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AFTER MUCH TIME-- LIFE RELEASES MINE GONADS FROM ITS CRUEL VICE...... YA BOI RETURNS!
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@Rune_Alchemist

Reinhardt's practiced motions with the blade in his hands paused abruptly as the ritual the diminutive mage had been casting; as if on cue, went to shit.

Calmly, the Knight relaxed his posture as he looked both the stranger and the tentacle that gripped her from top to bottom. Based on the Woman's outcry, it seemed safe to assume that this sort of thing had happened on more than one occasion; perhaps calling the quality of the spellcaster's skills directly into question. From the looks of things, the girl didn't seem to be in immediate danger-- it was likely that she would remain helpless and humiliated within the tentacle's grasp until her magical power ran out.

The only issue was that this particular ritual apparently drew magic in from the surrounding environment as well to sustain it's function-- therefore offering no guarantee that the ritual would collapse once the Woman's magic ran dry... In fact, Reinhardt wasn't particularly certain if the fact she was supplying the ritual with energy was the reason she had yet to be harmed.

A small smile creased the edge of the Knight's cheeks.

Had this been any other day where he had duties to attend such a situation would be an annoyance, but today it would prove a welcome opportunity to blow off some steam as well as allow a chance for further honing of his skills.

The indignation suffered by the previously (and still) arrogant mage was still a welcome bonus.

"My name is Elias." Reinhardt replied as he gripped the canvas full of weapon, flinging it's contents to scatter around his newly provided foe. "Distress not damsel!" he mused loudly; mimicking the tone the Woman had used when talking down to him previously, "This gallant Knight shall save you from the clutches of this vile beast!"

A faint glow emitted from Reinhardt's chest as he crouched low, hurling his sword toward the tentacle's top-- surging forward as if ready to snatch whatever it may drop!


@Rune_Alchemist

Reinhardt paused briefly as he mulled over what the the mage had said,
"So you're effectively using ambient Mana to create physically solid illusions within a set area?" though the stranger's explanation seemed to be intentionally overcomplicated, Reinhardt still wasn't entirely ignorant on the subject of magic; his general intuition doing the rest to piece together what the Mage had conveyed...

In fact-- wasn't this (in a sense) similar to Fio's sword summoning?

Regardless of what surface-level similarities the formation seemed to have with Fio's own particular staple Magic, that wasn't important at the moment. "So long as you're being truthful, I've no reason to stop you-" the Knight replied with a shrug, "I'll be fine right where I am. Just pretend I'm not even here."

Regardless of how truthful the petite mage (which seemed thus far a running theme between the Female spellcasters he'd encountered) had been, she clearly didn't seem to regard him as anything more than a random passerby; likely assuming disregarding him as a typical villager. Even if it wasn't particularly good for his mood, it seemed he would be stuck babysitting the all-too-arrogant Mage; prepared to intervene in the ritual or even arrest and detain the Mage should things turn in a direction he disliked.

The Knight sighed quietly.

Could this day get any more irritating?


@Rune_Alchemist

Even as irritation with his own inability festered in the back of Elias' mind, his stone-faced expression held firm as he nodded to the handful of patrols and children he passed by. Though such sights in the forests about the border of Airedale's walls were far from irregular, the constant encountering of other people proved particularly bothersome given Reinhardt's mood. A slight frown crested the edges of the knight's face; the further souring of his mood was no fault of the people he encountered-- these were the very people he was supposed to protect...

That he was sworn to protect.

That he had given his very life to protect-- time and time again.

.....

"Inadequate."

It was the only word for a Knight too careless to fail foreseeing a Fomorian until it was too late, a Knight too incompetent to keep the comrades he was charged with safe, a Dragonslayer too sloppy to slay a mere Wyvern; even overgrown as it was.

Elias' teeth ground together tightly as he dwelled on his failures, tossing his weapon-filled canvas to the ground in silent frustration once he was certain he was well and truly alone.

“Interrupt my spellcasting, and I’ll turn you into a frog.”

An unfamiliar voice snapped Reinhardt from his trance. With a deep breath, the Knight raised his shield of stoic composure once more before slowly turning to appraise the source of this unexpected interruption.

Elias' gaze carefully scrutinized the short, brown-haired woman. Though her frame was unassuming she was clearly a spellcaster; meaning her physique would only betray precious little of her own capabilities, the lack of stains or otherwise marring the color of her white clothing did however hint that the woman's abilities were not insignificant at the least. Reinhardt frowned as his gaze travelled onward; tracing carefully across the formation the woman seemed to be tracing in the dirt. Though he normally would've dismissed this sort of seemingly innocent practice of spellcasting from what appeared to be an average human Mage-- this was uncomfortably close to Airedale's walls, and though Reinhardt couldn't say he was particularly well-versed in the study and practice of Magics, he was at least confident that spells requiring sigils and circles to be etched into the ground were designed were typically the kind that were designed to cover a large area, or channel something especially potent.

Even innocent as this Woman seemed to be, this Stranger was far closer to Airedale than Reinhardt was comfortable with; especially considering how unusual recent predicaments had been.

"I apologize for distracting you, I'm only out here to get a bit of quiet practice myself." Elias spoke calmly; retrieving a simple sword from his canvas as he would settle himself a decent distance from the Mage before casually beginning to take practice swings, "May I ask what you're casting?"


@Rune_Alchemist

Reinhardt didn't waste time in departing from the War Room as he and the other Knights, only stopping long enough to give his comrades a brief address as he'd step out into the Village, "I'll be on patrol if anyone needs me."

Though the Queen's reaction had been far more calm than he'd expected, unease played upon Reinhardt's nerves; though much like the injuries he still carried from the previous mission-- he would betray nothing of it to others as he would make his way throughout Airedale. Stopping by the Blacksmith to drop off his armor for resizing, the Knight would leave the workshop with a large canvas; wrapped tightly around whatever wad contained within. Continuing past the gate, Elias would march off into the woods; out of sight.

He needed to clear his head.


@Rune_Alchemist@Pyromania99@VitaVitaAR@Crimson Paladin@FrogRFlowR

Reinhardt's nose twitched.

There it was again.

That same sweet; vaguely familiar smell... The Knight's brow furrowed in thought-- it was something almost instinctively familiar; something he should know.

Ethelred's mention of his name shook him from his thoughts.

"I take full responsibility for our loss of Od." Elias stated bluntly; clearing his throat as he stepped forward, "When the Fomorians made their assault on Redwater point-- I had allowed both Ethelred and Od out of my sight... Believing the village safe enough to drop my guard and gather what information I could on the enemy we were to face."

The Knight let out a heaving sigh as his eyes trailed to the ground, "They were inside the Village in the blink of an eye. An entire group of fifteen springing out from the village alleyways completely undetected. Somehow-- getting into the heart of the town undetected; in broad daylight no less... By the time we'd killed their leader; a large one-eyed variant supplied with fitted armor, who burst into a pile of limbs after a sphere fell from it's corpse, Od was nowhere to be seen."

Reinhardt shifted uncomfortably under the ill-fitted armor he'd borrowed from Lonan, "Rashly, I assumed our Midnight-Skinned Fomorian to instead be an intelligent colony... And thus assessed Od's kidnapping as an attempt to distract us from our initial objective. It was my decision to not pursue retrieval."

Elias paused, stone-faced as he seemed to mull over what he'd said.

"As for the Dragon-- it found us before we found it. An obscenely large Wyvern; far bigger than any I've ever heard stories of, with several vents dripping magma scattered about it's body. Though it could speak, and certainly spoke of a King it served-- it seemed... Deranged. Unstable. And that's before taking into account the fact that a portion of my family crest was over it's heart... It sought us out, named us traitors, and claimed the King it served to be one with the lands of Albion itself."

"As for how it found us-" Reinhardt paused a moment as his weight shifted once more; the knight slowly considering his words, "I can't say I know for certain... But as for the fight-- Ethelred covered it well enough. Though I was briefly incapacitated by the beast; losing my armor as a result, we were ultimately successful... However-- much as I wish to doubt the words of a mad and dying monster... It said that it would not be the last of the coming heralds-- and I'm inclined to suggest we make preparations for whatever is to come."


@Rune_Alchemist@Crimson Paladin

Elias' eyes narrowed as the molten beam tore through the hillside. Had he delayed taking action even a moment longer it would've been himself and Lonan getting annihilated instead of that distant hillside. However now that he'd had a moment to catch his breath, and had ample reinforcement in the form of Ethelred and Grainne-- the chase was at it's end.

With a downward swing, Reinhardt anchored the head of a halberd into the earth; yanking himself off of Stelbas' back with feet skidding across dirt as his momentum shifted. A hateful glare was levied toward the pursuer as the knight secured his footing, the Dragon's rampaging chase showing no sign of slowing.

Good.

Let it come.

"Ethelred-- I'm counting on your support!" Elias bellowed as he rushed forward, weapons cleaving through the earth to create a smokescreen of dirt and debris.

"Flee? From the likes of you?" Reinhart taunted the monster as he rushed through the swirling clouds of dust,"You just don't get it do you? You've committed crimes against Albion and her people! Burned their homes and families! Scarred their hearts and lands for generations to come!"

One halberd sailed through the cloud, poised to strike the side of the beast's head-- as a shape darted to the Wyvern's side....



@Rune_Alchemist

"All I need just enough time to catch my breath." Reinhardt replied, steam hissing from between his teeth with each breath. Looking over his shoulder, the knight assessed the situation-- while he knew full well the Dragon was preparing another blast of flame, there was little he could do to stop it. Despite his strength, he had no magic or any way to block or deflect the attack. While he could hurl one of the halberds down the beast's throat, he doubted that the creature wouldn't see it coming, and avoid the oncoming weapon.

The best he could come up with was breaking line of sight.

"Lonan-- veer left, right, left once more, then a hard bank back to the right!" Elias ordered as he raised a halberd high, "Brace for Impact!"


@Rune_Alchemist

As Finnegan made his rounds of the village to gather what he needed, he couldn't help but notice the destruction wreaked by the blizzard. Though the central part of the village had seemingly held well, the same couldn't be said for the homes he glimpsed that sat closer to the edges...

Collapsed roofing, shattered windows, and doors frozen in place told all that need be known.

It made it all the more sickening that the Valtem would take full advantage of such tragedy.

The spear he'd borrowed was decently sturdy, and though he didn't entirely trust the salve provided by the spider-thing, it dulled the pain of his mangled palm well enough. Despite the Hunters' rather disgruntled reception, he'd even gained himself a helping hand for the task.

"No?" Finnegan replied to the huntress; regarding the woman with a raised brow as he stalled his march down the frigid coastline. "Well, a wise old man once told me that the measure of a man comes not from looks, words, nor even the size of his blade... Only by the deeds he enacts."

"Then he'd usually kick my ass." Finn chuckled after a dramatic pause, "But anyway-- you said there was a big one with them? That's odd... Only ones that big are broodmothers as far as I know, and they stay far from the front lines; typically raise the young ones for their entire pod."

Finnegan paused, rubbing his chin in thought as he lowered himself to a crouch. "Hmmm... No kidnappings... No dead... Only thing they've targeted is food... And a broodmother is with them..."

With a soft click of his tongue Finn rose to his feet, regarding his companion once more, "I'm no expert, and I'm only basing this off of what I've heard-- but I don't think we're dealing with a raid... Maybe something pushed the Valtem off their nesting grounds and forced the broodmother to hole up here with the young while their Hunters fight it off."

"Just guessing--" Finn continued, tracing the coast with the tip of his spear up to the distant cliffs, "The Broodmother probably has herself holed up in a cove small enough that she can block the entrance with her size to protect the young. We get in there and kill them all and that entire pod'll be living on stolen time unless they've got a second Broodmother... That said, much as I like the idea of killing off an entire pod of fish freaks-- there's no telling how big the revenge raid'll be when the Hunters return and find their nest torn to bits, and I doubt Dawn has the supplies or manpower to fight off something like that."

The Apostle sighed as he stretched his legs and back, "If I were closer to home it wouldn't be an issue but given the circumstances-- I think out best bet'll be to take some Broodlings hostage and try to force a deal... Still leaves the issue of getting into the Cove, and going through the seaside entrance would be suicide... But maybe......"

He looked back to the Huntress, "Know any caves around here that might connect to a place like that?"


@Rune_Alchemist

Finnegan heaved a sigh of relief as the Woman spoke; finally letting himself go limp with exhaustion as he flopped down beside the strange Priestess.

"Haah-- I thought you were drowning... But it's a relief to hear otherwise."

Closing his eyes for a long moment, the Apostle listened to the stranger's words; mulling them over in quiet thought before offering response.

"Goddess? You mean Delphiti? Hmmm..."

Finnegan's eyes peeked open just enough compare the cartoonish figure on the screens to one of the nearby statues in the room; noting their strong resemblance. In fact he could vaguely remember seeing a woman that looked similar to both after.̵̱̰̙͛.̵̡͗̇̀.̶̖̬͓̇͗̓.̶͕̈́͠.̴͈̳̾̌.̷̫̓͆̑

A splitting headache ravaged Finnegan's skull as he tried to recall what happened before the dream.

"Ach-- I... I think she may have played a part in me running into you."

Finn grunted as he sat himself up groggily, "Attacking a coastal Village right after a blizzard is an age old strategy of the Valtem-- but it's wierd for them to be this far North..."

Finn shook his head as he rubbed his eyes, it seemed that healing the sick and injured wouldn't be the only task God had in store for him-- but nonetheless he answered the request with a smile, "Akala right? My name's Finn. Give me my backpack, some bandages for my hand, and point me toward where I can get a decent spear... I'll see what I can do about those fish freaks."


@Rune_Alchemist

"Ugh..." Finnegan groaned as he blinked away black splotches from his vision.

Straining against his own fatigue, he lifted his head just enough to see the child that he'd pushed himself so hard to heal; seeing that their breathing had evened, if only slightly.

Finn's head fell back with a satisfied sigh. He stared at his mangled palm; turning it side to side as he flexed each finger before balling it into a fist. Even as the slow trickle of blood dripped down his arm Finn couldn't but smile with pride.

This wasn't just another posting. It wasn't just another skill somebody else could just do better. The power that had healed that child was his own... Even if it was a blessing from God--

It was his. And that was all that mattered.

Satisfied, Finnegan let himself go slack; content to nap off the exhaustion that had taken him on the cool stone floor. But as his eyes began to grow heavy-- motion on a small blue panel caught his attention.

The cartoonish depiction of the Woman he vaguely remembered from his dream seemed to be poking a motionless body that lay face down in the water.

"Huh?"

The Apostle tilted his head with squinted eyes, trying to make sense of why he was seeing such a thing.

Was it some kind of metaphor? A cryptic warning? A prophecy?

Or was it the fact he was less than ten feet from a woman that seemed to be drowning in an ornately decorated pool?

....

Finnegan's eyes nearly popped out of his head as the realization dawned on him; shoving himself onto his belly as he scrambled for the waters' edge. Wasting not a moment, and caring little for the bloodly trail his hand left behind-- he took hold of the Woman and heaved her from the drink with all his might!

Yanking the Woman onto the stone, Finnegan ran through protocol for rescuing drowners in his head. Laying the stranger onto her back-- he would lean his ear down to her face to first check if she was still breathing...
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