Fable - Ask Winter

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

Heike Eisen

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"Tell me your name!" Heike said. Her words desperate and pleading. She was crouched down in the snow and the palms of her clawed hands were pressed down on the dying man's shoulders. An empty vial of coagulating salve lay next to Heike's feet. Around them the snow continued to gently fall in the Allir Reach, the floor of the forest about them stark and white.

"Who are you?? Who are you the proud son of?"

Stark and white, save for the blood which leaked through the dying man's armor. Armor that was of no remarkable make--the sort any brand of sellsword might wear. But the dying man was no sellsword.

"Who did this to you? Tell me that."

The dying man was a knight. A Knight of the Golden Blade. Heike knew so not only because of the insignia--that same icon of the golden sword that dangled from her own belt--but because she recognized him. She had seen him before. Years ago.

"I, Herr Heike Eisen, Knight-Valiant of Reikhurst, swear that I will track down the villain who has ravaged your person. This, if you can only tell me. Tell me! Please!"

Years ago, when the ranks of the Order of the Golden Blade were indeed so large that one could not know all the names down the length of its roster. Heike had seen this young knight's face before. Seen him, but had never been properly introduced--he served under another Knight-Valiant and they under another Knight-Captain. Now these ranks were as decimated as Reikhurst was destroyed.

"Stay with me! Please!"

She could not tell if the dying Knight knew she was a vampire or not, if his vision had not clouded so. He bled from weak points in the joints of his armor where the chainmail had been viciously shredded. Claw marks stood as brutal decoration upon his breastplate. And blood oozed from a bite on his neck.

The snow continued to fall as Heike crouched beside the dying Knight there in the forest, beside a small and quaint cabin where he perhaps lived and where inside a fire still burned in the fireplace and thin billows of smoke streamed up from the chimney. Gray clouds from which the snow fell denied the sun, and there was no wind to sweep through the branches above.

There had been no one around when Heike first approached and saw the downed Knight.

Unbeknownst to her, there was one now.
 
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Kharia Na'amro

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She had smelled it first, the fruity aroma that sent a shiver of warmth down her body. Kharia had been walking down the road, a dead rabbit slung over her shoulder for the camp fire. She had no use for the meat, his blood was all she needed, but she always made sure to leave it nearby a wold den or a small heard of deer or whatever animals happened to be nearby. Animal blood tasted like regurgitated milk that was curdling in your stomach, but it was fulfilling at any rate when you were in the wild. This scent, though, Kharia's fist balled up as she scrunched her eyes shut, mentally steeling herself. It felt so good, that warm feeling spreading along her arms and shoulders in smooth waves, the promise of feeling alive again, if only for a few hours. It might not be a dead one though, he could be alive still, and he could be an innocent...either way, she needed to follow the scent.

Kharia opened her eyes and, taking a small calming breath, breathed in deeply through her nose, letting the blood's thickness waft over her, it's crimson hue almost as visible as the snow falling from the sky. She wasn't particularly subtle, the crunch of her boots against the snow scaring off a squirrel or two, but she was surprised to find two people as the scent grew stronger. One of them was laying down, bleeding out, and the other...the other...no. The faint echo of stabbing pain and deep fatigue washed over her mind, memories driving a hand to the hilt of her sword.
"Let. Him. Go," She said, soft words laced with pure venomous hatred.

Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

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The dying Knight still had the light of life in his eyes. He still looked up to Heike and she could see clearly that he regarded her, that he saw her, though it was unclear what the sight of her brought. Fear? Hope? Sadness? She did not know and could not say. Her mask was up, and it was just then that she remembered this. She lowered it, pinching the cloth with the flats of her thumb and index finger. If her words and her name had not reached him perhaps--if his eyes were not indeed clouded beyond clarity--he might recognize her face as she recognized his. Changed as it was, now with the pallor of undeath and the yellowing of her eyes and graying of her hair.

The dying Knight tried to speak. That much Heike could see.

"I am sorry that I am not a healer. It is solely my solemn lot to avenge you, Herr. Speak, if you can, I beg of you."

The dying Knight convulsed. A gurgle escaped his throat. Blood and saliva trickled out from his lips.

Heike was about to speak again, her mouth even open to form the first word that rested on her tongue, when someone spoke from behind her. Three simple words. Hostile in the way of the aggrieved speaking to the guilty who had wronged them.

Heike froze. Had this man, this fellow Reikhurstan, have a friend or a wife who as well stayed here in the cabin? Perhaps had gone away to gather firewood or bring back hunted game, only to find now Heike crouched down by his bloodied body? It would look...incriminating. And that venomous hatred threading the voice behind her would be justified. All vampires were monsters, it was only and always good to slay them, and this woman was about to see that Heike herself was one of them. Heike was furthermore honorbound against striking out against this woman for doing an act that was wholly righteous.

Which was the terrible complication she so often struggled with. She could only bend and strain the spirit of her Oaths--Truth, Honor, and Justice--so much before following the letter of them became meaningless.

Heike slowly lifted her hands from the dying Knight's shoulders. Raised them up to the level of her head in a gesture of surrender, her claws readily visible.

"This is not what it appears to be," she said.

And Heike turned her head slowly to look behind her at the woman. Where she, too, would notice something.

Kharia Na'amro Takashi Haller
 
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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Golem
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The Golem walked through the snow, it was dead silent save his fellow Allir watchman shivering and bickering in the cold, they had been set on survivor patrol, scanning the cold woods for anyone lost, injured, or dead. One of the Watchman, decided to start some small talk with the Golem, "So, your the Golem, right?" ,the guardsman asked. "Yes." the golem replied in a deep, reverberating, monotone voice."So, are you... actually a haunted suit of armor?" ,the watchman asked. The Golem chose not to answer such a stupid question. In the background he heard two of the other watchman banter, "That wasn't a no." "Doesn't mean he's really a haunted suit of iron." "You cauldron heads, he's a golem: That's why they call him THE GOLEM!" He was beginning to remember why he didn't like to work with other watchman. Suddenly he stopped, the Allir watchman bumping into him in a Congo line, "Why'd ya sto-",one watchmen asked before being cut off, "Alert: there is blood on the wind. Warning: conflict may be imminent." ,the golem stated in a hushed yell. The watchmen immediately fell silent, and drew their weapons.

The watch formed into two groups and headed forward, the golem seeing two silhouettes in the clearing in the distance next to a log cabin, without a word he lifted his right arm into a clenched fist, telling the watchmen to halt. He then pointed with two fingers from his left hand to the right, signaling for one half of the men to head to the left side of the woods around the clearing, then with his right hand pointed to the right, signaling the remainder to head parallel. With his right hand firmly on the hilt of his longsword he slowly approached the figures in the clearing, moving in from west of the cabin.[/COLOR]
 
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Takashi Haller

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The wandering man looked up, gazing upon the tall trees of that forest. He felt the cold wind hitting his face and messing his dark hair, although the scarf that concealed the lower end of his face offered him a slight protection against the chilly breeze.

Takashi had been wandering those woods after hearing rumours nearby of a danger unknown to the common folk, hiding itself in that forest. He had just seen off a 'work' in the city of Alliria, rather different than what he usually dealt it, working with noblemen and merchants, but he did learn some very interesting things in that venture. And since he was close by, he felt a long rest wouldn't be necessary before resuming his hunting duties.

As soon as he started trekking through the snow, he could feel the sudden change in the air. The forest felt different, the trees more 'agitated' than usual. He reached forward to one of those trees, resting his palm on the wood.

Breathing deep and closing his eyes in concentration, he could almost sense it, the danger that the villagers were speaking about. Dark times ought to terrorize the populace, but instead of dismissing it as mere fear, Takashi was always willing to stay and listen. It was how many of his hunts for demons and monsters had started, and yet he felt something unique as soon as he entered that clearing.

The enjoyable silence that provided him concentration was broken by the sound of wood branches breaking in the distance, but Takashi couldn't exactly tell from which direction came those sounds thanks to that dense forest, covered with snow as it fell almost endlessly from the skies.

Tak decided to follow his guts and delve deeper into the forest, eyes attentive to any sudden movement. He didn't possess any supernatural powers to enhance his senses, but he was disciplined and trained as a Shinobi, spending years of his life to hone his mind and body to learn the ways of the sword and its combat arts, as well as how to behave like a true hunter. Silent, watchful and deadly.

It was then that his nose picked up on the strong scent of blood, and he knew he had found something. But as he got closer from amongst the trees, Tak started hearing voices and strong steps in the snow before it all stopped at once. Using the cover of the trees to remain hidden, he laid eyes upon two strangers facing each other next to a heavily wounded person, with blood all over him, next to a cabin.

Takashi also spotted several watchers and a massive being totally unknown to him as it stepped further to meet the two figures. It was quite the gathering, but Tak preferred to take advantage of his stealth for the time being while also preparing himself for any conflicts. The watchers donned armor that Tak recognized from his time back at Alliria, so he knew better than to involve himself with guards unless absolutely necessary.

His left hand grabbed a tight hold of the scabbard on his waist while the top of his thumb slowly loosed his katana by its guard, lifting it slightly while being careful enough to not maky any noises. He decided to watch and wait that situation unfold.

Heike Eisen Kharia Na'amro
 
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Kharia Na'amro

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Regardless of the fact that what little she had was long since deteriorated, Kharia felt her blood boil as the figure rose, exposing claws and having the gall to say it wasn't what it looked like. She had been on the other end of that pairing, she remembered that feeling of her life ebbing away into the cold stone tiles of the street while some of it was greedily slurped up by the monster hovering overhead. It filled her with rage to think of that happening again, the edges of her vision encroached by red as she focused single-mindedly on her enemy. She thumbed the hilt of her Chokúto, the soft cling being an exclamation point to the word that preceded it, a harsh hiss as she bared her fangs, brown eyes filling with blood-red intent.
"Liar."

She heard the shuffling of others in the woods, but she didn't care anymore, all that mattered in that singular moment was ridding the world of her kind, her wrath condensing and pressing together down into a laser-like focus, spearheaded by her blade as it left it's sheath. To normal humans, it would appear as if she had simply shot forward without moving, suddenly having her sword in hand and spearing toward the vampire as if fired from an invisible trebuchet.

They were not normal humans, and although she expected her first strike to be deflected, a part of her still relished the idea of impaling the Vampire straight through her eye. Poetic Justice...revenge.

Heike Eisen Takashi Haller Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

OOC: Have fun guys :)
 

Heike Eisen

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Liar.

A single word, spoken at the exact same time as the dawning that this one-eyed woman was like her. Afflicted by the same vile thirst. A vampire. Part of that unholy cohort all the world over, preying on the weak and the innocent, the monsters responsible for the sacking of her home and the murder of the citizens she had sworn to protect. Previously, Heike--thinking the woman to be anything but afflicted--was honorbound against striking out against her, even to the very detriment of her own well-being. Now. Now it was different. Now it was positively demanded by her Oath of Justice to put this monster down. Though she had ultimately failed in her duty to Reikhurst and the lawfully elected King and the people for whom she served, this small token of vengeance she was compelled to fulfill. She was a Citizen and Warrior, a Knight of the Golden Blade, proud daughter of Albrecht and Sieglinde Eisen, and nothing--not even her own affliction--would ever change that.

Heike stood.

And was far too slow. Far too slow in the tiny gap of time between the single spoken word from the One-Eyed Vampire and Heike's own realization of her affliction.

Heike was too slow, and thus Kharia's Chokúto ran her through. The blade plunged into Heike's back and through her abdomen and burst from her stomach, the metal emerging red with her tainted blood. Heike gave a yelp of pain--even if such sensations were muted in her undeath, the agony was not completely squelched. She grit her teeth and arched her back, her hair flowing back and touching Kharia's shoulder. Blood oozed from both the entry and exit wound, staining her coat and her shirt.

The dying Knight stirred below her, his embattled eyes struggling to see the conflict between Heike and the One-Eyed Vampire. A thought occurred to Heike then. Damn it! She had not seen if her blood had fallen onto the dying Knight. Gotten into one of his wounds. Unlikely--he was still clad in his (albeit damaged) armor--but it was horrifyingly possible. She didn't want to...if...no...not again...

First. Focus on what needed to happen first.

She needed to fight. And she needed to win. Lest the dying Knight, a fellow of the Golden Blade, go unavenged. For all she knew, this Vampire was the culprit behind the Knight's assault. Returning, perhaps, for one last disgusting drink.

It was going to hurt, but Heike did it anyway. She grabbed the protruding edge of the Chokúto with both hands and she shoved it back while thrusting her body forward, freeing herself from the impaling (and, though her bony claws had touched the blade and spared her palms from being cut, she nevertheless in her haste pierced the undersides of her own forearms with the tips of her claws).

Heike exerted herself, spent valuable blood to leap away and gain some measure of distance between herself and Kharia. Turned to face her foe. This, unbeknownst to Heike, presenting her back to Takashi, hidden behind a tree adjacent to her.

Heike saw then that Kharia was not alone. Had she brought allies? There was a massive man in armor the color of rust and several other men approaching the cabin and the scene. Who were they, then? Had the One-Eyed Vampire coerced these men into her service? Or, if she so dared to believe, perhaps they were not her allies. Perhaps they were men with whom the dying Knight was friends. Maybe they had simply happened upon the cabin and the commotion.

They might hate and fear and attack Heike just as easily as they would the One-Eyed Vampire. And that was acceptable, so long as the One-Eyed Vampire died and they avenged the dying Knight by hearing him and finding the true villain here.

Heike was bound by her Oath of Truth to speak no falsehood. And here, now, this Oath was easy to uphold, and gladly she did.

"Take heed! That woman is a vampire!" Heike said, calling out to the approaching men and the massive Rusted Warrior, completely ignoring that the very same could rightfully be said of her.

She pointed then with a clawed finger to the dying Knight. Called out further, "Do as you must, but avenge this man! Hear him! I beg of you!"

Blood dripped slowly from her wound to the snow. Afflicted red upon pure white.

Kharia Na'amro Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr Takashi Haller
 
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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Golem
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The Golem continued to approach the figures, the faint iron-like smell of blood that carried on the wind was now very intense, he could now see that there was a third member, ripped open with lacerations from a beast, death by exsanguination. He continued approaching, studying the two figures, from the back of the first, he noted the long silver hair, flowing down the back of a tattered long coat, a steel plate cuirass peeking out from the space between, the armor was of a light tarnishing, suggesting either a skilled brigand or a crest fallen knight of sorts. The frame of this one was relatively thin for a warrior, but it was tall roughly between 5'10 and 5'12 and had unnatural claws for fingers to boot, so it was likely female or a very thin male of some monstrous species. He took note of the other figures facial features suggesting a female, white hair, burn scarring and pale eye informing him of a blind spot, the flesh was pale and gaunt, corpselike: a common sign of undeath, it was roughly 5'6, with a description of these suspects noted, he made ready to act.

It was obvious that these two were in a tense situation, he could tell that their gazes were locked, he was about to speak to resolve this situation, and get to the bottom of this crime, but before he could the shorter one spoke, "Liar." ,before she charged the other in a blur, putting her blade through the ( now obviously a female) with white hair, it pulled the blade out of its chest. This was enough for him to draw his blade, and he added the charge of an additional attempted murder to the one-eyed undead's crimes. Moving in with haste, he heard the injured but evidently stalwart white haired woman exclaim, "Take heed! That woman is a vampire! Do as you must, but avenge this man! Hear him! I beg you!" The golem thought quickly, these weren't human, they possessed unnatrual, durability, senses, and reflexes, he might be able to take a hit from them, but he might not be able to lay a hand on either of them. He had packed one of his alchemical tricks in case of an animal attack, a vile containing a liquid substance that when smashed would create a loud noise, and a bright flash: perfect for disorienting entities of strong senses. In a single move he pulled it from his satchel and threw it near the two inhumans and raised his hand signaling to his fellow watchmen to move in from the tree line, before rushing in to attempt to grapple with his free hand the instigator of this attack, his fellow watchmen now rushing into the clearing.
 

Takashi Haller

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Even though his eyes were trained, Tak could never have anticipated the sheer speed of those movements, with one of the attackers soaring through the air against the stranger next to the fallen and bloodied soldier. He gasped in surprise but stood his ground, still hidden amongst the trees to avoid being noticed by the rest of them. He thought that single blow would've ended the conflict, but somehow the other stranger pushed forward, grabbing the blade and brutally removing it while the blood flowed forth from the wound.

What manner of monster could've withstood such an attack, the young man thought to himself while his left hand kept clenching his scabbard, waiting for the right opportunity to join the frey and cut the explanation out of them if necessary. He could see now that the two strangers were both women, dressed in rags and armor from which Tak couldn't recognize where they came from, although he could now see a ugly scar on the face of one of them. He was also aware of their claws, making it more clear to him that he was indeed dealing with monsters, but these seemed to be far more intelligent than the demons he hunted.

As the bleeding woman created some distance between them, Tak now looked towards the huge 'soldier' and his companions not far from them, realizing that they were just preparing for their own assault. It was a very tricky situation now, but he had promised to look further into it, to rid the good people of the nearby villages of the evil lurking in the forests. He wasn't sure if he had found said evil, seeing as how the woman shouted towards the soldiers, declaring her enemy as a 'vampire' and begged them to avenge that soldier. Her despair was evident, almost like she knew the poor soldier at her feet.

Takashi's face turned from shock to confusion as he realized that things were getting messier with each passing minute, and discovering the culprit behind that whole ordeal would have to be the first step taken to reach his goal.

And yet, that word couldn't escape from his mind. Vampire. He had heard it before, legends about people who were taken with the night, feeding in blood and death to appease their hunger and make them stronger. But hearing the legends from monks and villagers was entirely different from laying eyes upon one.

But before he could dwell on those thoughts any longer, he heard the cries of that massive being rushing forward, his hand reaching for something on his belongings. Tak knew that this could be his only window of opportunity, lest that fight could take away all his answers. He would end that conflict by himself if necessary, he couldn't fail the good folk who trusted him with saving them from their impending doom. As determination fueled his intentions, the wind grew fiercer in the area, rocking the trees and pushing some of the snow around.

Takashi drew his katana and rushed forward, a mass of wind and crimson energy forming around him like a cloak. His own unnatural speed was so great that he seemed to vanish from his starting point, reappearing only a short distance away from the battling women, just in time to send forth a ringing blast from his steel blade to knock the object sent by the colossus back to his soldiers.

With the distraction caused by his appearance, Tak could take a closer look at that pair, tightening the hold of his katana while breathing out slowly.

The thunderous blade meeting the creatures of the night. And so he stood, red eyes gazing upon them, his sword ever prepared.

Kharia Na'amro Heike Eisen Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Kharia Na'amro

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Kharia's blade struck true, though not quite where she had hoped. Either as a consequence of one eye or because of the small window of time to move, her sword instead drove through the vampire's chest, tainted blood spraying over Kharia's vest and littering the snow around them. A mortal blow for any human, but not for them, never for them. All she had brought with that blow was pain to her opponent, but that was fine, now she had a chance to enjoy this. She was about to twist the blade in further, opening her up for Kharia to rip her head off, but then she felt resistance. Something was tugging on her blade, something strong! Something...crap.

Kharia realized what was happening just as the vampire broke free of her grip, throwing herself forward while, either by desperation or natural strength, summoning the will to throw Kharia back a few feet, her boots skidding along the snowy tracks as she quickly regained her footing. She was strong and fast and resilient, not to mention manipulative if her words were anything to go by. She wasn't listening though, lies were seldom received by adept ears, and she was far too used to vampires bargaining or tricking their way out of danger. It seemed that she was going to be in for a fight this time...good.
"Avengeance huh? No problem," She spat, flicking the vampire's blood from her blade before planting her feet and leaping into the air, closing the gap between the two as she raised her sword high, bringing it down with a feral yell.

Heike Eisen Takashi Haller Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 

Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Golem
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In the midst of the golems intended grapple, a wave of energy shattered the bottle somehow not causing its intended affect to go off his hand, just in front of him was the culprit, a human male: greyish blue hair, approximately 6'2, wielding a curved sword of sorts, but as he tried to make a description of the the man obstructing justice, he began to loose his composure and focus.

(OOC this needs some music:
)


His two culprits were now battling it out, while he had this magi holding a pose after destroying a potion that took him six days to create and three to perfect, ruined what might have been a clean arrest, and was now damaging the crime scene further with his strange magics. This enraged Cauldwin, he could tell that this magi was fast, but he had knocked out teleporters in the brawling pit before and this would be no different. He quickly attempted to grab this interloper by the face and lift him up in the air. He roared out orders in a deep, metallic annoyed tone that lacked any of his previous balance, "YOU FIVE FAT, OVERPAYED, GOOD-FOR-NOTHINS'! MOVE IN AND DETAIN THESE THREE SUSPECTS OR I WILL USE YOUR RIB CAGES AS SWORD RACKS!" ,to which the five watchmen moved in at twice the speed. At the same time, he swiftly moved forward, and in a single motion kicked out his right leg into the one-eyed undead with all his might, attempting to blindside her with the heel of his metal greaves, and send her careening into the snow. While the other five watchman quickly moved in with their various weapons ready to strike as the all called out to the culprits to, "Stop right there criminal scum." Not his proudest of moments...

Kharia Na'amro Takashi Haller Heike Eisen
 
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Heike Eisen

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They were moving in. The Rusted Warrior and his men. And in a span of time where seconds seemed a measurement far too large to be of adequate use, a number of things happened.

The Rusted Warrior threw something (something in glass?). That something was deflected by the sudden appearance and swift swordplay of yet another arrival--Takashi. Heike had scarcely a lightning bolt's worth of a time to register his presence when Kharia--narrowly focused on Heike to the seemingly complete ignoring of the Rusted Warrior and his men and the abrupt appearance of Takashi--leaped. Leaped and had her sword raised high and down it would come toward her.

Heike exerted herself for another burst of inhuman speed. Dodged straight backward with a kick off of the ground, her arm brushing against a tree as she sailed back and the tips of her shoes gracing the snow lightly. Some twenty or thirty feet back her feet touched the ground again and she came to sliding stop, two plumes of snow sprayed up to the level of her knees.

Such exertions, expenditures of blood within her body, saved her in the short term but damned her in the long term. Her thirst would accelerate as her blood powered her inhuman physicality, and worse still she was wounded, punctured through the back and stomach. The blood oozed slowly, rather than ran vigorously as it would in a mortal human, yet a loss of blood was a loss of blood. The wound would not heal until she slept...but before this sleep, she would need to feed.

Damn her! Damn this vampire! As if it were not enough to interrupt her grim talk with a fallen comrade (and perhaps now even miss the crucial information she begged him to tell her). This wound and this fight would force Heike to feed much sooner than she otherwise would have.

Here. Now. Deal with the present.

Heike did not know the full intentions of the Rusted Warrior and his men. She had seen him grab for the One-Eyed Vampire before she'd leaped for her downward slash. What would he have done if he caught her? What would he do if he caught Heike? And then there was the new arrival, the man with the dark hair and blue eyes. He'd the speed and surprise to strike either Heike or the One-Eyed Vampire yet he had not. His motives remained the most inscrutable, yet at the same time she did not think him responsible for the savaging of the dying Knight.

The Rusted Warrior was moving into action. Moving (as Heike had hoped) toward the Kharia yet also (as she had not hoped) toward Takashi as well. The Warrior bellowing at his five companions and calling the three of them--Heike, Kharia, and Takashi alike--suspects.

Heike had her distance. Had a small window of time before one of the Rusted Warrior's companions could reach her.

So she shouted, "My name is Herr Heike Eisen, of Reikhurst! Upon my honor and upon my Oaths, sworn before King Rommel himself, I say to you that I did not harm this man!"

And, speaking directly of Takashi, she added, "And I've reason to believe the blue-eyed swordsman did not do so either!"

Heike stood her ground, worry and apprehension permeating her expression and pulling the corners of her mouth down. She did not know if her words would fall on deaf ears, as so often they did. And again, rightfully so; the word of a vampire, from the perspective of good men and women, was not to be trusted. Yet there would be nothing more she could realistically do than make her plea. She wanted to slay the One-Eyed Vampire, but fighting with her while the Rusted Warrior (and his companions) and perhaps even the Blue-Eyed Swordsman also entered the fray would endanger these latter two. In the flow of combat Heike herself could inadvertently cause them harm. Unacceptable. She wanted even more than the slaying of the vampire to avenge the true villain, the dying Knight's assailant. But the outlook on such a prospect appeared harsh.

On the snowy ground by the cabin, the dying Knight turned his head. A word formed on his lips.

Kharia Na'amro Takashi Haller Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 
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Takashi Haller

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Against his most cherished wishes, Takashi witnessed as the battle fully took over that field of snow and grass. He would've known by now that dealing with strangers was often the cause of many of his headaches and misfortunes, which is why he chose the secluded life of a wandering swordsman, never staying in one place long enough to be caught in someone else's entanglement and its complications. And he had already been caught once, only days ago, thanks to a debt owed to a noble lady.

And yet, there and then, he didn't feel as free as he felt on the moment he was released from his short oath. His sword was his once again, but it was now pledged to yet another conflict. It seemed that his fate was really to wander aimlessly, plunging his sword in other people's mess.

Takashi had slipped. He allowed his ever fierce concentration and focus to be swayed by his thoughts, his eyes locked upon the battle between the two monsters, and so he barely noticed the rust giant's approach as he sought to take advantage of its colossal size to seize Takashi. Thankfully, both speed and snow counted themselves as allies in that conflict full of enemies, and so Takashi took a quick step back at the same time he pulled some of the snow with his blade, swinging it towards the colossus in a improvised movement born out of desperation in a attempt to distract him long enough so Takashi could gain some safe distance between them.

It was close, but Tak seemed to evade the giant's attack thanks to his speed and quick thinking, with his inferior size being a advantage in that situation. Meanwhile, the two women were at each other again, the one-eyed monster swinging her blade from high in a powerful and decisive blow that the other one was lucky enough to evade.

Tak kept switching his focus from that battle to his own danger, with the rust giant and his soldiers now regaining their composure and having been ordered to detain them. Haller already feared the thought of being taken back to the city, to be locked up and indebted once again if lucky enough to be freed from his shackles by another 'kind soul'.

If he had his say, he'd rather leave that place without answers, but still free to seek them elsewhere.

He repositioned his katana and prepared for an assault of his own making, but was cut from it by Heike's firm cries to stop that battle. Tak listened to her, still confused as to why she would seek to stop that conflict when she seemed to be one of its prime suspects. Surely a monster wouldn't prefer diplomacy over mindless bloodshed? And she was calling herself a knight...

Even more surprisingly, she had also been kind enough as to vouch for Takashi and his lack of involvement on the near demise of that fallen soldier, which was obviously true, considering he only arrived when the battle had started. He wasn't sure the others would stop and listen, taken by the fires of combat as they were, but he kept his attention on Heike and her plea.

"I did not attack that man! And I am here only to help the good villagers against the evil hiding in this forest!"

Takashi followed suit to Heike's short speech, in hope that they would all reflect on it. He still held his sword tightly, but his words were calm and true as he looked first towards Heike and Kharia, and then to the giant and his soldiers. The shinobi kept hoping that they would see reason instead of resuming their attacks, to avoid further bloodshed and help him on his quest for answers.

But from the corner of his eyes, he recognized the slightest of movements coming from the battered soldier near the cabin.

He was still alive? Perhaps it was the signal that Tak was seeking ever since he entered those woods.

Heike Eisen Kharia Na'amro Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 
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Kharia Na'amro

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Kharia was focused intently on the Vampire, but that didn't mean she was blind to everything going on around her. As she left the ground, she noted the foot attempting to throw her off-target, responding simply out of instinct. She lifted her left leg up, stepping on the metallic leg for the shortest of moments before kicking off of it, launching her even further. Sailing through the air, Kharia was free to continue her fight away from the battle behind her.

The Vampire jumped back again, but the extra momentum from the kick had propelled her a few extra feet forward, closing the gap somewhat as she hit the ground and let her weight carry her forward into a roll, transferring all of her energy into a sprint that she immediately burst out of the roll into. She saw the Vampire's lips move, but she wasn't one for listening anymore, thrusting her sword forward as she came within striking distance once more. This time, however, she had a small trick up her sleeve.

As she came to within striking distance, Kharia lightly kicked off to her right, jumping forward and attempting to slip her left arm under the Vampire's left armpit. If she succeeded, she would swing around using her arm as a handhold and heave all her weight against the Vampire's back, hoping to throw her off her feet and to the ground below.

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Heike Eisen

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Heike had only the faintest amount of time to hear the man with dark hair--Takashi--make his own plea to the Rusted Warrior and the men. His own call for clemency, a statement of his intent. Heike did not know precisely if Takashi was indeed on her side, but he seemed a good man regardless. She wanted desperately to aid the dying Knight, but if a man like Takashi opposed her on account of her affliction...then she could not render such aid. She would not raise a hand against the man with dark hair, not believing what she did of his character--fleeing would be her sole option.

That faint moment passed as the One-Eyed Vampire came at her once again.

Another thrust of her sword. Which Heike stepped to one side to avoid, drawing back her right hand for a retaliatory swipe of her claws.

Only, she had been played. Heike's eyes had been on the sword which she had dodged but not the arm which slipped underneath her own. A rough jerk followed and the world spun and Heike crashed down to the ground after she was thrown. Tainted blood from her wound desecrated the pristine purity of the snow. Heike rolled a couple of times and lay now on her back down on the ground, propped up on her elbows and facing her foe.

"You fiend. You and your disgusting kin."

She started to get up. Attempting to stand and find her feet. And Heike clenched her teeth as that blunted knife of pain sliced through her abdomen, her wound turning what would have been simple movements into stabbing ordeals.

* * * * *​

Two words left the dying Knight's lips: "I tried..."

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Golem
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The Golem was becoming increasingly frustrated, it seemed that regardless of what direct action he took towards these individuals was for one reason or another almost completely in vain. Thinking quickly he realized he needed to switch tactics for this situation. Unlike in most cases, he was not alone this time in his attempts to maintain order. With his fellow watchman trying in vain to catch these quick moving creatures, he understood he needed to give his team some sort of direction.

The golem gave a few orders in the reverberating, deep, monotone voice that he used often in when on watch to the five other men in his penal patrol, "Orders: Kells, Neus: surrounding on hedge. Orders: Glem, Jophery: on magi. Orders: Velt: First aid on vic." Kells and Neus where brothers who were born in Alliria, they both favored the sword, and Kells fancied himself a self-made knight of the people, being the only rookie watchman to wear a helm and visor as opposed to the common cauldron helm. Glem was short for Glemly, he was a strong and stout dwarf with a long fiery beard, who wielded a rune war-maul, given his hatred of magic and curved swords, he would be a good match for the magi if this goes really bad. Jophery and Velt were elves from Elbion who wielded sabers, Velt was once a renowned healer who was exiled for a botched operation on one of the nobles, even with that black stain, the Golem knew he was the best chance of saving the vic.

Between the watchmen's movement however, the one-eyed undead attacked again but from behind the hedge (which was sort of a slur for brigands and hedge knights in the slums of Alliria) before the Golem or any of the other watchmen could intercede. But before the One-Eye could make another attack the watchmen took their positions. The Golem took up the position of the rear guard in case this creature tried another ambush while Kells and Nues got in the path of the creature in case it tried to take a direct attack. Glem and Jophery got ready to square up with the magi, and Velt dragged the wounded vic into the cabin where he was presumably applying first aid in an attempt to save the man.

This had become a messy situation, but the team of muck-ups, might just be able to pull some proper watch work out of this...

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Takashi Haller

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It seemed that situation was bound to be escalating constantly, with anger and bloodlust being the primary motives behind all that mess.

Takashi still couldn't understand what was going on, saving that every person there looked to be a enemy at this point, and he'd just be trying to imagine their level of menace towards him. He knew he couldn't trust a single soul there save for his blade, but he was having a hard time trying to see a light beyond that ordeal.

The dying knight muttered a few words. The young man couldn't understand them but Takashi was keeping his eyes on him after noticing his movements and he had heard something. But it didn't seem to matter, only the heat of the fight mattered to those people.

If not for the teachings of his masters, he would've let that same anger grab hold of him, to slash through them all on his path to answers, even if it meant he'd be left with none at all, but it wasn't so.

'A warrior strikes fast and hard, but he also knows the value of patience and mercy.'

It was one of the lessons he spent the most time trying to wrap his head around, and one that was helping him in that very moment.

But more chaos ensued before he could think any longer, with the monsters going at each other yet again. Takashi turned and prepared to engage them himself in a attempt to put an end to that fight the hard way, but he fell short of doing so as a dwarf blocked his path, a heavy maul glittering with rune magic on his hands.

He also felt the presence of another man just a few steps behind him, weapon in hand and prepared for combat. The young swordsman closed his eyes for a few seconds and decided to risk a calmer approach, even though it could be rendered pointless if the others continued their fights.

Takashi quickly swung his katana around his hand before swiftly driving it inside its scabbard on his waist, eyes now looking upon the dwarf in front of him.

"I am not your enemy, soldiers. Whatever attacked that man may still be among us or has already escaped, this must end now!"

Takashi decided he would plead once more, before he let his blade choose the other path.

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Kharia Na'amro

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Looking back, Kharia figured it was probably the sheer hate in her words, so like her own, that did the deed and stopped her in her tracks. One simple sentence came from the Vampire's mouth and, although she wasn't actively listening, her brain still registered it.

Disgusting kin...

She stared, momentarily shocked from her bloodlust, sword held up limply in a frozen stabbing wind up as the creases on her anger-laden face faded.
"...what?" She asked softly, squinting at her confused, giving the others all the opportunity they needed to end this fight...

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Golem
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The Golem watched with a keen eye as the one-eye slowed in her movement, bewilderment on her face. The Golem finally had the opportunity to get this perpetrator into custody, without hesitation, he moved in with a swift lunge at the perpetrator in an attempt to grapple, bodyslam, and bind this undead freak. Hopefully he wouldn't need to wet his blade to end the one-eye's rampage, but if the grapple failed he was ready to do what was necessary.

In his peripheral, he could see Glem readying himself to come to blows with the magi, then Glem swung his hammer into the snow in a passive gesture, that was very uncharacteristic...

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Heike Eisen

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Heike was able to stand. There on her feet now without violent intervention from Kharia. The One-Eyed Vampire's confusion was evident, distracting, allowing for the Rusted Warrior's approach. Heike did so want to engage the Vampire, to ensure her slaying, but it would not do to become entangled in a chaotic melee, wherein the Rusted Warrior simply could not be certain of Heike's unwillingness to harm him. Dangerous--for both the Rusted Warrior and Heike herself.

Elsewhere around the snowy forest surrounding the cabin, somewhere to Heike's back, she heard the blue-eyed swordsman making his plea for peace. Yes. It was the right call. The Rusted Warrior and his men--a patrol of some sort rather than brigands, it seemed, judging by the manner in which they all carried themselves--could subdue the other vampire. Put the monster down. Though it was terribly likely that they would try and do the same to Heike.

So long as someone, be it Heike or the swordsman or the patrol, helped the dying Knight then all would end well. It was true that Heike wanted to know all that her fellow Knight of the Golden Blade knew, but this luxury seemed now far beyond her grasp.

Time was running short.

So Heike held up her right hand in a bid for benevolence, held the wound in her abdomen with her left. She hazarded a quick glance over her shoulder to where the dying Knight had been...and saw that he was gone. She having missed Velt dragging him into the cabin, the cursory glance done too quickly to pick up the signs of his dragging left in the snow.

She spoke to the Rusted Warrior urgently, "Where has the dying man been taken?"

* * * * *​

Inside the cabin.

It was small and modest. A single room, fit for a man and maybe two guests at most. A fire still burned in the fireplace, its orange light mixing with the gray light of the clouded day through the window. A table in the center of the cabin, a half-eaten meal upon it. Furs hung from the wall opposite the window, both at the side and head of the bed. Baskets of stored vegetables and some dried meats by a tiny counter near one corner, a tall wardrobe in another corner. A collection of simple hunting, carving, and woodsman's tools on a shelf close to the door.

The dying Knight had wounds across his body, most near the joints in the ravaged armor that he wore. Armor that would make it difficult for said wounds to be properly treated while it was still worn. And even then, the wounds were indeed grievous.

The dying Knight's eyes found Velt. Actually focused on him.

And he said with discernible dismay, "I tried to save her..."

Kharia Na'amro Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr Takashi Haller
 

Takashi Haller

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For a time, it seemed as though Takashi could breathe a bit easier. Even though he was surrounded by two soldiers commanded by the metal giant, he could see from the distance as one of the bloodlusting monsters finally halted her frenzy, giving the other pause to recollect and stand.

It was about time, the young man thought. But perhaps, too soon.

Distracted by that refreshing scene as well as occupied with problems of his own, Takashi missed the charge made by the metal warrior towards Kharia, in another attempt to subdue the monsters. Haller himself was starting to lose his patience, his inner peace and balance disturbed by that never ending cycle of battle.

The shinobi turned his attention back to the dwarf as he seemed to prepare for his own attack, but he swung his hammer in a unusual fashion for such a blow, instead letting it rest upon the snow. Takashi had already slightly drawn a bit of his blade, lifting the sword's guard with his thumb, fearing that he would have to use it in a killing intent this time, but it wasn't so.

Then he heard the voice of the other monster, the one who had a nasty wound on her abdomen, speaking up and asking for the dying knight. In that moment, Takashi himself swayed his head around in quick successions, towards many directions, realizing that he was indeed gone, as well as one of the soldiers brought by the metal giant.

Now only the blood remained upon the white ground.

Heike Eisen Kharia Na'amro Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 
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Kharia Na'amro

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Kharia felt a ton of metal slam into her, a small grunt coming from her lips as she slammed into the snow, staring at the Vampire with confusion. Was she like her? A vampire that didn't want to be a Vampire? Why not kill herself? Kharia had a reason, so she wouldn't...maybe she had one too? These thoughts practically insulated her from the situation around her, she offered no resistance to being bound and arrested, not like it was much of a threat to her either way.

She had a bit of thinking to do, so it was simply something that was happening while she passed the time.

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Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr

The Golem
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The Golem, seeing his window grabbed the one-eye by the leg in her distracted state, slamming her to the ground, then putting his knee on her back to leverage his immense weight to pin her down while binding her wrists. Kells and Nues quickly ran in and helped tie her legs by the ankles and hands by the wrists with anchor knots as not to allow this creature to break free with what could be immense strength. The watchmen then quickly worked to tie a rope around her waist and connected it to the binds on her wrists and ankles, ending it with another rope around the golems waist. The watchman of Alliria had very strict protocols when binding dangerous and powerful entities, rookies or veterans: they would not be found wanting.

During the skirmish the Golem had seen the Hedge suspect make her way to the cabin, he quickly ordered, "Orders: Kells, Nues: apprehend the hedge." To which the two brothers quickly ran inside the cabin, Kells kicking in the door with a "HUZZAH!" in order to do such. The Golem then walking towards the cabin found that Glem (a veteran watchman that had been on the watch years before the Golem) had not made an arrest on the Magi. He simply asked Glem in the same monotone voice but with a hint of respect, "Glem: reasoning for a non-arrest?" Glem replied in his gruff dwarvish brogue (OOC: Irish brogue basically),"Think about it, ya autistic-rust-bucket: this kid probably saw a couple a broads 'bout to get their shite kicked in by a rusted giant, and a couple o' cauldr'n heads, I say we give him a bit of a break, eh?" In the watch, experience outranked all but the sarge and captain, so the Golem knew that if Glem said to give him a break, he'd give him a break. He nodded then continued to the cabin with Glem and Jophery behind him.

During all of the commotion outside Velt had just finished patching up what he could of the wounded victim who was now dying on his cabins bed. Velt had done all he could to save him with what he had on hand, removed the man's ruined armor, truncated his limbs with pieces of cloth from the man's clothes in order to cut off blood flow, suturing wounds with the materials from his old doctors bag, and using pieces of a linen blanket from the man's bed as gauze and wound coverings. The man was both feverish and suffering from hyperthermia, so he had no choice but try and cover him with the blankets from his bed though it made his patient more delirious and miserable.

Suddenly the door of the cabin opened and in walked the Hedge Knight, that now out of the obscuring nature of the fog was now to Velt very obviously a monster of sorts, with long, blade like claws. She looked around the cabin then locked eyes with him, paralyzing him with fear. He then heard his delirious patient utter the words with an exhausted horse mumble, "I tried to save her..." Velt locked eyes with the man, then looked back at the monster, he was now shaking so hard that the large rounded spectacles on his eyes were jumping on his nose. "He said he 'tried to save her...' that means this thing is some sort of undead..." he, thought to himself. Velt examined the monster that stood over him by half a foot, and with a shaky hand, he reached for the hilt of his saber. Then Kells kicked in the front door with a heroic, "HUZZAH!" ,followed by his brother Nues who was slightly embarrassed. Velt figured if he died today, at least he wouldn't die looking like the biggest idiot.
 

Heike Eisen

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Heike stood in the snow, her right right still held up and the other to the wound in her stomach.

The Rusted Warrior didn't answer her question, instead directing two of his men--Kells and Nues--to apprehend the "hedge." Meaning her. It made sense: Heike could expect to receive about as much clemency as the One-Eyed Vampire. Which in the One-Eyed Vampire's case was fantastic (all the better if Kharia was slain right there in the snow where she lay pinned), but Heike was loath to have the same happen to her.

With a strained grunt, Heike looked up to the naked branches above and leaped high into the trees. She grabbed hold of and then perched on a thick branch like a bird, her movement rustling loose some sitting snow and down into a light mist it fell. Her leap had cost valuable blood, but she hoped that it would gain her some time. That those below on the ground would have no easy way of either reaching her or knocking her down.

From her high vantage in the tree she looked again to where the dying Knight had once been lying in the snow. Saw then with this further study that track marks and blood in the snow leading to the cabin. Arghhh! It would be dangerous--far too dangerous--to become trapped and cornered going inside the cabin, despite how much she wanted to hear her fellow Knight of the Golden Blade's last words. She simply could not afford to trust that the patrol led by the Rusted Warrior would show leniency to a vampire--and nor should they.

So she shifted her gaze over to the blue-eyed swordsman, Takashi, below. And to him she called, "I do not know your name, but I implore you, beg you, to go and listen to the words of my fellow Knight of the Golden Blade. He knows who or what ravaged him, and his time is short!"

Heike, upon saying the name of her devastated Order, took hold of the insignia dangling from her belt while she held herself steady against the trunk of the tree with her other hand. Still looking down at Takashi, she held out the insignia for him to see--though she did not know if he could in fact see it with any significant amount of clarity. She hoped so. The swordsman might well be her only chance to learn what the dying Knight had to say.

* * * * *​

The dying Knight's wounds had been patched and seen to, but he was still pale and weak. His lips a deadly blue. Tethered to his own belt, the dying Knight likewise wore a small insignia of a golden blade.

His eyes wandered from Velt for a moment, searching seemingly without aim across the small confines of the cabin.

And he said weakly, "Where is she...?"

Takashi Haller Kharia Na'amro Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 
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Takashi Haller

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The sudden wind blew over some parcels of snow nearby, and in the commotion Takashi quickly turned his eyes to witness the distant monster leaping towards a tall tree, moving away from the confrontation.

It seemed to be as he thought before, that Heike wasn't as inclined to that conflict as the others were. Maybe she was really after answers, like he was too.

Still, that bit of relief had been enough to put him at ease for the moment. The rust giant had apprehended the other monster and the guards facing Takashi had decided to leave it like it that, with the warrior dwarf signaling for the other guard to lower his weapon and not engage in another fight, to which Takashi silently thanked.

Now safely put in the tree, Heike shouted towards the swordsman, who still looked at her with a bit of shock. He was surprised to see her still moving so quickly after being badly injured - no doubt, a powerful creature. He had motives of his own to continue his search for answers about what had happened in that place, and surely that knight would be his first step in that journey, if he still lived. At least, Takashi hoped for that.

But after hearing her heartfelt plea amidst the pain and blood coming from Heike, Takashi took it upon his honor as a warrior to see that through. He managed to see bits of what looked like a insignia, held by Heike in the distance.

A small blade, golden colored. It wasn't familiar to him, but it seemed to be to her, and perhaps it would be for the dying knight as well, if Heike was asking the young man to speak to him.

Takashi nodded towards her, silently relaying to her a confident vow that he'd talk to the knight and find out what happened, and take vengeance upon the true monsters. And so, he turned his back to her and the two soldiers next to him and started walking towards the cabin.

Upon entering, just after hearing a few muttered words coming from the inside, he quickly glanced towards the wounded man, being looked after by a healer, one of the soldiers brought by the metal giant.

Thankfully, the knight hadn't died yet, and Takashi had been quick to spot what looked like the same insignia that Heike showed him, hanging from the man's belt.

"What happened to you, good man?"

Heike Eisen Kharia Na'amro Cauldwin Talson Valfnyr
 
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