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Date/Time: November 11th, 2022.
Location(s): Redline, en Route to Museum of Parahuman History



As the Director's voice faded with the severed connection, the girl in a blue, faux-armored bodysuit fiddled with her gear one final time, checking the concealed buttons and committing the contents of her utility pouch to heart. "This scenario smells." Personally, Jen felt like that went without saying, but maybe some of her new "comrades" weren't quite so on the ball. Wasn't she generous then for coming out with it? Her voice came through her helmet with a slight electronic twinge to it from the filter, muddying the waters for those that might feel like getting cute about using that to trace her for some forsaken reason. "They don't even know what we're up against, and yet, they're so sure it's going to be a disaster? One that needs..." She briefly counted off on her fingers. "What is it now? Thirteen parahumans?"


Her visored visage panned around the occupants of the transport she'd chosen, and with great difficulty, she stopped her eyes from lingering on the fucking Mast- Wilbur, she corrected herself. Or Faeble now. Whatever. As much as she'd personally have preferred not to be breathing the same oxygen as one of... those, she also knew her hatred stemmed solely from an ideological place of spite and... well, probably trauma. Sure, whatever. Her powers protected her from that shit nowadays, so it wasn't like she was... exactly afraid of him. Well, maybe she was a little, in that irrational little animal-hindbrain corner of her mind, unbeholden to reality.

The point was! She chose this transport precisely because she didn't trust the little shit. She didn't know everything about her allies' powers, didn't know if any of them had any sort of defense of their own, but if "Faeble" decided he felt cute enough to try something? She'd be there to put a stop to it. Surely, that was something a hero would do, protecting their teammates? She wasn't being paranoid. Definitely not. This was a completely sensible course of action!

Tapping her armored kneecaps as the transport rolled along, Jen's lips pursed unseen. The more she thought about it, the more she wasn't sure she wanted to "follow the lead" of anyone in a situation filled with so many unknowns. As if any of these people would know better than her how her power was best utilized! The nerve! Regardless, as much as the urge to "ask for forgiveness rather than permission" was strong indeed, she held it at bay for the time being. She could be patient. She could wait. It wasn't like she was rearing to get into fisticuffs with villains for no good reason, after all. She could wait to hear how these lauded, so-called "Guardians" thought she was best used, before she considered going off the reservation. Surely, she was judging them too harshly, right? This could be an easy test of their competence.

Leaning back in her seat, she did her best to bleed some of the tension from her spine. 'Stay, objective, girl. You're safe. Your power will save you. No matter how tits up this goes, you'll come out ahead in the end, just as always.' Yeah... Yeah, this was... fine, right? She was just getting "first day jitters", as it were. That was all there was to it. She wasn't the one whose neck was on the line if this went as badly as everyone up top seemed to think it would. She just had to stay on target, do her part, and come out looking squeaky clean. Easy peasy.

Even so...

"Maybe, the Director didn't quite say so explicitly, but the unknown is often the most dangerous thing you can have to deal with," Wattson continued with a somewhat more productive line of conversation. Backing out didn't seem to be an option in this little trial by fire, so they would just have to make do. "Anyway, any of you played Dungeons and Dragons? Or, I guess, any RPG game with class roles in it?" Spreading her arms, Wattson smiled unseen. "Just think of me as your party Rogue. If you let me, I'll do my best to ensure the path is clear before you dive in, scout things out and see about lessening the number of surprises we have to deal with. I can get in and out undetected. Better still, I can transmit pertinent information back to you in real-time." She tapped the side of her helmet, indicating the comms. "In general? I'm yer' gal for information gathering. That's what I bring to the table..."

She trailed off leadingly. If they were going to make this work, best to get at least a lightning round of strategizing out of the way. She didn't have time to dive into the length and breadth of her power's capabilities... nor was she particularly inclined to share outside of necessity, but "party roles"? That was easier to digest. It gave everyone a place and structure within the unit, and more importantly, it gave this ragtag band at least the barest semblance of the lacking organization that they desperately needed. Frankly, there were too many people involved in this for a bunch that didn't even know each-other, never mind that the Director had said outright that many were complete novices... some -like "V"- more obvious than others.

"Oh yeah, and in case it needed saying before we dive into the shitstorm, like this, you can call me Wattson."
In Pariah 1 mo ago Forum: Casual Roleplay

Location: Business District/Midtown --> Lab Crisis



Closing the door of her driver's car, the pinkette young woman groaned, as she slumped languidly down into the cushioned backseat area. Oak-brown eyes slipped closed, as she leaned back, savoring the low thrum of the vehicle's electric engine, a comfortable quiet settling over the private interior, the front seats separated from the back by a divider with a tinted -and currently closed- window set into it. She wasn't in the mood for idle chatter, and VERONICA had clearly conveyed so beforehand to Xavier, the driver, hence the lack of so much as a greeting inquiring on welfare.

Not that she needed the meddlesome old-timer to worry about her, but she supposed it was nice that he cared.

Whether that was because she didn't treat him like garbage... or because she was the reason for his paycheck? Who could say.

"Severance packages delivered," came a familiar smooth, feminine voice with a hint of buzzing to it, much to the pinkette's restrained groan of irritation. The last thing she wanted to think about right now was the hassle the day had been. Too many good workers had been fired today. She would admit that freely, but it had to be done, irregardless of their otherwise laudable competence and technical expertise. Allowing themselves to be bribed for corporate espionage? Divulging company secrets? Could they be any more foolish? She was not in any position to show mercy to those that broke their contracts, and to expect anything else from her was the height of arrogance.

Certainly, some had had their reasons, ones that even made them victims of a sort in all this, but an example had to be made, a no-tolerance policy enforced. And of course, she wasn't going to stop at just firing them. No no, compromising their contracts? Potentially endangering the bank's integrity and reputation? Her legal teams were already chomping at the bit to take them for everything they were worth, perhaps badly enough to take back what they had earned from the company and more. It was nasty business, but it was necessary. In this age of marvels, you couldn't allow a single chink in the armor to fester, couldn't show weakness. Not to the public. Not to your allies and subordinates. And most especially not to your enemies... and the opportunistic worms and dregs writhing beneath the surface of society.

"Excellent work as always," Sighing, Kasumi favored the personal AI's report with a nod, which she knew had been seen of course. Her sunshades functioned as a form of visor, an Omni-Lens, allowing seamless wireless access to The Nexus and projecting a one-way holographic interface for her private viewing on the inner lenses. Naturally, with a personal AI at the helm, modded most especially for security, she had little reason to worry about being compromised... even if she did sometimes wish it was a little more feasible to operate "off the grid" in a productive manner.

"Of course, Ma'am," VERONICA replied easily.

A familiar buzzing from her phone brought Kasumi's attention to the screen with a frown. Swiping through the lock screen, her pink brows furrowed at the general alert of a major fire. Lips pursing lightly, she skimmed several related articles. The disaster in the making was yet ongoing and by no means appearing to be any closer to handled, such was the intensity of the blaze. "A laboratory, huh? I wonder if a chemical spill has anything to do with how the fire got out of hand so quickly..."

"Undoubtably, Ma'am," VERONICA chirped.

Kasumi sighed... again. She seemed to have been doing that a lot today. The (un)natural pinkette shifted in her seat, right leg crossing atop her left. Her newsfeed, helpfully curated by VERONICA for the sake of relevancy, made mention of several other incidents in progress... including a major jewelry robbery. Honestly, sometimes Kasumi wondered if today was just one of those days or if New Haven was always like this... and she simply too busy and ... sheltered to notice it. "Should I be worried about this?" It was a general question but more directed towards the fire. The jewelry was insured... probably, and it was exactly none of her business to be going out of her way to make enemies with the latest flamboyant nutjob on the block.

The holographic image of a brunette secretary, smartly-dressed for an office environment, briefly flickered into the corner of her sunshades' view. "Xavier has already been informed to correct our course. Due to detours, regrettably, arrival to the estate shall be 4.2069 minutes diverged from your arranged schedule." Kasumi rolled her eyes lightly. She wasn't that anal about her time management, but try telling that to VERONICA. The AI seemed to take even understandably unpredictable delays personally. Honestly, Kasumi supposed there were worse quirks for an AI to develop in its lifetime, Terminator homicide tendencies among them. Frankly, she could handle some nagging over punctuality. It was even helpful most of the time.

Regardless... "Belay that directive," Kasumi slowly inhaled steadily and then exhaled sharply through her nose.

"Ma'am?" VERONICA inquired with a tone of confusion and... resignation? It really was impressive what technology could accomplish these days.

"Resume our prior course," Kasumi ordered easily, a wry smile accompanying drooping eyelids. Her own tone contained a spark of resignation, itself. The "did I stutter" went unsaid and would remain so. She didn't even have to repeat herself. She had given her orders, and she knew VERONICA and Xavier would carry them out without fail. VERONICA went silent for a small time, clearly conversing with Xavier, and Kasumi's gaze tracked the world outside, the scenery soon shifting into a familiar route through the city streets. The interior remained quiet once more for a time, disturbed only by the calming thrum for the mostly silent vehicle. The AI certainly had enough processing power to carry out two conversations at once, of course, but there were no more inquiries to be had. An AI of such high quality had plenty of pattern recognition to spare to see where this was going.

The crowded sidewalks passed by without incident, as the car navigated the city streets, citizenry hardly sparing the vehicle any more attention than they would any other. As intended, of course. Kasumi may have come from means... but she had long since learned her lesson. Flaunting those means so easily drew attention, and attention drew trouble and enemies, foes and obstacles that could only be dealt with by extrajudicial methods. Therefore, as a rational, productive and law-abiding citizen, it behooved her to make her comings and goings within the same sort of vehicles as any average civilian... within a certain reason, of course.

While the car was a navy-blue affair and generally reminiscent of the average five-seater, it was naturally high-end. She had spared no expense in ensuring the windows were very much bulletproof, never mind the rest of the vehicle. Extensively internally modified as it was, it might as well have been an armored assault transport. EMP shielding was a sensible expense for the essential functions, as was enough horsepower to clear 200 mph on a good day. In addition, it naturally was installed with the capacity to be piloted by an AI -specifically VERONICA- so that she could take over for the "fatally human" driver, Xavier, if need be. Simply put, Kasumi had taken as many covert precautions as she could manage to create the most efficient and robust getaway car she could without getting into Architect levels of bullshittery. After all, the priority was never to fight if she could avoid it. She was a law-abiding businesswoman. It only made sense.

Luckily, as so happened to be the case today, she wasn't expecting a fight.



Traffic had thinned, as the crisis crept into visual range. Rolling down her window, Kasumi grimaced at the stench of smoke and the acrid scent of chemicals in the air that impacted her senses from afar, her spirit partially manifested beside her to take better stock of the situation. By now, she could see the cordon of law enforcers and emergency responders, along with the various gawkers and news crews stationed outside it, contributing nothing productive to the situation but beady eyes scrambling pathetically for their next fix of excitement as do-nothing bystanders. If anything, they were a hinderance, wasting the trained professionals' time and energy, instead of leaving them to actually help the people in need.

"Filthy hyenas," the pinkette scoffed, as Xavier turned them perpendicular to the masses. His read of the situation was in accordance with her own it seemed. They certainly weren't driving through that useless mass that was wasting whatever oxygen the fire wasn't inhaling, at least not without making a serious scene to clear the way. But that was fine. Calling through the dividing window, she said, "I'll depart here, Xavier. In the meantime, feel free to find somewhere quiet to wait things out. Pick up a snack if you like. This may take a while."

The transport slid to a buttery-smooth stop, and Kasumi disembarked promptly, shutting the door behind her and straightening her light grey suit-jacket and purple tie. The car pulled away with the almost frightening silence electric vehicles were often prone to, practically a ghost underneath the clamor of the crowds and the chaos of the calamity. Striding through the crowds towards the cordon, the pinkette made little attempt to be polite about it. While she was hardly shoulder-checking people, if they were in the way of her beeline, her presently invisible spirit quite firmly and inexorably moved them with a guiding hand on a shoulder or otherwise.

Approaching the officers briskly, Kasumi reached into her pocket and drew out identification, more specifically her license card as a registered Noble. "I'd say good day to you, but I can't help but feel it would be misplaced in the present circumstances. So, let's skip the pleasantries, officers. There's people in need, and I'm licensed to help them." So spoke the young woman in casual business attire, as pink petals began to peel off the palms of her hands. "Point me to the problem areas, and I'll handle the rest, lighten your load." The smile she shot them wasn't her "winning" PR best, but instead a facade of humble, cautious optimism, designed to stoke hearts to "do their best" in a seemingly hopeless situation. She didn't feel a whit of what she was projecting, of course, but the job of a "hero" was to save hearts as much as lives.

And Kasumi was a prideful sort. She knew it well, but she couldn't help it. The only things in life worth expending effort on were those one intended to do well. Not just well, but to an exceptional standard. It was a completely unnecessary responsibility she was foisting upon herself at times, but she was nothing if not committed to doubling down once she finally decided to become involved. So it had been in the past, and so it would be today. The possibility of genuine failure wasn't even a consideration. She decreed it.
In Pariah 2 mos ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
In Pariah 2 mos ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
Unreasonable temptation to throw hat into the ring: Growing.

Location: Western farmstead, Pesti, Kingdom of Kindeance.
@A5G



So, the mercenary would live for the time being. Veronica nodded simply and followed Matilda's lead, keeping her distance, as the orc roughly escorted the captive guard back to the larger group. Shortly thereafter, the vampire would find herself lurking a small distance from the camp, crouched within the shadows. Her bow was readied in case intervention became necessary, but otherwise, she allowed herself to remain hands-off on the proceedings. This was Matilda's show now, and if it worked out, Veronica was all for a solution that avoided an outright fight.

Location: Kindeance, Pesti, western farmstead.
@A5G@Remuri



Veronica and "satiation" were friends with a conflicted relationship. Conflicted in that, as much as she loved feeling that way on the all too rare occasions that she did, she also fundamentally hated what it meant. That she had killed again. More specifically, that she had fed from a sentient being. But for all her morals by comparison to the majority of her... "kind", Veronica was a practical individual. And moreover, she was an assassin. Killing was in her blood in and the spilt blood of others. Those men were going to die today. That was a fact. And they could either water the earth uselessly with their sanguine essence... or it could be put to the task of fueling her. It could be wasted or made useful. The vampire chose "useful".

She wasn't normally one to indulge, especially not while she wasn't even truly "thirsty" in the sense she'd come to know these past few years... but the bodies were right there... with no-one watching... Really, how could she not. And refill her waterskins while she was at it to boot. So it was that she returned to the group all but buzzing internally with energy, a full meal twice over suffusing the undead fibers of her being. Her senses felt that much more acute, and at times, she could almost swear her darkvision was honed enough to make out the barest bits of color even under the shroud of night.

She raised a single brow at the babbling of the captive... mercenary? Hmmm, that made enough sense. Deniable assets. As Yvonne had conveyed, they weren't learning much... but "much" wasn't "nothing". "Well now, that's got me curious about just who this client of theirs is. I wonder if this guy's boss would know," Veronica mused aloud, eyes squinting in consideration. "Seems like something to bring up with them, eh, Captain?" she asked Matilda.

Her gaze turned back to the captive guard, almond-shaped pupils momentarily narrowing to harsher slits. The panic sounded genuine enough, but perhaps torture would loosen his- No, torture was unreliable, no matter what adventure literature would like to convey. Veronica knew, from personal experience even, that when it came down to it, the animal instinct for survival would focus on what the victim thought the tormentor wanted to hear... and not necessarily the truth. The guard could be lying to them, have excellent acting skills and/or be just plain loyal enough to take his secrets to the grave in spite of everything, for professional pride even. No, torture was often just as liable to get you lies than truths, and it got especially dicey if your subject didn't think you intended to leave them alive. They might resist solely to gamble on the idea of being kept around because they judged their own worth alive and in possession of the information they owned to be great enough to stave off the final blow.

He wasn't worth tormenting. Hell, under most circumstances, he'd not even be worth killing... But Veronica wasn't generally in the habit of disobeying the letter of her missions, and the King had said to be clandestine. Could they really afford even more witnesses? "Captain, I think she's got the right of it," Veronica nodded to Yvonne. "I doubt we'll learn anything else useful from him. If we question anyone, I'd say the head of this 'merry little band' is our best bet for answers of actual substance." She gave a knowing glance to the captive and then the orc. The intent was clear. Kill or spare? The vampire had no emotional attachment one way or- No, that was a lie. She didn't relish killing the helpless, even her enemies. The guard was a security risk, but little more. Veronica's anorexic morals said "no", but she was more than capable of killing her capacity to care for a "yes".

"We shouldn't dally too long," she exhaled sharply. "We need to get into that barn."

Location: Kindeance, Pesti, western farmstead.
@A5G@Remuri



Veronica nodded her acknowledgement to Chounan. It seemed he was, as expected, very skilled with a bow. Unfortunately, with only him and her as functional archers in these conditions, it seemed the archery plan wasn't going to work. Or, at the least, it was best kept as a backup option. That was fine. Veronica had honestly considered it something of a long shot, in both the physical and metaphorical sense. Her clairvoyance had limits. Even with complete surprise on her side, the vampire was only confident in being able to kill five or six of the guards, maybe seven at a stretch, with arrows before the remainder might raise the alarm. And it really only took one of them to make things a whole lot messier than preferred.

Her brow furrowed in consideration at Matilda's suggestions, before she sighed. "I had put some thought into those routes, Dame Matilda. However, the whole reason I suggested archery was that there's no telling how good the nightvision of the guards is. For all we know, they could have mages among them with detection magic, regardless of their apparent awareness." She drew a line straight through the formation sketched in the dirt. "If, however, we can pierce their lines, we'll be in the clear. The hard part is getting inside the guard circle to begin with. Past that? We'll be practically home-free. We could approach the remaining guards from behind and quietly eliminate them, and then it would just be a matter of falling upon the remaining sleeping forces."

Cupping her chin with one hand. "Interrogation would be nice, but that runs the risk of the guard making enough noise to be heard by his fellows. Besides which, that might not be time we have, depending on how stubborn he is or otherwise loyal to his employer. Which is to say nothing of the fact that we don't actually know when the next guard shift change is, and we can't afford to wait for it. Because then, we'd be dealing with rested and alert sentries, and our odds become much more harrowing." Closing her eyes, she tried to consider how to make that approach viable. "Perhaps... Hrmm, if we got enough distance? Grabbing a guard quietly, shouldn't be... too much issue. I should be able to avoid any detection magic. One sleeper hold or slit neck later, and I suppose we'd be in... assuming the other guards don't notice anything happening. The chances of doing that quietly get lower if we want to drag the guard away to interrogate, but as long as we get enough distance, I suppose we could find ways to keep them from screaming for help... or out of spite."

Sighing, her palms motioned in the air like a pair of scales. "Capturing a guard... Risk of detection is significantly higher, but we might get information on any secret defenses in the camp. And we could potentially get confirmation that the Prince is actually here without committing. By contrast, we could just kill the guard and work our way around the other ones, before attacking the sleepers. In a conventional sense, it seems the more natural approach, but the unknown will potentially be a factor."

Rocking lightly on her heels, Veronica nodded. "As much as I don't like it, we may need to play this by ear and have faith in our skills." Glancing around the group, Veronica continued. "For my part, unless there are particular objections, I intend to kill all the guards forming the perimeter ring, one at a time, quietly. I can make us an opening and then approach the rest of the sentries from behind in turn and deal with them. If you like, I can leave the first guard alive for you to interrogate, while I eliminate the possibility of the others noticing his absence."

Dropping the stick she had been scrawling in the dirt with, the pale girl retrieved a leather case from the small of her back, drawing forth a shortbow and beginning to check it over. She had already taken the liberty of stringing it shortly after the group's arrival in case they were made right out the gate, but it never hurt to double and triple-check. Satisfied that her bow was strung properly, Veronica placed the case back in its proper place and strapped the bow to the outside of it, ready for swift retrieval. "Either way, I feel eliminating the perimeter forces is important. The last thing we need is to have them attacking us from all sides if or when things go loud in the camp proper."

Location: Kindeance, 5 miles outside Fanghorn --> Pesti, western farmstead.
@A5G@Remuri



The sprint to Pesti was bracing but thankfully nothing quite hard enough tear her legs to shreds, Veronica noted, enjoying the cool breeze whistling in her ears in accompaniment to the gallop of horses under a pale moon. No longer burdened by the cart, the group was able to make significantly greater haste than before. Of course, even then, their pace was slowed by the need to not trip the horses up under unideal lighting, but otherwise, progress was far more to Veronica's preferred "speed", as it were.

As Pesti dawned in the distance, the group swiftly peeled off the path towards the western outskirts and the farmstead where hopefully lied the captive Prince. Their path was lit only by moonlight, as the murk eventually cleared to her darkvision to the farmstead proper, the tents and guards she had foreseen in her vision as present as ever.

First and foremost, carefully maintaining her distance, the vampire made a half-circuit of the patch of land, making a second count of the guards with her own eyes before she was satisfied. Nodding, the pale girl returned to the others and found a patch of tall grass on the fields to crouch low. Fiddling with a stick, she sketched a rough outline of the farmstead, including the barn, the tents, the guard positions, and the position of the team itself.

Pursing her lips tightly in consideration, she added distances as well. Even despite the distance, she kept her voice low out of caution. "Ten guards, as foreseen, spread at even intervals of approximately 20 meters. In this lighting, approaching them unseen might be feasible, but the landscape is not to our advantage. Mostly flatlands with tall grass as the best cover." Her brow pinched in thought. "I might be able to get past unseen alone, given just how exhausted many of those guards look. If successful, I could quietly put an end to the sleeping troops before they have a chance to be an issue. The real problem is just getting past the initial line of sight," she mused aloud.

Leaning back, she slung her arms over her crouched knees. "But that's certainly just one approach with plenty of room for error. If we could take out the outer ring of guards first and without notice, that would be the most ideal... The only question is how to do so silently. Arrows might be a way... but if our shots aren't instantly lethal? Well, death isn't often quiet. Besides which, a body slumping to the ground is liable to make some level of noise itself." To be honest, she was quite worried. This was it, the most critical portion of the mission. The Prince's life was in the balance, and recklessness could not be afforded. "I do have a little magic I could put to use here... if we have enough bows, I could ensure our opening salvo eliminates at least three or four of the guards before they have any chance to respond. I'm confident that I could add another two or three to that number in the timeframe before they can manage to react... Actually..."

Addressing the samurai, Chounan, Veronica gestured to his bow. "How confident are you in your long-distance shots under moonlight? Will the impaired vision inconvenience you overmuch?"

To Yvonne, she said, "I regret that I carry only a single bow of my own. You seem a fair hand with many weapons."

To Matilda, in turn, she inquired, "How effective is your own crossbow shooting in this situation?" Veronica wasn't entirely sure herself, since most of the time, the concept of "stealth" was not one the orc seemed overmuch interested in by comparison.

Location: Kindeance, 5 miles outside Fanghorn



Veronica sighed quietly. This seemed to be going nowhere quickly. As was her want, she offered her opinion and little more to the proceedings. Again, it seemed Jazdia continued to divide and usurp the authority of the group, in spite of Matilda's definitive statements. The elf just... didn't give a fuck, and that was clearly an issue, regardless of any level of sense she was making. Veronica considered herself a patient person, but she already knew the elf had been responsible for grievous fuckups where Matilda's leadership hadn't. Therefore, was it really reasonable to keep allowing her to do as she pleased? How long would she remain patient, Veronica wondered, and moreover, what would happen when enough was enough?

In the end, however, it seemed that they would be dividing their forces once more. Veronica could only inwardly lament, but she wasn't about to be the one to make a fuss. Shit happened. Dealing with it without complaint was just one of many skills she'd acquired in life. Loathe as the vampire was to admit it, the upstart elf was making too much sense, especially with the odd magic device in play. This "commpass" was fascinating to behold, and Veronica did take a moment to handle it and get a feel for its weight and function, nodding at Jazdia's words. The elf's briefly glowing eyes got a raised eyebrow from her, but she didn't inquire after the reason. It was obviously some manner of visual magic, and with the darkness being what it was, she could hardly begrudge her companions the usage thereof, irregardless of how conspicuous it was.

The bear -Cedar, she reminded herself- was apparently entertaining himself with the hunter with a chip on his shoulder. Well, as long as they weren't getting into trouble, she let it be. Solomon's magic... She was both unnerved and intrigued by what seemed to be some form of necromancy. Or, at least, it had some appearance as such. She certainly couldn't say she was completely unfamiliar with spectral undead. They weren't her favorite experiences, but they had been valuable. If it wasn't necromancy, then it certainly was a fairly hilariously useful summoning spell the swaddled man had at his disposal. The ability to be so many places at once... unseen... unheard? Priceless. Putting aside any misgivings she might have about the man's association with her Sire, right here and now, she was more than glad to have him as an ally. Besides, the doctor had been one of the original members of the team scouted by the King himself, just as she was; if she couldn't trust her Lord King's judgement, then whose could she?

Then again... with Henri and Jazdia as a counterbalance... along with at least one murderer of innocents?

Veronica shuttered her crimson gaze in thought, drawing in and exhaling a slow, calming breath. Matilda was speaking again, addressing- ordering her specifically. She wanted scrying? She wanted approximated enemy numbers? Yeah, Veronica could do that. Stowing her map away again, Veronica stepped off the beaten path to find a good, firm stick, before returning to trace out a pentagram in the dirt road wide enough to sit in, which she promptly did.

The pentagram wasn't strictly necessary, but it did help to a degree when she had time to use it, especially when she was channeling catalysts for a specific target. This time, however, she did not lay out the catalysts she had been using in the past days to scry the Prince. They were both unnecessary and potentially misleading to her scry's purpose. This time, she would not even be explicitly targeting either village, but manually casting her gaze out from her present position and sending it soaring towards each location individually in turn. With any luck, if the anti-scrying measures were still in place, this more roundabout scry would avoid setting it off and allow her to take the comparative longer but effective route to peer into her foes' positions.

Rolling her shoulders more for show than any need to work kinks out of them, Veronica crossed her legs, folded her hands atop her knees and got to work.
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