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2 mos ago
Current The adult in me says sleep, the kid in me wants to play NieR. The kid's winning D:
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3 mos ago
youtube.com/watch?v=7RzA_Oom.. All of my yes. Love this theme <3
1 like
4 mos ago
If you've not had a chance to watch "Your Name" yet, highly recommend!
4 mos ago
If I owe you a post expect replies tomorrow. Been up since 4 am today, barely keeping myself from drooling in a bucket! x_x
4 mos ago
I think I'll draw... No wait, post. No, play music. No games. No, television. @_@
7 likes

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Well has a wee bit of a post, and the next will probably be similar x_x
"Yes... Once you get past all of his unpleasantness he's an upstanding man, I'm sure," Nymira muttered with a roll of her eyes, "Forgive me if I have difficulty liking the man still." But then their purpose here wasn't to make friends now was it? Though she could still argue as to why she required any training it was clear that Ethan required some formalities, and any help Cecil could get would do them a great deal of help. She would go into this business with very little expectations and, should anything useful come of it, she would admit as much; pride was natural when one was to be the heir to the throne of a powerful clan like the Rumia line, but humility and willingness was equally so. And she liked to think she was getting along rather well in those domains - an opinion others may argue with - and it was just a matter of 'growing into the throne' as her father often put it.

Ethan's face lit up excitably at the promise of meads and he very well would have asked to visit the pub had Nymira not shot him down before he could even ask. If the Dimuran knew anything about him it was his lack of navigational skills, and how much of a lightweight he was. It still flummoxed him how she'd managed to empty so many glasses before without any notable side effects. Was there some special kind of drunk magic she had? Someone little like her should have been passed out after half that many! The roasted meats and vegetables sounded good and maybe would be pretty inexpensive, and then Adrianna went right back to discussing meads. Ethan's mouth watered excitably but he remembered himself when Nymira looked back at him accusingly, a sheepish smile crossing his face as he rubbed at his neck. Just food for tonight, besides it would be difficult to train if he couldn't even stand up straight!

Any fervor over their potential dining stop faded when Ethan brought up the matter of the Church and for an uncomfortable moment he and Adrianna went silent. Of course he knew that their newest member hadn't personally killed his friend but still... They were part of it, they had to know things like that went on. But then that was probably why Adrianna was here now, right? Because they knew and couldn't take it any longer? There was bitterness towards the Church but Ethan realized how terribly misplaced it was with the healer and set it aside, smiling again as they reached Kensen's chosen eatery. "I'd say sure but I bet Kensen's got a place all picked out for us already! Maybe we can use it on our own time though!" Their choice of food would be seared meats it seemed, and long before they'd even reached the stalls themselves he could smell the delicious odors on the wind. Before them lay a large bed of coals with a long fire spit hung above the flames, several slabs of various meats hanging from the pole. Before the flames themselves was a long table with various raw pieces on display ripe for the taking, it seemed you selected your own slab and they cooked it to order. Rubbing his hands excitably as he walked up he began trying to pick over what might be the best, giving Adrianna a hopeful glance. "Er... You've eaten here before, right? What's good? I can't decide!"

"A simple meal over a fire... How nice." It was reminiscent of home and the countless dinners spent gathered in the village center, warriors and others all gathered together, sharing a toast and singing while enjoying a hard earned meal. And yet the fire spit was about as far as the familiarity went and Nymira found herself more annoyed by it all. Smaller towns weren't as guilty of this, but it seemed like the cities of the kingdom - and larger towns as well - were no strangers to having an excess of food. How nice it must be to wander about haplessly and be able to take whatever you wish to eat without to work for it. "Most of these people wouldn't last a moon in our lands," the Dimuran muttered as she pointed to a thin steak, lamb apparently, and dismissively told the owner of the stall to cook it however he saw fit. "Does it not bother you? Just how lazy these people are...?" Nymira questioned, frowning as she watched Ethan continue to fret over his selection, "No wonder this Church is so easily able to control everything, most of the people in this kingdom are useless... I'm astonished most can dress themselves."

----------

"Guess what? I've been on the other side of the law near all my life, I'm no stranger to being hunted, but you ain't hearing me bitching about it now are ya? And I don't care, but I also don't want to listen to you bellyachin' all fucking day either. It's like I said: accept who you are and what your lot in life is, or change it. Complaining ain't going to change anything and it'll just piss off everyone around you." Children complained, children whined and moaned and expected things to change because of it. If you wanted something to happen though, if you wanted real results, you had to take action and take matters into your own hands. He could argue with Cecil all day about the idea of having a "purpose" but Gage had better things to waste his time with. Besides they were at the gearheads place now and with luck he could be done with them for at least a little while. Hopes of that however faded rather quickly when the first words out of the Ydran brats mouth were "Mr. Norman, Cecil's a person, right?" Growling lowly he folded his arms and stood at the door, scowling as Norman gave him a perplexed look. "Don't look at me, your problem now."

Well... He hadn't expected Gage to be sent along with them. He was familiar with the man's less than amiable personality and so it was of little surprise to find both Amuné and Cecil bothered by the man. The girl came to him with questions perhaps far too philosophical for a child and for a good moment Norman hadn't the words to offer one way or another. Deciding it was best to just not even get into that mess he smiled and squat down before Amuné, taking off a dirtied glove and patting her head with a laugh. "Cecil is fortunate to have someone who cares about him enough to argue with Gage, you're a brave little girl, Amuné." Or a little foolish, though even Gage wasn't the sort to strike a child for speaking against him. Slipping his glove back on Norman pulled his goggles up to his forehead and smiled at Cecil, stepping aside and gesturing to the shop, "Taliya told me all about our plans and I've got everything set up for us, come in and make yourself comfortable."

"And Amuné? I know you'll be doing your own training with Gage and I'm sure he's got plans for you to practice elsewhere, but you might be happy to know we've prepared a range nearby for you to practice at, if you'd like." There was of course an ulterior motive to his suggestion and Norman's wide smile should indicate as much. Calling for one of the shop's assistance to fetch "the weapon" he seemed to grow more eager as a box was brought out to them, almost as long as Amuné was tall. Taking it and placing it down before the girl Norman unlatched the locks and smiled as he pulled the lid off, revealing inside a repeating crossbow. "It's a bit crude honestly and its still in its prototype stages but I think it's a perfect weapon, if you have to have one," Norman explained before looking up at Gage curiously, "Er... You're absolutely certain she needs to be trained? I'm still against the idea of giving a child a weapon at all."

"Tali's orders, don't matter what I think about them," Gage answered gruffly as he stepped forward, leaning over Amuné and snatching the weapon up in one hand. Examining it closely he took a closer look at it, interested in the design. "Looks like a regular ol' shooter, except for this here..." he muttered as he tapped a conical cartridge affixed horizontally beneath the weapon's barrel.

"Each shot moves the cartridge forward, automatically lining up the second arrow for firing," Norman explained eagerly, standing beside Gage as he pointed to various mechanisms, "The string has to be drawn back manually still since we couldn't decide on a suitable automation for that, but reloading the weapon itself is, pardon the phrasing Amuné, child's play. It can hold 8 bolts simultaneously and the weapon itself is highly accurate and light thanks to an ash composite for the body and a carbonized steel plating for the- Er... What are you doing?" Seeing Gage taking aim at one of the walls Norman gasped and tried to stand in front of it to prevent him from firing, ducking when Gage pulled the trigger and turning to see the bolt having pierced through the shop wall, albeit a very thin sheet of wood wall, and ending up goodness knows where out back.

"Not bad, good stopping power for such a small toy," Gage noted as he turned it over and dumped the remaining bolts into his hand, dropping the emptied weapon then into Amuné's lap. "Try that out kid, if you can manage to fire it without falling on your rear maybe it'll be yours yet."




In the city of Balkova, Eastern Adelon - One day ago


What was the reason to call him all the way back here? Hadn't he done everything that had been asked of him? There was the Magi in Terranova that was causing a problem and they had been dealt with, so had the woman in that small village by Geromaine's Gorge, a tiny little place at the base of the Boehm Highlands to the north. Not that Bernadette had sounded terribly cross but there was a slightest hint of urgency to her voice and that rarely bode well. Unlike when he'd been teleported to his locations there was no such convenience for his return, he'd be on his own. Remus had to charter two ships to journey down the rivers and even then had only managed half the trip by boat, the rest had been done on horseback and changing three times over before finally reaching Balkova. His body ached from the culmination of battle and the weariness of the ride but he carried on down the busy streets, his head high and eyes forward as he walked through the crowds. Further east was where most of the heaviest population centers were and, in turn, where the Church's presence was most felt. Indeed banners denoting the Church hung from many high places and their priests were on almost every street, handing out fliers for events and gathering donations for just one of the numerous local churches in the city. Was it right of them, a group who essentially owned the city already, to be asking for donations? It wasn't his place to say.

A boisterous crowd outside the bar was parted by two members of the Church as Remus approached it and the proprietor, a portly older gentleman whose sweat stained his white wool coat jacket greeted him at the door. In her usual fashion his handler seemed to spare no expense in creating as much inconvenience for others as she could while setting up a meeting. Thanking the man at the door he ducked beneath the low bearing frame and into the bar. None seemed to pay him any terrible mind as he entered save the few drunkards who, probably if spoken to, would find enough reason to foolishly get into a fight with him. He was not here to take part in any drunken spats however nor did he have any desire to, his destination was through the door behind the bar. Greeting the young woman behind the counter he made a mental note that she was likely the owner's daughter judging by their resemblance - an uncanny and often annoying habit Remus found himself doing - thanking her for her work before disappearing inside. He'd barely shut the door at his back when a knife found itself at his throat, stopping promptly and glancing to his side at a smiling Ydran.

"Oh, its just you gramps. Hehe, sorry, don't want anyone unexpected popping in," the Ydran laughed as he lowered his blade, spinning it on his finger before dropping it into a sheath at his hip, "Took you long enough to arrive, what kept you? Run into some women on the way here?"

Remus didn't bother with an answer and instead looked to the woman behind the desk: Bernadette. Though a false name as he well knew, it was simply yet another moniker that she'd taken on during her work. Her actual name alluded him and she'd never made any mention of it in their brief discussions, nor did he ever care to ask. "You called for me? I assume there is more work to be done?" There was no immediate response and for several seconds she simply looked at him, her smile never leaving her face. Feeling like he was being silently picked apart Remus shifted his weight and opened his mouth to speak again, being cut off instead by Bernadette.

"So I understand you and Sero had a little fight again, hm? You two should really learn to play along..." she cooed, resting her head on her hand as she traced the table grains with a fingertip, "That's twice you've fought now, and twice someone's gotten away because of it. I know you don't see eye to eye but please, be a dear and get along, won't you? I'd hate to have to punish you for disobeying us again..." Remus visibly tensed at her veiled threat and there was a very distinct look of anger in his eye but he remained silent, her smile widening as she set both feet on the floor and leaned forward. "That's a good dog, you know your place. Now... I know he's not your favorite fish in the world and you've asked not to work with him, but... I have a job for you that you might like." Looking at the Ydran she waved for him to speak, settling back into her chair and folding her leg over the other again. "Elluine can tell you the details."

The Ydran was rather pleased with himself though he was little more than a messenger: anything to get under this stoic old fossil's skin, tormenting him was always such a joy. "Sero's got a problem of causing scenes during his jobs, it's becoming a real headache to clean up his messes. After all, we're not supposed to be causing scenes while we work, it'd be very unflattering for the Church," Elluine began as he broke into a grin, reaching into his tunic and pulling out a parchment, rolled with a red string and stamped with a familiar seal. "This one comes from above, they want you to make sure he doesn't go too crazy with his next job. If he causes a problem then clean it up and bring him back, we'll handle disciplining him ourselves. Oh, and Remus...?" The Ydran grabbed the man's hand as he was putting away the paper and he snatched it back, waving it in the Muran's face with a wink. "This here's an order for you to deal with whoever else shows up there. If its another Magi you can kill them on sight, we'll argue it was self defense and that's that. That said please don't go laying waste to everyone, it'll look bad."

"Besides, the game's no fun if you wipe out all the pawns immediately," Bernadette interjected with an airy chuckle, "Keep Sero on a leash and make sure he does his job, after that bring him back, drag him if you must, I really don't care. And don't mess this up, my patience with you two is thin as it is and I'd hate to have to report that two of my men ended up dead."
We await your return eagerly! \o/
"Give it your all T'charrl, I can ask nothing more of you," Yusef reassured as he ushered his son back to the chasm. As any good leader should he had done the act himself before pushing it onto his "subordinates", now it was up to them to repeat his feat. Airing on the side of optimism there was some hope that T'charrl would be able to advance to flying against the winds today and yet that simply wasn't realistic. The Prince did all he could to stand against the winds and for a time he did manage, but as expected the gusts grew stronger and the inevitable collapse was not terribly far behind. With the winds still pushing Yusef flew into the chasm himself and stood before T'charrl to block the gusts, his fur rustling wildly in the wind as he acted as a shield. "If you managed on only your second attempt you'd surprise everyone, me included, don't lose heart my son," he said as he turned his head and waited for the winds to finally subside. Kneeling before T'charrl and helping him to sit he dusted off dirt and plucked a twig from his hairs, smiling as he helped T'charrl to his feet. "It is not normal for our people to try and stand against the wind, you know this, our strength is in our wings. That said... The gusts here are not like a storm, spread out and diluted, but powerful, directed. It takes a very special way of flying to be able to stand against these winds, and you'll learn it in time, just as you'll learn to place yourself as a tree first."

"Though... Perhaps asking you to try this on your own is a bit much to begin, you've never done an exercise like this before. Perhaps then..." Looking for Haku the General called for him to come and join them, smiling as he placed a claw on his back and eased him towards the chasm. "I've an idea! Haku, you shall help T'charrl and act as a support, for the time we will simply work on the proper stance to maintain, standing on his own can come after," Yusef explained, "T'charrl? You did well for your first attempt, but let me suggest something. The smaller you are the less the wind has to strike, and the easier it becomes to make yourself steady. Perhaps instead of standing upright..." To illustrate the point the General lowered his large frame and put a shoulder forward as though preparing to tackle something, "You try a stance like this. When you fly you make yourself as narrow as possible so the wind passes over you, but standing upright that becomes harder. So perhaps try lowering yourself? And fear not, Haku will be behind you to catch you should you slip."

----------

"Nah, I sit in my room thinking of all the reasons I'm so excited to see you, teacher," Takeshi sneered as he looked away from Krom in annoyance, "The only sad thing is you getting stuck training us, so much for being a high and mighty Elite. You were so lousy our shitty old man just dumped you with us." So what was this jerk going to have them doing today? Carrying huge rocks up a hill? Running laps around the city? It came as relief to hear that Krom was actually being somewhat conscientious about Shu's injuries and not having him work too much. And then the bastard turned it around on him and had Takeshi doing double the work as though he was doing his brother's share for the day. This jerk was doing that just to spite him wasn't he? "That's fine, give me everything Shu was going to do, I can handle it," Takeshi said as he smirked, not wanting to give Krom any satisfaction in thinking he might be getting annoyed, "And I'm not worried about Shu hurting me, but he'd probably kick your ass if he could. So you should be glad we're not sparring today."
It was easy to falter and give up when you were attempting something new, becoming discouraged was to be expected. What separated the greats from the average individuals though was perseverance and the willingness to push on even if you failed. T'charrl had done markedly well for his first attempt but it didn't seem to be enough for him, he wanted to be in the air as his father had done. Not content to leave his son doubting himself Yusef shared with him a small revelation: it was T'charrl's determination that would bring him victory, not his strength. "I've trained hundreds of soldiers in my time and you know what? It's rarely the strongest on the onset that make the best soldiers," Yusef explained as he got back to his feet and looked to the canyon, "No... It's the ones that keep on trying despite whatever weakness they have that become the best. You'll gain strength through persistence, over time you'll be unstoppable, you'll have the resolve few have and the strength to match. That is what I know you are capable of, my son. For now however... Continue to do what you have, it's as I said before - and will say again - until you understand the basic ideas we cannot have you fly yet. You must learn to brace your body against the winds, and not only that but not to falter no matter how powerful the gales might be. It takes more than just pure strength to make someone exceptional, you know this as well. So come then," Yusef said with a smile, gesturing to the chasm, "Show me, my child, the soldier that I know you can be."

----------

"I... Uh... What?" Shu was making absolutely zero sense and Takeshi found himself utterly at a loss as to what his brother was even trying to say. Something about... Being strong? Something about getting hit a lot? Giving his younger brother a quizzical look he sighed and shook his head, shrugging his shoulders as he looked away. "Look... You wanna learn to control your power right? So you don't go all monkey on us or whatever. Well once teach gets here we can start doing that, because Aito's little chats aren't gonna be enough to help, you know? And maybe you can take out some of that anger on me. Or take it out on Krom, I wouldn't mind seeing ya knock him around a bit." The bastard deserved to have his butt handed to him by Shu when he changed but that would kinda defeat the whole purpose of their training. At the opening of the doors Takeshi slid off of his seat and waited for Krom to enter the room, looking at the man with a smug grin as he crossed his arms. "I was wondering when you were going to show up, afraid you're going to get your ass kicked?" Takeshi taunted, raising an eyebrow as he raised his hands behind his head, "So what's the plan today huh? Sparring? Ki control? Or are we going to learn how to kidnap people?" the older boy pressed with a sneer, "You know, since you're pretty good at that."
The pace admittedly was quick before, that's on me. I tend to think of what we did before as almost a prologue of sorts, just trying to establish everything. So the pace is gonna be much more reasonable from here on out :)
"Be confident my son, I know you are capable of this! Steel yourself and be the mighty tree against the gales!" It was nothing that was outside of T'charrl's power and if his confidence would just remain he'd be as powerful as anyone else on this planet. The moment his son entered the chasm was tense for everyone involved and Yusef, for all his enthusiasm, felt himself grow somewhat uncertain as T'charll prepared. They had tried to boil the exercise down to its simplest parts for his sake and start from the ground up, quite literally in this case. Would it be enough? The wind came and the Prince managed to remain planted in his spot if only just so, wavering until the wind ceased and he staggered forward. Two of King Nema's attendants helped him out of the chasm and Yusef met T'charrl at the mouth of it, smiling sympathetically as his son asked him about their training. "Until you've managed to fly against it, which we have yet to even attempt," the General answered, taking a knee before his son and placing a hand atop his head, "T'charrl, you are powerful my son even if you do not know it. Before you changed you were too, don't you see that? Even if you lacked strength you never backed down from a fight, you gave it all you had every time no matter the odds, you fought every time. Has that changed now? Or do you plan on giving it your all?"

------------

Shu was crazy if he thought old man Roshi would be able to even keep up with them now, never mind train them. They were leagues above the pervert and training with him at all would be a colossal waste of time for them now. Today was going to be one hell of a headache wasn't it? Takeshi himself was pissed they were training with Krom, Shu was pissed at him for throwing their match at the tournament, and Krom was probably angry he was having to deal with both of them yet again. Nobody was happy with this lousy arrangement of theirs! "Come on buddy, I'm not even angry for that long, it's been like... A whole day already, you know? You gotta learn to get over it..." What was this stuff about believing in Shu? What did that have to do with anything? Oh yeah, this was probably thanks to that crap with Aito wasn't it? How everyone doubting and treating Shu like a risk had made him this way, or something like that. Stupid doctor filling Shu's head with crazy ideas. Why couldn't he just have his doofy, go-lucky brother back? He wasn't used to Shu being grumpy, not for this long, and he definitely wasn't used to Shu being mad at HIM for that long. "Well if you're gonna be angry then I guess you can take it out on Krom? That's good right?" Takeshi asked with a grin, "Or... Er... Me, if you wanted to. Blow off some steam, you know?"
"My game? I have no idea what you're talking about, officer. I'm just a paying patron and a friend come to cheer up Siku after her devastating loss," Katsu offered with a smile, "After all that's what friends are for right? I'm just being a good friend Hiresh." With both Sesi and this Asha present there was a very good chance Hiresh wouldn't try anything with him, not so long as he behaved. He could poke and prod until the sun set and there wouldn't be a single thing that stupid officer, or even Siku, could do to stop him. Grinning tauntingly at the clearly annoyed Hiresh he folded his hands behind his head and started walking with the group, winking at the water bender to his left playfully. He was going to enjoy this, and as far as Sesi knew they really were friends. Which they were... Sort of. Did the occasional run-ins and exchange of "pleasantries" constitute as a friendship?

Most people would feel completely comfortable in a crowd on a busy street, and why wouldn't they? No normal person was going to try anything in broad daylight with hundreds of witnesses and certainly not with so many officers around for the event. Katsu's only concern was the officers themselves, though it wasn't as if any of them had proof to take him in for anything: if the police had proof then Hiresh would be cuffing him and dragging him away right now. Flashing Siku a grin as he asked about visiting her at home later he turned to Sesi to see what her little sister thought, catching himself as he caught a flash of white out of the corner of his eye. No... He'd been seeing things, there was no way they were here right? Slowing his step and turning part way round his eyes widened spotting a man clad in a dark blue robe and cowl with an insignia on the front, and a patterned mantle around his shoulders. Scanning the crowd he spotted a second, and a third, there was no doubt it now.

"H-Hey, how about we go to Siku's house now, huh? Let's get some food and go have fun!" Katsu said suddenly as he placed a hand on Siku and Hiresh's backs, trying to push them along faster as he laughed nervously, "My treat even! Whatever you guys want, its on me! I'll even feed Sesi and your friend here!" The path to Siku's home was a diversion from the main roads which meant unfortunately losing the cover of the crowd. Taking his hands off of his friends backs Katsu hurried ahead of them and spun on his heel, walking backwards and waving them on to move quicker. As expected two men clad in the outfits broke from the crowd and were following behind, just entering the street they had turned onto themselves. "Uh.... Hey, I know a shortcut! Follow me!" Shit, why were they here? When the hell did they see him? He'd been so careful and had been damn sure not to let anyone know where he was. Turning down an alleyway he again waved for the others to pick up the pace, a slight bounce in his step as he resisted breaking into a run. He didn't want them knowing something was wrong because then they'd look and what would they think? The White Lotus only really had one purpose and, assuming they knew it, things were going to become awkward very quickly.

Couldn't they take a hint? He hadn't ran away from home because he wanted them around and he sure as hell wasn't running away now because he wanted to see them either. Taking a sharp turn down another alleyway he had probably lost the others by now but he couldn't be bothered to care, not with the White Lotus snooping around. Glancing back over his shoulder and finding no one behind him he smirked, stepping out to the streets confidently. Without seeing where he was going he bumped into someone and turned to apologize and instead stepped back, ducking under a reaching hand and creating a flash of fire in his hand, driving the White Lotus member back.

"Katsu wait! We're been searching for you, we're here to help!"

"I don't want your help, that's why I left you idiot! Tell your boss to leave me the hell alone!" Katsu shouted, turning and running back down the alleyway again towards his friends. Halfway through a second White Lotus member joined them and cut him off, their hands up as a show of non-aggression. That was just fine by him because he wasn't going with these clowns and he'd gladly fight to avoid it. Igniting his fist with flame he threw a strike and forced the White Lotus member to jump up to a low hanging stairwell, giving Katsu plenty of time to run under him and back out to the road... And into another two members. Cursing aloud he turned to run again and was once more cut off, now surrounded by six members of the White Lotus. Looking between each and every one of them he grit his teeth, forcing a smile as he ignited both hands with flames. "Piss off before you make me mad, I'm not going to hesitate to attack you."

"We're only trying to help you Katsu, please understand. We've been searching everywhere for you, the Grand Lotus is very worried, as is your family. Come back with us, we will not harm you."

Hearing footfalls approaching one of the members turned and saw Siku and company fast approaching, holding out a hand to signal for them to stop. "Please leave, we're here on official business. This isn't something that civilians need to be involved in."

"Oh guys, there you are! How's about helping me kick these guy's butts? They're trying to kidnap me!" Katsu lied, rolling his eyes as one of the men contradicted him. It was probably a waste of breath anyways, everyone who knew anything was familiar with the White Lotus enough to at least understand they weren't bad people. So trying to sick the others on them probably wasn't going to work. Groaning and rubbing at his head he spun on his heel and picked out the senior member, pointing a finger at the man with a sneer. "I'm NOT going with you, got it? So you guys just pack your bags and go back wherever you came from, I'm done!"
Thank goodness Sergeant Ekkehardt hadn't stuck around to chew them out more, Ki'te wasn't sure if she could take much more being yelled at right now. Following the lead of Samara, the trio made their way to the supply tent for their new uniforms and were greeted by some of the sorriest souls Ki'te had ever seen in her life. So that was the look of someone who had seen Titans first hand was it? Would she and the others end up the same way? You must get used to it though in the same way she'd grown accustomed to gutting her kills while hunting: she'd been nauseated at first but had quickly grown used to the smell and sight. Not that she wanted to think of her fellow man as little more than prey in a hunt but it certainly helped to put things in perspective. Meeting the gaze of the recently returned soldier she tried to offer a polite smile but felt it fade as she looked into his eyes, cringing inwardly as she shuffled out of line. Had he lost someone? A friend? She'd seen similar eyes before in one of their people when a loved one died, so was that the kind of pain to expect out here?

After exchanging her uniform for the new one Ki'te hurried after Samara and Koto to their bunks, relieved to finally be done with this day. It was only going to get worse from here but having some respite, however brief, would be most welcome. Not terribly far off they could make out the sound of the sergeant tearing into another group of recruits and she thanked her lucky stars it wasn't their turn to be ripped a new one. Not wanting to give Sergeant Ekkehardt a chance she hurried into the barracks with her friend and brother, stopping at the door and looking around their quarters despondently. Most every bed was already claimed and the few she could see open were single at best, was she going to have to sleep with a stranger? Even after three years Ki'te had trouble doing that and there was no way she could do it now, not with all of the stress and tension built up in her. Desperately clinging to Koto's sleeve she smiled with relief when Samara found them a trio of bunks available, rushing ahead of her brother and quickly throwing her belongings up on the top bunk.

Scrambling up onto her bunk Ki'te went about trying to organize her bed, managing to get two corners of her sheets and finding herself struggling with the others. After the third corner was secured she attempted to hold down the fourth only for the third to spring back off and comically latch onto her head. Sighing in defeat she peeled the sheet off and had to stretch to fasten both at the same time, satisfied when they seemed secure at last. Putting her remaining belongings into a somewhat haphazard pile in the corner of her bunk she shimmied to the edge and sat, legs dangling down as she looked at Koto worriedly.

"That's not our job though, we're here to kill Titans..." Ki'te muttered, though she didn't know which was a better alternative. Biting her lip she leaned forward and rubbed her hands together, her legs swaying idly as she looked at Samara. "They're not going to make us do that... R-right, Samara? If they n-needed more they would have taken more from our v-village." Unless of course there were other villages which had been visited like their own. Curiously however they were the only ones native to the mountains that were here, either that or they were being kept even more to the shadows than they were. Ki'te sincerely hoped they wouldn't have to do something so unsavory, it had pained her greatly to have to leave home and she would never want to inflict that onto someone else. Like Koto she didn't know if she could do it, order or no. She'd take whatever punishment they wanted to give before she ever agreed to do something so horrible.

By now Ki'te should by all rights be used to the sound of their superiors screaming at them. And yet when Sergeant Ekkehardt bellowed and demanded everyone present themselves she jumped and nearly fell out of her bunk, catching herself on the frame and frowning worriedly. Had someone messed up already? It wasn't uncommon for someone's mistake to be made an example of for everyone but they'd just graduated, what could someone have done? Not wanting to incur the wrath of their sergeant upon herself Ki'te slid down from her bunk and followed the others outside, wondering why in the world they were being summoned here. Standing at attention when a corporal barked at them she stiffened up, glancing back and forth worriedly as she awaited whatever command they were going to be given. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted another woman approaching their group, one whom she didn't recognize whatsoever from any point of their training. Upon the woman's jacket was the same symbol as theirs and immediately Ki'te realized who it was, her heart catching in her throat as she watched the woman stand before them all seeming rather angry. That woman was their Captain... Wasn't it? If someone that high a rank was calling them out...

"Good job everyone, your ability to follow simple instructions will be the savior of humanity yet..." It was a wisecrack and yet there wasn't a single hint of humor to Stella's tone as she spoke, standing before the ensemble of recruits with a tired look upon her face. That she'd have to come back from a mission so abruptly to take care of these children when Sergeant Ekkehardt was perfectly capable of rounding them up herself. Looking through the ranks she paused at a pair of men that were talking among themselves, gritting her teeth and stepping through the ranks to reach them. One of the men noticed immediately and swiftly went to attention, the other however was too busy chatting with his friend. Grabbing the boy by the collar of the shirt she swept a leg out from under him and dropped him to the ground in the blink of an eye, wrenching his arm behind his back with her foot planted squarely on the small of his back.

"Perhaps I spoke to soon, it seems I interrupted something extremely important with my visit," Stella muttered, narrowing her eyes as the recruit writhed beneath her. Tightening her grip she frowned and looked around at the surrounding recruits, her eyes settling on the boy's friend. "Care to tell me what was so important? I'm not terribly patient, take too long and I may accidentally dislocate your friend's arm here." The boy opened and closed his mouth idiotically like a fish but failed to produce anything remotely similar to coherent speech. He was perfectly capable of it though, she knew he was since the fool was blathering away just a second ago. Rolling her eyes she pulled on the boy's arm and ignored his pleas for her to stop, relaxing her hold only when another recruit spoke up.

"Th-they were wondering why we were m-mustered, ma'am!" another recruit explained hastily, feeling themselves shrink under the Captain's gaze. Nervously glancing at others around them and finding none would support her the recruit continued, "We were all w-wondering why, that's all..."

"I was going to get to that before these morons interrupted me. Try being patient and you'll be told what you need to know." Letting go of the boy's arm Stella turned on her heel and took her place again before the rest of the class, ordering the boy's friend to get him to his feet and back into position. That she was passing up a chance to clear out a den of Titans for this... "Now listen, those who are present are now members of the 72nd Expansion Battalion. You belong to a branch of the Survey Corps that, for all intents and purposes, does not exist. Our job is to take on assignments and go deeper into uncharted territory than most of the Survey Corps will go, and to take on missions that they, while under the eye of the branch leaders and the King, cannot. Everything we do we do under secrecy and that means absolutely no speaking of our work to anyone else." Looking at the pair of boys still recollecting themselves Stella frowned and continued, "Though I know that may be hard for some of you I trust you'll learn to remain silent when told."

"I'm not going to lie to any of you, our job is not easy. We have one of the highest mortality rates in the military and I would be amazed if half of this class makes it back alive by the year's end." And as expected that little disclaimer sent the class into something of a frenzy. Most who could spoke out in protest, shouting and demanding reassignment and decrying the insanity of their mission. Others were too stunned or in disbelief and simply stood there, gaping like clowns or trying not to break. Sighing through her nose Stella reached into her back pocket and pulled out a pistol, raising it over her head and firing a single shot to silence everyone. "Whether this is fair or not isn't my problem, my problem is making sure the missions we're given are complete. And understand this: Yes, some of you will die. But I do not send my people out on suicide missions, and I do everything in my power to ensure people survive. Every mission we undertake I will be there alongside you fighting, and so will your comrades. Take heart in knowing that you're not alone on the battlefield, and prepare to give it too, if need be."

Could she be done with the speeches already? People still seemed to be rather upset over the harsh truth she'd delivered and no little consolation was going to change that. While Stella had been truthful in that she would be present for every mission it wasn't as though she could personally see to every individual's survival. Casualties were a fact of life and that was especially true in their group, you had to accept that and work regardless. Growing annoyed as murmurs broke out in the ranks again she resisted firing her weapon again and instead, slammed her hand down on a low table, quickly silencing everyone again. "If you have questions Sergeant Ekkehardt will answer them. Don't ask for reassignment, you won't be given it, and don't try weaseling out of this either. If you're here then you deserve it and that's final. Appreciate you've at least been given a chance." With that she turned and made her way back to her tent, hardly caring that Ava was doubtless about to be flooded with questions and demands. That was her job as the intermediary, she could babysit until the missions came.

High casualty rate? Ki'te had known that much just by being in the Survey Corps, but to be told it was even worse in this place was heartbreaking. Looking around at several of the crestfallen recruits she wondered just how many faces would be gone before the year was through. Would she make it? Samara would, of that she had no doubt, and as long as he didn't die trying to save her Koto would too. She would have to do everything in her power then not to drag them down, easier said than done of course. "W-W-Well... At least w-we're going to stay t-together..." she said weakly, tears welling up in her eyes as she smiled at the others, "Th-that's good, right?"

Ethan uttered something unintelligible as he stumbled backwards with Nymira, turning around and fixing his shirt once he was freed from her grasp. "He's probably hungry too, we all had a lot of work today! Let's go fill our bellies and then we can get cracking at this training, he won't mind. Right Kensen? Maybe you can show us some good places around here!" Everyone had their own preferences for food, he himself loved poultry and Nymira seemed to usually go for the more gamey meats, though maybe that was just a result of her traveling. With Amuné and Wyth having gone off with Cecil to train that was two less mouths to feed, which made everything easier. Of course there was the matter of Adrian too, if he was going to join them then it was only fair he dine with them as well! Looking back to find Adrian and realizing how far behind the other man was Ethan stopped in his tracks and waited, beaming as he waved in greeting when Adrian rejoined him. "We're going to grab a bite to eat before we train, want something? It's our treat!" he explained as he clapped Adrian on the back, "Maybe you know some good places around here? I mean we only just arrived yesterday and haven't been to much besides Taliya's place, think you can show us around?"

"Oh, by the way! In case you still didn't get all of our names I'm Ethan, and you met Nymira earlier. I know she can be a little... Difficult," Ethan stressed the last word with a smile and laugh - a strained laugh at that - as plenty more could be said about Nymira. "She's a good person though, I promise. Maybe you can't talk to her much but she'll help you when you're in trouble, no doubt. The little girl and her pet are Amuné and Wyth, and our Machina friend is called Cecil. I figure if you're going to be with us you should know our names huh?" They needed to be friendly to potential comrades, he figured that someone like Nymira who was trying to forge alliances would know that better than anyone. She'd been friendly enough with the mayor but even then only enough that the guards didn't hall them off, anyone who wasn't potentially a leader of sorts got the cold shoulder. "So uh... You're from the Church huh? I kind of figured Lionel was just kidding but..." Ethan trailed off slightly as he looked ahead, his mouth pulled in a thin line as he thought carefully about his words. You killed Cedric huh?. Not directly of course but by association, and yet he knew there was no way Adrianna had personally done it, and throwing the death of his friend on someone new certainly wasn't going to make them on good terms. Shaking his head he flashed Adrianna a smile and shrugged his shoulders, "Whatever happened in the past is in the past, right? The future's all yours now! That's all that matters now!"

"He'll try to make friends of our enemies before long..." Nymira grumbled irritably as she overheard Ethan prattling to Adrianna. There was being cordial when the situation demanded it and then there was simply being idiotic, Ethan quite comfortably belonged to the latter. No amount of traveling with him was ever going to make watching him bumble about, befriending people at every turn any less bewildering. Having comrades was good, foolishly placing your trust in every single person who so much as said hello? Pinching the bridge of her nose she closed her eyes and muttered to herself about having patience, looking at Kensen after a moment with a frown.

"I meant to ask... That man Gage, was it wise to leave him with Amuné? Cecil is there but he'll be joining Norman, and the child is far from a warrior, even with that animal of hers. And I've not gotten the impression Gage is a man who does well with children." Or people, he had less social graces than most anyone she'd ever seen. He also wandered around like a man who had grown far too big for his own blade and thought he had the run of the place. He'd been capable during their encounter with the beasts to be sure, rather capable actually given he never seemed to use magic, but that didn't earn him the right to act like the arrogant swine he was. He had zero respect for her or anyone save perhaps their leader. "At least we seem to be in agreement on one matter: That man is a nuisance."

Listening to this machine and the little girl prattle on was beginning to make Gage ill. Why was this even a discussion? Yes Cecil was a highly unusual Machina and far more emotional than any he'd seen before but ultimately that was all the boy was: a Machina. Calling him "boy" even was pushing it when Cecil was the equivalent of the prosthetic limb Gage himself possessed. Running a hand along his face and groaning aloud as Amuné went on a tirade about feelings and emotions he quickened his pace and stood behind the pair, narrowing his eyes as he cleared his throat loudly.

"Listen you little shites, quit blabbering about things that don't matter none, will you? You're giving me a headache and we haven't even started your training yet," Gage grumbled irritably, throwing Wyth a look that dared him to bare his fangs against him. "And don't even try it you cat, I've killed beasts meaner than you while on my ass drunk, you won't even be worth it." He was not here to make friends with any of them, he wasn't here to console anyone and he sure as hell wasn't here to listen to some little girl and her pet robot have a heart to... Whatever Machina had. That said he did feel like he should say something if only to keep them from continuing on this obnoxious trail of thought they'd been on.

"Cecil, you're a Machina, end of story. If you feel emotions then that's how you were built, that's all. Yes you're not human, you're not a living being, get over it. We die, we tire, we age and we grow weak. Machina will never die as long as you're not destroyed, so its a trade off. If I had my way I'd be a damn machine like you, save me a shitload of trouble if I didn't have to worry about so much..." As if to prove a point Gage placed a hand on the back of his neck and rolled it, popping joints audibly with a groan. Stepping past Cecil and Amuné then he gestured over his shoulder for them to follow as he headed for Norman's shop. "Accept what you are and move on, ain't no use in whining about what can't be changed. Make peace with it and everything will be a lot easier."
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