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Present as always

The duellist looked thoughtful at that, looking over at the indicated spots. "She sounds like an unusual lady. I wonder, however, what she must have given up to obtain such a level? There may come a time where you must make a decision, whether to devote yourself even further to martial prowess, or whether your heart demands something more. Or the world may want more of you than another sword-arm, and could you afford to spurn it? Rare are those who can wholeheartedly give themselves over to a singular pursuit and still find time to live around it. I've come to think Florian was luckier for that than his sword skill, in the end."

"Thank you for letting me know of this visitor, of course. There will be dignitaries that need to know of such an unexpected guest, and that mage makes tracking such things impossibly difficult," Lilianna added with a sigh. "If you seek her out for any reason, could you perhaps direct her in my direction? There are things that will be easier to complete if I meet her in person."

@Crimson Paladin

"R-Right, I'll go get something to demonstrate..." Lilia said, giving the arguing duo worried glances before making her way cautiously across the open yard, avoiding any other busy groups on the way, and taking an even wider berth around where the captain was engaged in obviously important practice.

A substantial amount of the training equipment had been stored to one side, left exposed in the summer weather, and this naturally included a rather substantial number of training dummies. Maybe she should look for the one in worst condition? It was pretty much guaranteed to get destroyed anyway, so there was no point in picking something sturdier. Wait... if it was going to be destroyed, did that mean she should be making a note somewhere so they knew who was responsible or could keep track of what happened to them? Was someone supposed to be in charge of these and she should wait for their return? Maybe she had to go find someone because she was a guest... guests weren't usually just allowed to grab things and go off to break them, were they?

From an perspective, Lilia gave the appearance of having gone over to the dummies and engaged in a staring contest. Or maybe she was trying to emulate one. It was hard to say.

One second Krysia was reassuringly right in front of her, the next--well, the creaking of stressed wood gave it away, if you could somehow miss the enormous figure holding off the doll. Not that the demon appeared to be overly strained holding the massive blades it had for arms back, despite the way the staff was protesting the abuse. "Now, now, I can't let you get close to my puppy like that~"

This gave Gisela just enough time to realise that... hm, no, none of her magic was going to be suitable if this thing got into range of everyone else. That... might be a problem.

Then the demon broke off, jumping back to the hundi with a frustrating amount of agility for someone so huge and armoured. "But, I'm not interested in fighting your toy on its own."

This was bad. Very, very bad. Oh, it was easy to recognise that this was a Witch on an intellectual level, just from the description alone, and treat her as any other nigh-unassailable threat. As an idea, they weren't invincible, particularly if you had no illusions about killing them off for good. There had been more of their number, once upon a time. It had just cost an entire army before assembling a force that actually had a hope of winning.

And even then, a number had survived. Like this one.

On a magical level... this was terrifying. Part of it was just the heightened sensitivity to mana that came with being a mage, working with magic your entire life. The rest? Well, that was how she couldn't feel anything, which was something that would pass entirely without comment unless you had reason to expect that you would feel something. All Gisela could feel was the dissipating remnants of whatever magic the doll-like girl had been doing before coming down here.

Her actual presence? Silent. Too silent. She was someone whose presence should have been loud and heavy, impossible to ignore. But maybe that was fine, that was something that most powerful mages at least got some grip on over time, if they didn't have her particular issues. But to not give off any indication while doing something blatantly magical? Controlling that abomination beside her... maybe that was what had set everything off a minute ago. But just existing should have been a magical conflagration. That wasn't a natural body, a living one. Methods of immortality all took magic in some capacity, they couldn't be this silent. But she was. That doll gave off nothing, not a whisper. Whether the Witch was controlling it remotely or it was her actual body, she wasn't using any magic to do it. Not as magic was understood and studied, anyway.

And that was terrifying.

So, Gisela did exactly what any normal person would when confronted with someone that made them feel like a child again, and hid behind the nearest large, adult-seeming figure. In this case, that meant the amused arrival of one demon, stepping out into the world, a staff of some exotic-looking wood in hand. At least the steel caps on the end looked hefty.

"I'd fight this one for the fun of it, but I take it you don't want that?" the red-skinned warrior asked, amused by the hundi apparently trying to burrow into her back.

"From what I've read and heard, although only a few aside from the paladin remember meeting her in person, Merilia's particular speciality was in teleportation to an extent that hasn't been matched since. A very well-rounded mage and battlemage in general, but dreams...? I cannot believe that even she could have such skill in an unrelated field to ensnare hundreds from another continent without having let it slip once," Lilianna answered, eyes tracking the fighters. Of course, her own style was evident, but she had tried to impart the more generalised style. Speed and mobility were key, but the young blonde--hopefully--would never be favouring fighting unarmed to the same extent. "Of course, I have no magical ability. Perhaps my conclusions are incorrect."

The senior knight smiled slightly, "You want to improve? Then did you learn where your skills are wanting, where the flaws in your form are? Do you have a plan to act on specific improvements? Or were you simply planning to practise aimlessly and hope you got lucky?"

Lilia (Elf)

"Ah, yes, magic allows for taking on much more heavily armoured and weightier enemies without my mother's speed, and low-intensity spells like that are easier to keep going for long periods..." Lilia answered, turning to look at Renar as he left, "O-Of course! If I can be in any way of service, please, ask me!"

The tanned elf's eyes drifted back to her sword as Nicomede made his offer, fingers poking at some of the sword's gems. "I-I would be fine with either, but... i-if it's the magic you're interested in, I could do a demonstration? There's a lot of things that are too dangerous for practice, someone could get hurt really bad at best, and there's some things I can't use if I'm keeping the sword blunt. M-Most of it's pretty weak spells, though! I don't know much that's useful against more than one target, I could only practice with mum most of the time..."

@Psyker Landshark@Krayzikk

The duellist inclined her head towards Fleuri slightly, although her eyes didn't turn away from the fighting duo, "Perhaps you should consider that question yourself, Jodeau. Do I, the one responsible for training her and therefore the monitor of her progress from when she was a child until she took command, know where her skill lies in comparison to the majority of the knights?

"I can only speak for skill, not for confidence or field experience," she sighed, her own thoughts drifting to why the Arcedeen had gone for a sword and shield combination. It hardly seemed like her usual style, from the duellist's knowledge, so was this just whim? Or was there some higher purpose? Not that she could guess as to what.

Fleuri's second question sparked a more physical reaction, hand drifting to the hip where a sword would normally have sat. "The Knight-Witch... I have little idea what her game is, but it feels that every knight must have been sought out, yet only the knights. It was... interesting, to feel my skills sharpening after disuse. Enough to provide a challenge to the Gentle Blade at the end, I hope. I think a difference from the experiences of most others, the witch seemed... pleased with my performance?"

The follow-up complaint was quieter, "How her actions woke my wife, though... she had no such dreams."

@Crimson Paladin
Tyaethe and Lilianna

"I'll do it," Tyaethe volunteered, motioning for the other woman to hurry up and put the girl down, "I couldn't see what they're doing properly anyway."

Plus she had a few advantages when it came to getting along with children.

"Fine. No giving her any more food, though," Lilianna answered, carefully putting the four-year-old down... who chose to continue staring up at Tyaethe with wide eyes, munching on the pastry with a serious expression.

Eventually, the girl broke her silence to state, with all apparent solemnity, "You don't look like an old lady."

Not that this seemed to bother Tyaethe, and she was happy to lead the only person younger-looking than she was away, being considerably more chatty than she was with the vast majority of the other knights. Which left Fleuri alone with Lilianna, who was watching the fighters with her arms crossed.

"Of course I wish to watch. As long as that child doesn't overthink things, she has no excuse to lose against any of her peers. If she does, it seems her training was less complete than I expected, and I will not permit our captain to be incompetent."

@Crimson Paladin

"Beast hunting, huh?" Tyaethe wondered, looking at Fleuri out of curiosity, "There's less of a specific trick to it than you'd think. It's more a general approach. You know how a boar will keep going and gore you if you tried a normal spear? The nastier monsters won't stop just because you did something lethal, or something crippling.

"Either you learn to hurt them so badly they can't keep fighting, or you get even better at evasion," the vampire continued, flashing him a grin, "But I can help with that one."

There was a pause as she tilted her head in the direction of the other spar, then the paladin was off like a shot, parasol slowly floating down behind her. Not that Fleuri had long to worry what she might be doing, or if it was a risk to his person. Tyaethe was back surprisingly quickly... carrying am elegant-looking woman with silvered eyes and matching hair in a high ponytail. Her passenger, in turn, was holding a young child with the same eyes and much rounder features.

The little girl was nibbling at a flaky pastry and looking at Fleuri with wide eyes.

"You..." the woman said, sighing instead as Tyaethe propped her up, neither of them saying anything about the knife that was jutting out of the paladin's side before it was quickly sheathed again.

"I just thought you'd want to see how your pupil is doing."

"You know I want to keep Franzi away from this until she's older."

"And that's why we're watching these two, not some of the mercenary lot."

The woman still seemed annoyed at being dragged into this audience.

@Crimson Paladin

"Um, Lilia, daughter of Lilette..." the girl answered, mumbling and motioning for Nicomede to go along with the question. When he got to his sword, she drew hers obligingly, laying the long blade out where everyone can see it.

"Oooooh, the sword? It's not an enchanted weapon, not really," she explained brightly, pointing at a cluster of runes along its length that looked... well, like just about every other piece of runework on the lengthy weapon, "It doesn't have a single effect on it aside from this strengthening, and you'll find that on almost anything that needs to regularly be exposed to magic in an active or passive form, just so it doesn't get warped or destroyed by the mana going through it."

One tanned finger pointed at... another seemingly innocuous piece of detailing, as long as one of the gems in its hilt. A pale blue one that was both nicely faceted, yet seemingly irregularly cut. "These parts are to help the sword work as a catalyst and vector for touch-carried effects. Without them, the spell would need to be at least twice as long just to let you use the blade as an extension of yourself, and then even more if you wanted to properly modulate the amount of mana it consumes and not just overcharge it. So, that let me use the sword to release a spell when I deflected, and then..."

There was another burst of singing, the indicated gem growing brightly before she whipped the blade into the ground. It made a surprisingly loud thud, the packed earth reacting more like a heavy weight had been dropped on it. "I think you were talking about that spell? It's a really versatile effect for how simple it is, since it's just a single thrust from the point of contact, undirected and going in all directions to the contacted body. Since the strength doesn't take into account the strength of the target, it's even better if deflecting a light weapon, but it's good for parrying, or destabilising someone in armour, because it's so easy to catch people off-guard with the weight of the blow... um, if that makes sense? You did mean that spell?

@Krayzikk @The Otter @HereComesTheSnow @Psyker Landshark
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