Auriel had assumed that the heroes were ready to strike when she called out to them, but the timing was off and their element of surprise went with it. So be it. Auriel held her spear at the ready as she looked to the group of bandits. Still outnumbered until the others could join the fight, she would have to hold her own. Luckily for her, the man in charge decided to preach and justify himself to her instead of taking the opportunity to use their numbers against her. She studied his rusty sword. A slash from it would certainly cause illness, but the rust also meant that the weapon would be brittle and easily broken. She would have to use that to her advantage should their weapons cross with one another. "Don't you know the world is going to end soon!? Its kinda sad you're not running away instead of taking care of some bandits in the ass end of the city limits..." the bandit said.
Auriel narrowed her eyes at him, "It's bandits like you who would see the end come sooner, and weaken us as a whole when the waves come. You are a part of the greater problem. And it is my solemn duty to solve that problem. No more talk, criminal! Face your death in battle so that you can be buried with at least an inkling of dignity." Auriel once again seized the initiative, making a move to lunge her spear forward at him.
Auriel heard the voices of the bandits as they approached, and she felt a swell of energy in her. This was to be her first fight since her injury. She was nervous for not just the heroes, but for herself as well. How would be fare after going so long without a fight? Auriel quickly purged the thoughts from her mind. She couldn't doubt herself now, as doubting oneself is the quickest way to fail. Auriel gripped the shaft of her golden spear tight. This wouldn't be like fighting demons and monsters. These were humans, humans with little training. They would be simple enough foes to sharpen her steel, the trouble came in needing to protect the heroes if they'd need it.
Auriel heard the rock impact one of the bandits. She smirked a bit, liking Fer's simple approach to picking a fight. Plus it was a good throw! She could hear the man's obvious anger and the threats being made. His challenge to come out of hiding was met an answer. Auriel wasn't keen on underhanded tactics and ambushing. She would at least pay her enemies the simple respect of seeing their opponent. Auriel stepped out from around the farmhouse, her spear in one hand. Her white wings practically glowed in the light of the rising moon. The golden spear of Archiel gleamed. The bandits stopped in their tracks when they laid eyes on her. Auriel looked over each of them, "Only weaklings steal from the backs of hard working folk. Weaklings and cowards who are undeserving of fairness being dealt unto them. I will give you only one chance, turn away and atone for your sins, or fall here."
Auriel had a dead serious look in her eyes. A battle hardened one that showed she was serious. The bandits on the other hand could barely hold back their smirks and laughs. One of them pointed at her with a knife, "I don't think you're reading the situation very well, little bird. There are seven of us, and only one of you. I don't care how good you might think you are, the math doesn't favor your odds."
Auriel didn't waver. She brought her spear into her other hand and widened her stance, presenting the tip of the long blade toward them. "Very well then. As a Holy Warrior of the Church of the Four, I, Auriel Asher, hereby sentence you to die for your crimes against your fellow man."
The bandits seemed a bit more serious now that she had adopted a fighting stance. The man heading the small group, certainly not Rayla, scratched the back of his head, then gestured to one of his lackeys. "Gren, take care of her."
Gren stepped forward and pulled his hatchet from his belt, "Easy enough. One pigeon stew coming right up. Stand still, lass. This wont take long."
Auriel nodded and watched him approach, "On that, we agree."
The bandit entered into a ready stance with his hatchet and waited. Auriel wasn't about to wait him out, she took the initiative and lunged forward with her spear. The bandit quickly sidestepped outside of her jab with a grin. Auriel quickly followed up by raising her rear hand further up the shaft of her spear, and swinging out the butt end of her polearm. It landed cleanly with his teeth, knocking a few out in a spurt of blood. The man recoiled with a twist from the blow, then collapsed to the ground after Auriel spun with her momentum and sliced his hamstrings with the blade. The duel was short as the bandit had promised, and he wasn't going to be fighting anymore without any strength in his legs. Auriel pressed the tip of her spear to his throat and looked at the other bandits, "Seems your math is favoring my odds a little more now. If you hope to win, I suggest you use your overwhelming numbers instead of challenging me in single combat."
Auriel felt her spear get shoved aside by the man on the ground. She looked back down at him, seeing him in mid-swing with his hatchet. Auriel lifted her leg and deflected the edge of his hatchet with her steel greave, causing sparks to fly. She countered with a swift kick to his cheek, knocking him out along with more teeth. Despite her threats of ending their lives, Auriel wasn't about to execute a defeated man. This one would suffer the law. She looked back at the other bandits, seeing them running at her as a group. Now that they were rushing angrily, they wouldn't count on the heroes flanking them, nor would they consider any traps that might've been set by them either.
Auriel readied herself again and yelled, "Cole! Fer! Now!"
Auriel was quiet for a time, her thoughts roiling around in her head after hearing Cole call her and Fer a pain in his arse. She was worried that maybe she had overstepped her boundaries as a follower. Auriel didn't mean to nag or be overly critical, she simply wanted to ensure they had the best chance at coming out of the fight ahead with their heads high. She didn't know much about their lives before coming to her world, but she didn't think they could have seen how baser instincts come out when survival is in question. Auriel worried, and that made her want to dote on the fledgling heroes. She didn't want either of them to fall in the same pit of depression that she had when her wings were crippled in battle. The words Cole had spoken about needing to be less glamorous than the tales worried her. She had never strayed from her convictions and she had thrived on the battlefield. Then again... Auriel's only enemy had only ever been forces of pure evil. It was easy to become enveloped in a conflict of black and white when the only thing the other side wanted to do was kill, raze, and pillage.
After taking a deep breath, Auriel opted to step well enough away to give them the space to formulate their own plans. She would be a fly on the wall, hoping that they would appreciate the autonomy. Her eyes first studied the farmer. Poor man... she thought. He looked to be living here on his own, working his fields alone while his age caught up to him. If the bandits came this way, he'd be helpless. She was relieved to hear that he at least was expecting a grandchild, which meant that he had a child somewhere to continue his legacy and come to the far to help if he needed it. But they weren't there now, so it was good she and the heroes were. Auriel didn't want another defenseless soul lost to madness that spread around the world as the waves drew near. While Fer and Cole planned, Auriel took her time to walk around the farmstead. It was so peaceful, so beautiful and serene. The land was nothing like around Melromarc where people were everywhere and moving in every direction. The light breeze of wind rustled the leaves around her and made the flowers and tall grass blow and bob. Bandits would sack this place... They wouldn't care about the vibrance of life around it or the bounty that it provided to less fortunate souls.
The Orphanage received food from places like this. She had a fond memory of walking through similar fields with her mother, helping in a harvest to prepare a glorious meal for a boy's nameday. She was too young to understand the significance of such a place. But now things made more sense. The value of such a tranquil, fertile place would be magnified after the first wave and beyond. It didn't take long for Auriel to forget about the stern words from Cole as she walked about the place. Being here made her feel better about being stuck on the ground. She'd be happy in a place like this someday after the waves... If there were going to be any left standing in the aftermath...
Auriel heard the distinct noise of a barking dog. She turned around and saw a shaggy dog chasing off a racoon. It made her smile that the old man wasn't truly alone. After the thief was ran off, Auriel made her way over to the dog and knelt down next to it, running her hand over the shaggy fur that covered its eyes. It panted and wagged its tail while running its wet nose over her arm to catch her scent. Auriel could never explain why animals were so friendly with her. She always figured that maybe it was the same energy in her touch that cured wounds which calmed beasts. Perhaps it was a deeper calmness inside of Auriel that animals could sense. Nevertheless, Auriel rarely had a bad encounter with animals, and that made her happy. She patted the dog on the head and stood back up, deciding it was time to return to her heroes and see what they had in mind for a plan.
She was about to round the corner of the house when she overheard Fer's suggestion for Auriel to flank them. She stopped before coming around the corner and listened in for a while longer. She didn't want her return to stifle their thought process. She leaned back against the brickwork of the house and stared up at the sky, her eyes tracing alone a lone white cloud. She could flank, though she wasn't sure how low profile she would remain with her great white wings. If only she could fly and strike from above. Maybe they thought she could do that, after all she still hadn't told them that she hasn't been able to take flight for months... The only hero who knew that was the spear hero, and he was long gone into the world now. She wondered where he was and what he was doing. Is he safe? Did he ever learn how to properly wield his spear? If only she was able to mentor him in its use before he left.
Her thoughts returned when she overheard Fer ask about setting traps for the bandits. She didn't personally believe in traps, she always worried that they'd never be sprung, forgotten about, and left for an innocent soul to happen upon them. But she wasn't about to speak against the decision now, she had done plenty of that already. Too much intervention wouldn't be good for the heroes. She would just have to remember to dismantle the traps after they were done with the fight. The afternoon was soon going to be transitioning into the evening. And if the bandits were smart, they'd strike at dusk when the farmers would be starting to go to ground for the night. It wouldn't be long now. A fight was upon them, and they had precious little time to take enact the plans. Now was the time for Auriel to get the two focused. No more figuring things out, they needed to get themselves set up.
She pushed herself from the wall of the farmhouse and came around the corner, looking to the two with a serious expression. "We're running short on time, you two. The more we talk, the less prepared we will be when Rayla arrives."
She looked to the farmer and bowed her head, "You have my word that your beautiful home will not be harmed, sir. Please, barricade yourself in your home and find something to defend yourself should the worst happen."