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22 days ago
Current roguishly yet charmingly pulling a trick of sleight of hand, i ask the mayor if he was "looking for THIS"? as i pull his varangian guard's czerka from behind his back and get tackled immediately
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2 mos ago
its usually either that or you just completely house the opponent by being some manner of stupidly athletic by comparison that happens too
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2 mos ago
Timing, distance, balance, and deception. Fighting, especially in the man-to-man realm, often boils down to a game of lies. You find ways to make the other idiot see a pattern and then break it on him
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3 mos ago
guys how do you get a bear trap out of a chimney? i have a lot of blood to clean up
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4 mos ago
Staring dead into the soul of my sleep paralysis demon at 2:14 AM, one minute until the caesium capsule i swallowed by mistake ruptures. I've been ready to meet God for years. My eyes ask him— "are yo
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Gerard Segremors

@VitaVitaAR@PigeonOfAstora@ERode@Raineh Daze

The clanging report was as though the grand bells of Aimlenn's chapel, rung to herald the day's passage— and beneath it, Gerard could feel old bones creak, maybe even give. A good hit to be certain, better than he would have dared imagine sinking into the Hero in his life—

Yet, inevitably, the armor fell away as the gleaming titan pivoted off the impact, finally having wrenched his blade free and bringing it to bear. The revived had no need for air, felt no pain, weren't traumatized by the shock rippling through their innards the way the living foes Gerard had faced until this point were. Techniques developed to maim and kill common soldiers were doubtlessly useful, rooted in universal principle— but it was a sure fool who expected them to work in full on one well past being killed. He had known as much going in.

Backhanded swing of the Demonbreaker. Propelled by the rotational velocity of Cazt's pivot away from the prior strike, it didn't waste motion. His skills were alive in there. However—

Gerard was close, necessary for the shorter Dawn's Break. There was less leverage the old knight could bring to bear for a cut, even with the space he'd created by his backward step. The arc of danger for the longsword, sharp as a razor even now, was as broad as the summer's day, but a sword's ricasso was never the ideal cutting edge— dulled by its lower velocity.

Erich's reflexes were surely there, in fairness, but a flash of blonde and blue appeared in the periphery, a streak of steel erupting from below less than a blink later. The Captain, repeating her thrust into the armpit from their fight against Jeremiah. It would find no lethal artery.

Yet it would jam the shoulder joint within Cazt's kinetic chain. Even if he somehow bypassed the well-forged steel lodged within, that would further slow his blade. A fraction of a second window becomes multiple. Strength that cracked mountains, speed that baffled demonkind, danger that lived centuries past the mortal life—

There would be no other opportunity like this, where he was nearer to human.

He could not think and waste any time. When opportunity struck, it was to be seized. Technically he could egress with this much— An idea immediately blown away by action, and instinct.

How did Serenity do it, that spar?

Gerard stepped forward and in, mirroring the undead's rotation to maintain the dominant angle.

His mace arm extended up, bringing the sturdy, blessed steel haft of Dawn's break to bear against Cazt's sword. The Demonbreaker was sharp enough to hew stone, yes. But enchanted weaponry was storied for exceeding the robustness of the materials they were forged from. Between this, and all the factors that would slow and dull the stroke, it was a worthy gamble.

He wouldn't go arm for arm against a massive foe, and waste this motion.

Almost simultaneously, the sturdy shield in his left hand slammed, as though a battering ram, against the shining revebrace, just behind the opponent's elbow. Blocking the arm's extension with a physical barrier, threatening hyperextension— the latter likely not a concern, but the former all-important.

He wouldn't go weapon for weapon against such a legend, none of them should have. However, if he could take it away..!

Shifting the haft of his mace in his grip, Segremors swiftly brought the butt of Dawn's Break forward, a shower of sparks casdcading forth— and hooked the crossguard from behind.

With a wrench of the hips, his whole body weight twisted, forcing the shield forth and down while the blade was yanked up— all of the force he could muster matched against Cazt's one hand. A bare fraction of a long-dead hero, versus the full, living physicality of a lifetime farmer, then mercenary, and one day proper knight.

A gamble borne of daring and desperation, propelled by the sudden, violent seizure of the moment's window the Knight-Captain had bought him.

If it paid off, it would rip the sword from the goliath's grasp.

If he considered it not paying off, fear would have taken the moment, and it'd be lost for sure.
István Shilage

@The Otter@VKAllen

"It's a shame, really. The Lady Amelie is no longer with us. The realm is poorer for it."

Guillaume Fotier. The Sincere. Knight-Errant, living upright and truthful in his every waking moment, smiling goodwill ever plastered upon his face. A shining beacon of all that "Chivalry" was to entail, his earnestness and commitment to that which was good and just had a reputation the preceded even the reach of his blade, pointedly named "Sincerity." The latest in a long line of Ithillane knights that, it seemed, enjoyed the West much more than his predecessors.

You couldn't place a man more in opposition of István without the cosmos backing your try. He regarded the sauntering blonde coolly, face cast in stone that all present knew would far from preturb the Honest Knight. They had shared some time in mutual service to Earl Edric— known quantities to eachother twice over. To that end, Shilage felt no need to conduct his usual prodding, and instead replied to the comfortable greeting with a grimness that could only belong with bearing bad news.

"The storm took her while at sea." He continued, glancing to the young heir that stood beside him for a moment. "A sudden tragedy. A reminder to us that we must rejoice each day we wake with breath left to draw."

Case in point: István knew well that it served none to let slip that Cadmon was here rather than administrating the holdings that had been left to him when the Earl had also perished. Guillaume was to the core fettered, and let his honesty color his judgement freely, but he wasn't a fool. He had known the Demet house and its heir long enough to put things together, if given the requisite pieces— and for such an upright man, this situation could only be abandonment of responsibility, and from there objectionable.

He would not betray them in wartime, such was a concern for fools— but they didn't need him protesting their presence, either.

So instead, István allowed the mournful truth to alter his tone, ever so slightly, from his usual oppressive rumble. It was shameful; Amelie and Edric both had taken great pains to accomodate him as all but one of their own in his time as the latter's understudy— a kindness not at all necessary, but one never to be forgotten. Perhaps if he had joined them, he would have changed things, strong as an ox and capable enough swimmer.

But he was not, and they had passed— just as likely that Cadmon would be left without trustworthy council after the fierce gale broke upon the coast if he had, too. With no way of knowing, the mind would be poisoned by the question.

"You look well. The road ever suits your whimsy."
Gerard Segremors

@VitaVitaAR@PigeonOfAstora@ERode@Raineh Daze

As the gust of wind from the upturned blade of Demonbreaker touched his cheeks, Gerard in turn loosed a breath, the ragged exhale his one allowed moment of awe. He'd halted his charge for a moment to lift the shield high and stand firm, instinctively snapping to on orders for a foothold— and with that breath, surged forth again. The time Serenity had bought wouldn't last long... even with the titan before him a pale shadow of his life.

Of course he knew of Erich Cazt. Every boy, from the farmstead to the highest houses of Thaln, had been raised towards righteousness and courage in hearing the tale of the Hero, Aimlenn's savior. His stalwart defense of the capital, ages past... before him stood a Legend of his childhood. The Demonbreaker. A beacon of the strength a brave man could reach— equal to the Saint Elionne, founder of the Roses. Equal to Cyrus, the mighty Hammer, whose relics still shone within Candaeln's halls. Equal to Agrahn Sahlbard, whose tale of rising beyond common soldiery through battle-raging strength beyond measure had been the last glimmer of hope through hell countless times— proof of the Dream.

Erich Cazt stood among any of them.

Yet here he was now, jerked around upon invisible threads by some puppeteering freak in the tomb of his family, yet more salt in the open wound of the traitor's dishonorable acts. To disturb the rest of the fallen was already unforgivable. For that, he had resolved, twice over, to see this necromancer bloodied and broken, left to whatever judgement the crown would have left to serve in the wake of Reon's mighty wrath.

To disturb the rest of this hero, so foundational to all who dared against insurmountable odds, and force his body to be the towering enemy of the city he had so defended... Oh, man. You've done it now.

Eyes like the oncoming sun, they flicked up to find that the Demonbreaker had earned its name undeniably in the way it had shorn through solid stone— but because of the angle, or perhaps because of Erich's soulless body being a mere shadow of his former might, it had also caught within it. Weapon out of commission. shield on the far side. Against a foe of this caliber, whose swings could through wind-force alone send a stalwart dame like Serenity flying, there would never come a better opportunity.

He dove into the space opened upon the reanimated Knight's side, twisted hips, trunk, and torso, and threw his weight behind the head of the morningstar. Armoring of this quality probably wouldn't even come close to being smashed apart in the vein of the undead that had come prior, and with only bones beneath, it was hard to say how much damage the raw force would do internally.

Could it break bones? Maybe.

Would it get the undead's attention squarely upon him, opening up the Captain, Serenity, and Lein for possible angles past, either to attack the caster or help bring down the behemoth itself?

That felt far, far more likely.

In his off hand, he gripped the shield tight, knowing it'd be needed soon if he wanted to last long enough to accomplish anything.

But if even one of his fellows managed to hamstring this nightmare scenario while he threw himself into the fire... Then that'd be worth the risk.

Anything to give the Hero rest once more.

Anything that got them closer to this fiend’s head.
István Shilage

@The Otter@Eisenhorn@Psyker Landshark

"We're taught to remember where we came from."

All told, there were little questions to be had as to just how the mercenary had come about to be plying his chosen trade beneath the banners of the Lions. The sharpness in his eyes told the tale his meager origin and nonexistent status belied, for what they lacked in the Goddess-given spark of noble bearing they made up for in shrewd observation. A battlefield veteran would need no less to survive well, and without any guarantee of underlings delegable for menial tasks like "finding people" and "remembering who went where", they were necessarily primed to assist him in picking up the slack these situations left on the individual. Where he lacked in formal sculpting, necessity had moulded him.

Something close to a smirk flickered across his face as they walked, the brew-clutching behemoth a pair of strides behind the golden-eyed hireling. Imagine Cadmon, having to run his own errands in such a way.

The North would have been eaten alive by Estival in weeks.

"And it seems such friendly fortune has graced you as well," came the booming rejoinder as the pair located his charge after a respectably short while, the young heir's slouch concealing his height and frame in a fashion to the older man would, one day, finally kick the hell out of him long enough to not be so recognizable. "Yet still you refuse to cast aside such a dull expression, despite your lovely company. Anger her at your own peril, boy, an Crownsblade scorned is a shameful loss for us all."

Despite his admonishing words, he spared the both of them any show of tutting or theatrics— Cadmon wouldn't buy it for a moment, and Lambert wouldn't find the humor. Instead, he simply strode forth, nodding his thanks to Urden as the task he'd set upon the man was now complete.

"Here." The mug in his right hand, slightly fuller than its twin, was thrust forth for the young Earl to accept. "Drink. The drums of war are closing upon us. You'll need to be sharp."
Gerard Segremors



A blur of motion, and the unbalancing weight on his shield arm ripped free. Two foes ahead, one hostage between them. A sea of undead. Gerard had only locked eyes with the lightning mage for a moment, ozone still fresh in the air...

"The order is important here."

... And made his decision.

Steel flashed through the gloom, following the gleaming points of Cecilia's hastily loosed arrows. The throwing knife from earlier sailed end over end in their wake, pitched less with refined accuracy and specificity of target— and so much more a vengeful streak of raw force centered upon her torso. She was long range artillery compressed and refined into wielding the hammer of the storm— she'd cook them if she wasn't kept upon the back foot.

He was no distance fighter. He'd need to charge her to close that gap, probably slowed by smashing through the reanimated. Only three of them being here as it stood... best to leave this to the only archer among them, who didn't need to peel away from the unit.

The former merc brough his now-uniform shield to bear and brandished Dawn's Break, holding the blessed bludgeon tight to his frame. The boiling fury that had propelled him so was rising again within his drumming heart— pulling in the sight of the half-masked, sneering fiend ahead, of the struggles of the bound and gagged captive, the ugly hue of that barrier, the twisting of space bending light unnaturally...

And focusing it upon a single command:


Riding the wave of heat that flowed forth, the tip of the spear crashed into the shuffling ranks that lay between them and the innocent life they had come forth to save, his shield and mace swinging, smashing, hammer and anvil. He knew the Captain wouldn't trail. The thought had not even crossed his mind long enough to evolve to a worry— it was instead cast aside, as his baleful glare beneath the shadows of his sallet were affixed upon the glinting nephrite sphere atop the staff.

For Reon, For the Roses, and For the desecrated dead— He'd smash that thing to powder.
István Shilage

@The Otter@Eisenhorn


Above one of the many fires set in the Lions' camp beneath those crimson banners, burly hands navigated a task far more delicate than they'd ever been built for. Though pale in a manner diagnostic of reduced sunlight, suggesting time spent in the range of years to the heights of Velt's colder north, they'd been quick to regain their old color closer to home— and had never once lacked in the gnarled, robust structure, all callused palms, thick fingers, and overdeveloped knuckles, that so encased the horn-carved spoon in their grip. Made to grip things firmly, take the shock of impact, a soldier's mitts— not those of an alchemist. If you looked at them, you would think them lost for subtlety.

We've had that merchant bandying her wares about for a while now. Loud as ever tonight— if this proves the goods aren't worth the racket, then I'll have to kick her over to the western flank— to say nothing of the librans.

Regardless, looks were oft deceiving, and the man's movements carried within themselves the tightly corralled precision and dexterity that so belied the broad and strong physique he carried— clear and exacting in cadence and force. One, two, three spoonfuls, each the same mass, fell into the long-handled pot balanced upon his knee, cast from copper. His eyes could read the structure of each mound, his fingers could feel the weight, and his body remembered the motion almost as well as his mind could recall his own name. Three, and no more. He needed sharpness when battle approached, not jitters, not a half-cocked buzz. Three would serve best, having ground the beans so fine in his pestle beforehand.

A gust of wind broke upon his broad back, carrying with it the smoke of fires like his own and the odor of roasting meat. Some of their liked to enter battles like the one they'd soon undertake with a full stomach, citing it gave them strength. In István's mind, it made him sluggish— he always preferred coffee to stave off the rest digestion desired. Any loss in physical capability would be overcome by the mental gain.

Additionally, he did like that it made him a touch meaner. Good for war.

In circling back to their mercantile accoutrement, he did in fairness have high hopes— the smell of the grounds was right once he added a pinch of grated cardamom, carefully retrieved by his cook from a heavy iron spicebox, and shook. This was a Nemish method of preparation, and so Nemish beans were preferable— Lirrah's sources were wide enough to feasibly have exchanged something authentic for his coin. Having swung down here, to the southern end of Velt's territory, the Lions had brought Istvan far closer to home than he'd been in the years prior— Demet territory was on the other side of the nation from the small holdings of the recently-risen Shilage.

Apple orchards, Thalnic river salmon, properly roasted coffee— this assignment had in some respects spoilt István with the tastes of his childhood. Of that which his heritage sung within the heart. Even here, in his battleground ritual, he was following a grandfather's, then father's teachings. He would too teach it to his son— as he had a little brother, or perhaps cousin. He'd need to find the boy soon, whatever he might call him.

A gooseneck drew the swirl of endlessness into the pot as he poured the water, all that ever was and ever would be in the details. Reon's light was found within them, embossing flaw, strength, method, madness. Attention paid meant result earned, simply put. He poured slow, and deliberate, saturating the savory dust with ninefold its weight in water. Then, upon the opposite axis, he repeated the motion with the spoon, never exceeding twelve rings drawn.

Less would make it weak. More would ruin its balance.

Finally satisfied, his eyes at last turned up to gaze upon the fire he was seated aside, beholding a heavy pot of cast iron filled with, of all things, sand. This was the method that turned a wild flame into a smooth, gentle blanket of heat that the Nem had taught his ancestors. The trick to allow the contents of the shining copper pot to foam and simmer, instead of boil over and scald, scattering bitterness about a drink that was to be robust and rich.

Two minutes. The simmer rising up the sides would tell him it was done. His gaze remained affixed to the pots through the time, stony mask unchanging even as a familiar subordinate (Jakob, if memory served) appeared in his peripheral.

"Sir Shilage." the man began, disciplined yet quite overeager to carry out his task. This must be a summons, then— István'd noticed the young man pounding a footpath directly through camp to his tent. "The Earl wishes you to meet him at the Lady's pavilion—"

"The boy isn't the only Earl Lady Hraesleg has caught up in the storm of her rise." He preached in reply, unwavering in gaze or expression. "You're lucky I recognize you as one of ours. Next time, a name."


The servant, in spite of himself, flinched as the older man suddenly burst into motion, reaching forward to quickly pry his cezve free from the sandpot, spooning the foam into the pair of waiting mugs that lied upon a cloth rag before deliberately pouring the contents in, a dark brown liquid akin to melted chocolate.

"He asked for me, then. Where was he last?"

Accompanying the query, the rightward mug was thrust into the servant's hands, insistent and accompanied by a smirk that, in Jakob's mind, might have been a welcoming and pleasant smile on another face. Obviously the man wished him to drink the fresh brew... but to what end? What was it he clearly meant to gain? He was known to the Demet troops and underlings of almost every stripe as serious and harsh, not one to freely share his precious potions. Was Shilage giving him thanks for the relayed message, or about to test him?

Suppressing a shiver from the breeze, he brought the warm ceramic to his lips...

Satisfied that Lirrah's beans wouldn't be poisoning the only real heir of his honored mentor, István would shortly douse the flame and order the men under his command to prepare themselves after packing out camp. He was already halfway suited himself, gambeson on his body shielding his torso from the cooling breezes that raced through the grounds. it wouldn't be long before the operation kicked off, so apropos of nothing, he intended to ensure the Earl enough awareness that he'd survive the eve.

He made his walk beneath the banners, mug held level and rigid in either hand. Another skill borne of long, long practice. As his long strides carried him through the sights and cacophony of a wartime encampment, every bit chaotic as it was regimented, his ears picked upon a jaunty, familiar tune wafting through the air.

Urden, a mercenary, was also in preparation, as the high rasp of whetstone on honed steel laced itself between the verses of his voice. Jovial and underhanded in equal measure, the dark-haired man was as archetypal of his profession as it got— the free spirit of a man whose vice had been leveraged into a trade, with it freedom. Loyalty to coin was quite fluid compared to that of blood, and István made no pretensions that he didn't consider it of equal value— but by the same token, each libran that had bought his services had been earned back double in bloodshed. That, any man could respect.

A fellow soldier from a martial lineage, all the more so.

As he passed, István raised one mug in greeting, a bassy rumble of hummed rhythm settling beneath that of the mercenary's lyrics.

"Any chance you've seen Earl Demet wandering off somewhere?"

He'd been hoping to intercept him, but found his tent barren. From the sound of it, the boy didn't intend to meet until the moment of briefing.
Gerard Segremors


"Give yourself two more. Deep and slow. Settle the heart."

His unrequested counsel was delivered with a flinty, matter-of-fact pitch— quite clearly, Gerard was used to similarly pragmatic reception. He hoped inwardly that she'd find it a centering bedrock, as he did at her age. Twice now it was what he could offer, in about as many days— and for all it served as cold comfort, there was occasion and time for little else.

As violet flashed in his periphery and he heard the ripple of water where it didn't belong, the knight had just enough time to affix a suspicious glare onto the churlishly waving figure that had thrown the knife his way— and grunted in dissatisfaction as they disappeared, seemingly into the aether. He listened for footsteps... but only found the sounds of fighting above to greet his ears.

A snort heralded the clap of his leathered glove onto her back, urging her to shake it off. Not much else to be done right now...

Following it was the soft squelch as he pulled the blessed morningstar, cast in a flight of frenzy at the scarlet mass of fibrous threads, free from the heap of meat it and the shield had tangled within.

"No idea where that one went, but if there's more like this further down, in the final chamber..."

His frown deepened, kicking the shield clear of the tangle of red that had, of course, coated it thoroughly in blood.

He looked back to her, hefting the spiked and blessed bludgeon.

"We'll need to keep our heads above water."

He wouldn't, of course, start assumption of command here. There was a vast gap to bridge between "a little shaken" and "unfit for duty"— and as his urging would suggest, he had every intent on keeping it from beinbg crossed. Shield and mace in hand, both bloodied, the erstwhile mercenary awaited the advance of his peers.

Much as he wanted to serve as a battering ram for the Roses, he had set his diligence on the task of rear guard until directed otherwise.

Gerard Segremors


The jarring of the impact carried through his grip, cross his elbow, and down the length of his arm, and with it came the knowledge that his strike was sure and true. In its instant wake, the billow of white-gold flame of derelict flesh meeting aggressive purity, and the deep, ugly crack of a shattering knee twice the size of any man's.

As the momentum of his rush carried him further, in his peripheral he saw the hulking mass of reanimated flesh shift, waver, and then sag to the floor. A breath later, the mighty crash of the massive hammer falling to the floor, the arm carrying it in tow. Crippled. Nearly dead. Not quite yet—

Before he could pivot and skid to a full stop, something flashed to his front, and before his eyes could pull the form from the blurring metal his shield rose to intercept its path. Reflexes acted faster than thoughts and commands. The speed and direct path meant that there wasn't time to rely on anything else.

A deep, thunking report— thrown knife. Had to be. Too common a sound in his old profession— it was a rare mercenary that didn't try to learn the skill to pass the time, if not add it to their arsenal.

His instincts told him to pry it free and sling it back at the enshrouded figure near the stairwell. Occupy the threat, pin him in place to defend or throw him off his retreat course to dodge. For it's own sake, even, there always was a certain satisfaction to harassing ranged fighters with the sudden surprise.

However, fate did not allow this.

He heard Dame Cecilia's incantation, the growling winds that surrounded her next arrowhead.

He heard Lein's hastened warning, before the hammering thrum of his bowstring, sending arrow after arrow downrange.

He heard the Captain's yelp of surprise, panic creeping into her tone as, with a sickening squelch—


He whirled, bringing the blessed morningstar to bear with another mighty swing. A hit to the spine to freeze it in place was the general notion. Instead, he was greeted with the sight of Dawn's Break smashing into red threads of animated muscle that were extending from the severed shoulder, towards his neck. Another moment and it would have choked him.

His eyes followed the tendrils from their root point, the burning flame warding off those that sought his end.


He burst into motion. Even one second wasted, and the Order would be tarnished with yet another fallen leader. They'd already brushed with death, her and he, just two days prior— and already, he had made up his mind. She was young, inexperienced, thrust into a station few could be ready for. None, he would argue, none her age would be. A kid. No older than he when he first became a faceless grunt.

Dawn's Break flew, hurled in the direction of the stump's base. He needed his hands free. If Reon smiled upon him, the weapon may even have grazed the mass of tendrils in its flight.

An instant behind came the shield, cast in the path of the remaining tendrils that would check his movement. They grabbed, snatched, reached for things to crawl along, devour, and choke— the disc of wood and metal would occupy them for the crucial moment he needed.

If he, so convinced of his battlefield tenure, allowed her to die under his watch...

He could never call himself a Knight.

Pulled free from the scabbard on his back, his longsword was a steely thunderbolt, crashing down upon the trunk of sinew with all the cutting force its blade and wielder, oldest and purest of allies, could muster.
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