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Assassin's Pledge: Devastation

Assassin's Pledge: Devastation

The Red-Eyed Demon is back, and more dangerous than ever. But can even he and a brave group of followers prevail against two warring Assassin organizations bent on enforcing their will upon the continent of Cre' Est?

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Topics: action, adventure, assassin, death, destruction, devastation, gore, original, red-eyed demon, romance, and tragedy (Add Tags »)
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Introduction

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Welcome one and all to a story over a decade in the making!



Assassin's Pledge takes place in a fictional world not unlike our own. The setting of this RP is late-medieval fantasy where the recently invented flintlock pistol and rifle are the pinnacle of weapon's technology. Magic is not a thing in this RP. Sorry. But there are minor supernatural elements at play, but they're mostly environmental and not meant for being a significant part of the experience.

There are five Nations which call the continent of Cre' Est "home", and I will detail them below:

* Cre' Est - The Mother Nation, first founded, and named after the continent upon which she was founded. She occupies the center of the continent on the Western side of the Cre' Itian Mountain Range which splits the continent into two halves. She has the highest population and most stable economy of all five nations and is culturally very diverse. Cre' Est's government is a Monarchy, run by a Royal Family bearing the same last name as the nation and continent.

* Shaharan - The Desert Nation to the East of the Cre' Itian Mountain Range occupying the Northeastern hemisphere of the continent. The people who live here are tough and hardy, typically sporting darker skin tones and generally speaking are part of a more militant culture. It is a dictatorship run currently by a strict yet relatively non-oppressive man who's last name is the same as the nation.

* Triveila - Nation of Water on the Northwestern sector of the continent. She harvests the bounty of the sea and commands a respectable trade industry focused on pearls, coral, and other undersea commodities. Her people are generally peaceful and laid back and live life day by day as they watch the waves on the shoreline. The government is run on a Monarchy with a ruling family sharing the nation's name.

* Gweynura - Gweynura is the Nation of Trees located to the East below Shaharan. She is the lumber capital of the continent and also boasts the most beautiful landscapes anywhere to be seen. If you see a painting of a gorgeous landscape, chances are it's from Gweynura. The government is a Monarchy run currently by a widowed Queen who shares the last name of her nation thanks to her husband. Her son is soon to come of age and ascend the throne in his father's absence.

* Veilbrand - The Nation of Stone situated South of the Mother Nation in the Cre' Itian Mountain Range. She is the precious metal and precious gem capital of the continent and you will never find a better blacksmith than those who live here. They are also some of the finest weapon smiths. Veilbrand is run by a rather greedy dictator at present, though there are rumors of a rebellion on the rise.


Now that you are familiar with the five nations, it's time to learn about the story of the RP!



The RP takes place after the events of my previous two Assassin's Pledge RP's.

The Red-Eyed Demon, known simply as "Shadow" to the world of Assassins, is the most powerful and feared Assassin in the world. His body harbors the spirit of a Demon summoned from the Nether Realm by his mother and the cult she was attached to which greatly enhances his physical abilities far beyond the scope of normal humans.

He belongs to an Assassin organization called Te'i Sai. Due to the Red-Eyed Demon's success and how dangerous he is thanks to the Demon's spirit, Te'i Sai attempted to create a serum which duplicated the effects of the Demon's presence. They succeeded, and thanks to the serum their operatives are also much stronger, faster, more agile, and have higher reaction times than normal people.

However Te'i Sai made one mistake... They killed the Red-Eyed Demon's first and only friend. Her name was Iris Di' Nelma, and she was a beautiful and kind hearted young woman. When the Demon was temporarily banished for breaking Te'i Sai's first Commandment, "Never take the life of an innocent", she found and befriended him. She taught him things which were deliberately kept hidden from him such as the meaning of empathy and what it meant to care for someone else. She helped open his eyes to the fact that he'd lived his entire life as a puppet never making his own decisions, and thus when she was killed by Te'i Sai for her interference the Red-Eyed Demon secretly vowed vengeance and rebelled against the organization.

He killed the Grandmaster of Te'i Sai and his Second, leaving nobody in a position to take over. With the organization in chaos the Red-Eyed Demon led a small group of sympathizers to war on the organization. They had begun making headway after destroying the Mountain Fortress located in Roda Valley (a valley in the Cre' Itian Mountain Range's heart) as well as several other major Te'i Sai base locations throughout the continent, but their efforts were in vain.

... Another Assassin organizations called Roda Ah K'mht came from overseas and began laying claim to the continent. They seized control of the ruined Mountain Fortress and found the recipe for the serum used to enhance Te'i Sai's operatives. Now distributing it among their own ranks they seek to destroy both Te'i Sai and the Red-Eyed Demon and take control of the continent.

And thus we have our story...


Characters



With the Red-Eyed Demon being the sole exception as the focus of the RP's plot and story, all Player-Controlled Characters in this RP must obey these simple rules:

1) They may not be from Te'i Sai or Roda Ah K'mht, nor may they have ever had family or other relations with either organization.

2) They may not have acquired the serum which enhances their abilities.

3) They may not have any "superpower"-like traits or abilities. They're normal people.

And that's it! Keeping these three simple rules in mind you can make whatever kind of character you want from any kind of background including members of one of the five nation's ruling families.

For those wondering why I made the three above rules, it's because the point of the RP is to put everyone's characters into what feels at first like a helpless situation. The fact that Te'i Sai, Roda Ah K'mht, and the Red-Eyed Demon are all basically super human Assassins who can kill them at any moment of their choosing is what will drive the RP forward. The Red-Eyed Demon is going to meet and join forces with all Player-Controlled Characters who will find a reason to want both Te'i Sai and Roda Ah K'mht to disappear.

And about the serum... There's a reason you don't get to start with it. Spoiler alert, you get the serum later from the Red-Eyed Demon himself so you'll get to take on Te'i Sai and Roda Ah K'mht on even ground after the RP gets underway.

That's about all for now! If you have any questions feel free to send me a private message or ask away in the "General Discussion" thread!

See you soon!

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[b]Picture:[/b] (anime preferred)

[b]Description:[/b] (Please describe your character in one paragraph)

[b]Age:[/b] (21 is the youngest allowed)
[b]Sex:[/b] (obvious)
[b]Height:[/b]
[b]Weight:[/b]
[b]Voice Type:[/b] (If you're confused, ask)
[b]Body Type:[/b] (Endomorph, Ectomorph, Mesomorph)

[b]Theme:[/b] (If they have a music theme, put it here ;D )

[b]Personality:[/b] (Write their personality in one paragraph with seven sentences)

[b]Biography:[/b] (Write their bio in three paragraphs, each with seven sentences)

Rules

1) No God-Modding, Metagaming, or Power Playing.

Even with the Red-Eyed Demon's enhanced abilities, he is still human and will have limits. Your characters as well will all still have limits even after the Red-Eyed Demon gives them the serum.

I will be very strict about this. It's one strike and you're out for any of them.

2) Be realistic.

This RP is medieval-fantasy, but it's still bound by the laws of nature and the laws of physics. There are no superpowers like flight, nor is there any magic. So please be as realistic as you can.

3) Respect your fellow role-players.

We are all here to enjoy an experience, so please do not insult or make trouble for each other in the threads. If you start to have a problem with someone, bring it to my attention and I will sort it out.

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Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon "..."
Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna "I wish for this world to suffer no longer."
Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus "A little excitement never hurts anyone! Their pockets, on the other hand..."
Character Portrait: Marcel Starr "Sometimes I wonder whether trouble finds me, or it's a disease I'm spreading."
Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle "We are made who we are by the history of our blood."
Character Portrait: Marcus Keller "Of course I've done good deeds. I volunteered to help carry a nobleman's heavy wallet for him."
Character Portrait: Miriam Gale "Are you not entertained?!"

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Events

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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In the week since Marcus and Jeanne had reached Cre’Est, they were quick to start making money. Snooping around and gathering information while the jester conducted a (mostly) honest trade by day, and planning their more... lucrative ventures by night. They needed to know the lie of the land. Where the wealthy made their homes, and where best to fence any ill-gotten gains. Marcus also made sure to keep an eye out for any scholars or linguists who might be able to translate the mysterious documents that had got them into this mess in the first place. Speaking of which, the thief took each excursion with due caution; there was no telling when Te’i Sai would try to reclaim their property.

With no other place to go, Marcus and Jeanne stayed at the Rose and Curd, with more than enough cash to pay the rent, and the innkeeper none too fussed as to where it came from. Quinn and Marcel had similar plans, though with each having their respective day to day business, they saw relatively little of each other. On the few occasions that Marcus saw Quinn, however, he couldn’t help but feel a touch of pity for seeing the jeweller in such a sorry state as the week went on. He was almost glad when Jeanne lived up to her promise of a shopping spree, that it might cheer Quinn up at all.

More out of habit than anything else, Marcus would tend to disappear into the crowds and explore the market district at his leisure, though he made sure not to stray too far away from the others. He spent more time browsing than actually buying anything, unaccustomed as he was to making frivolous purchases. Some street food from a vendor was all that was necessary to sate his needs.

Making his way back to the group, he could have sworn he saw movement out of the corner of his eye, up on the rooftops. Before he could think too much about it, he abruptly shielded his eyes as a blinding flash assaulted his vision, accompanied by a bang that left his ears ringing. Acting on instinct, he turned and ran as a cloud of smoke billowed from where the flashbang went off, only to stop after several metres. Where was Jeanne? And for that matter, where were Quinn and Marcel? If nothing else, he certainly couldn’t leave Jeanne behind.

Seconds later, he heard Quinn’s voice cry out, heralding the very thing he had been dreading ever since he and Jeanne had stolen those documents. Te’i Sai. He was still recovering from the shock of the blast, but Marcus definitely couldn’t leave them behind now. And so he ran in the opposite direction of the crowds, doing his best to remain unseen by Te’i Sai’s henchmen...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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As Te'i Sai observed the commotion and kept an eagle eye on the crowds, Master Ven observed on of their prey attempting to flee the scene. Running in the opposite direction as the crowds made him stand out, so spotting him was child's play. If he'd run with the crowds, he'd have had a better chance of escape. But now that was impossible.

Master Ven simply gave a nod of his head towards the fleeing mouse, and one of the others leaped out of formation for the briefest instant and, in the blink of an eye, was in front of Marcus backing his path.

He wasn't going anywhere.

The others adjusted their formation to account for the loss of the fourth, taking up a tighter triangle formation as the smoke began clearing completely. The two left in the middle, the jester and the swordsman, would be able to see again any second now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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Jeanne saw no need to say it out loud, but she was rather astonished at her success on swaying Quinn into their trip. Marcel’s persuasiveness was a great help, without a doubt. The jester had to bury her wide-eyed, pink-tinted, and exceedingly warm face in her hands as Marcel flirted her way again. Darling, you really are too much! Jeanne thought to herself, the grin on her face so wide, she could feel her cheeks hurting slightly.

Out of habit, the jester made sure to always keep an eye on her partner, the two of them always aware of where the other was even without eye contact or words. She remained close by to Quinn, and whenever the blonde showed an interest in an item that would actually put a dent in their budget, her green eyes twitched and a strained smile adorned her lips, only to give way to a sigh of relief once Quinn moved on to more modest purchases.

While Quinn wandered to a bookstore, Jeanne turned and minded her own business, bargaining with a street food vendor for some fried fish. The jester made sure to lean forward and wink, using her smile and well-framed cleavage to burn away his hesitance. Then, out of nowhere, it happened.

A quick flash, a sudden ignition, and Jeanne stumbled forward hard, managing to balance herself with her circus-trained reflexes at the last second while the merchant she was conversing with fell on his backside.

”Wh-wha?! An explosion… from where…?” Jeanne mumbled to herself, her eardrums still ringing from being especially close to the explosion. The jester tapped her temples with her palms in an effort to get the buzz out of her. But as she did so, her ears caught a click, click, click, followed by a hiss which summoned forth a thick puff of smoke.

Her thoughts instantly raced to the most dangerous possibility for this scenario. The Te’i Sai had finally found them. But it couldn’t be, could it? Surely, she was just being paranoid, she pondered. Marcel shouted something in the distance, but her still-recovering ears were unable to discern his words. This was nothing more than a bandit attack. An unusually well-equipped, flamboyantly public, bandit attack at broad daylight, in the continent’s safest city-

“TE’I SAI!” Quinn’s voice called out.

”Merde. Merde, merde, merde, merde!” Jeanne cursed into her hat, which she held over her nose and mouth while she crouched behind the street food vendor’s stall. The jester’s eyes darted around, and saw her own stall just a stone’s throw away. As the smoke was clearing, she crawled over, and picked open her own lockbox. ”Those insurance sharks better cover attacks by Te’i Sai operatives...”

She casted a quick glance to one side, then another, not seeing a trace of Marcus anywhere nearby. Normally, she would put good money on him having already figured out an escape route, but since this was the Te’i Sai…
”Marcus you jerk, you better be safe…,” Jeanne muttered while crouching and loading bolts into her crossbow. With a snap and a pop, three bolts snapped into the weapon’s groove, the wire ready to let them loose any time. The jester then slung the weapon over her back, grabbed a wind-up wooden horse the size of an orange, and cranked the lever on its back. I should be running, Jeanne chastised herself. "I should be running far, FAR away…". And yet… the jester decided to dash into the smoke, tossing aside the wooden horse, which jerkily marched off on its own, with a ticking noise following every step.

The smoke fully cleared, and Jeanne arrived to see a man with a dagger pressed far too close to Quinn’s jugular for comfort. Her beryl eyes shrunk as her boots screeched to a halt. She then peeked left and right, catching two more silhouettes atop the rooftops… and neither Marcus nor Marcel anywhere in their immediate vicinity.

The ends of Jeanne’s lips twitched as she forced a smile. ”Uh…. Lovely weather we have today, isn’t it? G-gents?” she remarked. This is so stupid, Jeanne! she silently chastised herself, a bead of sweat forming on her nervous forehead. I’m not only going to die, I’m going to die without dignity!

Her eyes shut tight and her lips expanded to show off her grinning set of perfect, white teeth. ”A-almost as lovely as yourself!” she declared, leaning forward to ‘admire’ the man. She batted her lashes his way, and made sure to stand in a spot perfect for the sunlight to frame all her curves and bring out her best features. ”Y-you know that women take to the whole… tall, dark, and handsome image really well, yes?” she continued, her fists clenched behind her back to make sure that she wouldn’t break down from the fear running through her entire system. ”But we can’t appreciate such beauty if we’re dead… ri-right, Quinn?” she suddenly blurted out, turning the blonde’s way with a grinning face and round, green, pleading eyes which were an inch away from tears.

Over Quinn’s shoulder, Jeanne saw her wooden horse emerging from the alleyway, making the tiniest hint of a creak with every movement. Her eyes to Quinn and shouted, “QUINNSHUTYOUREYES!” , before turning away.

Jeanne’s wooden horse took one more step, then stopped immediately. Tick. Tick-

FLASH!

A blinding light erupted as the wooden horse shattered into a thousand pieces, the glow bright enough to overwhelm the immediate area. The jester dashed towards Quinn, and immediately took her by the wrist, bolting deeper into the alleyway.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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When Marcel heard Quinn's warning cry, he felt no chill that froze him in place. Instead, his blood was set on fire. His golden eyes shone with a flickering orange glow as his head whipped around to the place he'd heard her voice, the grip on his blade tightening. The Te'i Sai were here and Quinn would not have screamed out their presence if they were not here to collect his or... perhaps their other companion's heads. There were several things he'd done that someone would call the Te'i Sai down on him for, but at that moment, his mind was blank of examples. All that was going through his mind was how he could fight a Te'i Sai agent and win.

The Te'i Sai were assassins, masters of shadow. Lost in this smoke, he was at their mercy. They could strike him down without letting themselves be known. There were reasons assassins struck from the shadows - they were cowards, killing those who generally had no means to defend themselves, striking warriors down in their sleep rather than take them in a duel. However, if the rumors were true, and this attack was any proof, the Te'i Sai weren't the usual breed of gutless opponents that Marcel had dealt with before. The Red-Eyed Demon was said to have come from their ranks, after all. While that fact would usually deter any reasonable minded person, Marcel did not possess such a mind.

The smoke cleared before he'd made it to Quinn, but he made out Jeanne, ten feet ahead with her back turned to him. Marcus was off to the side, blocked by one of the Te'i Sai. He counted no civilians and four Te'i Sai, possibly more on the rooftops, one of them in possession of a very unimpressed looking Quinn. His teeth clenched as he began storming forward, with an incredible show of self-control as he held himself back from sprinting up and taking a swing at the captor's head. Despite Quinn's bored expression, he noticed her trembling.

Quinn was in fact more irritated than afraid, as she usually responded towards most things that could kill her. While waiting for the cloud to clear with the Te'i Sai, she had wriggled slightly to try and get more comfortable but was squeezed and sliced in response. She attempted complete stillness after that, but by the Gods it was hard with her involuntary shaking. She had been in this situation once before, four years back now, and her escape was less than appropriate for any lady and she would've preferred to never do it again. Something told her that such a tactic wouldn't work on the Te'i Sai, anyway.

When the smoke was gone, she was hoping for it to reveal nothing. Instead, she was confronted with... Jeanne. Her shoulders sagged in the Te'i Sai's grip and she let out a defeated sigh as the jester struck up casual conversation with the assassins that held Quinn's fragile life in their hands. When Jeanne began trying her luck at flirting, she stared dully at her and raised an eyebrow, an expression resembling a disappointed mother. She could see Marcel take his stance behind Jeanne, staying his blade for now and scanning the rooftops. Even Marcus was still trapped in here. She felt her annoyance and fear give way to seething anger. These idiots were supposed to make a run for it! That was the entire point of her warning!

"But we can’t appreciate such beauty if we’re dead… ri-right, Quinn?”

Quinn returned Jeanne's tear-brimmed, pleading gaze with a death stare.

"Jeanne..." Marcel said, stepping to her side, "Get back."

And then, to everybody's shock, Jeanne did something amazing.

Quinn hadn't noticed the creaking of the horse, but at Jeanne's command she squeezed her eyes shut. There were two ticks and then her vision flooded with red as the light pierced her eyelids. She took action immediately, the moment her vision went red, jabbing the tip of her (sheathed) umbrella into the Te'i Sai agent's rock solid belly. The assassin's grip loosened, and in that slight moment Jeanne's grip on Quinn tore her from her captor. The blade that had Quinn fixed in place had lifted from her throat, but as she was yanked aside by Jeanne, she was pulled through its sharp edge. There was a strangled gasp of pain as Quinn felt cool metal slice through her dress by the base of her neck, against her collarbone. She clamped a hand over the wound as Jeanne led her down an alleyway.

"You were supposed to run without me," she grunted as they ran, then snatched her wrist from her savior's grasp, "But thank you."

She shoved her pink umbrella into the hand that had held her wrist then hitched her skirts to snatch her pistols from their holsters. She spun them once around her fingers, muttering, "I'm sure Cre'Est's 'Gods' will have mercy, given the circumstances," before tilting her head back and looking at the sky, aiming both of her pistols up at the rooftops, "They have the jump on us here! We have to get somewhere crowded!" She snapped at Jeanne as she ran behind her, watching her back and the rooftops. Marcel was not following and she couldn't see Marcus, yet. Please let his physique not be just for show, Quinn stressed internally, then another thought crossed her mind, And please let Marcel not do anything stupid. Shuddering, she turned her thoughts from the men's situation and refocused her mind on the escape mission at hand. Thick blood dripped from the cuts on her neck and chest, leaving an unintentional trail for them to follow... or the Te'i Sai.

Marcel had also followed Jeanne's advice, shutting his eyes and lifting an arm to cover his eyelids and block out the brilliant flash. He could feel himself smiling as he heard Quinn be escorted away. He had to admit, Jeanne's trick worked better than what he had in mind. She was full of surprises, that one. He felt reassured leaving Quinn in her care for now. With Jeanne's resourcefulness and Quinn's ruthlessness, he had faith that they'd make it out. The Te'i Sai had split to chase after the runners, but Marcel had not taken advantage of the flash to also make a run for it. No, that would have been what someone with a reasonable mind would have done.

"You," he said, pointing Shiver at the Te'i Sai he had a personal bone to pick with - the one who had held Quinn, "I've been waiting to fight one of you." His golden eyes held the glimmer of a man whose childhood dream had been re-realized, if that dream were to take your head. The tactics and clashing of steel that had been running through his mind since he'd first heard Quinn's warning shout were flashing on the battlefield before him. "After all my years on the road, I haven't seen anything like what I've heard you can do."

His stature changed as he took up the stance of a Shaharan knight, focusing himself and omitting anything deemed a distraction. He took in a breath, foot scraping the imaginary sands on the cobblestone, then grinned.

"Duel with me!"

The mercenary shouted at the enemy and charged.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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As the operative held Quinn to his chest via his dagger, he observed Jeanne's approach warily. And as she began trying to smooth talk her way out of things, he rolled his eyes slightly at her advances. But none of them expected a wind-up toy to contain a flash explosion. When it went off, their eyes were assaulted by the light causing the one holding Quinn to flinch back which released his grip allowing Jeanne to help drag Quinn to a safer place as they recovered.

"Damn that jester!" The one holding Quinn exclaimed.

"Shake it off!" Master Ven ordered.

The group did indeed shake it off after about two seconds. They'd dealt with enough such blasts from not only training with each other, but by fighting Roda Ah K'mht as well.

Still, it was enough time for the others to start getting away.

"Master Ven, do we pursue?" One of them asked.

"Hold..." Master Ven said, noticing Marcel approaching.

"You... I've been waiting to fight one of you." Marcel began.

"After all my years on the road, I haven't seen anything like what I've heard you can do." He proclaimed, drawing his blade.

"Duel with me!" Marcel demanded.

Master Ven scoffed slightly as Marcel began his charge.

By the time Marcel reached Master Ven and thrust forward with his blade, the blade suddenly stopped dead in its tracks. When Marcel glanced down, he noticed that Master Ven had grabbed Shiver by the blade and had clamped down so much that his grip was crushing the metal. Try as he might, Marcel could not free Shiver from Master Ven's grip. And all the while, Master Ven hadn't even budged. His arm had remained perfectly motionless despite Marcel's struggling. A clear indicator of the difference of strength.

"A duel can only be carried out between two worthy opponents..." Ven said in a cold, low voice.

Ven then pulled Marcel in a bit closer.

"You are not worth calling an 'opponent.'" Master Ven snarled.

With a squeeze, he shattered Shiver's blade and tossed the bits of broken metal in his hand to the ground as Marcel stumbled back. And faster than Marcel could even blink, a sharp pain spread throughout his chest.

When Marcel's eyes caught up to the world, he looked down and saw Master Ven had jammed his right index finger through his flesh just at the clavicle. Ven had avoided striking his arteries, but nevertheless the pain of having flesh and muscle pierced like this by a blunt object like a human finger was intense. That, and Marcel could feel Ven's finger had brushed against his collar bone upon entry and was pushing against it further adding to the stinging sensation and discomfort.

Marcel looked up as Ven leaned in a bit closer.

"Pray, little mouse. Pray to whatever Gods you believe in." He said in a calm voice.

Ven then removed his finger from Marcel’s chest, giving Marcel what was for Ven a light shove which sent Marcel sprawling back onto the ground.

Master Ven then turned his back on Marcel and crossed his arms, looking at Marcel over his shoulder.

”You and Lady Duzelle are not our intended targets, little mouse. And yes. To answer the unspoken question running through your head, we know very well who she is.” He said.

He turned his head so he was now facing completely away from Marcel, but speaking more than loudly enough for him to hear what he had to say.

"I'll give you one chance to keep your head. Go now, and catch up to the others. When you do, be prepared to hand the jester and her companion over to us. Do that, and I will spare you and Lady Duzelle the deaths you both deserve."

The other Assassins all gathered beside Ven, facing Marcel and glaring him down as they all removed their hoods so he could see their faces.

It was no secret that an assassin showing you his or her face had one of two possible meanings. One was a gesture of respect, usually reserved for any whom they deemed worthy rivals in the business. Two was a threat of death.

In Marcel’s case, it would clearly be the latter. Showing him their faces was their way of promising death to him if he did not comply with Master Ven’s offer.

The choice was his…

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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Perhaps it was overconfidence on the part of the Te’i Sai assassin who suddenly appeared before Marcus’ eyes - much to the latter’s surprise - but he had perhaps failed to realise that the thief was running full pelt and unable to stop in time. The ensuing collision brought both of them to the cobbled ground. Marcus hurriedly scrambled to his feet, only to be stopped short when the assassin grabbed his ankle. The thief retaliated by bringing his other boot swiftly into his attacker’s face with the kind of strength born of sheer desperation. Even so, it took several kicks before he was released, and Marcus could have sworn that he broke the masked man’s nose in the process.

Mere seconds afterwards, he found himself almost dazzled by yet another flash of light, though thankfully no accompanying bang this time. Having raised an arm to shield his eyes, his vision was still good enough to make out Jeanne and Quinn coming his way before darting into an alleyway. With no desire to remain out in the open himself, he followed suit.

As Quinn yanked her own hand off of Jeanne, the jester transitioned into a full blown sprint. Her elbows bent and her arms swung with fervor matched only by her feet. ”I-I couldn’t just leave you with them! Especially since it’s my fault that-” Jeanne’s heart skipped a beat, and she swallowed a lump in her throat as she hastened her steps just a slight bit further ahead of the blonde noble. ”Ehhhh, n-n-nevermind!. She tossed a glance her way, and noticed the blood oozing from her collar wound. The tip of Jeanne’s hat tails bounced as she let out a squeaky, high-pitched gasp. ”Qu-Quinn! You’re hurt!” she hissed in a whisper, her squirrel-like eyes trembling with concern…. Or fear. ”By Soroshii’s nipples, I am so sorry!”

“We have to get somewhere crowded!” Quinn suggested. Jeanne’s mind raced with a plan to consider that notion. The map of Cre’Est’s trade and residential districts had been well-implanted within her mind, a necessary bit of knowledge in case her and Marcus needed to flee Cre’Estian guards… or Te’i Sai assassins, but... ”I wonder if that would actually stop them!” Jeanne protested. ”Didn’t you see what they did to the crowd before? They may be assassins, but they have no poise, no subtlety, no grace! Non bien!” Jeanne stopped herself, glancing around as her face went pale. ”....Ohhh, I hope they didn’t hear that... w-why do I always run my mouth when I panic?!”

Just then, the two women came upon an intersection, and from ahead on their right, Jeanne’s trained ears caught the sound of footsteps. Lightweight and swift, trained to move with both speed and discretion. The assassins? Jeanne wordlessly pondered. Just in case, she reached for a silver-handled stiletto sheathed above her rear. Or…

”Marcus!” she cried out as she tackled her azure-clad partner, her eyes trembling again with emotion, while her lips curled and her brows furrowed. ”Ohh, you jerk! I was so worried!” the jester stood on her toes, so that she could wrap her dainty arms around the taller thief’s upper torso more easily, and in the process, press her appreciable bosom against his chest. Soft to the touch, yet firm in consistency. As uncomfortable as he looked, Marcus nevertheless gave Jeanne a reassuring pat on her capped head.

Having not forgotten the dangers of their current situation, the jester released her partner from her hug, then continued their run. She casted a quick glance to Quinn, then back to Marcus. ”Did you see Marcel anywhere?” she inquired, the puppyish look in her eyes contrasting her otherwise grim frown. ”A-and do you have anything up your sleeve? I think they’d have gotten wise to flashbangs by now...” Having seen Quinn brandish her pistol, Jeanne retrieved her own crossbow, and held it close to her hip.

“I haven’t seen him since the marketplace. I thought he was with you and Quinn,” the thief replied once he had got his breath back. He looked over to Quinn and back to Jeanne as they drew their respective weapons, reminding him of how little he had in comparison, but no less useful. “I didn’t think we’d get jumped in broad daylight like this, but I’ve got a few sleep darts, and of course this…” From within his cloak, he drew a dagger. “It’s not much, but then we’re probably better off running anyway. But where to?”

Jeanne let out a long sigh, and continued running slightly ahead of her two allies. ”Ohhh, we are so dead…” Despite her earlier protest to Quinn’s suggestion, the jester led Marcus and Quinn back into the residential district, gripping her crossbow tight all the way through.

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Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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Te'i Sai's assassins, under Ven's command, regrouped after losing their marks following the flash bang.

"Master Ven... what should we do?" One of them asked.

"Regroup on me, at once!" Ven ordered.

All three of them gathered around Ven, including the one who'd tried to keep a hold on Marcus before getting kicked in the face repeatedly forcing him to let go.

"Is everyone all right?" Ven asked.

"That little thief managed to hit a nerve when he kicked me. I couldn't stop the reaction and let go of him. My apologies Master Ven." He admitted.

Marcus's kicks had indeed hit a nerve, literally. The man's nose was perfectly in tact, but the edge of Marcus's boot had struck his philtrum which sent a nerve shockwave through his brain causing him to momentarily lapse in consciousness. A flicker of the lights, if you will.

"It's fine. That thief will get what he deserves." Ven replied.

"We're okay, Master Ven." The others affirmed.

"Good, then it's time to resume the hunt." He said.

"To the rooftops. If you spot them, stay out of sight and alert the rest of us with a flash of your blade. Understood?"

"Understood!" They all said in unison.

With that, the four of them began to head off to the rooftops. Ven was first, making it up to the rooftops on a single leap followed quickly by the others... Save one.

Before the last of them had made it up, he had been distracted by something and hung back to identify what it was.

With Master Ven and two others in hot pursuit, the others had to move fast if they were to make it out alive.

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Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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Marcel was beaten, pierced by not a weapon drawn, but by a single finger. He had been shoved to the ground before he had even hurdled over his disbelief, falling onto his back in painful shock. He twisted his head to look at Shiver in a panic, only to see her hilt and a short, jagged glimmer of her blade. His thumb ran over the worn leather binding, imprinted by his hands after almost a decade of being wielded. The squeezing in his chest was much more painful than the digit-sized hole.

"Ha," he said weakly.

"You and Lady Duzelle are not our intended targets, little mouse. And yes. To answer the unspoken question running through your head, we know very well who she is.”

Marcel struggled to his knee as he listened to the assassin, his mouth turning dry and sweat beginning to prick his forehead as they brought up Quinn. That the Te'i Sai would deem Quinn's identity worth knowing was unsettling news. The implications that they had been watching her chilled Marcel's blood. If she knew...

"I'll give you one chance to keep your head. Go now, and catch up to the others. When you do, be prepared to hand the jester and her companion over to us. Do that, and I will spare you and Lady Duzelle the deaths you both deserve."

As the assassins gathered and began removing their masks, Marcel slowly came to his feet, eyeing them warily. He would have to be delusional to think this was a show of respect. What a joke. The opponents he had thought would finally give him a challenge outclassed him by lengths that should have been impossible. He scanned each of their faces, meeting every pair of souless eyes fixed on him. His death was reflected in each one. His teeth clenched as he nodded, walking towards the alley they blocked. They parted for him as he made his way through, while he kept his gaze fixed straight ahead. Shiver's hilt clattered to the ground before Marcel took off sprinting, following the trail of Quinn's blood. Soon, he heard the assassins of Te'i Sai on the rooftops, making their own pursuit and keeping a watchful eye over his.




Especially since it’s my fault that-

Especially since it’s my fault that-

Especially since it’s my fault that-

The sound of light footsteps from her right had Quinn twirling in a flurry and aiming one of her pistols at the pursuer. A sharp gasp slipped from her lips as she whipped her arm up into the air, finger squeezed on the trigger and pistol aimed at the sky. Her lowering arm trembled as she backed away from Jeanne's and Marcus's joyous reunion. Gods, she nearly shot him. She simply gave Marcus a nod, trying to still her heart.

"We don't have time for this," she hissed, to which Jeanne responded by releasing Marcus and sprinting ahead. Quinn refocused her pistols at the rooftops, running alongside Marcus in her small heels. She listened to Jeanne and Marcus in silence as she looked out for pursuers, while her adrenaline-pumped brain picked apart every word they said for answers.

"Call them."

She had. She had cried out to her companions as the assassin had asked and her usefulness was revoked the moment she did. The stinging cut on her neck was a sign that she should have been dead - if they wanted her to be. The thought that Marcel wasn't there because he was their target had come to mind, but she didn't accept that. Not since -

Especially since it’s my fault that-

They were running through the residential area, people gathering and watching them sprint by, when Quinn slowed her pace to fall behind Marcus.

"You knew they were after you," she breathed, her words barely heard over her panting. The image of Jeanne playing with the kids while she watched the shadows during the trip on Chancey's caravan flickered in her mind. Every figure she thought she saw move while the family slept - no. No, no, no. The sharp points of the pearl lily in her pocket had scratched through the fabric while she ran and was digging into her thigh. There was a very simple way to fix this mess for her, one that she had enacted countless times before. With a deep breath, Quinn lowered her guns from the rooftops and trained them on her companion's backs.

In the second it took for Quinn to pull her triggers, she remembered something. Small, chubby hands clasping over a pretty glass bottle. A pat on her golden head. And a command, a simple two word command, "Use this." Just two words and a delivery not unlike the assassin's while he held her at knifepoint, "Call -"

Bang!

Two gunshots fired simultaneously. Quinn stopped in her tracks, the barrels of her pistols smoking and lowered by her sides. Birds flocked from the rooftops in a panicked flurry. She looked at Jeanne and Marcus, a twisted mixture of shock, fear and the painful knowledge that she had fucked up displayed on her face. Two smoking holes were on either side of her, blood dripping from her calves from where shards of stone from the blast had been embedded. There wasn't much time before the Te'i Sai closed in on the sound of the gunshots and Quinn didn't want to be near Jeanne and Marcus unless she was standing over their corpses, which... wasn't an option, apparently. She twisted her head around, saw a splatter of blood on the cobblestone dropped from her wound, and made up her mind.

"Go," she blurted urgently, putting her warm guns back into their holsters and moving to snatch her umbrella back from Jeanne. Her words that followed were quick and as drained of emotion as she could force, "Leave this city and don't you dare give me a hint where you're going. I don't want any information that they can take from me. Don't try to find me and never so much as utter my name again." She pointed her umbrella to the sky, "They will hear it."

She turned from them, yanking off one of her gloves with her mouth and throwing it to the ground. Gritting her teeth, she gouged at the wound near her neck with her bare hand, foiling its attempts to clot. Blood dripped to the ground as she leaned over and she let out a small yelp of pain before she drew her bloody hand away. Wihtout looking back, she sprinted away from the duo and off into a side road, smearing her blood against the wall of a building. She had been told once that the Te'i Sai could smell blood, that an open wound might as well be a death sentence. They tracked their victims like animals on the hunt. Quinn didn't entirely believe in such tales, but she did know she had been leaving that blood trail the entire time she'd been running. It was time to use it to her benefit.

She flicked bloodied fingers at the ground and left red prints on the walls. Quinn fought against dizziness as she sprinted off deeper into the maze of metropolis, losing her way and occasionally, her footing. Once she was satisfied with her trail she collapsed to the ground and waited.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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As Ven and the two others on the rooftops with him leaped from rooftop to rooftop, they kept in visual contact with one another at all times. It was common practice that they maintain a visual on one another while on a hunt, as losing visual contact could mean life or death if the operatives weren't careful. They may have been empowered, but they weren't invincible.

And when the gunshots went off, Ven threw a hand up to halt everyone in their tracks. Another gesture, a flick of the wrist, and they all grouped together once more.

"Everyone knows what-... Where's Negriis?" Master Ven asked.

The others checked behind them to see if he was perhaps trailing, but he wasn't.

"I don't know Master Ven. The last I saw he was heading up the walls behind me. I thought perhaps his leg injury was acting up again and he was just straggling." Said one.

"... Hmm... He will turn up." Ven said.

"Regardless, we all heard the gunshots so you know what to do. It's time to enter true stealth. They don't see you coming, ever. No noise. No reveals. Nothing."

"Master, what about the woman I was holing earlier? Her throat is cut and I can smell her blood in the air... She's moving."

"Yes... I smell it too. A clever diversion from Lady Duzelle to spare her comrades no doubt. But she realizes not that she is not our target I'd wager."

He took a moment to smell the air.

"We cannot be certain of anything, however. Tread cautiously. It's time to enter our true stealth hunting mode to find these mice. They don't see you, hear you, smell you, or feel your eyes upon them. Remain out of sight, but keep them in your senses. When you're certain you have them dead to rights, capture them alive using your sleeping powder bombs and bring them back to me in the marketplace. I will handle the capture of Lady Duzelle myself." He said.

"What of the swordsman we let go, sir?" Asked one.

"Find and bring him too. If he wants to protect Lady Duzelle, he can stand by her side as we execute their friends." Ven replied.

"Yes, sir." They all said as one.

The two who had been with him departed to pursue Jeanne and Marcus while Ven took off following the scent of blood from Quinn.

The true hunt had begun now that guns were involved. They couldn't be certain that crafty jester didn't have some on her as well somewhere, so they would be extra cautious not to reveal themselves to her or her companion. They would wait for their chance and put them to sleep from range with their sleeping powder bombs before taking them back to the marketplace.

They wouldn't risk this lot fighting back, as they'd already proven resourceful enough to get away once.

It would not happen a second time.

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Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller
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A chill ran up Jeanne’s spine as her ears picked up Quinn’s cold words.

“You knew they were after you.”

Her movement slowed with every step she took. Her heartbeat picked up in pace, thumping against her chest like the war drums of a pursuing army. ”Quinn, I…,” The thief girl racked her brain for a response, already feeling the blonde’s ice cold gaze without having to look. In that brief moment, her voice rose in pitch and lacked the distinctive accent she had been using before. Jeanne’s heart beat even faster than before, her pupils shrunk and quivered, her lips parted, but she could find no words to impart. No sweet talks, no lies, no excuses. The thief girl shut her eyes tight, as the sound of thunder rang through the alleyway.

A few seconds passed. Jeanne expected to hear a thud. Or two. But when she opened her eyes, she saw Quinn standing ahead, bloody and disheveled, while her and Marcus remained unharmed. Jeanne could feel another lump on her throat, and a wet sensation welling on her eyes. That face. Jeanne couldn’t take her eyes off it.There was no red-hot rage, or tearful despair, only a… hollow, lifeless look which drained all heat from Jeanne’s core. After a moment too long, the jester managed to utter a meaningless word in response. ”Quinn…”

That tingle of guilt resurfaced within her, piercing at her chest like a needle, as she turned her back upon the blonde, hung her head, then dashed away with Marcus on their separate ways. A long moment of silence ensued as the two thieves hopped over barrel shards, slid under broken archways, and slipped across alley walls like rats within a maze.

The luster within Jeanne’s jewel-like eyes faded, as she stared, unfocused, upon the brick street. Every footstep they made felt deafening within the silence. She turned her head the slightest bit to Marcus, unable, or unwilling, to even meet his eyes. ”So… Pardenaire, what now?” Her companion merely stared ahead, his face appearing paler than it usually was, and his typically stoic gaze had softened.

“...We need to get back to the Rose and Curd,” he replied. “We need to get those documents, and get the hell out of here like… like Quinn said. After that, well… we’ll figure something out.” Marcus briefly wondered if retrieving their esoteric loot would even be worth it, but then again Te’i Sai would likely keep hounding them anyway. Jeanne gave a slow nod, and remained silent as they made their way to the tavern.

”There goes my plans for the pretty dresses and perfumes…,” Jeanne remarked with a bitter smile, as the two tossed their belongings into their backpacks. Pots, pans, a ledger, various mechanical gizmos and whirring knick-knacks which Jeanne tinkered with in her spare time. Meanwhile, Marcus found the papers which got them into this mess in the first place, hidden within the 108th page of their ledger. The amber glow of the oil lamps and the hearty cheers of drunken Cre’Estians partying below could not soothe the two thieves’ fearstruck hearts, like it had for several nights before. Try as they might, they could not ward away the thoughts of Quinn and Marcel’s potential fate. Would the assassins give them a quick death, at least? Or will they torture them first? Or worse, in Quinn’s case?

The jester let out a long sigh. ”We’ll need to go down. Deep below,” she said, in a voice once again lacking her usual accent or marginally deeper pitch. ”Back to the Cre’Est underground. There’s bound to be tunnels there that smugglers use to ship off their ill-gotten goods. And then…”

“Pray we’ll make it out in one piece?”

Jeanne scoffed, then hoisted the backpack upwards as she stood, before looking over her shoulder towards her partner with a smirk. ”Never took you for the praying sort.”

Marcus shrugged, though he couldn’t help but return the smile. “Figure that now’s as good a time as any to start.”

And so, the duo dashed back out, into the shaded alleys of Cre’Est, to find a light of hope amidst the encroaching darkness...

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Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle
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After dismissing the others to search for their prey, Ven used the scent of Lady Duzelle's blood to track her down. It was fresh and strong, and given how thick the scent was he knew right away that she had forced her wound to remain open so she could leave the trail for them to follow. A rather noble gesture. But she was a noblewoman, so he supposed it was to be expected.

When the scent grew stronger, he knew he was getting close. And finally the scent hit that point where his instincts told him to stop. He carefully leaned towards, but not over, the edge of the roof. Sure enough, he could hear her breathing down below.

Rather than jump down in front of her, he backed up and climbed down the opposite side of the building. As he descended, he was very careful to make no noise as his feet touched the ground. He walked to the corner and listened.

*Pit*

*Pat*

*Pit*

*Pat*

The blood droplets are thick... She has lost more than she may have intended. He thought.

He could hear her breathing as well. She was in shape, but the run from him and his companions was still tiring for her. As well there was a shuffling on the ground indicative of her being in a seated position.

She had essentially given up the chase and now wanted to be found, so Ven decided to oblige her.

He walked around the corner, and as he did so he stepped loudly enough for her to hear and turn around to face him.

"Lady Duzelle, I am Master Ven of Te'i Sai." He said, coming to a stop around three paces away.

"We know very well who you are, but you are not our target. The jester and her companion stole something from us, and we want it back. But in order to convince them without unnecessary bloodshed, we would like you and your companion to do the talking. Just tell them to return the documents they stole. If you do so willingly, no harm will come to you." He said, stepping closer and extending his hand.

"We may be assassins, but we're not the monsters many people think we are. Those who have caused chaos and mayhem in our name have done so to smear our reputation. Killing innocents is against our creed, and both you and your companion fall into that category in this incident. If you comply and come with me willingly, you and your companion will be spared and I will treat your wounds myself. If you do not, we will be forced to consider you accomplices to this theft of our property, and our protection of innocent lives will no longer apply to you." He warned calmly.

Assassin's Pledge: Devastation: Out Of Character (OOC)

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