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"Necromancer?"

A dark look slipped over Atzi's face, but she reined her own emotions in swiftly enough. Even if this stranger had just rendered the body of a friend unrecognizable. It wasn't his fault. He couldn't have known, really. Couldn't have cared. Didn't stop Atzi from perhaps applying a little too much force though, when she grabbed him by the neck and pulled him away from Achel's chest, before unceremoniously dropping him onto the ground. She looked at him in that moment with her one good eye, tilting her head to the side slightly. Bloodied and obviously scared, but in matters of that strangely 'indistinct' look that those cultists had, at least easily identifiable.

"One, that's rude. Two, Achel is definitely a gravekeeper. The best in the village even." She leaned in, looking as if to glower over him, before deciding, perhaps at the last moment, to offer her hand to pull him up to his feet as well. "And I'm Atzi. Leatherworker. Who're you and where didja come from?" A backwards glance at the Chiralta. "Heck, he wasn't here a few days ago, was he?"


Surrounding the camp and then advancing was a pedestrian strategy, made only tolerable under the presumption that the bandits could not organise themselves before their numbers were culled too heavily. But the Iron Rose Knights was a company armoured for war, riding upon roads of worsening quality as they approached the camp of the bandits. Those rebels, those experienced veterans ought to have noticed the signs by now, if they hadn’t become drunken off their string of successes.

Bandit King Jeremiah. Was his title a manifestation of his arrogance, or was it a lie to misguide his enemies’ judgement of him?

It didn’t matter, in truth. No matter how many of the Iron Rose Knights perished here, the Captain herself would survive this, if only on the merit of having the undivided attention of a centuries-old dragon slayer. The elven Dame would enjoy this too, as would the glory-seeking mercs amongst them. The healers would be busy after this, wouldn’t they? Picking up the bits and pieces if this extermination went sideways. Perhaps she was looking forward to that though. Looking forward to see whether or not a disastrous first battle would be enough to send little Fanilly crawling back into her room, perhaps this time nursing a habit of the liver-damaging kind to help her move past this.

That, too, wasn’t going to happen though.

Serenity slid the visor down her helm. Her preparations have been made. Her arrows were straight, her blades were sharpened, and her mace was a comforting weight on her hips. Cerulean eyes speckled with the last rays of the evening, the lady knight let out a long, low breath, emptying out everything bottled within. An angel flew skywards, shedding light against the magenta skies. The bandits would definitely know, now.

Good. She had no intent on the Iron Roses being known only for butchering a handful of incompetents.

“Sir Renar,” Serenity spoke without turning to her fellow knight, her voice echoing through her own helmet. “Will you be making the bandit king’s crown your next trophy? Or shall that honour be bestowed upon our Captain?”
Gonna speed through some relationships stuff here.

Cecilia: A magical artifact is a rare thing indeed, doubly so when it belongs to someone who claims to be just a mercenary. Serenity has her suspicions, especially when the woman's skill with the bow matches, and perhaps even surpasses, the capabilities of the Autmere scions. Subsequently, Serenity keeps this touchy-feely rogue at an arm's length, but respects her skill, regardless or whether or not it's truly hers.

Renar: Renar is likely the person that Serenity spars the most with, and she regularly seeks the bastard out for more duels, finding his seemingly bottomless bag of dishonorable tricks fairly important to pick up. So far, her losses have been pretty tragic, but she's a quick study: the moment he runs out of schemes is the moment she runs him through. Figuratively.

Shanil: Serenity recognizes that a different sort of fire drives Shanil, and has fundamentally decided that they were incompatible. Their interactions are likely curt and business-like, but there will be some amount of curiosity regarding the oddities of her Shadow Magic, considering the obscurity of such arts to begin with.

Tyaethe: There's a certain amount of respect reserved for the First and Youngest of the Iron Rose Knights, but that's fundamentally something that's reserved only for Tyaethe's deeds in combat. Otherwise, Serenity is simultaneously disappointed and disgusted in this lazy traditionalist of a knight, whose only merit is in a battlefield...and even then that's questionable. Never meet your heroes and all.

Gerard: His juxtaposition, that of an admiration for chivalry matched with the savagery of a common mercenary, interests her, but after the first couple of duels with him, Serenity has settled into a bit more of a teaching role with him, having personally concluded that there's nothing worth learning from Gerard that she could instead have learned from Renar. She likes people with ideals though, which is why she deigns to teach him little ways to reach his ideals to begin with.

Lucas: Tyaethe can risk being an idiot. She wouldn't die unless you crushed her head or tore out her heart, and she had two centuries of experience to make up for her emotional deficiences. Lukas is 17 and is going to die. Serenity perhaps has some amount of pity for him, but one could only remain fearless for two reasons: either they were ignorant or they craved death. She suspects the latter, for martyrdom is preferable to obscurity for children with fantastic aspirations.

Fionn: Mutable, and reliable when it matters, with a fervor for service that puts some priests to shame. Serenity has no particular interest in involving herself with such a man, but will watch him from a safe distance. Paladins, true paladins, have a curious way of drawing forth more trouble that its worth to become their close associate, but she won't turn down any request of help from him either. Good to have favours owed from people like that, after all.

Fanilly: You know full well what their relationship is.

Fleuri: Loyalty to Reon whilst joining a formerly-Mayonite order of knights is curious. Loyalty, indeed, is a troublesome thing. But it's useful too. Whereas Renar grants opportunity to learn, and Gerard grants opportunity to teach, Serenity sees Fleuri as the Flower of the North, regardless of how he may consider himself a changed man. His skills make him what he is, and she will be more than happy to take everything he possesses and make it her own. After all, he's the charitable sort, isn't he?

Morianne: There's always a need for storytellers to record and recite the great deeds of knights, and for that alone, she's amiable with the elf bard. Serenity has made her own preferences clear with Morianne, however. In no case will her strengthening spells be placed upon Serenity. There's plenty of more enthusiastic targets anyhow.

Katerina: A multi-talented practitioner of magic, and a fun friend to whittle away the time with. Serenity doesn't eat Katerina's cooking if she can help it during expeditions, but when in the keep, will occasionally spoil herself by enjoying a meal. Learned fairly early on to reign in her own competitive spirit when it came to card games though: against the green-haired bitch, games of chance were never so.

Hope: A man. Apparently. Serenity is convinced he's lying. How is it even possible that a man prettier than more than half the female knights in the Iron Rose (Serenity, of course, is in the cohort that's prettier than Hope) can achieve such status without any makeup at all? That naturally has to be a lie. His magic is useful though, she'd give him that. Summoning is certainly a rarer art than the usual techniques of a war mage. She won't go out of her way to tell him that though. Their predilections are diametrically opposed, and she doesn't care for the air of intrigue he's so obsessed with radiating either. Doesn't make him special, after all. Everyone's got their traumas.

No sensation of magic breaking beneath. No sensation of any barrier shattering. Just scale pierced, and then, her foot was caught in meat. They had made the incorrect presumption then. This monster's ability was natural, strange as it was, and Ilena retreated instantly at that, using her other foot to launch away from the snake as it smashed its head against the ground, then bucked madly to rid itself from Dragan, before it finally settled for slamming the swordsman into a mountain, sending an avalanche of stone tumbling down.

Conveniently, forming a bridge. Inconveniently, incapacitating one of them.

Most irritatingly though?

Displaying an amount of strength that Ilena had once considered insignificant.

Amethyst eyes sunk into the shadow of her wide-brimmed hat, an animalistic growl seeping from within her body. But the foe before her was gargantuan and, more importantly, living. She had tasted its blood, sweeter than anything else she's had all day. Energizing, but not fulfilling enough. So...

"We're leaving." A high-pitched shriek sounded, equal parts command and challenge, and Ilena bounded off, headed at an angle for the Cathedral. Luna was fast, but Ilena had always be the wilder child, as agile as the beasts she melded into her flesh, and she sought to draw the attention of the camoflaguing monstrosity, this snake-headed feline.

And so long as it was distracted properly, her two Exsanguinating Skeeters could descend upon Dragan, pulling him out the rumble and flying him over to Luna.
Serenity Arcedeen

17 y/o | Female | Human

Bright-eyed and gallant, Serenity stands at an abnormal 5'10, her stature as solid as any of her male peers, yet possessing still a grace to her movements that could construed as ladylike. Flaxen hair, like threads of sunshafts, flows off her broad shoulders like the mane of a lion, but her hands are callused, fingers blunt and clumsy, knuckles protruding with the tell-tale sign of someone who practiced something beyond the art of blade and shield, bow and spear. Perhaps there was a brutishness within her yet, sparked by the grudge that House Arcedeen had nursed for two centuries. But no matter what, Serenity cuts a handsome figure all the same, whether in backless evening gowns or in thick expedition leathers.

And regardless, she is still growing, flesh forged further by training that she wills herself not to be fatigued by. Perhaps a drop of giants blood has made it into her blue blood. Perhaps Reon has granted her a boon in exchange for what she lost. Or perhaps, after generations of honing their lineage, the Arcedeens have finally perfected their unkind art.


Personality
Serenity is fiercely independent, a young woman who wishes to handle everything relating to herself by herself. Whether it knightly tasks or menial tasks, whether it be sharpening her weapons or washing her clothes, Serenity keeps her work to herself, even when it comes to tending to her own injuries. Perhaps she seeks every sliver of freedom she can snatch at after being the scion of House Arcedeen for so long, but regardless, self-reliance is important to her.

That is not to say, however, that she is unsocialable. Though possessing still the trappings of chivalry and gallantry instilled into her by her patriarch, Serenity remains most relaxed when shooting the shit with other warriors, possessing an acerbic wit that emerges naturally against those less-inclined to aspire to any degree of nobility. She eats heartily, dances well in both masculine and feminine roles, and will be more than happy to engage in any challenge of strength or skill...unless it comes to drinking or swimming. Serenity doesn't drink, and she professes a fear of water. Perhaps the two are related, perhaps they aren't. So long as neither of those pop up, however, she's a pleasant enough dame to get along with, the sort who can switch from flowery praises to brutal honesty in a heartbeat.

And, of course, she reserves most of that brutal honesty for the budding Knight Captain, Fannily Danbalion. After all, she was the one that took the position Serenity was made for, and only owing to a difference founded in the alignment of the heavens.

Backstory
Two hundred years ago, Sir Elvaris Arcedeen, and the twenty Mayonite stalwarts under his command, gave their lives in the protection of the Mayonite High Priestess, shielding her from the assault of assassins and soldiers alike, even as they were butchered by unnatural spellwork and cowardly poisons.

But such sacrifice, such heroic grit, is not celebrated, or even remembered.

No, for all that glory was grafted unto an orphaned whelp who picked up Sir Arcedeen's sword and got lucky against a host of foes who were already exhausted from contending against true knights. Amongst the nobility, Arcedeen's renown fell, their patriarch outshone by a precocious child, only a pittance granted to them by the church for their service. And all the while, that brat, that Elionne Carthet, became Captain of a new order, replacing the vacuum left by Arcedeen's demise, her overexaggerated deeds leading to her being canonized as a saint in the faith! Preposterous! Outrageous! Such fame belonged not to a miserable brat, but to the House whose sword she used to win her fame! For without it, that child certainly didn't have anywhere near the skill able to kill a man with her bare hands!

The Iron Rose Knights owed their existence to House Arcedeen, solely!

And so, the grudge rooted itself and bloomed its sickly flowers. Decades passed over this filth-ridden obsession, renowned knights and warriors drawn into this house as wives watched the calendar with near-religious zeal, bedding their lovers only when there was a fair chance that the full moon will shine nine months later. But, as if the budding life itself could sense that decades-old desire, could sense it and scorn it, the spawn of House Arcedeen always missed the mark. By a day, or an hour, birthed in sunlight, rejected by moonlight. And the hatred grew. Their training sharpened. Their political movements expanded. Seeking wealth and fame, influence amongst those with influence. Snatching up all the power they could, so that when it came time for it, when the next Knight-Captain of the Iron Roses was to be decided, it would be one of theirs who finally returns that mantle to the family's steps.

Seventeen years ago, a child was born to Lady Charity Arcedeen, crawling out of her womb slick with water and blood. Her father looked to the skies, and found it to be twilight, that ghostly time where the moon had just risen, brilliantly full. That time where the sun had just set, the skies still basked in orange hues.

This was the child. This was Serenity.

Born just on the cusp of what could be considered a night with a full moon, she bore the expectations and burden of two centuries worth of spite and envy, and was isolated, molded, trained, all so she could become strong. Not a barbaric strength that granted victory, but a valorous strength that granted a chivalrous victory. Her family's obsessions substituted her own, and her sword swung ever sharper as she grew and grew! More skillful, more powerful, more knowledgeable. An all-surpassing maiden knight, honed to reach the apex of humanity and match all that ought to be fulfilled!

And when the War of the Red Flag concluded with the demise of the Knight-Captain, that role was open. That role was seeking.

Serenity's training intensified. She partook in bandit exterminations with her brothers, hunted wildebeasts with her yeomen, fought duels both for practice and for honor, regularly making offerings to Mayon alongside her father and mother. Everything was clarifying. Everything was in place. The stain that had marred House Arcedeen for so long will finally be cleansed! There was not a single other candidate who surpassed her in any way!

Fanilly Danbalion, some twerp from a House with no martial repute to speak of, was granted the role.

Fanilly Danbalion, born later in the night than Serenity had, was granted plate armor made of Dwarvish metals.

Fanilly Danbalion, so weak-willed as to have fainted during training that Serenity herself underwent six years ago, became the Knight-Captain.

House Arcedeen decided, then, that the Iron Rose Knights truly have fallen out of grace. That following traditions and faith was a meaningless thing to do for a motley assembly of knights made out of commoners and low-born nobles, propped up only by a handful of non-human knights who wielded no power over society itself. It was foolish, after all, to believe that the Goddess cared for children bathed in moonlight.

The times have changed. So too, must the Order, whether from within or from without.

But Serenity remained.

She was made, from conception, to become a Knight of the Iron Rose.

What else could she do, but this?

Equipment
Pristine and ornate.

Expensive but valueless.

That can sum up all of the armor and arms that Serenity possesses. Plate armor decorative and sturdy. All matters of weapons with adornments and flourishes. Her cloak is of a rich indigo, and fanciful ribbons are pinned to her plates, bright colors to make her easily recognizable even at a distance. No great deed would be misattributed to another, after all, and Serenity works hard to maintain the aesthetics of her equipment after every major battle.

It may appear tedious, but after years of doing this, she simply finds it calming. And yet, she has no particular attachment to her equipment either. It's just a habit, in the end.

Skills
If it's something expected of a knight, Serenity can do it well. Her martial arts are orthodox and clean, taught by masters of the art and tempered by experience in duels and in skirmishes. Though lacking, perhaps, in the flexibility that indicates a true mastery of weapons, she is nonetheless a capable hand in the usage of all manner of blades, though the majority of the time, she can be expected to wield a longsword. As did her forebearer. As did the first Knight-Captain.

And yet, her martial passions lie elsewhere, and when her training is done for the day, Serenity relaxes with routines of unarmed combat. Striking. Grappling. Footwork. Throws, followed by a coup de grace with a hidden blade. She does this in private, of course. It's unbecoming of a knight, otherwise, to learn the ways of a pugilist.

Otherwise, however, she has been given a noble's education her entire life, and has been made smart due to it.
Serenity Arceeden

17 y/o | Female | Human

Bright-eyed and gallant, Serenity stands at an abnormal 5'10, her stature as solid as any of her male peers, yet possessing still a grace to her movements that could construed as ladylike. Flaxen hair, like threads of sunshafts, flows off her broad shoulders like the mane of a lion, but her hands are callused, fingers blunt and clumsy, knuckles protruding with the tell-tale sign of someone who practiced something beyond the art of blade and shield, bow and spear. Perhaps there was a brutishness within her yet, sparked by the grudge that House Arceeden had nursed for two centuries. But no matter what, Serenity cuts a handsome figure all the same, whether in backless evening gowns or in thick expedition leathers.

And regardless, she is still growing, flesh forged further by training that she wills herself not to be fatigued by. Perhaps a drop of giants blood has made it into her blue blood. Perhaps Reon has granted her a boon in exchange for what she lost. Or perhaps, after generations of honing their lineage, the Arceedens have finally perfected their unkind art.


Personality
Serenity is fiercely independent, a young woman who wishes to handle everything relating to herself by herself. Whether it knightly tasks or menial tasks, whether it be sharpening her weapons or washing her clothes, Serenity keeps her work to herself, even when it comes to tending to her own injuries. Perhaps she seeks every sliver of freedom she can snatch at after being the scion of House Arcedeen for so long, but regardless, self-reliance is important to her.

That is not to say, however, that she is unsocialable. Though possessing still the trappings of chivalry and gallantry instilled into her by her patriarch, Serenity remains most relaxed when shooting the shit with other warriors, possessing an acerbic wit that emerges naturally against those less-inclined to aspire to any degree of nobility. She eats heartily, dances well in both masculine and feminine roles, and will be more than happy to engage in any challenge of strength or skill...unless it comes to drinking or swimming. Serenity doesn't drink, and she professes a fear of water. Perhaps the two are related, perhaps they aren't. So long as neither of those pop up, however, she's a pleasant enough dame to get along with, the sort who can switch from flowery praises to brutal honesty in a heartbeat.

And, of course, she reserves most of that brutal honesty for the budding Knight Captain, Fannily Danbalion. After all, she was the one that took the position Serenity was made for, and only owing to a difference founded in the alignment of the heavens.

Backstory
Two hundred years ago, Sir Elvaris Arcedeen, and the twenty Mayonite stalwarts under his command, gave their lives in the protection of the Mayonite High Priestess, shielding her from the assault of assassins and soldiers alike, even as they were butchered by unnatural spellwork and cowardly poisons.

But such sacrifice, such heroic grit, is not celebrated, or even remembered.

No, for all that glory was grafted unto an orphaned whelp who picked up Sir Arcedeen's sword and got lucky against a host of foes who were already exhausted from contending against true knights. Amongst the nobility, Arcedeen's renown fell, their patriarch outshone by a precocious child, only a pittance granted to them by the church for their service. And all the while, that brat, that Elionne Carthet, became Captain of a new order, replacing the vacuum left by Arcedeen's demise, her overexaggerated deeds leading to her being canonized as a saint in the faith! Preposterous! Outrageous! Such fame belonged not to a miserable brat, but to the House whose sword she used to win her fame! For without it, that child certainly didn't have anywhere near the skill able to kill a man with her bare hands!

The Iron Rose Knights owed their existence to House Arcedeen, solely!

And so, the grudge rooted itself and bloomed its sickly flowers. Decades passed over this filth-ridden obsession, renowned knights and warriors drawn into this house as wives watched the calendar with near-religious zeal, bedding their lovers only when there was a fair chance that the full moon will shine nine months later. But, as if the budding life itself could sense that decades-old desire, could sense it and scorn it, the spawn of House Arcedeen always missed the mark. By a day, or an hour, birthed in sunlight, rejected by moonlight. And the hatred grew. Their training sharpened. Their political movements expanded. Seeking wealth and fame, influence amongst those with influence. Snatching up all the power they could, so that when it came time for it, when the next Knight-Captain of the Iron Roses was to be decided, it would be one of theirs who finally returns that mantle to the family's steps.

Seventeen years ago, a child was born to Lady Charity Arcedeen, crawling out of her womb slick with water and blood. Her father looked to the skies, and found it to be twilight, that ghostly time where the moon had just risen, brilliantly full. That time where the sun had just set, the skies still basked in orange hues.

This was the child. This was Serenity.

Born just on the cusp of what could be considered a night with a full moon, she bore the expectations and burden of two centuries worth of spite and envy, and was isolated, molded, trained, all so she could become strong. Not a barbaric strength that granted victory, but a valorous strength that granted a chivalrous victory. Her family's obsessions substituted her own, and her sword swung ever sharper as she grew and grew! More skillful, more powerful, more knowledgeable. An all-surpassing maiden knight, honed to reach the apex of humanity and match all that ought to be fulfilled!

And when the War of the Red Flag concluded with the demise of the Knight-Captain, that role was open. That role was seeking.

Serenity's training intensified. She partook in bandit exterminations with her brothers, hunted wildebeasts with her yeomen, fought duels both for practice and for honor, regularly making offerings to Mayon alongside her father and mother. Everything was clarifying. Everything was in place. The stain that had marred House Arcedeen for so long will finally be cleansed! There was not a single other candidate who surpassed her in any way!

Fanilly Danbalion, some twerp from a House with no martial repute to speak of, was granted the role.

Fanilly Danbalion, born later in the night than Serenity had, was granted plate armor made of Dwarvish metals.

Fanilly Danbalion, so weak-willed as to have fainted during training that Serenity herself underwent six years ago, became the Knight-Captain.

House Arcedeen decided, then, that the Iron Rose Knights truly have fallen out of grace. That following traditions and faith was a meaningless thing to do for a motley assembly of knights made out of commoners and low-born nobles, propped up only by a handful of non-human knights who wielded no power over society itself. It was foolish, after all, to believe that the Goddess cared for children bathed in moonlight.

The times have changed. So too, must the Order, whether from within or from without.

But Serenity remained.

She was made, from conception, to become a Knight of the Iron Rose.

What else could she do, but this?

Equipment
Pristine and ornate.

Expensive but valueless.

That can sum up all of the armor and arms that Serenity possesses. Plate armor decorative and sturdy. All matters of weapons with adornments and flourishes. Her cloak is of a rich indigo, and fanciful ribbons are pinned to her plates, bright colors to make her easily recognizable even at a distance. No great deed would be misattributed to another, after all, and Serenity works hard to maintain the aesthetics of her equipment after every major battle.

It may appear tedious, but after years of doing this, she simply finds it calming. And yet, she has no particular attachment to her equipment either. It's just a habit, in the end.

Skills
If it's something expected of a knight, Serenity can do it well. Her martial arts are orthodox and clean, taught by masters of the art and tempered by experience in duels and in skirmishes. Though lacking, perhaps, in the flexibility that indicates a true mastery of weapons, she is nonetheless a capable hand in the usage of all manner of blades, though the majority of the time, she can be expected to wield a longsword. As did her forebearer. As did the first Knight-Captain.

And yet, her martial passions lie elsewhere, and when her training is done for the day, Serenity relaxes with routines of unarmed combat. Striking. Grappling. Footwork. Throws, followed by a coup de grace with a hidden blade. She does this in private, of course. It's unbecoming of a knight, otherwise, to learn the ways of a pugilist.

Otherwise, however, she has been given a noble's education her entire life, and has been made smart due to it.




"Yeah," Atzi smiled, ruffling up Maira's hair. "I'll see you there then. Be sure to pet Tallen before you leave though, yeah? I'm sure he misses you."

With that, the dark-skinned woman pulled a cloak over her shoulders once more as she prepared to set up, fumbling a little bit with the brass pin before she could get the nail through the fabric. Nodding at her friend once more, Atzi stepped out of her hut and into the blinding light of the snow-covered village once more. The trip to the church, and then the catacombs, was uneventful but vaguely pleasant. Light exercise had always been better for her than a full rest, after all, and though her stump still burned from the medicinal herbs patched against it and the still-ruined flesh underneath, it wasn't any sort of pain that she couldn't stand at all. Just a reminder, once in a while, to make sure to use her left arm instead of her right.

Which, of course, really didn't matter when the gloom of the crypt revealed Achel and a total stranger being beset by zombies?

Zombies? No. Colt, that drink-loving farmhand, who kept too many pets in his home to ever be that popular with the village maidens. Shuunti, smiling even now with her lips frozen off, famed across Dawn for her flower-infused beverages. Familiar faces that passed too soon. Familiar faces, risen to besmirch the names of the fallen.

Atzi sucked in a breath, clenched the one fist she had left. Emotional labour, always. And to think her mood had been so...not bad just moments ago.

"Shit." Her eyes narrowed. "Hey, don't carve em up if you can help it, stranger!"

She advanced, warlike. Swatted away Shuunti's arms with such force to send her spinning, before stepping so they were back to back. It was easy after that. Her left arm curled around the undead woman's neck and then Atzi leaned forward, her large frame offering leverage enough to lift the entire body off the ground. The limbs continued to flail ineffectually, but without any way to kick off, nor the higher intelligence to get out of this particular hold, that was all the zombie could do.

Her one eye settled on Achel, and then softened.

"I will rest," she said, unmoving despite the writing human over her back. "Could you tie this one up so I can?"

Smooth, hardened armor?

That was one way to call it, but Ilena, reverting her claws back into her regular fingers, came to a simpler, but perhaps more annoying, answer.

“Scales.”

Spirit magic then, calling forth the form it had once had in death. A bothersome art when she herself was ill-versed in magics more divine in nature. Luna’s voice rang clear, her charm seeping into the consciousness of this still-living skeleton, and Ilena herself bound forward too. Dragan ascended, his larger form drawing the monster’s attention, and Ilena herself sunk into the shadow of his prominent strike, sliding underneath the monster’s snapping jaws. Shadowed claws grabbed onto the slick shielding that existed just inches away from its lower mouth, while her right foot warp itself into a hooked spike.

No matter how tough a monster was, their defenses were always weaker where there was no bone beneath.

And so, Ilena launched a kick into the space beneath the jaws, seeking only to test whether or not it was possible to pierce those invisible scales with their current strength.
You plan on tossing timeskips around in this RP, or is it mostly going to be fairly regular temporal progression?

“If the rest of our Goddess’s rightful domain is in such a state, that means our blightful foe has fallen destitute alongside our brethren,” Ilena replied. But she was not sure whether to feel triumphant over that. To attain victory by outliving the natural lifespan of a human was the way of worms. And yet to become the rulers and rebuilders of a ruined world would be the surest way to stamp out the worshippers of lesser deities and extol the greatest of the Stained Queen.

Complication unnecessary. Luna’s second question was easier to answer. A short shake of Ilena’s head, followed by a casual disregard for her jest. Dragan was armoured, but the Exsanguinating Skeeters have lifted knights in full plate and drained them dry before. An unfed paladin, no matter the renown, would not be so different.

What would make things different, though, was the revival of that great skeleton, bones rattling against stone as it raised itself skywards, almost tall enough to reach the two flying vampires.

Ilena fixed her gaze on Luna.

“I suppose you could not command it to beg?”

And she dropped, her right arm melting into shadow as outsized claws shunted out from where her fingers once more. They slammed into the skull of the skeletal creature, digging deep as it swung its head down towards Dragan, before the impact caused those self-same claws to rip deep grooves into ancient bone, Ilena sent flying by the impact.

The giant mosquito caught her though, wings flaring with effort to stop her fall, and she landed gingerly beside Dragan.

“Your verdict, Death Knight?” Amidst the buzzing of her thralls, Ilena’s flesh began to tremble, muscles and organs changing from beneath the skin. “Will these bones be broken or merely displaced?”
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