Hidden 4 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 4 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by vancexentan
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vancexentan Hawk of Endymion

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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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 mos 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 3 mos 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 3 mos 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 3 mos ago 3 mos 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 3 mos 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 2 mos 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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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by vancexentan
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@Omni5876@Whoami Cole decided that it would be best for everyone if he decided to heal up with the potion given to him by Fer trusting Auriel to hold her ground as he weakly gripped the potion, and went to chug it down his throat. It tasted bitter, and definitely not something pleasing to his pallet. However at the end of the day he could already feel the world spinning this was life and death. He couldn't afford to be picky anymore than he could afford to breathe or eat. As he slipped down Reyna went and charged forward towards Cole not saying a word aiming her giant sword deftly in her hand despite her current situation and minor injuries she none the less was still quite capable of combat. With the intent of striking at Cole Rayla's concentration briefly forgot about Auriel in her attempt to take out the legendary hero of the sword before he could recover. The golden spear Auriel carried slashed through Rayla's armor cutting into her shoulder. She cringed in pain but years of being nicked, bashed, and cut had made her more formidable than her appearance let on.

Cole pushed Fer back and dived to the left as Rayla's aim was altered and she impaled her sword through the stone behind the two where they stood. Auriel when attempting to follow up was quickly dodged as Rayla let of her sword after impact and produced a short sword deftly parrying it at. With her back against the wall Rayla grinned painfully. "So you got my right arm so what? Just because I got careless against you bastards doesn't mean I'm going to die just yet. A warrior of the Colosseum dies on their feet fighting or not at all." Rayla says as Cole slowly begins to regain his composure preparing himself to deal with Rayla but with the world still spinning for the moment due to blood loss it would take one more moment. "Damn it...still dizzy...she's injured...we can take her alive if she loses enough blood." Cole manages to get out. The whole point of this was fame...dead or alive she'd certainly solidify the trust of the people in them.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Omni5876
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Fer did not know exactly how potions worked. He did not have a gaming system in his time and he definitely have never played games with such mechanics. All he knew was that perhaps it would help with healing this companion in some way. Regarding time and how it actually would help with that healing was completely new to him.

What he did know is that it would not be instantaneous, so when Cole valiantly tried to protect him, it irritated the young hero a bit. He was tankful to his friend for the assist but Fer’s one and only duty was to absorb the hits. There should not be any mundane or even magically enhanced weapons that could cut through the Legendary Shield.

“Damn it Cole. I am the one who is supposed to be covering your back man. Let me do my job.” Fer said in an irritated tone. He was not truly upset at Cole, but his friend looked very hurt and the young man had lost many people in his life already. He was not about to lose people in this world either.

"So you got my right arm so what? Just because I got careless against you bastards doesn't mean I'm going to die just yet. A warrior of the Colosseum dies on their feet fighting or not at all."

The young shield hero took his post next to the Sword again. He called out to Rayla “Nobody has to die at all. You could have surrendered and come with us. We were never given the order to kill you but I knew full well that your damn pride and ego would lead to this. I don’t have anything against you but when you kill farmers who have not done anything to you or try to kill me or my friends. That is when I have a problem.”

"Damn it...still dizzy...she's injured...we can take her alive if she loses enough blood."

Fer turned to his friend. “Yeah, I know buddy. Let me make an opening for you then you blast her with one of your strikes.” He suddenly rushed forward, his shield in front of him looking to ram into the bandit leader. His aim was to use his higher strength to pin Rayla into a wall. If she managed to out flank him, that would give either Auriel or Cole an opening.

It was not the best of ideas, but like Cole had suggested, time was the only thing that the trio could hope to help them in this situation. It was obvious the ex gladiator was not going to go down without a fight and she was putting a pretty good one. Fer hoped that the toughness of the shield and his own enhanced strength would be able to stand up against a much faster and much more experienced opponent.

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Three Against One

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"So you got my right arm so what? Just because I got careless against you bastards doesn't mean I'm going to die just yet. A warrior of the Colosseum dies on their feet fighting or not at all." Auriel heard Rayla say.

She nodded back to their opponent, "I am not above granting the dying their last wishes. If that is yours, then so be it."

“Nobody has to die at all. You could have surrendered and come with us. We were never given the order to kill you but I knew full well that your damn pride and ego would lead to this. I don’t have anything against you but when you kill farmers who have not done anything to you or try to kill me or my friends. That is when I have a problem.” Fer said, followed by Cole.

"Damn it...still dizzy...she's injured...we can take her alive if she loses enough blood."

Auriel stood beside the two of them. The time for talk as over. Auriel had spoken of her opinion on the matter long before this moment, that Rayla deserves only to die. But she wasn't about to speak against the heroes. Regardless of their decision to end her or spare her, Auriel knew they'd need to be at their best if they were to take her down. Auriel's off hand began to glow with light. She took a breath and flared it out toward Cole, enveloping his body with divine light. That light quickly routed itself to his injuries, revitalizing his body and quickly working to seal his wounds. He would feel a strong rush of energy as the Flash of Light spell worked quickly. Auriel then brought her hand toward Fer, doing the same for him as well. She then clutched her spear in both hands, "Let's finish this."

When Fer charged forward to distract and pin Rayla to the wall, Auriel looked to Cole, "We move together, give her no opportunity to fight either of us individually!"
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Rayla looked at the two charging her and frowned deeply having been pinned in the corner and awaited the approach of the two enemies in front of her. The one free arm she had left was swung to deflect Auriel's attack as she felt Fer smash into her she used surprising strength she attempted to push back Fer perhaps it was adrenaline or perhaps it was simply that she was using the last bit of her strength to put up a decent fight. She attempts to stab at Fer but with her arm the way it was blocking Fer she was unable to get proper strike in. It only took a moment for the golden blade Cole held in his hands to gain its charge. "Meteor Strike!" shouts Cole loudly as he swings his blade forward causing a surge of magical energy to form into a blow. As Fer holds her steady she can do nothing other than take the blow head on and the armor breaks underneath the pressure. Rayla coughs up blood, and her eyes turn hollow as she slumps back against the wall. A great amount of blood tints the ripped open armor she wore and if she's breathing she probably wouldn't be for much longer. Cole sighed in relief knowing the fight was over.

As the three did what they would following what had happened Marcino walks into the room his bow in hand as he looks over the group. "I suppose that would mean that you were victorious...now then about her." Marcino says as he walks over to the corner and spits on her body. "Was the necessary?" Cole says in disgust as he feels revulsion fill his body. She was gone what did it matter? "What the hell do you mean? She's a failure, a bitch, and hurt people you consider to be worth protecting. Of course she deserves it. Also she is technically still alive. You want to bring her in alive? Or dead? I know a trick called Spare The Dying as a part of my hunting skills. It will heal her critical wounds but not much else. Makes no difference to me. Seems cruel if you let her live." Marcino scoffs. "I'd prefer her alive so she may face trials. But...a body is a body isn't it?" Cole said looking back at his companions.
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It was a bit strange for Fer seeing the usually sweet and composed Auriel be so full of fire. Their winged companion had always represented divinity to the young man. Though that was probably because he associated her with a messenger of the Christian God he and his family had grown up worshiping. To see her now, a true warrior letting her blade do the talking in filled the young hero with mixed emotions.

On the one hand, he saw her as a powerful woman and worthy battle mate. On the other, his perception of her being a single dimensional being changed for the better to encompass other emotions. This was healthy as it did not cast her in a light that would be hard for her to live up to. Indeed, it made him smile at his own foolishness. After all, the holy warrior had given her opinion regarding making the bandit leader answer for her crimes.

This role of justiciar fitted their winged companion. After all, someone must carry the executioner’s blade that deals out punishment to evil doers. Though some small part of Fer would have gladly taken that role if he could so that Auriel did not have to. However, he was sure that she was not stranger to the horrors of battle. Indeed, he knew she was probably much more experienced in it. No doubt she had lost many a companion.

Perhaps it was this notion or perhaps it was just her performing her duty as the team’s healer but the Shield Hero was glad when Auriel cast her magic on their wounded companion. Fer knew that Cole would be safe and that made his decision to charge Rayla that much more firm. They needed to end the fight quickly or the bandit leader would get the best of them. When the same energy that enveloped the Sword also enveloped him, a small smile appeared on the young hero’s face as he nodded his thanks in the direction of their winged companion. The energy also gave him a rush of strength.

"We move together, give her no opportunity to fight either of us individually!"

Fer nodded his acknowledgement and compliance as he bolted from the kneeling possiton. As he charged forward, his shield was before him. His leg muscles pumped hoping to transfer as much energy into the shield bash as possible. The impact prodouce an audible smack as the shield met the muscled body of Rayla. The young hero braced his shield with the other hand too and kept on moving forward.

Despite his own enhanced strength, the hero had to use all he had to push the bandit leader back. He felt as if he had run head first into a solid wall. A wall that was even able to push him back a few inches. Fer clamped down and attempted to stop his skid backwards as his footing lost purchase on the dirt of the cave.

Experience showed as Rayla stabbed at the midsection of the hero while he was soley concentrated on pushing her back. Had it not been for his armor, she would have at the very least cut him. Feeling a few stabs, the pressure enough to be painful, Fer attempted to move his midsection away from any harm while still pinning the bandit leader down Thankfully a cry ran out soon enough letting him know Cole was back on the fight.

"Meteor Strike!"

The magical energy of the strike was powerful enough that even though the Shield Hero was not its target, Fer could still feel the crackling of it as it struck the bandit leader. He heard a crack and wondered if it had been bone or armor but the young hero did not loosen his pressure. Suddenly, the pressure was loosend for him as Rayla lost consciousness. The change sent him forward and almost stepping on the bandit leader. He side stepped just in time. His foot kicked her blade away and he stood over her, ready to deliver a downward trust with his shield to the throat if needed be.

Soon enough, their own mercenary and ex gladiator showed up. Marcino immediately showed there was not love lost between him and the bleeding bandit leader. Fer narrowed his eyes and was about to say something when Cole spoke up his disapproval. The ex gladiator gave explanation for his actions but it still did not sit right with Fer.

“Marcino, all you said was true. She is a thief and a killer who deserves death for all she has done. I can not and will not stop you from doing what you just did. However, I agree with Cole that demeaning even her corpse is not something we would do. I am not trying to be holier than thou but if we do not hold ourselves to a different standard then what separates us from them?” He motioned to the bleeding body of Rayla. “In either case, the fight seems to be over.”

He turned to Cole after hearing his suggestion. “Honestly Cole, as Marcino said, I think that keeping her alive only to face the executioner’s blade is indeed cruel. Regardless of what she was, Rayla was also a warrior. As Auriel pointed out, it was her last wish to die fighting. Though she may not deserve mercy, I believe she deserves at least this much.”

The Shield Hero now turned to Auriel. “I am not sure if you have a spell that can ease her passing but I also want you to know that I do not take this decision lightly. I believe her death is what is needed to send a message to other bandits that such actions will not be tolerated. As Heroes, we share the burden to keep peace and punish evil. I know, I know this sounds all high and good but as I stated, there must be a standard and the sooner we set it and abide by it, the easier our decisions and actions in the future may be.”

He looked towards Marcino. “Now how exactly does one claim a bounty? Do we take the whole body or is there a way to prove it without having to lug a dead woman around?”
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Conviction

(Mood Music)


Auriel looked down somberly at the injured and dying fighter. She didn't flick her eyes between Cole, Fer, and Marcino even as she listened. None of them were wrong on the matter... Rayla deserved many things, but it wasn't her place to make the final decision despite having voiced her own opinions already. She believed Rayla needed to die, but now that she was standing before the bleeding warrior, everything felt wrong to simply execute the defenseless woman. She clutched the shaft of her spear till her knuckles were white. Then when she heard Fer suggest that Auriel could ease the pain for her passing, Auriel took a deep breath. A faint glow enveloped her hand, and she held it out toward Rayla. "This wont heal her wounds, but it should dull the pain..."

Auriel lowered her hand after she delivered the magic, then turned her back on Rayla and the heroes. She began to make her way out of the chamber, "This isn't my decision to make. You must decide her fate as Heroes of this world... I'll wait for you outside..."

The angel made her way through the cave. She had committed the windy pathways to memory on her way in, so she didn't struggle with getting back outside. The bloodshed was so unnecessary... They should have been using this time to prepare the helpless folk for the impending wave. Fortifying villages... Training militias... Supplying the poor... Auriel knew that this mission given to them by the throne was purely to benefit the heroes and make them stronger, but she just couldn't help but feel that the time was improperly used overall. Maybe things could have been done differently if the heroes spread out and handled more tasks concurrently... That was how things had always gone in previous heroic eras. But then again... Auriel wouldn't have had the joy of adventuring with both the Sword and the Shield. She was conflicted, perhaps more than ever.

Regardless... With the first wave so close now, it didn't matter how things were handled. Their next goal was set, and they didn't have the time to bicker and rebuild a plan of action. They were committed now, and Auriel had to be ready for the fallout of their decisions.
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Hidden 27 days ago 27 days ago Post by vancexentan
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"Fer I hear you but I'm not going to listen if Auriel refuses to acknowledge that I asked her for her opinion and it is between the two of us then I shall take my role as leader more responsibly. Marcino, Mr. Tiger's Eye, please use your magic to prevent her death and tie her hand and feet. She shall face the justice of the King. It is well within our purview as heroes of legend to take our justice upon her but it is at the same time a right of a king to judge a criminal. Let him do as he will with her. If she may find a better purpose in jail, or on a guillotine then so be it." Cole said as he twirled his sword around, and sheathed it. "This is my judgement as The Sword Hero. Let it be final by the power given to me by my companions, the king, and fate." Cole commented with finality as he exited the room thought filled his head wondering if this was indeed the right call. To him it seemed like he was being a bit more forceful than he had a right to be. While Fer was also a legendary hero he would also not be the one with her blood on his hands. He could not wield a knife to end her life, he could crush her windpipe but that seemed unlikely for the man to do from what he has seen of the shield.

Cole's willingness to kill her was there but at the same time he preferred to be viewed as a hero who did not take justice into his own hands unnecessarily. Let the people of the country have their justice. It was unlikely that even with her wounds dulled, and her life saved that she would be able to fight them with the amount of blood she had lost from that attack. He did not know much of Spare the Dying or Auriel's spell but he figured whatever life Rayla had left in her was no longer what the gladiator had before hand. A strike from a legendary sword was bound to leave its scars inside, and out. Or perhaps not...he was no doctor.

As Marcino moved over and placed her hand on the bleeding wound of Rayla's body having been dulled by Auriel's magic he mumbled something under his breath as his hand began to glow blue and the wound closed up to a degree that left a noticeable scar on her chest. Undeterred by the large gap in her armor exposing most of Rayla's chest her flipped her over and began to tie up her hands, and feet with some rope. "You see shield...this is what happens when you lose the draw on the magical weapon category. Sword boy over there has more authority. Given to him by the fact that he can hurt people. You...you're just a glorified meat shield to anyone but those dumb animal people up in that little safe zone. I bet the Bow bitch is going to cause her own brand of havoc with that attitude of hers...haven't seen the spear either. If you want my advice as your unofficial mentor buddy...you should make sure to work hard, and win the people over. Otherwise whatever legend you three are building. Its all going to be put on the Sword Hero's accomplishment list. Get tricky or that shadow's just going to get bigger." Marcino comments to Fer as he throws Rayla onto his shoulder, and begins to leave even before Fer can respond to him. Leaving the Shield Hero to his own thoughts Marcino, and Cole round up the captured bandits who surrendered when they had arrived and matched back to the city.

====
A Trip back to the City and a brief rest later...

Once they had arrived back at the city the guards had taken Rayla, and her remaining cronies into their custody and escorted them to a cell. It was not long before Cole, Fer, Auriel and Marcino were summoned to the castle by the King to congratulate them on their deeds. He had contacted the guild and intended to give them the reward, and then some himself. As Cole sat in the hallway he wondered what exactly their next task would be? Would they be sent away, or be trained more in the city? It was a rather big quagmire the storm was coming and they needed to be ready. But as Cole looked into a nearby mirror he looked over himself. His silver hair being rather notable as compared to the white, and gold uniform the king had insisted he wear to the meeting instead of his armor. He had never wore anything quite so fancy it made him feel out of place...ontop of that it was hard to keep his pants up with the big sword stuck to his hip.
Hidden 26 days ago Post by Omni5876
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Fer remained silent as Cole made his declaration. The shield could not blame his companion for choosing to allow the king to decide the fate of the criminal. It was not easy to carry the burden of taking somebody’s life. The ex guerilla fighter knew first hand that if there was even the slightest amount of regret in your heart, then the guild would eat you alive.

Instead, the young hero only made a slight bow to acknowledge that he supported his friend. Regardless of what he may think, he had promised Cole that he would support him and be by his side. He also understood Auriel’s position.

The angelic warrior was used to dealing out death and punishment to monsters and other hellish beings. Passing free judgment on a human was a bit more touchy. The shield hero could understand why she felt that the decision for such matters be better left up to the two of them. After all, she had pledged her loyalty to them. There was not much more that the pair could ask of her.

Still, Fer hoped that their relationship would not be too strained after this discussion. He had seen good friends quarrel for less. It dawned on Fer that there was not really much that tied the trio together other than a common acknowledgment that they now held legendary weapons and that they were to defend this world from the waves.

Other than that, the trio knew very little about each other. His companions did not even know that he had killed many men before and had watched many of those that he would at least call companions die. He had seen his own little brother die and longed to return to the side of his sister. What was Maria doing now? Did time stop in his world or was she lost and alone? A heavy feeling formed in the pit of the young hero’s stomach a the prospect of his sister being defenseless.

His eyes registered Cole’s exit and he followed him with his eyes. Auriel had exited the same way. Fer looked down at the near death body of Ryla Winters. His gut told him that keeping her alive might be a danger in the future. People like her neither forgave or forgot. Still, he was not such a cold blooded killer that he could just end her life like that.

Perhaps Cole was indeed the most merciful and the thought made Fer smile. Such a valiant heart and purity would be needed to remain on the side of good. Though he could scarlessly call himself an emissary of righteousness. The young shield too a long deep breath weighing and taking it all in.

In silence, Fer watched the Marcino perform some sort of magic ritual. Magic was still intriguing to Fer who had been raised in a remote village and where people still could be murderous towards witches. This could be considered witchcraft and the mercenary would no doubt be tried as a witch and probably stoned by the fanatics of his village.

Then again, the fools would probably stand little chance against the blade and magic of the ex gladiator. In wonder, not matter how many times he had seen Auriel also use magic, he saw the wound heal. The aura that covered the body of the bandit queen was just visible in the torch light. Fer made a mental note of asking the mercenary if he would teach him some spells.

As if prodded by Fer thinking of him, Marcino imparted his no holds barred wisdom. Fer listened as the gruff voice of the older man delivered the unabashed truth. The young hero was no sure if Marcino was trying to elicit any sort of response from the young man or if the ex gladiator merely was expressing his view of the relationship between he party. Whatever the case, the young hero was left alone without being able to give his response.

Finally, Fer was left alone. The ground was still dark where the blood of the bandit leader had lain close to death’s door. It was true that the young hero did not bring much to the table in terms of offensive capabilities but there must be a reason for his existence. There must be a reason for the Shield’s existence. Or was there?
He looked down at his green jeweled bracer that housed his shield. The gem did not glow or show any signs that it knew it was being studied. After a second or two, Fer sighed and followed his company out of the cave.

====

The company did not speak much. Fer assisted in ensuring no prisoners escaped which meant that he was not often close to Cole or Auriel. His mind mulled over what Marcino had said. He agreed that he was little more than a glorified shield bearer. There must be a way to increase his efficiency. His mind kept on returning to magic. Would he be able to or allowed to learn magic? Auriel had offered to teach him some spells. Were there offensive spells he could learn? Also, he had somehow unlocked a new feature on his shield when he had absorbed Ryla’s attack. How could he unlock more abilities?

There were many questions and he needed answers. But who could he ask? It seemed that Auriel had found very little in the library. Marcino was accurate in the general population view of him. If he had the chance he would pursue looking into that country that Marcino mentioned that housed demi humans. Someway, some how he needed to become stronger. Their fight with the bandit leader had shown all of them that they were still too weak. The waves were less that a few weeks away. He needed to become stronger.

The company relinquished the bandits to the authorities who treated them worse than the company of heroes. After all, they had been a thorn on their side for some time. There was much slapping behind the head and shoving. Fer sighed, Cole was truly a good man.
The party was allowed to rest and refresh themselves before being summoned by the king. Unlike Cole, Fer was not give a fancy uniform to wear. Which meant his armor and clothes were a bit more worn and sported nicks and dents. They had been ushered into a fancy room and Fer sat opposite of Cole.

“Fancy clothes you got there buddy. If I had known we needed to go shopping I would have looked for something more suitable.” He joked trying to liven the mood and reconnect with his companion.
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