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@BlueSky44 Adjusted Appropriately

Judge Kalon's Residence

The Southern Jewel, Grand Kingdom of Kron-Nesis

Darius reclined upon a couch within a sitting room, rubbing the base of his neck with a pained expression as the pains of age bothered him. Cressida, clearly in more pain as some clear bruising marked the skin not covered by her clothing, sat upright at the edge of the couch. They were both awaiting Judge Kalon, who was in the office marked by two intricately-carved mahogany doors set into the Western wall of the sitting room. A messenger, sent on behalf of the Grand Marshall, had arrived to speak with the Judge. The Justicar and his apprentice were rather invested in picking up some sort of work. The grandness of the manor in which Judge Kalon resided meant little to the two servants of the Order of Justice. Cressida often felt more at home in a more rustic environment, and Darius was often more interested in staying busy than relaxation.

The doors opened, and Darius' eyes followed the messenger hurriedly leaving the room, rubbing his pocket. He was carrying a letter, most certainly one sealed by Judge Kalon with orders. It took a moment before Judge Kalon entered the sitting room, his furrowed brow breaking as he saw his two guests waiting for him. He gave a bright smile, his portly figure seeming to expand as he opened his arms in acknowledged greeting. "Ahhh, my guests. You appear to be quite comfortable, so I see no issue in speaking here." With a clap of his hands, a butler quickly appeared in the room. With a simple nod towards the chair, the Judge had wordlessly commanded the Butler to strain himself in lifting a practical throne of a chair and moving it close to the couch where Darius and his apprentice sat. Once finished, the butler rushed out of the room. Judge Kalon took his seat and leaned back comfortably, the smile beginning to fade. "I am afraid there has been a sharp rise in... illicit activity. A knight, Sir Archibald, was drugged and maimed last night."

Before the Judge finished speaking, Darius was already positioning himself to stand up. He was ready to get out there and begin an investigation. But the raising of the Judge's hand stopped him. "I have already sent orders for a local Justicar to investigate. Given your history, Justicar Stormhawk, I felt it best to send a Justicar that is more... diplomatic to handle this matter and bring them in for justice."

"I deliver results, and have logged more arrests than any-"

"You have certainly logged more executions than any Justicars here. This is Tarantis, the Jewel of the South... not the battlegrounds of Nyrae." Darius grit his teeth slightly, lowering himself back into a reclined position as a sign of defeat. "There is a grave matter that has come to the attention of the Order, based on a message sent out to the Guilds. The army is recruiting those with special skills. Grandmaster Veranis believes that it would be advantageous to mobilize roaming members of the Order to aid the army in an auxiliary capacity. It is his opinion that the act of insurrection is a cause worthy of retribution... and..."

Darius practically rolled his eyes. He knew what was coming. "And Grandmaster Veranis wants us to aid the army of Kron-Nesis in an unofficial capacity to aid in the war effort."

Judge Kalon gave a slight nod, scratching the beard upon his chin before continuing. "...Officially, no request was made. But Grandmaster Veranis has made it clear he would prefer your services to be used in the war... but that such actions are not the command of the Order at large. The only actions permitted by the Order would be to ensure that Justice is upheld in war, and to protect the dignity and justice of prisoners. Though the Order would not reprimand you if more direct action was taken in the conflict."

Cressida looked like she was practically going to burst before finally interjecting, her voice slightly louder than she intended. "That is against the vows taken by the Order! We are to remain impartial observers, doing any more would violate everything the Order of Justice stands for! How could the Grandmaster-"

The slap rang out the sitting room. Darius had jumped to his feet with incredible speed, and swung the back of his gloved hand into the cheek of Cressida before she could register what had happened. She raised a hand to meet the mark of impact, her eyes raising to meet Darius' glare. They simply stared into each others' eyes for a moment, and then Cressida silently rose to her feet and left the sitting room, nearly knocking over the Butler as he carried a tray with three goblets into the room. Darius quietly sat down once again, beckoning the Butler over to give him some wine. The Judge himself took some wine, seeming unaffected by the incident. After another moment of silence, Darius bowed his head slightly. "I apologize for the insolence of Cressida. She is young and idealistic, but she will comply with the request of Grandmaster Veranis. As will I, though I suspect that no other members of the Order are being sent. At least, none that are in good standing. Veranis is hoping I die in the war."

"I don't doubt it, Darius. I wish I didn't have to do this, but you’re welcome to stay here for now. I even have an assignment for you if you please, though it is below your level of abilities.”

Darius gave a nod in acceptance, his palm opening up for an outward swing as he awaited the details. ”Arson at a home in the city. Reports of someone running from the scene. No severe punishment is warranted, and the officials here want to know for certain it was deliberate arson instead of a freak of nature. A simple fine should be taken.”

Darius rose without a word, making his way towards the exit. It was a menial assignment, but work was work. And right now, he needed something to keep himself occupied.
Excited to see an RP like this out here. I’ll get a CS up this weekend when I get a few minutes to actually write it all down.
To the surprise of all, I am keeping an eye on here still. Been incredibly busy with other RPs, so haven’t posted with the Demolitions Expert in a LONG time. Kinda keeping him as a side character here since it’s been slow. I’ll be more available around Thanksgiving, if things are going to pick up again.
@Almalthia Just a basic explanation of the developments during Time Skip.

Judge Kalon's Residence

The Southern Jewel, Grand Kingdom of Kron-Nesis

"Remember, keep your arm bent when resting... blade out. Never extend your arm when defending."

Darius' stature hovered over Talos Caron, a young elf-human halfling boy. He was the son of Judge Kalon's mostly-elven maid, and the maid and her son were not at all treated as the slaves they technically were. Judge Kalon's insistence in having the boy trained in the art of swordsmanship was just a confirmation of the obvious for Darius. He didn't need 27 years of training to understand what was going on.

The boy gripped his wooden sword with both hands, adjusting his grip so his arms remained somewhat bent. He was ready to defend, planting his feet as Darius swung the sword towards the boy's right shoulder. This time, the grip and sword held... a successful block. The boy's face lightened, before furrowing into a quizzical glance.

"Why did that work?"

Darius gave a small smile, setting his own practice sword on the ground as he knelt in front of the boy to be on his level. "Bending your arm... it lets your arm carry the weight of the blow. Keeps your defense strong, which is what matters most." As he spoke, his eyes turned up towards his proper student. She had her arms folded, wearing a casual outfit of mostly a tunic and trousers. Her gaze was knowing and sarcastic, her eyebrows raised at the little speech Darius was giving. In response, he quickly patted the boy on the shoulder to send him off to see his mother.

"So... a strong defense is what's most important, huh? What happened to-"

"Don't start with me, Cress. He's a weak kid and a slave. He's not going to be a bodyguard to the Royal Family."

Cressida rolled her eyes, walking over to the rack of practice sword against the wall of the courtyard in the midst of the Judge's estate. She tossed a secondary sword towards Darius, who caught it in the air, before grabbing one for herself. Darius gave a small smile. It was clear his apprentice had some emotions to work out. She wasn't the only one.

Cressida struck first, only to find wood instead of flesh. Her swings had a surprising amount of strength behind them, but nothing Darius hadn't seen before. Darius' swings had little strength behind them, which was clear as a small flurry of swings were wildly blocked by Cressida. The precision was what was key. Every swing was calculated, near every block anticipated. Darius was well within his element.

It was no surprise, then, when one of Darius' swings managed to hit Cressida's blade just appropriately enough to disarm the Junior Justice. The next three swings met Cressida's form, the audible cracks of wood against barely padded flesh ringing out in the courtyard.

Then Cressida did something that managed to surprise him. As Darius' practice sword bounced off her ribcage, Cressida grabbed what would be the blade. She ripped the sword away, rushing in to swing at her master's face. A smile began to form on the edge of Darius lips. He, of course, was prepared for this. His left arm rose up to grab Cressida's fist, providing just enough force to stop it. Simultaneously, he lifted his remaining blade up towards her neck, and she stopped in her tracks.

The two simply looked each other in the eye, and the conversation was understood but not spoken. Cressida knew her mistakes and her inadequacies. Darius knew her determination and grit. It was the most they could have gained from the spar thus far. With a short nod in unison, Darius fetched his practice sword while Cressida grabbed her own. They squared up in the courtyard, getting into their stances and preparing for the next round.

Callus stood silently, turning his head to watch his squad falling into line. A few chose to address him, but something about the general atmosphere in the hangar and the incessant need for officers to stress the lack of individuality drove Fixer to remain silent. He did give a nod in acknowledgement when his squad mates asked him a question. It only took a few moments for Sergeant Vytuia to arrive and the formation to follow into the shuttle.

Orson, upon taking his seat, seemed almost robotic as he placed his plasma cutter underneath the seat, activating a small magnetic strip to secure it to the floor of the shuttle. He then went through his final mechanical check on his utility belt, ensuring that everything was in its proper place. As he was told at the academy, having his equipment in the proper place could be the different between life and death. So once everything was where it belonged, Callus Orson fastened himself into his seat and turned his attention to his commanding officer.

The mission seemed like standard procedure. Lotho Minor seemed far from important or strategic, but the Empire hated the thought of rebel activity more than anything else. Though the assignment did provide Callus with a potential challenge: the rebels could have overridden Imperial control of the facility. Doors could be manually locked, the facility itself could be damaged... Callus could actually do something beyond snuffing out illegal activity.

Regardless, protocol for the mission was a priority for Callus. He wanted to know what set of procedures to follow if this was a worst-case scenario and not just an accident. Once a few of his squad mates asked their questions, Callus threw his own into the mix. "Is the system compromised? And if we are locked out, is the plan to slice or breach?"
Just squeaking in a post to keep IF alive. These past two weeks (and the two to come) are just incredibly brutal on my schedule (Not because of RDR2, I just decided to sign on to work on too many projects and there's never enough time for all of it). I'll get another post out, and should be in a better place for posting by Thanksgiving.

Just felt like tossing that good old update out there, since I believe either today or yesterday was the deadline and I've been rather quiet.
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