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Red-Eyed Demon

My name is "Kyero"

424 views · last seen in Cre' Est
a character in “Assassin's Pledge: Devastation”, as played by KumoriRyuu

Description



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Description: The Red-Eyed Demon is a fearsome physical specimen who's musculature remains lean and toned to a degree most men his age could only dream of. His raven black hair waves about in strands roughly 3"-4" long and hang just over his glowing crimson eyes. Speaking of... His eyes are constantly aglow with an ominous red light which is brought about by the presence of the Demon's spirit within him. His eyes are sharp, stern, and filled with emotion which his face usually fails to convey. He wears no emotion which is otherwise a shame due to the fact that he is rather handsome with smooth, clear skin and no blemishes or scars despite the nature of his work as an assassin. He carries himself with pride and walks with great purpose in his step. You will never see him slouch or slump no matter how exhausted he is.

Age: 25
Sex: Male
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 210 lbs
Voice Type: Baritone
Body Type: Mesomorph

Theme: Red-Eyed Demon's Theme

Weapons and Equipment:

* The Twins - Two 14" blade daggers which are made of orichalcum, the strongest metal on Earth. The blades are unbreakable by conventional means, and only other orichalcum weapons can so much as scratch them.

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* Throwing Darts/Daggers - He keeps a healthy supply of both on hand for long-range encounters. His precision with them is unparalleled, being able to hit a target with pinpoint accuracy from a distance of up to 100m away.

* Wire - He carries a strand of wire approximately 20' long wrapped in a small, tight circle in one of the pouches on his belt. This wire can be used for many things included trip lines, snare traps, nooses, etc.

* Poisons - He has numerous small bottles of poisons and lethal concoctions which he can use to coat his weapons or slip into his enemy's drinks before they know he was ever there. These poisons also can paralyze or distract his enemies.

* Smoke Bombs - He carries a handful of smoke bombs on his person at all times for obvious reasons.

Personality: Kyero, beneath the negative influence of the Demon within him, is a sweet, compassionate, curious, protective, determined, and unshakably loyal individual who would sooner die than allow his beliefs, or those of people he's close to, be threatened or put down. He's surprisingly easy to talk to, and easy to get along with so long as Roda I'l Lousta is not a factor. But during Roda I'l Lousta, his personality changes greatly due to how powerful the Demon's Call is within his subconscious. But if you can get past RIL, you will find yourself a friend and ally who will stand by your side until death takes him from you (because he won't let death take you from him).

Biography: The Red-Eyed Demon's history remains a mystery to all who know him. What little information has been shared is that he was born to a mother who was part of a strange cult which worshipped the Demonic forces of the Nether Realm. They performed a ritual the night of his birth to summon a Demon using his body as a vessel, but the ritual was interrupted by the Grandmaster of Te'i Sai who took the boy in as his own and made him the centerpiece of Te'i Sai's forces. The Demon's presence modified the boy's body causing his eyes to glow with red light as well as greatly enhancing all of his physical abilities and his senses. It even gave him a sixth sense which no other human possesses, but nobody quite knows what that sixth sense is. He rebelled against Te'i Sai in the year 574 and has been working to destroy the remains of the organization for the past three years. On top of that he is now fighting back Roda Ah K'mht, sometimes forming uneasy alliances with Te'i Sai when it's necessary.

So begins...

Red-Eyed Demon's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Laura Bolverk Character Portrait: Miranda Wavecrest
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Footnotes

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Date: August 1, 577

Location: Capital City, Cre' Est




It was a cold Fall morning on the outskirts of the Capital City of Cre' Est. The sun had yet to rise above the horizon line and remained hidden behind a veil of dense clouds darkening the skies as a chilly wind caressed the land. Grass in the plains beyond the city waved too and fro gently in the breeze while the trees stretched and groaned as the bark in their branches bent and reached for the sun beyond the clouds.

Within the city all was quiet. Few creatures save a handful of alley rats and the alley cats which stalked them stirred in the darkness. A single raven perched atop a sign in the Market Place and cawed at the rooftops as a tiny cloud of dust could be seen at its edge. But what had caused it?

The whispers on the wind held the answer as the avian creature detected the sounds of distant screams echoing through the city. It was so commonplace now that most slept straight through them and were none the wiser that any tragedies or mysterious deaths had occurred until the following day when it was announced by the city criers and couriers. The bird leapt into the air and flew along the rooftops before landing on the edge of a roof overlooking a gruesome scene.

Beneath the black bird within the alleyway between buildings lay a woman with half her clothing missing and blood trickling down her face, chest, and stomach. She'd been assaulted and stabbed four times by the perpetrator of this incident, left for dead to bleed out here in the streets with nobody to come to her rescue. Tears of pain and fear screamed down the sides of her face as she lay on her back in the road situated in a gathering pool of her own blood. Her cries and sobs of pain a mere whisper.

And just then a heavy *THUD* echoed through the alley. Her eyes darted to the side to the source of the sound and she beheld a mysterious figure cloaked in all black clothing with hair as black as the bird's feathers who had just descended into the alley from the rooftops. As his head came up two glowing red eyes emerged from beneath his bangs which triggered an instant response from the woman who began screaming for what little worth was left in her lungs. She tried to force herself up to flee, but she could not. Her stomach muscles were too badly damaged from the stab wounds to allow her to stand up or even flip over successfully onto her stomach. She lay now on her side in agonizing pain and filled with fear of certain death now rapidly approaching her.

The Demon stepped beside her and knelt down to analyze her body before making her lay once again on her back. She could only continue to cry at this point as she began to accept that death was now inevitable.

The Demon's eyes searched her own for a brief moment before glancing to her wounds. After analyzing each one he reached for his belt which held several pouches, and from one of them he brought out a small vial of clear green liquid. Without speaking he applied it to her wounds one at a time and used his thumb and index finger to clamp her skin shut after applying it. The liquid burned, and his grip stung even more causing her to yell in pain each time. But when it was over and he threw the vial away she looked to her stomach to find her wounds had closed. The lines where the blade entered were still clear, but the skin was now securely sealed shut preventing further external blood loss.

The Demon then forced her to drink a small bottle of clear liquid which tasted horrible, but immediately had a calming and relieving effect on her. The pain began subsiding and she could feel her body relaxing against the tension it previously held in a death grip. The Demon picked her up and carried her a ways before setting her down in front of the local church doors. It was a good location for her. The Priest would be there any minute along with at least one or two of the nuns who assisted him. They would get her to a doctor post haste, and with any luck she would live to see tomorrow.

She turned her head to look at the Demon, but he was already gone. She lay there on the church steps alone and breathing deeply against the cold weather as she waited for the priest to arrive and help her to the doctor's clinic which was not far away.

... But why would he save her? That's not what the Demon was known for...

A few moments later the Demon was once again on the rooftops gazing at the horizon and listening to the sounds of the city. And as he closed his eyes to listen a faint sound caught his attention just off to his right side. But he knew the sound well. It was the soft touch of a footstep of someone he knew very well. A woman with dark brown, nearly black hair and an angelic face with the body of a Goddess. A woman far beyond the reach of most men, commoner or noble alike.

Her soft steps approached as she took up a place by his side.

"The night is quiet so far, isn't it?" She asked.

He nodded silently.

"I'm glad... It makes for a nice change of pace." She said softly.

"Perhaps, but that also means that we have made no progress." He calmly retorted.

She nodded.

"True... Still, I'm glad for a quieter night. We haven't had time to just enjoy the night air in quite a while. It means that tonight the Capital City breathes a little easier." She said quietly.

"The threat remains." He replied flatly.

"Yes. But it is weakening. The less we encounter problems, the more we know the threat is dwindling. Someday soon, I hope, we will be rid of them for good." She said as the sound of a "THWACK" caught their attention.

They both looked up to the Northwest.

"What is it?" She asked.

He closed his eyes and was silent for a moment, but then opened them again.

"Nothing we need concern ourselves with." He replied.

Together they walked the rooftops casually leaping the gaps between buildings as they strolled calmly across the Capital City's skyline. Morning was still on its way. And it was going to be a cloudy and dreary day for certain. Rain was a strong possibility as well... Soon they'd need to find a place to keep dry, but that was also when they became the most vulnerable to an attack if they were discovered.

It seemed that even for the Red-Eyed Demon, there was never a safe time to rest...



Date: August 2, 577

Location: Capital City, Cre' Est




Linde awoke in a shack on the edge of the city which she and the Red-Eyed Demon used to escape the morning rains. The Demon had already left, presumably to prepare for the arrival of his mark who was fast approaching the city on a business trip.

She stretched out on the bed and cracked her neck as she sat upright to look out the window.

The rain was still falling... Lovely.

It wasn't that she minded the rain. It was that it made her tired for some reason. Maybe it was the dark clouds. Maybe it was the sound lulling her to a sleepy mood. Who knew?

She stood up and walked to the window before brushing a few strands of hair out of her face and wondered why it was that Te'i Sai and Roda Ah K'mht had suddenly grown so quiet. They hadn't encountered one from either organization for over five days which was outrageous. They usually encountered at least two of them per day. But none for five days?

Something was going on which she couldn't figure out... Just what were they up to?

...

A few hours later, around 10am or so, Linde was in the Market Place. It was raining, just as the Demon had predicted the night before thanks to the heavier moisture in the air. She had her umbrella with her to keep her dry as she meandered about and started chatting up with the locals, many of whom she knew personally as the owner of the Almna Apothecary and Clinic not far away in the Central District.

She wanted to see if anyone had heard any news or rumors about Te'i Sai or Roda Ah K'mht, so she casually slipped their names into conversation from time to time to see if anyone spoke up. Sadly nobody did, so she was back where she started. But she figured while she was here she may as well indulge and gather a few things. She had a tiny coin pouch on her waist with four Silver Pieces in it with which to buy a few items. She focused her attention first on the preservable foods stand who supplied not only the food, but flasks and air-tight containers with which to preserve them.

After purchasing a few items, she handed the merchant one Silver Piece, as it only cost a total of 30 Bronze Pieces to cover the expenses.

The merchant immediately scribbled down on special parchment called Grey Root Parchment which, despite its name, was a pale brown coloration. It was thick and easily rolled, but not easily folded. Upon the parchment he signed his name, provided the name of his or her customer, gave the date, and provided a "70 BP Credit" marking via a special stamp that all merchants were given with which to keep track of how much change their customers needed.

Merchants didn't carry extra coin to break a larger amount than was required for purchase, so the banks, with at least one major bank situated in each marketplace for convenience, would be present to do the exchange of change after purchases were made. All one had to do was bring the parchment to the bank with the appropriate signatures, date, and change to be collected and the bankers would take the parchment and compare the signature to a copy the merchants gave when they received their license to sell. Once the signature was verified, they'd verify the parchment by tearing a small section of the lower right corner off and burning it. If it burned with a black-blue hue on the parchment's top side (the signed side), it was real. If it burned any other color combination such as black-green or whatnot, it was a forgery.

Once the parchment was legitimized, the bankers would ask for the customer's identification which came in the form of a small badge with their name on it. The badges were crafted by very specific blacksmiths which made them impossible to duplicate. Whenever one wanted to be allowed to become a customer of a new city, they'd go to a registered blacksmith and ask for a name badge. It only took around twenty minutes to craft, so it wasn't a huge inconvenience on anyone. Once the name badge was identified and verified, the bankers would provide the proper amount of change listed in a coin pouch for the consumer to take with them.

All of this, despite the lengthy process on paper, takes roughly two to three minutes. Not at all bad given the state the world seemed to be in.

But the thing about banks... There was always a line.

Today was no different. Linde stood in line with her parchment in hand ready to exchange for the proper amount of Bronze Pieces she was owed. Her umbrella continued to protect her from the rain while others either did or did not have an umbrella to protect them. Those who did not had hooded jackets with water-resistant material or the tried to huddle as close to the person next to them who did have an umbrella as possible.

Another typical day in the market on a rainy morning.

... Meanwhile...

Deep in the heart of Cre' Est's underbelly a chase was now ongoing.

A man raced through the darkest alleyways of Cre' Est leading down into the slums and underground "housing" retrofitted from the sewer lines and tunnels beneath the city. Somewhere behind him was a certain Red-Eyed killing machine, and as he ran he didn't dare look back. He skidded, slipped, and sprinted through the labyrinthian structures hoping that by taking as many turns and loops he could confuse his would-be pursuer and escape to safety.

As he slipped through a few cracked walls hoping to further throw off his pursuer, he opened a small waist high door leading to a tunnel he had to crawl through. This tunnel was part of a particular sewage line leading through the city to the world beyond Cre' Est's massive walls. If he could just get free of this tunnel and outside, he was home free. The Demon would never catch him if he made it through the tunnel.

He crawled for all of his worth while trying to keep his breathing as quiet as possible so as not to send echos through the metallic pipe-like tunnel walls. He crawled for several hundred feet before taking a turn and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

That's it! Just a bit farther! He thought to himself.

As he continued crawling it seemed that this tunnel lasted forever. Another hundred feet and he was exhausted, and the light seemed no closer. But he persevered nonetheless... However...

Before he could reach the end of the tunnel which seemed another one hundred yards or so away, he heard a small "tick" sound echo through the tunnel. He stopped dead in his tracks. Another "tick" sound. He tried to pinpoint it, but no luck. Another "tick".

He looked behind him... Nothing.

He looked ahead towards the light... Nothing.

What was that ticking sound?

"Tick".

"Tick".

It was getting louder.

He started crawling again.

"Tick".

He crawled faster.

"Tick".

He started crawling at a frantic pace, but it seemed he only made it another ten or twenty feet before suddenly something broke through the metallic wall of the tunnel, grabbed him by the back of the neck, and pulled him out through the tunnel wall. The walls bent and broke upon impact causing him intense pain. And then before he could see what happened he was thrown across the ground and skidded to a halt before landing with his back against a wall.

His vision was blurred from the blow to the head he received on his way out of the tunnel. As his vision cleared he looked up and saw that it was none other than his pursuer. The Red-Eyed Demon.

His mouth went dry and his blood ran cold as the Demon crouched down in front of him to look him dead in the eye.

"Wh-wh... What do you want?" He asked nervously.

The Demon didn't answer.

The man started shaking in fear as the Demon inched a tiny bit closer.

".................. "I will see your virgin legs opened to my magnificence upon the morn."" The Demon quoted.

The man's eyes widened.

"Wh-wh-wh-where did you hear that!?" He demanded.

The Demon inched ever closer until their faces were only around six inches apart.

"From you." The Demon replied.

Suddenly there was a sharp sting of pain in the man's left arm causing him to shriek in pain. He looked down and saw the Demon had taken one of his famous fourteen inch bladed Orichalcum daggers and used it to slice open the flesh on the top of his forearm. Blood trickled down and the flesh began peeling back exposing muscle sinew and tendons which had, remarkably, remained perfectly untouched by the Demon's surprise assault.

The man's throat was struck by the Demon's fingers, paralyzing his vocal chords which prevented him from screaming any further.

"You have connections with Te'i Sai. Your brother, if I'm not mistaken, is a member. Using your connection to him you arranged for the girl to be separated from her family so you could steal her innocence for your own twisted pleasure... Normally I could care less, but since your brother is from Te'i Sai you have both earned my full attention... You and your brother will both die by my hand. But before you do..." The Demon left the statement open ended as he sliced the other forearm in the same exact way.

The man wanted to and tried to scream, but his paralyzed vocal chords wouldn't let him. Nobody would hear him scream until the Demon was finished with whatever it was he wanted to do.

"Your body can endure much more punishment than you might think... Let's see how many of these cuts I can make before you perish from blood loss or an overload of pain." He said ominously.

The muffled and choked screams of the Demon's hapless victim continued in the dark alleyways of Cre' Est just above the sewage line the man had been pulled from. There would be nobody to save him... Not that anyone would want to.

The Demon's current victim was a corrupted bureaucrat who had already caused problems for much of Cre' Est's population. His own dealings with thieves and assassin guilds (not including Te'i Sai) had frightened and bent many middle-lower income families to his will. They were forced to give up much of their earnings to him as a 'gesture of good will' for his 'protection' of them whenever bad things happened in the city. There would be none who would bother mourning his demise.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna
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Footnotes

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INK




(Shameless showing off a tiny snippet of Linde's abilities thanks to taking the serum three years ago)


Linde stood on line for the bank with her parchment of exchange in the rain, patiently waiting her turn. Every couple of minutes they would advance a step or two and then the wait would begin again. Another customer served, another step forward.

... However it came to be that Linde fell victim to a problem that wasn't that common in Cre' Est, but was rapidly growing in Veilbrand and other outlying cities near the Cre' Est/Veilbrand border.

Linde felt a bump against her back, and turned her head to see a man bow in apology and walk away at a fast pace. Linde rolled her eyes and tapped her hip where her coin pouch should have been, and it was gone. It only had three silver pieces left in it, but that was her money that she had earned from running her apothecary and clinic. So she called him out by yelling at him to stop, but that just made him start sprinting into the nearest alley not far away.

Linde sighed as she folded her umbrella allowing the rain to begin pelting her body and clothing. She took a breath and began running after the thief making it look like normal running speed, but as soon as she cleared the alley corner she planted a single foot down into the cobblestone pavement and launched herself into the air at an angle. She planted her other foot into the side of the building around fifteen feet into the air and used it as a launch point to jump another ten to fifteen feet up onto the rooftop of the building opposite her. Once up on the roof she ran across the edge of the roofs as fast as she could until she managed to find the thief who was still looking back through the alley instead of looking up. But then again the rain was not helping him to hear her footsteps up on the roof almost thirty feet up in the air.

Linde trailed him until he finally slowed and began to come to a stop to count the money in the pouch, during which time she casually stepped off the rooftop an let herself fall right down in front of him. He jumped back in fear and tossed the pouch into the air as a jerk-reaction to her surprise, and she caught it and put it back on her hip before crossing her arms and glaring at him as he spit out nonsensical questions and stammered about how she did that. She sighed through her nose at him.

"What is your excuse for this?" She asked.

He stammered again asking what she meant.

"What is your excuse for trying to steal my money?" She asked again.

He explained that he'd lost his home, his wife left him, and he had nowhere to call his own so he had to resort to stealing whatever he could to get by. Linde sighed through her nose again as she closed her eyes and allowed him to run the other way. She thought about chasing him, but if what he said was true then he was suffering enough without whatever lecture or punishment she could throw his way. So instead she returned to the bank line to wait to trade her parchment of exchange.

Not exactly a typical happening for her, but at least it made her a bit more alert to her surroundings. The boredom of standing on line had made her drop her guard... She wouldn't be doing that again.

... Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city a pair of gleaming red eyes were locked onto their next mark who'd just entered the city. The streets would run red this day.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon
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INK



Location: Underground Tunnel System, Cre' Est




Deep within the heart of the underground tunnel network in Cre' Est lies one of the most nefarious and well hidden secrets in the modern world: an entire underground "city" of denizens who specialize in black market dealing of human trafficking, item and weapon smuggling, and the selling of highly sensitive political information. Deep within these tunnels deals of all kinds would happen every single day without anyone in the world above being any the wiser. In fact the only ones who know of this underground world are those who inhabit it, which doesn't include the average populace nor any of the Royals or those they keep in their confidence.

Theives, assassins, bounty hunters, mercenaries, thugs, bandits, degenerates, slavers, smugglers, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits... And all manner of unscrupulous characters make of this world's populace.

And within the bowels of this dark and illegal world was a deal going down. A smuggling of human sex slaves, men and women both. The one selling hailed from Shaharan, his skin touched and tanned by both the sun's light and his genetics. The one buying was of Cre' Itian origin with pale white skin.

"So... This is the merchandise?" Asked the buyer.

"Indeed." Replied the seller.

"How much do you want?"

"I want two hundred silver for the men. Two gold for the women."

"... The price for the men, I can understand. But two gold for the women? That's asking too much."

"There's a reason they're priced so high you know."

"And that would be...?"

The seller walked over and petted the hair of one of the three blindfolded and hand tied women who cringed under his touch.

"They're unsullied. Pure as the day they were born. Virgins, all. They're worth every Piece."

The buyer thought about this for a moment. Virgins did go for a higher price. Usually not two gold a pop, but high nonetheless.

"I need to know one more thing before I commit."

"And that is?"

"Why two gold a piece?"

The seller smiled.

"Because they are all of noble birth, of course."

The buyer's eyes widened. Almost 99% of sexual slaves sold in this underground (literally) market were of commonplace bloodlines. But nobility? That was a rarity in and of itself, and the experienced buyer knew that his seller was now grossly underestimating their value and giving them to him for a bargain price. Virgins of noble birth usually went for at least twenty Gold a piece. But two Gold a piece? That was literally a steal.

"It's a deal." The buyer stated, tossing a pouch of coins after having counted the payment.

The seller inspected the pouch, finding each Gold piece and checking it for authenticity before placing the pouch away on his belt.

"You are most kind, good sir. They're all yours." The seller said as he went to turn and leave.

The buyer was about to step forward, but a particular sigh caught his eye as he looked over to the seller again.

... The buyer froze, and the seller took notice of this before he had fully turned around. He looked at his buyer and watched as his already pale skin went even paler, losing what little coloration it had left and turning an almost smokey white-gray. The seller turned his head and followed the buyer's gaze and saw two glowing red orbs in the darkness ahead blocking his exit.

Both men began backing away slowly as the two glowing red orbs gazed at both of them silently. The glow was enough to illuminate partial facial features of the cheeks and nose, as well as the furrowed brow revealing that this individual was glaring at them with a serious frown. But that was all they saw. No skin color. No clothing outline or silhouette. Just blackness with two glowing red eyes staring at them without a word.

The seller began to open his mouth to say something, but he was cut off by a sudden, violent, and sickening sound similar to that one heard when stabbing an apple with a knife. He coughed and gagged for a moment before blood could be seen spraying from his throat. The man fell to his knees and forward onto his stomach, and the cause of this was revealed as a blade was pushed all the way through his throat and out the back of his neck as he hit the ground. The blood spray intensified thanks to the fact that he was still alive and, not only coughing, but his heart was racing pumping the blood even faster before he died of shock and blood loss a moment later.

The buyer looked up at the glowing red eyes which hadn't moved an inch... When did he throw the knife? Did he throw it? Or did it materialize in the seller's throat? Did he really have demonic powers?

The buyer turned to run, but as he turned around it wasn't but one full second before the glowing red eyes slid into view cutting him off from the darkness ahead. The buyer turned around... The Demon had been almost thirty feet away on the opposing side of the dark room. How did he cover that distance in one second?

The buyer looked back at the Demon.

"You... Why are you here?" He asked.

No reply.

"If you're here to save the slaves, take them. I don't need them! I was buying them for a colleague!" The man pleaded.

"Come now. I'm a noble. I have no interest in sexual slaves. I have my wife to satisfy my desires. You must believe me." He pleaded pitifully.

He even dropped to his knees and the glowing red eyes followed his movements carefully.

"I beg you... Please spare me. I will never engage in this act again. I swear by the Gods above I won't." He begged.

The glowing red eyes continued to glare at him a moment longer before slowly closing and disappearing into the darkness. And as the man stared at that spot he got to his feet. Against his conscious will he was now inching forward towards where the Demon had been waving his arms about trying to feel if the Demon was still there... But he was gone.

The man turned back towards his new slaves and sighed with relief.

"That was close..." He whispered.

He went back to the slaves and got them all onto their feet.

"Come along now everyone. Now that the Demon's gone it's time to go to your new home." He said quietly.

But as he turned around he bumped into something. Something solid and unflinching, but not something hard or stiff like a support pillar. He backed away a step and realized he was staring at the chest and chin of a man. And as he looked up he was greeted by a pair of glowing red eyes glaring him down.

The Red-Eyed Demon was revealed in full.

He was young. Much younger than the noble expected. He was a young man not yet out of his twenties with a strong jawline, unblemished face, raven black hair, and a muscular body the likes of which the noble had never seen. Even amongst his own bodyguards back at his estate, there was never such a physique as this and his black clothing did little to hide it. This Demon was a God among men in terms of his physical fitness. But this was not the time to admire the specimen before him.

"L-l-listen. I was just taking them to the surface to set them free! When I said "time to go to your new home", that's what I meant! The surface where they would be free!" He said, backing away slowly.

The Demon continued to glare him down without a word before a rather sudden gust of wind came from where the Demon stood arcing forward across the noble's neck area.

... It took a moment, but slowly he realized he could no longer feel anything below the top of his collar bone. He tilted his head down, but he found his chin going down farther than he'd intended to go... But it didn't stop there. He tilted down further and further before he realized he was falling. And when his face hit the ground he felt the pain in his nose as he rolled about before landing sideways against a rock. He was able to open his eyes and look up in time to see his now headless body still standing with the Demon holding it by the lapel to keep it upright while he gazed at it and the fountain of blood cascading forth from where his head used to be with each pump of his heart which was slowing down.

He couldn't breathe. He couldn't speak. He couldn't even whimper or cough. He could only watch as his vision slowly began to get fuzzy. But even through the haze he saw the Demon let go of the body as it fell to the ground with a soft "thud" before all went to white.

The buyer was dead.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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INK

As Miriam waited for the clock to strike midnight as the Silver-Haired Goddess had told her, the already cold night air seemed to grow just a few degrees colder.

The clouds rolled in darkening the night sky, hiding the moon and stars from view as the land below was shrouded in shadows. A single crow cawed loudly in the distance. Its cries echoing across the city. And beneath Miriam the streets were eerily silent. Not a soul could be found wandering or slinking about. It was as if the night was dead.

And then... A small gust of wind struck the bell tower.

For a brief moment, nothing seemed out of place. But that false peace was shattered when a dark figure suddenly slid in front of Miriam as if from nowhere.

His eyes were aglow with deep crimson light beneath a furrowed brow and an obvious lack of enthusiasm for her intrusion on his space. Without the need to speak, it was obvious that he was demanding a reason for her presence.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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It felt like it had been hours to Miriam as she waited on top of the church. But soon the city went quiet...too quiet. She pulled herself from the bell tower and looked around but nothing. That's when she felt it.... The night air seemed to turn to ice. A shiver went through Miriam's body. And that was when she saw him...

It was like he had just materialized in front of her. Not a sound was heard as Miriam gazed into the cold glowing red eyes before her. She was frozen in place as he glared at her. It was like he was looking right through her right into her very soul... This? This was The Silver Haired Goddess' mentor? A being Miriam thought only a myth...a story told by drunken gladiators after ten too many ales.... but there before her he stood...

"The Red Eyed Demon...." Miriam said in a low voice. "You? You are the Silver Haired Goddess' mentor? I thought you where a myth....Gods....this...this can't be real..."

Suddenly everything went blurry and then black as Miriam fainted the shock of this all to much for her mind to handle.

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The Red-Eyed Demon watched and listened as Miriam took in the sight of him before stuttering about how she thought him a mere myth. And then she fainted. Her body was poised to fall off the bell tower, but surprisingly he reached a hand around her waist and pulled her back to safety. He laid her up next to the side of the bell tower wall in an upright seated position.

"Clearly a warrior, yet she faints from shock?... Interesting." He said quietly.

He sat down to await her awakening.

The mention of his former protege had spared her life from a rapid and merciless end, but they were far from finished here. If Taira mentioned him as her mentor to this woman, then Taira must have seen something in her that was worth his time. But only this woman could prove that.

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Miriam slowly opened her eyes. She saw him still there so it wasn't a dream...and she had really passed out? She sighed and composed herself. "Um..sorry about that....I just...you are real... and I'm rambling..." Miriam started

Miriam looked at the demon and gulped. It was not often that someone scared her...but this man he was the definition of fear. She took a deep breath. "I guess you want to know why I'm here... actually...I'm surprised you are still here...or that I'm still alive after my moment of weakness...but I ramble again...."

Miriam looked right at Red and said. "You see your friend the Silver Haired Goddess and I had a friendly little dual...and long story short...she kicked my ass...I had to know how she moved and fought. So she sent me here...to you. I just wish she had mentioned who you was... would have saved me from that embarrassing fainting spell..."

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The Red-Eyed Demon was sitting down across from her and continuing to glare at Miriam. At the mention of the word "friend," his eyes flashed brighter before returning to a more subtle glow as she finished speaking.

"Protégé." He corrected.

"He was my protégé. We were never "friends"." He said firmly as he stood up.

"And just so we're clear," he said as he moved forward and hunched down in front of her, leaning in a little too close for comfort.

"If she sent you to me, that means she saw something in you worth showing me. So it's time to see if she was right." He said, his eyes flashing brighter again before returning to normal.

"Answer me quickly..." He said, his eyes narrowing.

"Why did you seek to understand her abilities?" He asked.

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This Man clearly knew nothing about personal space...but Miriam was wise enough to keep her mouth shut about it. She looked back at him as he spoke what could she possibly offer this man?

"I came this way for information...I've never seen a human move like that...no human should be able to do what she did.... I asked her to tell me but she sent me here to you. I came to learn how she did what she did. She is the only person I have ever seen move like that...well her and now you...it is like you are above humans....or possibly not human at all.... I want to know the truth of this power...and how I can use it..."

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The Red-Eyed Demon's eyes narrowed slightly further before he slowly backed away and stood up again to lean against the wall and cross his arms.

"... You seek power." He said in a lower, more ominous voice.

His eyes started glowing brighter once more, but this time they stayed brighter illuminating his entire face and some of his clothing as well as reflecting off the bell in the tower next to them.

"And what would you do if you did understand her abilities and attain that power for yourself?" He asked.

Slowly, from within his black leather jacket he removed a single throwing knife which he pinched by the tip of the blade in between his right thumb and index finger. He held it up in a ready position, his eyes locked on hers.

"Answer carefully...." He said, slowly turning the blade to face her direction.

Though it was an obvious and age-old intimidation tactic to wield a weapon before your victim, coming from him it worked beautifully. It wouldn't take more words than "answer carefully" to tell her that he fully intended to kill her if she answered in a way he didn't like.

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Miriam looked at the knife she had already embarrassed herself earlier by fainting she would not be that weak again. "You startled me before demon...it won't happen again..."

Miriam took a step closer "I'm well aware that you could kill me in a flash...and would probably enjoy it.... But you misjudge me demon. I seek not power but understanding."

Miriam looked at the Red-Eyed Demon. "I'm a Gladiator I fight to be better than those I fight. Fight to hear my name chanted in the stands. Glory and honor that's what I fight for."

Miriam paused for a moment and for effect. "But that is not the only reason I fight. My name is also know in the camps of the wicked. Those that hide in the sand and take what is not theirs. Imagine how much more of a terror I would be if I had the skill of your Protégé?"

"Now I turn a question to you Demon.... Are the heartless murderer the tales say you are? Or have you as well been misjudged?"

Miriam was silent then and awaited ethier death or an answer...

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The Demon carefully observed her and listened intently as she answered. But the whole time he was glaring her down. And as she took a step forward he tilted the blade slightly. But the more she spoke, the more his grip seemed to loosen.

He put the knife away as she asked if he was the murderer he was rumored to be, or if he'd been misjudged. Once the knife was safely back and hidden beneath his jacket, he stepped forward and looked down at her.

"I have killed more people than you have seen days on this Earth, and the blood of my victims flows from my hands like flooded rivers." He said calmly.

He took another step towards her, testing her courage to remain in place as he did so.

"But the blood which now flows from my hands comes from those who deserve it. No longer does the blood of the innocent freely flow as it once did years ago..." He said, turning around and walking back to the edge of the Bell Tower.

He looked down at the city, and then glanced at her over his shoulder.

"But despite this truth, the innocent will forever fear me and the legacy I will inevitably leave behind when my end finally comes." He said, a subtle hint of sorrow entering his voice.

He turned around fully, and although his facial expression had not changed there was... something different about it. A new calmness.

"You seek to match my protégé's power to make your name strike fear in the hearts of those who would prey on others... A noble goal at its heart." He said, leaning against the wall and crossing his arms once again.

"But are you truly satisfied with merely striking fear into the hearts of thieves and basic degenerates?" He asked.

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Miriam felt a relief as the Demon lowered and put away his blade. She felt a bit of pity for the man as he told her of the blood on his hands. He sounded like one that couldn't forgive himself. But Miriam remained silent and listened.
The man before her now seemed different somehow than the one she had first met. But then she realized a test...it was him testing her...and for now at least it seems she had pasted the test.
But then he asked another question...

Miriam pondered for a moment. "The thieves of the deserts are the threat I know the threat that endangers the land I call home....but you speak as if there is something else I should turn my blades against... What would there be that would harm my people other then the evil that lives in their land?"

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He continued to observe her reactions to what he was saying, and seemed satisfied with how she responded.

He reached behind his back and pulled free a vial of dark blue liquid which he held in the palm of his hand, holding it out for her to take.

"You thought that thieves were the worst you had to worry about, but because of this simple vial of liquid... You are wrong." He said, his voice going slightly lower as his eyes trailed from her eyes to the vial.

"This vial is the source of my protégé's power. Te'i Sai originally developed and created it in an attempt to allow all of its operatives to possess the same strength which I do. They failed. Despite their failure to reproduce my power, the vial does succeed in greatly augmenting the physical abilities of anyone who drinks it."

His eyes returned to Miriam.

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Miriam took the vial and looked at it.

Miriam looked at the vial again turning it over in her hand. "So what can I expect if I drink this? And how long until I will need another dose?"

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The Demon regarded her.

"If and when you drink the contents of that vial, you can expect a slow change to take place. Over the course of roughly four or five days, you will experience soreness and sudden, uncontrollable bursts of pain throughout your body. What you will be feeling are your muscles creating new layers and strengthening their sinew to make you stronger. Your bones are growing denser to help you withstand greater levels of impact force. Your nerves shifting to optimize how quickly your body and mind react to the world around you... Your body essentially will rebuild itself for the purpose of harnessing the abilities this vial grants you. It will be a very painful process at times, but if you can withstand it then you will have the same potential that Taira does."

However, despite the seemingly good news his expression darkened slightly.

"The content of that vial only requires a single dose to enhance your body, and it is permanent. But mind you, there is a mortality rate. Roughly 15% of those who drank this liquid have died. If you can live with that risk, and you can bear the idea of forever being more powerful than the rest of the world around you, then drink. If not, return the vial to me." He said.

He held out an open hand, in the event she gave it back.

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Miriam looked at the vial in her had as Red spoke. Pain...and possibly death... Miriam looked at the Demon's outstretched hand for more than a moment but then shook her head. She had not come this far just to walk away. And for all she knew this Roda Ah K'mht could be watching even now...if they where really as powerful as the Demon let on... She would be dead without the power of this vial...

Miriam looked at the vial a last long moment before opening it. She looked to the Demon and said, "Well... Bottoms Up!"

Miriam placed the vial to her lips and drank. It was bitter and sour and burned like hellfire in her throat. Miriam caught hold of the bell tower as she hacked and coughed. It was as if the wind hand been knocked out of her.

"By the Gods..." She gasped.

It took her a moment to regain herself. She handed the empty vial back to the Demon "So..I guess I got a rough few days ahead of me...I should probably get somewhere...safe...like off this roof for a start... That is if there is nothing else to do...but to wait...and pray..."

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The Red-Eyed Demon watched as she put the vial to her lips and drank. His eyes narrowed slightly as she began to grimace and cough, but after roughly three seconds of this his eyes returned to normal and his head came up slightly.

When she was done asking if all that was left to do was wait and pray, he nodded.

"Prayer is no longer necessary. If you were to die, it would have happened already." He said calmly.

But that implication that she would have already been dead if she was part of that 15% mortality rate was a troubling thought. It worked that fast. Those who died immediately, instead of coughing and hacking, would have begun to suffocate and choke as their airways collapsed in on themselves from the top of the throat all the way to the lungs. The lungs themselves would have begun shrinking in response to air being squeezed out of them, and she'd have passed out within moments. But even if she'd passed out, her body would not relax. The tension and the closed air passages would have remained that way, blocking oxygen from her lungs to her brain, thus killing her via brain death.

... But she didn't need to know those details. She'd already proven to be safe from them.

"It is up to you how to spend these next several days, but if I were you I would seek one who lives here in the Capital. An ally of mine runs the Almna Apothecary and Clinic, and she too has tasted of this vial and lived to fight beside me against Te'i Sai for the last three years. She will keep an eye on you, and if you experience any negative symptoms she will be the one to treat you. She is a doctor, after all." He said, turning towards the edge of the bell tower.

"Farewell, and good luck protecting your homeland. Even with the benefits obtained from that vial, you'll need it." He said.

With that he jumped off the bell tower and landed in the streets below with a surprisingly soft *thwap* from his boots hitting the cobblestone. He ran into a darker ally and disappeared from view entirely leaving Miriam alone on the bell tower to figure out where the Almna Apothecary and Clinic was, or find somewhere else she felt was safe to wait out the effects.

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Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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As they walked, Linde noticed the pain in the woman's face as she tried to ask about whether or not Linde had felt the symptoms before.

"Indeed I have felt this pain. It only gets worse, believe me. The pain for the first two days will be mild. It's the final days which are the worst. But since you are here and will rest at my clinic, I can give you something to alleviate it and make the worst of it bearable." She said.

She quickened her step as they neared the Clinic.

"It's just ahead. Quickly now." She urged.

She quickly approached the door and unlocked it, allowing Miriam to step inside.

"Make your way to the Clinic section of the building, down the hall on your left there and through the doors all the way at the end on the right. Wait for me there... I must attend to something." She said, closing the door behind Miriam and locking it.

She then turned her attention to the rooftops, having felt prying eyes on her and Miriam since they started back towards the Clinic. She scanned the rooftop edges, but was met with silence and stillness.

She remained as still as a statue, closing her eyes to listen as she tried to pinpoint any unusual or non natural sounds such as footsteps. However she heard nothing. She opened her eyes and suddenly felt the feeling of eyes watching disappearing which allowed her to breathe a little easier. Maybe they left her alone?

She turned around towards the Clinic, but was met by the sight of a pair of glowing red eyes which made her jump and let out a rather adorable yip. When she shook off the initial shock, she slapped his chest with the back of her hand.

"You know I hate it when you do that!" She barked.

He smiled.

"... You jerk." She said in a hushed tone.

"The one keeping tabs on you is dead. They will soon send another. One who does not know of that woman's presence." He replied.

Linde sighed.

"Thanks." She said in a semi-sarcastic tone.

"You're welcome." He said.

She glared at him as he turned to leave, and smacked him on the rump as he was about to take another step. He turned his head and glared at her, to which she smiled at him in return, shaking her head in a taunting manner.

"I win." She said in a snarky tone.

He returned his gaze forward and disappeared into the darkness of a nearby alley way allowing Linde to let out a sigh and return to the Clinic to rest. What an interesting day. The woman in her Clinic was about to undergo the ultimate physical change to become essentially a super human, and the Red-Eyed Demon was helping keep an eye on her while it happened.

Things were bound to get worse from here if he was really willing to give out another vial of that serum. It wasn't readily available anymore with Te'i Sai's mountain fortress overtaken by Roda Ah K'mht and the valley at its base. He couldn't have that much of it left to give, and finding people who would be ready, willing, and able to fight against the assassins wouldn't be easy either.

Just what was the Demon planning?

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Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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Looks like I'm following too, Marcel thought as Master Ven began to walk, inwardly relieved that he wouldn't be tracking Marcus and Jeanne down. The moment they realised he wasn't on their side would have been very awkward. He and Quinn walked four paces behind him, mouths shut and minds running. Marcel caught Quinn's eyes darting to his chest wound. After a while of this, he dug the bullet from his pocket and held it out in a closed fist.

"Miss Quinn," he spoke up, gesturing for her to hold out her hand. Quinn regarded his fist suspiciously before letting him place the bullet in her palm. He chuckled. "Your aim's rusty."

Quinn scowled and threw the bullet over her shoulder. "Shut up, little mouse."

Marcel's eye twitched as he grimaced, "Make that stick and I'm chewing holes through all your clothes." Quinn lowered her head, sparking Marcel's concerns, "How are you doing?"

"I'm fine," she said curtly. Marcel didn't appear entirely convinced, looking at her expectantly for the truth. She gestured him to lean down so she could continue their whispered conversation, slowing down her pace to fall even further behind the assassin. Not that it did her any good. She had the icky feeling that he could still hear them loud and clear. "If they catch Jeanne and Marcus, we go free. If they don't, then good. If they turn on us," she paused and made a little finger gun gesture at Master Ven's back, "No matter how this scenario plays out, it's in my favour."

"Then why do you look so annoyed?"

Quinn glared at Marcel's earnest expression before lowering her chin, shutting her eyes and sighing. "It's just..." she began in a grumble, "... As much as it would benefit us, I would rather Jeanne and Marcus not be caught. NOT because I like them," she snapped, looking at Marcel with eyes daring him to say otherwise, before she tossed her head away and stated decisively, "I don't like to bleed for nothing. That's all."

Marcel gave her an incredulous look behind her back, then reached out for her shoulder when they arrived in the marketplace with Master Ven. The both of them jumped when he suddenly turned to them, like guilty children being caught up past their bedtime. They ceased their conversation as they were led to the centre of the marketplace. Marcel waited a moment for Master Ven to not be breathing down their necks before he turned to Quinn. She waved him quiet, fixated on the two figures hauling bodies approaching the marketplace. Jeanne and Marcus were dropped unceremoniously on the ground.

"If we convince them to hand over the documents, they could be left alive," she said to Marcel, a statement as casual as if she were commenting on the weather.

"The Te'i Sai called them targets," Marcel muttered back, "Targets don't get let go, Miss Quinn." Quinn looked back at their sleeping faces as the thieves were propped up against each other and tied tightly and painfully together. She crossed her arms and her gaze hardened into a glare. Marcel ran a hand through his hair, looking away from the rough treatment of the thieves. Whatever scheme Quinn was hatching in her silence would never work. As much as he loved to play the hero, if she attacked the Te'i Sai to rescue their targets, he would be a helpless protector. Gritting his teeth, he pulled on his jacket to give her a full view of his wound. "Quinn, before you do anything, there's something you have to know about -"

Before he could finish, the assassins had finished tying Jeanne and Marcus and had begun to approach them. They took their places on either side of them, forcing the two into silence as they waited for Jeanne and Marcus to awaken. Quinn's foot tapped impatiently. After what felt like an agonizing hour, their eyes were fluttering open. Master Ven was quick to steal their attention.

"I will give you one chance to hand it over willingly. If you do, your end will be swift. If not, we will show your friends how Te'i Sai deals with uncooperative enemies."

Quinn clenched her fists and looked away while Marcel waved limply at the jester. Then a body fell from the sky.

His hand was stuck mid-wave as he stared at the body that had almost slammed into Master Ven, an involuntary grin creeping up on him. He followed the assassin's directions, looking to the rooftops and spotting the two women standing upon them. He heard movement beside him. Quinn's grip on her parasol had altered, preparing to unsheathe it. The moment Master Ven struck out at Linde, at the sight of the height he jumped, she tossed her weapon aside to Marcel. He caught the pink floral parasol in one hand, looking at her for an explanation.

"Don't engage, but if necessary -" she nodded to the umbrella before sprinting towards Jeanne and Marcus. Marcel unsheathed Quinn's blade, distaste for the thing evident on his face. It felt like a sword for a pixie, no weight to carry its thrusts. Feeling another hilt in his hand just made him think of Shiver, and thinking of Shiver made him want to cry. But holding something in his hand was more comforting than nothing at all, even if the enemy was... That.

He felt himself paralyzed by the simultaneous, impossible battles unfolding before him. Every blow landed heavier than it should have, every jump propelled them further than possible. The battleground took more damage than the opponents, showing off the power behind each blow. He had felt the strength in Master Ven when he shattered Shiver, yet this scene had him in shock. It was a battle composed by the goddess Heresta herself that he had earned no right to witness. One of the women was embed into a wall from the force of a blow, rubble crumbling around her unscathed body before she used it to launch herself back into battle. His grip on Quinn's sword became slick with sweat and his legs finally gave up, dropping him to his knees. His heart was beating faster than he thought it could, his mind struggling to comprehend what he was feeling. Was... was this falling in love?

While Marcel found himself being useless, Quinn had run to kneel beside Jeanne and Marcus.

"I'm not going to make a habit of helping you," she grunted as she yanked off her other glove and made an attempt at untying the tight knots keeping Jeanne's ankles glued together, ignoring anything the pair had to say to her. Her soft, noble-fingers came away raw. She gave a frustrated huff and shuffled over to Marcus, feeling around his belt. "Where is your dagger?" she demanded, frisking down his legs to his boots. When he gave his answer, her hands grabbed onto the ropes binding his chest, attempting to loosen them so she could reach the dagger beneath. "Right," she muttered, embarrassed for not taking a moment to calm herself and remember. She squeezed a hand between Marcus's chest and the ropes, wriggling her fingers around in search of the dagger. Her eyes looked everywhere other than the man. Eventually she yanked her dagger-less hand out and shouted over her shoulder, "Marcel, I need the sword!" She didn't trust herself to cut their ropes with her sword and not accidentally slice them in the process, but she couldn't see a faster way. "Marcel!"

Marcel was on his knees, not paying any attention to her. She followed his gaze to see a goddess of a woman launching herself from a wall and causing bricks to scatter in the process. For a moment she stared, forgetting what she was doing before she shook herself from her awe. She ran to him, ignoring the noises of battle.

"I need the sword to free them," she explained briskly. Marcel looked up at her, his eyes wide and mouth hanging in an open grin like he'd struck an epiphany.

"Quinn," he breathed, "I am the mouse!"

"What?!" Quinn snatched her sword from him and helped him off the ground when the sound of a man being kicked through a building startled her. The woman fighting Master Ven yelled out to them.

"Leave this to my companion and I. Go free your friends and get yourselves to some place safe!"

Before Marcel and Quinn could react, Master Ven was upon them. Quinn barely raised her blade before she found herself in the exact same situation she'd been stuck in before, without Jeanne to wind up exploding horses. She snarled, but didn't dare move against him. Despite Ven's threats, the woman was not leaving. No, she was smiling. Quinn's eyes went wide with panic and she looked at Marcel as much she could without slicing open her own neck, only to see him sporting a relieved smile too. As that voice came from behind them, her blood chilled over.

Shoved to the ground, Marcel looked back at their saviour immediately, gasping at the sight of him. Those glowing, blood red eyes. Quinn scrambled off the ground and ran behind the woman while Marcel was once again rendered useless, staring up at the Red-Eyed Demon. There was not a trace of a smile on the mercenary's face, but the glimmer in his eyes was telling enough.

When Master Ven had left, Quinn cautiously moved to help Marcel up under the Red-Eyed Demon's gaze. The woman had moved forward to kiss the monster's cheek, a gesture she found herself glancing away from.

"That's the -" Marcel began to whisper to her as she was backing away from the demon and his lady, not wanting to turn her back on them.

"Lady Duzelle..." The demon's glowing red eyes locked with hers, freezing her into place. He knew her name, same as the Te'i Sai. She swallowed and returned his gaze with the same apathy. "You are the one who attempted to organize a rebellion against your nation's leader in Veilbrand, correct?"

Try as hard as she could to hide it, Quinn could not stop the shock that flickered over her face. As she prepared herself to lie, she felt his piercing eyes. Something about his intimidating gaze told her that her tongue would not get away with dishonesty, but she would not entrust him with her honesty regardless.

"You are mistaken,"she said strongly, "I am a jeweller, not a revolutionary." His eyes pressed her to speak truth but she just glared, refusing to even if he could see right through her - or run her through. She held her sword up at him to ensure distance between them. Marcel started backing away. "If you want honesty, demon, I must understand how you know my name, and how much of my history you think to be your business." She glanced at the woman beside him then slightly at Jeanne and Marcus, "I'm discussing nothing here."

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Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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At Quinn's words, Linde raised an eyebrow and her previously pursed lips relaxed into a soft frown. However, in most circumstances like this she knew the Red-Eyed Demon would simply kill whoever it was who pointed a weapon at him. But this time, since he bothered to know her name... He didn't want to kill her. Linde kept her eyes on Quinn as the Red-Eyed Demon gave her a once over from top to bottom before turning to face her fully.

As he spoke, his voice remained low and, somehow, more threatening than ever.

"If you think that blade will stop me..." He said as he began walking slowly forward.

"... Then you obviously have no idea who I am." He growled.

The blade pressed against his stomach and began cutting through his shirt into his flesh. Blood trickled from the small wound, but he continued walking. Against his weight, Quinn was pushed back a few times. But she kept her grip strong and her feet planted as best she could. And before long the blade was deep enough that it began poking through the Demon's back.

... He had just intentionally allowed her to run him through, stopping only as the hilt of the blade reached his stomach so that it could go no further.

He glared down at her.

"I am the Red-Eyed Demon, and I cannot be slain by such a common weapon." He said coldly.

If Quinn looked down to the hilt of her blade, she would see the faintest hint of an otherworldly crimson glow around the wound. Unbeknownst to the group, this was the power of the Demon within at work. Though the blade had indeed pierced his body from front to back, inside everything had already healed around the blade. If she pulled it free, the wound would heal within seconds preventing him from suffering what normally would be organ damage and severe blood loss.

But the demonstration was not done.

Within a blink, the handle of the blade was wrenched from Quinn's hands and the Demon had disappeared from view. And by the time Quinn's brain registered where he might have gone, it was already far too late.

To Quinn's right, held just beside her head at eye level and within her peripheral vision, was a blade unlike anything the group had ever seen.

The body of the blade was a striking translucent forest-green coloration, and in the center a vine-like trail of solid black could be seen with webs and branches reaching out to the edges of the blade.

It was Orichalcum, the legendary metal which could slice through even the most well folded and tempered steel, no matter how thick, as if it were not but a stick of warm butter.

The blade was fourteen inches (35.5cm) in length from tip to hilt, and this monstrosity of a weapon was being held directly beside her head. If he so much as casually flicked his wrist in her direction, the blade would slice into her skull with no resistance whatsoever.

The Demon pulled free the blade she'd embedded in his stomach and dropped it to the ground at his feet. The faint crimson glow around the wound faded, fully healed, as he leaned in and placed his mouth right next to her left ear opposite his blade so she had nowhere to run, and whispered...

"Do not trifle with me, Ottavia Virmonte." He said ominously.

Nobody except for Linde, thanks to her senses having been enhanced by the serum, would hear what was just said to Quinn. They would know only that he had whispered something to her. And speaking of Linde, her other eyebrow went up at the mention of the name she just heard. But she remained silent as she dropped the look of surprise in favor of a more neutral expression.

Regardless, the Demon continued to whisper in a voice only Quinn could hear.

"You asked how much I know about your family... He said.

His blade came a tiny bit closer and brushed a single strand of hair which instantly was sliced clean and floated to the ground at Quinn's feet.

"The Garnett family summoned an envoy of Te'i Sai through a Blood Contract. If you don't know what that is or how it works, it means they publicly sacrificed one of their own, a servant, to be precise, to summon an envoy of Te'i Sai to discuss important business. It is a rather well-known and commonly used method among the higher bred families of all nations that this will summon a Te'i Sai envoy. They do this when they feel their business is of great importance, and that they can't entrust it to common assassins. During the exchange, it was agreed to that, for their misdeeds, your family would be wiped out. Originally I was considered for the job, but it was determined to be a relatively meaningless task in the grand scheme of things. As a result a Fledgeling, fresh from their Initiation Ritual and only just officially named an "Assassin of Te'i Sai", was chosen for the job."

He leaned in a tiny bit closer to the point where his lips were this close to brushing against her ear.

"You believe your history is not my business, and you're correct. But it almost was..." He continued.

He straightened up and walked out in front of Quinn glaring down at her as he had done before. And as he spoke, he did so at a normal volume.

"I will not ask you again, and if you speak to me as you did before..." He said, glancing to Marcel and pointing his Orichalcum blade in his direction.

"... Then that one is the first to die." He said as he looked to Quinn but continued holding the blade towards Marcel.

"I already know the answer, Lady Duzelle, but I want to hear it from you. Are you the one who helped start the revolution with the intent to kill Egruus To' Veilbrand?" He asked sharply.

Quinn and the others would have no way of knowing since they never interacted with the Red-Eyed Demon before, but this was method of ensuring the conviction of whomever he was dealing with. Linde knew this from having seen it and been a part of it before.

The Red-Eyed Demon intended to help her with this revolution, as he must have determined that her course aligned or intersected with his own goals at some point down the line. By helping her, he was helping himself. That's just how he worked, and that's just who he was. But he had to be sure of her conviction. If he could not confirm it by forcing her to admit it to him, the one person nobody wants knowing their business, then he would know that her course was hopeless and refuse to get involved any further than he already had.

Linde's eyes trailed over to Quinn, waiting to see her response.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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INK

Running along rooftops was a new thing for Miriam but she found herself keeping up surprisingly well. They soon reached thier destination and Linde was jumping into the fray going for the leader of the Te’i Sai.

"Well this is where the fun begins..." Miriam said as she jumped down to face the two Te’i Sai lackeys

"Oh if it not the little curious cat that stuck her nose where it shouldn't be.... You should have stayed home little girl... Curiosity kills cats." One of the lackeys taunted.

Miriam just smirked and drew Mako and Thresher. "You forget boys I'm no cat I'm a shark."

"What you are is dead!" Shouted the lackey as he came at Miriam both of his blades slashing upwards towards Miriam. To man's surprise his blades were met by a party from Mako. The man's eyes went wide in shock as Thresher stabbed forward into his torso. The man fell back wounded, the price of him underestimating Miriam.

The other lackey came on before Miriam could finish the first. This one learned from his Ally and sent one of his blades high and one low forcing Miriam to party each one with Mako and one with Thresher. The two locked together pushing against each other each trying to push back the blades of the other. In deadlock the Te’i Sai sent a kick but Miriam managed to counter it with her own leg. The impact forced the two apart and they began to circle each looking for the moment to strike.

That was when Miriam felt the other coming fast behind her. Miriam ducked and rolled out of the way at the last second timing it so that the wounded ambusher could not stop his momentum and plunged his daggers deep into his companion's chest. Both assassins stared in shock as the one pulled his bloody blades from the other letting his body fall to the ground.

All just seemed to stop then as the Red Eyed Demon came upon the scene. And soon the still living lackey was limping off behind his master. It was at this point Miriam decided it would be best to be a silent listener as Red and this Quinn spoke. She kept Mako and Thresher drawn but by her side as she waited to see what was to come.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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INK

Quinn was forced to hold her sword's hilt with two hands as the Red-Eyed Demon impaled himself on its edge, to her horror. There was a crack as one of her high heels snapped against the weight, ground against stone as she was forced back. She wanted to pull the blade from his stomach, but the way he looked at her as he moved closer disabled her ability to retreat.

"I am the Red-Eyed Demon, and I cannot be slain by such a common weapon."

Quinn grit her teeth and altered her stance, preparing to slash upwards through the demon's body in response to such an arrogant statement, when the hilt was easily wrought from her grasp. By the time she comprehended what was happening, she had a blade beside her neck.

Again.

There was something different about the blade, however, made from a metal she couldn't recall. Whatever it was made from, it made Marcel's eyes shine. She didn't have the luxury to search her memory for it before the Red-Eyed Demon called her by her name. Her true name.

Being told 'We know who you are' didn't hold the same sensation as hearing her name uttered by a demon. The moment it reached her ears, she felt as small as a child. The vulnerable, gullible, ignorant child that came running whenever that name was called. Her hands gripped her skirts as she listened to the rest of what the demon knew. As it turned out, more than herself.

The Garnetts. Rucia's smug face as she took the Chancellor's mansion, the words she whispered into Quinn's ear that brought a blade across her gleeming, golden eye. The Te'i Sai. The force that held her back from completing their work for a second time. It all made damn sense. She clenched her skirts tighter, holding herself back from shaking in violent rage.

Her gaze slid up to Marcel as she was threatened with his death. She supposed he would move onto Jeanne and Marcus if she spoke with open hostility once more. The Red-Eyed Demon was no better than the Te'i Sai he seemed to presently despise.

"I already know the answer, Lady Duzelle, but I want to hear it from you. Are you the one who helped start the revolution with the intent to kill Egruus To' Veilbrand?"

If he knows my answer, why make me say it? Unless he's baiting me into admitting it. Quinn fought back the emotions her recent revelations had brought her, trying to think the situation through calmly. It appeared the only reason she and the others were still alive was because she was involved in the revolution. He didn't save them out of the goodness in his black heart only to slaughter them all because Quinn and he didn't like each other.

Obviously the Red-Eyed Demon had use for her, but exactly what stakes in Veilbrand's rebellion he had was unknown. Quinn let her head droop, biting down on her tongue. She couldn't stop the venom dripping from her words if she tried. If I speak, I'm going to get someone killed.

So don't say anything.

Quinn rose to her full height, lifting her chin. Her stature was still so small in comparison to the demon's looming figure, despite how much she stretched her spine. Her left hand slowly moved over to the Red-Eyed Demon's otherworldly blade to rest two fingers gently on the flat of it, a gesture to 'stay' it despite completely lacking the strength to push it aside herself. If he inched the blade to their left, her entire neck would be severed. What was a few fingers? She turned her head, tilting up to face him.

She had said she was discussing nothing here. Her silence held true to that. Her body was tensed in fierce distrust of the man who held a blade beside her. All that the demon received as a reply to his demanding question was a pair of fearless olive eyes attempting to burn their way through the back of his skull.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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INK

It all happened so fast. So much to take in. Jeanne could barely respond to the older assassin’s threat, before a voluptuous woman busted into the scene and started a fight with him. Her jaw hung loose at the beatdown that ensued, as the woman’s somewhat less voluptuous companion joined in to overpower and outmaneuver the other assassins. The two watched from their knees, still bound and helpless after the assassin interrupted Quinn’s rescue attempt.

”Marcus…,” Jeanne began, her voice kept down amidst the /ushing blood and breaking bones. ”I feel like we’re ants in a world of giants,” she continued, her wide, quivering eyes reflected a mix of awe and fear… mostly fear. And a desire to get the hell out of dodge and never turn back.

And then the Red-Eyed Demon himself appeared, and those feelings swelled up within Jeanne up to eleven. The head assassin himself almost seemed like a mouse in the face of the legendary figure. Jeanne found herself unable to look away from those glowing red eyes. Otherworldly, inhuman things, worthy of the title ‘demon’. ”Those eyes can’t possibly be helpful in sneaking around…,” Jeanne whispered her thoughts to Marcus. “Maybe he was just that good.”

A pause.

”Or maybe he sneaks in the shadows with his eyes closed, relying on his nose and ears like some kind of… devilishly handsome bat...”

The jester immediately shook her head to force the mental image out of her head. ”Wait, no, that’s just dumb.” Marcus found himself smirking at that despite their current predicament, as spectators to a bloodbath like none other.

Things got better and better as the Red-Eyed Demon proceeded to expose Quinn’s true identity. ‘Lady Duzelle of Veilbrand’, the maiden of revolution herself! The jester couldn’t help but have a wide, smug grin plastered upon her face. She turned her head to Marcus, and continued their illicit conversation, ”Can you believe it, Pard? Mademoiselle Quinn has her secrets too! Tee hee hee!” Try as she might, she couldn’t conceal her amusement. ”So in the end, the Te’i Sai could have murdered us… or Veilbrand assassins could have beaten them to the punch,” the jester speculated, raising her voice a slight bit.

Marcus paused in his attempt to get one of his hands free. “That so, huh? Looks like we’ve done a good job of lasting this long. Not bad for a couple of common street thieves, eh?”

Jeanne looked his way, and winked. ”Not bad at all~”

Of course, she didn’t really count on Quinn (or Marcel, lovestruck by the voluptuous woman) to hear them at that moment. Quinn… or ‘Lazy Duzelle’ stood her ground in the face of the Red-Eyed Demon, protecting her secret and her pride, even when the Red-Eyed Demon proved to her further that it was not just his eyes which were otherworldly in nature. Were she a man, the jester would have swooned at that moment. And had her hands been free, she would have given the blonde a round of applause.

...Or… maybe not. She wouldn’t want to risk inciting the wrath of the Red-Eyed Demon, after all. Especially when he just took a sword to the gut with no apparent ill result. She was not so eager or stupid as to court one death after narrowly missing another. The jester instead decided to nudge her partner with her shoulder and teased, ”So, on a scale of ‘amazing’ to ‘divine’, how was the Maiden of Revolution’s fingers~?”

“Wasn’t long enough for me to tell,” Marcus retorted. “Now hold still, I’ve nearly… got it!” With a brief look of triumph, the thief managed to extricate his hand from the ropes that bound them. He wriggled his forearm around until he could move it towards the dagger at his belt, quietly cutting their bonds and freeing both of them. With everyone else’s attention diverted, the duo could just slink off into an alleyway if they so chose, perhaps even lie low in Cre’ Est’s underground like they had originally planned.

However…

“If we leave now, Te’i Sai might try picking us off again. They wouldn’t dare come back with Big Red still lurking here,” he said in a low voice to his partner. “Besides… we’ve been chased across the country and nearly killed for these damn papers. These guys might just be the only people who’d know what they’re worth and won’t kill us on sight…”

As much as he didn’t want to admit to Jeanne (the teasing would be unbearable) Marcus didn’t feel comfortable with simply leaving Quinn and Marcel behind, in the company of three strange individuals who had bested Te’i Sai assassins in combat with seemingly little effort. He found it admirable, the way that she stood up to the so-called Red-Eyed Demon in defiant silence, a gesture that had not gone unnoticed by the demon nor the attractive woman at his side. Marcus was curious as to what he meant about a “final decision”, but decided against speaking up or doing anything else that might draw attention to himself and Jeanne. He was content for the two of them to remain beneath the notice of the others, for now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Red-Eyed Demon Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Regene "Jeanne" Rhamnus Character Portrait: Marcel Starr Character Portrait: Quinn Xe' Duzelle Character Portrait: Marcus Keller Character Portrait: Miriam Gale
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INK

Though Marcel could not hear what the Red-Eyed Demon whispered into Quinn's ear, the look on her face told him. From the way her lip quivered to the pallor of her complexion, everything he needed to know was right there. He was impressed by how well she composed herself after such a blow, and was thrilled by what she did next.

He never would have imagined that the prim and proper brat he was tasked with escorting years ago would grow up to, if the Red-Eyed Demon's accusations had any truth to them, start a rebellion. Knowing Quinn now, this wasn't so surprising. But staring the legendary Red-Eyed Demon down, making him lower his blade without a pretty word? That was beyond what he considered her capable of. It was the strongest he'd ever seen her. He had expected her to lose the fingers that dared touch the legend's beautiful blade, but instead the man smiled.

The moment those striking eyes turned to Marcel, the mercenary adjusted his posture in a flurry. He stood straight as a soldier, arms flat to his sides after he fumbled looking for a non-existent sword hilt.

"No harm in it," he replied breathlessly, failing to hold back his awe of the man. He swallowed and shot him a charming smile, "Besides, if I held a grudge against every person that threatened me," he looked over to Quinn, his gaze softening and pride swelling behind his words, "I wouldn't have any friends."

Quinn had barely registered Marcel's sentiments. She was too busy trying to keep on her feet. The sight of the Red-Eyed Demon's smile had thrown her off completely. She had expected to be tossed aside, bloodied at least a little for her defiance, but no pain ever came. Just a smile and, for a brief moment, kind eyes. All she could do was stare.

It was at that moment, Quinn declared war on this man.

The superhuman woman that came to the demon's side claimed that Quinn had won his respect. He doesn't have mine, she internally responded, not daring to voice it. A man's physical capabilities was not an indicator of his merits - and least of all, his motives. She knelt down to her sword he had dropped, lifting it and brushing her fingers over its flat surface. Her pale fingers came away sticky with the demon's blood which she rubbed between her fingers and thumb, wondering to herself what magic it held. At last she stood, cleaning her sword of his blood on her ripped black skirts before glancing around warily. The agile dual-wielder had taken her place nearby while Marcus and Jeanne had managed to free themselves and... were not scampering off. They stood there, watching. Good. After all she did attempting to help them, she at least deserved a goodbye before she booted them out of her life forever.

She felt Marcel's proud beaming fall upon her despite deliberately shying away from it, looking at the demon. Marcel could forgive him easily for threatening his life, but she wouldn't. Her grudge would have to wait, however. What consumed her thoughts was this decision.

"Have you made one?" she quietly asked the Red-Eyed Demon to his back, keeping her sword lowered by her side this time.