow…majestic. It made the day a bit more worth it to get through. “So cool…” He’d mutter, beginning to trudge forward. When he finally got to the main door, he’d nod to his stuff and watch as the guards opened the door.

Someone collected his stuff from him and moved away, presumably to the kitchen. Just then, another pair exited the building, these people ones who he saw daily. “Syr Faramund, Syr Monroe!” He’d greet, relieved to see some familiar faces. “We’ve brought more food and the like.”

He’d grin a bit before losing the expression, noting the focus on every knight’s face, or something akin to that, anyway. “Uh, is something wrong?”

Faramund Monroe
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'What we always do,' Faramund surmised, glancing confusedly at Monroe. 'Destroy it, root and stem!' The Cult of the Everwatcher was like a disease, one he had spent his entire life battling, though, of course, it had taken him quite some time to realise it.

Quick on the draw, slow on the uptake.

Placing his darkening thoughts aside, the dawnling frowned as he heard the doors to the entrance hall bang open. 'Forget the other Lords,' said Syr Eironmar, turning to regard Monroe over one fur-clad shoulder. 'Focus on how you are to reach the hillfort -and those inside it- without the Construct sniffing you out.' His eyes flickered to Faramund a moment. 'Perhaps that is a task best left to you, Syr,' he said. Faramund nodded.

His high resistance to magic was like anathema to these things, whatever they were.

You're half a construct yourself, a niggling voice reminded him, as if loath to let him forget. Why was that? Another voice interrupted his thoughts before he could find an answer he was comfortable with. 'Oh, great, a squire!' Cursing their luck, the posse kept on moving as Nacht bounced through the fire-licked shadows towards them. Eironmar deftly side-stepped the kid's attentions. Jammy bastard.

Roe didn't. Nor did Faramund.

'Squire Nacht!' The dawnling stopped, crooked an ear. 'Safe travels, I take it?' There were others filtering into the entrance hall behind him. Squires and knights and a few disgruntled servants no doubt roused from comfortable beds to attend the newcomers. Someone swore as a wall sconce blew out, then, another. 'No, nothing's wrong. You just caught us at a bad time is all,' he replied, making his forebears proud by taking the diplomatic route instead of telling the squire to piss off.

Still, the night was young. Syr Jarro.jpg

'The great hall's that way,' he continued, hooking a thumb behind him. 'Fire's lit, if you want to chase the chill from your bones.' Faramund up-nodded a passing knight, started to mosey away. Eironmar had stopped just inside the entranceway to share words with a snow-cloaked Syr Jarro. They turned at his approach.

'Jarro!' The two knights, one of dusk, the other dawn, shook hands. 'Frozen your bollocks off yet?'

'Hardly! 'Tis like a summer's day out there!' Stifling a smile, Syr Jarro let go to sweep the hood of his camo-cape back. Blonde hair spilled free to fall just shy of the wood elf's shoulders. He nodded to Monroe. 'Just keeping Syr Eironmar here up to date on the current situation. Seems the Cultists are in no mind to move while there's a storm on, not that I can blame them.'

His gaze found Eironmar. 'You sure about this?'

Monroe Nacht
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'Oh, great, a squire!'

Monroe slowed herself to be two paces behind Faramund hearing him mutter, but she could not escape the attention of such a voice filled with excitement, at this hour of the night. Her jaw locked, teeth gritting to stifle the growl she wanted to loose, blaming the lack of sleep but herself and Faramund would understand the real reason. Clueless squires.

Bless Faramund, she thought and hoped some higher deity would hear her, make sure he doesn't freeze himself to death out there. She wasn't going to say it aloud after all.
Syr Cathmore merely regarded the squire with a stern nod. Her mind was still on the plans being made and the venture out into the unyielding snow and wind.

"Keep sharp, Squire." Was all she said as Eironmar and Jarro approached.
Her need to do something kept her attentive, watching the wood elf closely after he had greeted her. The words he spoke were vital, an indication that it was the perfect opportunity to move into action. But she did not press on the matter, now letting Faramund be the one to run point after Eironmar suggested he plan the approach to the hillfort. Cathmore knew when it came to the cultists, her blood boiled beyond recognition, but her respect for the dawnling she now came to stand beside was greater and knew when to draw back.

'You sure about this?'

Monroe, too, looked to Eironmar for his answer.

Nacht Faramund
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It was dark in Dunhold, but the night outside was darker. The wind howling outside made it hard to sleep, even for Byanka. The howls sounded too much like the howls of the dying on the battlefield a week prior. Usually this sort of thing did not bother her as much, but what she had seen... what had happened to her fellow knights... it was of the likes which she did not see often, and of such horror that it was likely to give nightmares to anyone with their conscience still intact.

She had been too weak to stand the first few days after the skirmish, having used a lot of strong magic very quickly after she was already exhausted. It had been easier to sleep then, when her body's weariness had won over her mind. But, like always, her mind got the better of her.

So it was now that she lay in the hall, close to the fire, still enough to look as if she were asleep, but more awake than anyone else. She did not move her hands, but she spread her senses across the room, feeling the men and women that were sleeping or only feigning sleep. Softly, slowly, she eased their minds. Someone more self-righteous would claim what she was doing was wrong but as those twitching with nightmares stilled and those laying awake with fear began to snore, she wondered how bad it could really be. Better than a drug to get them to sleep.

She did not touch the mind of the knight sitting by the fire, her head bent over a book in her lap. She was a bit more difficult to read, but she caught more annoyance coming off her than unease.

She blinked but did not turn her head when Faramund walked into the hall. She knew it was him before he spoke or before she saw him; she could feel his discomfort and unease that he so gallantly tried to hide from across the hall.

Her head beginning to pound, she slowly eased her presence on the sleeping's minds, leaving them to their more peaceful dreams. There was something warm on her sliding down her cheek over her mouth and she slowly lifted a hand to her face, knowing without seeing it in the dark that there was blood on her fingers.

Her eyes drifted shut as she listened to Faramund and Monroe talk quietly, unaware that she was laying close by, awake. Soon, Eironmar joined them, and then they left the hall, leaving Byanka vaguely interested. So she stood, pausing for a moment as her head spun briefly, and then she followed them out. She emerged into the main hall just as a squire burst in through the doors, followed by others with carts of food and other supplies. He was boisterous and loud, in body and spirit, and Byanka's head gave a nasty throb.

She could tell the three knights didn't particularly care for or enjoy the squire's energy, and they quickly excused themselves, following after Eironmar. The front doors were finally shut, but some of the cold lingered. She turned her attention to the three knights, who were now speaking in low tones with a fourth knight.

Hadn't Syr Eironmar told her to be ready for whatever came next? They would need all the help they could get to fight their enemy, especially after hearing what she had. Still, she hung back, debating on whether or not to impose on their conversation that she obviously wasn't included in.

Nacht Faramund Monroe
The Pursuant let his thoughts simmer for a moment. 'I'm not sure of much these days, Jarro,' he said, the true meaning behind his words lost on everyone but Faramund. 'I am certain, however, that this needs doing, and doing fast.' Looking Jarro in the eye, Syr Eironmar turned from one knight to the next, reassuring them, or at least trying to. 'Her Lordship and I are in agreeance on this. Find the Seer, find the Construct... and take them out before they can do us any further harm!'

Nodding, Faramund turned to the shadowy figure standing nearby.

'Sound good to you, Byanka?' He asked, beckoning her into the half-light spilling in through the window slits. A servant managed to get the wall sconces burning again after a few attempts. Faramund noted the bloody smear under Byanka's nose, grimaced as one did when confronted by a friend in pain. Arguably needless pain at that.

'You really ought to stop doing that,' he said, watching as Eironmar produced a handkerchief from thin air. Handing it to Byanka, the Pursuant turned back to the others. 'You know what you have to do,' he said, his voice echoing in the empty entrance hall. 'So, go and get it done! And be careful!' As careful as one could be when hunting mind-crazed killers, Faramund figured.

Clasping arms with Jarro, the Pursuant wandered away into the dark halls of Dunholm.

'Alright, then.' Glancing at Jarro and Monroe, Faramund smiled. 'Guess we'd better go and prepare ourselves for a stroll through the snow,' he said, already feeling a tad underdressed. 'Arms, armour, cloaks, snowshoes.' He went over the list, knowing in his soul that they were doing the same. 'Be sure to dress down. We'll have the element of surprise on our side, but that won't mean diddly squat if they spot us early.'

The Construct was the greatest threat where sightlines were concerned. It could sniff out magic like a bloodhound and was, as far as any of them knew, highly resistant to it.

That makes two of us, the dawnling mused. 'I'll go and get the sled ready. See you at the South Gate in, say, fifteen minutes?' Nodding, Jarro slipped back out into the biting cold. A swirl of snowflakes billowed in through the crack in the door, making anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in it shiver. 'Roe. Byanka. Let's go get ready. And if you get the chance, find a squire.'

He held up a hand to still their protests.

'Someone will have to watch the mule.'

Monroe Nacht Byanka Valkas
"I elect myself exempt on finding a squire." She was quick to make it known. Refused to even look Nacht's way, as if he clearly did not exist after she told him to be quiet and listen. So then she turned a smile without warmth to Byanka Valkas. "But thank you for offering your services."

In fact, the newcomer had gone unnoticed by Monroe, but she did not let it show.

"I will meet you at the Southern Gate." Her gaze now fell on Faramund, face void of any expression. "Suppose I should rouse Kerraelas from her sleep. Anyone else?"

Nacht Byanka Valkas Faramund
"Her Lordship and I are in agreeance on this. Find the Seer, find the Construct... and take them out before they can do us any further harm!" Syr Eironmar stated in a tone intended only for the other four knights. However, given how his senses were forced to improve in the darkness, his ears picked up words, words that piqued the squire's interest. Construct and Seer? Those are words that have something to do with the Cult, surely, if they are associated with the idea of harm, but do they seriously- Nacht looked outside at the freezing snow and muttered a curse but deep down admired their initiative, making it come off as more of an ambivalent thing. Anyway, the least he could do was try to find some way to help.

Pretending to read, Nacht would shift a bit closer and continue listening, voices all around now much less covered. So it begins, Nacht thought with a snicker. This mission to Dunhold had been so important to him even though his part was small, so he had actually dressed up warmly for once. Sure, there was trauma, but Nacht got the general feeling everyone in the Knights tended to push aside insecurities, so why should he not do the same? Now, to take stock of attitudes. He had a feeling Monroe and Faramund really wanted to tell him to fuck off, but what of Byanka? Overall, if they found a need for grunt work, he thought he stood a pretty good chance of being picked.

Finally, his big break came on big burly orange-haired wings as Faramund explained in a tired tone they needed someone to watch the mule. Well, everyone else was asleep, so this was the best time to go for the position. At the knight's sentiment about a sled, Nacht resisted the urge to "oo" at the idea of getting to try the sleds. He had only ever played with one as a kid back in Astenvale, so getting to presumably use one to ride into battle seemed cooi. When Monroe affirmed this and agreed to meet after rousing another knight, the boy finally stepped forward with a mischievous grin. "Fear not, Miss Monroe! Your holy stamina shall not be wasted searching among the peasantry for someone to strand with the mule." His expression got a bit more serious, but still seemed slightly mirthful. "All of that to say, I volunteer to watch it while you go off and destroy the Construct and defeat the Seer." he stated, combing over each knight with a sweep of a look.

"Since you seem to be the one in charge, Faramund, I suppose I should ask you. Will you have me along, Syr?"
Byanka nodded at Faramund's question and took the handkerchief Eironmar offered her, wiping the blood from her nose. She gave Faramund an apologetic look that was almost sheepish.

She was mildly surprised at the amount of annoyance with which Monroe regarded the squire. She wondered vaguely if he had done something in particular to warrant this kind of reaction not only from Monroe who was already a bit put off by everybody but from Faramund as well.

Byanka listened as the squire spoke, asking eagerly if he could join them on their mission. She raised an eyebrow and looked at Faramund, waiting for his response. How could anyone be this excited and energetic about trekking out into the snow to risk their life? But then, why was she doing it? It would be good to out of this castle and do something worthwhile. Besides easing dreams, of course.

Faramund Monroe Nacht
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Faramund didn't have to think long. 'Breklinn,' he said, without hesitation. 'If you can't find her, Syr Braemar will serve. Thought I saw them both in the great hall.' Then, another voice interrupted his thoughts. Glancing about, the big dawnling's expression took a downwards turn as he recognised the scrawny frame of Squire Nacht creeping up on them like a bad smell.

Which was kind of impressive, given how the cold had robbed Faramund of his.

'Didn't I tell you to go kick your feet up?' The knight rumbled, scratching at his beard. Suppose it would save us some time if the boy came along, he mused, surprised to hear excitement in the squire's voice. He has no clue what we're going up against, Faramund realised, no clue at all.

'I don't know,' he rumbled, wishing to spare them all a whole lot of hassle. Closing his eyes, the dawnling let out a sigh. 'All right, you'll do! Bring only what you need. If one of us gives you an order, follow it!' He paused, wary. 'And grab a weapon, just in case.' Faramund was no Farseer. The storm would do a good job of covering their approach, but once they reached the hillfort it would all come down to swift thought and swifter action.

Would Nacht have what it took to take the day? Would any of them?

'Let's go.' Faramund relented, heading for the billet where all his gear was stashed. Fifteen minutes would come and go in a heartbeat if they stood around any longer. And Roe would likely work herself into a frenzy if she thought she had to go alone.

More stress I don't need.

Monroe Byanka Valkas Nacht
The Nightwatch.

Wilhelm had apparently, crossed someone, or done something rather... unsavory. Because he was on Nightwatch, at the South Gate, for half the night. The weather was appalling, and coats could only account for so much. The reality of a soldier was that at any given moment, you needed to be able to move, and therefore, you sacrificed warmth for protection, or the ability to move quickly.

Standing near the torch, and holding onto one, helped.

Not by much, however.

"Squire... be a Squire they said... be a Knight they said.."

Wilhelm, despite his complaining, did love his position- and was very happy to be part of the Order. However, he did also, really fucking hate standing out in the cold all damn night with the other watchmen.

He held his hand close to the torch, as he descended to conduct guard changeover, he pulled it close to his scabbard. Cold made the blade stick to the sheath- the handguard and the blade were rarely the same metal, so it caused some issue with expansion and tightening, and constriction of leather.

Or it was all horse shit and he was a fool for warming up his sword. But he wasn't proven wrong yet. He narrowed his eyes, watching as the next shift of guards came. He took a deep breath, eyeing the lands beyond.

"Shitty night."
"Fear not, Miss Monroe! Your holy stamina shall not..."

Monroe gave the squire an exasperated look before turning away and leaving, blocking out the noise as his voice echoed against the cold walls. She went back to the Hall, where she had been conversing with Faramund. Both Breklinn and Braemar were found, but Monroe hesitated to wake Saskia Kerraelas. The amount of shadow work the young Knight had used at the skirmish had put Kerraelas in an exhaustive slumber the past week.

It was merciful on her part, to walk away and not stir her awake.

By the time she arrived to the South Gate, flanked by the two Knights Faramund asked for, Monroe's frown was apparent despite the woolen scarf that obscured the bottom half of her face. She wore a hat, pulled down to just above her brows as she raised a brow at the freezing squire on watch.

"It really is not that cold." She all but scoffed. Her colleagues had dressed for warmth, but Monroe did not. She thrived in winter, as did she in the summer months. It was the Pursuit of the Flame that kept her from freezing like anyone else, but she would not offer to assist. They could figure it out for themselves.

"Guess we will have to wait. Have you seen Jarro, anyone?" She asked, adjusting her coat to fight against the biting wind. That proved annoying. She could combat the cold but not the forceful air blowing against them.

Nacht Byanka Valkas Faramund Wilhelm Thorne
Nacht did not even pretend to not realize what message Monroe was trying to send. Oh, and by the lack of stronger reaction, Monroe had probably gone out of earshot of Faramund's confirmation he would be coming along. No, he did not like being viewed as a nuisance, nor relished bugging people, but better Syr "Meanroe" (as some squires had come to start calling her) eat a nice helping of humble pie sooner than later in terms of her acceptance of his existence. See, what worried Nacht most was the idea that trust was not fully formed between himself and the rest of the party embarking on this mission. Should the situation get really desperate, would they accept his help? No, no time to stress. "This is going to be fun." he said aloud while skipping away to get his stuff, progressively feeling the anxiety start to slip away, the words calling forth courage.

By "his stuff", he had meant daggers. Nothing more, nothing less. He wore a jacket, which was new, but otherwise all that was on were the short clothes he always donned, a black aura around him obscuring the colors and blocking the remaining chill. "Right. We're waiting on Byanka?" he asked Faramund, shaking hands with the two knights Monroe was trailed by. He briefly glanced at Monroe before looking away. Perhaps a bit rude to willfully do so, but a conversation starter did not seem to be the play.

Monroe Faramund Wilhelm Thorne Byanka Valkas
Monroe seemed to be particularly grumpy and Byanka did not blame her. Nacht was a bit annoying, whether he meant to be or not, it was the middle of the night, and it was much too cold to be comfortable. Faramund caved and let Nacht tag along, before moving away to get his gear.

Holy Loch, it was cold. Byanka was used to the dark and there was a certain coldness to the dark but this cold was savage. The wind felt like knives threatening to peel off your skin, and the low temperatures promised that if such a thing were to happen, you might not even feel it.

At least she had been smart enough to pack appropiately; thick socks under her boots, fleece-lined leather gloves, and a scarf wrapped around her nose and mouth were just some of the things she had donned.

She was the last to arrive, but not by much- Nacht was just shaking the hands of two other nights, as if this was all some pleasant meet and greet. She stopped behind the young squire just as he asked about her.

"I'm here," she said, suddenly and close enough to make Breklinn jump. It was the first words she had spoken this night.

Nacht Faramund Monroe Wilhelm Thorne
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The cold cut through him like a knife. Swathed in furs, a woollen balaclava hiding most of his face, Syr Faramund examined each knight as they appeared, one by one, from the swirling veil that had settled over Dunhold like a death shroud. The South Gate, a big, blocky structure limned in ice and snow, loomed behind him, intimidatingly tall in the half-light. Sentries walked the walls, grumbling.

Faramund was grumbling, too, though probably for entirely different reasons.

'This isn't a fuckin' meet 'n' greet!' He snapped, swatting at Braemar's outstretched arm. He found it mildly alarming just how cheerful Nacht was about all this. Somehow, he reckoned the squire didn't know just what he had gotten himself in to. The other lad, Wilhelm, seemed to have a better grasp on reality.

'That's why we're out here.' Faramund replied, his voice muffled by the mask he wore. Monroe had gone the minimalist route, he noted. 'Bit brave, aren't we?' Breklinn and Braemar shared a laugh, though getting any sort of reaction out of Byanka was easier said than done. Still, it never hurt to try. 'Jarro will be here, just give it a minute.' Glancing around, Faramund melded with the shadows as the final member of their kill-squad meandered into view.

The mule Syr Jarro had with him seemed unperturbed by the cold winds, as did the man himself.

'Brought a sled and a spare, just in case!' He greeted the group, up-nodding his fellow knights. Faramund knew that "just in case" was code for "if we take casualties." Better safe than sorry. 'We all set?' Looking around, Jarro waited for affirmations before leading them into the tunnel around which they had congregated. Breklinn and Braemar followed, without a sound.

Casting once last look towards the dark outline of Dunhold, Faramund watched as it disappeared behind them.

'Let's get this shit over with!'

Wilhelm Thorne Monroe Nacht Byanka Valkas
'Bit brave, aren't we?'

"At least I won't be slowing us down." Monroe would have mocked him, but chose to smile instead. Let that put him at unease, she thought smugly.

Upon Jarro's arrival, Monroe lifted her hand to do her checks. Sword in scabbard, hanging from her waist, quiver full of finely fletched arrows at her other side. An impressive bow had been slung over her head and shoulder, keeping her hands free. The weather was gods awful, but Monroe had practiced many hours in more violent winds to know how to work with her bow, to accommodate to the force of winds eager to send a loosed arrow elsewhere.

Following after Breklinn and Braemar, she paused by Syr Wilhelm Thorne. "Fancy tagging along? You'll freeze your arse off either way."

She did not wait for an answer; Monroe nodded to the Squire --- who she deftly ignored upon his arrival--- and then to Valkas. Her eyes met Faramund's briefly before nodding to him too and moving past the dawnling, only hearing the tail end of his words.

Cathmore could not help but begin to close into her defensive quiet, to not let anything distract her from their task ahead. It felt as if it were a heavy burden weighing on her shoulders; a coldness that begged to immobilise her. Hm. Dread. She was not oblivious to what they were walking towards, and hoped the younger members in their small crew knew the same also... else that second sled would be put to use...

And hopefully there would be someone to pull it back to Dunhold.

Wilhelm Thorne Nacht Byanka Valkas Faramund
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Even with his aura, the cold was still quite biting. Manageable, but certainly not...ideal, to say the least. It was still dark, and the mood that had settled over the entire party was quite unsettling as well, almost adding to the grayness of the whole scene. The Southern Gate loomed ever steadfastly behind them, casting an imposing shadow. All of it was just....well, much to the likely dismay of Faramund and probably everyone else, he thought it was all COOL AS SHIT. It was just so much like a story he would read and now he got to live in one of them. That had always been a dream of his, to be a hero and stop the bad guys. Sadly, up until now, his story hadn't had an enemy so evidently beneficial to fight against. Wait...he would get to tag along, right? They surely didn't expect him to actually watch the mule, did they? Well, it wasn't as if he couldn't just tie the mule to a tree and follow far behind them. Safe to say, he kept this last thought hidden within the confines of his mind.

Matching pace with the rest of the party, he would stare out ahead excitedly, mind whizzing with possibility. At this point, he was set in his choice. Ignoring all the strange looks he got, he would begin planning how to help his friends with what they needed to do.

Monroe Wilhelm Thorne Byanka Valkas Faramund
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