Hidden 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Crimson Paladin "Progressive" Techpriest

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I can't say I'm surprised. Sylphie was never one for subtlety, Aerarius thought as he silently assessed the situation. There didn't seem to be any traps ahead, and the bandits were already alerted, so he saw no point in trying to preserve the element of surprise. Lastly and most importantly, he knew he wouldn't learn much by sitting back here while Sylphie and Izel did all the work.

"If you don't mind, Byron, I'm going to assist them," he spoke to the beastman. Immediately after voicing his intentions, he dashed up the hill after the others. A small, metallic dome shaped shield unfolded around his left arm. His right arm gripped the sword resting in a rigid sheath on his waist, drawing it from its resting place.

His seeming enthusiasm to join the fray wasn't to shed blood or amuse himself. No, Aerarius' goal was to gather information and knowledge. The fighting style employed by the bandits, the architecture of their camp, the armor and weaponry they used, all of these were things he wished to know and understand. It wasn't an option to stay behind, because if Aerarius did so, Sylphie would kill all of the bandits and Izel might turn the camp into a smoldering crater before he had a chance to observe, study, and perhaps capture someone to interrogate.

The two of them had already dispatched the bandits in their way, so he would need to head further up. The automaton rushed past Sylphie and Izel, bashing a bandit with his shield along the way, and slowed to a stop at the breach where Izel's fireball struck. Shrouded by the smoke and dust of the explosion, but also unable to see what lay beyond, he slowly walked forward out of the smoke, no longer afraid of anything the bandits could possibly throw at him (or, for that matter, whatever his more reckless allies might throw from behind him) and ready to reintroduce the might of the Brass Legion to the world.

Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Lugubrious
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At the tail end of the procession, Malachi held his silence as he kept his distance. The thieves' den lat just ahead, and while Byron seemed eager to strategize, the brawler just knew that a few choice members of their impromptu squad would march right up and announce their presence. In fact, Izel and Sylphie did just that, the latter swaggering up with an almost disgusting confidence. Though he couldn't claim much experience with them, Malachi was beginning to see that children with power were dangerous things. What would an immature, highly-emotional child with neither responsibility nor restraint do with incredible strength...? This, apparently.

He watched as Sylphie gave a half-hearted attempt to coax a surrender out of the bandits, but they didn't seem to understand the predicament they were in. Stupid. As Malachi could attest, any highwayman worth his salt was as cautious as he was cunning, riding the fine line of the hyena between predator and prey. After negotiations went south, the slaughter ensued. From a ways off, Malachi watched with folded arms and a stony frown. Sylphie butchered the vagrants up one after another, and Izel treated them like playthings, toying with them until their tatters fell through her fingers. Malachi counted himself lucky that circumstances established him as a sort of compatriot to these killers. Slaying monsters was a duty often asked of the strong, and in both days spent wandering and in his village home, he'd saved many a life by putting an end to such threats. He didn't exactly want to spend enough time around them for their conceptions to change, and after seeing this, he didn't want to test his mettle as badly.

A moment after Aerarius left to join the dogpile, Malachi shook his head. “Seen all I need to,” he told Byron and Efander. He turned partways, trying to get a lay of the land and sky. “If ya don't mind, I think I'll be on my way.” A lot could change in a few hundred years, but the sun at least would lead him south until he reached the sea. After that, he could trace the shoreline until he caught sight of Sydene. Given the likelihood of his country being intact and recognizable -that is, not at all- he felt no particular rush, other than wanting to be away from here. Truly, he thought with a dry chuckle, I got all the time in the world.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Raineh Daze
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In effect, the sage was the last to approach the camp... seemingly because her every attempt to avoid the traps that the others had so effortlessly noted only set them off. Swinging logs, pitfalls, a collapsing pile of rocks... had the aim been to merely alert the bandits so they could get away, and Efander had been alone, then maybe it would have worked. As far as damage went, however, not a single of the simple traps succeeded in laying a scratch on the child. A tap here or there and the swinging log rocketed off its ropes and into a nearby tree; the collapsing rocks deflected into one another and falling in a neat pile beside her.

It was a better warm-up than the bandits themselves would have been, and a better check of her abilities to boot. Physical changes aside, it felt that nothing was amiss, and the great sage came to a halt beside Malachi.

"Sylphie is as overenthusiastic as ever..." she said, shaking her head. There was no need for another person to join in on the one-sided massacre, "I won't force the matter but after agreeing to see out the alliance's goals, going off alone would betray the trust they placed in all of us."
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by PKMNB0Y
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Byron Cauna

As he watched the three others that had failed to join the fray immediately begin to move off in different directions with plans of their own, Byron let out a single sigh. He had expected some manner of deviation, to be frank, but for his own suggestion to be outright ignored...

Well, at the very least, moving in alone could be managed to some degree. Though proceeding into their base of operations as the two (now three) others at their gates caused chaos was just as much of an option as letting them handle the job, it was only a matter of time before the bandits realized their folly. At that point, breaking through existing barricades would become a hindrance to the rest of the group.

With that in mind, the beastman simply moved forward, making sure to avoid the bulk of combat as he slipped through the opening that Izel's show of power had provided. The number of bandits had already thinned considerably, and the hesitation of those remaining made it clear that their initial resounding defeat had already begun to take its toll.

"Hmm... Well, letting them retreat to their base proper would be an issue..." Byron mused to himself as he anchored the gates in place discreetly before proceeding further into the compound. Seeing that the leader of those at the front was already beginning to pull back, though, the beastman simply began to manipulate the friction of the path forward ever so slightly. That, coupled with a few unexpected bumps in the road, would likely deter their retreat long enough for the rest of the team to clean them up without much issue. Of course, he had a few personal qualms about the wanton killing when capturing these bandits was very much possible, but crossing the demigod in one of her moments of bloodthirsty euphoria seemed like an inherently suicidal idea at best.

With that done, though, Byron turned his attention towards the fortified mountaintop, which, compared to the shoddy defenses near the bottom, had at least a few more options to handle matters. Other than the cave within the mountainside that obviously housed their prey, the various sniper perches had already begun to be filled by other bandits. If the initial defense force was any indication of their actual ability, though, breaking through even that would prove to be a fairly simple task.

If the succinct execution of the first few bandits had not been enough to warrant a retreat, then the show of unbridled magical potential was more than enough of a reason to call for a retreat. By this point, the leader of the force (and what remained of his men) were struck dumb with terror; it took but mere moments before the chain of command fell into complete chaos. A few of the bandits charged forward at the group (the new metal man included) in an attempt to break through and run away; others, still in fear over what had come to collect their souls, were anchored in place by sheer terror. Those who were able to retain enough sense about them despite the situation immediately began to retreat, only to begin tripping and falling over one another as they began to hastily scale up the mountain.

It was a complete defeat in many was for these bandits, but it seemed that simple surrender was not an option for them. Though the reason for that remained unknown, their actions made that much clear.
Hidden 3 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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When the dust cleared, Aerarius was able to perceive several bandits charging in his direction. At that moment, with no more than a few seconds to react, a figurative switch was flipped in the automaton's mind. Aerarius charged ahead, striking down two of the bandits with a wide swing of his sword, splattering blood upon his brass exterior. This provided just enough of an opening for a third bandit to strike the right side of his torso with an axe, but it had little effect on his alloy body beyond leaving a small dent in the plating. Without hesitating, Aerarius swung his sword back at him, cleanly slicing through the bandit's neck before the man had a chance to fully realize his mistake.

Aerarius didn't understand the mechanics of it, but he could swear in these moments he could feel the rush of adrenaline as if he was still a being of flesh and bone. As much as he might scoff at Sylphie for losing herself in her frenzies, he wasn't too different when things got heated, and at this moment, Aerarius the cautious analyst was gone, replaced by Aerarius the brass footsoldier.

The wise and logical choice would be to focus on taking some of them alive, to thoroughly interrogate them on not only their ill-intentioned operations, but on the general state of the world. They seemed to be of little direct threat to beings like himself and Sylphie that he could afford to hold back. Even at this moment, Aerarius recognized this, but in this state of mind, he did not care. As long as these wicked scoundrels continued to fight back, Aerarius would give them battle to the best of his ability.
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