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The Griffin


The arrows, expertly aimed for the beating wings, intended to cripple the beast's means of escape while it was on full display... missed. Not through any lack of aim, but through the same force that the griffin used to try and demand submission. No different than shooting into a sudden squall, the currents of air threw off the careful shots as it dropped back to all fours, golden eyes staring piercingly at Serenity, some avian intelligence accusing her of attempting to take advantage of its display, even if the attack hadn't worked.

Its advance was reserved, though, no matter how fast its talons lashed out at the offending spear to try and snap it--perhaps, then, this griffin had experience with hunters, or the bandits had employed their own weapons to force it into the cage, letting it learn what a human's claws and beak were. Yet, something was holding it back, its actions still fighting for dominance rather than going for the throat. Morianne's music, perhaps, was having an effect, no matter how much pride and rage it had.

@Psyker Landshark@Crimson Paladin@Psychic Loser@ERode@Saiyan@Rune_Alchemist@PigeonOfAstora
The beast wasted no time in avenging itself on its tormentors, massive head lunging down and snapping a neck between its beak as if it was nothing. It was just a bigger rabbit, wrapped up in stinking hide and hair. But the griffin had no time to turn its kill into a meal; all around were more of its gaolers. Some even remained unbowed despite its display, and the intelligence behind its avian eyes looked at them calculatingly for only a second before defining the knights:

Challengers.

The griffin reared back defiantly, height on full display; far larger than either of the parts it resembled. Larger than a lion. Much larger than an eagle. Only the mightiest of warhorses would have equalled it, and rearing back in the magical firelight, it was an intimidating sight. Once again, the animal let loose a cry--not a screech of frustration, but a piercing cry of challenge, a single deafening call audible throughout the camp--if not for miles around, enough to spook the horses the knights had brought with them.

The massive wings beat heavily, demanding that all before it kneel, that Lein and Serenity lower their necks in submission and accept their fate. A gust of wind strong enough to send the unaware tumbling; a gale made entirely of muscle and sinew.

@PigeonOfAstora @ERode




Tyaethe Radistirin


The paladin winced as the massive tree came down. Was this entire camp set up as a trap to separate the captain--no, that wouldn't make sense; even Jeremiah would know that it wouldn't save him. There had to have been something else intended for that, to start with; the tree must have been for equalising the battle somehow. This was just opportunism. At least they knew where the so-called Bandit-King was, and her group had its orders: get to the captain and reinforce her.

Of course, that meant she had to pull more of the attention to herself and force the veterans to stay on her.

"So, you must have been important once. Now look at you, a bandit," she taunted, pushing away the first axe blow. If they weren't important, were just some peasant levy or low-ranking man-at-arms, then there would be no reason to have gone on the run. They'd gotten the traitor, hunted down the ringleaders--massacring the soldiery wasn't practical or necessary. "For a few minutes."

When the second heavy axe swing came down, Tyaethe adopted for the radically impractical tactic of stepping into it--not enough to stop the blow, or even deflect it. Enough to stop the axe from getting an angle to go clean through her armour, but the arm beneath was surely broken all the same, having been taken with so little resistance. Useless for swinging the sword now clenched in that fist. That was fine, it would heal soon enough, and she could still push forward.

Against humans, against trained warriors--always push forward, always attack. That was Tyaethe's style. Injury was just a nuisance to be accepted; defence a frivolity that drew out the battle. Here, then, the bandit was expecting a normal response to injury--panic, defence, some form of backing off. Instead, the paladin's paces quickened, and her good, left hand slugged them in the face, dropping back to the blade's ricasso, pulling the weapon up tightly to once try and gut this one like a fish.

With her rapid advance, and proximity to their ally, Tyaethe wasn't worried about the spear strike--not immediately, the first blow glancing off the armour. They'd try something worse next time, she needed to deal with the axe-wielder fast or at least keep them off-balance. Fighting on multiple fronts was annoying.
As the second group moved into position, Tyaethe tapped her fingers against her blade a few times before fixing the other knights with a harsh look. "If they let out whatever beast they have, or Jeremiah shows his face, I want you to forget about dealing with the bandits and work together to focus on those first. They're probably going to be used to separate the captain from her own group, and it's better if you're prepared to reinforce.

"I'll keep any bandits that get in the way focused on me. You only have to help if we can't reinforce the centre."

As the seconds ticked down until the time came to advance into the camp, the vampire focused--and was engulfed in a dark pall, streaked through with red light. The alarming sight only lasted but a second before it faded away into the far more familiar sight of Tyaethe's armour, the paladin now standing shoulder to shoulder with the tallest of their knights.

If she was planning to hold the attention of the bandits on her own, the armour gave a good indication how. Less than worked metal, it looked like an idealisation of armour. Nowhere could a buckle or clasp be seen; no ties to hold it in place. Only the armour itself, all shining metal and rose iconography, impossible to put on or take off through natural means. The fit was slightly too precise, and every piece polished to a mirrorlike sheen, the bent metal offering a warped reflection of the world around. It was the storybook appearance of a paladin, a knight in shining armour, and the way it caught and reflected the light was deliberately eyecatching.

The second way Tyaethe planned to hold the attention was exposed as much simpler as the paladin lead their group in from an angle, steps not faltering even as the bandits manning the defences here put up a much better prepared front than the ambush. Coats of plates, pieces of chainmail, and proper helmets alike--these bandits were veterans of the War of the Red Flag, and actually outfitted as proper soldiers. Their equipment was still a motley assortment of polearms and axes, even a sword here or there, but they were a much more fitting enemy than the little ambush. One even lowered his spear to intercept the paladin, only for a disorienting burst of speed in her step to take her within his reach, sword swinging.

It didn't stop as it carved through his torso. Or that of the woman beside him, arms uselessly dropping with her axe. Or even after the third. It only stopped once she found empty air after the little clump, sword pulling back to catch an opportunistic swing from another of their enemies, pushing the blow away with a twist.

The second method for keeping the bandits on her was, in short, to be a very pressing threat to fight.
That's because the class is a gameplay mechanic more than anything, as far as I can tell from the stories. Yeah, obviously the medics are distinguished, and the people using arts primarily have that noted, but we have to recall that Nearl is both a defender and a guard simultaneously due to the alters, and Shining is a combat monster despite being a medic (and then there's the story stuff Saria does, which has way more punching).

Just focus on your abilities rather than worrying too much about the game divisions. xD
@Stern Algorithm You can apply, yes.
Tyaethe cocked her head attentively, looking once more around the ambush site and listening for any more struggling heartbeats. Seemed that they'd gotten everyone? Fanilly was busy gathering information, which meant everyone else was standing around doing nothing... might as well put them to use and save some time later on.

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

All they'd need to do on the way back is have the mage light it up. Much better than just leaving them to rot. On the other side of laying them to rest... well, the prayer she was going through was hardly inspired, and one could say it was rather derisive about the bandits' choices in life, but they probably hadn't done enough to deserve being completely abandoned. And she couldn't simply leave them to come back as angry ghosts. Maybe they'd get the guidance they needed to pass on more easily, now?
Tyaethe nodded at the lightning. Well, there was still an incidental risk of things catching fire if it missed in the heat of battle, but lightning was in general much more difficult for someone to avoid. Not that she expected bandits would be terribly good at such dodging but why take the risk? It wasn't like ordinary people were particularly susceptible to fire, unlike the majority of undead.

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

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

A very small, pragmatic part of the paladin protested that if they were making sure people were dead, this was such a waste, she might as well take their blood too and stockpile in case of calamity. She had two centuries of ignoring that, though: she'd promised to not be a predator when the order was founded and she didn't spend so long in the wilds on her own, and she wasn't going to break that streak now. The part of her complaining about how much blood and filth was getting caught up in her hair was much louder, comparatively, but she'd sort that out when the fighting was over.
When the first bandits dropped out of the trees, Tyaethe's surprise amount to a confused blink. After all, the bandits being above them and not just flanking been abundantly obvious... well, she had to commend them for staying still and being missed by the majority, but it was obvious to her. What was more surprising was, of course, that they had thought to drop down rather than pelting them from above with whatever heavy or pointy objects they could manage. They were bandits, splitting the Iron Roses up into as many single combats as they could manage was outright detrimental to their survival chances!

As was, of course, dropping uncontrolled out of the trees. When in free fall, there was nothing you could do to avoid, for instance, the lengthy sword positioned to skewer you on your own momentum, except hope that it was insufficiently braced by the spindly arms holding it. Unfortunately for Tyaethe's target, the spindly arms might as well have been anchored metal rods, barely dropping as the body ran to a halt on her blade.

This ambushing party was... pathetic. Improperly armoured, skill that was little more than flailing, and utterly unable to time their ambush properly, having let the Iron Roses form a defensive position around the captain. Not only was their leader not here, she doubted any of the other veterans had been spared for this suicidal attempt. A scouting party that got delusions of grandeur?

The vampire's sword swung once, slicing deeper into the body before casting it off into some stunned-looking bandits, setting them up for the other knights, and she slipped back through the ranks with practised ease. If it was going to be like this... they didn't need to use everything at their disposal. That is to say, the diminutive vampire reached up with a free hand to tap Alodia's shoulder.

"While we're in the forest, could you please avoid any fire spells?" It was a small concern; the summer so far hadn't been unseasonably hot or dry... but it was still summer, and Thaln was a warm country. The last thing they needed to risk was an overenthusiastic mage starting a forest fire while they were bandit hunting.

@Rin
Dismounted, Tyaethe's position was most easily marked by the much longer sword resting against her shoulder, sticking up over the heads of the assembled throng inc ase anyone thought they might make the mistake of walking into her. Aside from that reminder of her presence, the paladin might as well have been a ghost, walking quietly alongside the captain and looking a little livelier at the prospect of combat. Surround and go in? Not perfect, not if your aim was an easy battle but allowing for escapees would defeat the entire point. Even with military training and Jeremiah, the entire force should be no issue.

The vampire tilted her head with curiosity as the cart came into view. Dead horse, broken cart, and the smell of blood--plus a weak heartbeat. How curious, that there would be a single injured man this close to the bandit's camp, at this time of day as the knights were closing in on their prey. Obviously, it was an ambush.

That her senses betrayed their would-be killers lying in wait was an unnecessary level of information.

But... what would the captain do? If it was up to Tyaethe, she would spring the ambush on her own and let them try their luck. It wasn't like she was going to die to a handful of bandits after so many years. It would even conveniently allow her to fulfill her other duty and protect the innocent, although her first aid skills weren't anything to write home about, and healing magic... well, it had never seemed a good time to learn.

Hm, either the captain had the same thought, or she hadn't spotted what was going on. She had a good heart, though, they'd just have to make sure she kept it. Picking a knight at random, the vampire nudged them with an elbow. "Go on, make sure she doesn't get surrounded," Tyaethe muttered.
In a way, it was quite annoying that this last major holdout hadn't stayed in one place until after the new captain had been instated. After all, hunting down the fragments of the rebellion for the past few years had been one way to make up for the mistake of letting a captain get killed... even though it didn't make much sense to shoulder blame for poison. Tyaethe was a warrior, after all, not a grand healer.

It left the feeling of shoving an unfinished job off onto someone that wasn't necessarily prepared for it. Looking on the bright side, at least it would be a good test of Fanilly's abilities, rather than being thrown from years of peace straight to a war.

Amongst the various knights in their armour and all the horses, the small girl couldn't help but looking out of place. Although her clothes suited her role as a paladin, there was no avoiding that she was distinctly underdressed for battle in comparison. And, of course, her mount was a rather unimpressive pony, dwarfed by everything nearby. At least she had her sword, lest anyone get the idea that she had wound up in a battlefield entirely by accident.

A cursory glance would suggest she was angry at the treeline for making her dismount. Really, she was just trying to see it properly.
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