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Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by VitaVitaAR
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VitaVitaAR King of Knights

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While an ambush was hardly an unsound strategy, one thing became abundantly clear: These were not the veterans they had been told of. Whether it be due to some exaggeration on part of the reports, or simply due to the fact that the veterans were not part of this ambush, remained to be seen.

Fanilly suspected the later. Carrying an injured man left Sir Rickert vulnerable, thus she had elected to keep close to him, in a position in which she could relay orders as well as ensure both Sir Rickert and the old man's safety. Morianne's spell had worked its way through the bandit forces, leaving many wavering and unsteady, and making rash decisions that ended their lives. By this point, a few had thrown down their weapons and fallen to their knees from the combined stress of battle and the magic working its way through their minds.

Not to mention the far more physically painful magic that had left at least four bandits twitching and smoking on the ground.

The Knight-Captain had already assessed the battle likely won, a short and brutal skirmish that left the ambushing force in tatters. But that didn't mean she could simply relax. It wasn't over, even if the conclusion was becoming clearer by the moment. She couldn't stop, she couldn't simply accept her knights would be safe.

Even one serious injury in this skirmish was a mark of failure as Knight-Captain in her mind. A sign of unworth.

It was perhaps her own doubts and fears, and desire to keep a watch on the battlefield, that she only barely caught sight of the shortsword-wielding bandit who lunged for her and Rickert.

She had sparred plenty of times. The motions were ingrained in her mind now, so even in that instant as the axe fell, her body did not hesitate.

Fanilly's blade cut through the air, and met the bandit's sword, the clash of metal on metal ringing through the night and yet drowned in the noise of combat.

"Knight-Captain!" she heard Sir Rickert's voice behind her as she adjusted her grip, her eyes narrowing.

His efforts had to be spent protecting the injured man, not trying to assist her. He was already unable to fight properly, attempting to do both would be far more dangerous.

The bandit's momentum was a weapon against him. Guiding his blade to the side, Fanilly forced it wide, causing him to stumble with a gasp.

Her sword was coming back up.

Under the arm. The neck. The chest, if a clear blow can be struck. The head of a helmetless foe.

The locations in which an immediately lethal blow can be struck. Even if death wasn't instant, it would come quickly. From this angle, his neck was most exposed.

This blow would kill him. With it, she would be ending a man's life. A human being's life.

He-

The armor he wore. The colors he wore.

She realized now that the bandit was clad in a pilfered chestplate from a soldier of Thaln. He had stolen from a dead soldier in order to facilitate robbery and murder.

Fanilly's heart hardened.

Her blade flashed, and parted the flesh of his throat, a crimson line carved into the man's neck and opening wider. He twisted, letting out a gurgling sound, before falling to the ground with a thud.

The next came easier. His leather chestplate didn't defend him well enough from a swift thrust, his axe falling from his grip as the tip pierced his heart.

He hit the ground moments later.

Fanilly inhaled deeply, her sword lowered to her side as Sir Rickert reached the other knights, drawing his blade to rejoin the fight.

But there was little fight to rejoin, now.

Bandits lay dead or dying, strewn across the ground. Some were incapacitated, by fear, lightning, or nonlethal injury. Her knights had not allowed a single one to flee.

The bandit camp was likely not completely unprepared, but if any of these men had escaped their task would have become far more difficult.

The blood dripped from the edge of Fanilly's sword.

Her heart was hammering, but she took another deep breath to try and ease her nerves. This was hardly even the first step.

"Thank the goddesses..." she said aloud, her free hand clutched to the rose on her breast.

Now, it was time to address her knights.

"Ease the suffering of the dying," she ordered. The Iron Rose Knights were knights of justice and mercy. To leave an enemy to die in agony could not be permitted, if they could help it, "Bind any survivors and take them prisoner. If they have any information, do your best to extract it from them."

The mental state of whatever bandits remained alive would hopefully make getting information from them easier.

"We have little time to lose, so Dame Cecilia, Sir Hope," she addressed her chosen scouts, "As soon as you are able, your orders remain."

@Raineh Daze@Rune_Alchemist@Psyker Landshark@Pyromania99@HereComesTheSnow@Saiyan@The Otter@Crimson Paladin@ERode@Psychic Loser@Richard Horthy@Aeolian@Rin
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by HereComesTheSnow
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Gerard Segremors


@VitaVitaAR

The aftermath of the field, in Gerard's experience, was always when the senses truly defined it. Battle itself was chaos— churning, tumultuous, and far too sudden. A whirlpool of noise and motion, where shouts and clashing steel melted away into a dull roar, flashing swings and blurs of force shattered any time for detail in favor of kineticism, and the other senses turned wholly within. Touch became grip, weight, and pain. Taste and smell became only a little metallic, all but vanishing entirely within the maelstrom. If you stopped to take in the sights and sounds, you were more than likely dead. On some level, you gave yourself to the flow in order to live.

The fact that the voices of his companions either trading jests or barking orders cut above it all now certainly didn't change things. It wasn't until the battle had died in full, the bandits' ambush breaking quickly as it smashed into the rock-solid defenses of their company, that Gerard had truly looked upon the destruction in their wake.

"Ease the suffering of the dying," came Knight-Captain Fanilly's orders, off to his right. Just behind he and Fionn as the pair of erstwhile mercenaries had carved a bloody path back to the main conglomerate, she'd done well enough in fending off and finishing the lone bandit that slipped between their paired fangs towards Sir Rickert. "Bind any survivors and take them prisoner. If they have any information, do your best to extract it from them."

His fault, but nonetheless, it proved they'd not need to babysit her... Overmuch.

"Right, ma'am."

In the breath these words took was when the smell, finally, hit. Iron, copper, and something charred and acrid, all in a heady mix among the slain ambush as he walked through it, a bloodied vulture picking at corpses or the soon-to-be. Blood, for one, made sense of much of the metallic— but he spied out the corner of his eye the small frame of the witch, Alodia. It was she who had called the storm from the night sky, who had roasted these men alive with the hammer of the heavens— and now that he thought of it, the smell of a passing storm was mixed within that formerly unbearable musk of charred flesh. No distant thunder accompanied it, though, owing to its arcane nature— save only for the pained groans of the injured, and death rattles of the mortally wounded.

"To whatever rest you've earned. Reon'll show you."

He stood over one such of the latter, holding a line of captured moonlight that was streaked by dark, drying red. No sense in cleaning it yet... The stricken bandit was drowning in his own blood as it pooled around his stricken form, a chunk of his clavicle missing. Such a death would take minutes, ones he would spend unable to move, or speak, or do anything but contemplate and fear the awaiting oblivion. Gerard saw as much in his eyes, panicked and pained brown meeting stern, dutiful amber.

He thrust into the man's heart quickly, blade slipping between bone and into flesh, and watched the light fade. Even in spite of the crimes he had committed, death itself was a form of penance. Inwardly, he allowed himself a moment of hope that such would prove enough— but it wouldn't be up to him. The man had no means of speaking any confessions, and had thrown himself into a fight with the order willingly— a quick end to the suffering was the most the young man could have ever done for him.

He moved on, sinking his sword into the next, who hadn't moved. Already gone. Corpse. The next three were the same, though their injuries had differed wildly— for how commonplace the sword he wielded was among the romanticized vision the stories had always painted of knights, he was now truly struck by the wide array of their arsenal. Spell and steel, maces and arrows, pikes and even shields— if he could name a weapon, it had a wielder among the Roses. In more than a few ways, familiar— which meant it differing from the legends he chased.

He breathed out his nose, advancing on one final fallen form along the left flank as he looked down to his sword again. The stories never spoke of many things that were still realities of knighthood— certainly not the same grim task he'd performed time after time on the field before all this. It was a battlefield necessity, that much he'd known for ages— checking for survivors and ensuring the dying were all the way dead. Any force worth their salt cleaned up after themselves, at least in this manner. Making the rounds and stabbing anything, just to be sure of where it stood. It was grim work.

Doesn't make for an inspiring tale, no matter the station of who's doing it.

Out of the corner of his eye, something shifted—

And his boot slammed down onto the palm of the shambling mass, eliciting a sharp cry of pain as something beneath his heel cracked. The "corpse" had been far from it, evidently, trying to slowly, surreptitiously claw his way back into the brush while beneath their notice. He wore armor of the crown's soldiers— one with a crossbow bolt through the back of its cuirass. It would have hit him in the kidney. Maybe even lungs. Regardless—

Someone's death had spared this man's life once.

Reaching down and grabbing the man roughly by the armor's gorget, Gerard yanked the bandit over onto his side and pressed a knee into his side, just below the metal and forcing his weight onto him. It might not have been quite as painful as properly grinding into the ribs might have been, but he was well and truly immobilized all the same.

... She did say "do your best".

"Not happening, pal."
he snarled, gaze promising much worse fury than this as he held the pommel of his sword a few inches away from the hinge of the mandible. "Choice is simple: tell us what you know Jeremiah's got waiting for us in there, or..."

He tapped the heavy, diamond-shaped steel of the pommel against the man's face, illustrating plainly to him.

"You ride off to the capital and face your trial with a broken jaw."

...Not much in the way of knightly interrogations that he could recall, either.

Previous experience'd have to do.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Psychic Loser
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Morianne



@HereComesTheSnow


Once the battle had died, Morianne briefly looked up to the chaos the knights had caused. Even after years of refining her own magic for combat, the troubadour still wasn't used to seeing the brutality of her 'concerts'. It's why she always played with her eyes closed; there was a world of difference between warfare and bar fight.

Morianne shook her head, doing her best to divert her thoughts. Damn it Mori! You're a knight. Don't get scared of a little blood.

To distract herself, Morianne ran up to the wall of knights that had formed around her. She laughed as she barged into the group.

"Those bastards don't even know what hit them!" the troubadour said, the enthusiasm evident in her voice. "Really taught them not to fuck with the Iron Roses." Turning to her right, she recognized a familiar face…though apparently not familiar enough to remember his name. "Hey…" she trailed off. "Quarrel? Quincy was it?"

"It's Qui-"

Morianne's voice cut the knight off.

"Not bad guarding work…For a rookie," she teased. "A bit more work and I'm sure your ability to stand rock-still with that steel slab will get you known the world over!" Morianne smiled. "I might even write a song about it. I'll call it The Ballad of Sir Quilt. What do you think?"

"Thanks, but no thanks," Sir Qui- said. He clearly wasn't playing any of the troubadour's games.

"Fine!" Morianne sighed, pushing past Sir Qui-. "I'll just go find someone with a sense of humor to talk to, Sir Stick-Up-My-Ass!"

Turning her attention away from the annoyed knight, Morianne stumbled around, averting her gaze from any corpses. Her mindless wandering eventually brought her to Gerard. Pinned under him, one of the many bandits. Although to Morianne's surprise, this particular one didn't seem to be dead…yet at least.

"Hey! Just what do you think you're doing over there, Murder-hobo!" Morianne yelled, chastising the man's treatment of the survivor as she drew closer. "There's easier ways to get information out of someone than threats like that." Morianne placed a hand over her chest, gesturing to herself. "Especially when you have a lady of magical talent like me around. Watch this." Morianne knelt down, facing Gerard's captive and cracked her knuckles. Soon enough, a small tune escaped her lips.

Please, drink my wine
I am all you see
I command your soul
Your will
Your senses, three
All is mine
My looks control

Fall For Me


Her voice was slightly off the proper key, likely due to her previous performance, but it didn't matter. Most people wouldn't notice. The important part was that her singing was just decent enough for the spell to have at least some minor effect. At least Morianne had hoped so.

"Now," Morianne grabbed the bandit by the chin, "would you be a darling and help a fine lady like me out? I just want to know what Jeremiah has planned for the Iron Rose Knights. If you tell me, I just might give you a kiss."

Internally, Morianne was screaming. She hated this spell. Especially since it meant making flirty goo-goo eyes at random strangers to last longer.

But at least it means less death. Morianne hoped.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Raineh Daze
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Tyaethe nodded at the lightning. Well, there was still an incidental risk of things catching fire if it missed in the heat of battle, but lightning was in general much more difficult for someone to avoid. Not that she expected bandits would be terribly good at such dodging but why take the risk? It wasn't like ordinary people were particularly susceptible to fire, unlike the majority of undead.

With the battle wrapped up, the captain announced that they should clean up after themselves. Oh, getting the information was important but that didn't mean they had anything except moral reasons to make sure everyone was actually dead; the Iron Roses weren't the type to engage in battlefield looting. Not that Tyaethe cared too much, it gave everyone something to keep their hands busy for a few minutes whilst the captain and anyone that found a relatively healthy enemy extracted what information they could.

For her part, Tyaethe jumped a little to stab her sword in the ground as near-vertical as she could make it--being longer from pommel to tip than any of the current knights were tall made it rather difficult otherwise--so it would be easy to spot when they were done and set about the cleanup. Here, being a vampire was a definite advantage--there was no way that she would have difficulty differentiating between a dead body and someone bleeding out, no matter how close they were to death. And against someone downed with lethal injuries, it wasn't terribly inconvenient to simply crouch and snap their neck, no different than if it was a chicken or the like.

A very small, pragmatic part of the paladin protested that if they were making sure people were dead, this was such a waste, she might as well take their blood too and stockpile in case of calamity. She had two centuries of ignoring that, though: she'd promised to not be a predator when the order was founded and she didn't spend so long in the wilds on her own, and she wasn't going to break that streak now. The part of her complaining about how much blood and filth was getting caught up in her hair was much louder, comparatively, but she'd sort that out when the fighting was over.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Saiyan
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Follow orders. Don't die.

He'd failed. As he lay there staring up at the bandit who would deliver the young knight's death, he did not think he might be able to kick his attacker and put him off balance. He didn't think that he could draw one of the throwing knives strapped around his person. He didn't even think to try and move. He'd resigned himself to failure and death, and wondered what his mother and father would think of his efforts. Would they be proud he at least tried to continue on and make something of his life?

As fast as this thought process was, he didn't get a chance to ponder his question.

"For Reon! For the Roses!"

A blur of glinting metal crossed his vision and suddenly, the bandit who was about to kill him was but a headless corpse collapsing in a heap. Lucas could only gasp in a mix of both wonder and horror. It was Sir Fleuri.

"I trust you'll be more careful in the future, Sir Lucas," Fleuri remarked as he glanced around looking for any other bandits that might be nearby. Lucas blinked twice, trying to find his voice. He'd almost forgotten that he was stood right next to the black-armoured knight ere the battle had begun. Ironically, Sir Fleuri had in fact been one of the many things that'd filled Lucas' head with the idea of romantic valour and knightly deeds. As a young lad, his circus troupe had come to a city, name long forgotten, on the same day as an annual tourney event. Lucas remembered, if nothing else, the black knight - The Flower of the North, they called him at the time - besting the competition. Harold Storm, Lucas' father had said to his son that the black knight was fast to act and nearly always put his opponents on their back foot, thus commanding the pace of the fight and never allowing his opponent to employ their own strategy. That's why he won. Lucas, a mere child, could only marvel at the skill. It was indeed ironic, that Sir Fleuri: Flower of the North, had showed him how beautiful melee combat could be... and now he was showing him just how ugly it could be - the headless corpse, gushing blood from the neck, beside him. "Are you wounded?"

Lucas dragged his eyes away from the corpse and finally found his voice. "Y-y-yes," he assured the older knight. "I mean no, I-I'm fine. I'm not hurt."

He got to his feet, about to declare his gratitude when the massive explosion of light and sound made him recoil and put his hands to his ears. His eyes went to the site of Alodia's Thunderstrike and saw the unfortunate bandits who'd took the full brunt of the magical attack. Then he saw his sword on the forest floor, not far away from his own position.

"Thanks," he said to Fleuri. A piss-poor response, Lucas felt, for someone who'd just saved his life at the last possible second, but there was a battle to complete. "I owe you one."

And with that, he went after his sword. Fortunately, between Morianne's song sowing dismay and discord among the enemy, and the absolute superiority of the knights in the order, his path was unhindered. His blood was still raging, his heartbeat threatening to burst his eardrums as he swiped up his weapon and ran toward the feeble positions of the remaining bandits. There were few left, and the full weight of the Iron Rose regiment had smashed into them. A memory flashed through Lucas' mind as he advanced on the fighting; an off-the-cuff remark from Senior Knight Tyaethe Radistirin she made in passing, one time.

'Hit them where they're not looking,' she'd said.

Lucas ran in a direction past one knight engaging a bandit, then turned into the flank of the duel and ran his sword into the armpit of the bandit, who howled in pain for a split-moment before being dispatched by the Iron Rose knight in front. He slashed the legs of another shield-bearing bandit already engaged, resulting in another quick loss of life. His movements were unmolested as the numbers advantage snowballed, and Lucas forced himself to enjoy the fact that they were winning, even if his vision was filled with an untold number of brutal deaths. There was no chance for the enemy to flee, but one in Lucas' sights did try.

"Don't let any of them flee!" he recited the Knight-Captain's orders to himself, although much too loud that it might have been mistaken for the young man trying to give orders.

His armour was light in comparison to most of his allies, and Lucas was already incredibly nimble and fleet of foot. He chased down the fleeing bandit easily, and kicked his trailing leg across, forcing his enemy to trip himself. The bandit tumbled to the floor and the raging young knight dove upon him, driving his sword with all his weight, straight through the back of the cuirass belonging to his enemy. Another cry of agony was released into the din, quickly lost in the air. Gritted teeth, all but growling, Lucas rose up, planted a foot on the bandit and yanked his sword free. Yet another cry. But the last sword thrust was the killing blow and his enemy was silenced.

He looked around for any more foes and realised that the battle was over. There were a scant few ambushers being promptly overwhelmed. None had managed to get away that the junior knight could see. Nevertheless, Lucas rushed back to the bulk of the Iron Roses, close enough to Captain Fanilly that he could hear her next orders.

"Ease the suffering of the dying," she ordered. Ease the suffering of the dying? Did she mean...? "Bind any survivors and take them prisoner. If they have any information, do your best to extract it from them."

The last part, he understood. But he didn't quite understand how he, with little knowledge of the healing arts, could help the dying...

"Right, ma'am."

Lucas' head turned sharply to that familiar voice. He watched Sir Gerard intently as the man roamed among the dead. It was starting to dawn on him what his orders actually were, and perhaps, if it was just denial that was keeping him in the dark, the knight he idolised was about to make it clear.

"To whatever rest you've earned. Reon'll show you."

Gerard delivered a solemn killing blow to the wounded bandit. Lucas shuddered. His battle-rage had gone, his heart calmed down, and he began to take it all in. The results of their work. A mass loss of life. The smell. By Reon, the taste! The sight. He didn't know how to feel, but he'd gotten his orders. He knew what he had to do. Many were doing the same as Gerard, scouring the battlefield. With the blood of another man all over his face - and in his ears, he could feel it - all over his arms and hands, Lucas steeled himself and joined in. Walking about the dead-strewn forest floor was like a something out of a nightmare. A knight beside him stabbed a corpse just to make sure it was indeed dead. It was sickening, but Lucas now sought to do the same. He thrust his blade into corpse after corpse, all of them already dead. The smell was as revolting as the act of stabbing a corpse. It felt wrong, somehow, and he didn't have the wit - in this current environment - to see why it was necessary. He didn't have the wit for anything right now. It was all he could do to simply carry out his orders and not vomit while doing so.

He and the rest of the corpse checkers seemed finished after a spell, and Lucas, (who originally thought to make his way to Sir Fleuri, in order to give a real thank you plus an apology for running out of formation and requiring rescue,) followed the loud and positively obnoxious voice of the troubadour, Morianne. Her colourful language was doing some really heavy lifting to lighten the mood, and Lucas felt like listening to her musical voice would stop him from emptying his dinner onto the ground. He arrived in close proximity as her song ended, and watched as she interrogated the bandit.

"Now," Morianne grabbed the bandit by the chin, "would you be a darling and help a fine lady like me out? I just want to know what Jeremiah has planned for the Iron Rose Knights. If you tell me, I just might give you a kiss."

Lucas felt blood rush to his cheeks. He knew she was simply playing a role to get the information but he couldn't help but think that her charm would probably (definitely) work on him. Quite a few of the female knights in the Order were attractive - even some of the more butch ones like Serenity, certainly could not be called ugly, however manly they acted - but Morianne was perhaps the easiest on the eyes. In spite of her bitchiness at times, she had that quality that all good bards had: An inexorable amount of charm. And she'd turned it on for the bandit, who, judging by his face, was like putty in her hands.

Lucas looked around to take note of the Cecilia and Hope's position as they started on their scouting mission, hoping to reorient himself and remember the direction of the bandit camp. Then his attention was firmly back on the interrogation, with an ear out for any further orders Knight-Captain Fanilly might give.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by ERode
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A short exchange with regards to the merits of tea parties over battlefields, and like that, the skirmish had ended in massacre. Perhaps there was one incident, maybe two, in which there may have been a risk to befall the Iron Rose as individuals, but that was all. A risk not on a strategic level, or even a tactical one. Just individuals, lives at risk, but injuries unincurred. An extermination, then, of lesser foes, followed by the doldrums of delivering grace to the fatally wounded, binding those spared by fortune or surrender. No Bandit King, nor Bandit Knights. Just footsoldiers, intoxicated by past successes. Tiresome.

The flaxen-haired knight cleaned her sword with the tunic of another. Polished her shield until it regained some of its luster. Drove weapons discarded by cowards into the backs of the unsalvageable. Some prayed, but their prayers came too late. Some pleaded, but they were already wastes of grace. Fanilly was expecting too much, in truth, from a ragtag mob of inbred idiots who knew nothing but of pillage. These certainly weren't responsible for the routing of Thaln's military, that much was certain. The Iron Rose knights were a storied order, but they weren't magnitudes above the army that formed the backbone of the kingdom's defenses. So the bandits were just fools, fools that wasted the lives of all they consumed.

Serenity didn't spare any of them. Reon could judge, and Mayon could pity. Hers' was just the labour of deliverance, and besides, plenty of bandits have already become the smitten thralls of their long-lived troubadour.

"Dame Katerina," she called, laying to rest a pockmarked youth younger than herself. "How fares Sir Rickert's charge? Will he live to see another dawn?"
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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@Aeolian@VitaVitaAR - interacting
@Saiyan - briefly spoke too



"Whew..." Cecilia allowed herself to relax as the fighting died down, the bandits either dead, incapacitated, or surrendered. The archer took a brief stock of her allies. Lein was helping Sir Hope, Lucas was getting scolded and saved by Flueri, that cute mage girl was busy turning bandits into a fried delicacy, Shanil was...well, maybe she should be glad Shanil decided not to seem to have heard her comment during the fight. Thankfully, captain Fanilly seemed just fine too. A little shaken, but otherwise she was in pretty good health from the looks of things.

Ease the suffering of the dying though, eh?

"Ahaha, captain's pretty merciless." Cecil glanced at some incapacitated bandits, frowning as she'd nervously finger Shael's bowstring. She had no problems fighting when it came to protecting herself or others, but...maybe it would be a mercy to end their suffering, but she didn't exactly like doing it. She'd leave that to the healers or others to take care of. She had been told her previous orders still stood, anyways.

"Aye, captain!" Cecilla shouted back to their leader. A quick glance at Lucas who was now gawking at Morianne caused her to chuckle lightly. Well, he had good taste in appearance at least. Maybe she would tease him about it later, but for now she had her orders. Finding Sir Hope was easy enough. It was hard to miss the guy for multiple reasons. Namely because Shael seemed to be incredibly confused by him.

"Hope...heh, hope you don't mind working together." Cecilia chuckled as she'd wave the pretty boy over, approaching where he was standing. "I'd suggest having your spirits scout from above while I cover the ground. You can alert me to anything they see and I can hopefully take 'em out quietly if I have to." She'd turn towards Fanilly, offering the captain her usual grin and a two fingered salute. "Don't worry about a thing, captain. We'll be back soon even if I have to drag the pretty boy back." Truthfully though, she was somewhat concerned despite her flippant attitude. They knew they were here. What other traps did they have laid, if any? Or had they just gotten unlucky and this ambush was meant for someone or something else?

Well, no use in worrying about it. She had her orders and she wasn't one to question them really.

"And Lucas, just staring won't get ya anywhere!" She'd shout playfully to the young knight before heading off down the road a little ways before disappearing in the underbrush hopefully followed by her fellow knight.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Psyker Landshark
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Renar Hagen


A pathetic end to a pathetic foe. As the last bandit before him fell, Renar straightened up, catching his breath as he surveyed the field. Captain Fanilly's orders rang out, and the Bastard of Brias simply nodded to himself before starting to do as he was bid, nonchalantly thrusting the tip of his poleaxe into the chests and throats of already dying men. Some pleaded. Others cried. Not a few soiled themselves before their lives ended.

Renar regarded all of these men dispassionately. Would it be him in their position one day? Perhaps. But that didn't mean he was going to look at these bandits with anything resembling sympathy. What point would there be to feeling such for men who raised swords against him with no remorse? No, there'd be far more corpses in his wake until he achieved his dreams. And likely after, as well. If he mourned them all, he'd go insane.

The cloaked knight trudged past the green boy and the bard without a word. Storm hadn't been slain on his first outing, eh? Perhaps he'd make something of himself yet, though until he did, there was little point in acknowledging him. The ad-hoc interrogation did give Renar an idea or two, however. The next bandit he came across at least faced the end bravely, bitterly chuckling despite bleeding out. Beyond saving, to be certain, but still possessing his wits. Perfect for what Renar intended.

"Took a bit of a bad turn, have we?" Renar squatted down next to the man, planting his poleaxe in the dirt. "Unfortunate wound, that. You'd have half an hour left, at best." He said truthfully.

"Aye, perhaps I do." The dying bandit nodded. "What's it to you, Sir Knight? Taking the time to mock me?"

"Hardly." Renar shook his helm, reaching to his belt to unhook something. "The way I see it, you were sent out here to die. Hell, you've already given your life. So you owe nothing left. Here's my offer:" He proffered a wineskin to the man.

"May as well meet the end with a good drink in your belly. I offer you a sip now, and the entire skin once you tell us as much as you can of your former fellows' defenses."

The bandit stared hard at Renar for a moment before nodding. "The sip first. Then you take me to that squealing girl you call a captain." Renar nodded in return, lifting the wineskin up to the man's lips for a moment before withdrawing it. He'd need help getting the man over. No sense leaving his weapon behind.

"Sir Fionn," Renar called over towards the closest knight that was actually known to him. "Help me drag this one back over towards the Knight-Captain before he bleeds out. It seems he's willing to talk."
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Aeolian
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Hope's Battle Theme
Hope's English Voice
Hope's Japanese Voice
🌹 "Thank you mother, for this magic I can use to protect others." 🌹

🌹 Time: Nightfall🌹 Location: Inside a dark forest 🌹 Interaction: Yasha (Special NPC) Lein@PigeonOfAstora Cecilia@Rune_Alchemist Fanilly@VitaVitaAR🌹



Hope fought valiantly as the ambush raged on, echoes of clashing steel reverberating against the surrounding trees. He continued what he knew best, magic. With his rapier held like a wand, he continued flinging magical bubbles at his foes, knocking them back with such force that they either died from the concussive blast or immediately went unconscious. Eitherway, the fewer bandits that remained on the foot, the safer he and his comrades would be. But it was difficult to see how many of them were truly left. With the darkness encasing them, anything beyond their current fight was a mystery.

Yaheol, Hope's angelic summon, didn't seem to grow weary. In fact, it's innate desire to protect its master only emboldened it to fight harder, glowing brilliantly with an intense ferocity that even Hope sometimes found difficult to emulate. While Hope encased bandits in giant bubbles and lifted them high up into the sky past the canopies, Yahoel pierced their flesh with its glowing white feathers. And when a sword swung against its frame, the angel's swiftness and flight easily allowed it to dodge them. But in truth, it did incur a minor gash during the fight so far, blood trickling slightly down its lower left wing.

Entrapping another bandit in a bubble, Hope ran over the angel and inspected it's wing. "You've been hurt..." Hope said, motherly concern showing on his lovely countenance. Yahoel smiled, unfettered, "It is nothing my lord. All that matters is your safety." Hope shook his head, "No, that is not true. I am just as much part of you as you are of me. You must be more careful, I demand it."

The angel let out a harmonic chuckle, bowing as to regard its master's words. Before Hope could continue, Lein approached, leaping into action with his trusty bow at hand. As Yahoel went back into combat, Hope regarded the hundi with a warm familiarity.

"Sir Hope! It seems your beauty knows no bounds, on and off the battle," Lein said.

It was difficult trying to fight and conversate, but he tried to make it work. Hope lobbed a magical bubble at an incoming bandit and then turned to face Lein when there was a moment of reprieve, "Whatever do you mean Sir Lein?" Hope asked in a confused tone, completely unaware that Lein was referring to Yasha, the icy magic swordsman who continued to steal glances at him during the fight. The hundi didn't answer his question, only shifting his position as though to shield him from someone; Hope assumed it was the bandits.

"friend or foe! Allow me to be your trusty guard against those who would sully it." Lein continued, taking on quite a knightly persona, like the kind that might save a damsel in distress or a princess.

A soft chuckle escaped Hope's lips as he eyed the hundi, his sparkling blues cresting with a warm and doting gaze. Despite being the same age, Hope couldn't help but dote over his cute-tailed compatriot; Lein's childlike zeal was infectious. For a brief moment, Hope scratched behind one of Lein's ears, "How very chivalrous. I am in your debt, Sir Lein. Just promise me you won't get hurt on my account. Not you too." Hope said, referencing his injured angel. He gave Lein a knowing, maternal 'don't you dare' sort of look, before turning back to more incoming bandits, whom he quickly dispatched with another blast of magical bubbles. Hope found that it was becoming easier to deal with these bandits as he adjusted himself to their slower speed and predictable attack patterns.

When he finally eliminated his last bandit, Hope looked around and could see that the skirmish had come to an end. The Rose Knights were victorious, for now.

------


With the current battle winding down and the Knight Captain narrowly dispatching a bandit who tried to one-up her, Hope stepped a bit closer to listen to her words. He watched as the remaining bandits were tied up as prisoners of war and for some reason, their shackles brought a sadness to his heart. The bandits' actions were unhonourable, no doubt. But the imagery of their enchainment seemed more painful than the lifeless bodies that strewed the forest floor. Hope was shaken from his revelry when the Knight Captain addressed he and Cecilia directly.

"We have little time to lose, so Dame Cecilia, Sir Hope," she addressed her chosen scouts, "As soon as you are able, your orders remain."

No words were needed. Hope simply nodded, reaffirming her commands from before the battle. He had not forgotten and was ready. His gaze fell upon Cecilia when she addressed him.

"Hope...heh, hope you don't mind working together." Cecilia chuckled, "I'd suggest having your spirits scout from above while I cover the ground. You can alert me to anything they see and I can hopefully take 'em out quietly if I have to."

This woman was a well-known figure within the Rose Knights, if not for her skill with a magic bow, then her proclivity for being a bit torpid if she could help it. But Hope understood what her position meant, and so he trusted her prowess, despite his personal experiences around her being limited. After she finished speaking, he gave her a knightly bow. She was far more experienced in combat than he was, so he was counting on her. And in truth, her spirited nature was encouraging.

"Of course not." Hope began, speaking gently and smiling softly, despite the devastation that lay around them, "I shall do what I can to support our mission. But..." he paused for a moment, thinking, "more vagabonds probably lie ahead. I will summon another spirit to look over us, to help even the odds."

Before following Dame Cecilia off the path and into the dark underbrush, Hope summoned another angelic spirit. Quickly, he recited the summoning incantation.

o' holy angel from distant regions,
stretch out thy teneberous wings and lead my enemies to their eternal slumber.
Kalaziel!


Unlike Yaheol, who seemed to fall from the heavens in a holy light, Kalaziel seemed to appear from below. This spirit resembled a stone statue of an angel, but its flesh appeared glasslike and transparent, and beating inside its body was a heart. Kalaziel was stiff in its movements as Yahoel came up on the other side of him, her form sensuous and feathers ever swaying with the night wind.

Hope looked at both of his spirits, telling them what they needed to do. Taking opposites sides of the road, the angelic spirits soared high up and disappeared into the darkened canopies, scouting just ahead of he and Dame Cecilia to warn them in case danger was amiss. Once he could no longer see the two angels, Hope caught up with Dame Cecilia and disappeared into the brush with her.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by The Otter
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Fionn MacKerracher



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To say that Fionn experienced some disappointment as the ambushers utterly broke would not be remiss; as much as he cared about the success of the mission and the well-being of those around him, he was ever in search of more opportunities to test himself, to prove and improve his skill, and it had been some time since he'd been on the field of battle. He'd hoped that the lot that faced them would have a bit more mettle, even with Morianne's workings—not enough to present a significant danger, but some worthwhile exercise.

Instead, moments after he'd told Gerard his quick plan, they force that had waylaid them was reduced to a scant few frightened survivors surrounded by the dead and dying that had previously been there compatriots. With a sigh he broke off to follow the Captain's orders, turning first to the bandit he'd left on the forest floor with a dent in his forehead, twitching slightly but otherwise completely limp. He pondered the form for a moment, before shrugging with a small sigh. "Sorry, lad," he muttered, before driving his blade into the heart of the man, twisting as he pulled it out. "Not that you were in any state to even realize you weren't breathing right, but still." From there he turned to the rest, picking through and finishing off any who needed the small mercy.

Caught up in it and the disappointment as he was, he didn't notice much of the conversation started to spark back up, until he heard his name called. He quickly glanced over, seeing Renar turned his way. "Aye, I'll be there," he called back, wrenching his blade out of another bandit's chest. Bending down he quickly wiped it off on their trousers, before sheathing it and walking over to the only-mostly-dead one that Renar had found.

With a quick glance, he surmised that this man was a bit luckier than he might have been for the wound he'd taken, speared in the gut and with something more than blood lost as the weapon came back out. If it weren't for the good fortune to have a vein severed in the process he'd have been looking at a few days of agony at the least. "Just drag, or try to lift him?" he asked Renar after the short observation. "It's going to hurt quite a bit no matter what we do, but at least if we get you up in the air we can go over the other bodies rather than having to snake you through them to the Captain."
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by DELETED08740
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Huh, guess Hope is used to this kind of attention.

Lein had expected a fluster from Hope at the sudden approach, not a matronly kind of gentleness and certainly not a scratch behind the ears. What was meant to be tease had come off as youthful zeal. Perhaps Lein's initial impression of Hope as the 'royal hemmed in child' had been too hasty; there was a more hardened sort behind those soft looks. Nonetheless, Lein played into his character with his bushy tail swooshing with a guileful sort of enthusiasm. "But of course! This march is yet treacherous, beyond these scrappy scoundrels."

As the battle wrapped up, roars and screams quietening down to whimpers and gurgles, Lein took the time to pull any spare arrows back from the cadavers. The bodies that twitched when Lein retrieved his ammunition, he made sure to cut out the arteries with his dagger. A compassionate gesture, as the young Knight-Captain suggested - and a practical one. Live prisoners too weak to carry themselves would just be a burden, extra cargo to lug around. With the Knight Order trying to stay 'pristine' and 'noble', ransoming would be off the tables as well.

Lein paused as he examined the under-brush leading from the main trail. The brush was torn up and crushed down from the dozens of boots and bodies that fell upon it during the battle, but a peculiar trail of reddened slickness wound out from the trail. A body dragged. Probably an escapee, though they wouldn't have gotten too far. Not exactly urgent, but - Lein looked around the site, the other knights busily delivering their coup de grace - it wasn't like Lein had much to do, anyway.

Just as Lein guessed, it wasn't long before he found his mark. A crumbled brigand, heaving and slumped under the tree. He was confusedly attempting to move his legs that remained limply on the ground, the rough leather of the armour starting to be dyed with pooling blood. He didn't move nor speak even as Lein approached, only squinting at the Hundi with an exhausted look. An animal that was far too tired and shocked to register that it was looking right at a trapper. A heavy blow to the back? Shattered the spine at the wrong place perhaps. Lein usually just aimed for a fatal blow near the neck just for frugality's sake, and to avoid these situations. This one would live, given the treatment that the castle healers could bring. But the legs were gone. For this profession, it was as good as just a slow, protracted death sentence.

Lein's ears twitched thoughtfully, his ossific hand still holding the arrow to the bowstring. Die easy here or die awkwardly later. What a pain. With a quick look around to confirm that his compatriots were too busy cleaning up the rest of the battlefield, Lein leant in close with a hushed but firm tone. "If ever they let you keep your head on your shoulders, head to Marlea'an. Look for a Sister Ifreet. Tell her, ah, tell her you messed up and got bit by a dog or something."

The wounded brigand gave Lein a confused look. Lein yawned and shrugged, resuming his nonchalant smile. With a short wave, he hailed down a healer to carry the brigand away. Eh, not like he'll probably make it to Marlea'an, Lein thought with a foreign brand of uneasiness brewing as he watched the newly imprisoned brigand be tied and hauled away.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Fleuri Jodeau


With the skirmish concluded and all of the bandits captured or killed, Fleuri turned to the corpses to carry out the captain's orders to "ease the suffering of the dying." In other words, they needed to deliver a coup de grace to any bandits too wounded to save. Fleuri looked about at the others. Some knights were going about it differently than others. Sir Gerard Segremors, a former mercenary from the same band as Lucas, was simply stabbing every corpse to make sure it was dead, and Lucas was following his lead. It was a rather crude method, but also quite thorough. Perhaps stabbing at every fallen bandit without looking closely at the faces of the fallen made the grim task easier to bear, the knight speculated.

Fleuri surveyed the bodies of the bandits that he had felled in the battle. Neither of them stood any risk of getting back up- one was decapitated, the other had been stabbed in the heart. Fleuri hadn't killed many people, but he understood the importance of ensuring that a killing blow did its job the first time. Compared to the undead that he had fought as a squire, living humans were downright fragile, even. This went both ways- he too was a mere mortal man, and could die just as quickly as these bandits.

This wasn't the first time he had gazed upon the aftermath of a battle. Long ago, he and his mentor had visited the immediate aftermath of some battles and skirmishes of the the War of the Red Flag. Compared to that, this particular scene was a far less grisly sight since the dead hadn't had any time to decay or be picked apart by scavengers. Still, it'd be wise for this mess to be cleaned up after this mission was over and the captives were rescued. This road needed to be safe, and unattended corpses could not only attract beasts, but also potentially accustom them to consuming human flesh.

With the bodies in his part of the woods taken care of, Fleuri opted to check on the other knights. Several of them were already questioning wounded bandits. Fleuri made his way to where Sir Gerard Segremors was currently questioning one of the brigands. Comapred to some of the others, he appeared to be taking a more heavy-handed approach to interrogation. Fleuri said nothing, simply silently watching. Interrogation was not a skill that he had learned in his career, so it might be worth observing what sort of questioning skills that the young mercenary-turned-knight could demonstrate. Given the great difference in their backgrounds, he suspected that there were quite a few things that he could learn from former mercenaries like Gerard.

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Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Pyromania99
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The bandits that Shanil had run into were quite dead. She didn't even have to double check her handiwork. The elven woman took a look around to make sure none of the other bandit's slain by her comrades had survived... And she eased their suffering alright. If they had wounds that they would not recover from she put them down in the most humane way she could manage. This was the easy part. The hard part was the ones she couldn't just "ease into a forever sleep". She's just wave over a few men that could handle the situation from there. There was a desire to kill the ones that could be taken prisoner but she knew that it would be best not to.

The only thing she might have regreted in all this taking with the Iron Roses, is the distinct lack of allowing the rebels to suffer if she found them. That isn't to say she slowly bled them with tiny dagger cuts, but she would leave them with an untreatable gash. The woman stood in solitary thought. She didn't have much of anywhere to be unless she wanted to disobey their captain.

The elf thought more on this tradition of taking a mostly untested youth and putting them in charge of a military operation. How odd was it, that such a renown troop was headed by a young girl? The elf understood the tradition and what seemed to be of meaning behind it but it still sat as odd to her. Still, she was mostly sure that all enemy combatants were accounted for. As much as she wanted to sneak off early and crush the enemy forces, she didn't want to go against anything their Captain may have planned. Despite everything, she did have a Vampire as an advisor so even with her young age, she likely knew what she was doing.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by VitaVitaAR
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In the wake of battle, tensed body slowly unwound. Not entirely. They were far from finished. But now that the immediate enemy had been killed or taken prisoner, she had a moment to take a breath.

The sight of her knights patrolling, finishing those who were too injured to survive, was a sobering one. It was one she simply wasn't entirely prepared for, even if she had given the order herself. Every time she watched one of her knights pierce a vital region of a fallen enemy, a part of her curled into itself, her hands tensing. But at the same time, it was absolutely necessary. No matter the enemy, to leave them to slowly die from their injuries surrounded by their slain comrades was needless cruelty. Mercy was easing their suffering, passing them on to the afterlife swiftly.

If the Lamplighters chose to guide them, or if their transgressions were severe enough to leave them forever lost, only they would know.

She was torn away from her thoughts when an injured man was presented to her by Sir Renar and Sir Fionn. Though she was not especially versed in medicine, it was clear he did not have much time left, a grisly wound marking his abdomen. Exactly what it had pierced, Fanilly did not know, but the amount of blood lost and whatever underlaying damage had made his prospect for survival virtually nonexistent.

Perhaps that was precisely why he was an ideal choice for interrogation.

"Then, I trust you have information for me?" she asked, eyes briefly lingering on the man's wound before returning to her face.

"Hah, it's true, they really are lead by a cute little lass!" the bandit declared, even as his voice wavered with pain, "Heh, aye, if it's information you want, might as well spill my guts. Better to die with a drink then die with nothing."

His breathing sounded difficult.

"A drink and mercy, then," Fanilly replied, nodding. She assumed that the former had been offered by Sir Renar or Sir Fionn, and the meaning of the latter was obvious.

"A week ago, the boss and his inner circle brought something back to camp. None of us on the lower rungs saw it clearly, but we hear it. It's a beast," he began, "They have it caged up. 'Course, even if we can hear the godsawful noises it makes, they covered the cage up to keep it from gettin' aggressive so we can't see it. But it's big. Bigger'n a horse or a bear. Shrieks something awful when it's hungry, the guy in charge of keepin' it fed gives it rabbits."

A beast? Fanilly searched her mind for what it could be. But without knowing more, there was no way to be sure exactly what manner of creature it was.

Still, knowing that they could be dealing with more then simply bandits was a valuable piece of information.

Meanwhile, the injured man who had been used as bait had been pulled back to the rear of the formation, where one of the healers was attending to him. She was a woman in her thirties, clad in Mayon's colors as was custom for many healers of Thaln, carefully addressing his wounds with both magic and medicine.




When Sir Gerard threatened the bandit, the pommel pressed to his cheek was enough to make him freeze up in fear, eyes wide. He was shaking with considerable terror, likely in part due to so recently seeing just what the man was capable of against his allies. He had absolutely no desire to experience a broken jaw, not after having escaped any serious injuries in the battle.

It was to his great relief that Morianne intervened. Indeed, though he had hardly been a religious man, a little prayer to the goddesses didn't seem out of place at this point.

Perhaps this is why he was especially vulnerable to Morianne's spell, his eyes becoming slightly hazy, and yet almost shining, as they became fixed on the elf maiden's visage.

"... I... for a fine elf-maid like you, I'll tell you anything..." he half-murmured, swaying slightly as he spoke, "Palisades, there's palisades set up around the camp, but it's not a complete wall... a watch tower, too... hehe... I've never seen anyone as beautiful as you, y'know..."




The forest became quite dense for some time, a fallen log here or there, brush offering a perfect hiding spot for both of the knightly scouts currently advancing on the bandit camp.

Increasingly, through the trees, there was a glint of torchlight. Soon enough, they would see it.

The camp was located in a clearing, with an enormous large dead tree on the far side. It was not entirely enclosed by walls, but there were palisades set up in several defensible positions. At the center, a great bonfire was raging, with the bandits around it. While some were eating, many were clearly patrolling the perimeter of the camp. While they did not appear totally ready for battle, it was clear there was some expectation it would be coming soon. Near the fire, a few figures with chained legs could be seen as well. These had to be some of the prisoners, forced into serving food and drink to the bandits currently eating.

Between the tends, a set of cages with something inside them were visible. On a second examination, it was clear these were most of the prisoners, those intended to be sold or kept for other purposes.

There was a particularly large cage closer to the center, but whatever was inside of it was impossible to see clearly. A canvas had been draped over the cage, but it was just possible to make out something moving occasionally inside.

A throne had been erected near the bonfire, but no-one was occupying it at the moment.

@Raineh Daze@Rune_Alchemist@Psyker Landshark@Pyromania99@HereComesTheSnow@Saiyan@The Otter@Crimson Paladin@ERode@Psychic Loser@Richard Horthy@Aeolian@Rin
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Raineh Daze
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Tyaethe cocked her head attentively, looking once more around the ambush site and listening for any more struggling heartbeats. Seemed that they'd gotten everyone? Fanilly was busy gathering information, which meant everyone else was standing around doing nothing... might as well put them to use and save some time later on.

"You," the vampire said, pointing at a random knight. "Help me gather the bodies up." This order got repeated a few times, the white-haired figure demonstrating exactly what the goal was and starting to pile the dead. It was quite uncanny to see a child handling bodies with so little effort but it wasn't like that was an unfamiliar sight. Although it was probably more common for dealing with people who got too drunk to walk, given her own tolerance.

All they'd need to do on the way back is have the mage light it up. Much better than just leaving them to rot. On the other side of laying them to rest... well, the prayer she was going through was hardly inspired, and one could say it was rather derisive about the bandits' choices in life, but they probably hadn't done enough to deserve being completely abandoned. And she couldn't simply leave them to come back as angry ghosts. Maybe they'd get the guidance they needed to pass on more easily, now?
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Rune_Alchemist
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@Aeolian@VitaVitaAR



Traversing a forest was easy enough. She had plenty of experience both using one to flee a battle that went poorly as well as from the law after perhaps, pilfering one too many sweetrolls from a tavern or not paying her tab. It was also, fairly easy to find the encampment. Torchlight was a dead giveaway in the darkness of the quickly fading light. She'd motion Hope to slow, quietly approaching the clearing that the camp was situated in.

"Hope, you stay away from the treeline." She'd say to hope, quietly moving. "Unless you have experience moving quietly and quickly, its best if you have your spirits do the work." Cecil stated, eyes falling on the particularly large creature in the cage.

"Any idea what that is, Shael?"

"You know my senses are limited in this bow. Best I can tell its some sort of large beast perhaps. Certainly not human unless its a large one. A hungry bear, maybe?" The empty throne was somewhat concerning too. It was likely for Jeremiah, but that left the question...where was he? Until she got eyes on him, she wasn't going to be satisfied in the success of this mission. Perhaps she was worrying too much about the ambush earlier, though.

"I'll circle around quietly." She quietly nodded to Hope, offering him a friendly smirk and a wink. "See if I can't see anything else. If anything happens just...shout,or something. Make a scene. I'll save that pretty face of yours."
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Psyker Landshark
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Renar Hagen


As soon as the wounded bandit finished giving Fanilly his information, Renar dropped the wineskin into his lap and patiently waited for the man to guzzle down the contents. Given the choice, he'd seriously debate whether or not to actually waste wine on a soon-to-be dead man, but he was also within the presence of both his captain and a comrade, so breaking his given word wasn't exactly a wise option at the moment.

Regardless, as the bandit dropped the now-emptied wine skin with a belch, Renar nodded to him, hefting his poleaxe up.

"Ready to see the Lamplighters, then?" He asked casually, as if discussing the state of the weather. The bandit only snorted in response.

"You mocking me, Sir Knight? We both know there ain't no light, the way I'm headed."

Renar only inclined his head at that, conceding the point before swinging down, taking the man's head clean off with the ax blade. With that settled, he saluted Fanilly before turning away and rejoining his fellows.

Or at least, he would have if Paladin Tyaethe hadn't suddenly roped him into...piling up bodies? Seriously? Renar knew that she had certain tenets to adhere to as an anointed knight of the church, but now? He supposed that it was something to do while they were waiting for the scouts, but it still felt like a waste of time.

Regardless, he complied with the order and started lugging bodies along, grumbling to himself in dissatisfaction, to which anyone nearby him also dragging bodies would hear as well.
Hidden 2 yrs ago 2 yrs ago Post by HereComesTheSnow
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Gerard Segremors


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"Interrogating him— was about as far as Gerard got beneath his furrowed brow before Dame Morianne's chastisement rolled on, heedlessly forcing the rest of the younger swordsman's words back into his throat. Her reputation as "abrasive" (to put it more kindly) had far preceded her, but... "murderhobo" was admittedly a new one. He supposed this being his first expedition among the knights would have earned him at least some ribbing about his previous line of work, but he had to admit he wouldn't have expected her to know or care about it. Not in the least thanks to being so long-lived and well-traveled...

Hn.

As her verses floated through the air in dulcet, saccharine tones, his grips upon the bandit tightened as he cast his confusion aside with a frown. If she wanted to handle extracting information via the arcane means she possessed as opposed to his more straightforward brutality, then that was fine— the point of the matter was to get this pig to squeal.

He watched the eyes beneath him, alive with fear of his reprisal, slowly give way and glaze over as the elf cupped his chin, voice smoky and flirtatious. The pools of brown had dulled out fully by the time she offered the reward, like covering the light with a foggy glass— and beneath his weight and grip, he felt the man's body follow suit, slackening with no resistance left to offer.

Wrapped completely 'round her finger. Impressive stuff... and on a small, primal level, scary when he considered that there were others out there who could feasibly do the same to him. He was just a farmboy at the core of everything— no reason to think he'd be any more capable of resisting an attack that his arms couldn't parry, that his legs couldn't dodge. He had no conception to begin with of how he'd defend himself from magic that attacked his very will.

As newly minted member of an elite Order with a storied history of standing against Witch-Queens and rogue sorcerers and other threats a common soldier like him would find fantastical... he quietly thanked the Troubadour for showing him his limits here, even if she'd not meant to.

He had a feeling he wouldn't manage to dodge magical foes for the entirety of his burgeoning career as an Iron Rose.

"Point taken, Ma'am." he breathed with an assenting nod, rising after a moment to extricate himself from the bewitched bandit. "I'll leave him to you." He made it to a half turn away, towards the growing pile of bodies, and paused, thoughtful expression playing over his face as he listened to the wavering words continue on from the charmed reprobate. He spoke of palisades surrounding the encampment, with a watch tower looming high. Good information for sure— with only Morianne to thank. It looked like she really did have the easier way.

He did respect her highly, as he would any of the knights ahead of him in this retinue. That much wouldn't change no matter how many times she yelled at him. Her personal affectations could run totally counter to his own so long as they served the same cause. He knew how to be a professional, if nothing else.

Buuuut...

"If you're gonna smooch him, wipe your mouth after. Don't know where he's been."

Crack for a crack was fair play his whole life. He knew how to survive among a maelstrom of jesting barbs, too.

He began to walk, scooping up the body next to his feet and dragging it along in the direction of the pile. Paladin Tyaethe had been doling out orders while the interrogations had gone on around her, and by now had roped every free hand into pulling corpses onto a singular spot along the stone of the road— piling up the dead until the heap stood as tall as she did.

Probably cremation, if he had to guess. Dead bodies lying around meant two things: Disease and Scavengers. Growing up near a forest taught him the dangers of drawing hungry beasts to a road— and he knew any soldier here would at least be aware of the havoc the undisposed dead could wreak upon either side of a siege.

Chucking the body roughly against the pile, Gerard about-faced in time to catch the disquieted mutterings of Sir Renar in his ear. He had to imagine that the man hated the busywork to bring all this on— he certainly had no qualms with getting his hands dirty.

"They not do this in your banneret?" he asked, beginning to drag another corpse by its ankle.
Hidden 2 yrs ago Post by Saiyan
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As if it wasn't embarrassing enough that Lucas had briefly found himself appraising the physical appearance of his comrade, whilst on the battlefield of all places, Cecilia made it ten times worse by calling him out.

"!"

How on earth she'd noticed his inappropriacy in the darkened forest was beyond him, but if what before was a blush, then what was now was a face as red as a tomato. It was a good job he was caked in drying blood, not that that made the situation any less embarrassing for the young knight. Elite scouts indeed, he thought exasperatedly. He almost missed the information the bandit had spilled.

"...there's palisades set up around the camp, but it's not a complete wall... a watch tower, too... hehe... I've never seen anyone as beautiful as you, y'know..."

The pre-death flirtations along with Sir Gerard's quip at Dame Morianne just made things worse and Lucas couldn't have been more happy when Paladin Tyaethe ordered him to join in gathering the bodies.

"Err, at once, Paladin Tyaethe," was the response, and he quickly wiped his sword clean on the tattered threads of a bandit corpse, then sheathed it before getting to work.

Dead weight was ridiculously heavy, and Lucas found himself struggling with his orders. The smell was back in the forefront of his mind too. He tried and failed his first approach before finding some success by sitting the corpses up, before wrapping his arms around the torsos and dragging from there. It was slightly disheartening to see a little girl making light work of it all, even if that little girl was in fact a centuries-old veteran warrior with likely double the strength of even Sir Fionn MacKerracher. As he hauled his second body onto the pile, he glanced at Sir Gerard, who was casually getting on with his job, as if piling up firewood on a quaint evening. He took no note of his talking with Sir Renard, only wondering that this was the life of a hero knight. It was all such a rude awakening.

He leaned over to get a good grip over another dead bandit, trying his best to ignore the corpse's stomach was falling out of it's bloody stomach.

And the night was young - there was plenty more to do. Plenty more killing. Plenty more corpses to pile up. This was a short battle, he knew that much. Not enough of a fight for such a large regiment of knights. The bandit camp would likely be a much more taxing affair. This was simply a warm up. Lucas steeled himself, gritting his teeth and forcing a burst of willpower from within. He would do what was asked of him. He had to. He had to live on, not just for himself but for his parents, for the rest of the people he once called family. And here was an opportunity to be a hero of the people - a sword of justice for the crown. Here, tonight, was the possibility of rescuing innocents from captivity - to be like Sir Gerard himself. He just had to keep his chin up, his jaw clenched and kill the criminals who opposed honour and righteousness. And of course... Follow orders. And don't die.

And so he followed his orders, ever-wary of vomiting and embarrassing himself further. He found his way over to Sir Fleuri and reached for a dead body near him.

"Sir Fleuri, you have my apologies," he started, wanting to be quiet enough that no one else would hear, but needing to be clear enough that the older knight would hear the sincerity of his words. "I don't know what came over me, rushing out from the flank like that, but I will do better in the future. Thank you for pulling me out of that mess."
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The Otter

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Fionn MacKerracher



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Fionn stood impassively behind the bandit as he spoke as to the state of their camp and what might be found within it, though he did give a small nod at Renar's swift execution. "Good strike," he murmured approvingly. Not that the man had been likely to last long anyways—Fionn was almost certain he could smell the wine mingling with the blood pouring out the man's abdomen—but not everyone to sustain a gut wound was lucky enough to have it be immediately fatal...most were left begging for their comrades to end them instead, after a few days.

He shook his head at the thought, glad for the mail under his cloak.

However, at least that was a known possibility. Animals being captured and used by the slavers wasn't one he'd thought to keep in mind, beyond the usual horses and dogs. Larger than a bear, fed on rabbits, and quite literally kept under wraps. He pursed his lips as he bent down, picking up the head that Renar had so cleanly severed. He weighed it thoughtfully in his hand for a moment, before twisting to see where the others were piling the bodies. It was a bit far for a toss, but midway along...

"Sir Gerard!" he called out momentarily, before spinning on one foot and putting the head in his direction, where it would land and roll to the younger man's feet. He'd drag the rest of the body over in a moment, but first, he needed to see what information he might be able to gain for his own personal peace of mind. Fanilly seemed unharmed, luckily, so one of his possible worries was stricken out.

"Captain, as you're no doubt already aware, I'm still somewhat unfamiliar with Thaln. Is there some sort of odd and rare animal that makes its home around here, or that you've known to be brought through on trade? One that would actually interest these villains?" The possibility of rushing into a trap was one that always remained at the front of his mind, and he was even more focused on it than usual after the skirmish they'd just experienced; he somewhat doubted that these bandits were inclined to expand into exotic poaching when their speaking prey had proved so profitable for them.

That meant that the animal was, most likely, a weapon, by his estimation—and if it was larger than a bear and made some unrecognizable shrieks and other noises, he could only imagine how thick its hide might be, or if it was possessed of some sort of natural armouring. Everybody knew dragons were real, of course, but there were other beasts he'd always thought were mere myth...

Could he be wrong?

"Even if this advance party was ill-prepared, given what the bandits have already been dealing with, I can only imagine they've been putting in preparations to deal with continually escalating force, whether that be larger numbers of soldiers or sending in people like us. I've not made much study into what is and isn't used, but I don't like the thought that they've procured some obscure beast of war to harry us, especially as we've had to abandon our mounts and lances in this forest."
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