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4 yrs ago
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That'll be the last post from me this weekend. I'll follow up next weekend when I have more time off!

Hard Decisions

(Mood Music)

Auriel watched the emissary with caution. Something just didn't feel right about the cloaked woman. Why would a royal emissary commission the heroes so clandestinely? Why didn't the king just summon the heroes to the throne room to give them the quest personally? After all, it isn't beyond a king's power to order the death of mere bandits, and it also isn't beyond his power to ask the fledgling heroes to do it instead of a battalion of troops. Better yet, a public order to exterminate bandits would only improve the public's perception of his care for the common folk, and it would be a clear enforcement of his laws. It stank- no, reeked of plots and schemes. Auriel waited for the emissary to leave so she could speak with the heroes in private. The topic was quickly swung to slavery. She didn't even want to think about the prospect of enslaving anybody, even if they were criminals. Auriel shook her head and drew a knife hand across the air in front of her, gesturing to end the idea there. "No. Enslavement is not the way... Rayla has a reputation, but nobody deserves to lose their free will. I've seen what demi-humans who bear the slave mark endure, it's not right. Has killed many and ruined the lives of many more. She cannot be allowed to live and breathe the same air as the honest people of the world."

Her golden eyes flicked between the two, "The decision is ultimately yours, since my code prevents me from stopping you, but..." Auriel trailed off with her thoughts and remembered the day she fell in battle. When her wings were shattered and she was dragged by chains through the mud to the feet of the horde's chieftain. She remembered the cast iron brand bearing the slave's seal, how it glowed and rippled the air with heat. Auriel was thankful for her captain and his cavalry that the brand hadn't reached her. "If you're going to enslave her... Then you're not going to want me there to see it." She spoke passionately and with conviction.

Auriel took a deep breath and closed her eyes, bringing herself back down a notch. She stepped closer to the two of them and lowered her voice, "This isn't a task we should tread into lightly... Doesn't it seem suspicious to you that the king would send an anonymous emissary to us to kill some bandits? This sounds like a trap, not everybody wants the Cardinal Heroes in this world."

Auriel looked over her shoulder and continued, "We could be getting set up to walk into an ambush. Rayla Winters is cunning, and she knows a threat when she sees one. There's no doubt in my mind that she'd strike at you when you're both at your weakest so there'd be little effort needed. If we're going to do this, we'll need a plan, and a lot of back up plans."

When Fer brought up Auriel's quest that she had gathered for them, she looked to the scroll in her hand. The quest suddenly felt so meager in comparison to what just came up. Auriel let out a sigh and pocketed the scroll, "It's nothing. This is more important." She made a promise to that farmer, and she was never one to break promises made to desperate people. Once she had the time, she'd go by herself to clear out the tunnels.

When Fer figured she'd be getting tired of taking care of them, Auriel took on a softer expression and seemed to lose that hard edge in her stance she had adopted when she arrived. "I could never tire of being with you both. I waited my whole life for this, after all." She smiled sweetly to Fer, "I'll watch over you both for as long as I can, or until you no longer need me."

Auriel felt the raindrops patter at her face as she looked up to the gray clouds. The metallic ping of rain on steel armor filled the silence around her. The rain was light, but rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning in the distance told of a harsher storm ahead, and it was approaching her. Auriel could hear troops behind her marching and calling out commands. But her golden eyes remained on the storm as it came closer. She could hear the loud war cries and screeches of the fiendish horde as it marched beneath the dark, twisting clouds. Auriel had encountered them five times before, with each force stronger and larger in number than the last. This was no different. Auriel gripped her spear tight and looked over her shoulder to call one of the captains, "Captain Balthazar."

When she looked back, she saw the troops massacred. Spears broken, shields splintered, and banners torn as bodies strewn the field. It was a gruesome sight which made Auriel's heart sink and her breath catch in her throat. She quickly snapped her head back toward the storm, only to see herself surrounded by the horde. Auriel raised her guard, only to find her spear had disappeared from her hands. The creatures all stared at her with murderous intent in their eyes. Auriel spread her great white wings and thrusted up into the air. She was well above the horde before she looked back down to see cities burning in the distance and chaos running rampant. Anxiety filled her heart, how could this have happened? The waves hadn't begun yet, why was everything in ruin?! There was another flash of lightning, followed immediately by the roar of thunder. She looked back to the blackened clouds and saw chains swirling down from the tainted heavens. They were coming for her. Auriel tried to fly away from them, but they caught her before she could make any significant distance. Auriel felt a chain wrap around her ankle, then around her neck. She struggled to catch her breath while staying airborne, but when more chains wrapped themselves around her wings, she cried in pain. She knew to stop moving her wings, but she was too afraid of falling back into the horde below to follow her own advice. The chains tightened like snakes around their prey, and she felt the bones in her wings snap. More lightning flashed as she let out a loud cry of pain. The chains continued to tighten, uncaring of the pain she was enduring. There was another snap, a crack, and a pop as her wings were crushed in the chains hold.

Auriel began plummeting to the ground, and before she made solid impact with the surface, she awoke. Auriel gasped and reached out to grab at something real. She found her spear laying next to her. Auriel's breathing was heavy and rapid as the shock of the nightmare of the lingered. Her eyes darted around to take in her surrounding, seeing her companions fast asleep and the fire smoldering. A gentle breeze passed through the leaves of the surrounding trees and the night's creatures called in the distance. Tears ran down her Auriel's cheeks, but she wasn't crying. Her wings throbbed with pain, and she felt like her stomach was replaced with a bottomless pit. She rubbed her eyes and took a moment to collect herself, then she quietly slipped out of her bedroll carefully to not wake the others. Auriel took her spear and made her way out of the camp. She needed to clear her head. It wasn't the first time she had experienced that nightmare, a twisted and exaggerated recounting of her lowest point.

Auriel emerged from the trees to a short ridge. It was only a few meters high, but the was still nice. Below her was the field they had trained in the day before with a river snaking its way through. She could see the glow of Melromarc's lights across the field, and the traveled road leading into the city with weary travelers moving through the night on it. Auriel felt that breeze again, but this one was a little stronger than before without the trees surrounding her. Her feathers caught some of the air which made her stretch them out a bit. Auriel wiped some of the drying tears from her cheeks and brought her hands together in prayer. "Holy Ones of legend... Grant me the strength for the road ahead, protect me from the horrors I will encounter and shield my friends from harm... Let no pain overcome them. Please."

Auriel raised a hand into the air, and immediately the space around it began to glow with white light. The lights swirling around her hand before eventually resting in the palm of her hand in a small orb. She waved her hand to the side, releasing the holy energy over herself. Auriel felt invigorated as the healing magic rushed over her body. She shivered a bit and felt a tingling sensation in her wings. Auriel spread her wings some more and tried to push them against the air, but she was greeted with a lance of pain. She clenched her jaw and kept moving her wings, trying to fight past the pain. She eventually stopped when the pain became too great, and used more healing magic on herself. Auriel let the magic pass over her before trying again, flapping the angelic wings in the wings hoping she'd take flight. No luck. "Why wont you heal?!" she said desperately to herself, "I want to fly again!"

She healed herself again and again, finding no progress each and every time. The more she tried, the more agitated and pained her wings became. She knew she should stop, that this wasn't helping her heal if she was even healing at all. But that rationality was replaced with a deeply seeded desire to return to her former glory. "Come on... Come on! Work!"

Auriel took a deep breath and used the last of her energy to cast a more powerful healing spell. Her body radiated with holy energy as the spell passed over her. Auriel could still feel the intense pain burning in her wings, nothing was working. She sniffled a bit, trying not to cry. She stepped up to the ledge of the shallow ridge and let the wind move through her wings. "Please let me fly..." she said in a defeated tone as she looked up to the stars.

Auriel wiggled her bare toes over the edge. She was tempted to jump and force herself into a scenario where she would either fly or wipe out indignantly at the bottom. But she didn't want to crash and hurt her wings further. Auriel considered it for a moment before sighing and stepping away from the ledge. She turned her back to the field and took her spear from a tree she had leaned it against. She could see the sky beginning to brighten on the horizon, which she knew was the time to carry out her daily routine. Auriel looked over the golden spear and keen blade, running her fingers over the contours of the elaborate, ornate weapon. She wrapped her fingers around the defined hand grip on the shaft and spun it while adopting a ready stance. Auriel swung the blade of the spear around into the first move of her training pattern. Her eyebrows furrowed in frustration and anger while she did. As she moved through the routine, Auriel's anger passed. As always, the morning training did well to center her and sharpen her mind.
Two Days Later

(Mood Music)

Auriel was at the common district of the city in search of people who needed help. She figured that helping the common folk of Melromarc out would break the monotony of fighting balloons in the field, and help to bolster the heroes' reputation some more. She wasn't all that successful. Most of the tasks the people needed help with seemed to revolve around gathering simple items or talking to people for them, all things that could be solved by person with the problem if they weren't so damn lazy. Auriel wanted a challenge for the heroes, something they could sink their teeth into and come out better for it. Eventually she came across something that was worth it. She had come across a distressed farmer who's crops fell away into a sinkhole, leading into a cave with aggressive Giant Moles. It'd be perfect! Auriel agreed to help the man with his problem, and promised the issue would be resolved once the heroes had an open schedule. The farmer was grateful, and went back to his business within the district.

Auriel made her way back to the tavern that had become their unofficial base of operations. When she pushed open the door, she saw both Cole and Fer had already congregated. She smiled and waved her scroll, "Good news! I got us a quest!"

She stopped herself when she felt the general mood among the heroes. Something seemed rather serious. She tilted her head and stepped closer to them, pocketing the scroll and looking between the two. "Is everything alright?"
Alright well I would've added something more elemental based off one of those elements you chose when we started but I can't really fault either so I'll let them through.

I can try to put something out this weekend but we'll see. Things are in full speed here and I technically don't have a free weekend yet lol. I could most likely get something for you Saturday or Sunday evening though. I'll inform you closer to then.
I'm going to be busy for the next couple of weeks so I wont be able to RP. But when my schedule starts to open up a bit more I'd love to get in on this! I'm rewatching TLoK as I write this coincidentally, and I've been craving an avatar RP!
Aaand posted! Just a heads up, in the next few days my activity is going to become very sporadic. I mean not like it has been where I'm engaging in OOC still. My work is sending me onto a training course and I'm going to have a lot of my time spoken for. I'll try my best to keep you guys in the loop, as I'll most likely have my phone with me. But my posting frequency will vary sharply, and will most likely be relegated to weekends after things get sorted out on this course.

Silly Thoughts

(Mood Music)

Auriel watched quietly as the heroes fought off the balloons. She admitted that they most certainly needed work, but she was at least glad that they were quick learners. Despite her opinions of Marcino, she had to concede that he was at least a good instructor. There were a few instances where Auriel spoke to make small corrections to their stances and attacks. Too much over swing. No edge alignment. Stance not wide enough. Small things that could be ironed out through trial and error during training sessions like these. On the occasion when the balloons turned their attention to Auriel, she wielded her spear with precision. She swung in wide, accurate arcs, connecting the bladed tip of her spear with the balloons and popping them easily. It wasn't a good show like the ones she put on in the monastery court yards, but it was at least good enough to show the others that she knew how to handle the holy weapon of her predecessors.

When Fer pointed out that she could heal them should a balloon actually manage to injure them, she nodded assuredly. "Indeed. You're in no real danger here. But don't be reckless in knowing that. My healing abilities are either weak and fast, or strong and slow. My powers shouldn't be used as a crutch to supplement a poor strategy."

After some time, it seemed the balloons were thinning out, and the heroes had leveled up to a point where they posed too great a threat for the simple minded animals. At least they were capable of knowing when something was too big for them to chew, if only some of the time. With the fighting coming to an end, Auriel looked them over closely just in case to make sure they weren't hurt. They looked fine, despite the sword hero having a few red bite marks. She didn't bother to apply the minimal healing to get rid of them, since she saw it as a learning device for the sword hero. When Cole unleashed a flaming wave from a swing of his sword, Auriel smiled and clapped her hands. "Nicely done, Cole! That will certainly come in handy for hitting things outside of your reach. Be careful not to use it too early though, the commitment to the skill could expose you to an easy counter attack."

Then Cole mentioned how it was the pretty women that liked being saved by valiant heroes. She blinked. Was he referencing something about her? Auriel took some strands of her blonde hair and looked at it in her hand for a second, a slight blush crossing her cheeks. She had been so committed to her role that she had never really considered the idea of romance. There were curiosities of course, as any girl growing up would have. But being the Holy Warrior had molded her perception of romance quite a bit, she felt that maybe others might be intimidated by the title. Or maybe her wings were too strange. As always, Auriel was worried about what others thought of her. It was the same kind of insecurity she had had when she waited for the heroes to come from the Temple of Summoning to the throne room the day they arrived.

Now that she thought about it, there was certainly some charm to being saved by a valiant hero. She let her mind wander into a silly, overly dramatic scenario with rain and a fiery backdrop. The blush only deepened when she realized her reverie and shook herself out of her. "Ehm... What were we talking about?" she paused, "Ah yes! Making camp! There's a nice spot along the river bank not far from here!" They most certainly weren't talking about making camp, but Auriel was just trying to evade her childish thoughts.
I can post later tonight yeah :D
I've got no problems letting you guys ride this one! Feel free to take control of her for dialogue if you want!

First Blood

(Mood Music)

In the tavern, Auriel was appreciative of Fer's calmness and support. It helped to settle her a little bit when it came to Marcino. When he showed off his signature ability, Blackshot, as he called it, Auriel wasn't all that impressed. Sure, it seemed like a potent spell. Her lack of wonder was more so caused by more of his showboating and boasting of his skill. It was like he completely disregarded the past exploits of her order, and the sheer amount of training they go through from a young age. Auriel knew her fair share of devastating abilities as well, but she wasn't about to recklessly show them off in a populated tavern. Beyond that, she was raised to be humble, and she didn't really see the need to show off in general. She remembered her mentor's words, the Holy Warrior that came before her who was just one generation short of fulfilling his destiny. "It is not our place to inspire awe. We do what we must, when we must." Those words had been stuck in her head since she first learned the offensive side of holy magic.

When Cole got up form his seat to fight some balloons, Auriel followed. Despite her opinions of Marcino, the decision to train with balloons was sound. They posed very little threat to their lives, and allowed for the heroes to learn more about the equipment they carried. Auriel would try to take a backseat on this fight, opting to instill lessons and wisdom upon them as they fought the mostly harmless creatures. As they walked, Auriel felt less tipsy. Realistically, she hadn't drank all that much, so it wasn't hard for her body to sober up after the drinking had stopped. She smiled when Fer decided to walk along with her while Cole and Marcino led the way. He asked about the previous cardinal heroes before him. She could tell many stories, they were practically what she went to bed to every night when she was young. She could tell the story of the Bow Hero Leon, who ended a wave single-handedly by firing an explosive arrow into the eye's of the wave's arch demon. Or perhaps she could tell him something he could relate a bit more to, and talk about Aluxes the Shield Hero. The man had lost his other arm during the first wave, but didn't stop fighting until the world was safe.

Auriel thought for a while, but decided that these stories were more appropriate around a campfire instead of being half told on their way to a fight. "Your weapons grow in experience much like you do. As you defeat monsters, you can feed their remains to the gem resting in your weapon." she points at the green gem in Fer's shield, then ahead to the blue gem in Cole's sword.

"Certain creatures will provide different forms for your weapons, while others will just increase your weapon's capacity to improve. I've never seen it done, of course, you're the first heroes to appear in hundreds of years. But the texts I studied while I trained were rich in detail and illustrations. They were written by a cardinal heroes many centuries ago. The texts aren't allowed outside the archive, but I'm sure there would be little fuss about letting you in to study them for yourself."

Auriel neglected to mention the church's stance on the shield hero. She had never agreed with their prejudice, and she was confident that with her help the monks in the archive would begrudgingly allow him access to their ancient texts. Then Auriel heard Fer's self-harming comment about he may not be as smart as he looks. Auriel blinked and shrugged, "You seem to have a fair bit of sense and maturity, Fernando. Don't be so quick to paint yourself with a bad brush."

She smiled again. Her attention quickly shifted when she heard Cole charge. "Seems the time has come. Don't worry, Balloons are hardly a threat. Focus more on your form than fighting to survive. I can provide healing so you're in no real danger."

Auriel's gaze flicked between both Fer and Cole. They both certainly needed refinement, but it was to be expected. Auriel heard Marcino give pointers to Cole, so she figured it'd be easier to leave him under his tutelage while she focused on Fer. The shield was never made for offense, so it would for Fer to dispatch his enemies on his own. Auriel jabbed her spear tip into the ground and circled around him to watch his progress from all angles. "Try using the sharper and more angular edges of your shield to deliver a blow. It's no blade, but the impact will be focused more on one point and inflict more damage."

Auriel glanced over her shoulder to see a Balloon leaping right at her for a bite. She simple swatted it away with a backhand and proceeded to instruct Fer, "Be sure to pay attention to your flanks when you aren't covered by your companions. If you focus too much on one opponent, you expose yourself to easy outmaneuvering."
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