New Friends and Acquaintances
Internally, Katerina bristled at the comments made by these newcomers. Annoying spirits? Beoris was no such thing. Katerina bit back a sharp retort, instead smiling genially at the older man and the stout fellow that would be her company for the forseeable future. "I'm sorry to hear of your plight, sirs. My lord is rather pleasant company, himself." Her eyes flitted between the two men as she addressed them. The first of the two to have spoken had the look of a soldier about him, scarred and rugged as he was. The dull and scratched -yet appearing no less sturdy for it- plate strapped across his body would have raised an eyebrow from Katerina, had she not been trained so thoroughly in matters of the court. Had he been wearing that all of the way here? The northman, stockily built and sporting a bushy brown beard, struck a less imposing figure in Katerina's eye.
Do not be fooled by his stature, child. That one is housing the great Titan within himself. Vardun is one of the finest minds this world ever has and likely ever will know. His great strength is shadowed only by his knack for practical siegecraft. In his time, no city was impregnable when Vardun was set to the task of bringing it down. That other one though, be wary of him. Alistar is the basest of creatures. Where Beoris' had spoke of Vardun with clear respect, his tone curled into something akin to disgust when describing the soul stowed away within the old man's psyche. He is a mindless, sadistic beast caring only for wanton destruction. His thirst for ruination was instrumental in leading to our downfall. Had we been afforded more time, I would have found a way to exclude that wretched thing from my prophecy. His return is most unfortunate. We must watch his vessel carefully, lest the same madness that ensnared Alistar befall him as well.
What a deplorable creature. Katerina, though, only inclined her head in his direction respectfully. "My name is Katerina, and it is a pleasure to make both of your acquaintances." As she said this, a third figure stepped into the light provided by the campfire, crackling along faithfully.
Without missing a beat, Katerina turned to this latest of arrivals. "Welcome, Gwynne Lancet." Her voice was a gentle harp, the strings plucked ever so softly. "I am Katerina, as perhaps you heard me say." Lines of concern then formed upon her face, only half feigned. "You seem to be wounded, do you require assistance?" Katerina rose to her feet, and took a single step closer to Gwynne. She stared into the eyes of the white haired woman with worry, unfazed by their crimson shade, diverting her attention only momentarily to glance with wonder at the purple orb floating beside the garishly dressed woman.
Topesh, Beoris stated, somewhere between bored and disdainful. Though powerful, his obsession with aetheric energy is something of a detractor. He cared little for our cause then, I doubt that has changed now. The Shadow Legion to him was simply the most effective means to an end. Still, he is a tool that can be used to some degree of efficiency.
Gwynne looked to Katerina when she was offered some help with her injuries. She turned her ruby gaze to her shoulder injury and nodded, "That'd be much appreciated..."
Gwynne's clothing was tattered and dirty after her fight for survival in the woods. She didn't really carry herself, nor look the part of the other chosen. Then again, that randomness would likely help the group remain inconspicuous. The orb floated closer to Gwynne, then pulsed with light as it began to speak. Topesh's voice could be heard by all, the voice emanating from the orb, "T'is fortuitous that the apostate and I are not the first to arrive. Should our pursuers arrive, they will be in for a rather nasty surprise. You there," the orb floats right up to Katerina, "Your kindred spirit is whispering to you yes? Can he not talk like myself? Perhaps yours can?"
The orb quickly whips over to the other chosen, the northman. "No? Oh now this is quite the development. I was under the impression our reunion would be more... vocal. This is a funny twist of fate indeed... Topesh, the quiet, studious one now the most talkative of the bunch." the orb pulses faster as Topesh laughs.
As Topesh flitted about in his little orb, Katerina's shoulders squared themselves more firmly, and it seemed the girl began to stand just a little taller. A voice emanated from between Katerina's lips, still hers, yet carrying with it a smooth confidence that would be familiar to all listening. "I am, Topesh, entirely capable of speech." The words flowed together like melted chocolate. Katerina's eyes turned away from Gwynne and over to the orb lazily, a vaguely amused expression across her face. "Though it appears that speech now has a more feminine touch to it." Beoris and Katerina chuckled quietly in unison. "I give greetings to all of us gathered here currently." A teasing tut tut tut, then. "It seems the rest of our compatriots are somewhat tardy."
"Oh bollocks... I have to go through another era of listening to my chastizing brothers and sisters in arms. At least I can speak freely. I respect my chosen enough not to take over her body. She is a temple, after all. And temples are not meant to be ransacked and pillaged." the orb floated back to Gwynne and orbited around her in wide circles.
Beoris withdrew his control, then. I am sorry for seizing you so suddenly, love. Do not listen to the words Topesh speaks. He understands nothing of our arrangement, and little enough of people in general. Katerina only smiled faintly, and moved closer to Gwynne.
"Can we have a look at this, then, Gwynne?" She offered the somewhat meek woman a reassuring smile. "I'm not a healer of any sort, but one of us here has experience as a surgeon." She gestured in the direction of Fayvre. The wound on Gwynne's shoulder could certainly benefit from inspection by a proper medical practioner. It was not a pretty thing. An ugly red cut, the flesh at the edges black as pitch, stretched across her shoulder.
Gwynne let out a deep breath when Katerina asked to inspect the wound. Indeed, the frostbitten injury was beyond anybody with rudimentary knowledge in first aid. Wounds dealt my magic were always complicated, even for the more talented surgeons in Avalon. With the lack of aetheric power in the world, the increased rarity in magic meant that doctors didn't feel the need to practice treating magical injuries as much. So many victims seeking aid were often left with nothing.
Upon hearing that a surgeon was among the group, Gwynne's eyes looked around the group. With luck, this doctor would be skillful enough to treat the injury. "It was a glancing hit from a frost bolt. A battle mage sent it a few days ago..."
Fay, who up until now had been sitting still at the campfire, looked up. She hadn't really been all that interested in making talk with the newcomers herself, lest they smell weakness in her. She was out of her league here. The rest were more inkeeping with who she'd expect the egiobarre to pick; Warriors. She was content to listen and observe them, and determine who was trustworthy and who was not, but before she could discern anything substantal about anyone, Katerina had outed her as a surgeon, and now she was being called upon to treat wounds...again.
Patience, Fayvre. This may be the last time, and besides, this is not work. This will valiate you in their eyes. They may even come to trust you. Getting along with your fellow chosen will make the near future a lot more bearable.
Fay approached Gwynne and examined the wound carefully. As she did, knowledge poured into her head, given from the pool of forbidden knowledgethat Quoris was privvy to. She dropped her pack to the floor and began to rommage through it. "I've never treated a magic injury before, but luckily, Quoris knows how to. "
Dorian listened while Katarina and Gwynne introduced themselves, inclining his head respectfully as they did. Though the most surprising thing was hearing Gwynne's supernatural benefactor actually speak openly. When he had obtained Vardun's ring publicly, nobody had shown any inclination of hearing the Titan's voice other than him, not even previous contestants who attempted to lift the ring. The Titan himself mused the situation curiously in Dorian's mind.
"Hmmmm. . . Topesh the Wellspring, small wonder out of all of us he'd be the one to obtain a form that would grant him the most external power to show off. Very interesting choice though, if I'm not mistaken that orb of his is from the former Nexus itself . . .greedy bastard."
Dorian felt almost a subconscious shifting beneath his own eyes as he looked upon the others, as if Vardun himself was sizing up his old fellow Legionnaires and their chosen. He gave more of his thoughts in Dorian's mind.
"His choice is also fitting of his champion, a right and proper magician of such potential he was likely grinning within that orb when they first met. But this Katerina, she's one to note, she's Beoris the Bastard's. Tricky son of a bitch, but a damn good shadow, and I doubt he's become any less devious in death. If he's picked her, he's probably been grooming her to his liking for a while."
Dorian replied within his own head.
"Like you have for me?"
"Exactly, except likely far more intensive in different manners, makes sense, its what I'd do in his place. Its what we're probably all doing, really . . . Quoris, the Green Death is here as well, and how ironic that her champion would be a Wrelmsman . . . Wrelmswoman? Whatever. Fact remains that that Legionnaire could poison all the nature that woman cares about, if she hadn't been more concerned with the pursuit of knowledge and using it to punish her mortal foes. Knows about as much about alchemy and witchcraft as I know of seigecraft . . . And then that last one, scion of Alistar the Wyrmcaller . . . strange to me that he'd pick someone older, I'd have thought he'd prefer a more hot-blooded youth to twist to his will and be more forth-with in his madness and bloodlust . . . but then who am I to judge his choice? He may well know something I don't. Make no mistake though, The Wyrmcaller is mad, oft times more beast than man . . . but such is his power, that he'd cut and burn through a battalion like a farmer through his fields. And while some of my bretheren and sisters may disagree, I don't disdain him, all of us serve of purpose, even those mad and desperate for power. Just be mindful of any of his mood swings and keep your strength up and you'll be fine . . . in anycase, introduce yourself, you're doing me disservice by standing around like a statue and staring."
To which end, Vardun only slightly tightened the ring on Dorian's hand, making him visibly clench his fist. Dorian turned the gesture into a salute across his chest and gave a short bow.
"Dorian Vadderung, out of Braldurheim. Honestly I didn't even know we'd meet anyone out here, Vardun was as cryptic as anything."
The ring tightened again, making Dorian wince.
"Only for your own good. Its not like we don't have enemies about, and besides its not like I knew entirely what to expect either."
Dorian shook his hand out as the weight and tightness relented, looking over at Gwynne and Katerina as the one was treating the other's injuries. He casually unslung his pick-hammer, forged recently but yet unblooded, he placed it with its head down, his hands on the top of its grip as he leaned against it. He looked out into the dark and bleak lands around.
"You and Topesh said you were pursued? By whom?"
Joseph sat as he fiddled with the bandage on his arm. "Whoever's the healer I'd appreciate if ya had a look at my arm once your done with the first patient. I got into a nasty fight with some wildlife." He stated flatly while Alistar berrated his inner thoughts.
"You sickly worm! Asking these fools for assistance! My own vessel, disgusting! How humiliating...At least these other vessels seem just as pathetic! I should have known these insects couldn't have picked a proper warrior to carry out their deeds. This is why we failed! They didn't believe in my grand p-" Joseph ignored him.
"And what's this about being pursued?"
At the third mention of pursuit, Katerina's eyes flashed over to Fayvre's as the surgeon approached Gwynne. For the barest of moments, palpable anxiety was laced throughout the gaze. Katerina might not have been followed, but there was no doubt in her mind that she was being searched for.
Fay silently cursed to herself as she heard Joseph's request for her services. She had finished treating Gwynne's shouler, using methods that even with the knowledge now in her head, she didn't fully understand, and was now binding it tightly with white cloth bandages. The talk of some members possibly being pursued was scary, though. Fay didn't believe she had yet commited any crimes worthy of being pursued, and didn't want to be involved in a fight. If it came to that, she'd likely hide somewhere out of the way. But then, what if the Legionaires lost? There were all that was protecting her now. Them and Quoris.
Gwynne looked between the other chosen as they all seemed to be concerned by the mention of pursuers. She nodded slowly, "Sorcerers of the Court, two battle magi and a sorcerer superior. They've been on my tail for the past few days now. I crippled one of them two days ago, which should hopefully have sent them back to the Spyre to treat their wounded. I've been very high up on the Court's wanted list for years now, but only recently have I been actively hunted by them. Worry not, they should have no reason to believe that I have... allies..." The word is strange to Gwynne, she had only just met them after all.
With the cloth cut and tied, Fay told Gwynne that her treatment was finished, and before any remarks of thanks or otherwise could be made, picked up her pack and made her way over to Joseph. Gwynne at least gave a nod to the woman to show her appreciation. Now this wound, even from this distance, she could tell was within her mortal understanding of how to treat. She put down her pack beside Joseph and took his arm in her hands, extending it towards her and staring at the wound. "I've seen much worse than this. I think all this will need is disenfecting and sewing up."
She pulled a small vial of lavender-based disenfectant from her pack, and started to drp in into the cut. It stung. "I'm afraid this will hurt, and I didn't bring any whisky with me for the pain, but at least I'm not using lemon juice, " she joked, trying to keep the atmosphere light, before returning the disenfectant to her bag, and getting out a needle, thread, and a toothmark-riddled bit, which the offered to him. "Some men use it. Others like having the option of turning it down," she explained, as she got to work sewing. It felt...about as good as having your arm repeadedly puctured with a sharp object could feel.
Far from the worst pain Joseph's war-torn body had experienced, his body still occassionally jerked and twitched reflexively through the procedure, however his tolerance and will had supressed such reactions to prevent them from disturbing her work. "Well lets just hope we all can get some peace tonight while we wait for the others, at the very least. These old bones are sore from all the walking."
Katerina turned politely towards Joseph. "My, what strength of you will you possess..." She curled her nose back. "That procedure appears rather painful. But sir, you still have yet to introduce yourself?" Where were this old man's social graces? Still, the inquiry was phrased respectfully.
"Pardons." The old soldier raised his hand. "Sir Joseph Peter Kane, at your service." He answered to the young ally. It was odd to him how young some of these allies seemed, to him age meant experience. Still, figuring it rude to bring it up, he remained quiet on the matter. Alistar was also, fairly quiet now; to which Joseph was thankful for.
"It will be," Katerina began politely, "An honor to work by your side, Sir Kane." So the old man had some degree of manners after all. He wasn't entirely unpleasant company, even if a mad dragon made its lair in his head. The fire began to sputter then, and Katerina poked at it with determination until the flame regained some degree of intensity. The darkness was entirely palpable around the Shadow Legion reborn, despite the little campfire's best efforts. She thought it seemed fitting.