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Era

The "Bleeding Rose" of Cre' Est

344 views · last seen in Cre' Est
a character in “Assassin's Pledge: War of Attrition”, as played by KumoriRyuu

Description

Name: Era
Alias: The Bleeding Rose
Appearance: Image

Description: Era's posture is almost exactly the same as Shadow's. She stands with her back straight and her shoulders pulled back, and her clothing is similar to his as well (at least in terms of functionality). She wears a black shirt with a lot of cleavage, which is not helped by the fact that she is very well endowed, and she wears a short black skirt that goes down to about midway down her thighs to show off her legs. She wears white shoes and has a red band on her left arm just above her elbow. Her hair falls down to just passed the center of her back, and is very straight as opposed to her brother's hair which is shorter and much more wavy once it reaches a certain length (which is why he keeps it short and straight). Era's eyes are the same crimson red as her brother's, and her skin is mildly pale by comparison where her brother's is more tan.

Sex: Female
Home Nation: Shaharan
Current Location/Residence: Unknown
Exact Age: Unknown
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: Approximately 140 lbs
Hair Color: Pink
Eye Color: Crimson Red
Complexion: Fair
Body Type: Athletic
Blood Type: O negative
Fighting Style: Heavy use of both Hard and Soft styles
Adaptability Ratio: 7-9

Personality

Personality: Era is just as dark and cold as Shadow is, having been born to and raised by the High Master of Te'i Sai. Her training was designed to mimic Shadow's down to the finest detail, and she is just as intelligent, tactical, lethal, and ruthless as he is. While she is much more adept at blending in with humanity and behaving like a normal young woman, she still has trouble understanding the normality which she has become accustomed to mimicking. If she were to be left alone with normal people, she would still stand out, but not as much as her brother would.

Much like her brother Shadow, she can be quite childish when confronted with aspects of normal life which intrigue her. However, unlike her brother, she has almost no control over her temper and will viscously attack anyone or anything which angers her in any way, shape or form. She has no shame either, and will flaunt her natural beauty and assets to achieve her goals whenever she feels it necessary. While she would never give or sell her body for any reason, she will show it off if it means a good distraction and entertainment while watching the hapless men before her squirm and trip over themselves.

Quirks: Her blood red eyes are her most distinguishing feature, and they are what earned her the alias "Bleeding Rose" of Cre' Est. Her body, like her brother's, is littered with scars, bruises and other such markings which tell of her battles and violent past. Her skin is soft and smooth, and belies the unbelievable musculature which lies just beneath the surface.

Likes: Spending time on rooftops, sparring with her brother, watching the rain fall
Dislikes: Crowds, obvious liars, thieves, and other Assassins

Special Talents/Skills: Roda I'l Lousta (Yes, she shares this ability with her brother as well since she was raised in the same conditions)

Equipment

Weapon/s of Choice: A spear made of Orichalcum designed and forged for her by the High Master of Te'i Sai
Weapon/s of Last Resort: Blunt Weapons, Two Handed Weapons
Weapon/s Avoided: Guns

She carries a belt with numerous small pouches similar to her brother which hold a variety of items from throwing stars, vials of salves and other medicines, needles, wire, smoke bombs, and other miscellaneous items.

History

Weapon/Training History:

Era's training began the day she learned to walk under the High Master of Te'i Sai. She was dropped into a pit as an infant at the age of one year, and live weapons were dropped into the pit as well to see how long it would take for the first of them to kill either themselves or one of the others. Era killed two other infants and injured all the others with a small blade which she waved around wildly, and was rescued from the pit immediately after the others fell. She was then taught the basic punches and kicking maneuvers into her two year old state, and she proved immediately to be her brother's equal in terms of intellect and skill. She became the High Master's personal disciple after they saw her potential and knew that she could be a counterweight to Shadow just in case things went wrong with him in the future.

Training from the age of five onward was literally torture of the highest form, and not a technique ever used on a child before save for her brother. Any mistakes which were made were punished severely, and if she failed to perform up to expectations she was beaten to within an inch of her life and left to recover on her own outside in the wilderness for twenty four hours. Once that time was up, if she was still alive, her training would resume whether she was ready or not. Needless to say, she always managed to survive somehow, but became cold and detached as a result.

Her training was exactly the same as Shadow's in that it was brutal to an extreme which nobody else had ever been pushed to before. She too was literally tortured into the perfect killer, and being that she was constantly drenched in her own blood, as well as the blood of others, she too fell victim to the dreaded fate which was Roda I'l Lousta. When the High Master compared the two, they noted that Era was, quite literally, "The female portrayal of the Red-Eyed Demon." With this comparison drawn between them, Era was very often compared and contrasted to her brother by her peers and superiors, and she came to despise the brother she had never met for such things.

She was trained for all aspects of Assassin life, but she proved to be strongest in stealth and tactics. She mastered single and double weapon combat, hand to hand combat, politics, tracking, capturing others, escape, manipulation, deception, military tactics and leadership, herbology, poison making, bomb making, anatomy and physics. Her body was honed to the absolute limit which it would allow, pushing her musculature, cardio vascular endurance and stamina, speed, reaction times and general body reflexes to the zenith of her potential.

The combination of all aspects of Assassin training culminated in a female duplicate of the Red-Eyed Demon, but she was never deployed on grand scale missions as her brother was out of fear of her ending up with her brother's faults (such as the independent thinking), and instead kept to more stealthy and discrete missions. This also lent itself to her loathing for her brother as he was always considered the stronger child to the High Master, and when she met him face to face for the first time, the two of them clashed. They fought to a standstill, with Shadow taking an upper hand in the later stages of the fight thanks to his longer arms and legs while also managing to exhaust her. Since she didn't have the same level of combat experience he did on a grand scale, she did not have the same stamina he did and inevitably lost the battle in her own eyes, though it was officially called a draw since it was ended before a winner could truly be decided.

Like her brother, Era is an extremely dangerous combatant, and is considered by all of the surviving Grandmasters to be the strongest woman alive.

Biography:

Era was born in the year 576 Post Union to a young woman named Meya, who is in fact the High Master of Te'i Sai. She was raised in seclusion and only ever knew her mother for the first several years of her life. When she was approximately seven years old, she was introduced to the five Grandmasters of Te'i Sai, and also sent on her first real mission as an Assassin. Her phenomenal success led the five Grandmasters to further consult with the High Master about turning her into a duplicate of her brother for the purposes of acting as a backup for the Red-Eyed Demon in case anything ever went wrong with Shadow himself.

Era's cruelty and her lust for power as a child were a fantastic sign in the eyes of the High Master, but were dangerous in the eyes of the Grandmasters. When she was in her early teens she slaughtered a group of civilians when one of them insulted her appearance and her eyes (this was before Shadow's reputation as the Red-Eyed Demon was worldwide). Era's first experience with Roda I'l Lousta came not but another few weeks later, and she, like her brother, slaughtered over one hundred innocent lives in the span of a single afternoon.

Era did not meet her brother until she was nineteen years old, and when she did the two of them instantly engaged in combat. The outcome of the fight was undecided, though Shadow clearly held an advantage thanks to his longer limbs and higher stamina. Era stayed with him after a conversation with him during which he revealed the truth behind the Grandmasters and the High Master. At first, she was unwilling to believe him, but when she returned to the High Master and questioned them, she found Shadow's words to be true. She returned to him, and although she did not let go of the details of their past, she did decide to accompany him and believe in him and his cause.

Era participated in Shadow's battles against the Grandmasters and was responsible for killing one the Grandmaster from Shaharan. She has been an instrumental asset in his fight, but has always been one from the darkness as the "Bleeding Rose" of Cre' Est. Though the entire world knows of this alias, it is not as highly feared as the alias her brother is known by.

So begins...

Era's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Era
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Footnotes

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INK

Horizon
"In times, the sun had never failed to rise and set on the horizon... and so do we..."




"Shadow's sister... Era..."

This was one of the main concerns that lingered within Sereinia's mind. A lot of things happened and everyone did their best to explain the reasons for it. She was taken far from Cre' Est by the request of the Empress Regalie, her mother. It was also by the will of the Cretian Empress that the four of them were together once more. The issue about the Royal Knights coming after Shadow was put on hold. Still, she cannot help but be concerned of her birth parents. Emperor Eonis was still in his coma as Shadow informed her. Then judging by what was happening inside the palace, she was certain that an inner tempest would sweep everyone away to chaos.

It had been explained to her that the Rulers of Cre' Est shall be fine. Sereinia was protected once more from danger without her knowledge. Yet, what mostly eats at her consciousness was able to bid the Empress and the Emperor a proper goodbye. It would have been nice if that was done. Well, there was no use dwelling on events that had already come by. She must look forward to the future and live in the present. As such...

"Here Dr. Nora! Your Lettuce!"

The Cretian Princess was at the Triveilan Market buying ingredients and supplies for them. Dietrich and Mayumi were still at Lion's Mane and she had implored them to not worry about her. The market district was not that far from their inn anyway. So, she came alone. It was quite hard to be inconspicuous as Shadow had reminded them. After all, Sereinia had lived in this nation for such a long time after the deaths of her adoptive family. Speaking of which, she had wanted to visit her Aunt Beatiz. There was no doubt in her mind that the elder woman was worried sick despite with the letters she had sent prior. However, it was not the best time. The current situation would bring only more danger than relief. So for now, she would keep quiet about where she was.

"Thank you Mrs. Greer."

Upon taking the paid Lettuce, Sereinia felt someone's gaze on her. There was nothing wrong with that. Most of the time, those eyes belonged to some of her patients or the townspeople she was acquainted with. However, this one was different from the rest. As such, she looked around her with such a curious expression. Soon, she found the eyes that caused her such an odd feeling. A pair of crimson red eyes looked back at her unflinchingly.

"Shadow?"

This was the only word that left Sereinia's lips as she went towards where those familiar eyes were. However, the moment she moved away from the stall. It disappeared from her sight. This caused confusion within her. She wondered if it was just her imagination. Thinking about it, if that was Shadow he would have come to her without hiding. In addition, it couldn't be Yarun as remembered how intensely red those eyes were. So, the only thing that was left for her to identify to whom those eyes belong to...

"Taira has informed Era of your presence and importance, Sereinia, so she will likely seek you out..."

Shadow had told her that Era would most likely search for her. Still, Sereinia was not entirely certain of the reason for such an action. In any case, she also wants to meet Era. After all, she is Shadow's sister and family. She was also curious to what the girl would be like. Will she be like Mayumi or perhaps Layla? Adding to that, she wanted to make new friends. Hopefully, Era was going to be fine with that. But for now, she had concluded the red eyes sighting as a mere illusion. As such, she continued with her shopping.

"I need to buy some medical supplies..."

Muttering to herself, Sereinia made her way with ease through the crowd of people who would occasionally greet her which she returns pleasantly. Soon, she reached the medical store and bought the things she needed. When the transaction was done, she exited the shop and saw those red eyes once more so prominent upon the dark background of an alley directly opposite of the store.

"Could this really be..."

Yet before anything could be concluded, a strong wind passed by making Sereinia's long raven black hair fly with such ferocity. It obscured her vision as she placed her hand to her head to maintain the other strands to stay put. When the wind had passed, she looked at the alley once more and those red eyes were gone.

"Huh? Another illusion?"

Sereinia wondered to herself. It was hard to believe that she was hallucinating on broad daylight. In addition, she was not sleep deprived to suffer such mental ailments. Although, there was a slight emptiness in her for not having Shadow beside her. It cannot be helped for she now understood that he was the man she adored. Thinking about it, a faint blush tainted her cheeks. Perhaps, it was caused by such desire.

"Do I miss him that much?"

Shaking her head, Sereinia did it in a manner almost completely childish. She only did it to calm herself and to dismiss such thoughts for now. There was no time to think of things especially now. Taking a deep breath, she proceeded to return to the inn. She had already brought everything that she needed. After all, she did promise to come back as soon as she can. Looking at the skies, she could see Sora's form flying above. Their avian companion was truly a helpful friend to have around. With such a thought, a small smile decorated her face.

"Excuse me."

Those words averted her attention as she stepped away. It seemed that she was impeding the pathway due to her actions. Sereinia apologized so sincerely however while doing so, she sensed once more that odd feeling. Looking to her side, she saw those red eyes once more. They gazed upon her with such intensity. It was finally decided that this was not a mere illusion or anything. This was for real and the fact that this could not be Shadow. There was only one possibility as she spoke it.

"Ms. Era?"

From the darkness those ruby red eyes glowed and simmered, threatening to burn a hole through Sereinia's heart and soul before finally revealing the being they were attached to. From out of the shadows, the figure of a young woman came forth very slowly. Her fair skin and long pink hair betrayed her as none other then Shadow's younger sister, Era. Standing tall at 5' 9", she was just barely shorter than Sereinia was, but her muscle mass and athletic figure told the good doctor that Era was anything but the sweet, delicate flower that she was by comparison.

Era came forward with a calm stride, standing before Sereinia with a smile that did not seem sincere in any way, shape or form. It was, in fact, the exact same smile which Shadow gave to those he was either going to kill, those he was lying to, or those he simply did not care for. Sereinia had received this smile once or twice during the first leg of their adventure together when she and Shadow had first met, but seeing it again likely brought back memories of that strange and frightening time. The fact that Era's cold gaze looked exactly like Shadows was not helping the situation, given that the two shared strong physical similarities in the jawline, shape of the eyes, shape of the mouth, and even their ear shape. All genetic ties of blood relation, confirming, without the red eye coloration, that they were beyond a doubt brother and sister.

Era came forward and looked Sereinia dead in the eyes, walking a single circle around the good doctor as she examined her up and down before stopping in her original position and giving her that same, empty smile as before.

At first, Sereinia could not comprehend those subtle touches of intimidation or emptiness. For she was completely taken aback by the similarities between Era and Shadow. The traits which tied those two as blood siblings. It was also the same thing with Amalthea and Xenon. They were not completely alike yet, there are tidbits of traits that allow them to be defined as siblings. If Sigmund was still alive and she was never called back as a Cretian Princess, she wondered if people would recognize them as brother and sister. They did not even had an ounce of similarity in regards to physical appearance. With such a thought, a haze of sadness flashed ever so briefly in her eyes.

"Well met, Sereinia. Taira has told much about you and your ties to my brother... If you don't mind my asking, what is such a delicate flower as you doing in such a setting as this? Traveling alongside the Red-Eyed Demon? Taking on a series of trials and issues which aren't really even your own? What drives you to behave like this I wonder?"

She asked, cocking her head to the side with an impish smile, although the tone of her voice betrayed a deadly seriousness and warning beneath the surface. It was fairly clear that what Shadow said was true, that Era was here first to test Sereinia before continuing further down this road.

Snapping from her far off look, Sereinia had finally noticed that Era had come close to her. The Princess only hoped that Era did not find such an action rude. It also seemed that she was checking her like an object for sale or auction. But now thinking about it, the smile on Era's face reminded her of a memory in the past. It was the exact smile she disliked seeing on Shadow before. She did recall reprimanding him for such a thing. In any case, she allowed those thoughts to be dismissed. There were questions being asked of her and it was her morality to never lie.

"I told him that everything he breaks. I will fix it. Although, I am not certain how much I could really do. I will still do it. Even if the whole world turns against him, even if everyone calls him a liar, and even if comes to hate himself, I will be by his side always. This is my resolve. and that is...."


It was spoken with complete honesty and pride. Sereinia had a genuine smile on her lips while her amethyst eyes seemed to sparkle with such an answer. She had always pondered before the reason of her coming with Shadow. At their first meeting, she had gone to him to be kept safe from his enemies and also out of curiosity of what kind of a person was the infamous Red-Eyed Demon. Then, it just happened. She was not certain when or how it developed to such a feeling. Actually, she would have been lost to such an emotion without the aid of the Empress Regalie. Looking above her, she could still sea Sora soaring above. Her feelings was yet to be revealed to Shadow, himself. She did not want him to worry about reciprocating it or what to do. It is best for him to simply stay focused on his goals. So, she would also concentrate on the things she could do. Gazing back at Era, there was a brilliant confidence in those eyes and sincerity. Her cheeks had a faint blush making her look more beautiful as she continued on.

"Because I am a girl who is selfishly in love with him."


Era's smile faded, and all sense of playfulness, caution, or even respect faded into nothing. As she stepped forward, Era's face came within a mere inch of Sereinia's, her red eyes widening and glowing brighter in the same manner as Shadow's did when he was facing a powerful and evil foe.

"To love him... What does such a thing truly mean to someone like you?"

Era asked as she started walking a slow circle around Sereinia like a wolf circling its prey.

"The first to love him opened his heart to the world, but for this she paid the ultimate price which caused his heart to darken yet further... The second to love him was the one who rescued his fading heart and proved to him that he was in fact a human being and not a Demon whose only purpose in life was to kill, not to mention she could stand up to him in combat when necessary, and once even defeated him when he entered Roda I'l Lousta... What have you to offer him, Princess of Cre' Est? What is there for your heart and your feelings to provide him that he has not already found?"

She asked, Era's voice dripping with ire and venom as her eyes continued to glow ominously in the darkened street.

Sereinia noticed the changed in Era's demeanor. She was slightly startled by it. However, those eyes so similar to Shadow did not brought her uneasiness. Instead, it give her a certain understanding. It seemed so odd to find a semblance of comfort in those eyes that many had denoted to be frightening and hideous. For anyone who had seen such a thing would obtain certain death. Was she not afraid of death? No, she was afraid of it. Yet, there are matters in her life that take precedence before such thing.

"Nothing."

This was the simple answer of Sereinia to Era's question of what would she be able to give Shadow. She was not familiar with the women in Shadow's life. Although, she had met Linde during the Bloody New Year event. She knew well that in comparison with such a person. There was nothing she could win against. She was useless in combat and gives more trouble than she was worth it. Many thing had happened to her that she could remember Shadow commenting that she was a trouble magnet. Although, it was spoken in a playful manner. She knew there was truth in those words.

"I can only give him trouble. I always have. From the very moment we met. It was always him saving me. That has not changed even now. Furthermore, at some point... I must chose whether to stand for my throne or stand by his side. I know that this time I have with him is simply a reprieve."

Lowering her head, Sereinia's grip on her shopping bags tightened. Her demeanor eroded to broken fragility and sadness. At the same time, her voice had the tone of bitter sweetness to it.

"As a doctor, I could help him with his wounds. As a princess, I am a responsibility. As a woman, I am a burden. It is also no secret to him that our beliefs vary greatly on how to do things. It would even lead us to argue at some point. That is why he would do what he does best. He would hide it from me."

Raising her head, Sereinia's eyes glowed with renewed determination. Tears gathered on it making it shimmer so delicately as she continued on.

"Despite knowing all of that. I want him to share his troubles with me. I want to know everything he feels. I do not want him to hide anymore. I want him to be free. I want to be the one to scold him, to argue with him, to remind him, to welcome him back home without pretenses. I might not be reliable in stopping his rampage as I am worthless in fighting. I may not be able to promise of not hurting him in the future. But, I will promise to be his protector even from himself. This time, I will protect him."

Era was somewhat shocked to see the Princess react to her with such resolve and unflinching bravery. In the face of those demonic red eyes, she showed absolutely no hesitation or reluctance to answer whatsoever, nor did she stutter or act like there was any intimidation at all. In the past, Era had used the exact same glare to frighten and intimidate men twice her size into submission without a fight, but this girl, this Princess, was taking it all in as if it were nothing.

... Interesting... Era thought to herself.

"So... You will protect him?" She asked as she continued to circle Sereinia like a wolf.


"You know Linde said the same thing just before she found out that Shadow's path was too much for her?"

Era said, coming to stop in front of Sereinia.

"Linde is just as in love with him as you are... perhaps even more so given how much she sacrificed for him during the years they spent together. She thought she could protect him, just as you think you can now. She tried, many times, but failed. Since Linde was a powerful healer, a gentle lover, and a ferocious fighter. I am trying but I cannot see, Princess, how you will succeed where she failed."

Era came forward again, placing her face right in front of Sereinia's.

"Give me one reason to trust your word that you can do what she could not... If you can't, you're dead where you stand." She threatened.

Amethyst eyes looked at the crimson eyes of Era without wavering. Sereinia listened to those words about Linde. True, how could she protect Shadow when a more powerful woman than her had chosen to divert from such a path. From the very beginning, the roads she and Shadow ought to travel were vastly different. She was a traveling doctor who sworn an oath to save lives. He was an assassin who knew only to kill to achieve his goals. Now, she was a princess that will inherit the right to rule a nation. Their roads never connected from each other to begin with. It never had, but still...

"You are right. I never knew that this was love. I just recently discovered it in a seemingly harmless conversation. The things that Linde gave I cannot and never will replace that. She can be a better protector than I can. I cannot do battles and I would not. Her love is great and I will never compare mine to that. Because we two are different individuals."

Sereinia paused for a moment and felt the tears started to trickle down her face. Yet, there was no sadness or fear in those eyes. Instead, there was brimming sincerity and determination.

"But I will not die by your hands or any one else. I will live. Killing is not an option. I am not a sympathizer for such a thing. I know that at some point my life will be in the hands of death and there would be a time where destroying everything in my path could be the only viable option to survive. But do understand, I make my own choices. So, I will chose to defeat you and survive. I will never allow Shadow to feel alone again or be left behind. So even if I had to face a demon or the gods themselves to keep him safe, I will make the impossible possible. I will with everything I have though, it is not much. I will not let him go ever again. I will stand by his side whether you like it or not. I will never give up on him and that is my promise."

In all of Sereinia's life, she had never made light of her promises. It was like telling a lie. She never did such a thing growing up. As such, her promises are her bonds. It was something she will never break no matter what happens.

Era stared deep into Sereinia's eyes as she spoke, examining every tiny detail on the Princess's face and within those deep purple eyes she was known for. Everything about them told Era that what the Princess said was true, and if she was willing to fight a hopeless battle to prove her love, then that was enough for Era.

The young girl with red eyes backed away from Sereinia to a distance of two paces, and watched her for a moment longer with indifference carried in her expression, but it was soon broken by a most unexpected turn.

"Your heart is true, and though you are a fool, those in love can be considered nothing less."

Era said, a genuine and gentle smile crossing her lips with her eyes betraying admiration and respect.

"Sereinia, I apologize for the harshness of my questions. Though I did it to understand who you are, I regret that I must be so brutal in my methods. I, like you, have sworn to protect my brother from all that would bring him harm, be it physical, mental or spiritual. My brother may be one of the most powerful men alive, but he is still only a man after all."

She took a step forward and embraced Sereinia, gently wrapping her arms around the girl's head and shoulders as she held her close.

"You have a strange and special gift, according to Taira, to help my brother realize further his humanity. His enjoyment of the festival before all chaos was unleashed is one such example of what you do for him. As deeply as Linde loves him, and as much as he cares for her, she was unable to open him to such things. It was one of the many reasons for which she decided to leave his company, because she knew that she had failed him and that he needed something more than she could offer."

Era kept her hands on Sereinia's shoulders, but backed out of the embrace for a moment.

"It seems that you have that gift which Linde could not give, and I can understand now why Taira wanted me to find you."

Era took a moment to smile at Sereinia once more before taking a few steps away from her and looking towards the rooftops above them.

"It seems he has found us..."


She said, and no sooner had she said that than Shadow's form came into view and landed softly by his sister's side.

He stood up straight, looking at Sereinia and ten at Era, who nodded to him with that same smile she had given Sereinia. Shadow let out a relieved sigh, and smiled at Sereinia as well. Standing side by side, the similarities were even more striking than trying to compare them mentally, and Shadow and Era could very well have been taken as twins were it not for Era's pink hair and slightly more feminine facial features.

"I do hope my sister didn't cause too much trouble."

Shadow said, extending his hand out to Sereinia. Looking at the hand Shadow reached out to her, Sereinia took it gently and had a very cheerful smile on her face.

"Welcome back, Shadow! I was very happy to meet your sister, Ms. Era."

She then looked to Era and then to Shadow multiple times. It was almost quite adorable as Sereinia resembled a child truly mystified. She did see twins and people who looked alike however, there was something enthralling about the presence of these two before her. Without a hesitation, she gave her shopping bags to Shadow with a wink as if to compensate and then with a free hand took hold of Era's hand.

"You two will be coming with me right? I will prepare a delicious treat."

Giving both hands that Sereinia held a tug, she gaze towards the Lion's Mane and waited for the response of the two. At this moment, she knew that there would be a lot of obstacles and danger. Moreover, she could be much helpless in any situation. However, she was happy with him and here right now. Honestly, this is what mattered to her the most.

"Live."

That was the word of her mother. So, Sereinia will live on and follow her heart even if it would be deemed foolish. This was her treasure and she will cherish and protect it with both of her hands.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Mayumi Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Footnotes

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Dietrich Faust




Dietrich glanced at Mayumi as she emerged from the door that led onto the roof of the Lion's Mane. She plopped down and began reading a book. He paused from practicing his forms and rested Gewalt on his shoulder.

"I thought you were with the Princess." He stated, raising an eyebrow at the bird circling the building. "You think its alright to leave her alone?"

Upon hearing her response, Dietrich's attention was grabbed by a group of people approaching the inn. He recognized two of them immediately, the third was an unfamiliar woman. He could only guess that this was the sister Shadow told them about. If that was the case, than it seemed Shadow didn't consider her dangerous. She was beautiful, but held herself with a deadly grace that betrayed her lethal experience. Dietrich sighed; so many worthy foes, and he couldn't fight any of them.

"Well, looks like they've already gotten chummy with Shadow's sister." He pointed out to Mayumi.

He waved a greeting down to the three in the street and then headed for the stairs.

"You want to come and meet your new comrade?" He asked the silver haired girl.

He proceeded down the stairs into the main hall of the Lion's Mane, and cleaned off a table for the group that would be entering the doors at any moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Era
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Footnotes

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Sereinia Lucis Nouralail
"Sometimes the warmth you need comes from those far from you..."



Image
"So, Sereinia... If you don't mind my asking, what was it like growing up with a loving family? I heard from Shadow that you have an aunt or something like that here in the nation of Triveila whom you care about very much. So what was it like growing up with someone like that?"

Looking at Era, the good doctor continued with her walk while Era accompanied her. She then looked at the sky where the sun was quite bright. The sky was a beautiful azure while the city itself was bustling with life. Everyone was unaware of the darkness that hides from the deepest recess of this nation. However, she did not want to think about it for now. After all, she had decided to live in the present than in the past or future.

"It was a warm feeling like none other."

Remembering the days of her childhood, a bright smile could be seen on her lips. Sereinia could recall where her adoptive father would constantly dissuade some of the village boys away from her. It was really comedic and how delicious his pastries and bread were. As for her adoptive mother, she was so kind and quite the tomboy who would wrestle her husband when needed. Then, there was her little brother who she think of as her world. He was always hopeful and cheerful, even when his future seemed so bleak.

"Before I lived with my Aunt, I had grew up with a father, mother, and a little brother. There are times we get into arguments. Yet, it only showed we cared for each other. Every time, I am with them. It was fine to be who you are without any pretenses. A place of complete security."

Then, Sereinia recalled the sad events that occurred which obscured such happy memories with tragic ones. Her deep amethyst eyes had a glaze of loneliness in them. As such, she lowered her gaze and continued on.

"Losing them made my world crumble. It was then my Aunt Beatiz took me in. She was loud and rambunctious. I did not want to do anything with anybody at that time. Still, she pestered me relentlessly. It was like she wanted to make my time move once more."

Stopping from her walk, Sereinia gazed at Era once more. She was not sure how Era and Shadow were raised but she could assume some things. The two siblings never had a normal childhood like hers. As such, she could tell herself that she was far lucky. Even though, she was adopted. Her family treated her without pretenses. They expected nothing from her but to live as she had wanted. It was nothing short of a miracle for her. As a result, a bright smile was again on her lips.

"I always worry her and I do not want that. I write her letters to ease her concerns. It is nice to know that wherever you go, there is someone waiting for you. You have a home to come back to. Someone who does not expect anything out of you. A place where you can just be yourself. Although, she would often scold me from time to time. It was out of her love and desire not to see me get hurt. A gentle support for me."

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow




Era listened to Sereinia's story and thought to herself about whether or not to tell Sereinia the nature of both her and her brother's upbringing. Shadow, no doubt, had at least told her that they were basically tortured into killing machines, but she had to wonder as to whether or not he'd been more specific as to just how brutal it was and how alone they truly were during that time. Shadow and Era had known exactly who their mother was, but she was never actually considered as a "mother" to them due to what she had done to them, but more specifically, Shadow.

Era closed her eyes and stopped walking, leaning against the building nearest to her and turning her head towards the sky. As she combed through her memories, and the details as to the subtle differences in the way she was trained from her brother's training, she couldn't help but smile out of sadness.

Shadow's birth itself was considered an accident, as the Highmaster hadn't intended to have children when they took over Te'i Sai. Never the less, Shadow was born all the same. The Highmaster had planned on killing the child until he opened his eyes for the first time, and those crimson spheres within were revealed to the world. The possibilities for what those eyes could do to others, the images and messages they could send with but a glance were almost endless. It was only because of his eyes that he was spared a premature death, and it was because of those eyes that he was turned into the Red-Eyed Demon.

Shadow, at the tender age of four months old, was placed in a pit with several other infants and live weapons were dropped into the pit. Shadow had picked up a small knife and wailed it around, cutting several other children and actually killing several of them. He was rescued from the pit after about four hours, and when he learned to walk at the age of eight months, he was already being taught to mimic the Master Assassin movements of punching and kicking, and by the age of two, he was already a fighter with a level of strength beyond that of his peers.

When he was only five years old, Shadow took his first life as a professional Assassin. He was sent out to kill a man on a suicide mission, but remarkably, despite the fact that he was apprehended for killing his target, he was able to escape and returned to Te'i Sai on his own. When he returned, the Grandmaster Takai had the child beaten and was preparing to kill him when the Highmaster intervened. Once again, his life was spared thanks to the Highmaster, but only to have him thrown to the wolves and trained by the Grandmasters themselves. Over the next year, the "training" was little more than torture to destroy his mind, body and spirit, and before his sixth birthday he was a lifeless shell.

When he was seven years old, the legend of the Red-Eyed Demon began with Shadow taking the lives of over ten people in a single night by sneaking into a church and shooting the priest and some of the choir. This was Shadow's first and only venture using a gun, as it proved to be too loud and obnoxious for his taste. He then switched to a sword, but found it too slow. He settled on dual daggers since they were small, concealable, fast and accurate. Over time, Shadow's training intensified, and by the time he was twelve he was already an equal to Mayumi's current level of skill. The legends of the Red-Eyed Demon spread like wildfire from a simple bogey-man story about a demon possessing a child on a single night of death and sorrow to a living, breathing, nightmare which gripped the entire continent in fear by the time he was fourteen.

All along the way, in these first fourteen years of life, Shadow had taken well in excess of two and a half thousand lives. His eyes were the single nightmare which gripped the entire continent to a greater extent than even the thought of global war. The thought of the Red-Eyed Demon laying eyes on you was the ultimate bad omen, and that if you met his gaze you were already dead, and that your body just didn't know it. By the time he was seventeen, Shadow's personal body count had risen to over seven thousand. Shadow had been known to have mercilessly slaughtered innocent women, children, elderly and even the sickly. He'd killed homeless people for the fun of it, and had purposefully disobeyed orders from the Grandmasters themselves to the point where he'd go out and kill dozens of people just to pass the time.

He was under consideration for the position of Grandmaster until his disobedience reached a peak, and he was henceforth rejected as a candidate even though it was a well known fact that he was stronger, faster, tougher, and more skilled than any of them.

Most of Shadow's problems disappeared when he met a young woman named Iris Di' Nelma, but after her death his homicidal tendencies returned to him in force, and out of anguish over her passing he vented his rage by purposefully triggering Roda I'l Lousta in a heavily crowded area of the Capitol City in Shaharan, which ended with the deaths of over three hundred people. Shadow's time of mourning lasted until the day he chose to rebel against Te'i Sai at the age of twenty one years of age. Shadow met Taira and Era in the course of the first few months, and met Linde and Drake shortly thereafter. The five of them together were able to topple the Roda Valley branch of Te'i Sai in the nation of Cre' Est by isolating and killing the Grandmaster Takai. Era was responsible for killing the second Grandmaster in Shaharan about two years later, thanks to Shadow drawing the attention of the fortress into the open while Era infiltrated and conquered.

Since then, Shadow's recovery, both mental and physical, had been very slow and very rough. Linde was a definite pillar of hope and strength for him, but after she departed from his company, Shadow's recovery slowed and regressed somewhat. Era had seen a positive change in him since that time to now, however, and she was now quite convinced that Sereinia was a large cause for that recovery.

She finally opened her eyes and looked at Sereinia with a smile.

"Shall we return to the inn now? I have a feeling that Shadow will return before long, and when he comes back I have a strong feeling that some alone time with you might do him some good." She said, giving Sereinia a wink.

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Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Era
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Sereinia Lucis Nouralail
"Do you know I have three wishes and one is..."



"Shall we return to the inn now? I have a feeling that Shadow will return before long, and when he comes back I have a strong feeling that some alone time with you might do him some good."

The Princess wondered if it was normal for a human to change emotions so quickly. She is a doctor and yet this condition was something completely foreign to her. Era's playful innuendo accompanied by a meaningful wink had caught Sereinia off guard which instantly made her fluttering feelings of bliss and fulfillment turned into seemingly having fleeting butterflies within her stomach which was impossible to begin with.

"Eh...?"

Adding to that, Sereinia could feel her blood rushing to her cheeks from the heat radiating from her face. She was certain that they were now red as a ripen apple. As a result, she quickly walked ahead of Era in an effort to hide her blushing face. She also lowered her head to add more cover from the passing crowds. If she had no realized the meaning of her feelings, she would have simply answered the question and would not act like a child caught stealing a cookie inside a jar. However, this was normal right?

"Yes, let us return..."

This was the rather hurried response by the Princess who was still blushing furiously about having the notion to spend some alone time with Shadow. Sereinia was truly confused for before she would not be bothered by the fact being alone with the man. In reality, she had been with him most of time without the company of others. During those memories of hers, she had not once felt this awkwardness. Perhaps, it was because of her coming in terms of her feelings than ignoring them all together. Stopping from her tracks, she did not directly looked at Era as she asked.

"Do you really think he would be happy with me alone?"

Her eyes were looking on the ground as if it was the most interesting in this world. Fidgeting hands as Sereinia placed them behind her. The manner she asked her question could be identified as bashful in every manner. This only made the Princess appear so adorable and fragile. The uncertainty and the hopefulness in her words were well-delivered without any sort of deception.

"I want him to be happy..."

Those words acted more like a reminder to herself. Sereinia's blush receded and the rapid beating of her heart settled into its normal rhythmic phase. She knew for a fact that Shadow and everyone were going to do something once more in Triveila. Their plans eluded her and she did not want to know them as well. It was for the better as she would have been quite dejected and rebellious towards Shadow's way of doing things. As such, she was left blank in such matters. She had also reminded Shadow that violence could never be the best solution. However, their opinions on how to do accomplish a goal were greatly different. Yet, she cannot help but run after him and wish him happiness all the same.

"Era..."

ImageRaising her head, Sereinia position her body sideways as she faced Era with those deep purple eyes of hers filled with gentle realization and sincere resolve. There was also a loving smile on her lips.

"I really love Shadow."

After that declaration, Sereinia had a rather more pleasant atmosphere around her. She may be seen as a fool for falling in love with a man who had been condoned by the society as a Demon. People will describe her as irresponsible as she would rather stay beside a criminal than take her duties as a Crown Princess of Cre' Est. Being a selfish daughter could also be added, she was having a grand time here with everyone while her birth parents were riddled with problems. There were the Empress who was fighting against enemies in the dark and The Emperor who had yet to wake from his coma. She knows all of these but this time here and now. All she wanted was to think of what she could grasp for now. Moreover, she wanted to spend a little more time with him.

"I wonder if he is already back at the inn..."

She asked to no one in particular as it was more of a query to herself. Although, Era was free to answer it. In any case, Sereinia was more happy than before as she continued on her way to return to the inn. Hoping, Shadow would be there done with his chores.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Mayumi Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow & Era




Shadow returned to the inn just as the sun had gone down, enjoying the ability to walk freely through the streets with brown eyes thanks to those wretched little eye drops. While he didn't like hiding his eyes from the world, as there was a certain comfort brought to him by the distance, fear, and respect they garnered, Shadow did truly enjoy walking the streets as a normal person would. It gave him more of an insight into how people lived, moved, spoke, and went about their days. If he wanted to blend with the crowds, this was the way to do it.

When Shadow returned, Era had brought Sereinia back safely, and Mayumi and Dietrich seemed to have had a little interaction as well, albeit not much if Shadow knew Mayumi as well as he thought he did. The poor girl was still almost as closed off as Shadow had been when he first started his rebellion after meeting Iris all those years ago. He knew that it would take some drastic changes in her life to show her what she truly was and why it was that she was not really a weapon. If there was one thing her previous master had made difficult for Shadow, it was proving that she was a human first and a weapon second.

Shadow greeted everyone upon his return and laid out his plans for the morrow. Shadow and Mayumi would take the fight to Te'i Sai, whose headquarters lie in a conveniently central location within the city. With any luck they would find the Grandmaster and kill him before he could retreat from the city and return to his true fortress outside the Capitol City over three hundred miles away. If he got out of the city before Shadow and the others got to him, they'd never catch him before he made it back, so stealth was paramount. Shadow and Mayumi would leave under cover of darkness, with Shadow donning his original uniform of all black materials which Era had kept for him all this time. Dietrich would patrol the streets, and wherever he saw Te'i Sai or Roda Ah K'mht which he knew he could defeat based on Shadow's descriptions, he was to engage and annihilate. If he suffered injuries, he was to return to the inn where Era would be guarding Sereinia.

It was simple and straightforward, but it presented a lot of risks to all parties involved, though Shadow and Mayumi would be taking the brunt of the punishment if things were to go wrong.

After discussing the plans, Shadow left everyone to their own devices once more. Mayumi did what she usually does, which was to take to the rooftops. Era decided to dot he same, though she decided to patrol the surrounding area for potential threats or spies. She offered Mayumi the chance to tag along and help her if she thought it was necessary, but she didn't wait up for a response. If Mayumi was going with her, she would tag along and keep up on her own. Dietrich was still a bit of a mystery to Shadow, and he didn't much pay attention to where he went for the time being. He knew, however, that eventually he'd have to have a more in depth conversation with the Line-Breaker to better understand who he was and what he could do. The training was great, but Shadow could only learn so much from actions alone.

In the meantime, Shadow took Sereinia with him on a stroll through the streets, keeping his eyes hidden behind the veil that was the eye color changing drops he kept with him, as there were still other people out and about since the sun's light was still peeking over the horizon.

"Sereinia, what do you think of Era?" He asked, looking over at her as they walked together.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Mayumi Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Dietrich Faust
"On my own against the odds. Good, I won't have to check my swings."




"Patrolling again... I suppose that's what I'll be used as for now. Too useful to keep back with the Princess, not useful enough to use on the front-line."

Dietrich cast furtive glances around himself as he blended the best he could in the crowd. He had bought a long black cloak earlier, and was using it as a kind of make-shift disguise. Of course he couldn't mask Gewalt, but at least his armor, shortsword, and other gear would be hidden. With luck, he would appear to be just another wandering sellsword.

"Well, to be honest, that's exactly what I am..."

Then again, Dietrich wasn't so sure if he had ever been "just another sellsword". He had never fought for money. He had fought because that was all he knew how to do, and because he loved it. Still, the feeling of inferiority that had been gnawing at him ever since beginning this adventure refused to leave him. He had fought his way all the way to what he thought was the top, the highest rung of the ladder, the top of the food chain. Now though, his eyes had been opened to see that the ladder was much higher than he had first thought. On top of that, it seemed that when the ladder ended, a small flight of stairs waited. Shadow was up there somewhere, on those stairs above the ladder.

Early on, Dietrich had decided that he wanted to climb that ladder, and reach those stairs. It would be incredibly unsightly if he were not able to provide an acceptable challenge for the man that would one day grant him his Doom. Shadow's training had been incredibly helpful, Dietrich felt like he had reached a new peak in ability, but it still wouldn't be enough. Not if he wanted to climb higher.

He abandoned the streets, tightly packed with morning traffic, and moved into the alleyways. It was still cool and dark in the alleys, the sun had yet to rise high enough to penetrate the deepest corners of the city. Very few people wandered these areas, for fear of thieves and muggers, none of whom could pose a threat to him. Dietrich hated these places. The people in the slums seemed to exude an unshakeable aura of pure hopelessness. The people had no fire, no passion. They were dead, but still walked. No matter how prosperous, every city had these places.

Normally Dietrich would avoid such a slum. However, he had a suspicion that if any assassin chaos ensued in the city, following Shadow's attack, it would most likely begin here. The abandoned, forsaken dark corners of the city would make easy staging grounds for murderous bands. All that was left to do now was to wait for the inevitable. The exciting prospect of imminent combat made his palms begin to tingle with anticipation.

Briefly, his thoughts drifted to the Princess. Dietrich wondered if she would be safe at the Inn, without Shadow or himself to guard her. Then he remembered the presence of Era, and his mind was put to some rest. He had no first-hand knowledge of her ability, but Shadow had made it clear she could handle herself. Mayumi was with Shadow, so she would be fine. Actually, now that he thought about it, Dietrich was the only one on his own today. The realization made him grin.

Either they're trying to get rid of me, or they think more of me than I realized.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Mayumi Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow




Once Mayumi had made her way over to his side, Shadow looked over at her, then to Sora, and then back to the compound before them. His mind was working in ten directions and thinking of all the possibilities which could present themselves, or at least those which were the most likely to occur. No matter which one he went with, he couldn't figure out why this was going so well. Te'i Sai was never this sloppy, nor were they ever this lax on their defenses. If the Grandmaster was here, he was either extremely confident that whoever was with him inside would be enough to stop Shadow, or just a fool who had forgotten how dangerous Shadow truly was.

"... Stay close and stay quiet... I don't like this." He said in a quiet and low voice.

The two of them approached the wall of the compound and scaled its side to a third story window. Shadow hopped inside first, and found the room to be just another empty room with a bed, dresser, desk, mirror, and wardrobe. It was as if it was a room in a regular house.

... Could Taira have been wrong about this? He thought to himself as Mayumi hopped in behind him.

Shadow led her through the compound room by room, checking each one and each time he did so he found nothing waiting for them. One by one, the rooms yielded absolutely nothing in his search for the Grandmaster. It was beginning to grow tiresome and very frustrating for Shadow to continually find nothing when Taira said that this was in fact the place where they needed to be. The search continued for about one hour's time until Shadow called an end to it. They had searched every room and checked each one for any signs of hidden passages, but there was nothing whatsoever to find. As they stood in the hallway, Shadow pulled out Taira's letter to him from one of the small pouches on his belt in the back beneath the Twin Daggers.

He read it one time through in its entirety to see if there was anything he'd missed, and then there was a chilling, and horrifying realization which struck him like a cold and ruthless slap to the face.

"Mayumi......" He said quietly.

"Get out of here... now." He said, his voice soft but commanding.

No sooner had he said those words than did several of the rooms suddenly burst into flame around them. The entire compound was rocked by a large explosion from the basement, knocking both Shadow and Mayumi off their feet. As they fell to the ground, Shadow looked up to see one of the overhead beams falling directly onto Mayumi, but thankfully Shadow was able to flip his body over in time to take the impact of the beam as he held himself over her. He shoved the beam off of his back and picked Mayumi up, forcing her to her feet and pushing her towards one of the rooms with a lesser amount of fire.

"Go!" He shouted.

Shadow had other matters to attend to now, and it was clear to him that Mayumi was no longer safe by his side.



"... So my dear, what do you think of our plan?" Came a dark, cold voice from the shadows around her.

Taira's hands and feet were bound, and her lower left lip bleeding with several other wounds indicative of torture to be found across her body. Her arms were weak, her legs trembled from what had been done to her, and her voice had grown raspy and soft. She looked up as best she could, her eyes landing on those of her captor who stood before her with a subtle but wicked smile on his face.

"You'll never be able to pull it off..." She declared, her voice cutting off from pain and hoarseness at the end.

The figure before her laughed audibly, but made no move from his spot several feet away.

"Ah, my dear Taira. So much faith in your master... It's touching, really. However, you seem to have overlooked the fact that he and I are as equals in almost every way. You cannot truly expect him to stand against me after what's about to happen to him, can you?"

Taira tried to force a smile but her lips would not move. She could only glare at him defiantly.

"Do not overestimate yourself... You'll never be his equal no matter how hard you try." She said, pride in her voice.

At that statement, the figure before her turned cold to match his tone of voice, his smile having since withered.

"Hmph. Your ignorance blinds you, Taira. If only you knew how far back the two of us really go, you'd not be so confident in your master's ability to defeat me."

Taira spat at his feet once her lips found strength again to do so, and she continued to glare at him defiantly and speak with confidence and pride despite the fact that her voice was weak and she needed several breaks to catch her breath in between words.

"It seems to me that you are the one who's... Ignorant here... Especially if you truly believe what you're saying... Your past means nothing in the face of the here and now, and Shadow has you beat... You know it too, don't you? That's why you have to... Resort to such tactics to beat him... Because he's too strong for you in a head to head match?"

The eyes of the figure before her flashed with rage as he slammed his fist into the side of her face, knocking her over in her chair onto the floor, blood trickling from her mouth into a small puddle around her face.

"You know nothing, girl. If I wanted it so, he would already be dead. These tactics mean nothing in the face of my skill and ability, they simply help to ensure that I get what I want. The powerful deserve to rule over the weak, and Shadow is the weakest of them all. He deserves to be humiliated, broken down, and discarded like the trash that he is. You can believe what you like, but your master will fall before me soon enough, and there is nothing you can say that will change that."

With that, the figure stormed out of the room, leaving her lying on the floor bound to her chair as her blood slowly gathered around her head.

As she lay there, thinking about what would happen to her, an explosion went off in one of the rooms around her which shook the walls, floors, and ceiling of her prison. It wasn't long before small fragments of the building began to fall onto her, each one stinging and feeling like another fist which found its target against her.

"... So this is where my story ends... How ironic." She thought to herself.



Shadow dashed through the burning house which was beginning to collapse, rapidly checking and rechecking each room he passed for signs of what Taira described in her letter. When Shadow had first read it, there was a certain word which caught his eye, but at the time he'd thought nothing of it. Only now, too late, did he realize that she was telling him that she was trapped. Her letter led him here because this is where she was, trapped inside this building as it was about to crush her to death. He knew now, after reading her letter, what to look for as far as passageways which he'd missed with Mayumi, and after searching as fast as he could for several minutes and weathering the heat of the flames, Shadow found what he was looking for. He pulled on a small statue in one of the lower rooms which provided the sound he was looking for, though it was barely audible through the flames and creaks of the weakening wood of the house around him.

Shadow tore the carpet away and saw the door to the chambers below. How he missed this before was unknown, as when he had walked on it before there was no sound to convince him it was hollow. Obviously, those who designed this place were much more shrewd than he thought, but this was no time to admire the work set into this place. Shadow broke through the small stone door which was unlocked thanks to that statue being moved, and slid down the ladder to the lower chambers beneath the house. One by one, he searched through each of the small confined spaces until finally, he broke down one final door, and there she was. She was lying very still on the ground, a small pool of blood gathered around her head. Shadow ran to her as fast as he could and tore her bindings, lifting her into his arms and making a mad dash for the exit.

He had some difficulty carrying her up the ladder, but when he made it back to the house the flames had only intensified and made escape nearly impossible, even for him. His eyes and mind worked frantically to find an exit he could use, until he was forced to realize that he was too late, and that the time had come already. Shadow looked up towards the ceiling and heard those horrible sounds of support beams giving way, and he looked to Taira in his arms, who looked back at him with sadness in her eyes as tears welled up within them. Shadow cupped her head into his shoulder and knelt down on one knee, setting her down in a curled up ball in front of his body as the beams overhead finally gave out. He wrapped his arms around Taira and held her in close to him flexing his body the moment the debris came into contact with his flesh, and was buried beneath a mountain of rubble which used to be the compound of a venerable family which likely met its end when Te'i Sai decided to take over.



Elsewhere in the city, a Line-Breaker was making his rounds in the city.

All around him, there was a gathering of men in grey robes with the red insignia of Te'i Sai following him. Though they didn't really have any reason to be doing so, they followed him anyway, as one of them had recognized him from the events several months ago when Shadow met his end. They lined themselves up on the rooftops, keeping quiet as could be as they continued to follow the Line-Breaker until at last, he had reached a rather isolated location where they could work their magic. They had no intention to kill him, but roughing him up would at least be a fun exercise.

At least... That's what they thought when they jumped off the rooftops and landed in a circle around him.



Era was sitting quietly and reading a book in one of the chairs near the window of the inn when the sound of the explosion in the distance caught her attention. Her head shot away from the book and to the source of the noise, and her eyes were wide with anxiety. She stood up, dropping her book to the floor as she approached the window. She looked out, passed the rows of rooftops before her to see the smoke just barely visible in the distance beginning to rise into the sky, signaling that something was horribly wrong.

Era could feel deep inside, that sensation that her brother was in danger.

Ever since they were little, even though they had never met until they were adults, Shadow and Era held a powerful bond which transcended the circumstances surrounding their upbringing and cemented their relationship as brother and sister. No matter the distance between them, when things went wrong, they could sense it. Her mind was linked to her brother's in a way most would never understand, but she could feel the emotions running through his mind and she could almost see through his eyes what was happening. One thing was certain, however, and that was that she was not going to tell Sereinia about where her brother was at the moment. Likely, if the good doctor was as in love with him as she claimed, she'd feel it too... that sense that something was horribly wrong.

Era was unconsciously beginning to try and leave through the window when her ears caught a sound which instantly turned her back in Sereinia's direction. She lunged forward and pushed Sereinia out of the way and caught the wrist of an Assassin from Te'i Sai in her right hand. In the hand of the Assassin was a large knife which closely resembled Shadow's Twins in overall design, but they were not made of Orichalcum, nor were they ever going to present the same kind of threat as the Twins did once in Shadow's hands. Era twisted his wrist and snapped both bones in his forearm just a short distance away from where her grip was, and she planted her foot deep into the man's stomach, churning his insides as she ground her foot in deeper and deeper until she heard his back crack. It was not broken, but it was a signal to her that she had done enough. She threw him aside and immediately pulled Sereinia in close behind her.

"Stay on me Sereinia, and do not wander." She ordered.

Carefully, Era led Sereinia out of the inn and into the streets, on her way to a special safe house which only Era and Shadow knew of. Along the way, she had to protect Sereinia from several would be attackers, but thanks to her skills, they proved to be as nothing. After almost ten minutes of running and fighting, Era led Sereinia to a lone house on the edge of town and got her to go inside once she checked that it was clear.

"Stay here and stay quiet until I come back for you. This city is becoming a battleground, and the farther you are from it the safer you'll be. I know that your first instinct will be to find Shadow, but you'd be doing both him and yourself a favor by staying out of it this time. If he knows you're safe, he can act to his full potential. If he knows you're in danger, he'll be worried about you and his focus will be split. It's safer for both of you if you remain here."

Not really waiting for an answer, Era closed the door on Sereinia and locked her inside. The lock for this door was on the outside, and Era had the only key. She put the key away and ran back into the city, intent on finding and helping her brother out of the mess he had gotten himself into.



Over an hour passed before the debris had weakened enough for him to slowly rise and push it off of himself and Taira.

Shadow was exhausted and wounded from the sheer weight of the rubble and debris falling on him, but by some stroke of unimaginable luck, several support beams remained in tact just enough to support a large sum of the debris above him so that Shadow had enough room to lift what was on top of him off so that he could get Taira out of here. The house was smoldering now, having burned for over an hour already, and Shadow picked up Taira and pried his way free of the debris around him. As he walked into the clean air outside the now burned down compound, his lungs found relief, as did Taira's, who now coughed to get some of the smokey residue from her throat.

Shadow set her down and sat down next to her, both of them exhausted from the aftermath of the house coming down on top of them. Shadow was strong, but holding up several hundred pounds of weight off of Taira from a burning building was no easy feat. He could feel that, while nothing was broken, he was in need of medical attention if he was to come out of this cleanly. Several points on his body were burned and/or deeply bruised, and if he was to recover properly, he'd need access to supplies he was not yet carrying with him. He stood up as best he could and flexed his body, feeling out where the worst points were from the pain they caused before straightening his back and cracking his neck. He looked at Taira, who was now unconscious, and picked her up once more and walked back into the city.

Slowly, step by step, Shadow's consciousness threatened to fade as well.

It wasn't until a stroke of luck came his way once more in the form of Era, who rapidly ran to her brother's side. She carefully embraced him and checked his wounds, applying a mild ointment to dull the pain in almost every location in question before agreeing to take Taira to Sereinia at Era's safe house.

Shadow, on the other hand, had someone to see... And it wasn't long before Shadow's patience was rewarded when Kiiro came forward to face him from out of the chaos which had since engulfed the city since Shadow's confinement in the burning compound.

"... Kiiro." Shadow said in a low and threatening voice.

Kiiro only smiled at him.

Shadow's galre said it all, and Kiiro's smile responded in kind. There were no real words which needed to be voiced between them. They were born on the same day, tossed into the same pit as infants, and brought up as Assassins at the same time. The only difference was how they were trained and by whom, but never the less Kiiro eventually was able to attain the same training which turned Shadow into the Red-Eyed Demon, and had since become his physical equal in strength, speed, agility, skill, stamina and endurance. The two of them had held an unnatural hatred for each other since they day they were born, somehow knowing even then that they would forever be enemies in all things. They stared at each other for a few moments longer, sizing each other up, until Kiiro made a rather unexpected move...

He walked away.

Shadow was rather confused and dumbfounded by what had just happened, as Kiiro had never backed away without a fight before without good reason. Shadow was exhausted and wounded, and now would have been the perfect time to fight him if he wanted to kill him. Shadow would not go down without a fight, but his chances for victory were not very high in his current state. For Kiiro to walk away required circumstance which eluded Shadow's mind as he tried to figure out what was going on. All around him the city was chaos. People screaming everywhere and running for their lives. Te'i Sai and Roda Ah K'mht both fighting in droves in the city streets. Fires and people fighting fires in several locations around the city. It was just one big mess, and somehow Kiiro was connected to it, but if he was willing to walk away from Shadow... How involved was he?

Shadow's answer came in the form of another individual who appeared to him from out of the haze.



Era made her way back to the safe house and unlocked the door. As she threw it open, Sereinia was inside waiting to be let out, but there was no time for that.

"Sereinia, help me stabilize Taira. After that we can go find Shadow. Get everything you have with you and anything you need from this room. It's stocked with medical supplies. Hurry!" She demanded.



Back in the streets, Shadow stared down this new opponent who stood before him. For whatever reason, Shadow could not gauge his abilities. Shadow had trained for so long, and had so much combat experience, that he was able to gauge any opponent's fighting prowess at a glance without ever needing to see them fight. This man though was different, and that had Shadow worried. If he had enough control over his body to hide his fighting prowess, then he was obviously going to be incredibly dangerous.

The man before Shadow was about six feet tall with dark brown hair cut short but straight along the top leading into a small point just above his forehead. There was grey around his temples, but other than that there were no outward signs of aging. He was lean, muscular, and held a similar build to Shadow, albeit slightly bigger. His face was clean and devoid of scars or signs of fatigue. His eyes were clear and sharp like that of a raptor, and his weaponry consisted solely of a single sword which was obviously made from Orichalcum judging by the handle and what little of the blade Shadow could see.

Once again, as with Kiiro, there were no words which needed to be spoken. Shadow rotated his neck in a circle and loosened up his shoulders, stretching his legs and arms both before standing up straight and waiting for his opponent to finish doing the same. When they were both satisfied, they glared each other down once more, neither one willing to instigate the first strike. In order to force the issue they inched closer and closer to each other, each step bringing them that much closer to being within striking range. Finally, they had reached arms length and were within range, but both were still reluctant to engage first. They stepped in circles around each other, neither one wiling to do anything more than feel the other out for any signs of weakness. Both fighters had a near flawless guard despite the fact that their hands were down, but each could tell the other was ready at any given moment.

Finally, the first move was made.

This unknown enemy struck first, and the speed at which he moved caught Shadow completely off guard. Shadow could not stop his attack, nor get away from it fast enough to avoid damage, and he ended up taking a glancing blow to the right side of his jaw as he staggered away a few steps to analyze what had just happened. When he felt his jaw and drew his hand away, there was a small trickle of blood coming from it. He looked at his opponent's hand and saw a small piece of flesh being flicked off of his index knuckle, and Shadow realized that the punch had come at him so fast that it actually caught his skin when it glanced to the side and tore a small section of it off.

Shadow was amazed at the speed at which his opponent moved, and he knew then and there... This was a fight he could not win.



After Era and Sereinia had stabilized Taira and allowed her to sleep in the safety of Era's safe house, Era led Sereinia through the streets to Shadow as fast as they were both humanly able to go. Era was able to feel each blow of the fight within her soul, though her physical body did not suffer the same pain. Finally, the fight was over, and she could sense that Shadow did not walk away victorious from it all. Through the streets and alleyways she led Sereinia to her brother, and finally found him lying unconscious in the middle of the road with either of the Twins embedded into the ground on either side of his head.

Oddly enough, this was an ancient symbol of respect from one warrior to another, victor to loser, to plant the loser's weapon(s) into the Earth at or around the head.

Shadow drew breath yet, but it was clear to Era upon a single glance that Shadow would not be waking up anytime soon.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Era
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INK




Thus, it began. The operation which entailed Shadow's and his allies lifelong goal, The fall of Te'i Sai. At the very least, Sereinia was informed of this detail. She knew of the organization from the myths before her ascension as a Princess. Now, she knew them well through experience and also through the various lectures she had received at Cre' Est from the hands of her private tutors which included self-reading. Once covered with honor was now blemished with the atrocities of sins. It would appear that no one was immune with the degradation in the hands of time. Even with that knowledge, she could not still help but be opposed to such an idea. Was there no other way than giving death? Yet, she also understood that the ways of such people had been ingrained deeply in their souls. It made her wonder if her vision of peace will be realized or was it really a foolish dream?

Thinking on it, Sereinia released a small sigh as she was preparing some of the medicines. She had been in such situations that the group would returned occasionally with some souvenirs from their expedition. Although, she has faith in them to return alive. There was still her never-ending concern. She only hoped that Shadow, Mayumi, and Dietrich would come back all safe and sound. With that lingering thought, she grabbed hold a small flask to begin her concoction of her own medicines. But in that instance, the flask escaped her grasp and shattered on the wooden floor. Yet, her attention was not taken by the crashing sound of the glass. It was the terrible and nauseating feeling of dread.

"Shadow..."

As if a premonition, an explosion from the distance took her and Era's attention who was left behind to watch over the Princess. The anxiety that Era was showing only cemented Sereinia's awful feeling. Something has terribly gone wrong. Her heart beat faster than she could ever anticipated and her complexion was slowly turning into a paler hue. She must find them. She must find him now. But before she could do such a thing, she was pushed away and the sound of bones breaking returned her slightly to the present. In the midst of her personal turmoil, an attack to her person was presented. This was a trap. It only fueled her fear for the safety of Mayumi, Dietrich, and Shadow further.

"Stay on me Sereinia, and do not wander."

Era's words cut through Sereinia's hazy consciousness as she felt her being pulled by Era to stay behind her. She did as she was told and soon the two of them were out of the Inn. Yet, it was not without a few tackles which was the same even when they were on the streets. The question of their destination entered the Princess' mind however, she was not able to ask Era about it. Not until, they had arrived at a lone house which was quite a ways from the main city proper. She wondered what they were doing here when it was clear that something bad had happened to their friends especially to Shadow. The fear and dread would still not subside within the Good Doctor's heart.

"Stay here and stay quiet until I come back for you. This city is becoming a battleground, and the farther you are from it the safer you'll be. I know that your first instinct will be to find Shadow, but you'd be doing both him and yourself a favor by staying out of it this time. If he knows you're safe, he can act to his full potential. If he knows you're in danger, he'll be worried about you and his focus will be split. It's safer for both of you if you remain here."

Before Sereinia could answer whether she approved of this action or not, the door was closed in front of her with the lock mechanism echoing through the still house. The memories of how Taira locked her up to avoid the events of the Bloody New Year flashed briefly through her mind. She tried opening the door yet, it was completely sturdy and she highly doubt that Era would leave her alone without an assurance that she could not leave without a miracle which the Princess was not capable of without the aid of another.

Lowering herself to the floor, Sereinia replayed Era's words to her much like a broken record. The truth in those statements cannot be denied. The last time she recklessly involved herself in the fray lead to his father's current state and trouble to the Twin Protectors who Shadow had asked to watch over her. Her actions always lead to irreversible consequences which she would carry as her sins for all time. Yet, the urge to search for Shadow on her own remained strong. Perhaps if she was much like Linde, she would not be too much of a burden in events like these. Yet, her morality of not harming continued to hamper such notions. In the end, she could only pray.

"Divine Auxureilla, please kept them safe... Please let them all return to me safely especially him... I beg of you..."

The Princess was uncertain how much time had passed by. But, she was sure that impatience was creeping on her like an awaiting predator. She had already looked around the house she was taken to. There were ample supplies here both for medical care and living expenses. This was for sure one of the safe houses. It was quite convenient that such structures were placed around the continent but also a bit saddening for the urgency to have one. Perhaps, someday they could make do without such a thing. It was then the door was opened halting Sereinia's thought in the middle. There was Era carrying a heavily injured woman which she could only identify as Taira.

"Sereinia, help me stabilize Taira. After that we can go find Shadow. Get everything you have with you and anything you need from this room. It's stocked with medical supplies. Hurry!"

Instinct of being a Doctor overtook Sereinia's concerns. For now, it was important to treat the wounds on Taira. Quickly tying her hair up, she proceeded to check the obvious wounds that could be seen. She immediately applied a primary aid to it and then continued treating it to ensure that it would not be infected or evolve into a critical one. The wound on Taira's head made the Princess concerned the most. She could treat the outer results of the wound and such. However, she could never correctly gauge whether there would be a lasting effect. For now, she must what she can. Once that was done, she checked for other injuries that might have been hidden by Taira's clothes. Finding a lot than anticipated, she could only conclude that this girl was tortured either for fun or necessity. Perhaps, it was even for both reasons. When Taira's condition was pronounced by Sereinia as stable, Era took her away to find Shadow.

Image "Please... Benevolent Gods and Goddesses, make him safe... Please, I beg of you."

Soon, the two of them reached their intended destination. There they saw Shadow lying on the ground. Those of eyes of purple that had the subtle lingering of fear grew large with the realization of her doubts. Without further ado, Sereinia broken free from Era's side and ran towards Shadow. The memories of his presumed demise played in her mind much like a silent film. She never wanted that to happen ever again. Lowering herself to the ground, she immediately checked for his pulse. It soothed her worries that it was still present.

"Shadow... Oh, Shadow..."

Taking out some of the medical supplies she had taken with her, Sereinia began applying first aid and also checked the condition of Shadow's body. It was in a terrible yet manageable condition. The aftermaths of a battle was the certain cause of his injuries. There were also some burned marks that made her conclude that Shadow was involved with the explosion beforehand. However, she could not properly treat him at the middle of the streets. Looking over her shoulders, her purple eyes met with Era's.

"Era, help me carry him. We need to take him to safety now."

After stating that, Sereinia gently caressed Shadow's face. She did not know what happened here or the meaning of those daggers embedded on the grounds beside his head. All she understood was that Shadow needed help now more than ever. It also meant that someone had the ability to render the infamous Red-Eyed Demon unconscious or has the stroke of luck on their side. Whatever the case maybe, she could not care about it for now.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Dietrich Faust
"Just climbing that ladder..."




Dietrich casually drew Gewalt from his back as the circle of cloaked figures seemed to materialize around him. He had to give them credit, they played their strengths well. From the calm, almost lackadaisical atmosphere that radiated from them, Dietrich had to assume they thought of him as simply a toy to play with. The thought made him smile savagely. He remembered Shadow's warning about the types of enemies he might encounter, and searched them for any distinguishing insignia. They were all clothed in a uniform way, long grey cloaks that masked their equipment; just as Dietrich's own black cloak hid his. Still, Dietrich couldn't imagine they that they wouldn't be carrying all types of vicious weaponry. He noticed the red symbol of the assassins' guild that Shadow had told him of. If he remembered correctly, these were roughly the same quality of men that he had fought against in his last brush with assassins.

The ring of cloaked figures did not speak, but observed him silently. Dietrich adopted a basic stance, with his greatsword held at his hip, the pommel facing forward and the blade reaching out behind him. They stood for a few long moments, Dietrich facing the ring of mute grey-cloaked killers. Dietrich snorted and stomped into a wide stance.

"No need to talk, I know what you want and who you are. I speak with my blade." Dietrich spoke.

Abruptly, he launched himself forward. He was taken aback by the explosive energy with his which his legs shot him towards the line of men. It was thrilling, his long black cloak billowed behind him like a shadow attempting to catch up with its source. The assassins seemed similarly surprised, and the men directly in his path took a few steps back. Nonetheless, Dietrich came within range amazingly fast. He bellowed a deep challenge and sent six feet of steel screaming through the air.

"Taste a real warrior's blade!"

Image

The assassins, caught completely unprepared in their ignorance of Dietrich's skill, only barely managed to leap over the blade as it passed. Dietrich's face contorted into a mask of effort as he fought against Gewalt's own momentum. Completing an act of masterful swordsmanship, he delivered a return swing with the back-edge, ripping through the assassins as they were in mid-air. They screamed as Gewalt bit into their bodies.

Not watching to see them fall to the street, Dietrich immediately spun around, lashing out with a wide sweep. The assassins around him had attempted to close the gap when he attacked, and they suffered for their mistake. Dietrich moved through them like a force of nature, using the sheer weight, length, and momentum of his massive blade to rip through body after body. He could tell that the assassins were not at all prepared for him. They had never fought an opponent that could couple competent speed with raw power. They had simply underestimated him.

Dietrich's berserk fury, paired with Gewalt's length and momentum, cleared a blood-soaked space for him to move. The assassins attempted to back off and reorganize, but Dietrich gave them no such chance. He chased them down, hacking through rips and thighs, opening stomachs and ending lives. Quickly though, the surprise of his assault wore off, and the assassins began to play on their strengths. They danced out of his reach and began using projectiles.

Knives and throwing stars filled the air, they were too small to be anything other than an annoyance though. Dietrich avoided them as best he could, letting the ones that grazed the unprotected portions of his limbs fuel his rage through pain. Still, he was at a disadvantage now. The assassins were staying out of range of his sword, and he realized that it wouldn't be long until they deployed weaponry capable of penetrating his armor. A particularly large throwing knife suddenly connected with his thigh. He grunted in pain, before ripping the blade out and casting it away.

"What's wrong? No man brave enough to meet me alone? I'm sure you're bitter about your dead friends, don't you want to take my life with your own hands?" He roared.

The remaining assassins paused in their attack; at first, Dietrich thought that his taunt had somehow affected them, but without warning, the assassins suddenly fled. They vanished down the alleyways and side-streets before Dietrich could protest. His first reaction was to pursue them, but they had all left in different directions, and Dietrich realized that there was something more to this than there seemed. They seemed to have been following some kind of order. He turned and surveyed the rooftops around him.

"Someone must have been watching from up there, somewhere. They must have ordered a general withdraw. For what reason though?"

Dietrich glanced around, only now realizing the scope of the chaos that he had caused. Bodies were literally piled in the street. He wasn't normally one to keep a kill-count, but Dietrich was unashamedly proud of his new found ability. At least thirteen assassins had been sent to the Coward's Pool by his hand today. Even more had been carried off by their friends, some of whom would die before reaching safety.

"Just climbing that ladder... I suppose."

He took a deep breath, and began cleaning the blood from Gewalt on the grey cloak of a fallen foe. He wondered what his comrades were up to. Abruptly, he realized he was bleeding. Gashes and cuts oozed red ichor on his upper arms and legs, the most prominent of which was a large puncture wound left by the large knife that had stabbed into his thigh. He smiled despite himself.

Motion in the corner of his eye caught his attention, to his surprise, he spotted the Princess and Era running down the street that intersected with his own. His first reaction was that something had gone wrong, there was no other reason for the Princess to be out running through the streets. He pursued as fast as he was able, his left leg slowly going numb.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Eventually, he was able to catch up with them, but the scene that awaited him was startling.

"Era, help me carry him. We need to take him to safety now."

Dietrich caught his breath and approached the two women.

"Don't bother yourself, ladies." He said, addressing them both. "I'll carry him, just tell me where I'm going."

He approached Shadow's body, but stopped to face Era. "If its alright with you that is, he's your flesh and blood. But I've got a feeling you're in a better position to cover us than me. On the way you can tell me what the hell is going on."

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow




When Shadow woke up the world was spinning. His body ached and some of his joints felt like they'd been put through a grinding machine. He looked up at the ceiling to get his bearings, and found himself back in Era's safe house. Era herself was not far away, likely doing a perimeter check, and Sereinia was quite close to him and seemed to be quite tired. After going through all of this when it was supposed to be a quick and easy trip could not have been without consequence for the poor girl. Shadow and the others were used to this, but Sereinia, having come up in a normal background, would likely never be used to it.

But Shadow couldn't worry about that now.

He did a quick assessment of his body by flexing individual muscle groups and adding and subtracting tension in a few key areas to feel out where his body needed the most attention. He could feel that there were three cracked ribs, though none completely broken which was good. Within his left forearm, the radial bone had a hairline fracture along its length from his wrist to about two or three inches down the bone. That would be difficult to treat without a few key ingredients, but luckily Shadow was able to spot the ingredients in question in one of Era's cupboards. His left knee was slightly banged up, but would not need more than a good soaking in hot water and some TLC to bring it back up to proper shape.

Other than that, Shadow was relatively unscathed, if severely roughed up on the surface.

He sat up slowly, using his elbows to push his upper torso up first, following with his mid back and finally his lower back until he was sitting upright. It was an odd feeling for Shadow to know that he had been defeated in combat, and by one so seemingly calm and at peace that why he was connected to Kiiro eluded Shadow completely. The fact that Kiiro had his chance to kill Shadow, but instead allowed this warrior to fight with him instead proved that the Assassin had a bigger agenda than Shadow had initially thought. What he was up to remained a mystery, but Shadow doubted that he'd seen the last of that warrior.

He looked around, and as Sereinia approached him he gave her a smile and a nod to let her know he was alright, but his face gave a different message as he continued to look around.

"... Where's Mayumi?" He asked.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow




"What if something happened to her? I have to go find her. Mr. Dietrich, please look after Shadow. I will look for Mayumi."

Shadow heard this and immediately responded.

"You aren't going anywhere with the city in this state." He demanded, rather harshly.

Shadow was injured, irritated, and definitely affected by his loss in combat to whomever that warrior was. However, he was clear headed enough to know that going out into the city with it in such a chaotic frenzy of Assassin activity was not an option. Injured as he was, Shadow was in no condition to fight, and as such he was unsure if he should send Era out to look for the girl just yet.

"... We will wait." He declared as he laid back down, albeit with some difficulty from his cracked ribs.

They all sat, more or less, in silence for over ten minutes before Sora finally appeared outside and landed on the roof's edge above the doorway. Era opened the door and brought the bird inside, and Shadow knew exactly what had happened.

"Sora never comes back alone... Mayumi's been taken." He said quietly, sadness touching the tip of his tongue.

Era closed her eyes and let out a small sigh, brushing her long hair back and allowing her fingers to run through it. Though she wasn't quite as well acquainted with Mayumi as the others, she held a certain level of respect and adoration for the little girl who wanted to be an Assassin. In Era's eyes, she was still too young and too weak to measure up to Shadow and her expectations, but she trusted Shadow's judgement and respected his choice to train the girl. However, with Mayumi at her physical peak, there wasn't much they could do for her if she met her match. With Sora coming back without her, and with Shadow certain that she was taken away, it seemed that their worst fears had just become reality.

Shadow took in a deep breath and let it out on a quiet sigh, a small flash in his red eyes temporarily lighting the entire room with an eerie red light for but the briefest of moments before it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. The flash was so fast that to most it would not have even been visible, but Era and Sora both picked up on the change and started to slowly back away from the bed upon which Shadow was laying. That flash of light was an indication that two things were happening behind Shadow's quiet eyes and calm exterior. One, that his anger was beginning to reach dangerous levels. And two, that Shadow's Gift was beginning to activate on a subconscious command which was dangerous for everyone within this little safe house.

Every Assassin with the Gift had a special ability or quirk which came with it which was as unique as the Assassins themselves who possessed them. This Gift only blessed about one in every hundred thousand Assassins, and to have three which had the Gift in Shadow's company was nothing short of a miracle. Shadow, Era, and Mayumi all had the Gift, but so too did Kiiro, Shadow's former most dangerous enemy. Whether the man who defeated him in combat held the Gift was unknown to Shadow, but he didn't sense it when they were fighting. However, what was known to him was that Kiiro had the Gift, and a very dangerous one at that.

Shadow's Gift, on the other hand, was by far the most potent and most dangerous, both consciously and subconsciously.

Shadow's Gift actually held a total of three unique abilities. The first was that Shadow's eyes could give off a special frequency of light which could effectively blind anyone he made eye contact with, though it was a temporary affliction, but anyone who was fool enough to take his eyes away from Shadow in combat would suffer defeat either way. The second was that Shadow had the conscious ability to nullify his nervous systems response to outside stimulus, which meant that he could nullify his body's response to pain no matter how badly damaged his body was. Third, and by far the most dangerous, was that Shadow could deliberately induce a state similar in effect to the "True" Red-Eyed Demon state during which he would negate all subconscious limitations on his strength and abilities, but at the same time he would sacrifice his ability to distinguish friend from foe as the rush of chemicals necessary to sustain this mental state would diminish his ability to think clearly outside of reacting to the combat situation he found himself in.

Right now, that third and final state was dangerously close to being unleashed, but Shadow was able to keep his calm just long enough to suppress it. Shadow's control over that last part of his Gift was typically no issue, but whenever his anger was pushed to a certain threshold, it was incredibly tempting to just let it go. However in the presence of his sister, Taira's unconscious sleeping form who was still injured and in need of recovery, and Sereinia who was completely defenseless against him if he let go, he had to keep himself under control. However, he made a silent promise that the next time he encountered either Kiiro or that warrior, he was going to let go and that they would pay for what they had done not only to him, but to Mayumi as well.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Dietrich Faust
"Come to think of it; I'm not getting paid for this at all."




Dietrich felt a cold chill go down his back, and at the same moment, Era backed away from Shadow's bed. He glanced around the room at the various occupants; everyone appeared tense and coiled up like metal springs, even the bird. After a few moments he grunted softly from the residual pain in his bandaged thigh, and stood up from his seat. He crossed his arms in front of his chest, and proceeded to lean against the far wall of the small room by the window.

"Well, I suppose that's that. I agree that its much too dangerous for us to move at the moment. As much as the thought of leaving the girl to her fate galls me; my job is to protect the Princess." Dietrich announced in a matter-of-fact tone.

He took off his leather gloves and laid them on the windowsill.

"Still, I doubt that you'll abandon the girl, captain." He continued, addressing Shadow. "You just rest and come up with a plan, then let us know your orders."

Dietrich took another look around the room; he still wasn't used to being around these people, and he didn't think he ever would be. They were all very different from him, and he knew that they felt the same about him. He was, for all intents and purposes, still an outsider. A sellsword with no personal stock in whether this "mission" succeeded or not. It was actually quite amusing, he figured they must think of him as some despicable thug who burned farms and destroyed families for money. In truth, Dietrich hadn't really considered himself a real mercenary in a long time now.

"Come to think of it; I'm not getting paid for this at all. Uirlin's Blood! If I don't die spitted on steel, I'll die of starvation after this is all over. Now there's a terrifying thought, being denied the Eternal Battle because of insufficient funds."

Finally, he eyed the unconscious girl also laid out in the room. He had never seen her before, and was quite curious as to what her connections were to everyone else, as they seemed to be familiar with her.

"Who is this?" He asked, gesturing towards her. "An old friend?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow




Shadow looked over at Dietrich as he made his position clear, but he never moved his head or body. Only his gleaming red eyes slowly slid to the corner to look over at the Line-Breaker. It wasn't his place to judge, but Shadow felt that the Line-Breaker was missing the bigger picture of what was at stake and why it was important to get Mayumi back.

"Who is this?" He asked, gesturing towards Taira. "An old friend?"

Shadow took in a breath through his nose, held it a moment, and let it out silently on a sigh.

"That girl's name is Taira, and she is the first one to have joined my fight against Te'i Sai over six years ago. She was my first protege, and has since become a master of the ways of the Assassin in her own right, much in the same way Era has. Though not as proficient as either Era or myself, Taira is more than a match for most Master Assassins."

"Mayumi cannot be saved right now, as Kiiro will be guarding her far too closely. I don't intend letting any of you cross his path right now. The risks are far too great... But we will get her back, that, I promise. Mayumi is my protege, but more than that she is one who made the choice to resist and fight against Te'i Sai. That choice is a message which I intend to protect and nourish, as it is the single truth which will bring about Te'i Sai's destruction..."

Shadow let that thought trail off for a moment, as he had something else to tell the Line-Breaker.

"This fight, Line-Breaker, is much more than you realize..." He began.

"Te'i Sai was founded ages ago by a group of peaceful monks who sought to bring nothing but peace to the people who settled this land. Hence the name: "Te'i", which means shepherd. "Sai", which means peace. Te'i Sai's official translation is "Shepherds of Peace." Throughout the ages, that message was distorted and twisted, and now the wretched organization seeks nothing further than to gain complete control and dominance over the five nation's ruling powers. This ensures that they would indefinitely control the entire continent and its populace. How they think. How they practice their faith. Who their Gods are. Where each nation buys and trades for their goods. Ever single facet of life would controlled by people who's entire lives revolved around taking to the ultimate extreme to get what you want."

He turned his head over towards Dietrich and glared at him with those ruby red eyes of his aglow with suppressed rage.

"Think of it, Dietrich... A world governed by those who have done absolutely nothing for this world except end countless lives for the sake of what they claim is the "greater good." Do you agree, Line-Breaker, that the greatest good which any leader can provide for those they seek to shelter and protect, is to provide them a better future?" He asked.

"What good can possibly come from Te'i Sai controlling how people think, act, feel, and even believe? What kind of a world would it turn into? What peace could possibly be found? I know the Grandmasters inside and out, as they trained me for over twenty years. They are not men of faith, vision, or peace. Their only goal is to rule, and their only rule is absolute. As one who was specifically born and raised for the purpose of being their instrument of destruction and to bring about their vision, I know that a world in which they rule would be a world of death and despair."

His eyes gazed deep into Dietrich's as he uttered his final questions.

"Will you, Dietrich Faust, allow Te'i Sai to destroy the order which created you, and shaped you into the warrior you are today, without a fight? Will you allow your God to be cast aside like garbage for the sake of faithless and Godless rulers like the Grandmasters of Te'i Sai? Will you allow your life, your mind, and your very soul to be destroyed just because Te'i Sai is stronger than you and can force you to physically submit? I am inclined to believe the answer is "no," but the fact is, Dietrich, that the vast majority of the people of Cre' Est are not strong enough either mentally, physically, or emotionally to resist Te'i Sai's strength and power. They have no chance if Te'i Sai succeeds, and that is why I fight: Because I can and will resist to my dying breath. That is why the Grandmasters want me dead as quickly as possible, because they know that they would never be able to break me and that my very existence now has become the ultimate threat."

Shadow's eyes stopped glowing all of a sudden, and he leaned his head back down and closed his eyes.

"It only takes one voice to start an avalanche, Dietrich... As long as I continue to live, I am a threat. If I turned my attention to preaching instead of fighting, my words would be enough to bring people hope and courage even in the face of Te'i Sai's overwhelming strength and lethality. Their physical might would mean absolutely nothing if they could not bend the will of the people they intend to rule. So long as the Red-Eyed Demon lived to continue preaching the message, and as long as that single symbol continued to elude the "strength" and "lethality" of Te'i Sai, the people would know that they were not as great a threat as they had previously assumed. And that is what they fear most of all."

Shadow took in a breath, stopped short slightly by a sudden burst of pain in his chest as his lungs expanded into his cracked ribs, but it settled slowly as he released the breath.

"Within this world, my own future has yet to be written. My future is uncertain... But I wouldn't have it any other way. Since I have the choice of an uncertain future versus one dictated by Te'i Sai, I choose uncertainty over their rule any day. I have that choice, and so does everyone else, but Te'i Sai would never wish for anyone to know that... The one thing about my own future which I do know to be certain is that I will spend every last breath I have fighting for a future in which nobody, yourself included, must feel the depth of despair I suffered when I had thought all was lost to me so long ago. I will fight to my last breath to ensure that nobody must suffer the wrath of Te'i Sai as I have. If anyone knows what a future with Te'i Sai will bring, it's me..."

Shadow let out a single small sigh through his nose, and miraculously, he fell asleep.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Sereinia Lucis Nouralail
"Child, when you open your eyes, the world will never be the same..."



Image
She knew how useless it was going out there especially in such a chaotic time. However, she had to do something or the shame would eat away at her. They could not just let Mayumi alone there. The visions of the past filled her consciousness. It was terrifying to see Mayumi in that state again. But hearing the harshness in Shadow's tone was enough to halt any reckless tendencies she had come up with. Her logic returned in an instant as she would more likely attract more trouble than finding Mayumi's whereabouts. For now, she must stay here and faithful wait that the Gods would not let any harm come to the young girl.

Looking at the gruff protector that the Empress had sent to her side, Sereinia knew the truth in those words. She returned to her seat as she silently listened to the exchange between Dietrich and Shadow about the origins of the Te'i Sai. She had heard them as a ruthless organization when she was younger and learned about them extensively within the archives of Cre' Est upon being heralded as the Crowned Princess. Time truly holds an intriguing yet fearful mystique for it encompassed the change turning such peaceful endeavors into bloody tributes. Lowering her head, she looked at her hands now placed on her lap. The concern and agonizing guilt continued to plague her. It was only being held back by the greater need not to cause more trouble than what was already happening.

Firmly holding her hands together, Shadow's words were like a haunting lullaby to her ears. Soon, it was no more as he had fallen asleep. The strain on his body, both mentally, and emotionally might have been too much in combination. There was also the existing fatigue as well. For now, she must do her best to tend to his health. After all, she is a doctor before being a princess. Glancing at Sora perched at the window sill, she offered a look of regret and apology. When done, she stood from her seat and took some of her concocted medicines. At the very least, she could do something to alleviate the difficulty in moving and breathing due to the cracked ribs.

"Era... Mayumi will be fine right?"

This was her lingering question before injecting Shadow with a medicine that would boost the natural regenerative quality of the bones and at the same time provide some pain relief from the muscles that had been bruised from the impacts done by his mysterious opponent. After doing so, she raised her eyes of purple and looked at Era awaiting her answer. She must have faith however, the truth still remains. Faith could only take you so far.

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Era




"Era... Mayumi will be fine right?"

Era was leaning against the wall and listening to Shadow speak to Dietrich about Te'i Sai and its history, and when Sereinia asked her question she was a little lost in her own thoughts, but the question still made it through. She looked over at Sereinia, but then slowly looked towards the floor and let out a sigh through her nose in silent frustration.

"... Shadow told me about Kiiro after my first encounter with him, and if you want honesty Sereinia, then you should prepare yourself for something of a shock..." She said quietly.

She didn't want to lie to Sereinia about this, but speaking with honesty was going to give the doctor more to worry about. Never the less she provided Sereinia with an answer, and as she spoke her expression filled with sadness.

"Kiiro is undoubtedly the most talented converter on the face of this planet. We had an ally, Zenou, back when we first began our fight against Te'i Sai. He was highly devoted to the Goddess Raggella, a powerful fighter, and a highly devoted and loving husband to his family. It only took one day for Kiiro to break him. One day to destroy his faith in Raggella, one day destroy his fighting spirit, and one day to convince him that killing his family was how he'd lead them to the peace they sought all this time... Zenou is now an empty shell, a mindless soldier who fights for Kiiro, and he was as strong as any in his beliefs and devotion to his life and family. Now, he has nothing, and all he knows is that he must fight us at Kiiro's command."

Era looked back towards the floor and sighed to herself.

"If Kiiro sets his mind to breaking Mayumi's, then there is no doubt in my mind that she will lose everything she is to him and find herself on the receiving end of Shadow's Twin blades before too much time has passed... It will be the only mercy Shadow can provide her if Kiiro turns her."

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Dietrich Faust
"Where I come from, a man's greatness is judged by the quality of his enemies."




"Within this world, my own future has yet to be written. My future is uncertain... But I wouldn't have it any other way. Since I have the choice of an uncertain future versus one dictated by Te'i Sai, I choose uncertainty over their rule any day. I have that choice, and so does everyone else, but Te'i Sai would never wish for anyone to know that... The one thing about my own future which I do know to be certain is that I will spend every last breath I have fighting for a future in which nobody, yourself included, must feel the depth of despair I suffered when I had thought all was lost to me so long ago. I will fight to my last breath to ensure that nobody must suffer the wrath of Te'i Sai as I have. If anyone knows what a future with Te'i Sai will bring, it's me..."

Dietrich considered Shadow's words as he slipped into an unconscious sleep. He could not help but respect the Demon, despite their differences. Where Dietrich was from, a man's quality was judged by the might of his enemies, and Shadow struggled against mighty foes indeed. His worldview was intriguing, and the passion with which Shadow spoke his mind humbled Dietrich.

Unlike Shadow, or most other people he had met in his travels, Dietrich had never questioned his destiny or ultimate future. From the moment he had been able to think coherently, he had known that he would die in battle. The Rite of Uirlin had merely been a formal acknowledgement of that fact. He had met many a man in his days, who would spend sleepless nights pondering the meaning of their life, if their destiny really meant anything worthwhile. Dietrich had always found their ideas of "free-will" to be very strange indeed.

Throughout his entire life, Dietrich's fate had been set, and he had lived his life accordingly. To his people, there was no uncertainty, no fear of the future. Each Veilbrandian had a thread of destiny, which was stitched by the black crones into the endless tapestry of existence. When your thread ended, that was that. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, about what would come, Dietrich focused on the now. The feeling of a rough, leather covered sword-hilt, the smell of roast pork, wine, and blood, the fiery gleam in the eye of a worthy brother or foe, these were the sensations that the mountain folk of Veilbrand lived for. They knew what awaited them at the end of their thread, and did not worry themselves about the future.

He understood that Shadow was trying to explain why he should fight Te'i Sai, to give him a moral obligation to do so. Personally, he cared nothing for Cre'Est, for the Empire, for any of the establishments of humanity. Such secular, vain kingdoms would inevitably be swept away by time or new kings. Still, the Demon's words did strike a chord.

"Will you, Dietrich Faust, allow Te'i Sai to destroy the order which created you, and shaped you into the warrior you are today, without a fight? Will you allow your God to be cast aside like garbage for the sake of faithless and Godless rulers like the Grandmasters of Te'i Sai? Will you allow your life, your mind, and your very soul to be destroyed just because Te'i Sai is stronger than you and can force you to physically submit? I am inclined to believe the answer is "no," but the fact is, Dietrich, that the vast majority of the people of Cre' Est are not strong enough either mentally, physically, or emotionally to resist Te'i Sai's strength and power."

Dietrich had known from the beginning that he would die spitted on steel. He had never questioned that, never complained about his lot in life. He was one of the last Line-Breakers, one of the last representatives of Uirlin on earth. It was fitting that he would represent the Powerful One in these decisive days. He had decided to fight Te'i Sai long before, but he realized now that Uirlin was reassuring his path.

"I'm not a mercenary anymore. I'm not a sellsword. I'm a Line-Breaker, one that has wandered for far too long."

Dietrich was dragged out of his introspection by the words of Shadow's sister.

"Kiiro is undoubtedly the most talented converter on the face of this planet. We had an ally, Zenou, back when we first began our fight against Te'i Sai. He was highly devoted to the Goddess Raggella, a powerful fighter, and a highly devoted and loving husband to his family. It only took one day for Kiiro to break him. One day to destroy his faith in Raggella, one day destroy his fighting spirit, and one day to convince him that killing his family was how he'd lead them to the peace they sought all this time... Zenou is now an empty shell, a mindless soldier who fights for Kiiro, and he was as strong as any in his beliefs and devotion to his life and family. Now, he has nothing, and all he knows is that he must fight us at Kiiro's command."

Era looked back towards the floor and sighed to herself.

"If Kiiro sets his mind to breaking Mayumi's, then there is no doubt in my mind that she will lose everything she is to him and find herself on the receiving end of Shadow's Twin blades before too much time has passed... It will be the only mercy Shadow can provide her if Kiiro turns her."


"Raggella..." He stated abruptly, glancing from Era to the Princess and back again. "Its no wonder your friend broke, he chose to serve a weak goddess."

He realized the tactlessness of his comment, but at the moment he didn't care. The short delve into the group's past, and the cowardly methods of this "Kiiro", had his blood running hot.

"I don't know much about your former clan's shadow witchery." He addressed to Era. "But I have faith in our little one; I feel Uirlin looks favorably on her. The Powerful One does not release his grip on those who please him so easily as the Tree Goddess."

He removed Gewalt, still in its scabbard, from his back and leaned it against the corner of the room. He returned to the window, enjoying the fresh air in the cramped room.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow




Era looked over at Dietrich with a scowl on her face.

"Do you really think that the Goddess Raggella is weak, Dietrich?" She asked.

Her red eyes started glowing, but there was a natural menace in them which Shadow's eyes had been lacking in recent months. Despite this, there was a wicked smile on her lips as she stood up from leaning against the wall and walked towards him.

"Your ignorance is quite staggering, Dietrich, if you truly believe that the strength of the Gods are comparable to one another..."

She stood right in front of him, glaring into his eyes with that smile, and obviously taking a sadistic pleasure in speaking to him in this manner.

"Your God, Uirlin, is the same as all the other Gods which mankind has created over the time of its existence. Uirlin is nothing more than a faith based figment of your imagination put in your head when you were younger as a way to control what you think and how you view the world to suit the purposes of the ones who taught you. They do not know any better about what is true in this world than anyone else, and all of their claims about how their God Uirlin acts and looks upon those in this world is nothing more than fantasy and nonsense. Again, it's all a way to control how you think and act. As all Gods and Goddesses are the same in this respect, there is no way for one to be stronger than the other. Just because you were told that your "Powerful One" will protect you does not mean that he actually can, and do you know why?" She asked as she leaned in and put her face right in front of his.

"Because he's weak, just like you." She hissed.

She then leaned away and turned her back to him, an ancient sign of complete disregard.

"Why do you think Shadow is keeping you from Te'i Sai and away from Kiiro as much as possible, hmm? It's because he knows that if Kiiro got his hands on you, he'd break you just as easily as he broke any man who came before you. Zenou was a good man, and as I said before his mind was nearly unbreakable by all standards. His faith in the Goddess Raggella gave him a mental stability and a strength which I have never seen matched by anyone, even you Dietrich. Put simply, he was stronger than you are today in every respect. Physically, mentally, emotionally, the list goes on. The only person I've met who is stronger than Zenou is Shadow, despite his lack of faith in the Gods. Yet, for all of his strength, Kiiro broke Zenou in less than a day."

She turned back to face him again.

"You can spout whatever nonsense your order has taught you all you want Dietrich, but the cold hard truth of the matter is that if Kiiro sets his mind to breaking Mayumi's, he will do so and there is nothing that your pathetic God Uirlin can do to protect her. For her sake, we have no choice but to hope that Kiiro has more important matters to deal with than breaking her mind, as that's the only thing that will save her now."

Shadow's eyes opened up as he slowly rose to a seated position on his bed and looked over at both Era and Dietrich.

"This argument isn't helping anything you two, so just save your energy."

He looked to Dietrich.

"I am afraid that what Era says is true, Dietrich. If Kiiro makes up his mind to break Mayumi, he will do so and there is nothing that can be done to save her if that happens. We just have to hope that he has a full agenda and spares Mayumi from that fate for the time being. But in the meantime, save the arguing for after Te'i Sai falls. For now, get some rest." He said as he laid back down to close his eyes again.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Dietrich Faust
"I know the end of my story already."




Era looked over at Dietrich with a scowl on her face.

"Do you really think that the Goddess Raggella is weak, Dietrich?" She asked.

Her red eyes started glowing, but there was a natural menace in them which Shadow's eyes had been lacking in recent months. Despite this, there was a wicked smile on her lips as she stood up from leaning against the wall and walked towards him.


Dietrich felt her eyes pour a wave of blood lust over him. His palms started to tingle, his neck and face flushed red.

"Your ignorance is quite staggering, Dietrich, if you truly believe that the strength of the Gods are comparable to one another..."

She stood right in front of him, glaring into his eyes with that smile, and obviously taking a sadistic pleasure in speaking to him in this manner
.

Dietrich couldn't help but return the smile with his own sneering grin, he'd never been approached this way by a woman before. It was an interesting experience. Era's light build and femininity were not exactly intimidating, but Dietrich knew she was more than she appeared.

"Your God, Uirlin, is the same as all the other Gods which mankind has created over the time of its existence. Uirlin is nothing more than a faith based figment of your imagination put in your head when you were younger as a way to control what you think and how you view the world to suit the purposes of the ones who taught you. They do not know any better about what is true in this world than anyone else, and all of their claims about how their God Uirlin acts and looks upon those in this world is nothing more than fantasy and nonsense. Again, it's all a way to control how you think and act. As all Gods and Goddesses are the same in this respect, there is no way for one to be stronger than the other. Just because you were told that your "Powerful One" will protect you does not mean that he actually can, and do you know why?" She asked as she leaned in and put her face right in front of his.

"Because he's weak, just like you." She hissed.

She then leaned away and turned her back to him, an ancient sign of complete disregard.

"Why do you think Shadow is keeping you from Te'i Sai and away from Kiiro as much as possible, hmm? It's because he knows that if Kiiro got his hands on you, he'd break you just as easily as he broke any man who came before you. Zenou was a good man, and as I said before his mind was nearly unbreakable by all standards. His faith in the Goddess Raggella gave him a mental stability and a strength which I have never seen matched by anyone, even you Dietrich. Put simply, he was stronger than you are today in every respect. Physically, mentally, emotionally, the list goes on. The only person I've met who is stronger than Zenou is Shadow, despite his lack of faith in the Gods. Yet, for all of his strength, Kiiro broke Zenou in less than a day."

She turned back to face him again.

"You can spout whatever nonsense your order has taught you all you want Dietrich, but the cold hard truth of the matter is that if Kiiro sets his mind to breaking Mayumi's, he will do so and there is nothing that your pathetic God Uirlin can do to protect her. For her sake, we have no choice but to hope that Kiiro has more important matters to deal with than breaking her mind, as that's the only thing that will save her now."


Dietrich listened quietly while Era raved. He had obviously hit some kind of nerve with his comment, and he did feel guilt for that, at first. By the end of her tirade, though, he had utterly lost his patience with the woman. His face was an unnerving shade of bluish-purple, his mouth contorted into an ugly grin. Every part of his being screamed out for retaliation, to explode in a torrent of bellowing fury, but he restrained himself. The last thing he wanted was to make this situation any more tense or unpleasant for the Princess. Besides, trying to argue with words was both pointless, and unsightly before Uirlin. So, he submitted to Era's scorn. Her words meant little to him anyway.

Neither he nor Uirlin were affected by what she believed. If disbelieving the gods was how she built up her pride and sense of superiority over those who did, than she would answer for it eventually.

Shadow's eyes opened up as he slowly rose to a seated position on his bed and looked over at both Era and Dietrich.

"This argument isn't helping anything you two, so just save your energy."


"Argument? Heh, you mean whipping session?"

He looked to Dietrich.

"I am afraid that what Era says is true, Dietrich. If Kiiro makes up his mind to break Mayumi, he will do so and there is nothing that can be done to save her if that happens. We just have to hope that he has a full agenda and spares Mayumi from that fate for the time being. But in the meantime, save the arguing for after Te'i Sai falls. For now, get some rest." He said as he laid back down to close his eyes again.


Dietrich could feel his disgust with the whole situation mounting to dangerous levels. He nodded in agreement with Shadow, retrieved Gewalt, and headed for the door.

"I'll take first watch, I suppose that's all this "weak" man can do." He began.

He reached the front door of the room, but turned back. Despite his efforts of self-control, he couldn't let her have the last word.

"You want to know the difference between this weak man and you assassins and your ilk? You have been bred to kill, and I have been bred to fight. You have been trained from birth to strike from the shadows and destroy men with deception and shadow, and I have been trained from birth to face my enemies head-on, with dignity and honor. I do not believe that being one of the greatest killers in the world makes you strong, Era. The number of pitiful lives these assassins like Kiiro have ended or corrupted does not make them stronger than me. Being able to kill me doesn't make them stronger than me. You know why?"

He paused, a bit embarrassed at his outburst.

"Because I know the end of my story already. They cannot take anything from me, any pain they inflict on me is temporary, they cannot threaten me with anything, they have no power over me. Keep the Princess safe, yell if anything happens."

He left.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Sereinia Lucis Nouralail
"Still, there is hope to count on. It is why we keep on living.."



Image

Uncertainty filled her. There was no wrong or right in the belief of Faith. What ailed her more was the knowledge that the existence of her fears were the truest of all in her opinion. It frightens her so much. Era's words carried undeniable truth. The fate of Mayumi weighed heavily more over her. Dietrich awkwardly gave comfort through the means of Gods. However, it somehow turned into a words of debate. Through all of it, she simply stayed silent. She could hear every word that the two threw at each other. However, the true meaning behind the statements never registered in her mind. She lowered her head to hide the piercing doubt in her eyes. It was not dissuaded even when Shadow spoke to prevent further confrontation. She did not even utter another word even when Dietrich had decided to leave the premises in favor of being the first watch. Sereinia remained quiet through all of it.

From the distance, no it was near to hear. She heard the words to rest. Yet, she cannot help but be bright awake. The harrowing worry and the inevitable chance that Mayumi would be broken and turned into their enemy. She just couldn't imagine it even. If it comes to that, she would certainly come in between Shadow or Era. It would cause a lot of problems but she was willing to go through all of it. For in the end, she could not simply allow such an event to pass. Making fists with her hands, she closed her eyes and finally ended the tensed silence that she had started.

"Mayumi will be fine. We will get to her in time. I am certain of it."

Going to where Sora was perced, Sereinia's purple eyes had a certain glow of certainty and the tinge of unyielding hope. Perhaps, such thing was for the best. After all, if one goes to a battle with the very idea of being defeated then it is already a reality even if it has yet to pass. So, it is for the best to have a positive outlook on things.

"Do not worry Sora. Everything will be fine. You will see."

Her tone had a soft tone to it as she gently patted Sora. After doing so, she looked at Era and then to Shadow. Nothing would happen if she remains all depressed about the current matters. She must not lose hope no matter the circumstances. After all, everyone had believed that Shadow had died but she refused to do so. Now, she was with him again. So, she will continue to do so. She will wait patiently and support all of them as best as she could. And when push comes to shove, she will be there for them no matter what.

"I will also take my rest as well. Good night."

With that said, Sereinia went towards one of the beds and decided to take her rest for the night while sealing all her fears in a tight lid.

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Shadow and Era




The evening came and went, and a rather sleepless night had taken hold of all those within the company of the Red-Eyed Demon. His pride was wounded beyond the wounds he suffered to his body, and his anger at being defeated burned like an immortal candle within his heart. He relived the fight in his mind over and over again, seeing the different moves of his opponent and studying the fighting style he saw in his art. The man was swift, precise, and had this way of connecting the blow even if you had begun to dodge and moved from his initial path of attack. How he was able to continually force this connection eluded Shadow until he broke down the movements in his mind one inch at a time. He spent hours through the night breaking down the entire fight in this manner, until he knew each and every move that man had made against him and how it was he had connected so many attacks as he had.

Upon the morning, Shadow's wounds were more or less stable and he was capable of standing and walking though it did hurt to breath deeply from his cracked ribs. Those would still take days to heal yet, but most of his other wounds were just bruises and recovering skin from the burns he suffered in the fire. Taira was awake, and chose to go to another one of their allies to recover and promised to send word to Shadow when she was ready to rejoin the fight. Until then she would rest and train whenever able to keep her edge, and Shadow would not have to worry about her for much longer. Everyone else, on the other hand, were a much more constant worry.

Era and Dietrich's little spat about the Gods last night was loud and obnoxious. Both sides arguing their case and thinking themselves in the right. Truly, Shadow lived without faith in the Gods because they never did anything for him except prove that mankind will forever walk the path of self destruction regardless of how many believe in the Gods or not. For Dietrich, he said his future was certain and that he'd die from glorious battle. Shadow had serious doubts about that. Dietrich's size and armaments would prove most intimidating for Te'i Sai in the future, especially if he continued his training with Shadow. He'd be much more likely to be poisoned or shot from long range, which wasn't the kind of death that he was hoping for. Shadow would have to keep an eye on him in the coming weeks to be sure that didn't occur.

In the meantime, Shadow had more important things on his mind as everyone gathered with him in Era's little safe house. Shadow discussed with everyone their next move, as they had to get Mayumi back as quickly as possible, but Era was the only one in a position to be able to do that. Shadow was out of action, temporarily, and Dietrich was not anywhere near ready to infiltrate an establishment which was run by Kiiro and the Wraiths. Being Shadow's equal in almost every way, Era would be the only one capable of such a feat, but Shadow was still uncertain about letting her take on such an assignment. She would claim she was ready for it, but there was no telling if Kiiro himself would be there to stop her. Nor was there any guarantee that the one who defeated Shadow wouldn't be there. Since Kiiro and the one who defeated Shadow both likely knew that he would fight to get Mayumi back, neither was likely to stray from her for long. If that was the case, Mayumi was lost.

Shadow wasn't about to give up hope though, and so he decided on another course of action. It was a move Kiiro would not expect, nor would he be willing to let pass him by. Shadow and the others would move ahead as if they didn't care about Mayumi's disappearance, and instead would continue fighting against Te'i Sai and Roda Ah K'mht in the city. Kiiro would not be able to resist taking a look, and if he thought that Shadow was there as well, all the better since he'd likely send the one who defeated Shadow into the city to find them. In the meantime, Sora would be able to locate Mayumi, as Kiiro usually kept his prey out in the open to prove that he was not afraid of losing them. This would allow Sora to fly high into the skies and pinpoint her master's location and then guide Sereinia to her.

And yes... Sereinia was a part of this mission. Shadow needed all hands on deck for this operation to succeed, so she would be taking to the field with them. Sereinia would be the last person Kiiro would expect to go to Mayumi's side and help her get free, so she was the perfect person to send. She looked like any ordinary civilian, and her identity as the Princess of Cre' Est was not well known outside of the Mother Nation. Shadow, Era and Dietrich would take to the forest outside the city and take the fight directly to Te'i Sai's main base here in Triveila while Sereinia waited for Sora to locate Mayumi and guide her to the girl's location. For the task, Shadow gave Sereinia a serrated knife with a six inch blade to hide on her person somewhere until she found Mayumi. That knife would be the key to getting Mayumi free of her bonds, and then the girl would be able to protect Sereinia on the way back. Wherever Kiiro went, the Wraiths were close behind. If he was off investigating Shadow's attack on Te'i Sai's main base, they would be with him as backup and Sereinia would have an open window to find and free Mayumi and get out before they returned.

This was going to be an unbelievably high risk operation for everyone involved, save for Era. With Shadow not fighting at full capacity, and Dietrich being deemed ill prepared, physically, to attack Te'i Sai's base of operations, Era was really the spearhead of this operation. Her prowess as a fighter was currently the strongest of the group, as she could easily kill either Shadow or Dietrich right now, so she was the one who'd be in charge of the battle ahead. Sereinia was now going to be on her own, but Shadow had faith that she'd find Mayumi and free her and that the two of them would return safely. Sora would be the beacon for Shadow and the others that the two girls were safe, and that they could retreat from the battle once the signal was given. Te'i Sai's arrogance would never allow them to pursue Shadow and Era's retreat, as they wanted them dead in face to face combat so that they could declare their superiority officially rather than through underhanded means. Dietrich was of no concern to them, so they wouldn't bother pursuing him anyway.

With the plan known to everyone, whether they liked it or not, Shadow stood up and walked out the door with Era in toe to begin the rescue operation for Mayumi. Sora was sent high into the skies to pinpoint her master's location, and Shadow and the others waited by the city gate for a sign from the bird that her master was located. The minutes ticked by like hours, and slowly, Shadow's hopes that Mayumi was visible began to fade until he saw Sora begin to dive upon their location. Shadow's face suddenly carried a determined smile as he watched the bird descend with great vigor, and swooped to a halt and hovered in front of Shadow and company. She flapped her wings to keep herself aloft, but also turned her head back around and then looked back to Shadow. He nodded to the bird and looked over his shoulder to Sereinia.

"Stick to the shadow's of the forest and keep Sora in sight at all times. It's going to be difficult given the dense foliage of the canopy, but if Sora goes out of sight just utter a short, high pitched whistle like that of the native Chiua bird and Sora will descend upon your location and point you in the right direction. Stay safe, Sereinia, and good luck."

He looked to Era and Dietrich.

"Let's go... Te'i Sai has a debt to pay this day." He said, his voice low and full of ire.

Shadow then began to run ahead with Era and Dietrich close behind as they disappeared into the forest beyond the city gates. He led them though the dense woods at a steady pace, doing his best to help them conserve as much energy as possible for the fight. They had to go over and under fallen trees, large boulders, and hidden spots of dirt and mud before they finally came upon the base itself hidden in the brush on the side of a hill. The base itself was part of the land, buried beneath the surface to hide it from potential attackers. The entrance was a large pair of double doors covered by natural ground and grass, nearly perfectly camouflaged in the hill's face to outside view unless you took a good long look at it. Shadow looked over to his right and saw a single sentry crouching in one of the trees just off in the distance. Shadow took out a single dart from a thin belt he carried around his chest and threw it at the sentry. The sentry suddenly grabbed his neck, choked for a few seconds, and then fell to the ground with Era there to break his fall and keep the sound quiet. Regardless of whether or not this battle was real, they needed the element of surprise on their side.

Shadow waited for Era to return and confirm the sentry was dead before he then took another look around to make sure that things were running smoothly. He wasn't going to take any chances today. His injuries meant he could only fight at about 55% capacity, and that was only going to be enough to protect him from Assassins below the Master rank. Anything higher would have to be dealt with by Era, as Dietrich was not ready to fight such foes yet. Shadow waited patiently for any signs that Te'i Sai was on to his plan, but found absolutely none to speak of. He took a few steps out of the forests edge towards the hill and slowly peeled back the dirt and grass that covered the door on the right hand side. He grabbed the large metal indentation which served as the handle and pulled the massive door back to a fully open position. It took quite a bit of effort through his injuries to do so, but he managed to accomplish the feat none the less. Shadow then looked back to Era and Dietrich and gave them a simple hand gesture to prepare themselves for combat.

Shadow looked back into the gaping darkness of the void before him and threw a single small explosive which he concocted shortly before leaving down into the darkness. After a few seconds, there was a rather large explosion from such a small device, and Shadow smiled to himself as he retreated to the tree line to rejoin Era and Dietrich. Sure enough, there was a sudden flood of Assassins which poured out from the doorways and prepared themselves for combat against an army, but found only the three warriors to contend with, and so many of the higher ranking Assassins walked calmly back inside to let the others deal with the intruders. They all knew about Shadow's defeat and his injuries, and thus didn't consider him much of a threat right now. Era was another matter, but she wasn't as well known as her brother so they obviously forgot about her lethality if the higher ups really went back inside so quickly.

Shadow brought out one of his Twins, as he didn't have the strength to fight with both right now, and prepared himself for a rather unpleasant fight.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Dietrich




Shadow then began to run ahead with Era and Dietrich close behind as they disappeared into the forest beyond the city gates. He led them though the dense woods at a steady pace, doing his best to help them conserve as much energy as possible for the fight. They had to go over and under fallen trees, large boulders, and hidden spots of dirt and mud before they finally came upon the base itself hidden in the brush on the side of a hill.

Dietrich struggled to keep up with the two assassins as they glided through the forest ahead of him. Even with his wounds, Shadow was still outpacing him, and Era was easily leaving him behind. A mixture of body type, equipment, and training styles made sure that Dietrich was well behind the siblings. Unlike Shadow, whose body tapered down to a narrow waist and long legs, Dietrich's waist was wide and square. This resulted in a lumbering gait that was little use in extended running. He was still pondering his reaction to Era the previous night. After mulling it over in his mind again and again, he had decided that he hadn't made too big a fool of himself. Things could have gone much, much worse. He contended himself with the knowledge that he hadn't allowed the situation to spiral into violence. He believed that his single reply to her abuse had been sufficient; he had defended himself without directly retorting or insulting her. Still, he wondered what she thought of his reply. If his initial estimation of her was correct, than she most likely didn't care one way or the other. For some reason, that thought amused him.

Presently, Shadow and Era stopped ahead of him at the base.

Shadow and Era dealt with a sentry, and then Shadow slipped some explosives into the door of the base. Within moments of a loud crump of the detonation, a veritable horde of assassins began storming out of the base. Dietrich noticed that the majority of them seemed to be outfitted similarly to the assassins he had encountered the previous day. He chuckled darkly as Shadow withdrew one of his daggers.

Dietrich drew Gewalt in one fluid motion from its sheath on his back. The assassins hurtled toward them in silence. In fact, the whole forest around them seemed to have all of the sound sucked out of the air. Near absolute silence reigned as the assassins closed the distance. Dietrich's mind instantly assessed the situation. Shadow was injured, which meant that Era would most likely be doing the majority of the real killing here. Which meant that his best option for contributing to this fight would be to cause as much confusion and chaos as possible, so that Era and Shadow could pick individual targets to eliminate. Dietrich's blood boiled with anticipation. He let out a horrendous cackle that shattered the silence and launched himself toward the oncoming horde.

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Shadow and Era




The fight was just as difficult as Shadow had imagined it would be for him.

His ribs ached, the muscles along the side of his body from top to bottom were screaming out with fatigue and pain, and all the while he fought to stay a step ahead of those whom he was fighting against. With his body pushing on all cylinders while forcing its way passed the deficiency which came with his injuries, Shadow knew he wouldn't last very long in this battle if the enemies kept coming the way they were at this moment. One after another without pause, like a swarm of ants trying to overpower a larger insect intruding upon their territory. However, while this was painful and would require dedication, the main purpose of distracting the powers that be proved to be efficient and working.

Era, on the other hand, was having a field day.

One by one she toyed with those who came to fight her, as they didn't seem to recognize that the red coloration of her eyes meant anything about her relationship to the Red-Eyed Demon. The Bleeding Rose was not quite so famous as the Red-Eyed Demon, but was infinitely more devious in combat than her brother was. As one Assassin came to fight with her, she feigned weakness to draw him in close and then lashed out by grabbing his sensitive parts and crushing them under the extreme power of her grip. The sound it produced and the feeling it provided was quite horrific, but it got the job done, and seeing him slowly dying of pain and shock was more than enough to make it worth it to Era. The next Assassin rushed her which proved to be a fatal mistake. Era's consciousness of her surroundings was second only to Shadow's himself, and she knew full well where every enemy which surrounded her was at that exact moment. This Assassin rushing her never even saw her blade coming, but before he could even really understand what had happened to him he suddenly found himself staring at the sky with his chest covered in his own blood as his breathing became steadily more difficult as his lungs filled with the vile red fluid.

Minutes ticked by, and more and more often Era had to get closer to Shadow to protect him from the advances of the numerous Assassins swarming his position. Despite the fact that Era had established herself as the most dangerous entity on the battlefield, the Assassins still considered Shadow to be their priority target. This mildly insulted Era, which in turn led her to become even more vicious in her efforts to counter their attacks, even going so far as to swipe Shadow's Twin blade which was not in use and use it for her own purposes. She did not have any Orichalcum weapons with her at present, as they were in another safe house a good distance away, so his would do just fine for slashing arms and legs off and slicing open rib cages, which she did with great efficiency and speed.

Finally, the moment Shadow had been waiting for arrived. Sora flew overhead and gave a silent signal to Shadow by flying in two distinct circles above him that both Sereinia and Mayumi were safe and away from the battlefield.

"Alright! Everyone fall back now!" He yelled out.

Era responded by throwing him his Twin dagger and covering their escape as the Assassins watched them all leave the site, utterly confused as to why Shadow would just leave like that. They would likely get a stern punishment from the higher level Assassins for not pursuing Shadow, but that was not his concern at the moment. The deed was done and Mayumi was safe once again... for now. As Shadow and the others made it to the rendezvous point just outside the city, Shadow had to stop and sit down to catch his breath and take a pain killer which he had Era concoct for him using some supplies he was carrying. It would take about an hour to kick in, but he would still be able to stay on his feet long enough to get to safety and get some real rest.

He was exhausted, more so than he'd been in a long time for anything else. When Mayumi and Sereinia appeared, it was a sigh of relief for him to see them both safe. Era was keeping a close and watchful eye on their surroundings as Shadow silently greeted Sereinia and Mayumi with a nod of his head as speaking had become difficult with his damaged ribs.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Mayumi Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Dietrich Faust
"This was what he truly excelled at. He was soldier, a warrior, not a duelist."




Dietrich's eyes glinted with insane fanaticism as he waded through the perpetual mist of blood that seemed to hang in the air around him. How much of it was the enemies, and how much was his own, he wasn't sure. Gewalt spun around him like a spirit of death, stealing lives away with every stroke. Daggers and short swords stood no chance against the ravenous, momentum fueled blade. The most the assassins could do was to stay out of his six foot radius, but even this proved extremely difficult in the press of bodies. Still, several assassins managed to get inside his guard and deal damage before they met their end.

As soon as he had charged into the fray, he had lost sight of Shadow and Era. He had no time to worry about them. While they might be able to look out for each other and fight at the same time, it took every ounce of Dietrich's concentration in order to keep the horde at bay. The raw fury of his initial assault had surprised and demoralized the assassins, but now that the surprise had worn off, Dietrich was slowly being overwhelmed.

The fight went for several minutes, and Dietrich grinned savagely as he felt himself beginning to tire. No matter how many men he cut down, another took his place instantly. The press of men had grown too great, it was time to change tactics. He thrust Gewalt through the sternum of the closest man, lifting him off his feet and throwing him into the crowd.

He laughed aloud as he ripped his katzbalger from its scabbard, and went to work. This was his kind of fight. This was a smattering of what a real battlefield was like; confused and disoriented men stumbling around and slipping on the blood and guts of their former friends. This was the kind of fight that Line-Breakers were meant for. This wasn't the time for concentration or a cool head, now he had to join the horde. He had to become one with the chaos, give himself up to the animal fury and kill everything he saw. There was no more mercy, no more forgiveness. The only way he would emerge from this fight victorious was to fight with everything he had, with tooth and nail if need be.

This was what he truly excelled at. He was soldier, a warrior, not a duelist.

He hacked around himself in tight, close arcs, slashing open faces contorted with fear and dismembering quivering limbs. The short, wide blade of his sword excelling in the very environment it was designed for. He aimed for major arteries, but in actual practice it didn't really matter in such close quarters, every stroke effectively ended the fighting capabilities for whomever he chose as his victim. At the same time, though, he felt the stinging sensation of blade after blade open the exposed flesh of his arms and legs. He was loosing blood, fast.

With a furious snarl, he shot out a huge hand and gripped a low level assassin by the throat. He lifted the man off the ground and crushed his windpipe before thrusting his blade through his sternum. He cast the carcass aside and shoved his way through the press of bodies, cutting and killing as he went. He melted back into the crowd, using the confusion of battle to his advantage. Instead of trying to see through the fog of war, he surrendered himself to it utterly. In response, he quickly lost all sense of direction. But it didn't matter anymore, he was going to die here anyway.

"Alright! Everyone fall back now!"


The voice came from behind him, rising above the wails of the man he had just impaled. Dietrich summoned his final reserves of strength and forced his way through the now greatly diminished crowd. He retrieved Gewalt as quickly as he could, and raced after Shadow.

"Not today, it seems."
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dietrich staggered forward, using Gewalt to steady himself. His breath came in ragged gasps. Blood oozed from his legs and arms, and his limbs were going numb. He didn't think a major artery had been cut, but he could still feel his life flowing out of his body. Still, he managed a small smirk as he finally caught up with the group. The Princess had found Mayumi. They stood together in silence, apparently they had just run into each other before Dietrich had caught up with them. He saw Shadow give a silent nod of acknowledgement to the Princess. She had succeeded. Dietrich's opinion of the Princess suddenly peaked, she had managed to complete an extremely strenuous task, one few other people would be able to do.

Red ichor suddenly spilled into his eyes, blinding him. Apparently, there was a rather deep gash on his forehead that he hadn't noticed. He took another staggering step towards them.

"Well... look who it is... the little neck-snapper's back..." He said between gasps as he approached Shadow from behind.

He stumbled in his blindness, tripping himself with his own greatsword. He fell flat on his face, but managed to pull himself up to one knee with an almost super-human effort. He attempted to wipe the blood from his eyes, but only managed to smear it over his face. He turned his head in the direction he had last seen Era standing.

"I think... I killed more of 'em... than you..." He chuckled insanely.

He took a few more ragged gasps.

"By the way... Why aren't they following us huh?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shadow Character Portrait: Mayumi Character Portrait: Sereinia Lucis Nouralail Character Portrait: Dietrich "Leer" Faust Character Portrait: Era
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Sereinia Lucis Nouralail
"You will listen to me as a doctor, right?"



Image
“Are you ok?”

Unwavering purple eyes looked at Mayumi yet it did not fail to show the weariness of the Princess. She may have endurance in terms of operating a patient under long hours however, she was not trained to apply such stamina when moving around through the thick foliage of the forest. Regardless, the tiredness was not felt entirely as Sereinia was just so grateful that her choosing of the door was not incorrect. The Gods and Goddess had heard her prayers to lead her to Mayumi. Furthermore, there had been no other interference or trouble along the way as they escape from the Safe House. More importantly, she was glad that Mayumi was now badly hurt as she had imagined and came to worry about from past experiences and information from Era and Shadow.

"Yes, I am fine. I am just so happy you are fine Mayumi."

After saying that, Sereinia embraced Mayumi once more to show how much she cared for the younger girl. It did not matter to her that this was not the right time to do a thing since they are strictly on a schedule. At the same time, she did not care if Mayumi find such gesture odd or revolting. She was just so glad that the silver-haired girl was now safe and sound beside her. For now, it was the only thing that mattered to her.

"I was so afraid that something awful had happened. I am just so thankful that you are here with me now."

When the doctor's emotion had returned to its normal baseline, Sereinia released the younger girl and smiled with such affection and relief. Now, it was time to deliver the good news to the others. Understanding that Sora had given the signal that both of them were safe, she held Mayumi's hand as if an assurance that the girl was not a figment of the Princess' imagination.

"It is time for us to meet with them."

Soon enough, the two girls had arrived at the promised meeting place. Sereinia looked at Shadow who appeared to be exhausted. This was not the first time she had seen a tired version of him. However, she felt a tinge upon seeing how hard the assassin had tried to fight despite knowing his current condition. Releasing Mayumi's hand, she gave the younger girl a nod of the head and went towards the man she loves. She inspected the man's condition and had a worried expression. His wounds had been put under stress too much. Some of them had reopened. But before she could speak, Dietrich had arrived in a form completely befitting of a bloody soldier.

Her eyes widened in distress seeing some of the visible wounds on Dietrich's form. Despite that, the larger man did not waste time having a small debate with Era who did not mind answering it. However, Shadow was certainly not in the mood for such frivolous dialogue. Sereinia went to Dietrich's side while Shadow was still speaking. She took out the small pouch that she always brings with her for such emergency treatments. Looking at the man which the Empress had asked to protect her, she cannot help but wonder how she would interact with him. Solomon was an image of a respectable Knight while Yarun was quite much like child. But this person, he was seeking death. And her, she was seeking to prevent it.

"Judging from these wounds, you are lucky enough to have your major arteries untouched. However, the numerous and deep lacerations compensate for such."

While saying that, Sereinia had already began cleaning the wounds with such efficiency and delicateness. One can see how she had come to be known as someone who had miraculous hands Furthermore, the speed and skill she was showing and the eerie calmness she possessed show how experienced she is as a Doctor. After the disinfection process, she added a certain ointment around the wounds. It is mixture of hers that served as a numbing agent for what she was about to do next. She quickly took out her needle and thread which she had sterilize prior but not committing to chances, she had washed it with alcohol once more. It was then she stitched the wounds that she had concluded as deep. One of it would be the wound on Dietrich's forehead. While doing this, her eyes showed incredible focus.

"I know you seemed like the idea of fighting physically. However, I would forbid you do such things until these wounds are all healed. This is the Doctor's orders. Do you understand?"

She cut the final thread of the last wound that had been sutured. Her face had a serious expression that one would be reminded of how the Empress of Cre' Est spoke with such authority. There was no humor in those eyes and her tone would not permit any complaints as she looked at Dietrich. Once she was done with the stitching, Sereinia proceeded to place small bandages on the wounds to prevent it from infection or irritation but not before applying another one of her salves that promulgate faster regeneration. Packing up her things, she did not wait for the man's response for her attention was now on Shadow who was obviously in pain.

"As your Doctor, I forbid you to help him stand. You are still not in the best of conditions and straining yourself will not help anyone."

Sereinia's tone was completely strict and filled with authority that reminded everyone that she is a princess destined to be an Empress. She looked at Mayumi knowing the girl was in much better shape than Shadow could be at the moment.

"Mayumi, please help me support Dietrich."

After stating that, Sereinia placed Dietrich's arm around her shoulder. She is not the strongest in the group however, in such things, she could endure more than others really think she could. Then, she returned her eyes to Shadow.

"Taking pain killers will only prevent you to feel the pain but it does no good to your injuries. Do not try to contest me in this, Shadow. I am invoking my authority as a Doctor now. I have no need for patients who would not follow my advice. Do not make me do something drastic for you and Dietrich to follow me."

Eyes of purple showed complete determination and seriousness in her words. Sereinia looked at Shadow and then to Dietrich. The Princess resembled much like a stern mother or mentor that would not relent no matter what. She then looked at Era.

"Let us go then."