Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Omni5876
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The ding of battle brought a quick rush of adrenalin to the young hero. Battling monsters, at least the ones who could not formulate tactics or exploits weaknesses, did not put him on edge as fighting humans. Perhaps it was because Fer knew how ruthless and how cunning humans could be. Animals, or monsters in this world, acted out of instinct. They killed out of necessity and attacked only when threatened or to eat.

As the sword hit against his metal shield and the clang of the impact sent reverberations down his arm, the young lad knew that the man behind the sword wanted to kill him. Not for food, or to protect family but because the heroes were enemies. True, there was a sense of survival but the same sword had ended numerous lives that had not been a threat to the wielder.

Karma had caught up to the bandit as Cole dispatched his friend and moved over to strike at the man. You live by the sword you die by the sword. The old adage seemed very appropriate as Cole’s legendary sword parried the bandit’s

However, there was little time to muse as other bandit’s soon were upon the Shield bearing hero. Fer blocked, swinging the edge of his shield at their faces making them at least hesitate to approach recklessly. The shield may not be a very effective weapon, but defenseless and easy prey were not something that the young hero was projecting.

"Honest folk don't burn down innocent peoples' farms you bastards"!

Fer backed up to Cole, keeping both their backs covered. He spoke in calculated tone as he tried to regulate his breath. “don’t waste your air on them Cole. If there was a way to put them in the front lines facing the Waves to repay for all the pain and evil they have caused I would. As it is, at this point it is either us or them. They will not be as merciful as you are.”
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by vancexentan
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"But-UGH DAMN IT!" Cole growled as he charged forward and slashed at the bandit who tried to parry but Cole was younger, and faster than him it only took a few moments for Cole to shove his sword through the man's torso causing him to fall to the ground clutching at his wound. While Fer worked to cover him Cole was quickly able to dance from one side of the cave to the other his sword dully gleaming in the fire's light he cut down the remaining bandits with sufficient ease as Marcino entered the cave himself. He looked at the bandits who had given up, and sighed. "More work I guess..." he grumbled as he moved to put manacles to their hand, and whistled into Auriel who came in and was told to watch the bandits who sat there silently but be it knowledge of who the man who had chained them was or not they seemed very uneasy with good reason as the blood of their fallen comrades poured onto the cave's floor. Cole looked at his blood stained armor. Not a drop of it was his own thanks to Fer. He felt sick to his stomach...having killed people like this. It would've made him vomit if not for the simple fact these were people who enjoyed burning down simple farmer's lives. Crops took ages to grow and there was a literal apocalypse around the corner.

As Cole looked to Marcino he pointed towards the back of the cave, and a crudely made wooden door sat placed in an opening. Cole nodded figuring that was the location they needed to go. Cole stepped forward and led the way as he had to use some effort to get the door to actually open as it was wedged in rather well to the narrow cave opening. Taking a deep breath he braced himself to fight the enemy in front of them the boss...Rayla Winters...

As Cole led the way he slowly started to feel more and more constrained as the smoke from torches that led the way was making it harder to breath for him though it was probably less so for the shield who had defensive buffs. Made Cole a bit jealous of that utility. Still Cole couldn't help but feel relieved when Fer, and himself finally reached their destination as they heard the sound of hands clapping they looked up to find a young lady with a smug smile looking down at them with a giant sword laying on her lap, and some what looked to be iron armor adorning her body. She spoke clearly and loudly. "So then you come all this way during the end of the world to fight a foreign national instead of learning to save the day. I see you're rather well bloody...and yet you don't seem tired. Well I suppose the heroes of the world wouldn't be too interested in the lives of individual bandits. Whatever are you going to state your names or are you just here do to business?" the woman said growing more disdainful as she spoke. "My name is Cole! I am the Hero of the Sword! I will give you the chance to surrender or you'll be killed for your crimes against the common folk." Cole started as the woman sighed. "Oh yeah like that wouldn't happen if I wasn't ready to surrender. Whatever Rayla Winters former 'The Crimson Witch of Zeltoble' at your service." Ratyla comments boredly looking down to Cole having seemed to lost all interest in Fer.

https://www.pixiv.net/en/artworks/90100756 (first picture is Rayla)
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Omni5876
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The pair made their way through the cave. Fer making sure his shield was the only thing the sharp edges of sword or axe ever came in contact with instead of his or Cole’s flesh. His arm would reverberate with every collision with either weapon or body part as he covered and bashed. He was thankful for the extra constitution and buffing ability his shield provided. Close quarter combats as an exhausting ordeal and Cole was starting to show a bit of the signs that came from hefting a sword, legendary or not.

Inwardly Fer was a bit amazed at how proficient his companion had become at dispatching bad guys. Though he could see the smallest hints of hesitation in each strike. The young Shield could empathize with his counterpart. Taking life should never get easier. One can learn to accept it and even become really good at ending life but only the truly barbaric ever got used to it. The truly evil even came to enjoy it.

Thankfully for Cole, some would succumb to their wounds and give up or do the same after seeing the futility of opposing the wielder of one of the Legendary Cardinal Weapons. Bandits and lowlifes they may be but at least not all of them were dumb. He heard and felt more than saw the veteran mercenary and their lovely winged companion behind them as they put those who surrendered in chains.

His eyes fixed on the front finally fell on the obvious entrance at the end of the cave. He shot a sideways glance to Cole who answer his unasked question by proceeding forward. The enclosed spaces made the corridor feel more like the throat of a snake ready to devour them as they willingly walked deeper into its bowels.

Fer could not help but purse his lips in annoyance as the pair was greeted by a clapping bandit leader. Not really sure what he was expecting, he definitely was not expecting a woman as good looking as the one before him. The face did not match the infamy that accompanied the name of Rayla Winters.

The confidence in her voice did not in itself inspire confidence. That much confidence hinted at a very capable and deadly adversary. Fer unconsciously gripped his shield tighter as if trying to find comfort in the fact that he was holding a legendary shield and hoping that such a reputation would be enough to save him and his partners.

Fer would have gladly offered his name but it seemed that the bandit leader deemed the pair not even worthy of remembering. What bothered him however was her moniker. He was sure that it was not self proclaimed. One did not tout a name such as the Crimson Witch with out something to back it up.

“Great, and I was hoping this was going to be over quickly” He grumbled almost inaudibly. He braced himself looking around at his surroundings. They were in her turf. It was sure that Rayla knew that cave room like the back of her hand. The only way to survive that was to ensure they did not fell into any traps and adapted to the environment.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by vancexentan
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"So then what comes next sword hero? Are you going to stand there, or am I going to have to come, and cleave you in half. You know I'm a part of the fighter class, and I'm not about to let my pride as either a woman, gladiator, or chief. I'm not going to go without a fight you know. I'm not letting some shit head teenager with a shit personality take me in. Your 'king' is barely a legitimate heir you know...be the last choice." Rayla comments dourly as Cole raises his sword he braces himself and walks forward. "I know nothing of you, or the king who summoned of me other than your list of crimes. I will not let you hurt anyone else! Meteor Strike!" Cole calls out as he slashes at Rayla on her seat. In return the woman grabs her large blade and swings it calling out in counter, "Crushing Counter!" Rayla says as she swings her blade it glows a fearsome red as she cuts through the meteor strike rendering it inert. "Damn it! Fine I'll just have to take you on with my own skill!" Cole shouts as he charges forward Rayla rolls her eyes as she swings her blade at Cole. Cole doesn't dodge instead of that opting to take her head on. His lack of skill, and fighting training showing as he clashes with the fearsome warrior in front of him. As Cole tries to push forward Fer can see Cole's feet being pushed back leaving a small trail of dirty but he stays steady.

"I can't fail! I won't let you beat me!" Cole shouts out as he tries to channel his deepest part of himself he tries to push forward with his own strength but it lacks power behind it and Cole makes no head way other than keeping Rayla in place for the time being. "At least you got gusto. Shame I gotta kill the Sword Hero your destiny is probably somewhere else. Eh whatever I guess the spear, and bow can win." She says with some annoyance. She tries to kick Cole but he manages to dodge it. Rayla raises her blade swinging it down in a hard arc after pushing Cole back. Cole rolls, and tries to meteor strike her again but she once again counters with her Crushing Counter. Cole hopes that Fer manages to think of something clever as he tries to circle around her clashing blades as her swinging it quickly but she uses her blade deftly using minimal movements to block Cole's attacks his frustration growing.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Whoami
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Rearguard

(Mood Music)


Auriel had spent her time at the cave entrance wracked with anxiety. The inexperienced heroes had gone into the cave alone to hunt down an infamous bandit lord. She didn't want to disobey their command to remain at the rear to cover their flank, but she found herself toying with the thought to turn and follow in after them. After all, in a cave, long swords like Cole's would serve as a detriment to him as he likely wouldn't have enough room to swing in his deadly arcs. It would limit his offensive options and make him predictable. And if Fer was to take the lead, then the two would immediately find themselves on the defensive with the sword unable to reach past them. Auriel didn't know how wide or how high the cave was inside, so she was constantly thinking of the worst case scenarios. With her spear, Auriel could keep the enemy at a distance in the close quarters and still be able to deliver an unstoppable flurry of jabs at different angles. Her weaponry was best suited for the cave, and yet here she was, stuck with the gruff man that Auriel had come to dislike. Marcino.

Every once in a while, Auriel could hear the clang of metal of metal as weapons clashed. Auriel's anxiety would spike again and again, only to go down once she heard the cries of pain from voices she didn't recognize. They were doing well. Auriel took a deep breath and held it in her chest, only to let it out slowly in an attempt to calm her nerves. She hoped that Rayla would go down easily, and they could be done with this business as quickly as possible so they could prepare for their real task. Defending against the waves. Time was not on their side, and the longer this took, the more suffering would need to be endured by the innocent as a result of their lessened state of preparedness. This needed to be a swift and decisive battle.

As she waited, Auriel eventually lost the sounds of battle echoing from the cave. They must have pushed in quite deep... The thought of them walking into an unavoidable trap began to wrack at her, and she turned to Marcino. "If they're far enough in the cave, we'd best move a ways in after them. Who knows if there are branching paths or secret routes that could be used to outflank them in there. We need to ensure that doesn't happen."

She didn't wait for Marcino to debate her. He would have likely called her a worrywart or overprotective, and he'd be right. But she didn't want to hear it coming from his lips of all people. Auriel held her spear at the ready and moved quietly so she could focus on the sounds echoing through the cave. Thankfully the layout of the natural tunnel was quite linear, so it made it easy to follow after the heroes. The signs of brief battles littering the way. A body here. A splintered weapon there. But no dead Cole, no dead Fer. Thank the heavens. Then they entered into the first antechamber where the walls widened and the ceiling rose. Firelight glowed in the darkness, casting long shadows against the granite and limestone walls. She saw a number of dead bandits, and a handful that were on the verge of death. Marcino followed in after her and didn't seem bothered by the carnage. Auriel heard a wounded bandit groan and sputter. She stepped over to him, which made him reach for his sword. Auriel lowered to her knees and gently placed her hands over his weakened fist. She looked him in the eyes, "Please don't. Your fight is over." Her voice was calm and sweet, and there appeared to be no malice in her expression.

The bandit took a deep breath and stared back into her eyes, a mixture of hatred and fear on his face being washed away by the realization that she was allowing him to live. He eased his grip on the sword and let Auriel move his hand away from the weapon. As her hand rested on the back of his, he saw a golden light begin to emanate from her hand. He felt a rush of energy flow up through his arm that made him gasp quietly. Auriel smiled at him, her divine touch seeking to mend his lesser wounds and stem the tide of blood that came from his grave injury. Auriel pulled the torn tunic aside to inspect the wound. He wasn't going to survive it, not without immediate surgery which wasn't available. Auriel's face saddened, "I'm sorry..."

The bandit coughed as his breath hitched, "Who... who are you?"

Auriel kept her hands on his body to take away the pain. Her healing wouldn't stop the inevitable end, but she could ease his passing at the very least. "I am Auriel Asher. And you are?"

A tear streamed down the bandit's cheek, "Flint... Wh- why are you helping me? I've raped, murdered, and pillaged... I'm not worth your kindness..."

Auriel nodded slowly, "No one deserves to suffer. It is a dark and lonely end that breeds misery. It sours the soul and leaves behind malice to haunt the world. You are a criminal, aye... But you'd be much worse if you walked this world as a restless spirit."

The bandit kept his paling blue eyes locked with hers, "You'll stay with me then? As I pass?"

Auriel nodded to him, "Yes, Flint. Close your eyes, breathe slow, and drift away into a peaceful sleep."

The bandit nodded slowly back to her and did as he was told. His breath was shallow, but he did his best to slow it down. It didn't take long before his body's tenseness washed away. His breathing halted. His head lulled. Then he was gone. Auriel bowed her head, "Go with peace, Flint..." She let go of his hand and stood to face Marcino, who had his arms crossed and was waiting impatiently for Auriel to finish with her charity.

"Let's keep going. There may be others who need help deeper in the cave."
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Omni5876
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The Shield Hero stood there a few steps to the left of Cole. He could feel the pressure in the room and could feel the acidity in the words or challenge coming from Rayla. The woman sure had a personality. He wondered why a woman like that had taken to being a bandit. While he assumed that life in the Colosseum was not a rainbows and roses, what had driven her to preying on innocent. Rough as he was, Marcino still seemed to have a sort of morals. As she spoke of the king, a thought formed in Fer’s mind. Was there a hidden story between this bandit chief and the king? After all, it was still a weird matter that they had sent the Four Heroes (or two at least) to track down a common bandit shortage of soldiers or not. Did the king need her silenced? The young hero groaned inwardly. He hated politics.

Apparently, the bandit chief’s words triggered Cole as the young man send forth the devastating attack he knew. It could also be that his fellow hero wanted to end things quickly. That hope was quickly dashed as the Rayla effortlessly countered an attack that would have felled others. Fer grimaced his discontent, yes this definitely would not be an easy fight.

Even Fer was caught by surprise when his companion rushed forward. Perhaps the strain of so much death and the long list of crimes as Cole had stated, had weighed on his fellow hero’s heart. The shield cursed under his breath as he saw the two blades meet and it was easy to see that Rayla had the upper hand. It was times like this that he hated the fact that he was basically useless in a fight other than support. Cole was doing his best but the truth of the matter was that even both of them combined would be hard pressed to beat the woman.

Despite this, there was no other option but to fight. Fer launched himself forward too. He moves over to her unprotected side as she is trying to fend off Cole and using the edge of his shield, he swipes at her knees trying to knock her off her feet. At the same time he gathers as handful of dirt with the aim to throw it at her face given the opportunity.

At the very least, he could provide a secondary target that would draw the attention of the bandit chief allowing Cole to capitalize on the harassment provided by Fer. The plan was way too simple but pending any sort of support from either Marcino or Auriel, the pair had a hard fight in their hands.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by vancexentan
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"Don't bother its just the boss, and us its not that big of a cave. The others are out doing their normal routines won't be back until the end of the night. Not that they'll do much better given we got legendary heroes dealing with two bit bandits..." commented one of the bandits who had been handcuffed as Marcino grunted, and nodded in affirmation. "I've looked at the walls, and other parts of the floor there's no more hidden entrances. Not surprised never thought some one hit bandit from Zeltoble would have gained much traction here in a different kingdom. Especially this close to the capital. The only reason they're getting away with this is because literal hell is a few weeks away." commented Marcino gruffly as he held his bow firmly in his hand. "If you really care to help Cole, and Fer then you may as well head down and assist them. I'll be your safety lever over here. I can make the shot if something goes bad." Marcino grunts seemingly not interested greatly in the outcome of the duel between Cole, and Rayla.

====

Almost as if she had seen it coming before it had happened Rayla quickly moved to counter Cole's attacks as she parries Cole's blade and moves to sweep his legs out with her blade but Cole makes a quick counter by rolling to dodge it leaves him open. Cole curses his lack of experience knowing that he was a simple noob with a sword in his hand made him feel like he was simply the wrong person for this whole hero job. If Fer had not managed to cover him when he did it was likely that he would've taken a rather bad wound. As Fer went to attack her from behind attacking at her legs she takes the hit, but her stance keeps her from falling, or buckling likely from the training she received in the arena at her home nation. Rayla brings up her left hand, and catches Fer's hand. "Shield hero? Is this a joke? Whatever repulse." she growls at Fer as suddenly he feels a wave of energy pass through is arm...only to do nothing "What the hell?" she growls as she sees the shield glowing. She suddenly drops back as Cole's blade comes swinging at her chest slicing through her breastplate but not doing much damage to her as there seemed little in the way of blood on his blade.

"Fine if the shitty little shield hero wants to play dirty so be it. The only threat I see here is the sword. You don't have a weapon kid so good luck hurting a trained warrior with your fists." Rayla says in anger as she lifts her sword high and brings it down. "Thunderwave!" she shouts as the blade impacted with the ground a wave of yellow energy explodes underneath them causing the ground to shatter, and break underneath Fer, and Cole's feet. Cole having been ready for it manages to roll out of the way from the cave floor crumbling and exploding underneath them sending rocks in all directions and leaving a rather large circular hole in the floor leading from her sword point to the area they were standing in.

"Ha...ha...ha..." Cole pants as he brings his sword up, and holds it in both of his hands firmly. "I'm not done yet!" Cole says intending to do his best to save Fer, and himself from calamity. He charges her and this time with a plan he dodges the upcoming retaliation by faking his attack for a forward assault instead spinning around to his left he cuts into her arm with his sword slash this time hitting home as it gashes a wound in her arm but she seems to not mind it taking it and bringing her own blade back around with a large swing and cuts through Cole's chestplate. He feels a intense pain in his chest as he feels a warm feeling down his chest. He sees a rather decent wound on his chest but it didn't appear to be bleeding profusely he knew not to take that for granted. Cole suppressed his pain and went back into attack Rayla.
Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Omni5876
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The young shield hero could not help but be impressed at the durability and over all fighting prowess of the bandit chief. The hit he delivered would have knocked a grown man on his ass. This of course, only spelt more hardship for him and Cole. Even more impressive was Rayla’s grip. It was not hard to imagine that she had developed those muscles in the brutal arena. Fer almost closed his eyes knowing that there was very little positive outcome for being so close to somebody so thought. Add magic to that formula and pain was sure to follow.

“repulse."

The young hero felt a sudden rush of energy flow past him. It made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and he could feel the pressure, almost like lighting before it strikes, on his chest. Yet despite all his worse case scenarios that quickly flooded his brain, nothing happened. After a second or two of not being dead, Fer was just as surprised as the bandit chief.

He felt warm in his left hand and noticed, just as she did the green gleam of his shield. However, unlike her, he felt something different. He felt that same energy somehow infuse into him via his shield. Instinctively, or perhaps via some automatic feature of his shield, he knows he absorbed the ability.

The Shield Hero however, was not give much time to deliberate as the angry woman attacks with another impressive attack. This time, actual electricity and its aftershock travelled via the ground to them. Not being as quick footed as Cole, Fer was only just able to put his shield in front of him. Instinctively, he shouted. “Repulsing Burst”. An electrically charged air cushion formed like a coating in front of the shield just as the wave impacted him.

The blast still sent him flying backward and to the side banging him against the stone walls. Despite his magically enhanced resiliency, the impact was enough to cause him to knock the air out of him. He gasped a few time trying to fight through the pain. Fer saw Cole charge Rayla and get wounded.. He struggled to his feet a long gasp signaling that his lungs once again had air. He shuffled forward, his legs become more stable as he got near to the pair fighting. “Nice tricks you got there bitch. Its gonna take a bit more than that to finish us off.”

He moved to the side of her. “You like tricks? How what do you think of this one I just learned.” His shield suddenly
. He placed his right hand behind the shield to brace it and then firmly called out. “Repulse!”

Hidden 1 mo ago Post by Whoami
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Auriel heard the sounds of steel on steel echoing ahead through the cave. The grunts and groans that came with the stresses of battle made her hurry her pace. She was close now, and from the sounds of things, the heroes would need her help. Auriel held her spear in one hand, the shaft held tight to her back so as to not catch on the jagged rock surfaces around her. She ran through a mouth in the cave wall and came out into the chamber just in time to see Fer use an unusual ability from his shield. She breathed easy, seeing that the two of them were still okay... Then she saw Rayla's sword strike at Cole's chest, tracing a red line in the arch of the swing. The sight of a blow connecting with the sword hero made Auriel burst into action. She wasn't about to stand by and let this notorious bandit queen end her heroes so soon!

Another repulse came from Fer's shield, and Auriel used the opportunity to follow up with the ability step into all three combatant's line of sight, the golden spear stabbing forward with lightning speed toward Rayla's chest. Regardless of whether or not the strike would hit, Auriel stood between Rayla and the tiring heroes, her wings spread wide as if to dominate the room and force Rayla's attention onto her instead. She pointed the tip of her spear at Rayla, her hand holding the weapon just below the long bladed edge of the spear, "Rayla Winters," she declared, "Your time has come."
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Hidden 27 days ago 26 days ago Post by vancexentan
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Rayla snarled at Fer and went to engage him with her great sword only to see her foe activate one of his magical abilities thinking he had somehow copied one of her maneuvers she backs off. But Cole isn't quick to press her his own wound starting to make him dizzy as he makes a half hearted attempt to move forward, and engage her. He swings his sword at her but its effects only mildly annoy her as the young man backs off coughing up blood. "Shit...I'm not going to be up for much longer..." Cole said pain starting to sear through his body. She smiles smugly and prepares to push on the flagging Cole as Rayla suddenly sees the young girl with the spear charge at her. The weapon wasn't as grand as the sword meaning this was just another one of his goons probably. Rayla readies her own weapon holding it at the ready more out of habit than taking her seriously. "78. 78th time I've heard that line. Its not getting any different this time around either." Rayla says in response to Auriel's calling. "You know your little boyfriend over there is going to bleed out I'm not sure how deep I cut him but a wound like that is not going to let him stay on his feet. I'm not sure how long the sword's been at this but he's not quite up to 'legendary hero' status quite yet. And no a little church rat like you doesn't deserve a warrior's greeting"
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Hidden 15 days ago Post by Omni5876
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Fer’s eyes became slits as he contained his urge to just dive straight for the cocky bandit leader and pummel her with his shield or even his bare hands. However, he noticed that his legendary weapon holder counterpart was more damaged than at first the shield thought. He was trying to formulate a plan when like a literal guardian angel, Auriel came into the fray. He magnificent spear like a ray of light and when she spread her wings to their full span, the wing tips almost touching the ceiling of the cave, the young man could not help but produce a reverent wow.

Years of battlefield experience allowed him to break away from the magnificent display that to him was as close to divinity as he would probably ever get. He took the opportune distraction to make his way towards Cole. He positioned himself between his wounded friend and the blade of the deadly ex gladiator. With his right hand, he searched inside one of the pouches on his belt and produced a small vial. The vial was basic with a cork stopper. The young man bit off the stopper and spat it on the ground.

He never took his eyes off the two females as he lifted the vial to Cole’s lips. “Here you go buddy. Drink up. I am not sure what exactly this healing potion will do but the name hopefully is more than just a selling ploy.” The brightly colored liquid poured out of vial.

As the liquid travelled into his friend, Fer turned and called out to their lovely warrior maiden. “Giver her hell Auriel. Show her that she aint the only bad ass chick around.” He hoped the jeer would make Rayla lose her cool and give Auriel an edge.
Hidden 6 days ago Post by Whoami
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Showdown

(Mood Music)


Auriel watched Rayla as she explained how many times she had heard the very line Auriel had delivered. Quite frankly, she didn't care how many times she had heard it. When she mentioned Cole running the risk of bleeding out, Auriel shook her head. "He'll be fine. Because unlike you, he has friends to watch his back."

As if on cue, Fer was already providing a healing potion to Cole. "Things must really be tight for you if you forgot about even the most essential pieces of equipment for any adventurer. I don't care how many times people have told you that you're meeting your end. The bottom line is this: You have no men. You're cornered. You're outnumbered. And this little church rat has trained her whole life to fight battles more important than you. To slay monsters more sinister and more invincible than you think you are. As the chosen Holy Warrior of the Four, I, Auriel Asher, sentence you, Rayla Winters, to death. You may defend yourself, but your life is already forfeit."

As she spoke those last words, Auriel's body began to emanate holy light. In an instant, the light flashed out brightly, flooding the dark cave with what seemed like the light of an unblocked star. The flash was bright enough to force one to look away, and that was all Auriel needed to lunge forward with her legendary spear of Archiel. The deadly golden tip lanced forward amidst the light, intent on striking Rayla in the shoulder of her sword arm. It would have been all to easy to go for the heart, but that would have been the most obvious move, and even blinded, a skilled warrior would reflexively try and parry that. She was hoping Rayla would do just that, and leave herself exposed for the disarming jab.
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