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Fire Emblem: Curse of the Goddess [IC/PG-16/Not Accepting]

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"-he's dead..." This was the first and seemingly only words that the child spoke before going absolutely nuts. He didn't even bother to acknowledge Malu'kai's presence. But before They could spit a nasty retort at the precious little runt, they heard a familiar voice: Penelope's. "Malu, get to Gunther and do it NOW! We have our chance to turn this around and I will not lose a single one of you!"

 

Looking over to the direction they had heard the order, they saw a terrible sight: Gunther, that hopeless little duckling dressed in metal more heavy than himself, was bleeding wildly. "Oh s*** oh s*** oh s***. Igrid, we got an emergency. We can give that precious child a mouthful later, but right now we got some patching up to do. Let's ride!" As they said this, they pointed at Gunther with one hand while replacing their Rescue Staff with their Balmwood Staff, readying the magical mending procedure. At the sight of the pointed hand, coupled with the tone of his master's voice, Igrid charged off to the direction. Malu'kai had no problem with this. "Good boy Igrid. Waiting is just gonna get more people dead!" With no hands attached to the horse, Malu'kai looked as if they were charging in for a one-two punch with a good staff bonking on the two. 

 

As they charged, they noticed that Gunther was piled over on the ground, clearly in tremendous pain. "Gunther, stand up you f***ing wimp!" Malu'kai shouted, holding out the staff. "You're not gonna die on my watch, I ain't no f***-up! Get this bastard back on his feet, damn it!" As they shouted this, the staff's head burst into a brilliant green, Igrid still charging furiously. "Get up, damn it!" As they said this, they swung the staff down from behind them, like a croquette mallet, straight into Gunther's side. The force of the strike surprised Gunther, and he shouted out expecting to feel pain. But there was no pain. There wasn't any pain. And thanks to the hammer swing of the staff, Gunther was back on his feet faster than he could curse himself for needing help. 

 

Unfortunately for Malu'kai, Igrid had not known that the purpose was to heal, and not to run. And Alois just so happened to be in the path of the equine. Fueled by the rush of their adrenaline, Malu'kai saw the situation in an instant, and decided their best course of action: Hurdles. "Igrid, jump!" and with a light pat, the horse did just that. The pair went flying over the small ax wielder, and landed with almost expert form. However, Igrid was still on a sprint. "Hold up boy! Whoa! We're done now." And with those words, Igrid managed to gradually grind to a halt in a wide field with no protection. "Good job boy... but I think we're f***ed unless no one noticed that."

 

[spoiler=OOC for map things]

Malu did a huge horsey sprint, clocked/healed Gunther, Jumoed over Alois, and is now a sitting duck in the middle of the field, one space between Alois and Penpen. Have fun with that!

 

 

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Pain. White hot flashing pain, and the warm flow of blood down her back. It seemed as though Meifing was having a terrible day. Twice today already she had been injured, and she was beginning to wonder how hazardous to her health this journey with the two princesses would be, however there was, at the moment, a much more important matter at hand.

 

Meifing quickly whirled on her attacker, unfortunately her attacker was quicker and Meifing was only just barely fast enough keep the blade from missing any of her vital organs as it pierced her a second time. He certainly knew what he was doing that was for sure, Meifing could tell from where the knife was that this man knew exactly where to aim, however he had made a fatal error. Before he could remove his blade from the dark mage's body the older woman's grasped he arm.

 

"I apologize, young man, but this will hurt quite a bit," channeling power from her now recovered tome Meifing released the purple electricity into the thief's body, however as the boy's knife was still implanted in the side of her stomach the dark energy traveled through it, into Meifing. After several seconds Meifing felt the boy's body relax, and Meifing loosened her grip as the boy passed into unconsciousness, and fell to the grassy ground. Still only barely conscious herself Meifing's eyes fell upon the young mage girl. "Get... help... please..." Meifing almost growled the words, blood spilling from her mouth. 

 

She didn't get to see whether the girl went to get help or not. No, in less than a second after Meifing had uttered those words she too lost consciousness collapsing next to the thief boy in a pool of her own blood.

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She whispered her incantation faster than her breath would carry it, sculpted embers between her fingers into a terrifying ball of flame. She leapt out from behind a tree, took aim at the bandit boss -

 

and for some ungodly reason the people she was trying to distract the boss from were running straight towards him. And losing. Feray watched, waited on bated breath for an opportunity to fire as the knight attacked and faltered, as Penelope's sister swept into battle. If she wasn't very careful, she'd hit her allies as well as the bandit. Which is kinda counterproductive to being a team player, she thought. And I said when I joined this little outfit I was gonna be a team player. Gotta stick to the plan.

 

She heard a voice ring out behind her - "Nosferatu!" And a swirling, a nauseous ink, twisted her mind. Dark magic, she thought dimly, that stuff always takes me by surprise, and took magic and bent it in ways Feray still wasn't used to, though that spell was nothing she hadn't seen before. She did her best to shake off the feeling of the spell - because all spells felt a certain way, to mages, and that one felt like a dizzy stumble and a hard fall. She blinked a few times, took a few deep breaths, and got her bearings.

 

Catriona was faltering. They were still too close for comfort. No change thus far. Then something incredibly stupid happened. One of their fighters tackled the bandit leader, unarmed. You're an idiot, thought Feray, but you're exactly the idiot I needed. She seized her opening without hesitation and sent a roaring flame hurtling out of the woods. She could see the explosion still from where she stood. Her allies, thank goodness, were safe, though flames seared the ground.

 

But the sounds of battle behind her distracted her. They're in the forest, huh... I'd better see what's going on. If they get the jump on me... She didn't finish that thought. But it haunted her, as she crept through the forest. She slipped between the trees carefully, minding her steps, fearing every shadow. Every twig breaking was a bow fired in her direction; every bird call was an arrow speeding towards her head.

 

But she didn't have to travel far to find the situation. She recognized one of theirs - her eclectic clothing was hard to forget - collapsed and bleeding on the ground, next to an unconscious young man she didn't recognize. "Oh," she said aloud. "Oh, damn. Damn."

 

The ally rasped something out - "Get... help... please..." Then she fell in a heap of blood and colourful fabric.

 

"Don't need to tell me twice." Feray knelt beside them, appraising their wounds as best she could. The boy had been hurt by dark magic, that she could tell right away. She put the factors together in her head, remembered the voice that had called out the dark spell earlier, looked at her fallen ally, and decided there wasn't much point to healing the boy at the moment. Now Ms. Shaman here, on the other hand... "Wake up, will ya?" she said, shaking the shaman. "Wake up just for a second, just for a second, I just need you to drink something..." Pulling the vulnerary off her belt, she rolled the shaman over a bit, enough so her mouth was facing upwards. "Wake up for a sec and drink this and everything will be fine... Wake up..."

 

[spoiler=OoC]

I'm taking a few liberties with this post, so sorry if I'm out of line. Just let me know and I'll change things appropriately. I'm firing off an Elfire and trading a vulnerary to Meifing on the same turn, which is probably more than is strictly allowed, but it seemed to make dramatic sense, so I did it anyway. Also, I'm assuming that vulneraries will work on anyone who's alive as long as they still have at least 1 HP, so I'm assuming that giving Meifing a vulnerary will, in fact, help her. If I'm wrong about that, let me know.

 

 

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The bandit facing Anaïs found himself on one knee. He looked up, praying to the Great Dragon to be spared...

 

Thump.

 

And fell back on his haunches, barely missing a beheading. But he wasn't out of the fire yet. That woman seemed skilled, and here he was, sprawled in front of her. Forcing himself up, the brigand punched her in the face to distract her. "You a right good'n wiv a blade, missy, but oi won't be taken down that neat-like." He then swung his axe into her right shoulder, though the angle was off, so it didn't take the arm off like he hoped, but instead sliced it open.

 

Meanwhile, the archer cried out when his back exploded in pain. "Oww! f*** this. I'm not getting paid enough for this s***." He started to run, but paused when he caught sight of Malu'kai. An unarmed combatant like her was far too tempting to resist. Stopping, he set his feet and fired straight at the horse's chest. If I'm lucky, the horse will trample the others as it falls.

 

Bazba was not having a good day. First, Bone had called in sick for the weekly brigand meeting, and now this. With the increase in hired guards and patrols from the capital, his gang had fallen on hard times. His name alone used to be a cause for fear, but now...now they were reduced to picking off helpless merchants.

 

Except then a group of heroes had arrived to save the day, and by their clothing, some looked to be Galteans. Pushy, nosy blokes, those, he thought. And the woman in front of him looked to be the pushiest and nosiest of the lot. Before he could follow through on his headbutt he had been attacked by another fighter. He had barely managed to block that when he had been shoved to the side by an unarmed youth. And now he only had a few men left.

 

With a rage born from desperation, he aimed his axe at the boy calling for a spear. It whistled through the air in a rainbow arc, intent on reaching the end--a soft, unprotected neck.

 

BGM: Victory Now!

 

Ring.

 

A sword stood in the way, wielded by that upstart lordling from before. Gritting his teeth, the bandit leader widened his stance and pushed forward, intent on overpowering her by sheer brute force alone. Surprisingly, she barely budged, and returned his wide-eyed stare with a smirk. And then she pushed herself, and he found himself moving backward. This wasn't right. To be overpowered like this by a slip of a girl. No. This wasn't happening.

 

"Raaaarrgh!" he shouted, putting all of his weight behind the movement. However, instead of taking the blow like she had before, the woman sidestepped, and he stumbled forward into thin air. A familiar, stabbing pain in his side caused him to look down, to see the lordling had struck at the same area as before. Enraged, he backhanded her, and took the opportunity to deal a crushing blow to her chest. It would have been fatal had she not worn chain mail beneath her tunic.

 

Satisfied at seeing his opponent doubled over, Bazba stepped forward to finish her off...and then staggered from his wounds himself. "Damned woman!" he snarled. "You look like a stick, but you hit like a brick." At that moment, a lance hurtled through the air...headed straight for him. Stepping back, the brigand watched, dumbfounded, as it buried itself into the ground beside the boy from earlier.

 

The wagon driver, forgotten until now, waved at the group. "Here's a spear, free of charge. Now go finish off them bandits, you hear?"

 

[spoiler=OOC]

M9Hk0oJ.png

Fighter barely misses being beheaded and attacks Anaïs, hitting her shoulder.

Injuries: Mild

 

Archer attacks Malu'kai's horse, aiming for its chest.

Injuries: Moderate

 

Thief is knocked unconscious.

Injuries: Severe

 

Bazba attacks Edrick but is blocked by Catriona. He then exchanges blows with her, and both are injured and winded.

Injuries: Moderate

 

NPC throws an iron lance over to Edrick.

 

 

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As Alois had his blade chop straight towards he let out a "tsk" as he heard the sound of metal clashing against metal. As it had turned out, this bandit was pretty good on his feet, and had reacted to Alois's attack in time to block his blade. Bringing his axe back, the young fighter took a step back and got ready to deal with whatever the bandit leader had in store for dealing with him. While a somewhat serious expression was on Alois's face during this brief period, it was almost instantly replaced with one of confusion as something completely unexpected happened. A man just sort of bolted past him and tackled the bandit leader away from the rest of the group, only to then ask for a spear. Alois had zero idea who this person was, or where he even came from. But based on what he just witnessed, he seemed alright. Then things only got stranger as he could have sworn a horse just flew overhead. He blinked a few times, trying to recognize that their ill-tempered healer had just used him as an obstacle to vault over, before shaking his head and returning his attention back to the people in front of him.

 

However, before he could say anything to this new person, it seemed like the new person was going to be short one head to say anything back to him. It was at that moment that Alois let out a an impressed whistling noise at the sight of Bigger Princess holding her own in a power struggle against the bandit leader. There wasn't really anything impressive looking about what she was doing, but the simplicity of it all made quite the impression on Alois as he watched her fight the brute. Eventually, however, the momentum swung back in the bandit's favor, and it looked like she wasn't able to win by herself. 

 

Thankfully, Alois didn't have to do any rushing this time since the bandit seemed to be taken a back by the appearance of a lance. Exhaling a deep breath, Alois was all psyched up now to finish this troublesome bandit leader off once and for all. Walking past the newcomer, Alois spun his axe in his hand as he pointed it at the bandit leader. "Oi, big guy. You know, back where I used to live, we had bandits like you all the time. And you know what they were good for?" A cocky smile flashed across the fighter's face before he answered his own question. "A kill count." After the words left his mouth, Alois charged at the man with axe in hand and struck at him once able to. 

[spoiler=tldr]

Alois attacked the bandit leader again. He would now be in the space ahead Edrick and adjacent to the bandit leader.

 

 

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Asura sighed as he saw the archer run away. He couldn't move too fast, considering how badly his side was hit. He sat down, ripping some of his shirt and wrapping it around his waist. Man, it sucked that the battle went this way. Oh well, they managed to save that merchant, which was the whole reason they even went to this battle.

 

He looked around the battlefield, scrying it with a watchful eye. Everyone else seemed to have either finished off or were bring dealt with. Guess he wasn't needed. He sighed and looked at the fight. Huh, maybe next time they should make better plans.

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Gunther felt the wounds closing up, and was going to thank the Troubador....unfortunately they had kept going and were now many feet away from him. “Uh thanks...” He muttered. The Knight got to his feet and picked his lance back up. He could barely bring himself to look at the others, sure they would have looks of disgust and disappointment on their faces. And seeing as he was looking away, he noticed the archer attacking the person who had healed him.

He couldn’t reach them in time to stop the attack, but maybe he could interrupt the second...Gunther moved forward, going towards the archer with a single-minded purpose, trusting his allies to continue the fight with the bandit leader. When he reached the archer, the man seemed surprised at having the heavily armored warrior heading his way, and tried to back away, only to bump into Penelope. He spun around to face her, then back to Gunther, back at her.
Penelope lifted Katrina. “Surrender, please.” She said to the archer, holding her blade to his throat, while Gunther held position on the other side, ready for whatever was to come.

When Penelope had seen the archer take off she was surprised, she thought her strike would have done more than that, could it be she miscalculated? Nevertheless she made an error in judgment and Malu, or rather their horse, was about to pay the price. She couldn’t have that, and so she attacked once more with Wind, this time aiming to cut down the arrow mid-flight.
Then she moved into position to threaten the archer into surrender. She didn’t want needless deaths, and she refused to kill when she could easily capture.
She put on the fiercest face she could...which might possibly have intimidated a child or a small dog, and almost lost even that when she saw Gunther approaching. The relief she felt showing on her face for a moment, before she went back to her pseudo-fierce gaze.

 

Gunther smiled wide when he saw that moment of relief, she wasn't angry, she wasn't angry! Though...guilt forced its way into his heart. She SHOULD be angry. His only saving grace was his defense, and if he couldn't even do that right....Shaking his head Gunther gripped his lance tight, he had to focus, focus, and make sure not to make another mistake and cause trouble for the princess.

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The difficulty of not having a weapon was very quickly brought home to young Edrick, and he regretted calling for one when the bandit leader turned to face him. If he was in a less blood-deprived state of mind, he might have been able to realise that the man had probably just seen he didn't have one. For now, though, he was blaming his own idiocy in calling out for lacking a weapon. Still, he didn't mind dying just right now. While he didn't think that axe could actually harm the Goddess, he was quite content in having prevented her image being defaced. Yet when he closed his eyes and waited for death to take him, he did not feel his flesh and bone being ripped apart by the axe's blade. Instead, he heard the piercing ring of metal against metal. When he opened his eyes, he was struck dumb by what he saw.
 
Not only had the Goddess herself intercepted the strike on his behalf, but she engaged the brute in combat to spare his being struck down! He would have fallen to his knees in praise if he weren't so utterly confused by what he was seeing. Especially considering that this mean bandit was apparently holding his own with her! He even managed to cut open her chest, and made the mistake of taunting her thereafter. Oh, that was simply not excusable! The farmboy would have charged in then and there, if it weren't for the same sound that had taken the bandit's attention off The Lady of Undeath catching his own. A spear buried itself in the ground near his feet, and upon looking towards its source he noted the merchant from earlier.
 
"Here's a spear, free of charge. Now go finish off them bandits, you hear?" It was strange to have that request granted, and stranger still to pull the weapon from the ground. It wasn't like his Warscythe at all. The blade was tapered to a sharp point, and even if it was a crude thing it was obviously better made for its job that his old thing. Though it was balanced differently, and he wasn't entirely sure how to go about attacking. Of course another reminder came in the form of the swordsman who rushed past him to engage the bandit. Right, there wasn't time to go about thinking things through in the middle of a fight! So, he raised the spear and got into a ready stance.

 

It just took a few steps forward to bring him into reach with that weapon, and he put all of his strength behind the thrust... and unfortunately it seemed the blood loss was starting to get to him. The strike went wide, and with Edrick having put essentially everything into it that meant he kept going forward. The good news was that the Bandit was probably once again off balance. The bad news was the reason for him being off balance was the fairly large young man who just bowled into him. It could very well end up with the two of them in a heap on the ground, dazed from the unintended impact.

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Igrid reared up in pain as the arrow entered his chest. If Malu’kai wasn’t used to riding Igrid with no hands, the would have certainly flew off. “Whatsa matter boy? Somethin spook y-” Malu’kai trailed off as they looked around for the cause of their dear friend’s distress. With a deep knot of dread beginning to form in their stomach, they stared on in horror at the cause: an arrow, lodged into Igrid’s chest.

 

Those… monsters!” Malu’kai said, tears forming in their eyes. “I’ll make them pay… I’ll make them pay for hurting my baby! Igrid, get rea-” Malu’kai trailed off once again, realizing what they were going to say, and what they were going to do. “Igrid, we’re gonna haveta get outta here,” they said in their calmest voice possible, anger trailing close behind. ”It’s not safe here right now, and you’re getting hurt. If we can ride a ways off, I’ll get that thing outta you. C’mon boy, I know you can do it.” Malu’kai patted his neck, and Igrid perked up a bit. With a degree of difficulty, the duo were off towards the direction of the mad swordsman. “I don’t like this guy, but right now he’s the safest spot to be.

 

When they arrived near the bladed boy, Malu’kai dismounted and looked Asura straight in the eyes. “Say nothing and I’ll let you live.” they said, a few tears falling from their eyes onto their flushed cheeks, Malu’kai did not mean this as a threat, but rather as a contract: Akria says nothing, Malu’kai heals him in future battles. Turning their attention to Igrid, Malu’kai took of the mask and looked the horse in his big brown eyes. “I’ll get it out as quickly as I can, okay? It’ll hurt, but it’ll come out.” Grasping the arrow with a steady hand, Malu’kai made a quick jerk with their arm. Igrid flew back onto his haunches once again, letting out a squeal of pain. “I’m sorry, boy…” Malu’kai didn’t look up at him, because they couldn’t. They couldn’t bear to see their baby hurt, and so they stared down at the cobblestone road, letting it speckle with their tears.

 

[spoiler=OOC]

Malu'kai is now in the top-right corner, right next to Asura. Also this made me really sad, please no more horse injuries (at least this battle). 

 

 

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I am so not cut out to be a cleric.

 

It had taken far too long for Feray to figure out how to stuff a vulnerary down the shaman's throat without drowning her in it. Finally she managed to get her to reflexively swallow a few drops (she hoped) and rest her in a somewhat stable position. She looked fine - the bleeding was certainly getting a lot better - and there was still plenty of vulnerary left even in that bottle, so Feray called it a victory. "You can drink the rest when you wake up, sleepyhead," she said, mostly for her own comfort.

 

"Now, what to do with you..."

 

She turned her attention to the boy lying slumped on the ground. All the evidence pointed to the fact that he'd attacked the shaman, presumably with the knife still lodged in the shaman's side (that Feray didn't dare remove - she didn't want to risk letting the shaman bleed out without a healer around). Logically, he must be a bandit - or else, even worse, an unidentified hostile. Killing him wouldn't be inconsistent with their goal. It'd be easy, really. But Feray couldn't really bring herself to contemplate killing someone in their sleep. The boy's face was still and innocent, as if he were dreaming in his bed. She couldn't snuff out his life. Not like that.

 

She knelt beside the boy and started rummaging through his things. "You've gotta have some rope on you somewhere, right...? ...Eh, that belt will do..."

 

A few minutes later, Feray stood slumped against a tree, the thief tied up with his own clothing, the shaman not actively bleeding for the moment. "That took a while," she muttered. "Hopefully everyone else still has things under control."

 

[spoiler=OoC]I'm taking the GM's advice on this one and sorta-kinda-not-really controlling Meifing here. If Elly has or anyone else a problem with this I can change it, of course. Also, I hope what I did with the thief was fine. (Apparently I'm doing nothing but apologizing in these OoC notes!) Obviously I didn't move or do anything of note; while I did some roleplay stuff, I effectively "passed" this turn.

 

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"Bleck...! Bleck!" Meifing gagged as the horrible tasting liquid made it's way down her throat, however while still dizzy from the tremendous loss of blood, she was conscious enough to recognize what was being poured down her throat at the moment. "How foul! This medicine is such poor quality to what I could manufacture." The indignant dark mage cried propping herself up, while the poor Feray was likely cursing the fact that she'd ever helped this woman.

 

Now much more aware of her surroundings Meifing confirmed that the vulnerary had adequately patched her wounds... at least to the point that she was no longer in mortal danger.

 

"I suppose I should thank you," Meifing said her gaze resting on Feray, "so thank you. Your quick thinking likely saved my life, and I apologize for my rather... rude out burst. However, our allies are still very much in danger so we can't dally here long, and I'd very much like to get this knife dislodged from my side... it hurts quite a bit." Slowly rising to her feet the shaman woman began to slowly move from the forest sticking close to the trees in case she needed them for support. "Come along now dear, I don't think he will be causing us anymore trouble."

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The archer moved to flee again after the attack, especially after he saw the heavily-armored man come after him. However, he had to halt in his tracks when he bumped into that mage girl from earlier. The one who had injured him. "Surrender, please," she said, holding a sword to his throat. While her words were fierce, her expression was not, and he couldn't help but not take her seriously. However, the man on his other side...well, he was another story entirely. Sandwiched between the two, the archer sighed and dropped his bow. "Urgh...fine...I give up."

 

--

 

Meanwhile, the fighter to the north had jumped back, expecting a fierce retaliation from the blonde lady before him. However, she had stopped, seemingly stunned that he had even managed to land a hit on her. "Not used to seein' yer own blood, lassie?" he mocked. "Pah! Nobles all think they're invincible. Give 'em a good swing wiv an axe and ye'll see they're as meaty as the rest o' us." He stepped forward to finish her off.

 

And then a flash of silver, fast as a fleeting sparrow, and his face exploded in pain. Shouting, the bandit bent down, clutching his face, fingers coated in a slick, sticky substance. Blood. Between the gaps of his gloved fingers, he could see a wisp of gold. And then furious dark eyes.

 

"You dare?" the lady's voice came out in a soft rumble. "You dare cut me with your dirty axe? You beast. Lower than low." She emphasized each point with a thrust of her blade. The first went too high in her rage, the second too low, but the third struck home, embedding itself into his leather chest guard. While the chest guard managed to lessen the impact, it couldn't stop the blade entirely, and the area around it started to darken.

 

With a huff of exertion, the blonde tore the sword free and held it horizontal, tip pointed straight at his heart. Panicked at this sudden reversal, the bandit raised his own weapon and knocked it away. Fancy and fine she may be, but she ain't no average fighter, this one. And the boss...s'not lookin' good for him neither. I gotta go...gotta warn Bone. Scrambling backward, he fled northward, from where he came.

 

Anaïs didn't bother to chase after him. She had more important things to worry about. The condition of her lady, for one. She ran back southward, past the wagon, and toward the slouched figure of Catriona.

 

--

 

Who was currently gasping in pain. That blow to the chest had affected her more than she had expected. Catriona held back a coughing fit, grimacing at the familiar twinges. This wasn't good. Not...right now. No. Before she could do much more than prepare for her premature end, Alois' voice rang through the air. "Oi, big guy. You know, back where I used to live, we had bandits like you all the time. And you know what they were good for?" Catriona grinned despite herself. This sounded so much like the barracks talk from the border. "A kill count."

 

And then he charged, and in the confusion, Catriona fell back from the duo. Not that she'd be any good for fighting right now, anyway. She was a mess.

 

"Here," a voice nearby caused her to look up. "A vulnerary, miss." It was that civilian from earlier. Nodding her gratitude at both him and the worried visage of Anaïs, she took it and applied some of the herb mixture to her wounds. It was fast-acting, and already some of the minor cuts were closing up. Sighing in relief, the lord continued to watch the scuffle in front of her.

 

Alois and the bandit leader, Bazba, were trading axe strikes. They were fairly even in terms of strength, so neither had really gained any ground over the other. They were both starting to tire, and it was coming down to the final blows, when Edrick came charging in like a bull, throwing Bazba to the ground. In the confusion, they both lay there, winded. Alois, who had started to attack, stopped just before he would've beheaded Edrick.

 

Bazba growled and lifted himself back up first. "This isn't over, you brats." Lifting his axe high, he swung it with desperate strength, sweeping Alois out of the way and kicking Edrick for good measure. "I am the great Bazba! I will not fall!" Narrowed, piggish eyes lit on the both of them, and you could feel the bloodlust in the air. He stepped forward to finish them both off.

 

"Fall," a voice commanded, and the leader barely brought his axe up in time to block a strike to his chest. "You again," he hissed. "Little lordling, you've already had a taste of my axe. Do you really think you can defeat me?"

 

"I will do what I must," came the cold reply. "I care nothing for your petty barbs. Let us fight and see who is the stronger."

 

By now, Alois and Edrick had recovered, but they couldn't find room to attack amidst the flurry of blows. However, it was a fight that was certain to end, one way or the other, and they struck whenever they could, quickening the inevitable.

 

With one last flourish, Catriona's blade sliced through the leader's neck, pushing past bone and sinew to reach the other side. For one long second, the leader remained standing, a headless specter, and then both halves of him toppled to the ground.

 

Thump. Catriona followed suit, letting exhaustion take her over now that the battle was done.

 

BGM: Victory!

 

[spoiler=OOC]

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Okay, so the battle is done. There is a surrendered archer and an unconscious thief as well as a beheaded bandit leader in the place Catriona is standing. His armor is still intact and he has a fairly good-quality hand axe that he never used that dropped nearby.

 

So basically have your character do whatever you think they'd do now that the battle's over.

 

Muddy and Hakima's characters won't come in yet, btw.

 

 

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Asura smiled despite himself. Sure, he was injured and his pride took a blow, and sure, Malu'kai threatened/offered to be a healer for him, but despite all this, they won. Victory was something he always liked... Even if the feeling was sullied by the fact the opponents were... Less than worthy. In fact, they were sorta... Pathetic. Oh well.

He stood up with a little difficulty before he walked to the nearest body, dragging it out of the road. He pulled it into the grass, getting on a knee and stabbing his sword into the ground, leaning on it as he closed his eyes and spoke a simple prayer.

"Fallen warrior, may you find peace in the afterlife," He muttered before repeating the process, slowly but surely clearing away the roads. Even if they weren't the best of fighters, they did not deserve to have their spirits wander the plains, unable to rest. He knew the others might find it strange, but that's what he was taught from a young age. Warriors slain in battle would be trapped on the mortal plains, unable to rest. That was, unless, they were prayed for.

Even if this wasn't true, Asura didn't want to risk anything. He had enough ghosts in his past, he did not need literal ones following him around.

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Penelope let out a sigh of relief as the Archer surrendered. She hadn’t wanted to kill anyone else, and as long as he didn’t fight back, there was no reason to. She took his bow from him and tossed it aside. No one they had in their group could use it anyway.
She glanced at Gunther, who was still looking worse for wear. “M’lady I am sorry for having failed my task.”

“I don’t know what you mean. You did exactly what you were supposed to. You followed my order and kept that ruffian from striking our unprotected allies. You did admirably...I only wish I hadn’t underestimated his strength, you were injured. I must do better next time.” She paused, glancing around, eyes especially on Asura. “It’s hard to plan when nobody pays attention to the plan.” Gunther could hear the frustration in her voice, but also, disappointment. In herself more than anything. He wanted to comfort her, tell her she did fine, and not to worry. But, Penelope being Penelope, she was already onto her next thought.

“Keep watch on this one. We haven’t seen Feray or Mei for a while, I’m starting to worry. Did you know that 62% of abandoning your post during war is because of illicit affairs with a fellow soldier?” She rattled this random fact, and then left, sheathing her blade and heading for the forest.
Gunther looked at the still terrified Archer, poking him a couple times. “You know, banditry is a pretty shitty job, but at least your definition of good job isn’t ‘I sure got hit by that axe well’.”

When she reached the two magic-users it was to see they had encountered a thief in the woods. “Oh....frick.” She said, avoiding the curse word again. “I apologize, I hadn’t factored in reinforcements. Please, go to Malu and make sure you’re healed. And, Feray?” Penelope gave the woman a smile. “Thank you for your hard work. And you too, Mei.”
She then dragged the thief out into the open, gesturing for Gunther to bring the Archer over, and to guard over these now two prisoners.

Then she took a deep breath. These people had almost all completely went without plan, and while they won, they almost lost several companions...Yet, Penelope couldn’t bring herself to lecture them all. That would be a hard confrontation with stubborn people...She knew she would have to sometime. But for now...

Penelope found herself standing before Catriona. Staring at her with a stern frown, her fists on her hips. “You....You...dunderhead! You have to be more careful, if you fall, then the moral blow to the country alone could be devastating, your allies are here to help you not the other way around!” The petite girl was radiating an aura that was reminiscent of their father, a startling change from her normal mild-mannered and quiet attitude. The adrenaline from the battle, along with her concern for her companions, seemed to mix into a concoction that forced a wild cat out of the young girl. How long this would last was anyone’s guess. But the watching Gunther knew it was only a matter of time before she backed down and went back to her book.
He had to admit, though. It was nice to see her like this once in a while.

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It wasn't until several seconds after the Bandit Leader had gotten to his feet that Edrick began lifting himself off the ground, much of the zealous energy he had gained upon viewing the Goddess in the flesh now gone. Much of the world around him was hazy now, blood loss finally beginning to take its toll now that things were winding down. His side and shoulder felt like they were on fire, and it was only now that he reached down and touched his side to discover that he was, indeed, bleeding from it. Perhaps not profusely now, but a steady stream of vitae had been pouring out and stained his shirt a dark red all the way down to his waist. Still, the thought that the Goddess was in danger remained present and he managed to force himself to his feet.

 

He managed to stand just in time to see Inera once more entering the fray with the bandit. He could not have gotten in and fought alongside her if he tried, so he just stood there and bore witness to it. The blunt end of his Lance was driven into the ground, and he leaned on it for support while waiting for something to happen. He was certain beyond any doubt that she would win, and when he saw the man's head roll off his shoulders he let out a cry and threw his fist in the air... and nearly lost his balance in the process. Still, the farm boy managed to catch himself and set about hobbling over towards the Goddess.

 

"Glory, praise, and honor to you!" By this point his accent had almost certainly given him away as a pontic, but why should he care about that now? Whoever these people were, they traveled in the company of Inera herself! Surely he had no reason to fear their company. He was about to continue on, and give the her the respect she truly deserved, but he was interrupted before he could even begin.

 

"You...you...dunderhead!" A turn of his head revealed that it was the young girl he had seen in this adventuring party, whom he could now see was wearing the emblem of the Galtean Royal Family. "You have to be more careful, if you fall, then the moral blow to the country could be devastating, your allies are here to protect you not the other way around!" Well, whether she was a princess or just some knight in training she certainly did seem worried. Were there converts in Galtea? Had the true faith spread even to the very upper echelons of their society? That certainly was something, all the same he felt the need to speak.

 

"You worry too much." His tone was accusatory... but his speech had since begun to slur and he found his vision kept fading in and out of focus. If he were to be truthful, he was having a great deal of trouble doing so much as keeping himself on his feet. "I...I am certain beyond... any doubt that The Lady is more than able to protect herself from any mere mortal." He might have gone on to further chastise the girl, but he had to stop and put all of his effort into keeping himself standing.

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Did Alois believe he could take on the bandit leader by himself? Absolutely not. This bandit leader seemed to prove himself stronger than Alois already. Did he think that the people around him were competent enough to kill this man while he was attacking? Well he certainly hoped so, otherwise they had bigger issues to deal with. As he clashed with the bandit, he was able to hold his own in a power struggle for a bit, though that couldn't last forever. Thankfully, for whatever reason, he started to collapse and Alois's axe blade was starting to go straight towards its mark. The cocky grin that had formed on Alois's face gave way to one of just pure bewilderment as the reason Bazba fell became very evident. Forcing himself away from the man, Alois had barely managed to stop his axe before it went straight into the neck of the new guy, though had found himself horribly off balance as a result. And of course, because of this, he was easily knocked off his feet and sent to the ground. 

 

Thankfully the now horrible situation was turned better as the lordess went to attack the bandit leader. While Alois was fully ready to join back in on the fight, first picking himself up off the ground, it seemed it wasn't necessary. After the bandit was killed, not so hot headed anymore as it would be, the new guy seemed to start shouting and praising the girl. With a bit of a confused expression on his face in regard to the man, he let out a, "y-yeah." His going back to normal, he gave a smile to the lordess and gave a thumbs up saying, "you got some nice moves there Cat." After congratulating her, he went to go pick up the spoils of war, finding a pretty nice axe on the body of the beheaded bandit. Taking the axe for himself, he basically lifted another weight off of dear old Bazba's shoulders. 

 

As Petite started lecturing her sister, Alois could only nod his head in agreement as the weird guy told her there was nothing to worry about. With a bit of a smirk on his face, he walked over to the younger sister, patting on her the head and trying to assert the height difference between them, (no matter how small it may have been,) saying. "Yeah, you worry to much Short Stack. Besides, everything went" his voice then went into a mocking version of her own, "'just as planned.'" The new guy then went on to praise Catriona some more, which made Alois's face only turn to more concern. Looking at his wounds, he was either delirious, or just naturally crazy. Looking at the two princesses, pointing to the man with his voice becoming more deadpan, he asked , "seriously though what's up with this weirdo. Do you guys know him or something?" 

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"You worry too much. I...I am certain beyond... any doubt that The Lady is more than able to protect herself from any mere mortal."

 

Penelope stared at the stranger. "Worry too much? Worrying is my job so that reckless people like yourself don't get themselves killed....And who in the world are you anyway?" She just realized she was talking to someone who had shown up out of the blue. "How can we trust you, coming in like that and speaking nonsense about 'mere mortals'." She poked the boy in the chest, a surprising instance of forwardness...and he toppled over. "O-oh my." She hadn't known he was in such a bad state. "Malu, over here now, please!"

 

Just on cue Alois decided to get far far far too close for comfort. In that instant he counter-acted his earlier good will he had gotten in Penelope's eyes, which were now flashing with panic and anger. However she had expended her rage for the day, and instead suddenly whipped around and hurried off, taking the fighter off guard and tearing away from his touch.

She kept going, reciting dictionary definitions under her breath as she went to the far side of the wagon.

 

Gunther saw this, and groaned. He looked down at the two prisoners. He had to keep watch over them, despite that everyone was conversing and going about business elsewhere. Adding to that, Penelope was having a hard time and he wanted to help. None of the others really knew her very well, and had little reason to help her. Worse was that some might try the wrong way, which could be a problem.

However he knew it'd be even worse to leave his post, for tactical and emotional reasons, so there he waited.

"So uh....nice weather we're having?" He said to the archer, who regarded him with utmost confusion. "Hey it's not like I got anyone else to talk to right now."

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The ground was cool where Catriona fell, kept out of the worst of the sun by the tree cover overhead. She could feel the heat radiating from the bandit leader's body nearby, and the tickle of the grass against her skin.

 

"Fallen warrior, may you find peace in the afterlife," the mercenary swordsman they had hired whispered nearby. The voice jolted the woman from her doze, but her limbs felt numb and weak. Gods, I've barely the strength to stand, she thought. But stand she did, supported by a helping hand from Anaïs, who looked even more serious than usual. Is she well? Anaïs was a faithful, if overly dutiful woman, as well as the person Catriona was closest to here. If there was something wrong with her, then it had to be attended to. After a quiet "thank you," she shrugged the myrmidon off to lean against a nearby tree. It was a bit humiliating to need such a crutch, but she feared she'd fall down again without it.

 

And then the boy from before hobbled over to her. The one who had so bravely thrown himself into the fray. "Glory, praise, and honor to you!" Catriona started in shock at the familiar accent. It was a bit different from the one she was used to, but it was undeniably Pontic. How many times had she heard curses flung her way in that same accent?

 

"You got some nice moves there Cat," Alois, the fighter who had gone toe to toe with the leader gave her a thumbs up. Smiling despite herself at his casual way of speaking, so much like the soldiers she had fought alongside and grew to respect, she replied with a nod of acknowledgement. "You as well."

 

And then Penelope stood in front of her, fists on hips. "You....You...dunderhead! You have to be more careful, if you fall, then the moral blow to the country alone could be devastating, your allies are here to help you not the other way around!" How long had it been since she had heard Penelope sound this way? Before she could reply in her defense, her allies spoke for her.

 

"You worry too much."

 

"Yeah, you worry to much Short Stack. Besides, everything went 'just as planned.'"

 

"I...I am certain beyond... any doubt that The Lady is more than able to protect herself from any mere mortal." If the lord had had doubts before, she didn't anymore. When she had been kidnapped, she had heard them call the goddess that term.
 

Alois turned to the two princesses in confusion. "Seriously though what's up with this weirdo. Do you guys know him or something?" Catriona could only shake her head. She opened her mouth to speak, but found herself interrupted before she could.

 

"Worry too much? Worrying is my job so that reckless people like yourself don't get themselves killed....And who in the world are you anyway?" It sounded like her sister was still going strong. "How can we trust you, coming in like that and speaking nonsense about 'mere mortals'." And then with a single poke from the shorter girl, the boy fell over. "O-oh my. Malu, over here now, please!"

 

In all the confusion, Catriona had lost both an opportunity to explain herself to her sister and relieve the boy of his misconceptions. Shaking her head, she decided...to stay right where she was. At least until she had recovered more.

 

--

 

"So uh....nice weather we're having? Hey it's not like I got anyone else to talk to right now."

 

The archer rolled his eyes. "Not much one for conversations, are ya, Mr. Knight?" He couldn't believe he had been defeated by this guy.

 

--

 

BGM

 

Anaïs had faded into the background, mulling over the battle. She hadn't been able to fulfill her duty. She had failed her liege, had failed her duty. What use was she now? Not to mention she had received a courier pigeon just the day before, informing her of her father's recent illness. She had decided against returning, feeling her duty lay with the princess more than her father at the moment, but...

 

But with recent events, she couldn't help but feel useless. The princess hadn't even glanced her way for support then. How could she be her lady's sword and shield when her lady wouldn't even accept her aid?

 

"My lady..." she spoke from her position beside the princess. "I...I..." she explained her circumstances, finishing with a question. "What should I do?"
 

Catriona stared directly at her. Many had likened her eyes to ice, but Anaïs felt they were more like twin sapphires, or even blue diamonds. Pure and strong. "Anaïs, I order you to return. Back to where your father needs you." Her words were firm and unyielding. "It need not be now, but--"

 

"No, I'll leave now." Anaïs winced at the accidental interruption. "My apologies, my lady, but..." she glanced at the others. Though most of them were knaves, they had proven themselves in this battle, so at least she wouldn't be leaving the princess in untrustworthy hands. "I do not believe it right to stay any longer, now that I have been ordered to leave."

 

Bowing to the princesses, and nodding a farewell to Gunther, she ran westward, back to where it all began. Back to Galtea.

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Asura had finished the task of clearing off the roads when he turned to check on the team. Seems the farm boy had fallen over due to his wounds. Poor guy. He saw Alois talking to the princesses and Gunther was guarding the prisoners. He night as well join the party. He walked over to the group and stood next to Alois, leaning on his sword casually.

"Well, that didn't go so badly for our first fight as a group, Asura commented. "Next time though, I'll wait until the tactician princess makes a better plan than 'We cannot just pass them by,'. I'll admit right now I jumped the gun in order to protect that merchant and get some kills... Speaking of...," he paused to pick up his sword. "Can I kill him?" Asura suddenly asked, pointing his sword at the archer. He stared intensely, the bloodlust nearly radiating off of him before he sheathed his sword. "Just kidding. Wanted to scare the bastard. I'm not from the Beir tribe, you know," Okay, maybe that joke was in poor taste. Better change the subject. He looked over to Alois. "How many did you kill?"

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After having joked around with the littlest princess, Alois's expression became a bit confused as the girl seemed to react pretty disproportionately to his teasing. As she just sort of fiercely walked away, Alois just shrugged, figuring it was either something he could do nothing about, or she was just a really sensitive person. The latter of which went back to the former. And so, Alois just let her be as he turned his attention to the confusing, and possibly confused, stranger that had helped them fight. Cat apparently had no idea who he was, which Alois found a bit weird given how absolutely zealous he was towards her, but that could have just been how people treated royalty around these parts. Nevertheless, he seemed pretty much harmless and helpless at the moment, so the axe wielder didn't really care much to follow up on his curiosity. 

 

The one who seemed less harmless, the big lug who had blood lust on the brain 24/7 several days a week, was of much greater concern to him at the moment. As the man questioned his kill count, proving himself master of small talk, Alois held his head in false shame. "I couldn't get a single kill on my blade. No matter how many I fought, it seemed like I just couldn't get the killing blow on them. The ladies here are quite the finishers here, you know?" After conveying his false disappointment to the sword wielder, he took notice of all of the wounds the man had on him. With a smirk on his face, he then asked him, "so, how many times did you nearly die?"

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"Malu, over here now, please!"

 

"Yeah," they yelled, choking back more tears. "I'll be right there. C'mon Igrid, let's walk there together."

 

As the duo neared the group, Malu'kai saw quite a few things: A person that they could only assume be a prisoner, a headless bandit leader, a small child passed out on the grass... Wait, a small child passed out on the grass?! Malu'kai ran to him, Igrid only a few paces behind. "What happened to this child? You know what, I don't wanna hear it. Igrid, can you carry him?" Igrid whinnied and lowered his neck to nudge at the passed out boy, then looked at Malu'kai and nodded. "Good boy, you're gonna be getting something special tonight. C'mon, let's get 'em on there." Malu'kai hefted the small, limp body of the boy onto Igrid. "Meifing, you got a med kit or something, right?" They didn't wait for a reply "I'll leave this one in your hands; I don't think I can handle any more magic today. Igrid, go make friends with the nice lady." Igrid, though reluctant to leave his friend, went over to the woman and nudged her with his head. 

 

"Now then, who's our new friend?" Malu'kai said, pointing at the man set between the Tinman and the Scarcrow

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Catriona sighed, slouching against the tree she leaned against. I did what was right...right? Anaïs had lost the fervor for the journey, and she didn't want half-hearted companions. This journey was trial enough even for her. No, she wouldn't ask somebody to travel with her if they didn't want to anymore. But she couldn't help but regret it. Anaïs had been her closest friend here, and now...she was gone.

 

She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. This pain she felt, this suffering...this wasn't the first time she felt this way, and it wouldn't be the last. But she had to push on, regardless. No matter how much she wanted to sink to the ground and weep.

 

The lord straightened her shoulders and applied another dose of the vulnerary given to her on her wounds. Feeling some strength come back to her, she hobbled over to where the boy had fallen. On closer inspection, he was quite tall for somebody his age, but he didn't look so good.

 

"Meifing, you got a med kit or something, right? I'll leave this one in your hands; I don't think I can handle any more magic today."

 

"I can do this," Catriona said quietly, crouching over him and taking out the unused vulnerary. While not a specialist in healing, she had learned some basics of first aid on the border. She started to apply it to his wounds, especially the one in his back. However, she could tell he would still need plenty of rest to fully recover. They all would. Looking around the area, she winced. This bloody battlefield was no place to rest. Though Asura had so kindly removed the bodies, they would still attract predators and flies.

 

Meanwhile, the civilian man had recovered his horse, a pretty blue roan with black stockings. With the aid of his horse, he righted the wagon again, and was busy reorganizing the contents. Whistling cheerily, he seemed completely unmindful of how he had been ignored. After finishing, he approached the gathering around the boy, and shook his head. "Hoo-ee. He's a right mess, ain't he? Still, looks good enough to be moved. Tell you what, as thanks for saving me, I'll let him ride in the wagon. I know a spot nearby that should work as a campsite."

 

It was as if he had read her mind. Catriona shook her head in wonderment. "My gracious thanks to you," she said. "But are you sure--?"

 

"Sure I'm sure. As sure as eggs is eggs," he interrupted. "And none of that fancy noble speech, ya hear? I'm happy to do this for you kind folks."

 

"Then...thank you," the lord nodded, her lips quirking into a smile. "That would be highly appreciated."

 

"What did I tell you about talking all pretty? But lift this end and I'll lift the other, and we can get him in there." With their combined effort, they managed to place the boy into the wagon. Despite her wariness toward his origins, Catriona couldn't deny that he had saved her life, so she would do all she can to help him recover, at least. After taking a few minutes to tie up loose ends, during which time the civilian man stripped the battlefield of weapons and armor and picked up the thief, they set off for the campsite.

 

--

 

After twenty minutes of walking, they reached a hilltop with a grand view of the surroundings. "Here it is. I call this Lookout's Hill. A couple hour's march from here is the city of Ithome, but I reckon you all need some sleep first before tackling that distance."

 

"I am sure we can survive," Catriona replied, tone stubborn. "Hardship builds character."

 

"Perhaps, but I think you've had enough character buildin' for today. Oh, by the way, the name's Jake. I'm a blacksmith from Ithome, but every so often I travel elsewhere to get more materials and sell off my wares," Jake held out a hand to shake.

 

"True, and it's a pleasure to meet you, Jake," the white-haired woman took the proffered hand. "My name is Catriona, and these are..." she proceeded to introduce the others. "Again, my thanks for the assistance."

 

--

 

As the day passed into evening, Jake built a campfire around which most everybody sat. The two prisoners were tied and bound nearby. The archer was grumbling to himself, while the thief just sat there, looking amazed to still be alive. He also kept shooting Meifing nervous glances.

 

Dinner was a barebones meal of bread, cheese, and jerky, washed down with either water or wine, whichever was preferred.

 

"So what are you planning on doing when you reach Ithome?" Jake asked.

 

Catriona paused. He seemed trustworthy enough. "We're looking for information on the Great Dragon," she explained.

 

"Oh, okay," the man didn't seem that surprised. "Didn't take you for the scholarly sort, but it's true that of all the countries, Histia has the greatest connection with the Great Dragon. Yeah, you might find something in Ithome's libraries. There are three of them, one in each sector. If not that, then the Council of Three might know something. Mind you, they don't talk to anybody that comes in off the street, but I have a feeling you folks ain't just anybody."

 

[spoiler=OOC]

So kind of a winding-down peaceful moment atm. Sitting around a campfire eating stuff. Feel free to finish up any conversations you had previously before the timeskip as well. Keto, I left it vague as to whether Edrick woke up or not, or even when he woke up, so yeah do whatever you want there.

 

To Elly and Supreme Gamesmaster, not sure what's holding you guys up but this is your first warning.

 

To Muddy and Hakima, I have plans for you once you get on skype.

 

 

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As they sat down to dinner tonight, as was usually the case, Penelope was instantly surrounded and her sister Catriona, so naively serious, kept the conversation strictly business. So lacking anything better to do, Feray sat near Meifing (whose name, embarrassingly enough, she'd just learned today) and the prisoners and tried not to gag on her jerky. She felt something of a connection to the shaman and the thief, having saved both of their lives. She certainly felt safer by them

 

Apparently they were going to direct their increasingly vague quest according to the advice of a random stranger. Well, it's not like I'd do anything better by myself. Feray smirked for a moment, then took another bite of jerky and lost her sense of joy in the world.

 

They were headed to some libraries in Ithome. That was back the way she'd come. Hopefully the guards there don't remember me, Feray thought as she choked down the last strip of jerky she could manage. ...They probably remember me, though. That incident wasn't exactly easy to forget.

Edited by Supreme Gamesmaster

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Penelope had her nose in her book once more while they traveled. She noted Anais' absence and subconsciously began adjusting strategies. Gunther had wished her luck and this reminded Penelope to mention she hopes things turned out okay. She was in a foul mood but this was a trying time for Anais, not a time to scold her.

But as soon as that happened, back to the book. Gunther kept trying to prod her to spout off random facts, or anything, but she kept silent up until they reached the site they'd be camping out.

She turned to Gunther, stone-faced and with a dark look in her eyes. Gunther gulped, worried to what was to come. "Er, what is it?"

 

"20% of all camping trips end in one of the campers being murdered." She said, then turned on her heel and walked away. Gunther stared after her, mouth open, and then immediately began patrolling the perimeter, looking for signs of danger.

When she made it out of direct earshot of Gunther, Penelope started to giggle uncontrollably. It would seem strange to anyone who saw her, especially given her previous demeanor. But she had gotten over the awkward situation about halfway to their current location.

 

She snorted a bit, when she saw Gunther looking underneath a rock. "Apparently Anais left some of her spirit behind in Gunther." Her eyes then landed on the prisoners. She approached them confidently.

"Your crimes could be punishable by death, you know. It's very common for bandits who attack members of nobility to be tied to a horse before it's let to run through the streets. Completely naked except for a helm to prevent a quick death." it was, in fact, not common at all. But it was enough of a folk tale that it was believable. "However I'm willing to forgive and forget, but you need to earn that. Tell me all about the bandits in the area."

 

The archer glared at her but the thief began to speak. "I'm really sorry about all that miss. I didn't want anyone to get hurt really, didn't know they were gonna kill the guy, I just wanted to knock him out and take his stuff! Okay that sounds bad. But really truly! I want to help him if I can, to repay what I did."

 

The archer growled. "You're just saying that because you fell asleep on the job again, and you know you can't go back if you wanted."

 

"No no! Well kinda, but honest! I want to help, please please have mercy and let me help! I'm terrified of horses!" He eyed Malu's horse with suspicion and fear.

 

"I'll...think about it.." Penelope paused. "But if I find out you lied I'll feed you to the horse! Didn't you know, horses love meat. They can survive without it but they just looove to get fresh meat....See ya!" She walked off, heading over to the merchant and her sister to discuss this development.

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Edrick was really only dimly aware of what was happening around him after the girl, who admittedly looked to be about his age, sent him sprawling to the ground. It seemed, for the next several hours, that he was floating back and forth between life and death. The fact that he saw the Goddess tending to him did nothing to convince him otherwise, but he was not bothered by the possibility that he might die. Oh no, he had achieved the greatest thing that any servant of Inera could hope to do, and he was happy to slip away into her realm as life faded from him.

 

The next several hours passed in a daze, that made him feel as if both an eternity had passed and no time had gone by at all. He felt his back resting against hard wood, an irritating pang every now and then as a splinter dug itself into his skin only to be removed by whoever among the group was tasked with tending to his wounded body when they noticed his discomfort. His thoughts strayed this way and that, without any easily discernible difference between waking and sleeping. Eventually, his wounds and exhaustion won out and he drifted into a sleep that, superficially at least, made him appear as if he were dead.

 

His dreams made little sense, simply flashes of sensations and feelings. A pang of fear without obvious cause, the feeling of cut wheat against the soles of his feet, and even the taste of...something. He couldn't quite make out what it was supposed to be, but it was a bizarre mix of sour and bitter that made him want to vomit. Of course he couldn't, mainly because his stomach was empty. He had been interrupted in eating his lunch by the sounds of battle after all. Speaking of sounds, one in particular disturbed his rest and so he rolled onto his side to try and go back to relaxing.

 

The pain of suddenly putting the whole of his body weight on that axe wound shocked him back into the waking world with a pained cry that sent birds, which had been settling into their roosts for the night, flying off the branches and trying to escape the sound. In much the same manner he threw himself out of the cart and onto his feet with surprising agility, only to end up falling to his knee and sucking in his breath as pain exploded in his shoulder and side. He was left there for several moments waiting for it to subside, before he could stand up and look over the group in front of him.

 

It was, as made sense now that he considered it, the very same group that he had encountered earlier fighting alongside the goddess. Of course Inera was nowhere to be found... and now that he was in much more a right mindset he began to wonder what he'd been thinking. It didn't make any sense, and she couldn't possibly have been there! Oh, he just felt phenomenally stupid for having thought that... but that did raise the question of who he'd actually seen fighting the bandit leader. A somewhat more pressing question came up as he felt a chill breeze across his chest

 

"So, um...what happened to my shirt?" He looked about, somewhat awkwardly, at the group of more or less strangers that he had run into... and apparently been saved by. "Oh...right... thanks for saving my life. Though if that lady with the sword hadn't run off right when I ran in it might not've needed saving." He let out a laugh after that, trying to force himself to find some humor in his near demise and thus avoid getting overly worried about how high his chances of dying on this venture were. It had worked decently well in the past. "Anyways, guess I oughta introduce myself. I'm Edrick, and I'm curious if any of you've seen a red roan mare about six years old with a splotch of cream on her left flank." Not that he really thought he would get anywhere with that, but he figured he might as well ask.

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