Fable - Ask The Path of Purity

A roleplay which may be open to join but you must ask the creator first

Heike Eisen

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Over the course of days, they traveled south at Alaric's lead.

During the nights Heike would sit or lay down. She was equipped with the unnatural ability to no longer require sleep, making her perfect for night watches...but there were understandable trust issues that Heike anticipated--whether real or imagined. Thus she decided that it was best to not offer. To sit or lay down and try to let sleep find her instead of standing up all night explicitly on watch. And some nights sleep did come to her, fully or partially. Some nights it did not.

Concerns weighed in on her mind during those nights where she was left awake to consider them. Of the most base concern was that of sustenance. She had not fed since departing Alliria, and while the days of steady travel were long they did not require immense physical exertions and thus large expenditures of blood. Yet what if a situation arose where she did need to burn blood for enhanced strength, enhanced speed? It would be a balancing act, surely. The bare minimum to get through the ordeal, and only if it was absolutely necessary. Heike figured that what blood she had in her now was all that she would have for the duration of this endeavor. She thought herself to be toying precariously with death by even entreating the Templar for a conversation, let alone asking them for blood of all things. No. Simply no. Heike was quite secure in what fortune had granted her thus far, and was loath to spoil it.

Then there was the matter of the Night Watchmen and their Sanctum and the Path of Purity itself. It did her no good to worry about things that she had no control over, but worry about them she did all the same. She honestly did not know what would be worse: if the Night Watchmen were all dead, or if there were still some of them alive and occupying the Sanctum. What if the Path of Purity did not do what Heike thought--what Heike desperately hoped--it would do? Or, even worse than that, what if it did do what Heike hoped, but she did not, or could not, survive the process? To come so close, to have one's very hope cradled in one's palms only to see it turn to poison, was a dreadful thing.

Worst of all...what if this was a mistake? Curing herself? It seemed a strange kind of sacrilege to even think such a thought, as if the quiet and cold voice of impassive logic in her mind was doing battle against the innumerable forces of her heart and indeed the rest of her mind as well. But it was there. She had had this thought before. There was virtue in restoring her mortal human self, in being rid of this abhorrent affliction, but it was a cold fact from that cold voice that in so doing she would become weaker. Simply a normal human woman again, whose only saving grace lay in the steel she would armor herself in and the longsword she would do battle with--mundane things for a mundane woman. This while preparing to fight Jürgen Kaiser--an ancient vampire with a powerful artifact fueling him--and his legion of monsters. What if achieving her dream of restoring her humanity led to an invisible death warrant being signed, the crumbling of the greater dream of reclaiming Reikhurst, and the ultimate victory for the traitor King Jürgen? This was the point that cold voice was making to her.

And she buried it. That cold voice and its quiet argument. It was the seductive call of power trying to maintain itself, trying to gather more power as was its wont, trying to corrupt her as it did so many others upon Arethil. There was honor in what Heike was doing, the aforementioned virtue, regardless of the outcome in the future. She owed it to herself and she owed it to Reikhurst. She was the proud daughter of Albrecht and Sieglinde Eisen, and she would either die human or die in the endeavor to regain her humanity again.

There was no other path forward.

* * * * *​

The sky was half blue and half white with cloud cover. Despite the shadows cast by those clouds and the canopy of the forest above, Heike had her hood and her mask up. The foliage about them had grown dense now, and it seemed that most--if not all--signs of civilization had been left behind them somewhere in the north.

Alaric knew the signs as he had said, and they had all certainly gone off the beaten trail a while back. Here only the calls and songs of the birds perched unseen in the treetops were their company--no chance of happening across other travelers or adventurers or caravans going about the roads from one town to another.

They were getting close. If this wasn't deep in the Wood, Heike could scarcely say what was.

Perhaps today would be the day.

Lexi Quinzell Alaric
 

Alaric

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Alaric's expression remained blank for most of their trip, and any shot at conversation was shot down quickly with a terse word or two.

Pariah weren't exactly known for their diplomatic skills. Most people avoided speaking to them in the first place, and beyond that they were...well they were a little rough around the edges to say the least. He looked around them as they crested a small hill, his eyes glancing around at the trees and the worn path that set ahead of them.

A few more moments passed, and then slowly Alaric raised his hand.

Without a word the Templar slipped from his horse, looking around slowly as he noted one tree in particular. It was a strange and warped thing, twisted around itself as though someone had guided it's growth in some strange way.

He motioned to the others. "It is here."

Alaric said as he motioned passed the tree.

On the ground one could just barely make out a path covered in leaves and years of growth. Alaric would have missed it, but the twisted tree was the mark he had been taught to look out for. It was a sign, a subtle one that even most Rangers would have missed.

"A mile down this path we'll find a stone road. From there we must be careful." He took in a breath. "The Watchmen were not known to be welcoming."

Even to other Chapters.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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For the most part the White Ravens kept to themselves but they were polite to both of their new companions. The laughter around the campfire each night was the usual sort of a band of people used to and comfortable with one another's company. Clearly this squadron of soldiers Lexi had had with her were a well oiled machine. Camp set ups were done swiftly and pack downs even quicker. Despite the ranking difference, Lexi too joined in on the laughs and jokes with her own men and left the others to themselves for the most part.

During the day they were no less the professional unit. If Lexi gave commands for scouting to happen it was never seen and yet like clockwork a different rider would scout out ahead when another returned in a seamless cycle.

The deeper into the woods they got the more tense the atmosphere. Magic was somewhere nearby, old and ancient magic. It wasn't just Lexi that could sense it either; the other Ravens found their hands going to the hilt of their blades and their faces drew into deep frowns. When Alaric finally called a halt it was so thick Lexi could taste it on her tongue like a thick syrup.

"I once read," Lexi said as she dismounted and hobbled her horse. "That they once sealed some of their best soldiers into stone and set them along the entrance way to guard their headquarters."
 
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Heike Eisen

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Alaric spotted the landmark that would set them on the direct course to the Night Watchmen's Sanctum. Heike had not even registered it until he pointed it out, and even then it appeared not too different from other oddly gnarled trees one might stumble upon. She brushed away some of the accumulated leaves at her feet. Flat ground. The flatness that came from deliberate construction and the repeated tread of many feet, back and forth over a stretching span of time.

The Watchmen were not known to be welcoming.

And that is what Heike was afraid of. It was to be expected that they would be loath to entertain the entreaty of a vampire, the Templar exception of Alaric and Alexandria with her White Ravens notwithstanding. Alexandria had hinted at it before, Heike had read about it to an extent, and now Alaric underscored both of these foreboding signs. The Night Watchmen might be so reclusive and repulsed by outsiders of their Chapter (let alone to their Sanctum) that they might draw weapons on their fellow Templar. Like the tension between Alaric and Alexandria's respective Chapters, only one seething enough to come to blows.

And as if that wasn't enough, Alexandria had read something else worrisome about the Sanctum. Even if the Night Watchmen were all dead or disbanded, they might still have to contend with old guardians. Warriors of stone. Heike felt that her claws would prove terribly insufficient for the task if such were true. Perhaps she would have to be less direct, more resourceful, to make use of herself in that case.

Heike followed. Just behind Alaric as he walked now on foot.

"Suppose there are indeed Night Watchmen manning the Sanctum," Heike said, her upcoming question directed as much to Alaric as it was to Alexandria. "The truth of my affliction will need to be stated. Would it be best if it came from me? Or would it be best if one of you spoke in my stead?"

Perhaps it was splitting hairs. Perhaps it would make no difference at all. But it might. Yes, something as seemingly insignificant as this might make or destroy their first impression to the Watchmen. The fact of the matter remained. One among them would have to speak first if Night Watchmen hailed them at the Sanctum, and those first few words were the most precious and precarious.

For all of them.

Lexi Quinzell Alaric
 

Alaric

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"She should say it." Alaric said as he pointed a finger at Lexi.

Of course he highly doubted that would be the case. No one had seen one of the Watchmen in decades, at least from what his masters had taught him. Their Chapter had all but fallen silent in the last few years. It was doubtful any of them remained alive.

Fingers tightened for a brief moment, and he looked towards Lexi. "I do not know if they sealed their own."

He said quietly.

"But I have heard the same stories." There was a gruffness to his voice, as though he did not quite want to admit that Lexi had actually added something to the conversation.

After a few more seconds of standing there Alaric slowly began to tread down the path by the gnarled tree. Their journey changed after ten or so minutes, the vines not disappearing, but the ground beneath them growing harder and more composed.

Alaric glanced down, spotting buried and shifted cobbles as he walked. His hand motioned to the others, fingers coming to rest on the pommel of his sword. "Careful now."

He glanced at Heike.

"Especially yo-" The rumble of stone echoed in the forest.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi quirked a brow at the judgemental finger pointing in her direction. She didn't for one moment believe the reason he volunteered her was because he believed the watchmen would be more receptive to a White Raven, nor did she believe it was because he thought she would be better able to stop a reanimated watchman. She was almost certain it was so she would die first if anyone. Kain, who walked slightly behind but to the side of her, muttered darkly under his breath but Lexi let an easy smile pass over her lips.

"I'd be more than happy to speak for all of us, as the highest ranking of course," she shrugged a shoulder in a nonchalant way though her eye never left Alaric's as she waited for his reaction. Sadly, Lexi wouldn't get to see it as the rumbling noise filled the forest. Suddenly the Earth beneath their feet began to crack and from the overgrowth began to rise tall stony figures. What Lexi had thought was fallen rubble and cliff face now revealed itself to be fingers, limbs and stony faces.

"GET DOWN," she manage to bite out as one of the huge hulking things ripped a tree from its roots and hurled it at them. The space beneath Lexi's feet glowed red in the outline of an intricate pattern and her lips worked quickly. As the tree hurtled towards them she brought her hands up and the magic flared up to form a large bubble around the group. The tree bounced harmlessly off of it and the giant roared in anger.
 

Heike Eisen

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Heike followed the track of Alaric's pointing finger, glancing over to Alexandria. He had a certainty in his suggestion, alright. Perhaps Alaric was aware of his own gruffness--the evidence of said gruffness clearly on display when he corroborated the stories Alexandria had heard. Between the two of them, Alaric's terseness would certainly be more off-putting; Alexandria at least had the charisma of being a leader among her White Ravens.

And she concurred, Alexandria did. It was settled then. Formally and orderly so. She was the higher ranking among them. It made sense.

Though Heike would have preferred to speak for herself, such was simply a poor idea from every angle of consideration. Here with the Night Watchmen--should there be any--it was best to relegate herself to speaking only when spoken to. At least initially. This had to be a discussion between Templar. Heike's word, despite the insignia of the Golden Blade dangling from her belt, was that of a vampire. Inescapably so. And while she may have secured a loan of trust from Alaric and Alexandria (through a capacity for grace from them that Heike might never truly attain herself), the starting presumption ought to be that she should not expect the same from the Night Watchmen.

Then the ground shook. Some of the cobbles of the path they were walking on cracked. The earth itself around the paved path cracked. And, as if the invoking of the tale of the Stone Soldiers had stirred them from slumber, there they were. Emerging from the forest floor in great sprays of dirt and soil and upheaved grass and roots.

Heike stared for a moment, her initial alarm interrupted by the timely sight of the Stone Soldiers. Her mouth was a touch slack behind her mask, and her left eye squinted in consternation. "Of all the things to be true."

One of the giant Stone Soldiers (the Night Watchmen had taken quite the liberty in encasing their former comrades in statues much larger than a normal man, it seemed) ripped a tree from the ground as easily as he had unsheathed his sword in mortal life, and then threw it at them. Heike reacted--quick and without hesitation. She dove what would have been out of the way, forward and down enough such that the tree would sail over her head.

But that didn't happen. The tree bounced. Off of thin air? No. Look. Alexandria had done something. She had called upon magic to protect the group.

Somewhat embarrassed, Heike stood up off of the ground--mindful of the angles of the daylight through the treetops. Thunderous footsteps came from behind, to the sides. She stayed close to Alexandria and inside her bubble. Cast a glance to Alaric.

"They have to function from magic, yes?" Heike said to him, loud enough to be heard over the crashing footsteps. "Do you believe that you can disable them?"

Heike wasn't precisely sure if he could. She knew the bare minimum about Templar, and Alexandria and her White Ravens went against even that. But Alaric seemed almost too Templar for most other Templar. He might possess a means to disrupt the magic powering the Stone Soldiers.

Alaric Lexi Quinzell
 

Alaric

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Alaric couldn't help but feel a small hint of disgust at the magic that surrounded him, though he managed to keep his mouth shut.

Fingers tightened on the hilt of his sword as he looked at the approaching giant, his eyes wandering passed the stone golem and towards some of the other figures in the distance that were also starting to move. He frowned for a moment as the Vampire questioned him. "No."

The answer was a simple one.

His Chapter was not the Broken Sword. The Pariah were not effected by magic, they could disrupt certain spells that targeted them, but they did not posess anti-magic. Ironically it would have been Saul Talith and his Templar Alliance that might have helped the most here, but none of them had answered the call.

"They will come after you first." Alaric regarded Heike.

The golems were not true Templar, not anymore. Constructs did not think, did not reason. They would go after what they would see as the largest threat, and that was the evil among the trio. Alaric knew that, and it was that knowledge they would use.

"Distract them." He told the Vampire. "The Witch and I will strike them from behind."

Before either of them could argue Alaric darted off, the ground quaking as the stone golems marched forward directly towards Heike. Their intent more than clear.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi was more hesitant to leave the vamp to her fate. Her eye was trained on the giant and ensuring the magical forcefield stayed in place but after a few moments she felt her group of men add their strength to hers. The bubble doubled then quadrupled which seemed to only anger the stone giant. Her jaw clenched as Alec fucked off.

"Fucking Pariahs," she muttered darkly. There was no trusting them; he could quite as easily stab her in the back as she went to carry out his suggestion of attacking from behind. He could be planning to kill them all.

Which is why she left her men with the Fangs.

"Stay here, make sure she doesn't get turned into undead stew," she threw the vamp a feral grin. "I'm too curious to see if there is a cure to let her die this early."

And then she was gone after Alec.
 
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Heike Eisen

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No, Alaric said. That was undeniably a problem. A stone golem was a foe even more formidable than one clad in full plate armor, but they were not insurmountable. But Heike (and so far as she had seen from the Templar) was not armed with the proper weapons for the task. How nice it would have been to have a retinue of hardy dwarves from little Belgrath with her now.

Worse, the golems would be focused primarily on her first. Heike was about to voice her acceptance of the task that had by necessity fallen to her, but Alaric was already in motion. She didn't hear exactly what Alexandria had said immediately following Alaric's departure, but the tone of it spoke loudly enough. Orders were then given to her White Ravens, and Alexandria was off as well.

The defensive magic was still active, so the most prudent course of action was clear: stay inside of it, and let the stone golem "bang at the gates," as it were.

Heike looked to the White Ravens. Her apprehension of them mostly eroded after the days of travel, here and now she saw them more as brothers-in-arms, and for that blissful moment the illusion that she was not a vampire--had never been a vampire--but was instead the true human knight of yesteryears manifested for a short, fleetingly short, while.

"Tell me if the magic begins to falter," she said to them. The edge of a smile beneath her mask.

Then she walked toward the barrier's edge. Stood in full view of the golem, in a stance to leap away at a second's notice. The golem's heavy fist slammed into the barrier, was stopped dead by it, and the golem reared back for another punch.

Alaric Lexi Quinzell
 

Alaric

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The golems moved with surprising speed, stomping into the earth as their weight crashed into the barrier.

Alaric heard the sound of his thunderous for, but he Ignored it. Being such as these were relentless, driven by something instilled into their very core. They did not think, they did not reason, all they did was March towards the goal that had been set into their mind. They did not think beyond that, and it was to the Templar's advantage.

Though perhaps not to Heike's.

Alaric dashed to the side of one of the great Monolith's, sheathing his sword and immediately reaching up to grasp one of the green vines that clung to the golems overgrown body. "Witch!"

He called out to Lexi as he pulled himself up.

His other hand extended towards her, his intention to grab her and then fling her onto the top of the golem.

"Go for the back of its neck." Alaric hissed at her.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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Kain's attention was torn between watching his Commander and greatest friend charge off with another Order. There was a reason many of them didn't trust one another, despite Saul's best efforts in trying to bring them all together again. His lips pressed into a thin line and he dismissed his concerns; he'd seen Lexi hurl a man twice her size her her head and throw him clean through a wall, she would be fine. He, however, would not be if he failed in his task and she found out.

Protect the vampire.

"Be careful not to step beyond the red lines," he called out to her as she walked forward. The rune symbols that spanned beneath their feet were the parameter of the barrier. Anything further and he would have to switch spells to protect her and it might be too late.

Lexi was too busy staring in disbelief at the Pariah's outstretched hand.

Doe the fucker want to throw me?

The look of indignation passed across her face in a fleeting wave before she shook her head and leapt, grabbing a hold of his hand and allowing - stress the allow - him to throw her further up. She still thought she would have been able to make the jump herself.

Lexi landed on the giant stone golems shoulder, her foot wedging in one of the cracks and her foot grabbing a hold of a partial tree that was still somehow rooted still to the animated rock. Heaving herself up further she was soon in line with the back of its neck. The sword would be useless on rock, so instead she summoned lightning in her hands with a soft murmur and then launched it at the vulnerable spot of neck.
 
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Heike Eisen

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Be careful not to step beyond the red lines.

"Understood," Heike called back to the White Raven who advised her.

It was terribly difficult to stand in clear view of the golem, of the massive stone fist it was throwing her way, to see it coming at her with truly concerning speed for a thing made of rock, and to hold her ground without succumbing to the perfectly rational and natural impulse to dodge, dodge, what the hell are you doing, DODGE.

But the fist once again slammed into the barrier and was stopped dead. Heike didn't move, despite the tight clutch of hollering self-preservation Heike felt in her legs, in the tips of her clawed fingers, on the back of her neck.

And up the track of the golem's outstretched arm she saw Alexandria land upon the construct's shoulder, then move and disappear behind the thing's head. There came a subtle flash of magical light.

The sentiment for Alexandria's success in Heike's mind: Come on. Come on, come on.

Heike didn't know for how much longer the White Ravens could maintain their magic, and, frankly, she didn't want to find out. Still, she kept herself ready to move, akin to a sprinter just before the start of a dash.

Alaric Lexi Quinzell
 

Alaric

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Rock was blasted and seared away with a crack of lightning. Stone shattered and was sent flying into pieces, Alaric scowling as he scaled the side of the golem with three quick reaches of his hands. He pulled himself up and drew his sword in one swift move.

Smoke drew from the creatures back, enshrouding both Lexi and the golem, but the young Templar knew exactly what he was looking for.

He took three step across the great Gargoyles back, moving swiftly and pushing passed the other Templar. His blade swept upward, quickly flipped, and then suddenly stabbed down into the gap created by the Witches lightning.

The golem itself seemed to shudder, and then violently convulse as the Pariah's blade stabbed into the corpse that was held within the stone.

Magic unwound itself, and slowly the golem toppled down as it was felled. There was a loud crash as stone and rock shook the earth, Alaric standing tall and turning towards the two remaining golems that were still marching towards them.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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The push nearly made Lexi lose concentration but she wouldn't be Lord Commander if a petulant little new recruit made an arrogant mistake like disturbing a spell. Neither would said petulant little new recruit be alive if she were not so skilled at her job. A lesser Templar who dabbled in the magic arts would have lost control on the raw energy of the element and probably would have put a hole through the soft fleshy body of said, really let's be frank, stupid novice.

Thankfully, due to Lexi's talents, both she and Alaric withstood the end of the golem without much more than a little showering of dust coating them. She rubbed a little of it from her face and glanced to the two stony creations still shambling towards them. They were drawn now not only by the Vampire but the taste of magic.

"Holdin' on there?" she raised a brow at the vampire who looked far paler than usual. Her eye flickered them over her four men and gave a satisfied nod before returning her attention to the Pariah and the Golems.

"Let's see how you like getting fucking thrown this time, kid," Lexi muttered and grabbed the back of the man's protruding maille before he could argue. Drawing her arm back she then proceeded to hurl him into the air like he weighed nowt more than a tennis ball.
 
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Heike Eisen

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They were good at what they did. Very good. It would have taken a full unit of Knights of the Golden Blade, armed specifically for the purpose, to take the golem down. But as impressive as the magic was--both the crack of lightning and the barrier--Heike was still predisposed against it. Magical problems often required magical solutions, and there with the acquisition of it came the subtle temptation of power that Heike abhorred. The people and culture of Reikhurst shared with certain Templar Chapters a firm suspicion of magic in general. Yet, to Heike's chagrin, she couldn't escape the acknowledgement that the very nature of the cure she sought here would inevitably be magical. And that she might have to rely on magic again in the future.

The golem collapsed, the gale summoned by its fall swirling dust and dead leaves into the air for a fleeting moment. Heike instinctively squinted her eyes and lifted a forearm to shield her face, yet the magic barrier kept her from being bothered.

She looked up at the two Templar atop the fallen golem when she was spoken to by Alexandria. Made a gesture back toward Kain and the other White Ravens. Said with a humble appreciation of them, "They are the ones doing work. Not I."

Heike glanced to the first of the approaching two golems. Then over to the other, approaching from the other side. So long as the barrier held and Alaric and Alexandria had nothing to fear from the golems' narrow span of attention, the constructs could be dispatched in short order and they could be off the Sanctum proper.

Then Heike caught sight of...by the Reik crown, did Alexandria just throw Alaric? Just launch him with a single arm like a catapult would its payload? Heike's immediate thought, as silly as it was, was that Alexandria was also a vampire possessed of inhuman strength, for that was her most pertinent frame of reference for such an astonishing feat. But that wasn't it--couldn't be it--so the thought dispersed as quickly as it had come. How then? Was Alexandria not human, despite appearances? Heike remembered all too well struggling to so much as drag her fully-armored fellow squires--mock fallen in battle during training routines--short distances across the dirt, let alone being able to lift them and hurl them with a single arm. Were all the White Ravens like this?

She dispelled the moment of puzzlement clouding her mind. Looked to the golem that Alaric was not in flight toward. And she said to Kain and the other White Ravens, "How is the barrier? For how much longer can it be maintained?"

She had no idea about the intricacies of their magic. If the barrier was poised to go down, then she could still distract the other golem--she would just have to be far more limber in the effort.

Alaric Lexi Quinzell
 
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Alaric

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Alaric did not react, not with outward rage.

He may have been young, but he was not a petulant child. He had already known the Witch was an abomination, and her strength just cemented that fact within his mind. A brief pang of anger floated, but within the void of a Pariah it was barely there.

That was part of what happened to them upon their sensation. Their emotions were dull echoes of what they should have been.

Lexi felt the base need of vengeance, of anger at what he had done, but Alaric was simply incapable of it. He disliked her for what she was, for the doctrines she broke, but anything more than that the Pariah could not offer.

Soaring through the air the Pariah shifted himself, the weight of his armor causing him to drop slightly more than he would have hoped.

Yet the speed it gave him was enough, and as one of the Golems swiped at him he was able to shift just enough to grasp onto the great stone figures hand and latch onto the back of his arm. The blade in his hand however slipped, his sword flying off to the ground.

A curse echoing from Alaric’s lips as it was trampled by the other golem.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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"We've probably got about ten minutes left of the spell," Kain answered through a clenched jaw. His eyes followed Lexi, never wavering, never moving. He had orders to protect the vampire but he would abandon them if he believed his Commander to be in trouble; the remaining three would be more than enough to keep the Fangs from getting too squashed. His dark eyes finally pulled away from Lexi as she leapt onto the golems back to Heike.

"I hope you're fast if they don't manage to get them both down by then."

Lexi was rather enjoying herself considering the situation. Most of her missions she enjoyed in honest truth; the killing of the darkest, most twisted and arcane things that lurked in the world was satisfying. It tested her mentally and physically, and she thrived on it. There was a reason she had become a Commander at such a young age - it was simply in her blood to do this.

So she walked perhaps a little more calmly towards the fallen sword than another might, picking it up and wagging it at Alaric to show him she had it before taking a leap herself. Behind her, two small dents were left in the ground from the force of her jump. It didn't take long to make her way to where Alaric was where she passed him the blade.

"Same again, pup?" she wriggled her fingers and the lightening sparked between them.
 

Heike Eisen

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Ten minutes, said the White Raven. That was an eternity in a battle. Provided that there was nothing the golems could do to breach the barrier or nothing unexpected happened to the men maintaining it, Heike probably could have had a seat and made herself some hot tea and be sipping on it in safety as the golems bashed in vain against the magic aegis. Though, even in such an absurd case, she would hardly have a fire going by the time Alaric and Alexandria had the remaining two golems dispatched.

Alaric did drop his sword upon latching onto the target golem's arm, which was a cause for concern and a perking up of Heike's brow. But Alexandria, rather casually and matter of course, picked the sword up and launched herself (much like Heike might with an exertion and corresponding expenditure of blood) toward him and returned it.

Thus far the attention of the golems was predictably narrow, focusing on neither of them. Such was to their advantage.

There was no reason to leave the protection of the Ravens' barrier, and tactically sound to stay within it. So Heike did. Holding her ground within and watching Alaric and Alexandria go to work.

Alaric Lexi Quinzell
 

Alaric

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Alaric didn't bother taking the broken blade, only casting his eyes on the creatures neck. "Do your work, Witch."

Was the only replied that she received as the younger Templar drew a long knife from the small of his back. The blade was enough that it could pierce the flesh beneath the stone. As he drew the knife free a low hum echoed from it's steel, though the sound would only barely be audible over the calamity of the golems.

The young Pariah clung onto the stone, waiting for Lexi to do her work.

At the same time the Third Golem seemed to stop for a second, hesitating as it looked towards Heike for just a brief moment, and then towards it's twin.

It seemed as though nothing would change, and then suddenly the Great golem shifted it's stance and broke into a sprint. It rushed forward, thunderous steps echoing out as it charged towards the Golem Lexi and Alaric were standing on.
 

Lexi Quinzell

Commander of the White Ravens
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"I'm not sure he likes my work," Lexi commented idly as the thunderous noise of the other golem began to cause the rest of the forest to shake. The creature whose back they were presenting on was attempting to swat at them in the blind, crude manner of a creature with a limited brain. It was easy enough to dodge before she conjured the lightning once more and aimed it deep into the creatures neck.

It was a good thing too she acted to quick for the other golem was on them both within seconds. It seemed as though the threat of her magic being used against them had now placed her at a higher evil than the vampire. The Commander wasn't entirely sure whether to be proud or insulted a Chapter would consider that the case, but then again Lexi wasn't entirely human anymore.

The beats fist smashed into the back of the golem they were perched upon, ironically hitting the weakened spot on the back of its neck and turning its companion to a crumbling mess of rock.
 
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Heike Eisen

Vigilante
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It was nothing short of terrifying to see a thing of such size and mass go from a lumbering gait into a formidable sprint. Heike's arms and legs burned with the desire to get out there, to go past the protection of the barrier and to do something, even though there in truth was little--if anything--to be done on her part and that leaving the barrier under these circumstances was not sound. Alaric and Alexandria had to overcome this ordeal by themselves for now.

And they did. A goading of the charging golem into an instance of "friendly fire," and now they were left with but one opponent.

They worked well together, Heike thought. Neither Alaric nor Alexandria would say as much to the other nor even to trusted friends in confidence, she reckoned, but they did. The observation of this, however, was best left within the confines of her own thoughts. The Templar had been broken apart for centuries, and it was unlikely that some small piece of reconciliation would happen here today.

And, Heike recognized, that potentially included the Night Watchmen.

Alaric Lexi Quinzell
 

Alaric

Pariah Templar
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Alaric tumbled onto the ground with a thud and clatter of armored plates striking against one another.

He reeled slightly, what would have once been pain surging up his side and quickly disappearing as his flesh shifted just slightly. Lips thinned, and he drew himself up in an instant...just in time for the other Golem to reel back and throw it's fist out towards him.

Stone hit steel, and Alaric went flying.

The Templar was thrown half-way across the clearing, his body smashing into a tree trunk with a loud thud. His blade was still in his hand, fingers tightening as his head spun from the impact that he had just received.

The golem of course did not linger on him, turning with far more speed than it had before and smashing down with both it's fist in order to try and crush Lexi beneath it's grasp.
 

Lexi Quinzell

Commander of the White Ravens
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"LEXI"

The shield wavered but held as Kain lurched forward as if he could somehow stop the unavoidable. Where Lexi had once stood was only dust and debris as the golems fist smashed into the very ground Lexi had been standing on a second go. The shock waves that rippled out from the impact caused two of the White Ravens to stumble uncertainly. For a moment, everything was quiet. It was as if the forest itself were holdings it breath to see what would happen next.

The golem didn't move its fist. An odd expression was carved onto its stony face caught somewhere between confusion and irritation. Slowly, as the dust settled, it was clear why.

Lexi had been driven to one knee. Her face was covered in dirt and her white cloak a murky brown. Both hands were held above her head and in their grip she held the golem's fist at bay inches from her head. Her arms were shaking with the effort of keeping him at bay but inch by inch she slowly began to push back.
 

Heike Eisen

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And just like that, the battle changed. Where the efforts of the first two golems amounted to what was typically expected of untrained men-at-arms, this final golem proved why they were formidable.

Heike strained dearly to stay her ground when Alaric was hit. She could not tell if he--somehow--was alright, but a blow like that could outright kill a man, or leave him crippled for life. Kain's exclamation summed up Heike's reaction as well as Alexandria disappeared in the swirl of dust driven up from the force of the golem's downward smash.

But, astoundingly, she was intact. Meeting the golem in the contest of strength, and by means wholly unknown to Heike holding her own in it.

There was no longer any point to staying behind the barrier. Not now, with this final golem's focus having definitively shifted, Alaric's status potentially critical, and Alexandria struggling on her own.

It was time to burn some blood. Heike ran out from the barrier, got closer to the final golem and favoring the side with its thoroughly occupied arm, and then exerted herself. The blood in her legs empowered her muscles, precious droplets of it consumed, and she launched herself up from the ground in a bounding leap. She caught the side of the golem's head to stop herself, standing on its shoulders and holding on to its temples.

"I'm right here. Fulfill your duty!" Heike said to it, for whatever worth her words would have. The goal was to goad the golem into shifting its focus however much onto herself, buying an opportunity either large or small for Lexi to act.

Alaric Lexi Quinzell
 
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