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Events: Clothing Commission and The Student Faire
Locations: Merchant and Commoner Dormitories, The Faire, Ersand'Enise

Assani 29th

Location: Merchant Dormitories - Zarina’s Quarters
Day of the week: Lepdes
Time: 4:00 HS
Characters: Marceline @Force and Fury, Zarina

”Final warning, or we will have to leave you with a notice. Please open up.”

”Coming!” Finally, Marceline opened the door for the two D.R.A.G.O.N inspectors. They didn’t enter right away, ”May we come in? We must first ensure the wellbeing of the dragon reported to be living here.” Marci took a step back and Zarina in turn stepped up, arms crossed and her golden hues squinted at the two. They were dressed in very formal clothes, as one would expect from more prestigious civil servant employees, “There aren’t any dragons here. May I know who told you such rumours?” the female replied without delay, ”Confidential, but our sources are reliable. If you refuse to comply, we will bring a warrant to search your home, Miss-” “Al-Nader. Zarina Al-Nader. And this is Marceline Hohenfelter.” Zarina informed them as the inspector was looking for the name in the documentation they held, ”Indeed. Miss Al-Nader, will we continue this amicably? We’re merely here to ensure the dragons are treated with proper care and no illegal traffic is occurring.” responded the male with a disarmingly calm voice, clearly seeking to diffuse the tensions.

Zarina kept her arms crossed and looked over at Marci. After a brief moment of awkward non-verbal movements the Virangishwoman shrugged, “Alright. They’re eggs. Three of them, one Alpha.” she said without adding any unnecessary details, her body language still closed off, ”Where did you obtain them?” the man asked as the group moved to the “living room”, where the eggs were resting on a table near a window, surrounded by soft cotton cushions to keep them safe and getting adequate sunlight, ”A gift from the Duque Frannemas to the Al-Nader family. Zarina has given one to me.” Marci quickly answered to keep things believable. The female nodded without even writing anything down. They were more interested in the eggs.

”These are … Very unique specimens. Dune Sea Froabases and-” the man furrowed his eyebrows and looked at this partner. The Duke explanation made more sense now, ”A reticulated Alpha. You should secure this egg. It is said one of these could buy you a small country.” said the woman as she showed a hint of enthusiasm upon thoroughly investigating the egg. A good ten minutes was taken to get all the information they needed before paperwork was shoved to both girls, ”We will have to fine you for failure to report the eggs. Registration fees are marked here,” he pointed with his pen, ”our training sessions also come with a fee and are compulsory to obtain your certification. The program will provide you with information and access to resources, however all goods are at your own expense.” he informed before nodding to his partner. With nothing else to add and content with the current state of the eggs, they began to leave.

”Full honesty- I thought we were going to lose our eggs. I would not be happy.” Zarina lazily sagged her rear onto the nearest seat and sighed in relief, “I’d lose my mind if that was the case. Busted my ass to put the momma to sleep.” she chuckled, “I’ll pass by their office during the day, get us our papers. Think you’ll be able to handle the stand while I go?”

Location: The Eyes of Vashdal Stall
Day of the week: Lepdes
Time: 4:00 HO
Characters: Unfortunate Urchin, Vashdall Representative, Zarina

“Ahh, The Eyes of Vashdal. For once, obligation doesn’t feel too bad.”

Zarina awkwardly spoke to herself, hands on her hips and her stance triumphant. She thought everyone was too busy dealing with their own things, enjoying the faire with little consideration for others. Her thoughts were voiced involuntarily when she felt this relaxed. She was wrong. Some urchin, potentially Silas-affiliated, just stared at her and snorted, ”Who would obligate you to do anything? No one would want a crazy self-talking lady like you to do stuff for them!” he called her out, though nobody else seemed to care except for the Virangishwoman with the wide, furious eyes.

They narrowed more and more, jaw clenched and the electricity between both gazes became quite intense. And then, after taking quick glances to the sides, she waved her hand upwards, causing a draft of air to slap the child from below. Not only would he flip backwards and land on his back, but also had his creamy pastry smeared all over his face. After a loud “Ow”, he began to whine and people still didn’t seem to care one bit. Now she was conscious of people listening to her, prompting a far less triumphant stance as she slowly made her way to the Darhannic stand.

”Ra'ayt dhalik. I saw that. the girl behind the stand claimed nonchalantly in Inipori while pointing at the crying pre-teen, “La lam tafeal. No you didn’t. quickly replied Zarina. Eyebrow raising followed, but then the secretary sighed and presented a form with a table and names written along with signatures. It was in Avincian - likely to avoid any sort of discrimination, ”Dae ealamatan ealaa asmik watawqieik wajtimaeina al'awal hu Victendes alqadim. Mark your name, signature and our first meeting is next Victendes. Zarina filled her slot and signed, lips pursed and definitely feeling the awkward nature of this exchange, “Okay.” she said in Avincian as she returned the paper and pen. The Hexaic lobbyist chuckled, ”Well, at least you’ll bring something new to the table. We don’t get that many people.” Avincian was the default now it seemed. Zarina tittered nervously and nodded.

“Uhh, yeah, see you Victendes, then? Cool, cool.” she finger gunned at the other before taking a step back, “Thanks and uh, yeah see you.” the whole time the secretary had her lips pursed and purposely exaggerated her judgement face to annoy Zarina. At least it was one club down.

Assani 30th

Location: Zeno Bucks Kiosk - Half of the Faire
Day of the week: Victendes
Time: 1:00 HS - 1:00 HE
Characters: Ashon, Ayla @Ti, Desmond @Th3King0fChaos, Ingrid @dragonpiece, Jocasta, Marceline @Force and Fury, Zarina

“Bravo! Give a warm applause to your talented singer, Ayla~”

Exclaimed Zarina at Ayla’s show that attracted quite the herd of customers. Zeno Bucks was generating good business - much better than the previous day thanks to Ayla’s communication strategy and the word-of-mouth that developed. Marceline and Zarina were hard at work servicing all the clients, leaving them wondering if they would have enough stocks to handle the growing demand. A problem that ultimately was very desirable. The large cups they were selling now came with a green circle and white crescent drawn underneath them with explanations made by the two businesswomen regarding the loyalty system they had established. There was also a Help Wanted sign on the side, with a few CV’s postulated already!

While working, Zarina took notice of something strange. Jocasta and Ingrid had so happened to be joining them at this time and the traffic had lowered a little due to many people stopping to enjoy their lunches, “The hell?” she mumbled to herself as she squinted to notice a peculiar distortion at the other side of the street. Ingrid had since gone West while Ayla was making her way to the North-East near the dormitories. Zarina took this downtime to step out of the kioske and investigate the minuscule distortion.

“Ah shit.” she complained upon realising what it was: A small aberration, so small she could barely make out the shape. At first, she took a step back and pondered how to report this, but then she started to notice what was around her. Kids, random pedestrians, animals involved in different stands … A flock of funny-looking mountain goats were being herded and passed by the street to be brought to the fauna stall, and the Virangishwoman couldn’t help but recall what these things had done to the Halassa, and even something as mighty as the Royal Sand Wyrm.

With minimal thought put into it, Zaz took it upon herself to immediately get rid of this problematic element before it caused another Deserted scenario. She extended her hand and drew from it, leading to a very familiar feeling of unpleasantness. The dark apparition was very small, so the result would be nausea, brief loss of balance and generally feeling like shit, “Ugh … Bad idea.” she regretted. Feeling sickly, Jocasta’s calls and disapproval of the action just rubbed her the wrong way, ”Hey, Zaz! I doubt I have to say this but that’s a terrible idea.” Zarina rolled her eyes and flipped off her friend as her back still faced the Tethered, “Yeah yeah, bite me mom. Nagging will make me feel better.” she shook her head and straightened her form while Jojo chuckled deviously at the sight, realising it was just some baby aberration and Zarina got a small lesson from it, since the one at the Refuge didn’t seem to be enough.

After a coffee to gather herself, both she and Jocasta went on a walk to shake off the shit feeling and shoot the shit together. A bit of catching up, some talks about Riesco and how they should go on an adventure again. Before they could go on to discussing the ramification of time travelling, however, Jocasta felt it - Something very different from the usual aberrations. Behind the Innovators' exchange booth was an alleyway, and it felt like it beckoned them. First Jojo, and as they got closer, Zarina as well. There was something almost inviting about it. Silently, the duo explored and eventually found it. A grey form that resembled the old man they had met on that fateful night. The Paradigm himself.

“... Okay, is it the lightning or is that thing actually grey? I am NOT touching that.” Zarina remarked, arms crossed and her heart racing. Even with just eating a single aberration, her body wanted more, although she felt very conflicting things in regards to this one, ”I don’t know, but …” Jocasta was just as agitated about it, but also excited. There was something special about this aberration. As they got just a little closer, the large anomaly began to distort and ‘reached out’ for both of them. However, it never latched onto the two and instead the grey essence merely circled them like it was waiting for permission to be one with the interlopers.

After a gulp, Zarina turned her head to Jocasta, “Should we do it?” she asked, ”I think so.” replied the blonde. The two held hands before they leapt into the unknown and took in this bizarre error in space and time. What they initially felt was like nothing they had ever experienced. It was terrifying yet unfathomably blissful too. One moment Zarina was seeing Jocasta, and then the other she was surrounded by total darkness. The touch of her friend’s palm went from a warm, clammy sensation to pure lukewarm and nothingness. Zaz was somewhere else, where extremes lived together and formed an amalgamation the human mind couldn’t easily comprehend. Before her was an entity shaped like something she couldn’t properly perceive. She knew what it was. Vashdal the Dreamer, exactly how she imagined the God, and yet like a dream the form was oh so fleeting to her memory, except this was every passing second. It was like seeing a blur. She knew she had seen it, but would not be able to ever describe it.

One mighty hand dropped on her right shoulder. It first looked so much bigger than her, but as it dropped it landed perfectly on her shoulder as if perspective and scale did not matter in this dream-like state. When contact was made, Zarina could see the past. All that Was, the bad and the good all put together into a single vision. Whether it was truly visions of the past or Zarina’s own dream was hard to determine. Then came the left, and All that Is to Be was ushered in. An even stranger experience, one full of ambitions being fulfilled and dreams being crushed. It was overwhelming, to the point where, as this fever dream would end just one real-world second after the assimilation of the grey aberration, she fell to her knees in exhaustion, looking as though she had run for miles. Yet, she felt fine with the queasiness from the aberration mostly passed. She kept silent about the ordeal, but Jocasta on the other hand seemed to have experienced something different, ”This feeling-” nothing seemed to have changed for Jocasta from an outsider’s perspective, but she could feel that her Tethering had been halted somehow, along with a rise in power that both girls definitely sensed within them.

The discussion of the tethering being cured or at least stifled by this peculiar encounter was one that would start, but when they sensed yet another aberration, the hope of experiencing something like this again was too much. Both made their way, with Zarina having an easier time making it there. With Jocasta lagging behind, she wouldn’t intervene in time to stop Zarina from taking in a considerably larger black aberration than the one taken near Zeno Bucks. Something just drove Zarina to take it, and it wasn’t a craving. Perhaps she was hoping to reach out to the Vashdal again? Or the size was concerning enough that she wanted to prevent an incident. The grey aberration rustled some perspectives, and with this newfound surge of power, Zaz truthfully felt like hot shit … Until she sucked in the black mass and nearly puked her guts out. She felt powerful, but her coffee wasn’t going to stick around long.

Jocasta reprimanded the Virangish, but it wouldn’t do anything to stop Zarina from ravenously power walking to the next sensed aberration. Again, Jojo could barely keep up, and Zazzy indulged once more, leading to a problem. She went nuts! And with that she’d have little memory of what would go down. Desmond would lock her down, but then would get his shit kicked in, requiring Jocasta to warp Zaz into the Tethered Refuge, right into the pool by the Gran Naranja. She could swear that she saw Escarra there, and he tied her up!

Eventually, a tied up Zarina would be brought back by Jocatsa and before the group was a white aberration! Well, the maddened teen didn’t have much of an opinion on it as she only wanted the black stuff. With the arrival of Ashon the Yasoi, Zarina was brought to take in the aberration with Jojo’s and the Yasoi’s help while Desmond apparently watched. It was a big one! And it sucked in some of the power gained during this binge, but also cleared the mind of the rabid businesswoman.

“Raaaahhhh! Blaaaaah. Bah. Ugh. And I’ve made an ass out of myself, haven't I?” she looked over at Jo, who had once again been blessed with anti-tethered juice. Zarina rubbed her temples, the headache had gone but the overall experience was just making her dizzy, even if now she felt even better than she had at the start of the day.

There would be some Ingrid management that followed, and some Zeno Bucks evening fun to be made. But ultimately, Zarina was brought to mull over the vision she had and what Jocasta had told her. Was there really a way to help this horrible disease? Each time her golden hues met Marceline’s figure, she couldn’t help but think even more about it. Right until closing time.

A good day of business, promising for the coming weeks where they would officially operate outside of a Faire attraction. Sienna Afraval’s home was once again used as storage with Zarina dismissing Marci for the evening, using the excuse of her being absent for a portion of the day during her “binge” as an excuse to clean up their stuff in the cellar all alone. But in truth she wanted to execute a secret and devious plan without her partner finding out! Nets and a bird cage were whipped out from a pile of junk that had a blanket draped over them, along with a bag containing fresh grapes. Everything one would need to go catching some unique avian specimens.

Footsteps could be heard upstairs. Zarina grinned. It’s grapin’ time!

Welcome to Zeno Bucks, how may I take your order?

Partnered with the Pumpernickel Clubbe, the stall opposite of this one, Zeno Bucks launches on the very first day of the Faire! Tactically placed to meet the paths of many students, but also captivate those lured in by the more popular clubs, it would come to no surprise that this peculiar stall had gained momentum as the day went on, starting off with fluctuating rates of curiosity. The alluring aromas and promises of readily made goods only did so much, until …

♪Just one coffee,
give it to me,
delicious elixir,
from over sea.
Creamy milk and honey dream,
give me Coffee,
from Zeno Bucks team.♪

Sang the lioness maiden with a variety of instruments accompanying her. Her voice carried the holy word of Zeno Bucks, and many devout followers soon formed. At about mid-day, this surprise opening was considered a success! Albeit, only stifled by inexperience of the duo manning the stations and mismanagement of resources. Nonetheless, the echoes of this cub’s song reached far and wide, right until the sky turned to dusk.

With interest clearly shown by students, Zenos and locals alike, Zeno Bucks promises its return tomorrow, and many, many days after that! Now please, help yourselves with some of our many delights in our menu below!

Interacting with: Most people in the Wyrm fight, Amanda & Marceline @Force and Fury, Ayla & Thierry @Ti
Location: The Desert -> The Refuge -> Hugo's Crib -> Ersand'Enise

Just as Zarina had united with her closest friend, she was to ride off to battle to put it all in peril for the sake of others. Jocasta, the real one, laid out the plan and prepared the additional late arrivals while Zarina got her affairs in order with Riesco. Scrounging up the best light armour she could find in the stables, she was content with just leather protection and a basic helm to go with it. The Camargue breed also got mild protection on the sides, attached to the saddle, and on the head an improvised fly mask. There was going to be sand and loads of light, so protecting the beast’s eyes was to be considered too.

”Hey there, Shooru …” she whispered to the stallion’s perked ear when he got a little agitated. The cries of beasts being transformed into Casii’s monstrosity were stressing everybody, especially the animals, ”Mmm. Smells nice, doesn’t it?” she continued to whisper little nothings to the animal, hoping her voice and proximity could provide the frightened creature some comfort before the battle. She worried about it, they hadn’t fought like this before and the risk of an accident was considerable. But it was lessened by the visible bond the two had. Riesco’s frequent stress stomps began to cease and the calm chewing began, ”That’s my Shooru.” a good smooch between the eyes and a half-apple were given as a reward before she drew the beast out.

In the horizon she could see the sandcloud ushered by the passing of the maddened dragon. Marceline was by Zarina, riding her own horse and serving as a means to keep tabs on the rampaging beast if it were to ever slip underground. Though truthfully, the Virangish wanted to keep Marci close enough to ensure she was safe as the young tethered insisted to her mother she wanted to be a part of this. Zarina was to keep close to the Wyrm, while the younger teen kept a good distance from the group to support.

”Big girl pants on now, Marci. We’re about to make history.” she winked from under her leather helm with a visible grin on her gaze. And then she tapped the sides of her steed with her heels and whistled to get him into a quick trot. Everyone else was scrambling to get into positions and she did the same. The Tethered were the first to halt its progress, allowing for the deer-riding group and Zarina to attempt to corral the rampaging Wyrm away from the nearby town of Hosta.

Froabases joined the fray, adding to the complications, although Zarina attempted to take advantage of the situation. However, Riesco was not having it. The stress of the situation and inexperience was getting to it. She had to focus on her steed before the rest, hoping that Marci would cover for her at the very least.

Hey, hey, Riesco- I’m here.

She couldn’t really utter anything as she wouldn’t be heard through the tremors and frantic gallop of her horse. But she tried to communicate her presence and care some other way. Without truly knowing it, she was reaching out to him through the Gift, and attempted to ‘connect’ with him the same way she did with some of the Froabases but this time with a creature she had formed a four-year bond with. In a way, she knew him in ways none other did. With a little bit of effort, both of them harmoniously felt what the other did. Riesco felt his master so close to him and didn’t see the Wyrm as this terrifying predator that would inevitably eat him. He had Zarina now, the one that had always made him feel safe. And she felt the exact same way.

”I want a Gypsy horse- No! A Mora Metek!” clamoured a little Virangish tot to a very elderly but still kicking tanned man, ”They’re so cool with their manes and and and, Bwaahhhh!” her arms flailed in an attempt to illustrate flaming manes from the unique breed. The old man shook his head, ”Maybe when you become a princess, Zarina.” They were at what seemed to be a farm in rural Virang, with quite a few foals released in a pen for other children to visit and play with. Zarina, being the energetic eleven year-old she was, revelled in this occasion. Like most of the kids, her attention went to the pretty one with the long, black mane. There were many pretty ones, but only one made her smile so wide that she ended up laughing. A clumsy little grey foal, not quite remarkable, came up to her and started to munch at her pocket upon smelling a piece of old carrot in it, ”Oh! Here you go!” she offered the treat to be scooped up almost immediately. The infant horse then proceeded to keep his lips slightly parted to resemble a smile when he got some scritches to go with the meal. She mimicked it, and then he went for the flehmen grimace that got her to laugh her guts out. And then he kind of just … Followed her. To the point where beautiful, legendary horses were a notion she had long forgotten. It became hard to separate them after that.

The Wyrm was successfully deviated from its course and now targeted the Refuge. With Riesco back on track, Zarina could get a better grip of the situation. She started by keeping a steady gallop in close proximity to it while avoiding its notoriously powerful claws. Froabases kept swarming the skies, and with newfound focus Zarina managed to pacify one that put the whole operation at risk. It merely glided passively over the battlefield while the Virangish struggled to keep it under control. Nuclear explosions and deer rammings followed soon afterward.

Now her blade was readied and she waited for her opening. The continuous explosions were bound to stagger the beast. But instead of falling, the monstrous Wyrm casted a mighty shadow over all, reaching even the Refuge as it uttered a loud screech. Zarina lowered herself and- V̶̪͕̦͓͚̭̓͆O͖̗̅̊̌ͥ͢I̷̠̱͖͍̳̺͋ͅD̮̰̮̂̐́̋͞ ̶̜̫̫̝̜̱͍͛ͫ͊i͑̀̄̅͏̯͍̻s͓̤͓̞̩̼̣̺ͯ͞ ̠͇͚̟̤́͒̐͠h͓̹̆ͬ͝ͅe̛̯̺̪̤̳͛͑ͨ̐r̸̙̖̗͈̻̩̜̿̑e̻̫̖͚̯͔͖͉͛͊ͣ͜

Anticipated the coming blast as Riesco leapt over a fissure caused by the loud screech. But just as Zarina survived the onslaught, something bothered her. As if she had the briefest of absences and immediately forgot what had passed in her mind. There was a strange sensation in the air that even breezed through the tremors and storms conjured by the Wyrm and the Froabases felt it too. Some massive energy was concentrated which dragged the dragons away.

The Deer was about to be swallowed by the sands, and as much as Zarina detested its existence, she couldn’t let her colleagues just die. The Froabas she pacified was further influenced to try and go for a rescue, but ultimately ended up devoured by the very sands she sought to stop. Luckily, a blast from a lad she could’ve swore she had seen in a different light not so long ago had delivered a decisive hit. The Wyrm was staggered, and Zarina could seize this opportunity to drill her shamshir into its eyes, successfully gouging it out through the mucosa.

Then came flames. Flames she couldn’t just run from. Zarina, with her heart racing, definitely felt the heat coming close. But luckily for her, someone had her back. She didn’t throw a glance or even a thumbs up, she knew who it was and there would be recognition later. A job had to be finished, and it so happened to be the fool with the gun to finish the job whilst putting himself in peril. The Wyrm was down, but the job wasn’t finished. Some tended to Desmond, while Zarina went to assist the second group with the Froabas pack.

At the nick of time, Zarina intervened to save the imperilled Thierry de Montblaise with Riesco dashing at speed he had never reached before. The Virangishwoman landed right before the black Knight, still on her horse and with a Kinetic shield protecting both from the white-hot flames of the Alpha. She maintained the barrier with similar principles given to her by Jocasta: Maintaining the rotation of the manipulated air and energy in a constant flow and using its own excess to feed it.

”No celebrating yet, bub. I need this thing on the ground.” she responded to one of his charming remarks - more so a thank but still, a distractingly charming thank you - and dashed forward with her horse to keep up with the confused creature. Not letting herself be distracted by the monstrosities brought in by Ismette, she prepared her final strike. Thierry delivered with a suplex, and Zarina finished off with a literal leap of faith, landing on its back and applying a powerful pacification spell from her innate chemical skills to finally calm it. No more Froabases needed to die.

But the job wasn’t finished. The animal could be tamed and Zarina could feel it in her to do something about it. The same way she connected with Riesco, she felt like she could do the same. The tall Virangish stood before the calmed beast, so easily devoured if the beast got aggressive again. Confident, she didn’t budge even as it grew frustrated with her attempts to ease into its system. It was turbulent, at best, with many screeches that likely prompted a few to raise their arms. But the Northern Teen wasn’t done. With a little more, she could just … Just as she seemed to exert herself far beyond what was normal, a friend came to help: Kaspar. With his aid, she could finally appease the beast and establish a new order. Zarina was the dominant figure, and the female Alpha recognized this, and hopefully would see this on other dominant humans too.

”Thanks for that, Kaspar.” she was panting, but had the strength to give him a thumbs up. The Alpha was kept at a safe distance as the next order of business came up: The Aberration.

”Pffpfpfpfpf … Ugh, my head.” face in the sad, Zarina awake from the worst high she had ever experienced in her young life. A high so bad and yet she wanted more of it for some inexplicable reason. Riesco was munching away playfully at her hair, trying to get her attention, ”Mmm. Hey you. Gonna bring me safely home? I don’t think I can walk much right now.” with a few grunts of pain, she straddled her horse and slowly paced back to the Refuge with the rest.

Although a new issue came about: The Alpha! She was pregnant, and was just about to lay her eggs. With the help of Thierry and some others, the large Froabas was escorted thanks to Clemencia’s chains toward the Refuge and made to roost under the hot sun. A comfortable nest was improvised by pushing sand away via Force magic. Zarina then gently pressed her hand onto the dragon’s snout - a bold move still - and sought to share the soothing sensation she used to calm her steed.

With little whines, the reptilian began to lay her eggs. It wasn’t a mammal, so the process was rather straightforward, but she would frequently turn around to check the goods. The calls of the other chained Froabases of her flock were also reassuring, and Zarina’s sweet nothings often did the trick. With ten eggs in total, and a sleeping Alpha that needed to recover its strength after all that occurred, the group had quite the bounty!

A bounty that would be claimed in an auction, leaving Zarina with: Ten Wyrm Scales, Eight Wyrm claws, Eight Wyrm bones of varying sizes, and THREE Froabas eggs - One of which is an Alpha and of the rarest breed by the patterns on it! The other two also had uniquely remarkable patterns too, promising rare specimens the day they’ll hatch.

Together, as friends, the group made their farewells and returned to the strange world governed by the almighty Paradigm. Their mission was complete and Hugo confirmed their success while alluding to a potential sequel to these adventures. If it weren’t for the daunting task of storing all of the goods that piled up right before her, Zarina would at least be subtly smiling at the notion. She had made such great strides in not only finding herself, but also enriching her life with more than just the material side of it, or the self-contained spirituality she kept to herself.

First thing’s first thought: Coffee! That would be the first thing she’d go for in her quarters that needed a little dusting. Then came the storage issue. Surely her friends had a solution …

Interacting with: Thierry & Marceline @Ti
Location: Refuge Dungeon

Zarina was flabbergasted to say the least. Her hand taken and kissed as if she was a high noble and by quite the looker no less. One that was actually taller than her too. The group had settled before the prison itself, underground and safe from even a Wyrm attack. She had been playing a card game with Marceline and Abdel, with the former ending up being quite the clever little pup. She was standing before the armoured envoy and stuttered her first couple of words.

”Ah, uh- Yeah. Enchanted, Sir.” her body language displayed a level of anxiety she hadn’t often shown before. Maybe she wasn’t expecting this sort of introduction. Maybe it was a ruse? Or perhaps he actually sought to charm her? In any case, her good mood resonated quite well with Thierry’s approach and even prompted a light blush from the teen, ”The prisoners are behind us, yes, through this door. To ensure their safety, and everyone else’s, we’re keeping them here until the Duque settles things with those upstairs.” she rested a hand on her hip, ”Sounds good? No bamboozling? We have enough to worry about.”

Abdel, on the other hand, glared knives at the big newcomer. He didn’t speak, for it wasn’t his place, but unlike Zarina his mood could easily kill the atmosphere if he manifested it any further. Seizing his cane, he stood between Thierry and the entrance to the dungeon and simply eyed the outsider with clear distrust. He would only move the moment Zarina gave the go ahead.

Thierry adorns her with a charming smile at the warm reception of his presence. He squeezes lightly upon her finger tips, “In absence of your name, may I call you rose du désert, for your features liken as much”. His eyes move to watch as Abdel moves towards the dungeon door, addressing the boy as well when he stands up straight. “You’re a sprightly one, jeune homme. Nothing should pass your vigilant watch, even I am afraid.” He gives a generous beaming disarming smile to the boy, shifting a warm expression to the third and quieter one. “They say the wise listen as the fool speaks, jeune fille, pleased to make your acquaintance.” Thierry gives a courteous bow as he offers to take Marceline’s hand in a more reserved manner to place a kiss upon it.

”Ah.” Zarina shook her head, ”Zarina. I’m Zarina Al-Nader.” she had landed back onto planet Sipenta after that charming compliment, ”This is Marceline, and this is Abdel.” the hand that had been kissed was then used to point toward each member of the group.

“Belle, I am charmed. Such strong names for these two as well.” After the greetings, Thiery simply smiles as he returns to the matter at hand towards the eldest of the three, “As stated, I am only to ensure the humane treatment of those inside as a formality. There is no room in my heart for concern after meeting mademoiselle”.

Abdel kept a confrontational stance and an adamant glare. He did not trust these outsiders- they all gave off the air of the staff he so loathed, ”I don’t think we should let this colourful strange man. I don’t like him.” he spoke in his mother tongue, which Zarina was supposedly the only one to understand in the room. The tall Virangish girl turned her body to perpendicular to the two males and gestured calmly to pacify the cautious pre-teen, ”It’s fine. We go as planned, and worst case we’re three on one.” she shot a knowing glance and smile over to Marceline before addressing the Duque’s envoy, ”If you would follow me, Sir Theirry.” a couple of steps passed Abdel and she would open the gates to the dungeon where two dozen of the higher staff were held, ”After you.”

Thierry continued to politely smile as if not phased by the exchange in Virangish. Then interrupting with a cough once it appeared finished, “If you want Mon Grand, I will let you look after my sword whilst these ladies show me around.” He pulls the large two-handed sword from his shoulder, holding it out with a single hand, “But you must be careful with her, she is precious to me. I am trusting you here”. He smiles as he gives Zarina a wink, allowing Abdel to clumsily contend with the weight of the blade when he takes up the offer. Once Thierry moves through the door, he turns and bows, holding out his hand to invite Zarina to take it as she escorts him around the dungeon.

Abdel went from confrontational stoicism to downright scowling at the man upon being given sword babysitting duty. He wanted to speak up, maybe even square off with the knight, but Zarina was quick to intervene, ”I’m sure your sword will be fine by the door. Thieves don’t exactly have anywhere to run, now do they?” she nudged her head toward Abdel, and in turn the young male drew with the gift and used what he knew to manipulate the heavy weapon and carefully place it against the stone wall by the door, ”I do need Abdel for this task, after all. If the Wyrm finds a way in here, only he could save us~” she gave a similar wink to Abdel.

The dungeon smelled of sweat and was quite hot given many bodies resided in it and had a tendency to move out of sheer boredom and a need for exertion. They were given plenty of water to compensate for this heat, with Abdel sometimes drawing from the air to cool down the place. Most shared cells, though the Vice-Wardens were purposely kept separate given their strength, ”Healthy, fed and mostly intact.” Zarina turned on her heels to face the Knight in the middle of the hall with rows of cells on both sides. Her arms opened up, inviting Thierry to investigate for himself.

Marci was finding it difficult to endure through the pleasantries, allowing Zarina to take the lead on the interactions with the enamoured knight. She got the best of herself as she was unable to avoid chiming in on the remark, "A lot better than some of the care we received".

Thierry nodded, offering Marci a comforting smile, “Then I thank you for your generosity, his grace would be pleased”. He slowly walks through the corridor as he nods towards those within the cells, his expression more stern than the friendly overtures he offered the others outside. “I am afraid a few others here wouldn’t be granted that same pleasure.”
As Thierry approaches towards the individual cells, he turns towards Zarina, “I assume Vice-Warden Adela would be held with those ahead. May I request the opportunity of a private audience to speak with her? I assure you of no foul play, merely the exchange of words. You have my honour as a knight.”. He offers Zarina that disarming charming smile again allowing her opportunity to respond to his request.

Thierry’s interest in the Vice-Warden Zarina had personally locked up brought the Virangish to lower her arms and gesture for the Knight to follow her. Abdel took the head this time, however, and proceeded to unlock the door at the end of the stoney hallway where four ‘isolated’ cells could be found. They didn’t have bars and instead were completely sealed off by heavy metal doors with air passing through the small gap beneath where food was passed, ”Adela is …” she paused for a moment, only to remark the riding crop hanging by one of the doors, ”Over here.”

Inside, Adela would seem relatively well. Her hair greasy and dishevelled, her attire stained and the latrine likely needed some changing. But otherwise the cell seemed maintained and her health intact. The door was left open, although Abdel and Marci kept their distance, ready to unleash their knowledge of the gift if need be, while Zarina kept to the doorframe to supervise the exchange.

Thierry nodded at the accommodations made, though mentally noted the lack of privacy in the conversation, as a result, keeping the exchange briefer than intended. “Adela, glad to see you are kept well”, he nods towards her before slipping into a more official tone, “His grace received your letter, and to thank you for drawing the matter of the Refuge to his attention. He is most displeased at the situation. Once matters have concluded and you are released, you are to report to him directly.”

With Zarina keeping watch, the two officials could have their exchange without any interruptions. Adela had remained seated on her bed until she recognized the Black Knight himself, Sir Thierry Montblaise, “Sir!” she quickly sprang up and kept a stiff posture while addressing the Perrench knight, “I-” she stammered, the existing sweat on her forehead from the heat of the dungeon accumulated quickly now that she was put under pressure, “It was Tavio, Montblaise! He betrayed the Duque’s trust and tried to use outsiders to resolve this issue!” she then gave Zarina the stink-eye, “These outsiders who have caused this mess in the first place. Locked us like animals when I tried to take their side!”

The Virangish was about to retort but a particularly frustrated Abdel stepped up, ”Shut up! You didn’t say ANYTHING when they went to the desert.” he wedged himself by Zarina to get a better eye of the small cell, ”All you do is lie, lie and LIE. Lie to Luisa about appreciating her. Lie to Zarina about giving a damn about them, Lie to …” he was gritting his teeth, ”Everyone about me! Because you hate me- No, US.” Zarina, upon witnessing the tantrum, was already drawing with the gift. Converting the heat but also the strong winds outside the dungeon itself. If he kept on going, she was ready to subdue him.

Thierry raises an eyebrow at the intrusion of their private conversation, though he expected as much. “His grace will be less tolerating than garçon here if he feels you are attempting to deceive him, Vice-Warden Adela. Choose your words carefully.” He turns to direct his attention towards the others at the doorway, “It appears the Vice-Warden is suffering from dehydration. May I request some water for her to drink, wash, and some clean clothes for when she meets his grace?”, finishing with a nod towards Zarina and Marci.

Marci recognises this as an opportunity to allow Abdel to withdraw, holding her hand upon his shoulder. "Come with me, I will need some help with the water". She glances up towards Zarina, as if awaiting her verdict.

The Vice-Warden was just about ready to defend herself and save face in front of Thierry, but the towering man shut down any hope of a recovery. It was a similar situation to the crop or prison she had faced before ending in the dungeon, and she wasn’t going to blossom with newfound courage after three days in the dark and heat, “... I will be nothing but truthful to his grace, the Duque.” she crossed her arms and made herself smaller, “As I wrote in my letter, Tavio sent these outsiders as sacrifices to purge the Aberracion, but the monster swallowed it first.” her voice was hushed and she gravitated toward the corner of her cell whilst keeping eye contact with Thierry.

Zarina shot a glance at Marci and conferred a nod to her when she seized the initiative to appease the situation. Abdel, still shooting daggers with his eyes, wanted to say so much more, but ultimately couldn’t muster the strength to go against both Zarina and Marceline, ”She’ll be provided with everything she needs.” she raised an eyebrow whilst scrutinising the weather form of the vice, ”So long as you consider the potential emotions and animosities involved, Sir Thierry. We could have killed them, or treated them with the same treatment they’ve given to the minds of every resident here.” she provided perspective as she stepped into the cell, standing by the armoured man and looking down at the older woman, ”It would be quite cruel to do such a thing, no?”

Thierry nods as he nods and offers his arm out towards Zarina to take. “Merci, if you don't mind escorting me out of here. I am satisfied with the condition of the prisoners, Mademoiselle.”, he turns on his charm offensive with the Virangish girl, offering her a smile. “I am sure Vice-Warden Adela has much to prepare for when she speaks with his grace.”

Zarina peered down at the presented arm, and then up at the envoy’s visage, ”I’m afraid I’m ill-equipped to match your splendour, Sir Thierry.” she replied with a smirk pushing on the edge of her lips and a light tinge of sarcasm to her tongue, ”Although I’m sure Marci would appreciate the extra hand to get around.” from a smirk to a downright shit-eating toothy grin, she made sure Marceline saw it.

As the duo brought the water, Abdel would be the first to sense a disturbance that team Yalen had since detected. The Wyrm had entered tethered range, but was not heading for them, ”The Wyrm! Do you feel it too, Marci?” Zarina squinted in slight concern and looked over at the tall warrior by her.

Marci nods in agreement, "I can feel it, just on the edge… it doesn’t appear to be heading in this direction. It seems to be making its way to… … Hosta".

With the response and the revelation of new information, Sir Thierry relaxes his arm. “His grace will be requesting my presence. We can explore this further at a more opportune time.” He brings Zarina’s hand to his lips as he kisses upon it. “Luck for the upcoming fight.”, he offers her a wink as he starts marching past the cells, the sword seeming to lift and pull through the air towards him as he straps it upon his back. He gives a respectful nod towards Marci and Abdel as they come through with the waters. “Till next time.”

Interacting with: King Arcel@Force and Fury Ulfhild @Salsa Verde, All in the Red Table
Opportunity: Arnaud is nearly finished by Ulfhild, awakens from a short coma and shows up at the Red Table. He's not very happy to see one is missing.

Event: Aftermath of Relouse Location: The Torn Beach -> Medical Ward -> Red Table

It had gotten so cold. As the accumulated water made-instrument of death washed over the entire field and dragged Arnaud’s near-lifeless body through the blood-soaked mud of Relouse, he could only feel the cold air brushing through his damp body. It was unpleasant, and he hated it even in his half-conscious state. The man had not only overdrawn but also went far beyond what his neglected and ageing body could physically allow. Now laid a fat, broken warrior with skin and tattoos that didn’t match the average Parrench. His chest still mightily heaved, making it impossible to mistake him for dead, but it was easy to confuse him for an interloper that had no place in the war now that his recognizable armour had been peeled off by the foe he had vanquished.

The Aheri’s eyes could barely open. It felt like flashes of time passing by. Sometimes he would see a blade swing just over his eyes from a battle between two men fighting until the end. Sometimes he simply saw the smoke-covered skies above.

Am I dying?

He couldn’t move. Perhaps this was the end? And then an unexpected sight: A maiden whose features were blurred. He couldn’t see properly, but his imagination handled the missing details.

I must have perished. It is as some say- The virtuous are granted many wonders after death. The five take mercy even upon a beast like me.

There was a smile, but not one Ulfhild could see. Arnaud was for all intents and purposes immobile and defenceless. As the knife drew closer, his wheezing got louder.

A warrior too. One to mercifully claim my life. In a battlefield where so many die shitting themselves with their entrails ripped out. I am unworthy.

His dark eyes were almost daring the Eskandr huntress to finish the deed, but it would not come to pass. Something stopped her.

“You’ll see me again,

A wondrous thing to hear, Siwa.

I’ll make sure of it, Parrench dog.”

Parrench. Even the Eskandr maiden-warriors of my afterlife recognize me for what I am. Do not leave, please.

The envoy of death left, and Arnaud soon lost full consciousness. His bleeding and massively bruised body left to be claimed by the elements. It would be a few minutes after the semi-delirium that he would be found by one of his last remaining men. He alone dragged the Aheri back to safety, as Maerec and many others that could be counted on were left to confront their own turbulent fates.

Two days passed. There was no Asier visiting the near-comatose Arnaud. The few good souls dedicated to easing the pain of the suffering feared to approach the man. Partially for his unusual appearance, but also for the fact that he did have bouts of delirium in his ‘sleep’. Mumbles of the words ‘Bouzima’ and ‘Ahsal-hama’ were very common, and were sometimes even screamed to the dismay of the staff and the ill alike. It was only thanks to Moustafa, the same man that salvaged his once master, that Arnaud was properly tended after. As his bruises receded and both mana and body recuperated, his mind adjusted too.

He awoke the day Arcel called for a meeting- just an hour prior. Arnaud’s legs were killing him, his back even more. The perforated gut he carried for a couple of years now stung like he had never felt before. It was better for him to stay in bed, but none dared to tell Arnaud what to do even in his most vulnerable state. He was merely offered the only thing he needed to serve his Lord: The Face of the Executioner. Neither he nor his men showed a trace of their person as they acted as the King’s Justice. And today would not be an exception, no matter how many hindrances he would have to endure.

The consequences of war did little to the thuds and tremors that came with Arnaud being nearby. He was no Nashorn, but he was still massive with a heavy armour to boot. His steps were slow but his stride was strong. When he arrived at the Red Table, it was a known habit that the executioner would remain standing, usually close to the king, but he took a seat this time. Which one didn’t matter as it wasn’t like anyone would exactly miss a man like an armoured Aheri.

”I remain your Lame, Your Majesty. Point me in a direction and I shall deliver the Justice of Dami and Parrench onto those who oppose your order. I will be an immovable wall or an indiscriminate storm at your command, Mon Roi.” he recited with considerable zeal. Whether to attack or to defend, Arnaud was the king’s blade and bulwark. He trusted the judgement of the strong, and to this day hadn’t failed in his duties as a loyal ally to the crown.

A silence lingered after his claim, ”Has he perished?” he inquired behind the metallic filter of his featureless helm, ”The Lion Knight. Has he known his end at the hand of a few Southerners?” it was impossible to read his voice as it remained perfectly flat. Behind the veil of metal, Arnaud was grating his teeth. The Tourrare Knight was an asset they couldn’t ignore, and yet he wasn’t here. The Executioner could only deduce a select number of possibilities. Something stirred deep within Arnaud. An anger palpable enough that those with even a slight connection to Force or Essence magic could tell the beast of a man was not in a good state of mind.

Interacting with: Jocasta @Force and Fury, Kaspar @Wolfieh, Casii @Pirouette, Vieri @jdh97, Silas @Tackytaff
Location: Tethered Refuge -> Virang -> Jurassic Park -> Zarina's Home -> Refuge

With the Vice-Wardens gone and a semblance of peace brought to the Refuge, Zarina made herself useful in the establishment of the new order. They had a good half of the day remaining and she made the best of it. Well, almost. The words uttered by Escarre concerning the Warden lingered in the Virangish’s psyche. ‘Taken care of’, a phrase someone in Zarina’s world would usually interpret as quite sinister. If only she knew the extent of it.

A day of planning and restructuring quickly passed, and with the seemingly endless days of exertion, Zarina didn’t have too much trouble finding sleep earlier than normal. It wasn’t a long sleep by any means and by the time she woke up, the hours of Ipte still hadn’t fully passed. Groggy as ever, she soldiered on– forgetting that the day prior there had been a conspicuous lack of someone close to her.

The Torragonese skies were a bit more clouded that day, which many considered a Godsend. Zarina found it concerning, given daylight took its time to arrive. Had she maybe slept so poor she had woken up in the early hours of Ipte by accident? The eventual arrival of familiar faces and trusted staff re-assured her for a time. What came with the later risers, however, was news she did not expect. News she should have been the first to know about. Not even morning coffee could keep her in place when Ysilla’s parting was made known to a few, although the concerned party was considerate enough to inform the twin before all others. The note was claimed by the next of kin and Zarina rushed over to Ysilla’s quarters.

No knocking or verbal warning, she just forced herself in. Ysilla was gone, the bed left in a semi-tidy state looking as though someone had rested on it but didn’t actually move any of the sheets. The two other puppets, as well as any potential traces of their broken forms were gone too. The second Al-Nader had left, and Zarina was none the wiser. Perhaps if she had paid more attention or just stopped the day prior, she’d have at least realised her own family had been conspicuously absent.

At first, a flood of emotions took over. A lot of uncertainty. Should she be angry? Sad? Relieved? There was an audience behind her, curious as to what actually happened and probably worried about Zarina. But like many that hardly knew Zarina– Hell even some that did know her– they were usually intimidated by her. With a swift kick of the door behind her, she’d put an end to this voyeuristic session and claim the room for herself.

”What did you do now, Ysilla?”

She smiled and chuckled. The edge of her sister’s bed looked like a comfortable spot to sit. For a solid ten minutes or so, Zarina was just there, quiet and musing. The silence was broken by the Virangish crouching by the bed and tugging an unused hookah. It was small and quite portable, enough to fit in a bag. Along with it were some dark tea leaves.

Let’s make a promise,

Zarina’s young voice of a distant time echoed in her own mind as she prepared her Shisha with the tea. Many favoured tobacco, but Zarina had an aversion for it and it seemed her sister cared enough to consider that.

if one of us gets into some shit. Or like, bites the dust? We don’t cry.

It took a moment for the contraption to be ready. Zarina lied down on the very same bed the replica of her sister had essentially shut down. One leg over the other with her dusty shoes still on. She was relaxed and alone with her thoughts. A first, given how she purposefully avoided these moments of solitude by keeping busy and exhausting herself to sleep.

Or feel sorry for ourselves. We take this time to sit down and not give a damn. Let the others feel bad for us, so we can catch a break.

Zarina took a first swig off her hookah. A nice, deep breath before exhaling the aromatic vapour. The thoughts of a simpler time made her laugh. Some outside could maybe hear it and maybe interpret it in different ways. She was counting on that. Let them think she was distraught, or angry, or devoured by anguish. She stayed true to the childhood promise she had made with her twin. The first half of her day would be some comfortable ass sitting, hookah tea smoking and recalling better times. A rare moment for this restless teen.

Enough indolence, it was the beginning of the hour of Eishiran. Siestas were done and slacking could only go so far in these times. But first, Zarina checked herself in the mirror, ensured her expression displayed the desired mopeyness she wanted and giggled at the result. And then she went out to help any way she could.

Abdel was outside, attempting to train fellow youths that weren’t as talented as he was in the Gift. With his temper and desire to cut corners before this hardship, it wasn’t going down too well. Zarina intervened, and while at first he scoffed at the notion of being helped, the fact that the help came with Zarina’s voice had him reconsider his stance very quickly.

“So, having fun, love?” she put emphasis on the last word, adding a slightly smokey tune to it, ”I-I don’t-” Zarina giggled at his shaky voice and approached him, standing tall by his side, ”Yeah, let’s make it fun, then? As a team?” she looked down at the young teen. His cheeks were read, his heart racing and his mind bringing him to overthinking far too much. Zarina clearly knew what she was doing and yet let the youth keep the spotlight in his training session, ”Okay. Drawing exercises, that’s your specialty. I’m not like you or these cuties, but I can help you guys with casting.”

The group nodded at Zarina’s proposal and Abdel felt her confidence falter very quickly when being watched by his fellow countrymen. The afternoon would go smoothly, with Abdel teaching more Tethered-specific notions to the youths while Zarina was more practical in her applications. A few self-defence moves were added to the mix. All in all, both she and Abdel made a nice team.

”Hey, Zaz.” he called out in Avincian over his mother tongue, ”Yeah, hun?” she looked over at the shorter lad, her hip pushed out and a hand over it, ”Would you like to, uh-” every nervous gesture in the book was checked by Abdel today, from scratching the back of his head to restless legs. Zarina waited patiently, ”Have a meal at the mess hall later?” his gaze stayed avoidant even as he proposed the idea of a cute date.

Zarina approached him, leaned in and gave him a light smooch on the cheek. His heart beat so fast and his body felt something he didn’t get to feel too often, ”Maybe after we finish what we started here, hmm?” a rejection for sure, but a very soft one with a little something Abdel could take with him. He nodded and smiled gingerly at her, ”I need you focused on these lot anyway. We’ll need them and youwhen the worst comes, alright?”

The day came and went quickly for Zarina. The daily rituals done and children well looked after. She had to thank her sister for such a mellow day. A day she definitely needed if she was to be fully functional when it’d matter.

On the second day, Zarina awoke in her usual early hours with the sun barely even peeking out of the horizon. Nobody to bother her, or so she thinks …

Zarina and Kaspar are on patrol duty, partially due to staff being locked up, and partially from volunteering. Yes, she probably volunteered Kaspar.
She teaches him how to ride and coaxes a few answers as to how he fights. She teased him until the bitter end with all of it.
They connect in some ways, even if both have their own shells. Kaspar learns how to horse, and Zarina learns how to Kaspar and his blood magic. And hobbies.
They’ve got a good start for the coming Trials.

Zarina consults Jocasta concerning a special request. She wants to see someone, and even bring them back here, before the big day. It’s her horse.
They go on a grand space-time adventure ALL THE WAY TO VIRANG. Many misadventures and learning occasions, including going back to the Jurassic period.
Zarina is reunited with Riesco, her Camargue Stallion, and Jocasta gets to ride Gina, the Shetland pony destined for Ayla.
All four have the sweetest moments together.

For the first time in two years, Zarina had slept a full NINE hours! Which is to say she slept normally without the need to exhaust herself. The last night was something, even if it didn’t usher in any dreams, still. In no way could her mood be ruined by anything. A panicking Laelle seeking her out as she did the others? No issue. Zarina even stopped by the mess hall to get herself a little snack before joining the others at the patio.

“Guu Morning.” she spoke with her mouth full of churros. Upon noticing Ayla, Zaz clearly knew what the priority was here, “Hey, Kitty cat. I got a present for you, actually. I’ll show you later.” she winked at the shorter girl before orienting her attention toward Jocasta. Never has this Virangish giant been this fresh and jolly in the morning before. Hopefully the good vibes would bleed onto the others before tragedy inevitably struck the Refuge.

“So. Plans? Or do I need to drag out the mouthy Vice? She mentioned having a connection to the Patron guy.”

Interacting with: Olaf the Aged@Force and Fury & Hildr the Red@Jasbraq
Opportunity: Arnaud is now on the beach, having a small heart-attack after killing Olaf. He is completely beat down.

Event: Defense of Relouse Location: Near La Plage

Arnaud and Maerec, two soldiers that didn’t shy away from the most gruesome ordeal war could offer, parted ways once the situation was thoroughly established. A retreat was announced, but the decisive battle of kings wasn’t over. And until his Lord was safe or killed, the Royal Executioner had a job to do.

The Parrench King was facing off with the Invader, and the finest of his army were repulsing the wicked beast that sought to aid Hrothgar in his endeavour to win the young Arcel's head. Rodric and Asier were evident to the executioner, both facing off with the beast. The former had dealt a powerful blow and had his guard down long enough to warrant the attention of a certain, inconspicuous female warrior. She didn't look like much from afar, but as Arnaud reached out with the Gift, he could sense something was very, VERY different about this woman. How she moved, how she breathed, how she oozed of a power he could maybe compare to the ways of Dame de la Saumure. He had to intervene.

Just ten meters in front of Hildr, an axe would fall from the heavens and plant itself onto the war-tarnished soil. A warning to not move any closer, as the wielder of the weapon impacted with the ground a mere half-second after, causing sand and dust to rise around both figures. He drew his axe from the ground, and from the simple removal of his axe, he'd send a blast of wind toward Hildr, aiming to repulse her and potentially break her guard.

The mighty gust of wind successfully stopped and propelled Hildr away, although she was ready and easily tanked the hit. Nonetheless, Arnaud's might and use of the Gift was strong enough to send her off and give Rodric a brief moment of respite from a potential flank. Arnaud was ready to keep her at bay, if only to let the Knight have some peace when handling the monster, but the Executioner soon noticed a familiar face. An old- literally- friend of the battlefield: Olaf the Aged. If that man was allowed to run around unchecked, that Nashorn monstrosity would be unstoppable. Arnaud had to act.

Unlike with Hildr, the Aheri didn't immediately open with an attack, but instead slammed the pommel of his weapon, causing a quake he was sure a master of the battlefield like Olaf could recognize. The featureless mask Arnaud wore stared right at the elder. He had retrieved his axe and was back for more. Although this time Arnaud didn't start with mere bullrushing, he reached out with the gift once more and instead manipulated the chemicals in his being to recreate the effects of 'Majini', a drug commonly used by his people. With the right dosage, it endowed one with great strength in the battlefield, although missing the mark would often lead to weaker performance and even potential frenzying.

It was a simple matter to sense so flamboyant an opponent: one who thundered across the battlefield bellowing and slamming like a man twenty years younger. If Olaf still had his youth, he'd have fought Arnaud differently. As it was, he reached out with his magics, seeking the man's muscles, and decided to make some changes. However, upon noticing the perfect and quite foreign cocktail that coursed through the Aheri’s being, Olaf figured a new plan of action: Co-opting the enemy’s strength. The shaman felt the same drug-induced power the executioner experienced.

Both of them knew, as their gazes met, that this would be nothing like they had experienced before. A battle of titans that would rival the destruction brought in by Sweyn, the Nashorn or even Hrothgar himself!

Again, this large man came at him, roaring and thrashing, and again, Olaf made, of him, a toy. Reaching out not into the world but into Arnaud's body, the old shaman sapped the very vitality from his muscles. The brute staggered and dropped: unhurt, but rendered practically helpless. Olaf dashed forward, feeling twenty years younger himself, and began gathering energy for an attack that would down the former king once and for all.

Arnaud, in very much a different state of being- a state he hadn't felt in at least ten years himself- thought first to only attack and rush forward. But, with the Majini coursing through him, he felt as though his reach could go far beyond just his strikes. For now, he was chained down by the very chemicals he manipulated, as his foe was even more talented than he was in that regard. But it didn't mean he couldn't retaliate. Olaf may have replicated the Majini, but he did not understand it, for it was very much foreign to the Eskandr as a whole. Arnaud's goal was to prompt an overdose of sorts, or at the very least strain the elder's body to chain him down too.

Rushing towards his foe, drawing his sword like some young fool, Olaf was nearly caught. He could feel the adrenaline flowing through his veins, overloading them, making his heart work harder than it needed to. It was the big man! He was capable of some subtlety and magic after all, and Olaf had to work hard to counter his efforts. The elder shaman's heart rate slowed. His body returned to equilibrium, and he thought twice about charging in. Instead, he called upon the land itself to swallow Arnaud and bury him.

With the Majini fueling them both, the scale of this battle was massive. The earth that came to swallow the Aheri resembled Sand Wyrm's maw, chomping down everything indiscriminately. Arnaud, kept pinned by Olaf's drugging, could only go on the defensive, enveloping himself with the very same kinetic energy that the bite of this vile earth south to lock onto his being. Stones, sand and other minerals grinded against the Aheri's armour, destroying quite a bit of it, including half of the executioner's helmet. But it wasn't enough to kill him. Arnaud emerged with a grand explosion out of his tomb, axe still in hand and half his dark body exposed for the world to see. Many holes punctured his chest, even his left bicep was pierced by a powerful branch conjured by the shaman, but it did not stop him. Not yet.

"You fight well, old warrior."

He compliments Olaf, light bleeding coming from his chest, and far more would come out of his arm should he remove the branch. He merely broke off a piece to keep the piece of wood small enough to not be a nuisance. Then, with his enhanced physical might, he dashed toward his enemy, eager to give him a worthy rematch. With only one arm, he was for a horizontal slash with his axe!

Olaf is ready when his opponent bursts from the ground, but the speed and ferocity of his charge are nearly too much. Reaching out with the Gift, he takes from the speed of the axe swing and puts that into his own body, leaping aside with the grace of a fox. From his belt, he draws two flasks full of stun spores, and launches them in Arnaud's direction, aiming to blow them up in the enormous man's face. "It is time to sleep, young man," he says simply, as they fly through the air. Arnaud recognized the chemicals involved, by sight and by drawing via essence. He goes for the simplest approach: A second swing, helped by his injured arm. He unleashes a gust of wind to not only repel the light flasks, but blow away the contents too by unleashing a gust of air similar to what he had sent Hildr away with.

Olaf's vials flew truly, propelled by all of the Force Magic that he could muster so that, when Arnaud reached out with the power of the wind to stop them, it momentarily became a contest of magical might. What the elderly shaman could not do with muscle, he could do with the Gift, and he overpowered the winds. He overpowered them and the bottle sailed, not into Arnaud, but past him. They exploded behind his head, their contents caught in the unnatural wind, and Olaf was just good enough to add a swirl to it so that the spores would stick and begin their work. "Soon, you shall sleep!" the Eskandr crowed, "once more, though we shall leave it up to Sister how merciful I will be this time."

Outplayed, and now forced into déjà vu. The hurting Arnaud was not having a good day. Well, maybe better than the majority of the brass. And, in the end, he was facing the greatest foe he could remember. A shame he was in such a sad state from years of inactivity. He felt the familiar fatigue creep in, and he could hold it at bay for a time, given he had been exposed to it before and mastered essence himself, but it wasn't going to stop it.

”Do not speak of Mercy, ”he bellowed, an immense amount of force emitted from his being as he remained standing, ”until you've claimed victory, old warrior!”

He literally attempts to force pull the lanky man before he could touch the ground, forcing the veteran to come to him, rather than Arnaud doing so!

Were his opponent not so fond of talking (a fault that he was occasionally guilty of as well), Olaf would've had no warning. As if it was, he felt himself pulled with incredible force towards the giant. Drawing from the wind, the rain, and the fires that now raged in many of the fields, the master shaman was able to stop himself. He remained just outside of his opponent's reach, staring him in the eyes. They were over the grass now, and Olaf filled it with energies: blood, essence, and kinetic. It sprouted like snakes: each sharp as a blade. He hurled them at Arnaud.

The executioner, staying true to an old namesake of his- The Earthquake- caused the very earth around him to shake and fissure. The enhanced flora was crushed and repulsed, leaving Arnaud safe. They were at a standstill, which ultimately was in Olaf's favour as the poison was going to take its toll, even with Aheri's previous exposure (Could arguably extend his natural resistance by a marginal level, don't wanna push it since he's injured) to the stuff. But now he had a window to give the elder a fight he couldn't give beforehand. Arnaud raises his axe in the air, the earth around him already devastated and fissured, and ushered in a lion's roar. One far louder than the one he had done before- enough to cause the bedrock near him to sprout out of the earth, making for a particularly hazardous situation to be in for Olaf. And then, after this brief but telegraphed moment of buffing up, Arnaud slammed the pommel of his axe to the ground, prompting a massive, near region-wide earthquake (it loses a lot of power beyond the epicentre, but people feel it alright!)

Olaf is glad that age has made him slightly hard of hearing, for this large, tiresome man will not stop roaring, stomping, and generally making the battlefield even louder. It is quite the threatening display, but it still strikes him as that of a cornered animal, lashing out. For a moment, the old shaman simply lifts himself into the air by drawing some of that excessive force magic and redirecting out the bottoms of his feet. He settles back down once the bothersome display is quite finished. He has so much more grass, and it coms splitting and spitting out of the newfound fissures easily enough. Sometimes, you can just try the same attack again.

Arnaud repulsed a great deal, but the Shaman was smart- he has seen this before. He can work around it and thrive while the Aheri is fighting an uphill battle. For all the power the Majini conferred to this man, it was nothing when the enemy could still match you. Arnaud ended up enduring more slashes to his already scarred and punctured body. Did it hurt? Not really, not at this point with adrenaline flowing in borderline excess. But it weighed on the muscles and caused him to bleed more than he already did.

He did not falter. Olaf wasn't too far from him still, so he had a chance. The moving earth and crumbling hills provided copious amounts of nearby energy to draw from, and he focused it on a single lunge forward with the pointed end of his war axe. The length of the massive weapon could likely reach the shaman, but the real danger was the concentrated blast of force that shot out like a beam capable of razing rows of houses!

WHY. WON'T. YOU. DIE!!!? Something inside of Olaf screamed. The sheer amount of damage he had done to this man would otherwise have felled armies! It had felled armies, in fact. Then, with deceptive speed, a poleaxe came for his head, and a slicing ribbon of Force magic.

Olaf drew from it as liberally as he could, slowing its impact and infusing himself with energy enough to burst out of the way. "I call upon thee, oh wind, rain, and thunder, grant me your power that I may strike this behemoth down in your service and that of my people!"

He thrust his arms into the sky and shaped the very rain into a great mass that surrounded and entrapped Arnaud, suffocating him. He held it as the giant moved, as he pushed back. Olaf strained to hold it until his opponent hopefully, finally collapsed.

Olaf was getting frustrated and went out of his way to try and lock away Arnaud in a water prison of sorts. The Aheri, feeling like he's always on the defensive, angrily attempts to usurp the conjured encasement, but subsequently ends up submerged and borderline crushed by the pressure. But he doesn't let up. No, this was the Aheri. A Zuyr. A KING. He looked down at his opponent for just a moment, and then he stopped. Most never lived as old as this man. Most that didn't see battle didn't live as long as Olaf the Aged. In his rage, Arnaud was ready to simply bash his head in some more. But for once, he learned. He learned from the man who lived a lifetime in a profession where most died young.

He didn't immediately repulse the bubble. No, he stayed in it, and drew. He was taking the very force Olaf was using to preserve it, and even more. He drew, and expelled, without completely perforating his prison. He was going to make it his. He drew and asphyxiated himself longer.

His nose started to bleed, the few teeth in his mouth were begging to grate dangerously.

What Arnaud was conjuring up, it was big, big enough to prevent Olaf from stopping his spell, as Arnaud had laid claim on it. Now his ears were ringing, water started to fill his lungs.

It wasn't enough, the Aheri needed to make this count. The mass of water was his, and melded with the shape of his axe to form an absurdly large weapon. A hammer of epic proportions. It was heavy, far too heavy of an oxygen deprived being like Arnaud, but he pushed on, at the bring of overdrawing on mana too.

A grand shadow arose before the old Eskandr. One far too big to be held together by a normal man, and it was growing by the water syphoned from the nearby ocean.


A mighty hammer reigned supreme and above all those near la Plage. A tool of justice used by prestigious magistrates to render their sentence. It almost looked as though Arnaud had gone out of his way for it to take this shape. Some Eskandr could see it as an insult- an imitation of one of their Gods- but it was anything but. The weapon was readied by the Aheri’s strength alone at this point, with all of his magic energy dedicated to keeping this massive weapon together.


Arnaud’s body was not only exposed for the world to see, but it was badly beaten by Olaf the Aged. Every single wound, every single open gash that started bleeding again after wetting the scabs, every single bruise … They all drove the Aheri, in a way. The pain, and even worse, the shame of falling so short to such a great warrior, was unacceptable. Every single strike he had failed to prevent on his being was another count he’d use to fuel his fury and give him the divine strength only the ‘Strongest Man in the World’ could ever hope to deliver.


Years Ago - Parrence

He was like an exotic beast, covered in chains and held by at least six men, two of which were somewhat capable mages. And of course, Asier Arslan himself. All these men held a single, half-naked man from the North to be presented to the King. Many in the court wondered if this was a new form of entertainment. Others scoffed at the sight of a Tourrare bringing in such a thing- uncivilised as always. None of them knew what the King thought, however. And none of them knew of the value Arun The Aheri could hold to a country teetering so close to a way.

”Toi. Roi. Mort. Oui?”*

The grinning Northerner glared at the king who loyally sat by his wife and merely watched the beast react, ”Bien.” he crudely chuckled before spitting before the king himself. His guard grew furious and readied their weapons, but no order was given to attack. The hall remained quiet.

”Petit Roi. Force Roi, avoir toi?”** he asked in an expectedly boken parrench. Still, the king said nothing. More and more, the Aheri struggled in his chains, and with what seemed to be very little effort, he broke free! Most panicked, but the King, along with his queen, remained unmoved. Arun didn’t go on any sort of rampage, and instead stared down the ruler of this land, keen on asserting his dominance even when made a mere prisoner to a Tourrare.

”Très bien.”***

The King Stood. The Fallen King nearly faltered. He had already begun to understand what most close to the King hadn’t already. There would be no casualties that day, despite everything Arnaud was known for.

Present Time

Arnaud remembered that special day. Not the day Asier proved himself better at war. No, it was inevitable that he would know defeat at some point. Arnaud, at the time called Arun, recalled perfectly the day he met a God. His honour bound him to Arslan as a prisoner, but it took nothing shorter than what he saw as a divine revelation to reform such a man. King Arcel. The one many old fools scoff at. And yet, one of the most brutal Warlords of the North loyally bow and fight for him.

Sentence Rendered. The hammer swung down as Arnaud descended his axe in the same manner he would when performing an execution under his King’s Justice. He grimaced while he attempted to scream, but he couldn’t. No air got into his water-filled lungs.

Too late, Olaf realized what was happening. Too late, he tried to boil the water away, but it was a poor choice. He was poor with Arcane. Perhaps his mind was slipping. He would've scolded a student who'd made such a sophomoric mistake. He'd have whipped their hands with a yew branch. In truth, though, it was a matter beyond him. By rights, he should have finished the roaring man off earlier. It was strange, how little effect the dozens of wounds and his normally-potent magic had taken, almost as if the human spirit or the will of this man's Gods was somehow greater than what the old shaman could throw against them.

The axe bore down and Olaf found himself stilled. He had lived so long that all of his old friends were seated at the Visitor's table in Gronhalle now. When people asked him why he continued to fight, he'd always told them that it was because he was still alive. The truth, however, was that he was still searching for the one to give him the death he would need: one that would send him to the green hall, where his lifetime of deeds great and small would earn him a place of honour.

I come to you, brothers and sisters.

Then, the blow hit and there was nothing left. Faintly, Olaf could hear the flap of winged horses and distant sounds of drinking and merriment. For a moment, he thought he felt warmth.

A massive cloud of water and vapour erupted from the middle of the battlefield. The shockwave could be felt way back into the Witchwood, and the mushroom could be seen many miles away. There wasn’t much of a crater, but many areas near the Beach were flooded and turned particularly muddy from the impact. Olaf was dead- his body devoid of any deformation of mutilations as the pressure mostly destroyed him internally, leaving only large bruises.

Arnaud was seventy metres away from the fallen shaman. His upper body fully exposed and still bleeding from the main sustained wounds. His chest was heaving heavily, his axe a few feet away from him. He was on his back, looking into the darkened sky while droplets of water ceaselessly befell his unmoving body. He only briefly turned his head to see the corpse of his foe. There was no smile or even a twitch in his expression. He had beaten Olaf the Aged, but clearly at a cost. And in the end, he felt nothing but respect for what was a man who devoted his whole life to the cause of his people. If only Arnaud could part this world with such an accomplishment.

His heart was racing, even as he remained rested. It was unnaturally fast and painful. So much so that he began to get a blurred vision. And slowly, his breathing became more painful. Until eventually his eyes closed and he lost consciousness. The Royal Executioner had pushed himself far too much, and now his fate was no longer in his own hands.

Interacting with: Yalen @pantothenic, Jocasta / Adela / Luisa @Force and Fury, Ayla @Ti, Kaspar @Wolfieh
Location: Tethered Refuge -> Zarina's Quarters -> Stables

"If you were able to time travel, what do you think you'd do with it?"

This philosophical question was brought to you by Jocasta Re as the group of school-age teens made their way from Amanda’s room to the common room. Kaspar and Yalen seized this opportunity to express their thoughts, and Ayla soon after with an equally thought-provoking idea. And yet, one remained discreet, keeping her eyes forward and somewhat separated from the group.

"How about you, Strong-but-Silent?"

Jocasta prodded. Zarina had remained conspicuously silent during this exchange. The subject itself did not appear to inspire much from the tall teen, and if anything, it prompted her to stick to the background. Her arms crossed under her chest as she paced slightly behind the others and just watched the evening skies. Jocasta then poked for both Ayla’s and Zarina’s attention, and again the Virangish kept discreet while the Torragonese expressed her views on the matter, more so than a wish. With the tone she used, it seemed like the subject had affected her patience and forced herself to answer.

”I don’t like to think of these things.” she states when a moment of silence came and inevitable attention was brought to her again, ”They busy the mind with things that won’t– or shouldn’t happen.” she scratched her cheek, ”I don’t dwell on the past and I make the future what I want it to be. No point skipping ahead.”

Zarina pursed her lips and shrugged to the group, knowing full-well that her answer brought nothing but awkwardness. She kept it at that and clearly didn’t seem too enthusiastic over the notion of sharing her genuine thoughts on such matters. It was almost quite cold how she held herself in such a harmless and probably meaningless exchange between friends. When they reached the common room, Jocasta and Yalen entered together to get things ready, while the Virangish went off to get a drink, only to find an adorable scene not long later.

Giving the two blondes the privacy they deserved, Zaz simply waited outside and gatekept those that would potentially intrude.

"Good to see you Zarina. Please, come in." Yalen held the door open and politely gestured for her to proceed, all the while keeping his eyes peeled for any other arrivals.

It looked as though the two were done. The door creasing open prompted Zarina to relent on the ‘too cool for school’ posture she held by it. She peered at the cuddle-recovering blonde that invited her back in, ”How we feeling, Yalen?” she was definitely still giving the look alright.

She took the invitation and stepped into the room, although she kept to the edges and didn’t appear to want to be noticed all too much, ”I hope you can excuse my lack of participation,” Zarina speaks up before others may join, ”I don’t exactly share the same enthusiasm for the Pentad as some others might.” and yet here she was.

Zarina kept herself in the background, vigilant and present. Where others prayed, she was left to her thoughts in the most uncomfortable of ways. At some point she would have to pay some mind to the communal worship, even if she didn’t quite participate. It allowed her to focus on other things- on others. How they conducted their faiths, potentially why they did it, and how much they were tied to it. She watched and judged, all so she couldn’t be left to observe and judge her own person.

The sun had long since fallen into the horizon, Zarina had retreated to her room, just as many others had. It was at this point that she fully realised how rancid her clothing had gotten, and to a lesser extent her entire being. Dried blood and guts were really reeking in the crevices of her attire, her hair was dried from all the dust and sand as well as- you know it- disgusting remains. She shuddered at the sight of her reflection on the mirror and quickly purged herself of the ranger clothing given to her, relegating them to a remote corner of her room. She was left with but a single, long top that covered most of her dignity.

A bath was readied, and in the meantime she would perform the second prayer of the day. Realistically, she hadn’t had a proper opportunity to do so, except perhaps when they stopped to eat. But by the time she had gotten through her issues with Marceline, it was time to go. So, as many did in Hexaism, she simply ‘expressed’ it. Prayers, after all, were meant to dedicate time of one’s life for worship, show discipline and some degrees of humility by sacrificing potentially good moments and giving time to prayer. But it was also all just works. Rituals, which most held close to their hearts but reasonably found shortcuts when circumstances made it so. Some were even lax enough to simply half-ass all prayers. All but the last one. The one before bed- the one before one dreamed. This one- every Hexaic worth their soul would do it right.

Zarina did her second while still mostly covered in filth and simply recited the words via mumbles while kneeling rapidly, wanting to just get it over with. The bath was more important. Once it was done, she cleaned up, enjoyed a good half-hour of heated water and thorough scrubbing before getting back at it.

The final prayer of the day could begin. Clean, with fresh clothes and the Hexaic pendant set right before her, hanging from the nightstand. Like the previous moment of worship, she mumbled over uttering, but she took her time. Eyes closed, muscles relaxed and mind made to be as serene as her washed body. Only, Zarina’s mind seldom ever found serenity. Whereas yesterday she thought of compassion and her hopes for others, a boiling anger deep inside was growing on this very night. The very stone her carpet was set upon was beyond soiled and this place reeked of nothing but death and misery.

May the nightmare …

She thought, gritting her teeth. The Virangish tried her best to purge the vile thoughts. The thoughts of a cauchemardesque world, where her anger was unrestrained and many feared her as much as they feared her mother. She imaged the faces- even those she’s never seen- of those that defiled these kids. Those that defiled the calamity that is Jocasta. Despite the endless compassion and generosity the awakening of the Dreamer could usher, she wished nothing but the nightmarish abyss to those many wicked in this world.

... seep into your very soul.

This release of anger, the excess energy she had remaining before hitting exhaustion- it was cathartic to release it. It was liberating, in a way, to poison the world and its future, just so those she hated could suffer. It was so easy to forget the good in the world. The Ayla’s, the Kaspar’s, the Yalen’s … When pain and anger all filled your head, at this very time. She did not want to hurt them, she wanted the best for them. But maybe, her desire to damn the wicked in her misplaced indignation was stronger than her will to bring good to those that deserved it. She hoped it wasn’t the case, but sometimes she wondered.

For the first time in a week, Zarina managed to sleep. Well, she collapsed onto her bed and slept in a dreamless slumber. She awoke earlier than most, but she was refreshed and not as volatile as she could be. First came the coffee, and then came a relaxing stroll outdoors before joining the meeting led by Escarra and Amanda.

Morning came, most were awake and Escarra, along with Amanda, announced the state of things. The Warden had been taken care of, the schedule was established and the next operation was to be conducted very soon. Zarina, sitting with a half-finished breakfast before her, raised her hand to pose her question, ”Where did you put the Warden?” she asked plainly, no beating around the bush with her eyes focused on Escarra in particular. Given their tight timeframe, if the answer wasn’t satisfactory, she would still have to go on doing her job.

”Otherwise, I can handle one of the Vice-Wardens. I just need a chem-person to help.” she then took a bit of churros and brought her gaze toward Luisa, who so happened to have stepped up in all her talkative glory. They all quickly went into action, with Luisa providing enough information on Adela’s routine to prepare an ambush. And it so happened that the stables were a good point of interception. This was going to be a good day, Zarina could feel it.

Interacting with: Olaf the Aged @Force and Fury
Opportunity: Everyone feels the earthquake. Feel free to say hello to waking up Arnaud!

Event: Defense of Relouse Location: The Beach

The storm raged, tugged by both sides of the conflict with the beach growing in occupation now that the traps had run their course and more Eskandr busied the forces to the point where Aheri had to forgo sentinel duties. War axe clenched tight in his right hand, he stood vigilant over the small peak that overlooked La Plage and considered his next play wisely, as distracting echoes from other fronts were keen on destabilising him. One in particular simply had the Northern man smirk behind his featureless mask, ”Le roi tombe, hein? Tombé sur son cul, oui! Ne laissez pas ces conneries vous séduire! En avant!*” he shouted at his men and those close enough to hear the executioner’s metallic voice.

Arnaud hurled his whole being forward, having since taken notice of the unnatural grove that bled from the Witch Wood. Regardless of what brought it, it was now being used against the Parrench, and thus was an enemy. The fodder was wise to not directly engage Arnaud- No amount of glory justified a swift and pointless end to the axe that could obliterate even the more heavily armoured in a single swing. Leave it to Olaf the Aged to handle these cases, as he did many times before. With a great stomp of his left foot, Aheri unleashed a focused blast of Force toward the mass of unnatural plant life, along with fissures to go with it, in the hopes to compromise the vined structure.

It dented the false forest, although it was far more resilient than Arnaud had initially thought. But the architect of this machination knew full well a few more concentrated strikes could end this peculiar endeavour– and so he attacked. A barrage of strange branches were sent toward Aheri– branches of a wood that very much defied the conventional. The executioner made the mistake of not realising this sooner, figuring a strong air blast from a swing of his axe would do, but he was wrong. Enough withstood the blast with their trajectory barely affected, hitting Arnaud at various points: The left armpit, the cheek and the hip, breaking some of his armour and revealing just a tad of his face, although one would mostly see his dark and greyed beard. Arnaud wasn’t bleeding quite yet, as his armour was endowed by the queen’s Boon. But at this rate, he would exhaust this blessing and rely only on his own power from here on out.

Olaf didn’t stop for a moment and went for his own wind strike. Aheri stands his ground, consolidating his stance to be immovable and with a mighty, lion-like warcry, prepared himself for the oncoming attack. But the elder Eskandr’s assault is far more powerful than he could have anticipated– The blast became far, far more powerful the moment it hit the ground before Aheri, prompting an explosion to completely destabilise the executioner! In this moment of weakness, the shaman capitalised with a closing of distance and tapped his wrinkled hand over Arnaud’s chest. A kneeling Aheri attempted to seize the older man’s wrist, but was too late to prevent his system from being exposed to soporific poisons. The attempt to catch Olaf was met with failure, as vines bound Arnaud’s being and the elder was allowed to retreat to safety.

The Royal Executioner feels his body waver, the poison already starting to have an effect. His size and inclination toward Essence magic delayed the effects relatively well, but Olaf’s poison was indeed potent. Arnaud knew he didn’t have much time before he would be rendered too weak, and so he charged with another war cry, but instead of swinging his axe, he performed a feint and instead stomped the ground when he was right before Olaf, who had been attempting to recover through syphoning energy via the plants. Surprised at first, Olaf’s eyes widen but he does not panic. With a strong exhale, he manages to downright deaden the air near him, preventing the kinetic blast from doing anything beyond serving as an annoying gust of wind passing by.

Left in complete disbelief, Arnaud pauses at the sight of Olaf’s raw power. He hesitated, and that was enough for Olaf to bind the axe wielder with vines and attempt to bury Aheri for good. The poison was making good work too, to the point where Arnaud seemed just about done.

Tomber, sans que mon adversaire ne connaisse mon nom? Foutaise!**


A great roar echoed throughout the Beach, and could be heard all over Relouse, some parts of the Witch Wood and very clearly for those that stayed near the Cape. A Lion’s roar, which ironically was probably unknown to most present in this conflict. What followed it was like thunder to lightning, a great earthquake that rumbled through the whole beach and the vibrations reached as far as the echoes of the scream. Aheri had slammed the pommel of his axe into the very ground that was ready to consume him, liberating him in the process and leaving the man with ceaseless steam that coated his being. His own sweat was cooking up!

”I, Arnaud Maobe, The Aheri, recognize you worthy foe. Old Eskand Warrior, will you give me your name?”

He says with quite the foreign accent. Olaf first speaks in his native tongue, something the executioner couldn’t understand, but he does honour the request with his own broken Avincian.

”Name. Old. Olaf.”

Arnaud nods. In spite of his clearly empowered state, the poison was still there and his threatening demeanour was thoroughly compromised. A shame he could not go at a strength worthy of such an opponent, but the Zuyr warrior embraced these circumstances of war. With battles continuing around them despite the grand quake, the executioner darts toward the enemy, faster and more devastating than ever, and readies a single axe swing to cleave through the coming projectiles from his equally reactive opponent. Once close, he readied another stomp, one that not only forced the sands and stone beneath to violently rise under Olaf, but was transformed through Essence magic to be as sturdy and impaling as possible. Unfortunately, Olaf was known for his manipulation of sand in particular and easily dissolves the transformed material, creating a cloud of sand in the air.

Aheri capitalises, but ends up outplayed by his opponent once more. Bound by vines through a deceitful counter by Olaf, the Eskandr sought to free the executioner from his tool of justice. The tug was strong, and Aheri’s strength was waning. Thinking it was the end, now that the big man had his mighty weapon taken, the shaman would be rightfully caught off guard by Aheri’s next manoeuvre: He simply abandons his axe and charges in, faster than ever from the lack of burden. Olaf reacts with a sprouting branch to uppercut the disarmed axeman, buying himself enough time to retreat, but Aheri doesn’t give up, even as his age and weight start to get to him along with the poison.

Confident after this swift dodge, the Eskandr taunted the Parrench warrior, ”You no good fight. Weak! Hahaha!” then he drew his own weapon, a typical sword of his people, and went to attempt a Coup de Grâce. Arnaud, too angry and battle charged to die, parries with his silver gauntlets and pushes back with enough force to destabilise the geriatric foe. Olaf stumbles, his own age also affecting his performance, and stares in rightful fear of what’s to come next.

The Parrench crouched before the recuperating Eskandr– to get at his level– and readied his right arm behind him, winding it up with a couple of spins. His left hand rested over his shoulder, keeping his posture steady as he focused on that one, decisive move. It all seemed slow, especially for such a fast paced battle, but it was all calculated, just enough to make for a devastating attack with the window Olaf had given. And then he struck, as fast as a snake thrusting its fangs onto its prey, in an attempt to lay that massive hand onto Olaf’s chest. The shaman knew he wouldn’t have a torso if this was allowed to hit.

With every bit of energy running through his being, Olaf propelled himself back whilst sacrificing a large amount of vines in the process. Aheri’s strike was so that the simple act of his palms and fingers grazing the side and shoulder of the elder caused bones to break: Shoulder and rib. If anything, Arnaud had succeeded in getting this veteran out of the picture for a while, even if it wasn’t through death, as these injuries were certainly dangerous, especially at that age.

In a cold stare, Olaf silently took back the taunting words. Having flirted with death so closely, far closer that an elder of war like him was used to, given his survival thus far, he knew it unwise to call Arnaud weak. Before Aheri can pursue and put an end to a now very wounded Olaf, he begins to lose control of his legs.

”Merde.” he cursed, now on one knee. He could barely see straight, and his armour was weighing far more on him than normal. Before long, he fell unconscious, in the middle of the battlefield, although was conscious just long enough to fall on his back, ”Next time,” calls the shaman, staggering away, ”We play again, big man. Next time, I no play with me food.” Arnaud heard it all, the last words he would hear before blacking out.

One of the most powerful warriors in Parrench was now ripe for the taking. If it weren’t for his squadron arriving on time, now missing two bodies from the initial six, Arnaud would have been a free claim to glory. Although perhaps the fact that Olaf didn’t finish him off was potentially enough of a warning to the lesser that it wasn’t wise to pursue the issue. Regardless, with Olaf out of commission, the Beach was just a tad safer. Safe enough for Aheri’s faithful men to drag him back into Parrench lines for recovery.

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