Shadows of The Past

Shadows of The Past

As war rages in the land of Valcrest, a clan of assassins struggles to survive as they are accused of killing the ruler of one of the warring cities. Will they be able to prove the truth and end the war? (COMPLETED RP)

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Introduction

DISCLAIMER:

The land of Valcrest, its cities, history, as well as the Wolfpack and its rules, are my own creation and are not to be used without my consent. (As well as any of my characters).

This Rp is a sequel to Shadows of the Enlightened.

All past events contained in the former rp that are pertinent to this story will be explained in an ooc thread, and it is advised to new players to read it.

Thank you.

Blackbird26 – Your friendly GM. ^_^



INTRO:

Assassin’s Camp
“Crys... I’m sorry. There was nothing more I could do.”

The words went through Crys as painfully as if they were knives. She lowered her head for a moment and tears escaped her as she spoke. “It’s alright Lena, I… I understand.”
The older woman laid a hand on the girl’s shoulder in a comforting gesture. “Is there anything I can do for you, child?”
“No. I’m afraid there isn’t. I will announce my mother’s death to the remaining of our clan, and make arrangements for her burial.”
“Crystal… Will you be alright on your own?”
Crys almost smiled at the question. “I will have to be alright. I am the leader of this clan now.” She opened a slight smile, and added “Nevertheless… I am definitely not alone.”
Lena smiled. “Well… You have changed since I last saw you, Crys.”
Crys nodded. “A lot has changed. If you will excuse me… There are a few people that I want to inform of my mother’s death personally… Before everyone finds out.”
Lena bowed her head respectfully to the new leader of the Wolfpack.
“Of course. What should I tell Allison when I see her?”
Crys sighed. “Simply tell her that I need her back immediately.”
“I will. If anything should happen, don’t hesitate to call me.” With that said, Helena Turner left the Wolfpack and returned to her home in the ruins of Blackhurst.

The Ruins
Allison Blake smiled while hearing the younger apprentices whispering to each other, while peeking at her from a distance. It had been a long time since an assassin had stepped foot on those grounds.
“What is she doing?”
“I don’t know. She’s just sitting there… Breathing.”
“That is so strange…”
Then Ali heard a very familiar laughter, of an older girl. “She is meditating. You should all try it sometime. Allison, my mother wants to see you. Now.”

Ali opened her blue eyes and the last words she heard before doing so was a shocked boy’s voice. “She can hear us?!”
She stood up, picking up her bow that had been lying in the grass next to where she had been siting, and walked towards Annie, watching with amusement in her eyes as the apprentices fled, not very discretely. “They’re like scared little rabbits…” She chuckled.
Annie nodded “They’re just children, and… Well… You’re nothing like what they’re used to seeing around here.”
Ali allowed herself to laugh a little while longer before her expression turned more serious. “Lena said there was no need for me to return just yet. Something happened, didn’t it?”
Annie sighed. “She didn’t say, and you know what she is like, but… If I was to guess, I would say something has happened.”
Ali let out a long sigh, concern spreading across her face. She knew the camp had been raided, but… That was all she knew. “Annie, do me favor… Gather my things. I’m going home today, not matter what your mother tells me.”


Assassin’s Camp
Ali took two days to arrive at camp. The first friend she spotted was Jake. She didn’t like the look in his eyes when he approached her. “Crys is waiting for you.”
She nodded in agreement, but Jake stopped her before she took her next step. “No, Ali… “He pointed her towards the leader’s cabin. “She’s there.”
Ali knew immediately what that meant, but didn’t want to believe it. She walked to the cabin and knocked on the door. Crys’ voice answered. “Enter.”
Ali opened the door and entered the cabin. The place looked exactly the same as it did the last time she was there. The only change was that Crys’ things had been moved there. Crys hadn’t said anything yet. Ali knew her friend was simply giving her time to put all the facts together. It was Ali who spoke first. “How did this happen?”
Crys sighed. “Poisoned dart. Lena did all she could, but… In the end, it just wasn’t enough.”
Ali kept her eyes fixed on Crys, her voice was filled with grief, but she appeared to be taking this a lot better than she would have a year ago. She was leaning against the wooden table the exact same way her mother used to do. It was a very interesting sight, to say the least. “I’m really sorry Crys.”
“It’s alright.” Crys answered with a sad smile on her face.
Ali walked to where Crys was and leaned on the table as well. “Have you chosen someone for second command yet?”
Crys sighed. “Yes. I have. Haven’t announced it yet. I have spoken with him about it already though. This brings me to the actual reason why I called you back...” She smiled. “Not that my mother’s death is not a reason, but there’s nothing you can do about that.”
Ali nodded. “What do you need me to do?”
“Teach.” Crys answered simply. “I’m promoting you.”
“Crys… “Ali laughed. “I’m only seventeen, and not so long ago I was barely fit to be an active.”
“I was only seventeen myself when I became an instructor, you have grown up a lot in a year, and we’ll be short one instructor since I’m promoting Evin.” Plus we need good archers and you’re currently the best, so why not teach them yourself?”
Ali didn’t seem to listen to anything Crys had said except the name. “Evin, huh? Should I ask?”
Crys chuckled. “Well… I needed someone who is capable of questioning me, and… We all know who’s the best at doing that.”
Ali laughed. “True…” She sighed. “So… We’re under a new leadership. Interesting. What’s our first priority now, then?”
Crys nodded, and a smile crossed her face at the question. “Survival.”




THE HISTORY:
The land of Valcrest originally consisted of five great cities and some smaller villages. It has a vast forest and one great river that run from one side of the land to the other. The first two cities to be created there were Blackpond and Newhaven. These two cities exist ever since there is a record of human life in Valcrest and they co-existed in harmony for many centuries until the other cities were built and the land started to expand. Several power struggles started to shake the peaceful existence of the two cities, after many years of minor disputes, the two cities finally declared war. Out of the three other cities, the city of Elffort took the side of Blackpond and the city of Brightvale took the side of Newhaven.
The fifth city, Blackhurst, decided to remain neutral. Ironically it was the first to be attacked.
After the great war that raged for many years across the land of Valcrest, out of the five cities that existed there, only two remained. Originally in opposite sides of a dispute that has been long forgotten, the cities of Blackpond and Newhaven continue to fight each other until this day.

THE LAND:
1. Valcrest: The land of Valcrest was once rich and full of life. Now its territory is only a shadow of what it once was. Most of the population is now concentrated around the forest, the two remaining cities and the ruins of what once was Blackhurst and its adjacent villages, leaving the rest of the territory mostly uninhabited.
Once upon a time, when Valcrest was still young and prosperous the people were divided amongst the woods, the desert, the plains, and the mountains.

a) The Woods (Center of the land): The great forest is the center of Valcrest and, at present time, the most populated area. Deep inside of the forest, the territory of the assassin clan as well as small mercenary groups can be found. The open trails that cross the forest and lead to the nearby cities are mostly respected and watched from a distance by the assassins, but straying from them may cause anyone, even the most experienced tracker, to become lost. Wandering into the wrong territory unannounced is something that can get any person killed fast.
Several small streams can be found amongst the trees, but only one bigger lake is present, in the outskirts of the Wolfpack territory, making it off limits to any human outsider that walks that forest.
Wildlife is abundant as well as other sources of food. Mostly wild boar, rabbit, and deer can be found easily for hunting purposes. No one has actually been attacked by predators larger than a snake in these woods, but it is told that wolves live there as well, and in quiet nights their howling can be heard in any point of the forest. Adjacent to the forest and at a distance sometimes considered uncomfortable, are the two remaining cities of Valcrest. A little more than a day on foot can get a traveler from one city to another and from any one of them to the depths of the forest. Assassin usually take short cuts through hidden paths and can reach those point in a matter of hours.

b) The Plains (West): This territory now is far less inhabited than it once was. However where the ruins of Blackhurst now lie, the healers have made their home. The still fertile soil, once used to grow crops, is now used to grow healing herbs, flowers and spices. One or two food crops are still planted there, mainly for the purpose of survival. The healers mostly still receive supplies from the two cities, although they are slowly breaking out of that dependency and becoming self-sufficient. The great river that runs across the territory provides water and fish for its inhabitants, as well as marks the end of the territory of Valcrest. Crossing it would mean leaving the land, which many of the survivors of the everlasting war have seriously considered doing.
A long, long, time ago in this territory, the great city of Blackhurst once stood proud and tall. The city looked like one ever growing village, the houses and shops mixed together and scattered within its stone walls, The ruler’s home only recognizable for being larger and more isolated. The army mostly consisted of archer that guarded the walls and could shower attackers with arrows at miles away… Once past them though, the city was defenseless. Most people who lived on the inside of the city walls were scholars, medics and teachers, peaceful and educated people. Outside the walls smaller villages formed as ramifications of the larger city area, those villages were composed mostly of fishermen and craftsmen, as well as their families. When Blackhurst suffered its defeat in battle the villages stood and their inhabitants refused to leave. As consequence, many massacres occurred in that area. It is rumored that most of the population of the city consisted of Enlightened and that was the actual reason behind the furious attacks on the city and its population. Both sides carried too much fear of what would happen should Blackhurst choose to get involved in the dispute.

c) The Desert (South): To the South of the forest lays a small wasteland where the merchant city of Brightvale once stood. Now completely deserted, the area is rarely visited and only inhabited by a few bandits and runaways that prey on any unsuspecting and bold adventurer that crosses the territory. Most people see no point on going through these parts unless the person is leaving Valcrest forever or in need of hiding. The people who once occupied the city of Brightvale were experienced horsemen and sturdy travelers. Some were known to brag about traveling to the furthest lands known to men in order to acquire their goods, and therefore had seen it all. The rocky and dry soil as well as the absence of vegetation and water sources makes this land a hazard for any traveler to venture through, and one of the worse possible places for a human to live. However there are food sources although they are scarce as well as an occasional rain. Most of the people who presently made this area their home frequently trespass into the forest in search of water and end up killed by the assassins for invading on their territory, which makes them dislike the Wolfpack with a passion.

d) The Mountains (Further South): Beyond the desert, snowcapped mountains determine the limits of the Land. Protected by the stone walls of the mountains, the brave men and women of Effort once lived. The people that once lived there were known as proud warriors and horsemen. They were also known for their mining skills and for fabricating the first explosives seen in Valcrest. They were not the most educated people in the land, but were honorable and proud men and women. A population made extinct when they marched into war beside Blackpond and went into direct confrontation with the nearby city of Brightvale. Having their supplies cut short and their territory being the constant target of attacks… Effort also came to an end. The mines and home left abandoned until this day.

2. The city of Blackpond (North end of the forest): The losing side of a very long war. After war was declared between the two cities, Blackpond has been sinking. And ruler after ruler, the situation is not getting any better. The city itself is made mostly of small houses made of stone. The people are poor and humble, and have already lost all hope of a better life. However, after the last ruler was betrayed by his nephew and he took control of the city, things started changing for the better.
The city is divided into the Living Area and the Castle grounds, where the ruler and city guards live. All of the houses are made of stone, still most of the houses in the Living Area are falling apart, and all shops that existed there were abandoned years ago. The Castle Grounds have bigger and better houses for the castle guards and army officers to live in. The houses are more taken care of, and they always seem to have food and weapons somehow. After the recent demise of the ruler of Newhaven, the army of Blackpond has been constantly raiding the rival city and managed to weaken them significantly. Something their ruler seems to think of as a victory and the general population sees as a waste of time and resources. Needless to say… They’ve seen enough of this war, and don’t understand why their leader has changed from his former ideas of a truce, to suddenly trying to destroy Newhaven.

3. The City of Newhaven (East end of the forest):Newhaven was once the winning side of a great war that raged for many years. It has the best soldiers and weapons, but since they have lost their ruler the army has divided its efforts between protecting the city, searching for the missing brother of their deceased leader, and attacking the Wolfpack. Doing so has left the city extremely vulnerable to attacks from Blackpond. The Castle area of the city, were the ruler, knights and army officers used to reside, is now deserted. Most shops in the Market Area are shut down and the living area is scarred with burnt down buildings and deserted homes. All of the soldiers and officers left in the city are occupied protecting the remaining residents. The once unbreakable city walls, are now destroyed.

4. Assassin’s Camp (Within the forest): Between the grounds of the two cities, deep inside the forest, lies a clan of assassins, they name themselves “The Wolfpack”, or simply “The Pack” and they have prospered for years eliminating targets on both sides of the feud. The camp consists of one huge clearing surrounded by woods and several hidden paths that lead across them. Inside the clearing there are several cabins made of logs, and also tents. One big, more secluded cabin is the home of leaders. In the very center of the camp there is one big camp fire which is lit every night.
More recently the Pack’s camp has been raided frequently since their location was given away to the ruler of Blackpond. Their numbers have been severely reduced, and their facilities and supplies destroyed. The assassins have never seen times like these before, and now they struggle to survive.

5. Healer’s Camp (The Plains – West of the forest): Located on the most deserted side of the land of Valcrest, where once the peaceful city of Blackhurst and its adjacent villages existed, lies the resting place of a clan of healers. Amongst the rubble of the once beautiful city, tents of all sizes are accommodated as well as several gardens of herbs and flowers. Upon entering, travelers are greeted with the scent of herbs and alcohol, and very friendly and (seemingly) peaceful people. The ruins are considered a safe and neutral zone.

THE PEOPLE:
Blackpond: The people of Blackpond who managed to stay honest are usually soldiers. Even the soldiers aren’t all that honest. Most people have little means of survival, and steal to keep their families fed. Those who are caught are severely punished, but are usually released when accept to join the city guard. The soldiers of Blackpond are not the best trained men, but they are ferocious and are usually willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Still, they are growing more and more tired of the war, as well as everyone else in the city.

Newhaven: The people of Newhaven live well, mostly. They vary from farmers to merchants and soldiers. Their laws are strict, but are usually followed to the full, and there is very little crime to speak of. Street performers and all kinds of shops can be found in the city market, it is the best place to go for clothes, supplies, weapons and armor… However, if you are not a citizen of Newhaven, you will not be allowed inside the city walls.

The Wolfpack: The inhabitants of the assassin camp are a very diverse group of people. They vary from skilled assassins to women and children. The laws of The Wolfpack are strict, and punishments vary from minor chores to death. There are usually always two leaders in the clan, and the command has been passed to members of the same family for generations ever since it was created. Even though they are assassins, the Pack members are trained from a young age and taught to hit nothing other than the target, unless they are seen, which has happened very little in the course of history.

The Enlightened: There are people in the land of Valcrest that are born with a special ability that manifests when they reach the age 12. Those abilities can be anything from hearing other people’s thoughts to conjuring and manipulating fire. They have the appearance of regular people except that their eyes glow, very lightly or change colors, when they use their ability. That is why they have been named the enlightened.
No one knows where those abilities come from. All that is known is that they usually occur repeatedly amongst the members of the same families, although it is not guaranteed that a child of an Enlightened will have any ability, and there is no way of knowing for sure until the child in question reaches the age of 12.

The White Shadows – The healers: Known for letting anyone in their territory without questions asked… The White Shadows are allies of the Wolfpack since the starting of the clan. Their current leader being a former assassin herself has actually strengthened those ties. Lena Turner is one of the few people to ever be released of the oath that once bound her to the assassin clan, and has been leader of this group of healers since a considerable young age.
Lena chooses very carefully who she allows to become a member of her clan… First the person must be an enlightened. Second that person must have been born in Blackhurst or one of its adjacent villages. Third, the person must rid him/herself of his/her past through a ceremony, which is kept a very well hidden secret within the clan. None of those who survived it ever spoke of it. That’s right… I said those who survived it.
The healers of this group are believed to study not only healing herbs, poisons, antidotes, and have extent knowledge of human anatomy. .. They are also believed to hold knowledge on the source of magic in the land of Valcrest, and to study ways to further develop their abilities as enlightened. They are also believed to protect this knowledge with their lives.



THE STORY
A year has passed since The Shadow, aka the Enlightened Killer, aka Perry Jones, was defeated. Unfortunately the truth never reached the public eyes and the story that was spread throughout Valcrest was that the Wolfpack assassinated the beloved ruler of Newhaven in retaliation to the bounty offered for the location of their camp. If the assassins were hated before, now they were being hunted by every man woman and child in Newhaven. Especially since the ruler of Blackpond took the opportunity to attack Newhaven with all the strength of his army, leaving the city in a nearly devastated state.
Former members that resided in the city and scouts that were working to rebuild the destroyed Inn were forced to flee. There was no safe place left for the assassins except for their camp, and not even that lasted very long. The still standing bounty offered by the ruler of Blackpond led to a betrayal, and even though the traitor was eliminated… Damage was done.
Over and over, the Wolfpack was attacked, and the last of those attacks led to the death of their leader, leaving her 22 year old daughter in charge of the clan’s survival.

The land of Valcrest seems to be currently falling apart as Newhaven is left in complete anarchy and the ruler of Blackpond is too busy attacking the rival city to realize that someone has been plotting to take his place.

Is now up to the assassins to restore balance in Valcrest in order to guarantee the survival of their clan.



Important character info.

Assassin Clan – The Wolfpack (The Pack)

HIERARCHY

1st in command: The leader of the clan. The word of the leader is law unless it contradicts the 4 general laws of the clan (stated below). Every living breathing human inside the limit of the Wolfpack’s territory is the responsibility of the leader. And it is up to the leader to keep the clan and its member’s best interest in mind at all times.

2nd in command: The main duty of the second commander of the Wolfpack is to discuss with the leader all matters referring to the clan and their members. Even though the 1st in command will always have the final say, it is a position given to someone the leader respects and trusts (since the leader’s death will immediately grant the 2nd commander control over the clan), therefore it is unlikely for the clan leader to make a decision without reaching a common sense.

Instructors: Assassins who are experienced enough to train other's. (Instructors can be as young as 18)

Actives: Assassins who have completed training and are ready to complete assignments. (Actives can actually be as young as 15 and wear a silver ring called a Graduation Ring given by their instructor at the moment they become actives)

Messengers/Recruiters: Assassins who live outside camp, in the cities, and gather information from targets, meet with clients, and scout for possible recruits. There are usually two of them stationed in each of the two cities, working at the inn. Not anymore though.

Workers: People who stand guard, cut firewood, gather supplies and such.

Recruits: Those undergoing training. Bottom of the food chain. The only thing that keeps them from being eaten alive is the protection of their instructors. Recruits can be as old as 21, since they can only become Actives when their instructor decides they are ready to take on an assignment. After that age if they have not been considered ready to become Active they are kept in camp grounds and work as guards.

LAWS AND PUNISHMENTS

4 General laws:
1. If two or more members are sent on assignment together, all must return to camp, dead or alive. Unless all members of the party are killed. Leaving a companion behind is unacceptable. Violation of this rule may be viewed as treason.
2 .Any form of violence directed at another clan member is strictly forbidden. Seriously injuring or killing another member will be considered treason and therefore punished accordingly.
3. Deaths that are not authorized by the leaders will be considered a risk to the safety of the clan and will be viewed as treason. Unless the before mentioned death is a result of sefl-defense, or necessary for the preservation of the clan member’s identity.
4. Treason is punishable by DEATH.

Hierarchy:

- Instructors can only be punished by the leaders.
- Actives can only be punished by instructors or the leaders
- If a recruit has an issue with another member of the clan, he or she must report the problem to his/her instructor. No recruit is allowed to talk back to any other member of the clan.

Other Rules:

- No alcohol is to be consumed inside camp grounds
- Anything a recruit tells his/her Instructor is confidential.
- Shooting arrows/knives/darts inside camp (excluding the training field) is a big no-no.
- Recruits are not allowed to carry weapons outside of training.


Punishments:

Suspension: Member has his/her weapons taken and is forbidden to leave camp grounds for a certain period of time. During that time the member might be confined to his/her chambers or ordered to do minor works.

Expulsion: Member is sent away and forbidden to ever step foot on camp grounds, or keep in contact with any other member.

Execution: Self-explanatory.


Character sheet (Wolfpack):
Code: Select all
[b]Name:[/b]
[b]Alias (if Active assassin):[/b] Name for which your character is known professionally
[b]Gender:[/b] Male or female (well, duh!)
[b]Age:[/b] How old your character is (15 minimum)
[b]Ability (if enlightened):[/b] All abilities must include a down side, or side effect to them. Also note that the younger your character is, the less control he’ll have over his ability, since they awaken at age 12.
[b]Description:[/b] Detailed description (images are optional, words are NOT)
[b]Personality:[/b] How your character acts.
[b]Equipment:[/b]
[b]Background:[/b] Must include place of birth (any of the above mentioned cities, the camp, or smaller village which you may create).
Others: Anything you'd like to add... theme songs, fears, likes, dislikes... Have fun with it.


Healer Clan – The White Shadows

HIERARCHY:

Leader: The leader is the keeper of all information regarding the clan’s history, methods and rituals. The leader is to choose a successor prior to his/her death, and train this person personally.

Spiritual Healers: Theses are Enlightened healers who have the ability seal wounds by transferring part of their own energy onto the patient. It is said that other abilities are tied to this form of healing, but this information is neither confirmed nor denied by those that have come into contact with these healers. Spiritual healers are trained from a young age to manipulate their own vital energy and in some rare cases they have the ability to seal their own wounds. These healers are rarely seen outside The Ruins and the few people who have come into contact with them were the ones who gotten extremely close to death. They are usually the ones who train the apprentices on how to deal with their enlightened abilities once they are discovered, at age 12.

Medicinal Healers: These are healers who have studied and mastered the use of several species of plants and other substances in order to make medicine, antidotes and, in some cases even, poisons. They are also knowledgeable in human anatomy and are the ones usually sent to assist the cities and the assassin camp in times of need. They are usually left unharmed by both armies as well as the assassins, therefore are free to roam the land safely. They are also usually the ones who teach the younger apprentices on how to properly identify plants, poisonous animals and properly treat wounds.

Apprentices: Apprentices are usually born into the clan. Outsiders are rarely accepted, and, when they are, they are usually viewed with suspicion by other apprentices. Apprentices born into the clan begin their studies at age 5, and are graduated at the age of 18. Outsider apprentices are usually older therefore, more severely trained in order to keep up with the others. Most of them don’t make it to graduation and are asked to leave the clan, or stay in to work as assistants.

[/b]Assistants:[/b] Assistants are viewed mostly as tools. Most of them are apprentices who never completed their studies for some reason. Every graduated healer is entitled to an assistant although most of them don’t really see the use for one. Every assistant is the responsibility of his/her master, and therefore are bound to that healer unless dismissed. That basically means that if the healer violates to rules his/her assistant is bound to suffer the same punishment. (Assistants are NOT slaves. They work for the healer simply to be allowed to stay in the clan).

LAWS AND PUNISHMENTS

Laws of the clan:
1. No acts of violence are to be committed, and no weapons are to be brought into The Ruins.
2. No request for help is to be ignored under any circumstance.
3. No one is to be judged on their past.
4. Whatever is said by any patient is confidential.
5. Any information regarding the clan’s teachings costumes is confidential.

Character Sheet for the White Shadows:
Code: Select all
Name:
Age:
Gender:
Rank: Healer (spiritual, or medicinal), Apprentice (15 is the youngest you can be), or assistant
Ability (all healers of this clan are Enlightened):
Description:
Personality:
Equipment: (No weapons… Yet)
Background: (Where you were born, how you arrived at the clan, how you learned of your special abilities… Write a novel if you like. I’ll read it and love it.)
Others: Anything you'd like to add... theme songs, fears, likes, dislikes... Have fun with it.



Military Ranks of Newhaven:

White Knights: Those in charge of guarding the city, and making sure the castle is not invaded. There are five of these knights, they were the ones left in charge of the city after their ruler’s death. And they have been the closest warriors to the rulers of the city since the beginning of times. They are the most loyal men and women in Newhaven, and sworn to give their lives to protect their city from any evil that may seek to destroy it.
They are of noble blood and highly respected. They use a bright silver armor and a silver pendant of a cross. They control the mass of the city’s army)

Black Knights: Aside from the Wolfpack, these are the most vicious killers known in Valcrest. Former mercenaries and other types of criminals, these knights have been trained by the best of the White Knights and been stripped of their former identities. There are five of them. These men and women have nothing left in them but the will to fight. They answer only to the captain of the White Knights and are known to be unnecessarily vicious when not kept on a very tight leash.
Their true identities are unknown to the public, and they are rarely ever seen roaming the streets of Newhaven. When they are seen they have their faces concealed by their black helms. They have only one task at this present time: Find every member of the Wolfpack, and destroy the assassin clan forever. They control a small amount of soldiers, no more than 50, but are rumored to have infiltrated one of their own inside the assassin clan. They wear black armor and shields, and are always concealed by their helms.

Castle guard: Once the personal protection of the city ruler… Now they mainly protect the castle walls. The castle has been sealed after the ruler’s death and now these brave men and women are left to defend it not only from outsiders, but also from the city population itself, since there are citizens constantly attempting to seek shelter inside the castle walls.

Soldiers: What’s there to say? They are those replaceable ones you kill in order to get to the big guys. Honest men with families to feed, and extremely dedicated to their duties.


Military Ranks of Blackpond:

Knights: The elite warriors of Blackpond. They usually lead the troops of soldiers into battle and are the closest to the ruler. They are usually the ones who advise the ruler in all matters of war. They are of noble blood and very well respected amongst the general population. They are currently the ones in charge of running the attack on Newhaven. They are known for avoiding confrontation, but it is said to be impossible to go against one of them in battle and live to tell.

Castle Guards: These are the best trained fighters in Blackpond. They are rarely ever seen away from the castle grounds, and are the ruler’s first line of defense.

City Guards: The city guards are mostly citizens that have been arrested for committing crimes are granted pardon in exchange of joining the city guard. They are unorganized and known for leaving when confronted by stronger groups, such as Pack members or one of the many thieves that terrorize the streets of Blackpond. They offer more protection to certain homes in exchange for bribes, and are not opposed to killing are stealing themselves if needed be.

Soldiers: Same as Newhaven.

Military Character sheet:
Code: Select all
Name:
Age:
Gender:
Rank:
City:
Ability (if Enlightened):
Description: (pictures are optional, words are NOT)
Personality:
Equipment:
Background: (Where you were born, how you entered the military, how you learned of your special abilities, if any… Write a novel if you like. I’ll read it and love it.)
Others: Anything you'd like to add... theme songs, fears, likes, dislikes... Have fun with it.

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Character Portrait: Crystal Rivers Character Portrait: Allison Blake Character Portrait: Jake Turner

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"Forgive me." The words were nothing more than a whisper as Jake stared at the cold gravestone before him. Only one sentence was read in its surface, he figured only Crys would have picked it out. It read: "Daniela Rivers - Finally at rest." To an outsider that might have come off as inappropriate, but it was an inside joke anyway. Any time Crys would tell her mother to relax or take a rest she would answer with. "I'll have plenty of time to do that when I'm dead." Jake let his eyes rest on the words and he let out a small chuckle.

Jake hadn't been in that camp in over a year. The clan as a whole saw his return as suspicious. Understandable. To them he had already committed treason once. He had been there for almost a week now, trying to do his share and avoiding Crys at all costs. He barely caught a glimpse of her or two as she passed by. Her mother's death was getting to her, he knew that. He also knew he couldn't possibly be as close to her as he would like. Not right now.

He closed his eyes and lowered his head respectfully. The last conversation he had with the leader of the Wolfpack was quick, and slightly unfriendly. Although he remembered the concern in her voice as he accepted his task, when she proceeded to list all the reasons why he shouldn't accept. Dani was never an emotional person, but that was her way of showing that she cared for his safety. Tears escaped the man's blue eyes as he recalled the day of her death. Seeing his leader fall to the ground from behind a black helm was something he would never forget. As the pain brought him to his knees, his fingers sunk into the dirt before the grave. "Forgive me." He repeated.

"What are you doing?" The familiar voice sounded in his ears and he opened his eyes. "Stand up, you idiot." Crys added.
Jake didn't move, he didn't think he would stand to turn around and face her right now. Suddenly a hand grabbed his shoulder, she had knelt down next to him before he could even notice. "Jake, what are you doing?" She repeated the question.
Jake nodded, trying to get his voice to come out. Finally he answered. "I'm paying my respects, Crystal. Is there a problem with that?"
Crys sighed beside him and and he felt her skin against his as she ran her fingertips along the side of his face, he hadn't been this close to her in a very long time, under the circumstances it made him slightly uncomfortable. "You look different." She stated, her fingers stopping on the scar above his left eye.
Jake opened a half-smile. "You still look the same."
"You're not looking at me, silly." She laughed.
Jake sighed. "I don't have to. You'll always be the same stubborn child."
"Don't take me for a child, Knight. I can still give you a nice beating." She stated, in a playful tone, poking the scar. "Or have you forgotten?"
Jake finally looked at her. Crys did look exactly the same, the same familiar smirk crossing her face as she bragged about being able to beat him... Nothing had changed. He smiled. "No I haven't forgotten that." He wiped his hands on the front of his shirt before touching the gravestone with his right hand and standing up. "Don't ever call me that again." He told her. A hint of coldness crossed his voice for a second. Before she could answer a man's voice echoed across the camp.
"CRYSTAL!"

-------------

Allison had been busy scouting. She had very little time to mourn Dani's death, she had been working non-stop to keep the camp as secure as possible under the circumstances. In the week and a half she had been there she barely got any sleep. She wasn't complaining though. Anything that she could do for the clan, she would do it. Tending to recruits was the worse though. Not that she didn't enjoy being an instructor, but... The questions were inevitable. They wanted to know about the Shadow's attack on her and expected her to brag about killing a White Knight. She had no idea how people even knew about those details. In the Pack though, once the word is out... It spreads quicker than a forest fire.

Crossing the main entrance and heading to the center of the camp she heard talking amongst some actives. The same talk had been going on over and over. She stopped, not looking at group of men talking, not even to register their faces. She leaned against a tree and listened. A slight frown crossing her expression.
"She hasn't given us any word on what our plan are! Someone needs to confront her at some point!"
"The question is: How rational can she still be? She's not talking to anyone and leaving us in the dark. We're the ones who are dying because of whatever they did in Newhaven. Why must we pay for her mistakes?"
"She is Dani daughter."
"She is not Dani. She is more Bastian's daughter, if you ask me. I never once trusted that outsider to begin with."
"Lionel... That's too much."
"No, I'm done. This ends now." The active by name of Lionel stated. Then he walked a few step and shouted. "CRYSTAL! SHOW YOURSELF!"

Ali raised her head and her blue eyes darted at the man. He couldn't possibly be that stupid. Crys came walking, slowly from the memorial and she immediately stopped a few steps before the man who had called for her. "Show yourself?" She repeated his words. "I was unaware that I was hiding, Lionel."
"I am done with this." He stated. Walking a step closer and pointing his finger at her disrespectfully. Ali let her hand slide towards her quiver. Then she heard Crys chuckle. Coldness in her voice as she answered the man. "Stop yourself before it's too late." She warned him.
"No. I challenge you!" He shouted.
The whole camp stopped as he said those words. As if time had suddenly stopped, or slowed considerably. Crys sighed. "I'll give you five seconds to leave my presence before I'm forced to kill you. Five..."
The man didn't move so she kept counting slowly:

"Four..."

"Three..."

As she spoke the word "Two." Ali heard one of the recruits scream. She had missed the split second when Crys pulled out her Sai and stabbed the man. The metallic sound of a knife was the only sound in the clearing as the dagger Lionel had pulled fell to the ground. Crys let the active fall to the ground at her feet before getting on one knee beside him and slitting his throat in one clean move. Then she rested his dagger over his chest, closed his eyes and whispered. "Rest in peace, my brother."
She stood up and sheathed the bloody Sai before finally speaking. "There is enough people killing our members already. Once this is over you can all turn on me. Right now, we should be fighting them and not each other." Her voice was calm and void of emotion as she spoke. Ali knew Crys a little better though... Killing one of her own men was a painful thing for her. Ali nodded as Crys turned her back, speaking as she walked away from the center of the camp. "Give this fool a proper burial, then return to your assignments."

Ali wanted to chase Crys down and talk to her, but she had her assignment to fulfill. There was just no time for friendship right now.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Newhaven

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In the court of the Barracks, a single voice could be heard chanting the familiar call of a battle drill. A slim woman could be seen pacing back and forth in front of a line of soldiers, watching them carefully as they worked through the drills. It was a familiar practice, one that she could carry out without thinking. Which meant that she could think about the thing that was truly bothering her. Battle was easy. Simple and straight forward. But this business of carrying out an overarching campaign, that was more difficult. She had to consider every possible move from all angles, balancing the risks against the rewards. And there were all the things that she wasn’t happy about, but did anyway, simply to continue to protect Newhaven. This was her duty and her calling, and she would not fail in it.
“Halt! Fall out and form pairs, continue block and parry drills.”
She considered the events of the last few years. Finally the Wolfpack was on the decline, and they might even fall within the next few months. One good push might finish it off. She only hoped that she would be around to see the end of it. And after that?

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The general hubub of conversation faltered slightly as the tavern's bulky oak door was shoved open to reveal the tall figure of Eulalius. Other than a few whispers and nervous glances exchanged among the patrons, they quickly resumed their stupor induced tales and slack-jawed soliloquies known to the local populace.

Eulalius' eyes scanned the lobby area of the tavern, his gaze eventually falling upon a young man-Whom couldn't have been as old as 18 or 19- who was busying himself engulfing massive bites of salted pork and washing them down with what Eulalius presumed was ale.

He gracefully-Well, as gracefully as his age would allow- maneuvered his way through the thick crowd of growing-drunk civilians until he stood next to the boy seated in the corner, who sat alone up until then. The boy waved a hand for Eulalius to sit next to him, and he complied.

Their conversation was short, and to the point. Eulalius told the man he had what he requested, presenting the man a sealed envelope in exchange for a sack of coins that Eulalius found surprisingly heavy.
--
It was the first true information exchange that Eulalius had done in years. After he had be admitted into the Woflpack- Which he now called 'The Pack', much like most of his fellow members- he had dropped the business entirely, using his age as an excuse if some former customer should ask about it again. But this exchange was different, and Eulalius prized the man's endeavors.

The boy said he was a freelance assassin whom wasn't interested in joining the Pack, and took out targets for his own personal purposes. He sold the man information on the boy's target because it was a pompous businessman that Eulalius personally found annoying, but he was one that the Guild didn't have a written contract for, and Eulalius didn't want to wait. He wasn't sure how the Pack's leader would respond to his actions.

Regardless, Eulalius returned to the camp, scanning the area behind him frequently to make sure he wasn't being followed.

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The camp was silent for once. There was no commotion of battles and no intensive training going on. Evin finally had a chance to get some well deserved sleep. It almost seemed that Evin hadn't slept since the battle in Newhaven took place almost a year ago. The battle was a walk in the park compared to what had to be done around camp to make sure that no one came close to destroying the camps. The promise he made to Dani hadn't even crossed his mind until she had died. He just had no time to take care of Crystal and make sure she didn't get into trouble. He had far more pressing matters to attend to.
Ella was a perfect example of this. It took a year of emotionally torturing her until she finally cracked. Just a few days ago, he had caught her plotting to kill Evin. It would only be a matter of days until she would actually go on with her plan. Then step one of her training would be complete and he could move on into working the more intensive stuff and actually sending her on missions with him.
Another thing he had to worry about was the attacks themselves. He was part of the tactics task force who was responsible for creating tactical offencive and defencive lines for when the attacks happened. If it wasn't for that work, the camp would have been lost a long time ago, but as the Knights started learning the tactics, the tactics had to be changed. So this job became a day by day struggle to stay one step ahead.
Finally, there was the new task that he was dealt with. One of Dani's last dying wishes was to make Evin second in command of the camp. On top of everything else, he had to take almost full responsibility of the camp now. Over look Crystal's decisions and discuss all the doings of the camp. It was too much for Evin to handle. No wonder Dani always seemed so bitter.
Suddenly, just as Evin was drifting off into sleep, he heard a man yell from outside, "CRYSTAL, SHOW YOUR SELF!"
He tried to ignore it, but the commotion continued. When Evin finally had enough of it, he swung open the cabin door and ran to the center of the camp where everything was happening. On the ground, just in front of the fire was Lionel, with his throat slit. Evin looked around for any possible attackers, but saw none. He quickly realised what must have happened.
Evin sighed and muttered a few curses under his breath, "Where the hell did Crystal go!" He demanded with authority, even if he didn't enjoy doing so that much.
Ella Page walked from the center of the crowd that was surrounding the dead man. The fear that he usually saw in her face was no longer there and it was one of an almost sick pleasure. Evin would find himself facing Ella's blade soon, but for now she co-operated with his demand. She didn't say anything. She just looked a certain way. It was enough for him to understand though and he went towards where he believed he would find her.
After a few minutes of walking down a narrow path, he caught up to Crystal. She was exactly where he expected her to be, by the lake.
He spoke, "Do you really think that you can do that to members of the Pack Crystal?" Before she had a chance to justify her actions, Evin continued. "Just because the man threatened you does not justify the fact that you took the life of one of our assets. Most of these men can only remember the life in the Wolf Pack and they remember it the way Dani handled things. That is all they know. It will take time for them to trust you, but I'll tell you now that killing will not help break that trust barrier. No matter how angry you get, you have to understand this."
Evin sat down beside Crystal, looking out into the lake. It was such a beautiful sight at this time of day.

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#, as written by Jossar
As Sir Sidin made his supervising rounds across the city, it occurred to him that the sky above Newhaven was entirely unfitting for the current situation. The morning was a brilliant blue, with the sun shining brightly overhead and not a cloud in the sky: perfect weather for a time of peace. A more forgiving time, where the nobleman would have been lazing about at the family manor, basking in the pleasures of youth, and entirely ignorant of the world around him. But in this time of war, with the city still in disarray and the advantage lying with Blackpond, a cloudy sky would have been more appropriate...

Which is not to say that things were entirely doomed: Newhaven was the best city in the world, and even these numerous turns of misfortune were only a temporary setback. Thomas was sure that the people of Newhaven would at least be able to fight Blackpond to a standstill, at which point the knights could determine whether or not it would be a good idea to continue the war or see if the city to the North would accept a peace that would eventually lead to the economic dominance of Newhaven.

By that point, Sir Sidin had made his way to the castle walls, where he stopped - after all, he expected to be meeting someone here - and took a glimpse at the once magnificent structure that the walls protected. Thomas' mind involuntary went back to the day of his knighting, as personally performed by the king himself - it was a grand ceremony, but one that was unlikely to be seen again. Unless...

"The missing prince..."

Thomas murmured the words to himself in an unbelieving whisper: the White Knights had served at the side of the rightful King of Newhaven for generations, which is why they had sent out a party to find the last known scion of the royal line. But the odds of finding him were slim, and the knight was very much occupied with the dealings of the city that were occurring in the here and now.

With that, a man in a hooded green cloak came up to the walls and saluted Sir Sidin. Thomas saluted the man back, and figuring him to be the messenger that his spy had sent, handed the man a letter with the seal of the White Knights on it and instructions to deliver the letter to Commander Boris by the former East Gate. As the man scurried off, and Thomas walked back towards the direction that he came from, the knight was somewhat saddened by the knowledge that neither would reach their destination as intended: seeing as both Thomas and his spy knew that the man in the latter's employ was a Blackpond agent who had previously been fed false information and now was nothing more than a liability. The envelope was covered with a slow-acting contact anaesthetic that would put the man to sleep sometime on his way to the East Gate and Boris had been instructed to keep a few men on watch for a man who collapsed in the middle of the street so that he could be quietly imprisoned under the guise of having the guard take the man away to a hospital. Of course, the man would have to be replaced by one who Thomas could guarantee was in his employ so that the charade could continue and his enemy counterpart wouldn't suspect a thing, surely as the same was being done in Blackpond at this very moment. Such was this war, closer to politics than the actual fighting...

With that, Thomas let out a yawn: In order to make sure that the man didn't suspect a thing, the knight hadn't worn any gloves, subjecting himself to the same anaesthetic - so it seemed that he would be getting to lie around like a lump after all. But unlike the messenger, Thomas had taken care to ensure that his nap was going to be followed by a pleasant (and not a rude) awakening.

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Alexandra was practicing when she heard the man's shouting. She chose to ignore it, it had nothing to do with herself and besides, whoever wanted to pick a fight with Crystal obviously had some screws loose. She figured they deserved whatever they got.

And so she continued with her illusions, wincing as the usual cuts appeared on her hands. She pushed the pain to the back of her mind as she formed and dissolved and reformed this illusion and that, making it appear as though shadows were dancing or fire was crackling. She almost felt warm when she created the fire but knew it was in her head as illusions usually are.

She had become curious after a few minutes of forming and reforming different scenes and creatures and decided to see what had been the result of the idiot's, well, idiocy. She made the illusion dissipate and left the small clearing she had been in for the past few hours. She walked quickly to the camp and glanced around, there had definitely been no attackers; she had been correct in that assumption. Alexandra moved slowly toward the body she noticed lying on the ground, shaking her head. " Really Lionel..? You were a good fighter and all, but apparently you didn't have any brain to match." She said to the bloody corpse before she turned on her heel, muttering " Idiot."

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Valcrest

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Blanditia willed the forest to make no noise were she stepped and she gracefully came to the Wolfpacks territory. She had heard the old leader had died and She had a strange need to pay her respect to the woman. She stepped out and used her skill to shadow herself so she wouldn't be noticed, at lest for awhile. She stood at the grave and felt tears slide down her face and she didn't understand why. She crouched down and placed a single purple rose on the grave. "I wish I had known you" she whispered and her voice carried gently almost like a breeze its self. She sat for awhile just whispering to the grave.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Newhaven

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#, as written by Tyce
Kranden turned the corner in the castle only to be struck by a dagger which luckily hit his breast plate and bounced off. Before his eyes even adjusted he was punched in the face. He recovered quickly pushing his attacker back. She fell to the ground but rolled back onto her feet grabbing another dagger. Mageria walked around the corner farther down the hall.
"Mageria Loo.." was all he could say before he was karate chopped in the throat and she was stabbed twice in the back and twice in the chest by two different assassins.
The female who had ambushed him first put her foot on his throat and asked cruelly, "Any last words, captain?" She made a mockery of him by baby voicing the word captain.

Before he could answer she jumped into the air, did a flip and brought the daggers down to his throat.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" He screamed waking up. His scream hit the ceiling of his room caving it in. A bed fell through the ceiling and into his room. His scream echoed out his window and down the hall way out other windows over the town. Now there was going to be some tenseness throughout the city, as if something had gone wrong.

"Everything alright captain?" Someone asked from outside the door to his chamber.
"No, it isn't Luken." He said upset. "We need to get some workers to move this bed and plaster the ceiling.
"Sir, this is the second time this wee.."
"I know," Krander interrupted.

The bed was hauled out and Krander tried to wander back to sleep.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next morning Krander felt tense and tired. He was sore and his voice was hoarse. 'Must have been one hell of a scream,' He thought to himself.

He did his rounds and passed the training grounds. He listened and laughed to himself as Mageria yelled at the recruits. She was one stuborn killing machine, and he was glad to have her as a teammate. She executed every order (and person) she was commanded extremely well and as quickly as possible. He was certain he could call her a "brother" as well as a friend.

He looked around him and took the secret path back into the castle. "Oh, King, What has become of us?" He asked as he began walking to the top of the castle.

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Mageria found Captain Krander with relatively few problems, simply asking a few of the servants that she passed. Not being on duty as a Black Knight, she simply wore the uniform of a high ranking Castle guard. It allowed her to carry her weapons, not be questioned, and protect her alternate identity. That was enough for her, since the point of being a Black Knight was to not be recognized while on duty.

She found Krander at the top of the battlements, not entirely a surprise. She leaned her back against the wall next to him and glanced at him out of the side of her eye.
“So, apparently you brought down an entire floor of the castle, dumping at least a dozen people out of their beds, waking the rest of the castle, and terrorizing at least a dozen maids.” A rare moment of good humor softened the lines of her face, with a smile tugging at the right side of her face. The wind gusted, blowing a few strands of coppery hair into her eyes. She brushed them out of the way absently as she turned and leaned against the wall, studying the town below them.
“So when are we going to strike next? I have my sources in the camp, and Pondus is out there as backup if needed. I’ve got more Knights in the field that here. This is the time to finish it. The Pack is weak right now, under strength and their leader is struggling to stay in control. One good campaign will finish them off and we can go back to concentrating on the rest of our enemies.”

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Crys had walked towards the lake almost immediately after killing Lionel. She hadn't yet bothered to wash the blood off her blade. She didn't enjoy having to do that, but she felt no hesitation, no doubt, no fear, given the chance he would have killed her. If he had been bluffing, if it was just talk... It didn't have to go that far. "Damn fool!" she muttered, tossing a small piece of rock into the water. Then she raised her head when she heard footsteps. She sighed, quietly. She didn't as much as flinch when Evin spoke to her. She listened to his words of course, although she didn't think he quite understood the situation.

The moment he sat beside her, she moved away from him a little, more on an instinct than for any other reason. As if somehow he would know what she was thinking if she sat any closer. Although she knew for a fact that he couldn't. "If you're here just for the sake of scolding me, then don't bother. I'm very much capable of doing that myself." She mumbled. Finally she pulled out her Sai and a piece of cloth. She dipped the cloth in the water before using it to wipe off the blood on her blade. She could still smell the blood on her hands. It sickened her. It was the first time blood ever bothered her. Including the night she discovered her father dead in the Inn at Blackpond. Once the blade was clean, or she thought it to be clean, she raised her head to face Evin.

Her voice sounded slightly more clear this time as she spoke. "I don't think I can kill members of this clan, just because I'm angry Evin, that would be treason. I did not do this because Lionel threatened me, to make some kind of example out of him, or to try and impose respect on the clan." She sighed. "I did it because I knew that if I didn't he would have killed me. Without the slightest hesitation." She flipped the dagger between her fingers as she allowed herself to think for a moment. "I honestly wish he had been bluffing. I could have easily overlooked that... Everyone is angry right now, I wouldn't hold it against him. I'm not like that." She was sounding apologetic now, so she stopped herself and went silent for a moment or two.

She smiled slightly to herself for a second as if she suddenly remembered something funny as she felt someone at the memorial nearby, she wondered who that was, but shut down the smile immediately. "So... Is your recruit finally turning on you?" She asked him, trying to fake a severe tone. She had given up on trying to criticize Evin's methods a long time ago. She did catch herself remembering the girl though. Aside from a split second during the battle at the castle, when she thought she sensed something interesting in her, she didn't pay much attention to Ella. Suddenly she felt that she should.

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Evin sighed while Crystal was whining about her only choice. Anger began to develop deep down in Evin's stomach, but he held it back. All he thought about was how Sebastian would handle the situation. That was what Dani wanted from him anyways. He needed to keep the promise he made to her no matter what. Now was the perfect time to start. He just continued to listen. He made sure that he wouldn't show his emotion, even if Crystal could feel them. It would just show that Evin understood her enough that he didn't want to express his feelings, but she still understood how he felt deep inside. Evin called this way of communicating with Crystal his telepathy. Although Evin did not possess any such power, he was still able to communicate emotions to Crystal on a whole other level that most people wouldn't understand.
As Crystal finished, her expression quickly changed, just for a moment. She felt something unusual somewhere near by. He came to realise what it was when he heard noises in the bushes behind him. Crystal continued the conversation on another topic. This time, she spoke about Ella and how her training was going. "So... Is your recruit finally turning on you?" This just came to solidify Evin's suspicions of what exactly Crystal had felt just seconds before.
"You'll see in a second." Evin took a few seconds after he said that to draw one of his daggers from out of his sleeve. In an instant, Evin turned around to catch the dagger that was aimed to pierce the back of his neck. The tang noise from the two daggers clashing caused all the birds in the trees around the pond to fly away into the sky's. Evin grabbed the wrist of the attacker and kneed her in the stomach to make sure she wouldn't be able to get up for another couple of minutes.
"That was a worthless attempt at best Ella, but you did what I have been waiting for none the less. Tomorrow, you will start your next part of training. Now that you are willing to kill, you will be allowed to join me in training for properly planning a hit."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ella didn't do much for the next minute. She was just lying on the ground trying to hold back the tears that she so desperately did not want to show. Her plan had failed and now she barely catch her breath. What did this mean for her. Would Crystal see this a treason and have her executed. She didn't want to think about the several possibilities of outcomes for her. Even worse would be what Evin might do to her now. What type of sadistic training would he have her preform now. Or was it all over. She only hoped she could tell. She smiled up to Evin, her sadistic smile and said, "You... sick bastard." She could barely catch her breath as she spit out her words.
She got up from the mud she was laying in and went back her little cabin to freshen up the best she could.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Cute kid, don't you think?" Evin turned himself back around to face Crystal. He sat back down, this time facing her. "And just so you know, I didn't need the hint that she was coming thank you very much. I could tell that she was coming without you hinting that you sensed her."

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Allison had finished training one of her recruits a bit early. She had to send the 13 year old boy to the healers. Served him right for trying to grab her bow out of her hands. "Idiot." She muttered as she walked towards the lake. She snickered as she caught a glimpse of Ella walking away from the small clearing. As the girl passed her, Ali heard something in the bushes and turned around. She saw nothing. Facing the lake she saw Crys and Evin sitting there. She nodded. "So, you went back to stalking her now?" She asked in a whispering tone. Jake made himself visible and shot a glare towards Evin to make sure the man hadn't noticed him. Didn't look like he had. Then he sighed. "So, what if I am?"

Ali took a good look at her friend, Jake looked miserable. As if he hadn't slept in years. "You look awful." She stated.
He chuckled. "Well, thank you, you look very unattractive yourself."
She smirked slightly. "Oh, that's just your opinion, Jacob." Her expression turned slightly more serious and she looked towards Crys. "I think she's finally losing it."
"No... She's not. She might though." Jake shot a glare at Evin again as if he stated that he was responsible for making sure she didn't. "She lost her mother, days ago, and everyone expects her to just..."
"They're frightened Jake, and angry. They want to feel like there is someone thinking clearly for them because they can't. It's her responsibility to be that person, or at least pretend." She sighed. "I love Crys too, and I really wish we could all hold her hand right now, but let's face reality here... Leaders only get challenged in this clan if they show themselves weak. Evin is doing a good job, but if we simply sit here and hope we can fend them off forever, soon there won't be much left of us. We're cornered."
"I know that." He stated, and walked away. Ali watched him leave with a slight frown. Wondering what had happened to him in Newhaven. The Jake she knew would never walk away like that.

----------------

Crys nodded, smiling slightly at the girl's lame attempt to take Evin out. "I do know, and you're welcome, but I wasn't actually hinting you." She chuckled. "She has a valid point though... You are a sick bastard."
"Look who's talking." Ali stated as she walked towards the lake and sat down, letting out an exhausted sigh. "Stupid recruits." She muttered.
Crys snickered. "Look who's talking now." Then she she nodded. "Trouble?"
"That depends... Breaking my recruit's ribs is not treason, right?"
"No." Crys answered, with a chuckle. "How many of yours have I broken?"
"All of them I think. That one time at least." Ali mumbled trying to remember. "How come you guys are always here? This is supposed to be my spot."
"I came here to be alone." Crys shrugged. "Not happening though."
Ali sighed. "Do we have a plan Crys? I mean..."
"I know what you mean." Crys stated, with a slight frown. "I have been thinking about it. We're low on supplies our people are getting attacked whenever they go hunting for food... If not by the soldiers by those stinking mercenaries." She sighed. "No matter how long we manage to stand our ground, eventually they'll break us."
"There's one thing we can do." Ali stated. "While I was in the ruins I violated one of the rules, so... Lena put me to work as punishment. I met some injured soldiers while working there. One of them mentioned that the ruler of Newhaven, the former ruler, had two children. The younger sibling has been missing for years now. That person technically is the ruler of Newhaven."
"And we have no idea where to look..." Crys mumbled. "If we could get this person on our side, that could make our lives easier."
"That's what I thought." Ali stated. "I didn't ask many questions though. I didn't want the man to figure out who he was really speaking to."
Crys smiled. "Oh, I'm sure Lena would have handled that." She frowned slightly and turned to Evin. "You think Ella would know something about this story? I mean, she was close to the real king."

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#, as written by Rill
"Stand And Deliver!!"
Eddie's voice echoed down the forest path, followed by a thunder of hooves as the Coach driver urged his mounts on to an even greater speed, a heartbeat later, more hoof-beats sounded upon the trail as Eddie Clarke, closely followed by the dozen other leather and chain clad warriors that made up the infamous mercanary group konw as the 'Red Raven' galloped out onto the path and, kicking up great clouds of dust in the process, thundered off after the reateating coach!

Driving his boot heels into his horses flanks, Eddie broke away from the group, riding ahead, hell for leather and gaining on the coach all the while, the Bandit cheif grinned, pearly white teeth glinting out of his tanned, un-shaven face, long, slicked back dark hair whipping out behind him around the blood red bandanna that marked him as a member of the Raven, the Mercanary laughed, this was the life!

As Eddie gained, he suddenly spied the coach driver leaping up onto the flat roof of his own pitching coach, and take a bead on the Mercanary Captain, a loaded crossbow in his hands!
Eddie swore loudly, as the dirver fired, pitching himself sideways, the Rouge felt the bolt whip past his ear and a split second later, found himself hanging sideways off his saddle, desprately trying to right himself!
With a shouted curse, Eddie pulled himself back up onto his seat, in time to see the coach driver throw back his cloak, rip a pair of ornate silver daggers from his belt, and, with a running leap, flew straight off the end of the coach, turning in the gracefully air as he did so...

"Ah shit... ASSASSIN!!"
Eddie screamed, before the coachmans riding boots hit him square in the chest, knocking him head over heels off the back of his saddle, and landing him sprawled in the dirt of the track!

Eddie scrambled to his feet, groping for his sword as the Assassin leapt lightly down from his mount, twirling his daggers as he advanced on the Mercanary...

"Ah... can we talk about this..?"
Eddie began as with a, smug, arrogant grin and slight shake of the head, the Assassin leapt...

...Only to be smashed clean out of the air by a viscious, two handed stroke of a huge, blonde maned man, swining a massive warhammer from atop his thundering charger!
Bone cracked and crimson sprayed across the dirt as the Assassin was knocked across the path to smash against the trunk of a sturdy oak some distance away, before crumpling to the ground like a broken doll!

The rest of the band gathered round as the huge blonde man swung himself down from his saddle and, shouldering his warhammer, extended a hand down towards his leader.

"What seized fucking brain, little man?"
The big man growled,
"Riding ahead of the group, like a troll with a poker up its arse!"

Eddie looked up from the dirt, and grinned wickedly,
"Leader's privilege Bjorn,"
The Bandit Captain told his second in command, accepting the Barbarians offered hand and letting the big man haul him to his feet,
"To live fast, be the first in the fray and to take the finest pick of the spoils, that or die young and leave a beautiful corpse!"
Eddie cackled and, whipping his hip flask from his belt, took a long, well earned swig, up ahead, the driverless coach had trundled to a halt some distance down the path....

"Right lads,"
The Rouge Captain adressed his men, dusting himself down as he did so and jerking a thumb towards the coach,
"Lets see what our freind over yonder was carrying!"

The setting changes from Valcrest to The Ruins (Healer's camp)

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Helena Turner had an exhausting night. Headaches had kept her from sleeping, and her body was aching for just no reason at all. Maybe she was falling ill, maybe she just wasn't the child she used to be anymore... But that was the least of her concerns at the moment. The ruins were crowded with injured people. Soldiers, civilians... Assassins... Even people who weren't hurt, but simply wanted to get away from the constant battles. The White Shadows would take anyone as long as they left their weapons behind. With all that, and after having sent small groups of healers to both cities as well as the Wolfpack camp, Lena had her hands full and that to say the very least.

Pressure on the war was building to a breaking point. Blackpond was putting pressure on the healers to stop aiding Newhaven. They claimed that if they took over the city it would all be over. Even if that was true, Lena didn't listen to it. Even amongst her own clan opinions were torn as some believed that they should simply step aside instead of feeding the war. It was valid point, Lena couldn't deny that, but... As long as they could be useful, she couldn't really bring herself to accept the idea of doing nothing. Innocent people were involved after all.

"Mom?"
Lena lifted her eyes from the book she was pretending to read and looked up at her daughter. She had called for Annie and had completely forgotten why until that moment. The woman let out a long sigh, before finally speaking. "I need you to pack your equipment and head for the Wolfpack's camp."
Lena watched as the girl's brown eyes narrowed and she questioned the order with suspicion in her voice. "For what reason, may I ask?"
"No, you may not ask, Annie. Do as I say." Lena answered. "Come see me again once you are ready to leave.
Annie let out an impatient and annoyed sigh. "Yes, mother."

--------

Annie was not pleased with her mother's decision. Not in one bit. She didn't see why she should go if they were so short on healers at their own camp. She didn't like the idea of traveling all that much either. Blackpond guards have been spotted harassing healers lately, to keep them away from Newhaven. They weren't being violent, but Annie was tiny compared to almost any man and she was incapable of avoiding conflict if they happen to try and intimidate her. She usually annoyed people easily. She sighed, checking that her antidote kit was all complete before packing it. She lifted her bag once she had everything with it and on the ground underneath it she found an envelope. looking at it curiously she picked it up and opened it. Inside there was a small dagger, and a note. It read: "I took your advice, now you take mine. Stay safe kid, it's a messed up world out there."
Annie laughed at the note and hid the dagger on the belt she wore beneath her robes. She knew how much it must have cost Allison to sneak that dagger in, the least she could do was take her efforts into consideration.

As she was done packing she went back to her mother's tent, and stepped inside. "I'm ready to leave." She stated. Her voice was a little more calm than it was at their first conversation.
Annie watched her mother as she closed the book she had been staring at. Not much reading, but simply staring at it. She then handed the book to Annie. "This book here contains important information on that missing dagger. Last time I saw Jacob, he demanded this information." She smirked slightly when she said demanded, as if it was hilarious that Jake thought he could afford to make any demands. "I denied him his request, for obvious reasons, but... Now that the weapon is gone, maybe it will be useful in some way."
"Should I give this to Jake?" Annie asked taking the book.
"No. Straight to Crystal. She can't read it, but she'll know who's reliable enough to do it. I don't this information anywhere near Jake. He has obsessed enough over this dagger in the past year."
"Yes mother." Annie nodded and bowed her head slightly before turning to leave. As she walked out of the tent she heard her mother's voice.
"Stay safe kid. It's a messed up world."
Annie laughed as she walked out. She was more than used to not being able to hide anything from her mother. She added the weight of the book to the contents of her bag and began to make her way towards the forest.

The setting changes from The Ruins (Healer's camp) to Blackpond

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#, as written by Tyce
Phelix wandered the halls aimlessly. "Such a waste" he mumbled to himself. He was even more restricted to the castle than ever. Not only that but NO one really was ever in the castle, even assasins were few and far between.
"Can't get a good brew, can't get a good brawl, and can't even get some good ass." he muttered under his breath. He instantly thought of Kranden and the wonderful times they had spent together since they met.

"Phelix, salute!" Commanded his superior.
"Ten, Hut!" He saluted. They both kept walking down the corridor. He would pass him again in about another 5 minutes, and the scene would be repeated.

Life was boring for Phelix. He hoped every morning that some day, some how, he would be able to get out and see his lover, and kill a few assassins.
"All this training is going to waste!" He said, loud enough for a slight echo. Echoing also brought his mind to Krander. He sighed deeply and repeated the scene with his superior.

If only something interesting would happen to the castle, or somewhere close by, so they could all leave and he could release some pent up energy by using his ability...

The setting changes from Blackpond to Newhaven

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander listened as Mageria spoke.

"Well two problems. One, and more importantly, the Night terrors. You aren't Enlightened," he said gently, "so you don't understand, but I know you ARE capable OF understanding." He let out a grin which he quickly pulled back. "The first was about Phelix, and he was killed. The second, just this morning, was an ambush on the castle in which you were killed and was I." He looked at her. "I know it was a dream, because you died, but it still freaked me out."

He sat in silence for a moment then looked around. He needed to be more careful when he spoke of Phelix. Such a relationship would be treason to his 'King.' He only trusted his White Knights and a few select Black knights to tell his personal life to, as did they to him.

"The next problem. Wolfpack or Blackpond? Blackpond is giving us THIS much trouble, and they haven't even released their castle guards to fight yet. That is a dangerous situation for us if that happens. I fear we are spread too thin Mageria. We should meet with the Warlord and discuss the appropriate approach, as all of them right now seem to be a lose lose." He sighed, straightened up, and began walking towards the secret portion of the castle that housed the Warlord known only as Xypher.

The setting changes from Newhaven to Assassin's Camp

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The direction that this conversation had gone was good. Crystal seemed to be in a better mood. She was even poking fun at him by agreeing with Ella. Things lightened up even more when Allison showed up and began to reply to comments that were made to Evin. The conversation continued on it's way with the three of them. They discussed what was on Crystal's mind. When Allison asked, "Do we have a plan Crys?" The entire tone of the conversation shifted.
Even in the secluded area of the lake, they could not escape the morbid reality that they would be doomed without some serious political intervention. Crystal wasn't looking at all the options though. Evin understood that he had discussed making a pact with Blackpond before and she turned it down, but now they were starting to run out of options. Maybe this time Crystal would consider it a little better. Before he could express his train of thought, the conversation shifted again. This time they were talking about Ella and the fact that she was close to the king before his death.
"The truth is that she hasn't really talked about that all too much to me. Maybe it's the fact that she doesn't trust me and wants me dead though. Maybe one of you would have better luck with this." He then decided to express the urgency of what was going on once again, Hopefully she would understand why they needed to make a pact. "Another thing I would like to tell you before things get out of hand is that we need to make a pact with Blackpond. If we give them our services, they will return the favor with troops. Maybe they could even supply us with essentials for the camp that we can't get because of the army blockade outside our camp. If you send me with someone, I could go down to Blackpond and see if we could do something about it. Of course I would also have to bring Ella with me. It doesn't matter that she is still in training. We need her to be trained as quickly as possible so we can get more assassin's working for our cause."
He remembered the last time he had requested to go out to go on a personal mission. It was the start of the entire chain of events the lead them to this moment. He just hoped that this time, this mission would be the start of a chain of events to save the lives of everyone in the Pack.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Valcrest

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Blanditia had wondered the camp out of curiosity and had wandered upon three people in a serious conversation "What are you guys talking about?" she asked without thinking, letting the shadow she had pulled to her return to where it was supposed to be. She realized her mistake immediately and was already pulling it back willing the earth to let her borrow the darkness from it. She sighed with concentration, She was afraid to get in trouble she wasn't supposed to be here.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Assassin's Camp

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Crys nodded when Evin mentioned Ella hadn't spoken to him about her past. "I don't see why she wouldn't open up to you. You're so comforting." She joked, smirking a little. "Maybe Ali can share some of her stories about how I tortured her and see if that'll get to her."
Ali chuckled. "Oh, I have plenty of stories. Like when you made me hold my bow drawn for eleven hours. I couldn't move my arm for over a week after that."
"For six days. It would have been less if you had followed my instructions, so quit whining." Crys replied pushing Ali towards the lake, not strong enough to push her in, but almost.
"Hey, stop it." Ali complained, although she laughed.

When Evin mentioned Blackpond though... Crys' smile shut down fast. Truth is, she hadn't ruled that possibility out completely, even when she turned it down the first time. "This could blow up in our faces is so many different ways..." She sighed. "I don't see that we have much of a choice. What bothers me is if they decide that we owe them allegiance once this is over." She frowned slightly. "We are not an army for hire and I will not have that. So the possibility of getting out of a bad situation and into another is my main problem with this." Crys was in doubt, her mother repeatedly told her to never trust a city ruler. This was beyond a matter of trust now. They needed Blackpond. Hell...

Crys ran her fingers through her hair and scratched the back of her head. Anyone who knew Bastian would immediately recognize that as the same gesture he always made when he couldn't make up his mind. After a moment or two of silence. She spoke again. "Alright. We don't have a better option. Make sure you take someone reliable with you, besides Ella, I mean. " She wanted to go herself, but the way things were, that was out of the question. "And make it clear to them that they need us, we're not asking for favors." The moment she said that, Ali got on her feet and nocked an arrow as a strange voice sounded. "What are you guys talking about?"

"Healer." Crys mumbled, not moving. "She was in the memorial a few minutes ago." She faced the girl. "Don't bother hiding, because you really can't."
Crys heard the string of Ali's bow relax as she spoke with an irritated tone in her voice. "You're an apprentice. You're not allowed to leave the ruins. I suggest you go back before Lena knows you're missing."
"Let her stay." Crys shrugged. "She can stay with other healers. I can talk with Lena if she gets angry." Crys really didn't want that girl wandering about on her own with the way things were lately. It didn't bother her to have another healer around, apprentice or not.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Valcrest

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Blanditia smiled and dropped the shadow. "I have to go soon but i felt like i should pay my respects to the past leader, i don't really know why but i did." she said and slipped close to them. She pulled a purple rose from somewhere and handed it to the female who was still sitting down, "I'm Blanditia, And i am in deed an apprentice healer, but you already know that" she said her soft voice filling the air with its musical quality.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Newhaven

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Mageria paced gravely alongside Krander as he left the battlements. She squinted against the sun and discreetly checked where the nearest guard was. Reassured that no one could hear, she leaned in close and whispered.
“I don’t know why you haven’t kidnapped that boy years ago and locked him up in your closet. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.” Her eyes shaded toward a blue green while a seldom seen smile briefly flashed across her face. “Think about it. You could climb up to his window in the middle of the night, sweep him off on your white steed, and the both of you live out your lives happily ever after somewhere.” She pulled out a knife and idly cleaned under her nails with it.
“You know that I’m going to pull for attacking the Pack as soon as possible, but you’re right in that it might not be the best idea. But you know things are going to be bad if Blackpond just decides to hire the assassins and send them after us instead of getting their hands dirty. My source will let me know, but. . . . we need as much time to prepare as possible.”

The setting changes from Newhaven to Assassin's Camp

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Crys frowned slightly at that girl's attitude as she offered her what appeared to be a rose. Ali let out something similar to a snicker and mumbled. "Healers are the weirdest creatures..." Crys figured she resented some of the time she spent at the ruins apparently. Smiling slightly at Ali's contempt, Crys accepted the rose and nodded. "Alright, Blanditia. If you must leave, then I suggest you be on your way and be careful not to sneak up on anyone again. You were very close to have an arrow through your chest. There is a war going on or haven't you heard?" She was slightly amused by the girl's mannerisms, she didn't really seem to be aware of how dangerous that camp was at the moment, even for a healer.

--------------

Jake sighed as he watched the workers arrange for Lionel's burial. His two brothers had looks of complete rage as they watched the preparations. Jake stopped next to the eldest of the two. "My condolences." He offered the man.
"Don't bother. The idiot got what he deserved." The man answered.
"Crys crossed the line even so... She's not being herself lately." Jake stated with a slight shrug.
"I thought she was your friend Jacob..." The active looked at him with a slight frown. "My brother pulled a knife at the clan leader. She didn't have to kill, but it was within her right by the rules."
"That's a noble attitude you have, Sean. I wouldn't if I was in your place." Jake nodded watching Lionel's body being taken away. He was thinking that this would be enough to make clan revolt against Crys, but apparently not quite yet. Before he did anything else, though, he needed to speak with her alone.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Newhaven

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#, as written by Tyce
If Kraden had been drinking water, he would have spit it out at that comment.
“I don’t know why you haven’t kidnapped that boy years ago and locked him up in your closet. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.” Mageria spoke under her breath to him.
"HAHAHAHAHA!" His voice boomed and echoed out over the horizon. The guard ahead flinched and the birds in the nearby trees took off startled.
After regaining his composure he listened to the rest of what she had to say, trying as hard as he could not to smile at the joking comments made before. He noticed Mageria smiled, but only for a moment.

"You know Mageria, I remember a time when you used to smile more. You weren't as ruthless, but it wasn't bad. Besides, you are very pretty when you smile." He wasn't lying either. She went from androgynous to pure woman when she smiled, but few people really got to see that.

"I know your hatred for the pack is deep seated, but we have to look at this from not the perspective of the victim, but as a ruler. What happened to your family was despicable, but you musn't allow it to cloud your judgment. We will meet with Xypher and discuss all three situations, in detail, although I have one that may also be valuable." They had finally approached the guard. He opened the door and closed it behind them. "But I need to be trustworthy in who hears it, you never know who is a spy or an assassin around here."

They continued walking and he finished, "And you know, while the assassins may be cold-hearted killers, they do have loyalty and honor. I don't think they would be easily bought when they can take what they want from most people anyway. There are just too many factors for my young brain to do alone, that is why we meet with Xypher."

As they rounded the corner to the long corridor approaching Xypher's quarters he noted, "I would like that too, but I don't know how even I could go up against some of the greatest fighters in Valcrest." He let out a long sigh as they neared the door. "Hopefully we both survive, and you as well, and after the war, all is new." He knocked on the door and waited to be invited in.

The setting changes from Newhaven to Valcrest

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#, as written by Seerow
East of where the Wolfpack dwells, located within a small clearing of the great forest, there dwelled an encampment. It was a small joint with men coming to and fro carrying this or working on that. Voices that gently called out to each other issuing communication to keep the workforce solid. Resembling more a colony of ants then that of a human camp site. Everyone was bustling and staying busy, there was no weak link in their structure. Each mood was light and the shrill sound of careless whistling was easy to find on the lips of the labor. Hands were eager to the task. Jaunts and walks were straight-backed and strong.
Centered within the crowds was a solitary figure being prompted by another. Chandos was a balding man with a stern voice. Wearing an eye firm as a rock and just as grey, for the other was hidden beneath the leather of a patch. A scar running along the right side of his face filled in the details. There was no questioning what happened to the veteran soldier of Newhaven. Yet his experience belied his understanding of ranking as he chastised the black behemoth that rested before his feet.

“If I can call a plan out upon its stupidity, this is the one! We have barely over two score of men working on a shoddy base. They’re going to find us Sir Grim, and when that happens what will we possibly use to fend off the wolves?”

The figure he bellowed toward would have been a man if not mistaken for a large lump of obsidian. Sprawled on the grass, his gauntleted hands beneath his helmed head, was the legendary Blade of the Black Knights. He was called War by his men, a little joke that he never cared for, but it kept them pleased. To the more formal acquaintances he was Grim Pondus. Often hailed the most ferocious of his group not to mention the biggest. An intimidating figure to gaze upon no doubt and there he was this evening laying in the grass. Drawing deep wells of breath to keep the sweating at bay beneath the pounds of metallic plating that he adorned. Idly bickering with his most trusted gopher and first lieutenant Chandos.

“Well, I’ve given it much thought Chandos. We shall use feces first… and failing that there’s always sharp sticks and harsh words. Surely no finer weapons made on this earth. Unless of course we roll the sticks about in the privy first.”

The elderly man was less then enthusiastic. Crossing his arms with disapproval he continued his spat. Driving harder with his words and harsher with his voice. Games were far from fun with death on the line, and he understood the Wolves to be very dangerous playmates.

“ I’m not going to tell the men to roll sticks in dung because you refuse to oversee our operations past pitching the tents and cooking dinner. There’s lives at stake Sir Grim, and I can’t comfort the men with the assurance that their leader will be fortifying the outhouses!”

A lofty sigh breached the dark helm. “Then I’ll give it to you straight old friend,” he started. “We’re not here as an invasion force. Our job is to simply make sure their camp doesn’t up and decide to move without our knowledge. We also serve as a fronting point should her lady manage to convince the higher-ups on an attack. The Wolves will find us, make no doubt about that. Perhaps they’ll attack who knows. I’m doing my job, but you on the other hand…”

“I’m not doing anything involving waste for your enjoyment.” He hissed the words with a bit of venom. Having suffered through certain situations in the past. Being made an example of kept Chanos in line, but he hated every minute of it.

“Not at all, I need you to eradicate any Newhaven sigils that may be marking up the place. If we’re fortunate they will be confused and thus leave us alone. Either way it is not a good idea to solicit that their bitter enemies are sleeping on their doorstep.”

The exchange concluded with the lieutenant rushing off to his duties, and his superior lounging idly by. Though none would have guessed it, Grim was sinking into his thoughts. Processing many alternatives and possibilities that could arise during this mission. Always conscious of the one specific order that had fallen onto him. “Stay alive,” She had ordered, and he meant to keep it. There was also a matter of the other Black Knights. Jack and Setareh, neither had been by to talk in some time. He hoped they were both doing well.

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#, as written by Rill
Bjorn Heldenhammer, the huge, blonde haired Barbarian who acted as Eddie's second in command and, more often than not, body-guard, reached the halted coach first and, gripping the door firmly with one massive fist, proceeded to rip it clean out of its frame as the rest of the Red Raven gathered round to peer inside...

Eddie, meanwhile, sauntered slowly over to where the broken body of the Assassin lay crumpled at the foot of the large oak tree and, coming to a stop, took the time to remove his cigar case from his pocket, selected one of the fine cigars, inserted it into his mouth, and returned the case to his pocket, the then crouched down beside the slumped Assasin.

The man was still breathing, just, reaching out, Eddie lifted the Assassin's chin with one gloved finger and looked into his eyes,
"Where is The Wolfpack?"
The Raven Leader asked, the Assassin merely glared at him through bloodshot eyes, Eddie sighed and made to rise... When the sunlight glinting off something silver and gold caught his eye... it was the Assassin's dagger.

Retriving the weapon, Eddie got to his feet and turned the blade over in his hand, he grinned,
"A fine weapon indeed,"
He told the fallen Assassin, before lifting his boot and placing it heavily on the mans throat,
"Now... Where Is The Wolfpack?!"

The Assassin looked up at the Rouge, and spat, before turning his head and, with a shudder, stopped breathing.

Eddie shrugged and, removing his boot from the fallen man, turned the blade over in his hands once more, it was indeed a fine weapon, its blade keen, its hilt decorated and gilded, his mind made up, the Rouge Captain thrust the dagger into his belt as a loud roar of glee sounded from the men surrounding the Coach...

The setting changes from Valcrest to Assassin's Camp

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Annie made it to the Wolfpack without any problems. It paid off that she resembled her mother so much, few people would dare touch her knowing she was Lena's daughter. She had quite a reputation. As she passed the entrance of the camp the first person she spotted was Jake, the second thing she spotted was the dead body being prepared for burial. "Whatever happened here?" The girl mumbled to herself, as she made her way to the healers cabin to get settled. As she went into the cabin she simply nodded to acknowledge the other healers that were there working, she left her bag where she knew it wouldn't be touched and walked back outside to see what the commotion was about.

She walked a straight line to where Jake was and hugged him, shouting, "Jakey!" Half the assassins turned to look, some even laughed.
Jake chuckled, pushing her off. "Stop it, Annie. What the hell."
She shrugged. "What, can't I be happy to see my cousin? I didn't even know you were back in camp." She said, smiling innocently at him.
He nodded, laughing. "Oh, well, you seem happier about it than most people." Then he patted the top of her head, and added. "You seem taller, cousin. It's been what, over a year?"
"Yes, it has." Annie let her eyes wander to the dead body again. "What happened here?" Then her eyes widened. "That's Lionel!"
Jake sighed. "Yes, it is Lionel. He challenged Crys this morning and she killed him."
Annie frowned slightly, a concerned look on her face. "I thought they were friends..."
"They were. Lionel grew up with Crys, they trained together as recruits." Jake nodded. "I don't know what the hell he was thinking, but... It's too late to think about it now."
Annie nodded quietly as people lined up to pay their respects. She let out a long sigh, watching Jake with the corner of her eyes. "How is she doing?"
Jake shrugged. "I'm not sure. I... Didn't get the chance to talk to her alone yet. She seems to be... Sad, I think."
"You're her best friend, Jake. If anything, she listens to you." Annie said, with a small smile.

Before Jake could answer though an active walked up to him. "Jake, Markus hasn't returned yet. He should have been here an hour ago."
"He left for supplies?" Jake asked, not seeming too worried about the news.
"Yes. He was supposed to be back by now though. You think the soldiers caught him?"
Jake sighed. "I don't think so. Probably some mercenary scum... If he's not back, don't count on finding him alive." He looked at the man. "I advise you not to go looking for him, but do inform Crys as soon as possible."
The man seemed insecure to hear that. Jake smirked slightly and added. "Just don't pull a knife at her and you'll be fine."
Annie smiled at the assassin. "I can do it if you're scared."
The man frowned at her. "I'm not scared. I'll do it." He said, irritated, as he walked off.

Jake nodded, laughing as the man walked away. "Annie, you're evil."
"No, I'm not." She smiled at him. "Why would you say that? I just offered to do the man a favor. I do need to speak with Crys anyway."
Jake snickered. "Sure Annie. It was perfectly innocent, I'm sure."

Jake stepped away from Annie and entered the line of people waiting to say their goodbyes to Lionel before he was buried.

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#, as written by Makoto
Setareh ran the steel blade down the length of the willow shaft, thin scraps of wood falling in the dirt at her feet. Her eyes glanced around the camp, which seemed to be bustling with activity today. She examined the shaft before carefully shaving a spiral around it. She'd barely lifted her eyes from her work as the man challenged the leader and was struck down. She watched one of the healers run to the mans side, starting to try and resuscitate him.

She tied off her hair to one side and continued her work, knifing out a place to slip in her eagle feathers. Eagle feathers were expensive and high quality, they shot straight and smooth slicing through the air. She thought about the letter she'd received from her father only a few days ago.

Setareh,

You'll be having a new addition that you might recognize. Keep an eye on him, keep his back and watch him. I'm sure you two will become close friends. His name is Jake. The family sends their regards.

Keep the faith, Father


The moment Jake had entered the camp she recognized him, though she doubted he'd recognize her. She'd seen him once or twice over the year, when she'd go and report to their commander. She'd never spoken to him directly, she didn't really know of him except what her father had said to her.

She watched the healer say a blessing over the mans body and walk away. Setareh went back to her arrow that she was specially making for her next target.

----------------------
Nicolette watched in horror as the known leader of the Wolfpack slaughtered a man in front of everyone and simply walked away. Nico broke through the crowd to the side of the fallen man. His blood still pooling around his body. She broke out her box of aiding and drew up her caplet over her shoulders. The mans blood formed small beads on her resin coated gloves.

The woman has hit is main jugular and she was sure he was already dead, though she tried to stop the bleeding, she realized the man had stopped pumping blood a while ago. She took out a mixture of goldenrod, garlic, and heather and sprinkled it over his form while offering a simple prayer of protection.

She rose and conversed with a few other healers in the camp to have him properly buried. She wiped her gloves off with a cloth, and went towards the lake, she found the leaders sitting with her second in command at the lake. A young assassin in training was doubled over behind them. She could tell she was alright, simply had the breath knocked out of her.

She faced the leader of the clan, and said, "I mean the utmost respect for you, Miss Crystal. But I must ask that you not kill members of your clan. You may incapacitate them to loss of consciousness, excessive bleeding, or dismemberment. All of those I can help, I cannot help a dead man. Maybe he was momentarily crazy. I don't know, I just don't want to bury any more bodies if I can help it."

Nico finally breathed out, and turned toward the water, wiping what blood she'd missed off of her gloves.

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#, as written by Rill
Eddie Clarke swaggered towards the coach and his gathered mass of cheering men as Bjorn, reaching into the carriage interior, pulled its cargo out into the road...
It was a girl.

Eddie blinked in astonishment as he joined his men, and grinned, she couldn't have been more than eighteen summers, clad an expensive looking gown and adorned with assorted jewlery and trinkets, the Raven fanned out into a circle as Eddie stepped forwatd, and rubbed his rough chin thoughtfully...

"Your no pesant girl,"
The Rouge commented, she glared at him,
"An expensively clad maiden..."
This description bought snorts of laughter and mock dissbeleif from his men,
"Riding through the out-skirts of the central woods in an expensive coach... personaly guarded by an Assassin..!"

Eddie drew his newly acquired dagger, and twirled it through his fingers absent-mindedly,
"Who are you?!"
He demanded, the girl squared her shoulders and glared at him,
"I am Gilbrea Even'star, Cousin to the Duke, a minor nobel on Blackpond."

Eddie grinned as a loud, mocking "Ooooohh!!" choursed from his men, the Mercanary Captain chuckled,
"Ah that old tale, some Nobel in a war torn city sends his beloved neice to safety and hires an Assassin as her personal guard?! Your old man must have acesss to some coin... but where would you run too, there's only one safe haven aroound these parts, and thats the healer camp...ah!"

Eddie Clarke had spoken these last few words almost to himself, but now he looked up again and laughed!
"The gods finaly remove cock from ass and present us with an oppertunity!"

With that, the Mercanary turned on his heel, strode over to where the dead Assassin lay slumped and, tugging the desceased man's cloak off, threw it round his own shoulders, and pulled up the hood!

"Now I, madam, am your dashing Assassin guard, I shall escort you to the Healer camp and there..."
The Mercanary grinned wickedly as he pulled himself nimbley up the side of the carrige and into the drivers seat,
"There, The Wolfpack are bound to make contact with their agent!"

A loud shout of laughter echoed from the gathered men as understanding dawned, at a nod from his leader, Bjorn bundled the protesting girl back into the carriage and slammed the door behind her, Eddie nodded once more as the Barbarian strode around to the front of the coach.

"You sure about this, little man?"
Bjorn asked, Eddie nodded firmly,
"Yes, we have an oppertunity and I intend to seize it! Disspose of the body and meet me at the healers camp in two days time, it will seem suspiscious if we arrive together, plus that gives the Wolfpack time to contact their 'Agent'..."

Bjorn grinned and nodded, the two freinds shook hands, before the huge blonde man turned to shout orders at the waiting mercanaries, Eddie meanwhile, took up the reighns and with a loud "HA!" urged the coach off down the road at a gallop!

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Eulalius wanted to be quick. He wasn't sure how Crystal would respond to his exchange made earlier. It was that fear which drove him to almost run across the center of camp and skitter into his quarters. His haste was stopped only by a small crowd gathering around a body.

At first, Eulalius panicked, thinking that an unknown enemy had found its way into the camp, but firther analysis proved that it was not an enemy but was, in fact, Crystal herself.

He would have liked to stay and give his respects, but Eulalius' current priority was to stash away his profit gained from what he worried was an illegal exchange. Nonetheless, he continued his brisk walk towards his quarters, only to encounter another problem:

The bag ripped open.

Eulalius cussed as he hurriedly bent over frantically in an effort to gather the coins, but he was sure someone would have seen. He grabbed as many as he could in two handfuls, and continued on...

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Evin ignored the girl who seemed to have no clue how difficult the world around her was. She was a fool to even try what she did, but didn't even realise that she was only a slight movement of a hand away to being killed. He just ignored what the girl had to say and went along with the things he needed to say. "I will be gone in the ten minutes. I'm going to promise them one free kill from us, no matter who it is. Other than that, I will let them know exactly what they want." He had a feeling that Crystal wouldn't like the idea of giving them a free hit, but Evin knew that it would be the only way that Blackpond would ever agree to this deal. "If I am to see anything suspicious going on as I move through the forest, I will let you know on my way back. I also decided that I'll bring Eulalius with me. He might not be the most trustworthy, but he is very able to break a rule, and you know how much I like rule breakers."
Evin stood up from facing Crystal. He walked through the bushes where people were seeming to appear out of no where by the second.
"Remember that every issue can't be answered with blood." He walked away
Moving through the same path that he had come from, he began to hear a commotion in the center of the camp. Evin sped up to a fast walk to see what was going on. When he made it to the camp where the fire was being lit and the burial ceremonies were beginning, he saw Eulalius grabbing large quantities of cash off of the ground. He was back from his personal mission. Evin had caught him doing some snooping around camp a while back and realised that he was working on something that was obviously unknown to anyone in the camp. Now he realised why Eulalius had taken this secret mission. He was loaded with cash. It was also why Evin decided to take Eulalius with him. If Crystal was to find out, she wouldn't be happy, but if he was out of the town for a couple of days, the man would be safe from her wrath.
Eulalius began to run off, but he quickly caught up to him. He also saw the Ella had gone to pay her respects to the fool who took on Crystal. He called her over then addressed the two.
"I want to leave right away so I'll get strait to the point. The two of you are to come with me so I can discuss some politics with the leaders of Blackpond. This mission, although it sounds simple will not be. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of Newhaven soilders out there and we will need to pass them undetected. I need you two in case we become detected. We leave now."
With that Evin headed towards the main exit of the camp, expecting that Ella and Eulalius would follow.

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Mageria held up one hand in a halting motion as Krander brought up the assassins.
“Do not start down that road again. I can’t be rational about it. They may have a code of honor, but what is the difference between killing a child and leaving them orphaned and alone in the world?” Old anger caused her eyes to wash out to a pale grey.
It’s strange how memories can be so powerful . . . . .

I remember leaving my family that morning. Mama and Da, waving at me as they sent me to stay with friends to see how things were done. My siblings, Tessa and Gin, Dalin and Max were all fighting about something, but they each took time to wish me well. Little Gin proudly showing me her new tooth and saying that by the time I got back it would be all grown in. Dalin trying to sneak a bug down my shirt, till Da caught him and sent him to count things in the store room.

A few weeks later a man coming to knock on the door in the middle of the night, to tell me that it’s all gone. All of my family, all of the memories, everything was taken by an assassin’s blade; for no better reason than to make sure that someone else had the upper hand in the trade. I spent years training and learning, working on becoming better so that I could make sure such a thing could never happen again. And now I’m here . . .


Mageria came back to herself after only a moment. She didn’t like to dwell on what had brought her to her current path, instead focusing on the events in front of her. In her line of work, a moment’s inattention could be deadly. Deliberately pushing it to the back of her mind, she shrugged and stared idly down the hall as they waited for the door to open.
“As for smiling more often? Black Knights don’t smile. Nor do we eat, sleep, laugh or shit. We just clank around looking for things to kill.” She cocked one eyebrow and glanced at Krander. “Everybody knows that.”

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'I need you two in case we become detected. We leave now.'
--
And Eulalius did just that. Without further question, Eulalius pocketed the money he could, sinched his knives thighter to his belt, and followed behind Evin. Oh sure, Eulalius would've liked to ask questions-He certainly had a fair share- but it was the mutual respect he had for Evin that kept Eulalius from bombarding him with them. Besides, in the several conversations Eulalius has had with him Evin over the years, he finds Evin quite the down-to-earth kind of person. If he has an opinion to a situation, he'll let you know and he'll stick to it. That trait was something Eulalius nearly admired.

Eulalius also noted that Ella, a female recruit, would be joining them. Eulalius never could seem to figure her out in the time she had been here. Truthfully, he didn't talk to her much. Yes, She was fairly social within the organization, but Eulalius viewed her as almost too social.

Though he almost always saw her grinning, whenever he caught a glimpse of her looking right at him, he couldn't help but look away. There was just something behind all the happieness; a look in Ella's eyes that just screamed:

Help.

Regardless, Eulalius followed his two companions, both nervous and excited for this mission. It was the first joint-mission he had had in a while with Evin-Possibly the first ever-, but the thought of thousands of individuals searching for a mere three was enough to cause an entity of helplessness to shift around in Eulalius. But such feelings were to be put down, and Eulalius did the best to manage it.

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Blanditia simple smiled with apology showing that she really didn't understand what she had done. She nodded her head to them for departure and stepped backwards and disappear in to the forest. It took her allot less time then most people to go through the forest to get to the healers camp. She stepped inside and walked quickly to an grove right outside of the camp. The grove was filled with roses, mostly purple and orange but the colors varied and she relaxed in her little heaven.

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As Evin walked away Crys mumbled. It might have gone unheard to others, but Ali caught the words perfectly. "It's hard to forget when it's on my hands."

Allison sighed in annoyance, her eyes narrowed as another healer neared the lake and asked Crys to stop killing her own men. She watched the woman as she began to wash her hands on the lake. Ali gave the woman a snicker and responded. "Look at it this way... It's far less work for you. If the man's dead he requires no healing"
Crys' sighed and the tone in her voice caused Ali to shiver. "Have a little respect, Allison." Then she replied, to the healer in a calmer tone. "You can't help it. You will bury your share of assassins before this war is done with. If it makes you uncomfortable, maybe you should go back to the ruins instead of asking me this. I'm a lesser threat compared to what Newhaven will certainly send our way soon."

Ali looked down at her feet as Crys spoke. That was the unfortunate truth, she knew it. To hear it, was a whole other thing. She sighed. "This place is getting too crowded for my liking, so... I'll go pay my respects to Lionel and then check on my recruit. I hope the little brat is in pain, maybe that'll teach him." She mumbled, before bowing her head slightly to Crys before adding. "Let me know if I'm needed."

As she walked back to the center of camp Ali paid her respects to Lionel and, after passing through her recruit's cabin to make sure he was alright, her eyes caught a girl making an arrow. She stopped at a short distance from the girl and watched her with slight interest. Then after a while of staring she spoke, more to herself than to the girl. "Nice work." It wasn't exactly a compliment, more an observation. Ali didn't remember seeing that girl anywhere before, but then... She was away for little over a year.

---------------

Jake caught a glimpse of Evin's recruit as the girl walked to him. He hadn't spoke to Evin since... Actually, he barely remembered speaking to Evin when he worked with the man. The last time he remembered an actual conversation was before his expulsion, and that was a long time ago. A sighed escaped him as he watch him leave with the girl and Eulalius. What was he up to? That was enough of waiting, he needed to talk to Crys... Now.

He walked towards the lake, not saying a word he simply stood there, ignoring the healers. Crys sighed as she noticed him there, but didn't move. Jake insisted. "We need to speak."
He watched Crys stand from where she was. She walked past him, and grabbed him by the hand while doing so. "Alright, we will speak."
She led him back to the memorial, and knelt down before her mother's grave, she pulled him down with her. "Kneel" She said, with her head down. "This is the only place where I'm not bothered lately."
Jake got on his knees, it bothered him to be there. "I'll be heading out now." He informed her.
"Before you do, tell me... How are you holding up?" She asked him, for no apparent reason, except maybe she knew that Jake felt awful.
"I'm not sure." He answered. "They are good people... The Knights." He mumbled.
"Jake, are you sure you can complete the assignment, if it comes to that?" She asked, concern in her voice.
"My life belongs to the Pack." He stated. "I live by the oath, you know that."
"You didn't answer me. Will you complete the assignment if I give you the order?"
Jake hesitated for a moment. Fulfilling the assignment meant assassinating the Black Night captain, and Jake couldn't pretend that the possibility didn't bother him, Crys wouldn't buy into pretending. "I won't lie, it makes me uncomfortable. I spent time with those people, they're not very different from us." He nodded. "Still, if I get the order... I will fulfill my assignment."
"Do you have something you can tell me? Anything?" The question meant she was satisfied with his answer.
"Nothing different than I told your mother last time I reported, but... Maybe when I come back I'll have more to give."

Crys sighed. "You have to tell them something. What will you say?"
Jake smirked. "The truth... That Evin has left camp, probably towards Blackpond and that the clan is weak under your command."
Crys frowned. "You honestly believe that?" She turned to face him.
Jake sat down on the ground. "When a wolf is sick, it distances itself from the rest of the pack to die alone. This is how people see you right now Crys. You're distancing yourself from the rest of the clan. All they see is that you can't handle it."
Crys sat down as well, facing him. She lowered her head. "I suppose I have been..." She nodded. "I have been hiding, in a way."
"How long do you plan on hiding, then?" He asked. "I honestly fear for you if something like this happens again."
She stood up, nodding. "I will pay my respects to my friend, I will make sure our defenses are still holding up while Evin is away." She sighed. "If anyone challenges me again, I will handle it. I'm done hiding."
Jake frowned when she said that. "Handle it how?"
She smiled. "My own particular way. Now move along, and try not to let anyone see you leave."

Jake stood and bowed slightly before making himself invisible and cutting through the trees, to another camp not too far, only a few hours of walking. One little stop before heading for Newhaven to report.
Before entering the small clearing he made himself visible. As he entered though, he had to fight two soldiers to the ground before they realized who he was. Jake had completely forgotten the fact that his clothes announced him as an assassin. "Damn idiots!" He muttered He helped the men up, with a half irritaded, half amused, tone in his voice. They had responded quickly, he could give them that. As he let the men walk back to their duties he found the person he was looking for, nodding to some men as he passed them he walked a straight line to where Grim was. Standing next to the man in black armor, Jake spoke casually with a slight nod. "Bored already? I'm on my way to report and figured I should stop by and entertain you with some gossip." He smiled slightly as he spoke.

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#, as written by Seerow
There was quite a commotion that started up in the campground. Shouts erupted over the air and men rushed in from all different places. They were armed but helpless, and before anyone completely understood what was happening there was two awestruck guards. Only uncertainty hung with the men quizzing another as to what exactly happened. Was there a killer loose in this base? Why were the guards still alive? So many questions left by a figure whom was long gone from the scene.
When word reached Chandos he acted with authority that wasn’t entirely his. Pulling together a quick analysis of the situation and issuing orders with poignant affirmation. Sweeping the grounds for any intruders, of course when the shade was insight Chandos swore aloud. Calling off the alarm and forcing the spooked soldiers back to work.
Grim would have risen to see the chaos, but Jake was to him before anyone else knew he had infiltrated the site. So instead he played coyly keeping to his laziness. Listening to Jake invite him to a friendly chat about other’s dirty laundry. These conversations were always entertaining not to mention enlightening, but Grim could have sworn he held these meetings more for himself then anyone. Not that this bothered him, Jake was a good friend and trusted comrade.

“Bless you,” He freed his arms outstretching them in a mock embrace. “Deliverance at last from these doldrums. Between everyone’s logical fear of being overrun by the Pack and Chandos’ bellyaching I haven’t been able to talk about Captain Krander’s girdle with anyone.”
Of course his tone was sarcastic and light. Joking seemed to only be found when Grim was troubled. An obvious masque when he was pressured or under duress. It was how he kept collected in the eyes of his followers. The mirth however died from his voice after.
“No one was home to take orders so here I am.”

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#, as written by Rill
The Wheels of Eddie Clarke's newly 'acquired' coach bounced across the dirt road as the carrige thundered on towards its destination, Eddie grinned wickedly as he cracked the reigns, urging the horses on to greater speed, ignoring the shouted protests of his 'passenger' with the wind whipping through his hair, the Rouge threw back his head and laughed!

After about an hour of this breakneck pace, the trees of the central forest began to thin out as they melted into the Western plains, Eddie reckoned that he and his charge would reach the White Shadows camp by sunset, then it would simply be a case of waiting for the Wolfpack to make contact with their 'Agent.'

Reighning the horses to a stop, Eddie stood and swung himself lightly down from the drivers seat and onto the running board of the Carrige, poking his head through the window, he grinned at his cargo, Gilbrea Even'star, the kidnapped Blackpond nobel, glared back at him!

"Evening miss,"
He chuckled, before leaning back swiftly as the girl attempted to slap him across the face,
"Now that wasn't too freindly,"
He told her, leaning back forward and fixing her with a stern gaze,
"Now listen to me, when we get to the Healers camp I am your dashing Assassin guard and you are under my protection, do not raise suspiscion, play your part well and you shall go free, seek to betray me and you will find a blade in your guts, are we understood...?"

There was a moments scilence as the girl looked into his eyes, and knew he meant it, reluctantly, she nodded, Eddie grinned.
"Then I think we shall get on just fine! Hold on tight now, we'll be at the camp within the hour!"

So saying, the Rouge Captain swung himself back up into the drivers seat, and took hold of the reigns once more!

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Jake laughed slightly at Grim's mention of the Pack. "I wouldn't worry so much with the Pack at the moment. Those puppies are way too busy chasing their own tails to pay any attention to what goes on around them." Jake frowned slightly as he said that, in a way the truth of that statement was disturbing and he hoped Crys was able to pull together now. Specially since Evin wasn't there to set her straight anymore. The moment passed and he went on talking as if it never happened. "Their leader was challenged this morning and killed one of her men. They are weak and tense right now. I don't think they'll hold together for long."

He stretched a little and crossed his arms behind his head, looking up. "I wouldn't get too comfortable, my friend. When I reach Newhaven with the news that the Pack is in complete chaos, I'm pretty sure we'll be ordered to attack." He let his gaze back down to the armored man and added, in a more serious tone. "I stopped here because I figured it would be fair to give some information beforehand. After all..." He smirked. "It is your black-armored butt on the line here." Jake looked back to the tree branches above and a yawn slipped before he could contain it. "I should reach the city by nightfall, if I hurry. A nice hot meal, a bed, and maybe some company for both... That is all I wanted right now. Doubt I will be getting any of it though. Most likely I will be sent right back." he reached to touch the golden chain around his neck, fiddling with golden locket that hung from it. If Jake could be completely honest with anyone, specially himself, right now... He'd say that out of the both sides of this story, the Black Knights seemed far more promising.

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It had been just about an hour and a half since they had left thew camp and not much had gone on. Ella was getting anxious and she wanted to know exactly what was going on, and why he was taking her along with him. He never took her anywhere out of the camp. She was always mad at him for never doing that, but now that she was actually coming along on a mission, she just felt awkward. It didn't help that no one was saying a word though. Even worse was the fact that she had just attempted to take the mans life, but he still let her come along. What was wrong with this man. Where did all of his issues come from and why did he save her life just to mentally torture her like this? Too many questions to be answered at one time, but there was one thing that she wanted to know as the three of them walked down this lonely path.
"What are we doing exactly?" She asked.
"We have a few things we need to do. The most important thing would be to speak to the ruler of Blackpond and see if we could get assistance from them. A little side task I have given us is to find any hidden encampments close to the camp, just so we can stay in the know about our enemies. Our third task will probably be a target. The ruler of Blackpond will probably want our services in exchange for the soldiers. Although, we might take care of the target later, after the soldiers have done their jobs for us. We have no time to be killing targets. We are stretching ourselves a little too thin to-" Evin was cut short when he realised that they were walking strait towards an enemy encampment. He stopped in an instant and dropped to the ground, hiding within the dense forest floor. When he looked up again to get a better picture of what he saw, he noticed that there were a lot of people patrolling the perimeter of the camp. This was not a place for any ordinary Newhaven military group, he could tell that much for sure.
"I'm going to get a better look of the inside of this camp. Ella, find a good place to hide, Eulalius, see if you can find a way in through the other side of the camp. We will meet back here when we are done."
With that Evin took off towards the new found camp.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ella wasn't happy that he had left her all alone in the forest while he and Eulalius did something productive. Why did he take her along with them if he was just going to treat her like a weight on his shoulder. It was probably another one of his stupid mind games that Evin would expect her to fall for, or maybe it was some sort of test. A discipline test of sorts. Maybe he was seeing how long it would be before she broke the rules. Well she wasn't going to satisfy him in any way.
Ella only had her dagger with her at the moment. All of her other weapons, Evin wouldn't allow her to have, actually it was Crystal who really wouldn't allow it. The fact was that Recruits were not allowed to have weapons of any sort with them unless they were training. She shouldn't have even had that dagger, but Evin had managed to convince Crystal that it was a part of the training. She hoped that it would be enough for her to get out of any trouble she would get herself into.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Evin made it past the entrance of the camp. It was almost amazing that he could get past the eyes of that many people, just by using his enlightened ability for a second in real time. From there he hid behind a tent that was set up just a few paces ahead of him. He slowly peered around the tent and when he saw an opening to move further, he ran deeper into the camp where a big tree stood. Evin ran up to the big tree and hid behind it. Just on the other side of the tree, he could hear to soldiers talking to each other about their friends back home. Of course they weren't talking about more important stuff. It only took a few seconds for the conversation to change though. Another voice appeared out of no where. "One of the other Black Knights is here visiting the commander right now. This might be the news we've been waiting for. We might be going on the attack soon."
Evin didn't hesitate after that point. He walked around the big tree to come face to face with the soldiers, at least two of them. The third one was nowhere to be seen.
"How about you tell me where I can find the Black Knight you speak of. I might spare your life if you do so." Evin said.
The two soldiers just laughed his comment off. Suddenly Evin felt someone reach around his arms from behind and then lock his fingers behind Evin's head. It was the third soldier that he didn't see, but of course, he knew about where the third man had been. He had seen him slip behind the tree as he turned the corner.
"Now, are you going to show me where the Black Knight is yet?" Evin asked again patiently as one of the other soldiers slowly approached Evin with a pocket knife in his hand. When the man got close enough, Evin lifted his legs off the ground and kicked the man with the knife in the groin. The man went down grunting in pain. Evin then spun his body around quickly and drove the man who was holding him up against the tree. Evin could hear the mans spine crack and he let go of his grip. The third man tried to run, but didn't get far. Evin caught up to him before he could make it to any clearing where other soldiers would be. He tackled the man and then covered his mouth before he could yell for help.
"Now once again, I would like to know exactly where the Black Knight is."
Evin let the man up and let him lead Evin towards the Black Knight. He made sure that the man would take the routes where not many of the soldiers would be. When he was about twenty meters away from the location of the Knight, he could see him. He was talking to another man, but he could not clearly see who he was.
"What is the name of the Black Knight there?" Evin asked.
"His name is Grim." The soldier said. Fear trickling out of his voice.
"And the other man?"
"I'm not sure."
"Well tell Grim that I wish to speak to him."
The man didn't say another word. Evin watched as he approached Grim and the other man that he was talking to. He could see the surprise across his face as the guard explained what happened. Then the guard pointed in Evin's direction and the guard left to probably inform the rest of the camp about the intruder. He wouldn't have as much time as he wanted with the Knight as he wanted, but he was sure that it would be enough.

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#, as written by Seerow
“Perhaps there will be a day when we can put all these battles behind us and go home. Personally I don’t understand why the Pack hasn’t shown us their bellies yet. Especially if what you say is true. Better to be disbanded or surrender those responsible then to be hunted down and annihilated.”

A sigh breached his lips as he casually sat up. He was charged with destroying the assassins and to purge their tainted influence where ever it may emerge. Oath after pledge went hand in hand to assure his sires his good intentions. There was always doubt though, the war with Blackpond was far from over and pooling resources into two fronts was costly. Who was right and wrong was too muddled by propaganda. He understood Newhaven’s misgivings however and served his home with loyalty. Always hoping that there could be closure to the wounds.
“Jake you know their minds best, can’t we find a way to coexist without fear? I mean isn’t that what this is about anyways? Newhaven fears having their figureheads destroyed, the wolves are afraid of well us and-”

A solitary soldier rushed into the clearing his arms flailing to beg their attentions. Alarm was in his voice and his eyes were widened with terror. Nervousness shook his body and he could hardly stand straight to deliver his message.
“S-s-sir, a m-m-man has come to see you. He- He’s uh- well.”
“Easy soldier, show me where is this man that has come for me?”
His hand upraised and pointed back to the far side of the camp away from the clearing. Grim accommodated by finally drawing himself into a stand. Glancing sidelong in the direction he pointed, taking quick note of an odd figure on the horizon.
“Go alert Chandos. I doubt such bravado is purely show and if I know anything about wolves they don’t hunt alone. I want the outer perimeters checked and arrows pointed on our new friend. Go on then lad, quickly.”

The man gave a quick salute before rushing off to his duties. Of course the orders were more a precaution then anything. There was no telling who this guest was, but logic would dictate he came from the Wolfpack. Further logic would say he didn’t come into the campsite without plenty of tricks. He patiently waited until the grunt was out of view before addressing his company.
“You better go Jake. Call it a hunch but I don’t think this is going to end without bloodshed.”
With that he drew up his broadsword slinging the blade over his shoulders, jaunting stoically in the direction given to him. Grim was a walking monolith of dark metal. From head to toe he was protected and very few areas left flesh exposted. His helm of course had an opening where his eyes and nose could be spotted, though the visor sat just below his brow giving only the most excellent of marksman a chance at his face. On his shoulders protruded what most would perceive as decorative adornments, giving his visage a more commanding presence. The truth was that they were rather high for shoulder pads and protected his neck from the sides. The only other weak point was underneath his arms as the gauntlets only covered the topside. Of course this was to allow him to swing his weapon without hindrance. The steady pace of his feet proved the suit wasn’t cumbersome to Grim, he could move comfortably and showed no fatigue.
When he finally encountered Evin he looked less then thrilled. Beaming down on the Wolf disapprovingly. Evin looked rough and small, hardly an adversary to a giant like Grim. They were of opposing styles and worlds. Evin the shadow walker, the silent killer, and the practitioner of subtlety and subterfuge. Grim was the berserker, a wielder of the sword, and kept courage and bravery as his shield.

“Welcome to my temporary home. If I had to guess you’re a delegate from the Wolfpack, am I right?”

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#, as written by Rill
Bjorn Heldenhammer truned from the edge of the ravine down which a pair of Red Raven mercanaries had just dumped the body of the slain Assassin, before moving to join their Lieutenant, Bjorn nodded to the two men.

"Ras, Lelkum, best mount up, we have a hard days riding ahead of us."

Ras rubbed the back of his neck with one gauntleted hand and nodded,
"Aye, that we do, but why did we have to dump that damn Assassin's body, surely we should leave it as a warning to the rest of 'em... waste of bloody time if you ask me!"

Lelkum chuckled,
"Bosses orders mate, you know he's got a plan in the works..."

Ras sighed,
"Another bloody plan... I still have the bruises from the last one!"

Lelkum grinned,
"Oh aye and the Healer says my piano playing days are over, still, everything worked out in the end, it always does... somehow."

Bjorn nodded,
"To the Healer's camp then... before Eddie does something stupid..."

===================================================================================================

Eddie Clarke slowed the carrige down to a gentle pace with as he approached the out-skirts of the White Shadows camp, rows and rows of white canvas tents and flourishing herb gardens and flowerbeds stretched away before him, as Eddie drew the coach to a stop, a pair of HEalers emerged from the nearest tent and approached.

Taking a moment to breath in the sweet aroma of herbs and alcohol on the air, Eddie pulled the hood of his Assassin's cloak up over his eyes, and greeted the Healers with a raised hand.

"Hail brothers!"
He called, the Healers nodded,
"I am Adimis, of the Pack, I seek only a moments sanctuary for me and my charge,"
He jerked a thumb over his shoulder at the coach,
"And the chance to contact my brethren."

The Eldest of the two healers, a silver haired old man with bright, keen eyes, nodded,
"Of course my son, but first we must ask you to hand over your weapons, as you know, even menbers of the Pack are not allowed to carry arms within our camp."

Eddie smiled plesantly and, unbucking the straps which held his cutlass in place at his waist, passed the weapon down with a nod, the Healer took it, and bowed.
"It shall be here when you return."

Eddie returned the bow, using the gesture to mask the mischevious grin that now played about his lips, before urging his horses into a gentle canter with a jingle of the reigns.

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Jake was listening to Grim as he asked if there was a way to coexist, a smile crossing his expression. That was such a distant dream. What the Pack had done, or had been accused of at least, was unforgivable. Crys knew it, Jake knew it, and so did the rest of the land... As long as everyone believed that murderer was the king, there would be no peace. Not for him at least.
When the soldier came rushing towards and told Grim someone wanted to see him, Jake didn't really have to look to know who that would be. There's only one person who would stumble upon a campsite like this and not turn back to report... That was Evin. With the corner of his eyes he caught a glimpse of only a shadow of a man at a distance... Jake felt a sick desire to let Evin see him just to see what he would do, if he would understand what he was doing or consider him to be a traitor. Truly, he probably was a traitor at this point. He nodded, pushing that thought out of his mind. Crys had specifically ordered him to not be caught with the Knights by anyone in the Pack, not even her. If that ever happened she might even have to execute him for treason, he didn't want to put her through that. One of the many reasons Dani had given him not to accept the task. Why the hell didn't he listen to her? Life would be so much easier now if he had.

He snapped out of his shocked state and bitter thoughts to catch Grim's final words to him before heading towards Evin. Jake made himself invisible and even with the painful possibility of someone being killed here... To intervene would go against all of his orders and if he didn't leave, he would have to intervene. All he could do was hope that somehow both his friends would be able to keep their calm and get through this encounter alive. Jake sighed and walked away from the two men, finding his way through the forest back to the path he was supposed to follow in the first place: The one that led to Newhaven.

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Lena was tending to a wounded soldier when one of the healers approached her and informed her of the new arrival, telling her the name the man had given and where he said he was from. She nodded, and rose from where she was crouched down next to the man. Lena doubted that even with all her knowledge she could save him. She passed the other healer and whispered to him while doing so. "Make him comfortable, and don't leave him until he takes his last breath." Her blue eyes sparkled, only slightly, as she spoke. As if she stated that she would know if her instructions weren't followed. Most healers found it unnecessary to stay with a person that couldn't be helped. Lena saw it differently. To her they were the last faces those people would ever see. To her, a man who was dying away from his home and his family deserved to, at least, not die alone.

As she walked out of one of the many tents her eyes caught the cloaked man. A smile spread across her lips as she caught sight of him, as if somehow his mere presence had brightened her day. "A sheep in a wolf's skin. How entertaining." She whispered in a snickering tone. Some nearby healers would have felt a chill go down their spines as she said that. They knew so little of their leader's past. However they knew what she was capable of, and that was all they needed to know. She followed the man with her eyes as an animal watching its prey. Who was he, and what was his business? Whatever it was she didn't want any of it anywhere near her territory.

Lena wasn't guessing that he was an impostor, she knew it for a fact. He was obviously not a member of the Pack. First of all... He stated he was from the Pack, and no assassin in his right mind would announce himself like that. A member of the Pack would have simply asked for her and showed off the graduation ring, which this man did not posses. Crys had also given her notice of who she would be sending, and that man wasn't Markus. So many mistakes... It was almost insulting that this person thought she could be that easily fooled, or he didn't know who he was dealing with. Which simply made him a complete fool.

As she approached the man however, the only thing her expression would show was a slight curiosity and a welcoming smile. Her voice sounded as pleasant as music as she addressed him. She was the perfect image of what one would imagine the leader of a peaceful healer clan to be: Friendly and harmless. "Greetings traveler." She said, her gaze curiously lingering on the coach for a moment. "What brings a member of the Pack to our humble encampment?"

The setting changes from The Ruins (Healer's camp) to Valcrest

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#, as written by Rill
Eddie Clarke watched the Leader of the white shadows approach him, and barely managed to conceal another mischevious grin, this was too easy, these Healer types had bought his ruse as soundly and seemlessly as he had geussed in the blinding flash of impulse and insperation which had struck him back in the forest.
Eddie truly loved it when a plan appeared to be coming together...

The Leader of the Raven reigned in his horses and bowed his head to the Healer as she stopped beside the coach, a picture of pacifism and tranquility...

"Greetings traveler. What brings a member of the Pack to our humble encampment?"

Eddie put on his most winning smile in reply as he awnsered,
"Ah, nothing more than a moments sanctuary after a hard day on the road, my charge and I wont take up much of your time, I simply wish to linger here a while, also, I believe the Pack will soon try and make contact with me here, and I wouldn't want to miss that!"

The Rouge countinued to smile plesantly as he reguarded the Woman carefully and decided that he hadn't missed his geuss after all... not that he had ever doubted himself, of course.

===================================================================================================

As the members of the Red Raven rode from beneath the thinning trees of the Cenrtal forest and out onto the Western plains, Bjorn Heldenhammer paused a moment to check his men-

Ras and Lelkum, two of the bands most trusted swordsmen, rode on either side of him,
Sticks, a broad shouldered, bald headed Mercanary who weilded two large clubs in battle, also rode nearby, as did 'The Brothers' a trio of ruthless pirates who harldy ever spoke, their skin was as black as night and they each carried a long, wickedly curved Scimitar that, Bjorn knew for a fact, they all most definatly knew how to use.

All of these men wore the Red bandanna of the Raven, as well as the small wing tattoo above the left eye, which them out as an elite Warrior of the band.
Bjorn reighned in his horse as the rest of the band drew level with him, more men had joined them as they rode towards the rendezvous and they now numbered around twenty, Bjorn rubbed his blonde beard with one large, gauntleted hand as he considered Eddie's final instruction.

With a grunt, the big man straightend his shoulders, shook back his long, matted mane of golden hair and urged his mount forward into a quick trot, the rest of the band followed his example and soon the Red Raven's where moving at a steady pace, out from under the eaves of the forest and forward onto the Western plains.

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Blanditia had seen the travelers arrive and didn't like the feeling she got from the man, With practiced concentration she sent out touches of her power and was already asking the earth to do as she willed. The young girl was different from many healers and did not mind the idea of harming someone if they harmed those she cared about first. She felt the earth shift as it agreed to help her if it came down to that, She Watched as Lena went to talk to him and saw the glint in her eye. The girl stepped closer slightly not liking the gleam that had entered the mans eyes when Lena walked up to him.

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'Eulalius, see if you can find a way in through the other side of the camp.'
--

Eulalius didn't have time to acknlowledge the order as Evin sped off silently towards the main entrance of the camp, leaving Eulalius to fend for himself in searching for another route.

Thinking there may be some other way in at the back of the camp, Eulalius started off that way, only to realize that Ella would be left dangerously vulnerable, even if she did find a suitable hiding place.

'Ella, it would be safer to follow me as I head towards tha back of the camp. It may be against Evin's orders, but I personally believe you could use the experience.'

Those were the first words Eulalius had said to her in quite some time.

Regardless, Eulalius started off, again, towards the back side of the encampment. He moved from tree to tree, marking the locations of any sentries stationed on the rough wooden walls or patrolling the perimeter of the camp. After he had maneuvered a good ways in towards the base, Eulalius spotted a path that seemed to lead off in a direction towards Newhaven. At first, Eulalius thought about using that path to infiltrate his objective, but stopped as a figure appeared in his view. Ducking behind a tree surrounded by shrubbery, Eulalius waited until the man passed before continuing on.

--

As he reached the rear end of the camp, Eulalius scanned the wall for any sort of entry point he could exploit.

He found one.

Not far form where he was, Eulalius spotted a small group of loose wooden planks that could be open or closed at will, and seemed to be used to dispose of garbage as well as other waste from the camp.

Egh..anything for the mission, I suppose. Thought Eulalius as he silently crawled through the sludge of half-eaten rations, rotten milk, and gods know what else. Finally inside, Eulalius checked his surrounding again to make sure he hadn't been spotted.

Brushing himself off, he started towards the center of the camp, only to be stopped as he heard soldiers coming his way.

Diving behind what appeared to be a training dummy made out of hay and straw held together with leather cords, Eulalius awaited their approach, dagger drawn.

There were two men coming down the path. One appeared to be a more warrior-like fighter, a large broadsword in its sheathe dangled at one hip. The other was an archer, clad in lighter armor than the warrior and wielding a longbow, an arrow nocked and ready to fire at a moments notice.

Eulalius quickly devised a plan, and executed it.

While the warrior's back was turned as he talked to the archer, Eulalius silently took a position behind him, being careful not to draw the eyes of the archer.

In one smooth motion, Eulalius quickly sprung on the warrior, reaching around the mans arm and pulling the armor-clad man towards him. He quickly exploited a flaw in the armor, an exposed neck. Eulalius' knife dug deep into the mans throat, the blood quickly running down Eulalius' own hand.

Instead of kicking the body away, as he normally did, Eulalius clung to the collar of the man's armor, using his corpse to shield him from the archer that was obviosuly aware of his presence.

Eulalius could hear a few muffled Thk! sounds as a few fired arrows found their mark but failed to penetrate Eulalius' human shield as he withdrew his small, one handed crossbow, which Eulalius liked to keep loaded at all times for convinence and safety.

Reaching the crossbow-wielding hand around the corpse, Eulalius peered above the body, aimed, and fired. The bolt found its target, and the archer yelped as he slumped to the ground, grasping the projectile in his stomach.

Eulalius quickly sprinted to the crying archer, and quickly finished him off with his dagger...

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Evin watched as the Black Knight put on his helmet and walk towards him. He flinched a bit when he drew his sword. This was meant to show vulnerability and a sense that even though he was an assassin, he was incapable. Or at least, Evin wanted it to seemed that way. When he got closer, Evin also realised that the man was holding a wooden shield. If things went south, he was going to try his best to avoid that shield. A Black Knight who carries a wooden shield does not use it for protection. They have a more sinister reason for it.
“Welcome to my temporary home. If I had to guess you’re a delegate from the Wolf pack, am I right?”
"I'm sure the leader of the Pack would not exactly want me to be a delegate in any way. I'm too much of an annoyance to ever be a delegate. The only reason I'm on this mission is because the leader knows that even if she refused me to go on this mission, I would go anyways."
Evin took a look at the man's sword. It was a very large sword and in the position he had it in, it would take Grim at least a second to get it into a proper fighting position. Evin took out his dagger and then threw it about ten paces away from him. He didn't want a fight just yet, for now he wanted to talk.
"I will tell you right now, that dagger isn't my only weapon, but the other weapons I have on me are long range and are useless at this distance. If you want you can try to attack me, but that will get you nowhere. If I die, my friends that are watching us will certainly fight back and let me tell you, they would probably be able to fire an arrow right through that slit in your helmet from here." Of course that was a fib, but Evin wanted the psychological advantage if things did get out of hand. Suddenly, he heard some shouting from the other side of the encampment. It sounded like Eulalius had his hands full where ever he was.
"Now, as you can clearly hear, one of my friends is already making work of your soldiers. I didn't come here for a fight though, I would like to make a request. My mission is to retrieve a mass of soldiers from Blackpond to assist the assassin's on our front. If you do not move this entire encampment back to Newhaven, this will be the first one to feel the wrath of the the combined Blackpond, Wolf Pack alliance. You have two days to comply."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ella was unsure what to think of this offer to come along with Eulalius. She was surprised that he was going to directly disrespect his orders like that. It was something that she had never expected out of this man, although she didn't talk to him all that much so she didn't know much about him. She decided that it would be the best way to infiltrate the encampment though and she tagged along. By the time she had made the decision though, Eulalius had already began walking towards the other side of the camp.
They spent a few minutes to analyze the situation and find an opening or flaw in the construction of the wall. Eulalius was quick to find a flaw. It was a loose piece of wood, but she would have to get really dirty in order to get to it. She didn't want to do that so she looked for another opening. There was a small divot in the ground that was just large enough that Ella would be able to squeeze through. When she did though Eulalius was nowhere to be seen. In fact, there was a wall that separated the two. This wasn't good, although she was planning on taking off on her own anyways so it shouldn't have been a surprise. She wasn't going to turn around now. Evin wanted to train her to sneak around undetected, now was her chance to do so.
Ella walked down the path. She was surrounded by tents everywhere and it seemed that the only way she could go was forward. As she continued forward, she noticed two men standing just at the end of the only path she could take. There were no trees nor were there any place where she could climb up to to hide from them. She quickly dropped to the ground like she examined Evin did when he saw the encampment just a few minutes ago. There was no cover, but she guessed that lower was better.
She could hear the men laughing and joking about something that had obviously happened to them. She had heard them mentioning a doe and a few smoke bombs they had found in the forest that an assassin had dropped. It was an interesting story to say the least, but nothing that she could brag about to Evin when she told him what she did. Then he herd one of the men mention having to "take a leak." He used his hands to motion where he was going. He pointed directly down the path where Ella was. The man started walking with his head up high. She was lucky for now, he didn't realise her. As he drew closer and closer to her, she began to get nervous. If the man saw her, then she would be dead and the fact was, she was going to be caught any second. She decided to make the first move, before he noticed. She got up from the ground and ran towards the soldier. The soldier looked shocked as if she came from under the ground. When Ella got close, she closed her eyes and raised her fist at him.
Before Ella could even realise what happened to her, she found herself face first in the ground with the two hundred pound man placing all his weight over top of her.
"Grim will be glad to see I caught chea' little girl." The man said with a sick, toothless grin on his face.

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Lena still smiled pleasantly. Not even someone who knew her extremely well would be able to tell if the smile wasn't real. In a way, it was. She was enjoying the little act she was putting on, and absolutely thrilled to see that the impostor seemed convinced to have fooled her. Back when she was still an assassin she would have tried to lure him to a secluded area and slit his throat open, however... Now she just wanted him away from the ruins, quietly and without causing trouble. The Pack's problems were their own... Crystal should be the one to handle them. Lena's hands were clean, that is how she liked them. She approached the horses and examined them with interest. "These animals need water." She stated gently patting one of the horses. "Well... I won't hold you. I'm sure whoever you're expecting will show up soon. Just remember to be careful with what you say. We have people from everywhere here, you wouldn't want to be overheard... I'm sure your leader would dislike that."

With that said she walked away from the man and towards the young apprentice that had been watching them. Lena put one hand on her shoulder as she passed and pulled the girl to walk beside her. "Don't worry about him. Whatever happens here I can handle it. However, I need you to run to the assassin's camp, find their leader and tell her that there is an impostor here claiming to be from her clan. Tell her the man has very little knowledge of the clan, but even so... She should look into it."

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Blanditia nodded her head "Of course" she didn't release the power she held she kept it close. "Let me grab my things and I'll leave now" She brushed her hair from her face, "I don't like him, he doest seem like the other Assassins" she said very softly. Her observation was based not just on the man but how she had seen Lena react to the man. She bowed her head in respect and went off to grab her things. "should I come see you before I leave? or just go?" she asked knowing that this should go to the Wolf Pack as soon as possible but also understanding that Lena might want to see her before she is gone.

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Lena let out a small chuckle at the girl's comments. "No. He is nothing like the other assassins." She sighed, the corner of her eyes still catching a glimpse of Eddie in the distance. "You should just leave. We don't want our friend to think we suspect him. That would be unkind of us." She stated, with a slight nod. "If you happen to see my daughter running around camp, kindly remind her that she was given a task." Lena said with a slightly severe tone that wasn't meant for the girl she was actually speaking to. "She will now what it is." With a sincere smile, although there was barely a noticeable difference, she parted ways with the girl to let her be on her way.

Soon enough she found the healer she has left with the dying soldier. He informed her the man had passed. Lena sighed. "Contact his captain in Blackpond and arrange for his comrades to come retrieve his body." She nodded in frustration, heading towards her tent. "Keep an eye on that assassin Alistair... If he so much as sneezes within our grounds I want to hear word of it." The man bowed as to acknowledge his orders and turned around as Lena entered her tent. As she sat on the floor an exhausted sigh escaped her. "This war needs to end." She whispered to herself as she closed her eyes and tried to meditate.

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Blanditia nodded her head in understanding and gr abed her few belonging and left camp, her feet quickly taking her through the forest. She didn't wonder or linger she was given a job and before she could rest that job must be completed. When she entered the Wolfpacks camp she felt eyes follow or linger on her as she made her way through the camp, each step was filled with measured certainty. She didn't look at any one, just her target the Leaders cabin. when she got there she rapped the door quietly "Excuse me" she said to it, hoping the Leader would be in there.

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#, as written by Rill
"Well... I won't hold you. I'm sure whoever you're expecting will show up soon. Just remember to be careful with what you say. We have people from everywhere here, you wouldn't want to be overheard... I'm sure your leader would dislike that."

Eddie smiled plesantly and nodded his thanks as the Healer walked away through the rows of tents, stopping only to address one of her apprentices on the way, the Rouge Captain grinned as he turned to urge his horses forward once more, the daft old woman had been caught hook, line and sinker, now all he needed to do was to bait himself a Wolf.

Eddie pulled his coach to a stop beside a large water trough and, while the horses drank their fill, dissmounted and swaggered round to the Carridge's door, pulling it open, he let his passenger out and handed her a small purse.

"Here, you played your part well miss, now piss off and never speak of this to anyone, you understand?"

Gilbrea Even'star stared at him in dissbeleif,
"Your letting me go..?"
She asked, clearly suspiscious, Eddie nodded.

"I don't have any further use for you, take one of the horses and get out of here, before things turn ugly."
Eddie spoke plesantly, but the girl did not need telling twice, snatching the purse from his hands she all but fled from him through the rows of tents, pausing only once to glance back over her shoulder.

Eddie sighed and flopped down in the shade of the coach with his back resting against one of the large, wooden wheels, his legs strached out comfortably in front of him.
Casually removing a cigar from the silver case he always carried, casualy twirling the fine smelling roll of tobacco between his fingers, he watched the young girl he had seen the head Healer speaking to earlier hurry past, a few belongings slung over her shoulder as she exited the camp at high speed in the direction of the forest.

Inserting the cigar into his mouth, Eddie Carke ginned a wicked grin,
"I love it when a plan comes together."

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#, as written by Seerow
A long silence stood between the opposing figures. This assassin was cunning as he was tactile and there were many riddles in his words. Grim was clever but not all of the answers were bare before him. In fact more disturbing was just how little he knew despite how freely Evin spoke. So he remained quiet while digesting each sentence, deciding for himself was the best to handle this situation was.
“You make many heavy threats that I don’t believe you can keep Wolf. Yet you’ve come to warn me of an impending doom? Forgive my skepticism but I doubt you’ve entered this place with good intention. Much less to spare the lives of a Black Knight and his men. Perhaps you were curious of our size or stability, mayhap you’ve never met a Black Knight and needed to find my vulnerabilities. Maybe it’s a game to you or a challenge. Whatever the true reason you’re as good as dead standing before me.”

With a calm fluid motion he brought his blade down from his shoulder. He bore its weight with a single arm and was able to pivot the weapon without trouble. With a quick thrust he forced its tip into the earth and buried it enough to keep it anchored. A sign that he too wished to be passive from conflict for now. Returning Evin’s gesture to a degree.
Of course the cries of his men bothered him, and he silently prayed under his breath for their safety. If not for Evin he would have already hunted after this other intruder. Grim wasn’t a man that relished battle, but the yells were dire. Still he remained in conference with the assassin not willing to turn his back to him. After all that may just be what this deadly stranger was hoping for.

“You know where I’m from, and likely you know what I am. Then you must also understand that I will serve my purpose with loyalty and honor. I will not move from this spot unless I am given such an order. If you are so keen to see us removed you’ll have to ask someone with the proper authority. Of course if you or your pack would be willing to surrender those responsible for the murder, we may be able to come to some sort of ceasefire. In fact I’d even personally plea your case and we could work on getting a truce or with luck an end to this war.”
He already guessed the answer to his offer. The Wolfpack was too prideful to make such a compromise. It didn’t stop Grim from trying though. He had made no mention of Blackpond. That was another difficulty altogether and one that he had little experience with. The endless struggle with their only neighboring city was one that he felt was utter stupidity. No one could recall exactly why Newhaven and Blackpond won’t get along, and those that did were often too old to care anymore. It was a bitter feud that had been raging on for a long time now.
“What say you Wolf?”

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"What say you Wolf?" Grim asked Evin. Little did he know, was that one of the killers stood right in front of him.
Evin stood there a while. Pretending as if he was thinking about the offer. In actuality, he thought about the way the man was acting. His body language was very interesting to Evin. The man had the urges to go and help his comrades who were most likely dying from the blade of Eulalius, but Grim probably knew that Evin would have a chance to attack if he did so. He also caught a glimpse of a prayer that Grim was uttering under his breath. For a man with such ruthless techniques like the Black Knights, he sure did seem to be honourable. he probably would have been a good man to fight beside, but the fact was that he didn't fully understand what happened to the real King. No one in Newhaven understood what happened. Only the assassin's who fought within the castle walls when everything went down would truly understand.
"I do not have the authority to give up all of them. I'm sure my leader would not approve of it either, but you do not fully understand the circumstances anyways." This would be the first time he discussed the story with anyone other than the people who were there. "You see, the assassin's did not kill your king. Well you could technically say that one did, but he was no longer an assassin when it happened. The reality is that your King was murdered by the one who was killing the enlightened people. He was once a friend of mine who's name was Perry; He was presumed dead after a mission went wrong. He had a sinister plan to gather enlightened powers for himself and rule over Valcrest."
Evin paused for a few seconds and then continued. "When the assassin's found out about the bounty on their heads, a group which included me went to the castle to discuss what we knew about the killer with your king. When we arrived at the castle though, we realised that he wasn't the king, but the killer. He was after the enlightened powers of the people in my group. It was a kill or be killed situation and since he wasn't the real king, we found it fit to end things there. That is why there hasn't been an enlightened death since then, other than the ones caused by this war that is."
Evin understood that this was a lot to take in all at once, but he needed to understand the reality. He began to speak to Grim once more.
"If you care for your soldiers like I know you do, you will move them back to Newhaven before my soldiers arrive to strike. Now that you understand the truth, you can start a cease fire now without any trade." Although it wasn't directed as a question, he expected a clear answer to what he said. If not, Newhaven would not know what hit them.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Assassin's Camp

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Crystal stayed in the memorial for a few moments longer after Jake left. She ran her fingers through the name carved in the stone and shed a tear or two for her mother. "Once this is over..." She whispered to the grave, before standing and turning her back, walking to the center of camp. They wouldn't bury an active before the leader paid her respects, the only exception to that tradition had been Crystal's father. That after Crystal shouted at the healers that her mother wouldn't be paying her respects to her husband in front of the whole clan. She might have even cursed at one of them, but she really didn't remember anymore.

As she approached Lionel's body she could feel the silence falling down around her, she became used to that silence. It followed her everywhere ever since her mother died. She got down on one knee and whispered her goodbyes, before standing... She felt the tip of a cold blade on the back of her neck. It was Lionel's little brother, she knew that even before hearing the boy's voice. "I won't let you get away with this."

Crys didn't move, letting out a weary sigh. This was going way too far. "Go ahead." She answered, standing up. As she did so, the boy flinched and took a few good steps back. It was obvious that he really didn't have it in him to kill the leader of the clan. She turned to face the fourteen year old active and opened a smile, putting both her hands behind her back. "Go ahead. I won't fight you. First though, you need to challenge me like Lionel did. You need to say the words, otherwise you'll be committing treason." She explained casually. "Say the words." She insisted.

The boy didn't answer, he seemed frozen where he stood. Crys nodded. "Alright. I'll pretend you said them. You seem very sure of yourself. I'll help you." She pulled out the Katana she carried sheathed beneath her cloak at all times. "This is my father's sword..." She offered him the hilt of the sword. "Take it and strike me down if you will. If my life makes up for what you lost, then you may have it." Her tone of voice was nothing like the one she had used on Lionel only a few hours before. It was calm, almost kind.

She gave the boy a few moments to decide. Since he didn't move, Crys sheathed the sword. "Alright." She laid one hand on the boy's shoulder and added. "Here is what you should do: Go home, cry for your brother, and when you have no more tears to cry... Ask yourself if you still want me dead. Come see me when you have the answer. I'll be waiting." After saying that she gently pushed the boy towards his older brother, giving the man a simple nod. "I'm responsible for every life in this clan. Death, by my hand or any other, is failure. I will not have that. Not anymore. If we don't stand united we will not survive this."

"We want answers, Crystal." One of the actives shouted the demand, probably before he could stop himself.
Crys chuckled at the man's hesitation. She could sense they were still waiting for her to snap and kill someone. "Understandable. I've sent Evin out on an assignment. I will address the clan once he returns. Until then, there are no answers I can give." She nodded. "Bury Lionel, and return to your tasks. I give my word that as soon as I have any answers I will let you all know." She made that promise and walked away from her actives and went into her cabin.

Those words seemed to momentarily calm people down, however, Crys was not calm. She wasn't exactly sure if reaching out to Blackpond was the right thing to do, even if it was all they could do at the moment. It made her feel like she was simply committing the crime she was being accused of. Not to mention her mother would have been against it completely. She sighed, sitting by the same wooden table her mother used to constantly lean against. This was one huge whole they had dug themselves into.

A sound at the door caused Crys to lift her head. "Excuse me." She heard a female voice say. She recognized the voice as of the healer apprentice that had spoken to her earlier.
Crys answered the girl, resting her chin on her hand and aiming her eyes at the doorway. "Yes, how may I help you?"

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Valcrest

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Blanditia smiled at the girl "Lena says there is an impostor at the Healer camp claiming to be from your clan. The man has very little knowledge of the clan, but even so... She says you should look into it." she stated clearly but softly so only The young leader could hear. She ran a hand through her hair and stood stock still waiting for the girls reaction, She could see in the girls eyes the tiredness that she was hiding and felt bad to add this on her. She fingered the chain around her neck out of nerves, but it was the only sign of what she was feeling.

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#, as written by Seerow
“That is the most ridiculous explanation ever give- “
Something robbed him of his vigor for a moment. His memories flooded into a sort of epiphany which had overthrown his conscious. So much of the past presented itself before his listless eyes. There was much confusion during the last act of the war. Tragedy had fallen onto many even in the aftermath. Setareh wasn’t a whole person. Krander was lonely inside though no one knew it. Nobody guessed what secrets Thomas had. Mageria dedicated her life to vengeance, and even Jake hid his longing on his neck. As for Grim he was orphaned at fairly young age. What was key though was his parents both were Enlightened. Both were killed in action, but there had always been an air of uncertainty to that event.
Quietly he debated if it was possible this story had some truth? If so were his mother and father victims and not heroes? This enlightenment troubled him to no end, try as he might to cast it aside.

“You understand how hard it is to believe the words of a rogue. I will look into the matter. If what you say is true then I will do what I can to bring the truth to the people. If what you say is false, then no army from Blackpond is going to spare you or your ilk. The children of Newhaven are much stronger then you can imagine.”

Evin’s words had already set plenty of schemes in motion. Grim decided to return to Newhaven with this information. He would ultimately rid himself of his soldiers and go on a private quest. Understanding that now was not the time for soul searching, but he had to seek the truth. If it meant sparing the lives of thousands it was worth the price.
“Be on your way then Wolf you’ve been heard. Should fate have us meet again, I hope it is not on the field of battle.”

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander listened to Mageria intently. He let out a stifled laugh.
"Yes, I know, that is why you have your own shitter, right?" He reflected on what she said.

He did think that what had happened to her was insane, and unfortunate, but she was blessed with life. She was a ruthless killer and yet, somehow gentle, in her own way.

He was interrupted by a short dark skinned man with crazy white hair opening the door.

"Ah, Krander," Xypher said, "To what do I owe the pleasure?" He eyed Mageria and nodded respectably to her.

"Xypher, we have come to discuss battle tactics. We seem to be at a standstill right now, and that makes me nervous."

Xypher said nothing but motioned them to come in and sit and he shut the door behind them.

"We have discussed withdrawing our forces from hunting assassins, withdrawing from blackpond, and attacking the other, respectably. Also discussed staying how we are and hoping for the best, which is my least favorite choice. Mageria here, "he motioned to her," Also suggested guerrilla warfare tactics. Burn their crops, cut off trade, kill any and all merchants or wanderers around the city, but not actually attack their city. But I have a crazy Idea."

He paused for effect.

"What if we withdrew all of our soldiers into the castle. We stockpiled food while we stayed as we are, and moved the people to a camp heavily guarded, but our best fighters we kept in the castle. WIth no action we can confuse and disorient both of our enemies. Then as they come into the castle we can take them out one at a time, using the secret chambers to our advantages. I also suggest we move our people in small portions, less than 10 at a time, to someplace quite far away. Leave our best fighters here on the grounds, and our strongest enlightened to protect the people."

Xypher noded for a few seconds after Krander had finished speaking.

"I will give it some thought. It is interesting, but as with all of our other possibilities, we have not much choice where life and death are concerned.

Xypher turned to Mageria, "Any other ideas my dear?"

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Eulalius was quite surprised that no more soldiers had come to aid what had obviously sounded like a call of attack.

Though, to Eulalius' dismay, his original thought was wrong.

The soldiers that were now coming didn't seem to be in any hurry whatsoever to get to their destination, and Eulalius was almost certain a few of them were drunk, their armor splattered with bits of foodstuffs and a fluid that was several shades of brown.

This encounter had Eulalius much more outnumbered than last time, and Eulalius decided to rely on skills of deception rather than combat.

Removing a helmet from one of the corpses, he dragged both of the corpses into the closest tent to him, leaving a rather thick blood trail. Much to his luck, the tent was empty- for the time being, anyway.

Eulalius snatched off his hat and placed the heavy iron helmet onto his head, finding a nice seat on the corpse he had taken the helmet from.
-
As Eulalius had expected, several of the guards followed the blood trail into the tent where he was. They asked no verbal questions, the look on their faces said it all.

'Wot'? Can't a man git' dress'd in is arm'r in peace?' Eulalius purposely slurred his speech in an effort to sound drunk, which was easily audible even through the thick grill of the helmet.

One of the guards made a gesture towards the bodies laying on the floor.

'Ah, these two ruffians were out 'ere fightin', they were. 'ad to stop the banter, of course. Gave ol' Izad a bleedin' nose, too!'

At that statement, one of the guards chuckled. The others remained stalwart and silent, glaring at him with their almost ghostly visages. There was a long and awkward pause, but finally they left, one of the guards bading him to clean the mess up.

Eulalius smiled as he pulled off the helmet and replaced it with his hat.

Well played, dear boy! He thought as he silently pulled the tent flap open and stepped back out into the open, the group of guards now nowhere to be seen as they continued their patrol through the camp.

Now I just need to find Evin in this godforsaken place an- Ella! Eulalius shuddered as he realized that his companion was not behind him as he thought she was. He darten around the nearest wall-nothing. Not a soul, not even a guard.

But a muffled cry could be heard from nearby, and Eulalius tracked the sound to its source..

..it was Ella, a guard subduing her with the raw weight of his armor.

Eulalius panicked and acted on instinct, charging at the closer guard- whome was laughing at the sight of a helpless gurl and not paying Eulalius any mind- without any weapons drawn.

He tackled the man, pinning him up against the wall before yanking off his own helmet and using it to beat the man in the head a few times.

Turning around, Eulalius worried that Ella's fragile bones may soon crack under the weight they were enduring. He needed to get that guard off of her, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

He used what was avaliable at that very second, and threw the helmet as hard as he could at the guard that held Ella, hoping more to stun him than hurt him. He then charged at this guard, withdrawing his unloaded crossbow and swung the thing wildly-handle first- when he was close enough.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Newhaven

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Mageria leaned against the wall and frowned.
“I don’t like the idea of turning the city into a trap. We’ve already lost too much to various factions. I don’t think that we have the resources to fight in such a way. And anyway, where would we send our people? And how would we convince them to leave? We’d lose almost as much getting them to move as we would to a fight I think. If we were to choose to focus on one enemy, I’d say that Blackpond was the more significant threat. The Wolfpack is already weakened and they may choose a risky alliance if we continue to push them. If nothing else, if we push them to an alliance with our enemies, then I think that would be the worst end result.” She shrugged and walked over to a map on the wall.
“There is one thing that we cannot do as soldiers. We are without a King at the moment, which I think makes us even weaker than we realize. We have no one to be the final voice, no one to be the focus of the people’s hope and efforts.” She turned around and faced the men.
“Is there any word on the younger brother of the King? My soldiers might not be good for such a search, being rather more straight forward, but maybe Sidden might be able to use his contacts to find him.”

The setting changes from Newhaven to Assassin's Camp

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Crystal let out a sound that was close to a snicker, but not quite. The idea of some fool presenting himself as a Pack member to Lena was hilarious to her. That woman knew that clan better than Crys would ever be able to in her lifetime. It was a ridiculous notion. "Some mercenary fool seeking us for a bounty." Crys smiled thinking of how she could use this to their advantage. Rogues were a minor threat to Pack compared to the Knights and she had more pressing matters to attend, however if it was gold this man was after, the Pack had quite a bit to offer him. After all, the kind of services the Pack provided were not cheap ones in the least. As she thought of her options she reached out to the silver chain around her neck, not realizing that she was, in some level, imitating the girl's gesture. Jake's graduation ring hung from that chain, but it remained hidden underneath her shirt.

Crys stood up from where she was seated. "Please sit for a moment." She pointed a chair across from where she had been sitting, as she passed the girl to reach the door. Standing at the doorway she let out a loud whistle, and said in a calm tone and rather soft tone. "Ali, I need to see you now." After doing that she closed the door and sat back down on her chair, waiting, until the cabin door opened again and Allison walked in through it.

--------

Ali was taking one rare moment of rest. Finally finding no one near the lake, she managed to just sit and stare at the water. That until she heard a loud whistle, which she recognized as being Crystal's. "Nice. What am I a freaking dog?" She mumbled. Enhancing her hearing she could hear her leader's words. "I need to see you now."
Sighing, Ali stood up, grabbed her bow and walked to Crys' cabin, opened the door and walked in. The first thing her eyes caught was the healer girl from before. She closed the door and leaned against the wall beside the door, resting her bow gently on the top of her left boot. "What do you need me for master?" Ali said with a slightly amused tone in her voice.
Crys smiled, it was slightly relieving to see her do that. "Be quiet, kid. Listen to me, because I have a job for you, and it's important." The tone in her voice was serious despite the smile.
Ali nodded, quietly. "I'm listening." She stated, with a nod that Crys wouldn't see.
Crys nodded as well. "Very well. This apprentice here..." She indicated Blanditia with a slight nod. "She came to inform me that there is a man in the ruins passing himself as one of our clan. A mercenary, probably after a bounty."
"You want me to take him out?" Ali asked with a slight frown. "In the ruins that would be impossible. It is a neutral zone."
"No... I have something else in mind for this person. He is foolish, but I have to admit it was a very brave move." Crys pulled a small bag of gold coins, and placed it on the table. "Offer this man our compliments, and kindly explain that he has no idea of what his gotten himself into."
Ali stepped forward and took the bag of coins, tossing it in the air and retrieving it a couple of times, she mumbled. "This is... Generous."
"I'm a giving person." Crys stated with a little smirk. "Hey, be careful though Allison. Rogues can never be trusted, if your eyes catch a slight glimpse of a knife, then kill him. No mercy. Understand?"
Ali nodded. "I understand."
Crys smiled. "Good. I'm sure that by the time you get there Lena will have information for you. Take the apprentice with you, you never know, she might be useful."
Ali didn't like that idea in the slightest, but she supposed it made sense to travel to the ruins with a healer. "Alright. Then I suppose if we leave now we should get there within a few hours." She said, finally looking at the girl. "Is there anything you need to do before leaving?"

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Blanditia looked from girl to girl "No, I'm ready to go" she said with grace she was slightly tired because she hadn't dropped her power but she wasn't tired enough to make a mistake. "If your ready, we can go" she was all ready "speaking" to the earth around her making sure the trail was safe, She didn't care about her own life just those of others.She gave The girls a bright smile "I'm sorry but I don't know your names?" she said in a questioning tone, understanding if they refused to give it.

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#, as written by Makoto
Seterah ran her small knife once more up the shaft before flicking her eyes toward her admirer. She matched the woman's eyes for a split second before refocusing on her work. It was almost done, only the feathers needed fitting into place. She placed the knife between her teeth as she bent down to retrieve the feathers from her side satchel, her dark hair falling in sheets around her face.

While her hands moved deftly and expertly over the arrow, her eyes poked out from under her brow, she felt a vibration and a small thundering behind her ears as she focused her eyes outward, seeing Jake leaving the leaders side and disappearing into the wood. Setareh knew there was more to the two of them than they let on, if there was any advantage to being emotionally void, it was that you could pick it out easily if there were emotions or tensions between people.

She shut her eyes and allowed the small din behind her ears to stop before opening them, seeing nothing but glints against weapons, armors, and the shine from her arrow feathers, that had been perfectly placed in her quiver. Her temporary blindness would only last a few moments, her level of use was tiny in comparison to normal, but she took a walk to the meadow outside the camp.

Setareh heard a angry voice coming in the way of the meadow, and was greeted by an angry "What?!" when she ventured too close. Out of instinct, her bow and arrow were already pulled, but she hesitated. "I'm sorry, miss. I didn't mean to frighten you. I'm Nicolette, a healer from the Ruins. I'm stationed here."

"Setareh." She slipped her bow and arrow back into her sack, her mind running with alternative places she could relax, she didn't want to be here with a chatty cat. She wanted peace and she could just feel the overwhelming friendliness in this woman's voice.

"Are you an assassin? I mean, of course you're an assassin, you're here and look at you. How do you manage without your eyesight?" The woman inquired, and she looked down mentioning it was her temporary side effect before walking away from her.

There was a small clearing in the glades where water lilies grew everywhere and kudzu blossoms climbed the trees mixed with honeysuckle. She decided she'd go there, try to get away from camp for a little while.

---------------------------------------------------

Nicolette sat in a small clearing of the meadow that she'd made, planting various useful herbs and flowers around it. A streak of dirt smudged her cheek as she worked hard on replanting goldenrod sprouts that had been uprooted by careless recruits. Her eyes were fiery and alive. She was infuriated with what that Ali person had said.

"Less work? LESS WORK? She just speaks of it like these people have no lives, no families, no children of their own. She is a rude, insensitive, demoralizing, shrew of a woman. The nerve of her! " She spoke heatedly under her breath, turning on her heel as the sound of someone coming near. "What?!" she spoke angrily.

She saw a young girl, barely an adult clutching her bow in one hand and an arrow in her other looking down. Nicolette immediately recognized the blindness, and regretted letting her anger get the better of her. "I'm sorry, miss. I didn't mean to frighten you. I'm Nicolette, a healer from the Ruins. I'm stationed here."

"Setareh." Was all the woman said before sliding her arrow into her quiver and the bow to her back.

Nicolette smiled at her, though she couldn't see her. The young woman shared the same name as the baby sister she'd lost long ago. "Are you an assassin? I mean, of course you're an assassin, you're here and look at you. How do you manage without your eyesight?"Nicolette bit her tongue, she had always been too inquisitive and didn't even stop to think if the girl might be sensitive about it.

"It's only temporary. My side effect." She turned and walked away toward the woods, not even saying good bye to the healer.

"Goodbye..." Nicolette said quietly before turning back to her work.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Newhaven

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#, as written by Tyce
Xypher sat silent a moment.

"I really don't know why you kids wasted not only my time but your own. You were right Krander, that would be an extremely interesting tactic, if we had the ability and resources I would say to do that in fact. But Mageria is right as well. We must not push the assassins to an alliance that could break us. We should use those guerrilla tactics on Blackpond until they cry mercy, then take some of their riches and set up guard there while we finish off the Pack."

He spoke sternly, quickly, and matter of factly. He sat down and seemed to forget that the two were there.

Krander looked quickly at Mageria holding back a grin and stood up and left the room. After Mageria had left he quietly closed the door.

"So, get your men ready, and see how many we can pull out from the Pack territory without actually having put more Black Knights at risk of death. We begin seige on Blackpond Tomorrow Eve."

The setting changes from Newhaven to The Ruins (Healer's camp)

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#, as written by Rill
The sun was sinking low over the distant horizon when Bjorn Heldenhammer approached the Healers camp, alone, reighning in his great war-charger, the Barbarian glanced casualy back over his shoulder, there was no sign of the rest of the Mercanary band, good, they where keeping well out of sight, poised and waiting for his signal should anything go wrong.

as with Eddie, a pair of healers exited the nearest tent and approached the Mercanaries horse, Bjorn grinned down at them wolfishly, they appeared to flinch back for a second, before the Elder aparantly remembered himself, and bowed his head.

"Greetings traveler," He spoke softly, Bjorn nodded.

"And to you, I seek only a nights sanctuary."

"Of..of course,"
The Healer replied, uncertianly,
"However we must ask you to give up your weapon."

Bjorn shrugged and, unslinging his giant Warhammer from his back, the Barbarian passed it down, the Healer that took it stumbled back, struggling under its weithg for a moment, before tripping and falling heavily to the ground.

"Don't scratch it now little man,"
Bjorn told him, biting back a grin, before touching his horses flanks with his heels, and urging his steed forward into the White Shadows camp.

Bjorn spotted Eddie fairly quickly, apparantly snoozing peacefully in the shade of the coach they had taken, the Mercanary captain appeared to be dead to the world, but Bjorn had seen his old freind use this position too often to be fooled.

Keeping his distance, Bjorn found a spot for himself and his horse next to a large stone water trough and, dissmounting, the Barbarian left his mount to drink while he settled down to wait.

The setting changes from The Ruins (Healer's camp) to Newhaven

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Getting into the city of Newhaven dressed as he was, would be tricky for Jake if he couldn't use his ability. Gladly it wasn't raining and he could get to the house were he once lived, while he was still a simple mercenary. There he changed into the clothes he usually wore when in the city. To anyone he passed by, he would be seen as simple castle guard. It made him slightly uncomfortable to think how a simple change of clothes could easily slip him into the castle. Few people actually knew his name and face, and he did prefer it that way.

Inside the castle Jake wandered the halls aimlessly, whistling to himself, only stopping to greet one or two acquaintances. As he walked he heard in conversations amongst the guards that captain Krander had woken up half the castle in the middle of the night. He nodded as he heard that, a slightly amused grin spreading across his face. It didn't surprise him to know that the man had bad dreams. Jake was lucky if ever managed to fall asleep at all. He simply kept walking,

Jake's eyes darted towards the two people coming out of a room a little further ahead. "It was easier than I thought." He mumbled. Not wanting to intrude on the conversation, he stopped at a distance where their voices wouldn't reach his ears and leaned against the wall, simply waiting for Captain Mageria and Captain Krander to spot him there.

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Mageria clasped her hands behind her back as she walked along with Krander.
“The way that man thinks worries me sometimes. He needs to get out more." She shook her head.
"But I can ready my men and send a messenger to my forces in the woods. If I pull them out, it may leave my sources in the Pack unprotected, but they’ve been there long enough that I think they can maintain their cover. I hate leaving them like that, but I have to trust them to do their jobs.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, looking over at Krander gravely.
“How many do you think we can send to Blackpond? And do you want to send the White Knights as well as the Black? I don’t think we should pull to many from defense of the walls, and the whole point of guerrilla tactics is that we don’t need a lot of people if we do it right.” She bit her lip thoughtfully.
“But the thing to watch out for is we can’t touch the healers at all. Anything we do to make them angry is something we must avoid at all costs.”
A castle guard leaning against the wall caught her attention, partially because he was leaning when he should have been patrolling, and partially because he looked familiar. A closer look revealed that it was Jake. A subtle relaxation loosened her shoulders before she touched Krander on the arm. “I’ll be right back.”
As she walked over to Jake she felt a small knot of tension under her breastbone relax just a bit. She truly hated to send her people out where she couldn’t watch their backs.
“Jake. How are things?”

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Jake was a little lost in his mind, humming some random song to himself while he waited. That until a voice caused him to raise his head and stand up straight. “Jake. How are things?”
Jake let out a small chuckle as he thought about how exactly to answer that question. "That depends of what things exactly you refer to..." He stated finally, a slight frown forming behind his overall relaxed appearance. "I wasn't planning on coming back this early, but... things have been tense in the Pack lately. Crystal was challenged this morning, she killed an active. She's having trouble controlling the clan the way her mother did. They don't trust her as much." Crys was the only person who's name he ever mentioned, since it was known that they were childhood friends. He always made sure to never mention any other names, unless he was asked. "The second commander left this morning with another assassin. I suspect he plans on reaching out to Blackpond for assistance. I know for a fact that if it was completely up to Crys that would never happen. So, she must be feeling cornered to have agreed."

He ran a hand through his hair before adding the last piece of the little information he had. "I stopped by the spot where Grim was camped, mostly for the sake of chatting, but... As I was there, the second commander of the Wolfpack invaded the camp and demanded to see Grim. I chose to leave not to blow my cover, so I can't guarantee everything turned out alright. Still, if I was to bet... I would say that if his intention was to attack, he would have been more cautious than he was being. So I assume he was there to say something." He sighed, leaning his back completely against the wall, and crossing his arms in front of his chest. "I'm only speculating on this last matter, however." He looked the woman in the eyes and added. "I know very little of the man's behavior, except for what Crys eventually complains about him being annoying and constantly breaking rules." He chuckled, barely concealing his amusement. "Childish stuff, really... I do know for a fact that he is incredibly clever. If he had seen me I doubt I would have been able to talk my way out of it."

After that he went silent. Waiting for the information he had given to sink in and form some kind of reaction. Now his mind was wandering back to the campsite and wondering what had happened there. Hopefully it all went well, for everyone.

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander listened to Mageria as they walked and noticed that a guard seemed to be waiting for one of them.

"I'll be right back," She had said to him.

He waited and mulled over what she had said. What was he to do?

He thought he had an answer, he just needed Mageria and all the other white knights as well as some other Black Knight leaders to hear and approve his plan. He could call it in if he wanted as captain, but he was one for democracy, and he was noble. He decided to wait.

The setting changes from Newhaven to Valcrest

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Evin could tell that he had convinced the Black Knight. Although Grim didn't exactly say it, he could tell that Grim would leave with his soldiers. It was all Evin needed to reassure him not to go to Blackpond. Although, he would have to discuss these things with Crystal before actually doing anything about it. For now their mission was complete. Any threat against the assassins at this point would be pointless without this important encampment.
“Be on your way then Wolf you've been heard. Should fate have us meet again, I hope it is not on the field of battle.”
"And if it is in battle, may it be for a more honourable cause."
Evin then heard the screams of a girl. He recognised it the second he heard it, it was Ella. Evin didn't hesitate to move. Evin ran to his right where he had thrown his dagger, without stopping he then jumped into the tree that Grim was standing bellow. Hanging off of one of the branches, there was a dagger and a small explosive pouch. He smiled at Grim as he grabbed his equipment and then he ran off into the direction of the screaming.
Evin hoped that one day the two of them would meet again like Grim had said. He just hoped that they could meet one time under some less tense circumstances.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ella could hear her heart beating. She knew it wouldn't be for much longer if she was to stay here. She could barely breath from the weight of this man. The man himself wasn't all that heavy, but the armour he had on was. As the soldier slowly drew his blade, Ella began to contemplate her mistakes. Why did she have to stop listening to Evin? Was it the wrong choise and why did she have to prove herself to this him? It didn't really matter all too much anymore though. Her life would almost be over.
All of a sudden, he heard the noise of metal hitting the soldier on top of him. It was a helmet that had hit him right in the head. He fell right off of Ella. The sudden change in pressure was such a relief and a smile ran across her face as some fresh air flow into her lungs. The soldier got right back up though and Ella did the same. She realised the Eulalius was the one who threw the helmet. Ella decided that instead of a punch this time, she would try to use her dagger. While Eulalius was running to assist Ella, she took out her dagger and attempted to stab the man right through the chest. The man simply dodged the girls attack and then punched her in the face. He then proceeded to grab the dagger out of the girls hand and then place it against Ella's neck.
"Take one more step and this girl's dead." The soldier said to Eulalius.
Ella screamed. There was no other way to react to this situation. Once again she was stuck in a situation that would cost her her life and this time there was no one here to save her. If Eulalius did anything, she would be dead. Would he do anything? She didn't know the man well enough to know if she would risk Ella's life just to kill this man. Tense seconds passed as the man slowly backed away from the assassin standing in front of him, but suddenly the man just fell to the ground. Ella had no idea what had just happened. She looked behind her, to see Evin cleaning blood off of his hands.
"I thought I told you not to run off!"
"I know, but I just wanted to prove myself."
"You have nothing to prove unless you have the proper training, now we are going back to the camp. We no longer need any soldiers from Blackpond."

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Ali nodded. "Alright. My name is Allison, you may call me Ali if you will. And I do have something to do before leaving, so... If you could please wait by the main entrance of the camp. I will meet you there in a few minutes."
As Ali turned to leave, Crys' voice caused her to stop at the door. "Maybe you should take an active with you, just in case."
Ali lowered her head and a slightly annoyed sigh escaped. "Do I have to? You know I dislike working with other people."
"I know you dislike people." Crys answered with a chuckle. "Wolves are sociable creatures, Ali. We hunt in groups. Take an active with you, that's an order."
"Yes, master." Ali mumbled in a slightly disrespectful tone, which gladly Crys always seemed to overlook. She looked at Blanditia again and repeated. "Meet me at the entrance." With that she left the cabin. Frowning slightly and thinking that she didn't really care for having another assassin going with her. She sighed, thinking that she would settle it all in a minute, but... First things first.

She headed for the memorial and knelt down between Dani and Bastian's graves. "I realize I haven't been here since I came back... Things have been crazy, but, mostly... I guess I didn't want to face this." She sighed and touched Dani's grave with her right hand. "The day I graduated you gave me the ring and you said that finally I had become someone people could trust with their lives. It meant a lot to me, even if I didn't believe it." She smiled slightly, and stood up. "Good-bye Dani, and don't worry about a thing." Ali said, nodding before leaving the memorial and walking a bit into a small clearing just outside camp grounds.

She stopped walking when she saw that the same girl she had watched working before was there. Ali flinched, for a split second before speaking. "Hey... Do you have any assignments pending?" She asked the girl. She figured that asking the first person that crossed her path wouldn't be any worse than thinking about it. She looked around the small clearing while waiting for a reply. She had been there before. Although the lake was her favorite place, this was nice as well.

--------

Annie spent some time tending to injured assassins along with some of the older healers, but there were no serious injuries to tend to and she got bored with the company rather fast. The other healers never gave her much conversation. "Alright people, you are all very entertaining, but I guess I'm going for a walk." She stated, using the water from a bowl to wash her hands. She walked out of the healers' cabin and walked through center of the camp, looking around and nodding at some familiar actives as she passed.

She was actually looking for Jake. When she saw him earlier he didn't seem very well... He didn't seem to be anywhere though. Eventually she figured he would be on assignment somewhere. She kept walking around aimlessly until she caught sight of a small clearing she was sure she hadn't seen before. She noticed another healer was working there and took a step forward towards the woman. "Hello there... Did you plant all these?" She asked, her brown eyes wandering around the clearing curiously.

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Blanditia nodded her head and bowed her head at Crys "Have a good day Ms Wolf pack leader" she said respectfully. She stood from her sitting position and walked toward the main entrance. And sat there not caring if she was in the way, currently she was trying to use as little power as possible in case she needed it. A soft breeze touched and she smiled happily at it for it brought the scent of herbs and soft soil. She played with the purple rose that was pined in her hair, one of the three she had started out with. A soft sigh slipped from her mouth because she didn't like waiting, she had a hard time listening to people at all.

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Mageria chewed her lip as she thought.
“Assistance from Blackpond? Bloody hell, that’s the last thing we need.” She thought for a moment and nodded. “We may have pushed them too far if that’s what they’re thinking. Is there anyway we can make sure that doesn’t happen? If we have to face their combined forces then we won’t have a chance.” She crossed her arms and frowned into the distance. “Our alternative plan might be best then, it would eliminate the need for that . . . but it would mean calling back the soldiers in the camp.” She focused on Jake again. “If we pull back, will it give this Crys a chance to reestablish greater control? Spread the rumor that we did it because we’re weakened or something? As bad as the Wolfpack has hurt us in the past, it would be worse to have a couple dozen well trained assassins running around with no one to control them.”

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#, as written by Makoto
Setareh picked a honeysuckle bloom, pinched off the end and drew out the inner stem, a bit of the flowers nectar on the end and placed it on her tongue. She let the sweetness travel over her tongue before tossing the flower into the lake. The sickly sweet smell buzzed around her, creating a haze and a cloud of fragrance.

She loved it in this place, she was rarely interrupted because people seemed to prefer the lake. They never stopped to actually realize it was just a large puddle. Flowers were truly what made a landscape beautiful, she preferred untamed wildflowers to the kept and controlled gardens, but flowers were flowers and they were all beautiful.

She heard a crunching underfoot near her and noticed her eyesight had gone back to normal, she waited until the person crossed her path, and then stopped. She'd heard the active at the memorial, barely glanced up from the kudzu blossom she twirled between her fingers. She noticed the woman's hesitation as she asked,"Hey... Do you have any assignments pending?"

She matched eyes with the woman from her seated position. "I have one assignment." Setareh said. "In a month and half a merchant will travel by here. I'm to kill him before he reaches Newhaven. His wife called it out." She added pressure to the stem and tucked the flower behind her ear, her index and thumb pads stained green from the flower. "Do you have an assignment that needs to be taken care of?"

---------------------------------------------

Nicolette watched as the young woman walked away without saying goodbye. She was sick of this place, and the rude people who inhabited it. Though she could blame them, everyone was on edge. With the leader passing away, the new leader simply killing one of their own in front of the Pack, and the raids on the camp, anyone could be on edge.

She knelt down and started again at her plants. Picking off pests and ladybugs, gently wiping away eggs and cobwebs from them. Her hyacinth would be ready by the next day and the sage could be harvested at any time, she preferred to let it age a bit before, it was much more potent that way.

"Hello there... Did you plant all these?" Nicolette turned at the noise she'd not noticed, her heart skipping a beat. The small girl from the ruins stood there, looking over her garden with inquisitive eyes.

"Uh, yes. Yes I did. Well, except for the hawthorn, when I saw that I knew this would be a good place to grow. It's one of the pickiest plants. It has to have the right temperature, humidity, sunlight, shade, and rich soil for it to grow. I've planted many varieties for infections, antidotes, parasites, and sleep aid." Nicolette gave a big smile, "Do you enjoy herbalism?"

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Jake let out a sigh. "I suppose a little breathing room could do the trick. Crys would welcome an excuse not to owe Blackpond any favors. In spite of disliking our attacks on her camp, she seems very discontent with their ruler's attitudes in the past year, more specifically the change in his attitude from seeking peace to, well... This. She wouldn't side with them unless it was necessary for means of survival." He crossed his arms behind his head, turning his eyes to the ceiling, and added with a frown. "Constantly harassing the White Shadows hasn't exactly left Blackpond on her good side either. However, the healers would never go as far as to deny anyone help... No matter how much they might be an annoyance. Otherwise I would be tempted to visit my aunt and try to convince her to stop aiding their men." He said with a grin. He knew that it would be useless, not to mention offensive, to make such a request to Lena, but it would surely help end this a lot sooner if that was a possibility.

"It might be late though, if he left moments before I did, damage might already be done. Of course we both stopped to see Grim and, who knows how long it took him to get out of that camp, if he even did." He stretched in a gesture that showed something between exhaustion and laziness. "Should I go back and find out?" He asked, actually wondering if Evin had gone to Blackpond. He hadn't actually asked Crys, but she didn't deny it, and seemed discontent enough for it to be true.

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Allison kept standing for a moment, her eyes examining the girl. She let her bow rest on the top of her boot as she thought, her hand still wrapped tightly around the silver-lined grip. Finally she opened half a smile and spoke. "Crys wants this rogue taken care of. The man showed up in the ruins announcing himself as a member of the Pack. She wants me to talk him into an alliance I guess, and the last thing we want is to draw a weapon on the White Shadows' territory, so... I suppose you'd be tagging along in case something goes wrong." She gave a small shrug. "It'll most likely be boring, but I guess it beats being stuck in camp with all the tension." She turned around and began to walk back towards center of the camp. "If you want to come, then move. I'm leaving now."

--------------
Annie nodded at the question. "Amongst many other things." She answered with a smile. "You should leave the ladybugs though. They feed off those little pests such as aphids, and other smaller bugs that tend to ruins plants. Plus, they are pretty." She stated in a cheery tone as if the prettiness alone summed everything up. Then she walked a little closer to examine the plants, pacing carefully. "It's impressive that you actually managed to grow something around here without it getting stomped." She said jokingly. "I'm Annie, by the way. Annie Turner."

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Mageria nodded. “Right then. I assume you’re telling her that you’re using your gift to get this information? Either way, tell her you found out that we’re pulling back our forces to concentrate more directly on Blackpond. That should give everyone involved a little breathing room. I’m sorry to send you back out so quickly, but if there’s any chance to keep this from blowing up in our faces, I’d like to take it.” She started to turn away, then stopped and laid a hand on Jake’s arm. For a moment the invisible mantle of Captain of the Black Knights fell away and she was simply Mageria.
“Jake, I know these people are your friends. It can’t be easy lying to them like this. I’m worried about how long you can keep it up. When it get’s to be too much, let me know and we’ll find another way.”

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"I don't usually tell her how I get information, not unless she asks and that is rare." Jake answered the question with a light shrug. "I think she just assumes." He took a step away from the wall, preparing to walk away, when he felt her hand on his arm.

“Jake, I know these people are your friends. It can’t be easy lying to them like this. I’m worried about how long you can keep it up. When it get’s to be too much, let me know and we’ll find another way.” The words were so similar to what Dani had told him last time they spoke, that his first reaction was to let out a small laugh in face of the irony. Then his expression turned a little more serious, although he smiled at the woman as he answered. "I appreciate the concern, Captain." He stated. "They are my friends, and they are good people. I personally wish this could be resolved without any further killing, but... That is not my decision to make. And since this is our situation, I will follow my orders for as long as it's necessary." He smiled. "I'm sure that I can handle it." That was a lie, and not a good one, but Jake was just that stubborn. He bowed his head in respect as he turned to leave. "Better I leave now. Although, the way things are over there, no one might notice I'm gone." He said jokingly as he began to wander off down the hall and towards the exit of the castle, waving over his shoulder.

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander watched as the guard walked down the hall.

"Mageria, if you are finished I think I know what to do. Gather your men and women of great stature and I will gather the other four White Knights. We need to have this completely figured out so as to not leave any room for error."

Krander turned and hustled down the hall. He hoped this would be good enough not only to help end the war, but also to get the love of his life back.

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Mageria felt a weight of regret settle on her shoulders. If only I could trust you completely she thought as she watched Jake walk back down the hall. She wanted to, but she just didn’t think that she could. Crys was an empath, so if she accepted Jake back into the Wolfpack, then that meant that she was very sure of his loyalty. Which meant that anything Jake brought to her had to be checked with her other sources.

She turned slightly as she heard Krander speak. Then she had to suppress a sigh at his words. She settled for shaking her head and turning to find a messenger to send to Grim. Nobles.

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A messenger found Grim a few hours after the assassin did.

Things have changed. Bring your men and come home quickly

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(Eulalius and the 'E' squad!)
--

'Ell-!' Eulalius didn't finish his sentence.

The blade that now jutted through the soldier threatening Ella finished it for him.

Eulalius let out a sigh of relief as the body of the soldier slumped to the ground to reveal Evin standing behind the man. Eulalius wiped the small blothces of blood off of his beard from the bloody exchanges, and looked to Evin for further planning on what to do.

No words were given, but Evin's face said enough. He and Eulalius wanted to get out of the camp, with Ella hopefully alive.

The only problem was, in his haste, Eulalius had forgotten where exactly he had came in from, and Evin had come in from the main entrance, which Eulalius was sure was already blocked and guarded well.

But he had divised a plan, by some amazing feat, or perhaps luck. Hoisting Ella's quivering figure over his shoulder, he carrier her and led Evin to a crude wall that was in need of repair. Instead of breaking down the wall itself, he leaned up against the wall, letting Ella now stand beside him.

He bid Evin to climb on him to get on top of the thin wall. With great grace and agility- and a rope dart-, Evin completed the task in a heartbeat. Eulalius lifted Ella into the the hands of Evin, who in turn lifted her over the wall and gently placed her on the other side. Then Evin helped Eulalius do the same.

Now out of the encampment, the three began the long walk back to the Pack's camp, no conversations being held and no questions asked about Evin's business being there.

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(King Rory)
--
The king himself was nearly too tall for the chair he was given, his height surpassing the other finely dressed men around him by a good couple of inches. King Rory was in no hurry to start this conference, in fact, he almost didn't want to be there entirely, hoping to much rather send an emmisary of sorts to deal with this meeting. But such an act would have penalties, and news spreads quickly in Blackpond. Before long, Rory could have the whole town intrigued on his personal issues on why he didn't attend the meeting in person.

Regardless, King Rory took a long swig of water from the golden and ruby-engraved chalice that lie in front of him. He cleared his throat, and began his introduction to the conference:

'Welcome all of you ladies and gents' to this conference room within Castle Blackpond itself. Those of you among me represent only my best advisors in military, finance, and public relations, among others. As I am king, you will await my orders for you to speak and provide me with your daily, weekly, and monthly reports, in said order. Just by being here you take the risk of breaking a rule and thus being fined, but being the good king I am, I will allow you all a chance to turn in your written reports-provided you brought them- and leave this room. That chance is starting..now.'

One overweight man slowly arose from his chair, a look of near horror shrouding his face and sweat dripping onto his clothing. He hustled to stand in front of Rory, gave as low a bow as his figure would let him, and handed the Graybeard his requested papers.

'Ah, thank you, mister Hallifax.'

Immediately, "Mr. Hallifax" was taken by each arm by a guard and thrown out of the room, the now open door slamming shut.

'Any others?'

There was a moment of almost tangible intensity in the room. Not a soul moved.

'Alright, lets begin. We'll start with you, Ratcliffe,' King Rory stared at the man seated closest to him at the elliptical-shaped table, 'what news bring you from the financial world?'

The slender, hook-nosed man stood, gave a slight bow, and spoke directly to the king:

'Your highness, all taxes have been collected today, each citizen giving his share. There was no hastle at all from the populace. The guildmaster also told me that there has been an increase in overall use of mercantile instead of barter, which has given us a substantial increase in montly profit by sixteen percent. However, a few of your surrounding fiefs haven't submitted their yearly housing taxes.'

'Ah, I see. Ratcliffe, I would like you to notify Lieutenent Nook. Provide him this information and tell him he has my permission to use force if needed to collect those taxes.'

The lanky man bowed, then hurried out of the room.

'Moving along, lets have Mr. Canterbury give his reports next, shall we?'

The quickly balding and rosy-cheecked man also stood, much more casually than the previous two, and bowed before giving his report:

'My leige. Local farming has had a nice increase over the past few weeks, much to your indication of an increase in irrigation. We've had a large percentile increase in crops grown.'

'Very good. Eh, Mr. Canterbury, if you will, inform the treasurer to tone down the budget spent on food imports from 15 percent to 12 percent, and up the imports of stone and metals by two percent each.'

'God speed, sire!' This man also turned and left the room, leaving only a handful of candidates now left at the table.

As Mr. Canterbury left the room, a short yet muscle-bound man trodded in, garbed in simple black clothes and wearing a black hat with a large goose feather protruding from one side. King Rory recognized this man.

'Ah, it appears a more serious business has just arisen. Go, the lot of you. Go home and eat and make love to your wives, and leave your written reports so my servants may collect them.'

As if one singular body, the large group of people all got up in near perfect unison, exiting the room one by one.

King Rory was now left alone with this mysterious figure, whom he knew as 'Mr. Smith'.

Rory was convinced that Mr. Smith was a mute, as through his many encounters with the man he had never spoken a word. He always bore intriguing news from a source that King Rory still hadn't identified, and the news was usually equally worrying and hope-inducing.

The small figure trodded to Rory, handing him a small handwritten note before leaving as quickly as he came.

The note read:
Lord Protector Rory, I write this to inform you of recent activities that you may wish to know about regarding the infamous Wolfpack. My informant tells me that a representitive from the "Pack" was recently on his way to confront you with non-hostile intent. We have come to believe that the Wolfpack may be hoping to make an impending deal with the city of Blackpond, but for what we can't say. Recent reports on the representitive say that he has returned to the Wolfpack encampment already, and that is largely due to the Newhaven-owned military encampment outside of the city that may block the route to the headquarters. We know you don't know the location of the headquarters, but the encampment may hold clues, maybe even a map itself. We suggest that you send a battalion- possibly two- of soldiers to raid the camp and see what they can find. We send our greatest regards- I.


The anonymous sender always signed his letters with a lone 'I'. The king rubbed an itch out of one eye, than returned to his throne room to begin making preparations and planning for the assault on the encampment. Afterwards, the King himself planned to travel to the sacked camp-Provided the victors were Blackpond forces- and aid in the search for any useable information regarding the location of the Wolfpack.

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#, as written by Tyce
As one of the protector of the kings, and one of the strongest fighters in the castle, Phelix and a few others were exempted from leaving the room. Phelix was cautious though. He knew everytime that man had come something bad, beyond the fixing of his powers, had happened.

Phelix dare not be caught reading the note, so he used his peripheral vision to read it, looking straight forward but 'luckily' being able to see the note.

Lord Protector Rory, I write this to inform you of recent activities that you may wish to know about regarding the infamous Wolfpack. My informant tells me that a representitive from the "Pack" was recently on his way to confront you with non-hostile intent. We have come to believe that the Wolfpack may be hoping to make an impending deal with the city of Blackpond, but for what we can't say. Recent reports on the representitive say that he has returned to the Wolfpack encampment already, and that is largely due to the Newhaven-owned military encampment outside of the city that may block the route to the headquarters. We know you don't know the location of the headquarters, but the encampment may hold clues, maybe even a map itself. We suggest that you send a battalion- possibly two- of soldiers to raid the camp and see what they can find. We send our greatest regards- I.

He stifled a sigh. He knew what was going to happen.

"Excuse me, my lord, what will be doing next? Some taxes haven't been taken care of and as you know, well, Nook isn't the most proactive person, nor does he have the greatest work ethic. Also, who do you want to take care of the other reports. When some left it seemed as if there weren't as many reports as were asked for. We are at war, we mustn't let any slip ups occur. If it happens here, it will happen on the field. So again, what will we do next?"

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(King Rory)
--
"Excuse me, my lord, what will be doing next? Some taxes haven't been taken care of and as you know, well, Nook isn't the most proactive person, nor does he have the greatest work ethic. Also, who do you want to take care of the other reports. When some left it seemed as if there weren't as many reports as were asked for. We are at war, we mustn't let any slip ups occur. If it happens here, it will happen on the field. So again, what will we do next?"
-
Rory glanced at the man, who in turn looked at him. When Rory saw his face, he realized it was Phelix, one of the Castle Guards.

Rory liked to be close to the castle guards, and in more than a physical standing. Though many of them refused to believe it, they were the elite of the elite, most of them put through twice or even three times as much training and discipline as any regular town guard. Castle Guards of Blackpond were renowned for their ability to maneuver and fight in the heaviest armors, and very few people of Blackpond actually had the pleasure of seeing a Castle Guard clad in their beautiful hand-made armor.

Pheilix was...odd, however. Different than the other Castle Guards. While the others usually broke down at some point in their training and submitted to being an obedient and stalwart figure devoid of all vestiges of personality, Phelix had managed to keep his witty and caring ways with him all the way through his training. To King Rory, he considered Phelix to be more 'Human' than the others, and that trait alone had Rory convinced that Phelix was the strongest of all his Castle Guards. Rory would have loved to replace Lientenent Nook with Phelix, but the higher chain of command would have several issues that Rory hoped to settle before he even elaborated further on the plot.

King Rory addressed Phelix with a more casual tone than in the conference room:

"Ah, Phelix, you must've had youself hidden behind our other guests. I was just about to send for you. To answer your questions; We will be attacking an encampment of White Knights that have dug in outside of the city. With the help of an informant, I've come to believe that the camp may have information on the whereabouts of the Wolfpack, which could prove to be more useful than most of the soldiers tend to think.

As for Nook, I know he may be quite the lazy man, but he is the only one avaliable to complete the task for me. With the battalion being led by Second Lieutenent Hastings, it is the only thing I can do from keeping the man from complaining about feeling useless.

And then you come in, Phelix. Get yourself out of this Castle for a while, it must be torture staying here all day. Collect the reports that were left and figure out who hasn't turned them in. When you're done with that, gather up the remaining ones in town, without disguise. I know how some of you Guards are careful when it comes to letting others know about your identities, but you are respected among the citizens, I've heard.

After that, why don't you come and talke to me about a promotion?" Rory smiled through his beard as he turned and started back towards the living quarters of Second Lieutenent Hastings to inform him of his plan and start plotting the strategic loadout of the battalion, as well as how to approach the siege of the camp in general.

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Evin didn't have too much trouble in silence on the way back. He was kinda used to it now that he had been promoted to second in command, but even before, it seemed this way to him. Evin seemed to work best in silence anyways, that is, besides when he decides to speak. Maybe that was an advantage Evin had over Crystal, maybe it was the fact that not many people really knew a lot about Evin's life to really make judjment over her. The fact that everyone knew about Crystal since birth did not help her case. Even Evin could remember all of the little things that made her immature at times. Everyone knew her story.
They approached the main entrance of the camp only a few hours after leaving the camp. It was a little odd to come back feeling like they had done so little, yet they had done so much. Evin left the Black Knight truly feeling as though he had just changed the whole course of things. With more troops moving out, that meant that they could move forward. The land that they would take would give them a tactical advantage over their enemy and Evin knew that for sure. He knew the forests in Varlcast almost too well for his own good. He knew every little detail about every little tree or rock in the forest. He had been everywhere he could possibly go in his times. Through the dense thick area where people believed that the spirits of those who the Wolves took out haunted to the lighter areas where trees become less tree and more grass. The are leading up to the Ruins. He knew that that area was picked for the Black Knights for more than just secrecy. It was one of the closest strategic strongholds to the Wolf Pack. This was great.
Evin rushed through the crowds in the center of the camp to get to where he needed to go. Down the path he could remember oh so well when Dani had told him that he would take Crystal's position after her death. He didn't even care if Eulalius or Ella were following at this point, it didn't really matter. He guessed that it would be best they knew why they went with him anyways. He continued down the path until he reach a rather large cabin. A great upgrade from his old home. He opened the door and then announced himself.
"Crystal, I have some dam good news for you." Evin said, with the intentions to gloat. "While traveling, we came across an enemy encampment about an hour and a half walking distance from here. It happened to be inhabited by a Black Knight whose name was Grim. Him and I had a discussion and I convinced him to move his entire army out of there. They are making preparations to leave for Newhaven probably as we speak."

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Blackpond

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#, as written by Tyce
Phelix was taken aback.

"Uh, are, uh, you sure sir?" He asked questionably. He regretted it immediately. He had the trust of the king and he was questioning his commands.

"Yes sir," he said picking up the rest of the reports. He then hurried out of the room to his own dormitory and began sorting through the reports. He made a note of all that were short and those that didn't add up and sent them to his "assistant" who was a female apprentice to the castle guards. He didn't think she would make it, and if she did, she would become another mindless zombie like the rest.

He finished and packed a small bag for the night. He slept in his armor, wary of the assassins even though they were "friendly" to one another. In the morning he would venture to New Haven and find his lover. He craved it. He couldn't stop thinking about him. Before he knew it he was sleeping deeply, something he hadn't done in a long long time.

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Crystal was deep into her thoughts, her hands kept busy by cleaning and polishing her father's sword. She had become as obsessively careful with that Katana as Ali was with her brother's bow. She had only used it once: In the battle in Newhaven. She always made sure that the blade was in the best condition though.
In her mind, her thoughts varied through many of her concerns. Her conversation with Jake had made her worried for him. He was breaking, she could tell. He also felt guilty, which was expected, but something told her that there was more to it than what she knew. It concerned her. Less than a year ago she would completely trust Jake to tell her anything. However now... Something had changed in him. The thought of it frightened her. Losing someone else that she loved frightened her.

Blackpond also concerned her. She trusted Evin to handle the situation, of course, but this wasn't at all what she wanted. The Wolfpack had never sought or accepted allegiance with any of the cities in any moment in its history. Of course, the clan had never been in a situation like this before in its history. In a way though... She could feel her mother yelling at her for letting this go this far. Crys sighed at that thought.
The day her mother died Crys had stayed with her until her last breath. Agonizing hours of holding her hand and holding back the tears until she could no longer see them. Her mother's last words of wisdom, "Remember why you're here", still haunted her dreams. The night after the battle, at the last celebration the clan would ever see in a very long time... Crys told her mother that she knew what that meant... She had lied. She was tired, in pain, and didn't really want to think about it. Dani had tried to tell her something important that night though, and Crys deeply regretted not listening.

She had heard the many times her mother reminded her that the City Rulers saw their assassins as nothing more than tools, and not human beings. "They will leave us at peace as long as we're needed. When the day comes when we become a hassle they will try to dispose of us. Then we most show them that we are not to be set aside by anyone."
Crys nodded. "The day came... We weren't ready for it." She mumbled. The Pack always took pride and being more united and organized than any city army ever was... Not even that Crys managed to maintain intact. In a matter of days she almost tore the clan apart with her distant behavior. She couldn't let it go on this way, she would work to earn the respect of her clan... She had decided on it.

As she heard the door open and Evin start to speak, she set aside the piece of cloth that she was using to polish the blade and, running her fingers through it once, she decided that her work was completed. Sheathing the sword and letting it rest on top of the wooden table, she raised her head and smiled lightly. "That is very good news indeed. I suppose that gives us a good space to breathe now, even without Blackpond." Although she was stating it, she made sure not to impose that statement. She knew that help would make a great difference, but... something in her gut kept saying that it was a bad idea. She couldn't shake that feeling off, and it bothered her. Any excuse not to go there would be welcome.
She grinned. "Sparing me of the details, that surely I don't want to know, of how you infiltrated an enemy camp with only one assassin and a recruit as back up, could you tell me how exactly you managed to convince a Black Knight to remove his men?" She was curious on how Evin had managed that. It was surely impressing although, that was something he would probably not hear from her anytime soon.

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#, as written by zath
Later that day Zath Alen, the head castle guard was at his post when he remembers saw Phelix walking down a sidestreet, toward the palace, determining if to follow his tracks or not, Zath decided not to take action. He was the head guard after all, and he had more pressing matters to attend to.

Not really, Zath haden't seen action in days, and things were becoming very ominous, He wondered if Phelix had anything to do with this, he decided to go and ask him. As he headed up to Phelix's quarters, he heard some one crying out for help!

His call to action, Zath turned in the direction of the noise, someone in a grey peasent shirt was running away with another lady's gold pouch. Zath took a sidestep right into the way of the intruder, knocking him to the ground. He need to haul this thief to prison, Phelix could wait.
"That you for stopping him!" the woman said.
"No problem," Zath replied, "...but there is a recovery fee," He looked into the woman's sack, there was 20 pieces of gold inside, so he took out 20 pieces of gold.
"...this should handle it" he smirked. " Here is your pouch back, Don't spend it all in one place!" he thought of himself as witful as he hauled the thief off to prison. Now if only he could contact Phelix...

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Evin was proud of himself. The best part about it was the interest that Crystal was starting to show in it. Originally, it had seemed that she wasn't paying any attention to him and just polishing her father's sword. Which made him feel a little underappreciated, but asking him about the things he did was like asking him about his first mission. It was like a kid in a candy store. He was waiting for someone to ask him that question.
"Well you see," the tone of his voice told anyone who listened how cocky he felt about this, "I started by asking, well more like threatening a guard to get Grim for me. When he approached, he had his sword over his shoulder and I assumed that he was ready for a fight. I started the conversation trying to keep myself shrouded in mystery."
"When have you ever been mysterious?" Ella interrupted, trying to insult.
"Where was I born?" Evin asked in an irritated voice.
Ella didn't answer. Evin was born in the camp, but when Ella asked him, Evin would just play around with his words to confuse Ella and then move on. Evin started to laugh at her and pushed her into a desk. She knocked over some of the stuff sitting there, including a few documents that Evin hadn't seen. They were dated for just a few days before Dani had died. Evin was curious about it, he hadn't read any of them yet and as second in command he needed to know what was going on. Instead of producing his interests, he continued with his story.
"Anyways, I tried to ease the tension a bit so I threw my dagger away. Of course I had a plan in case he did attack. Then I explained to him that there would be a mass of Blackpond soldiers would decimate him and his soldiers, but he didn't seem to afraid. So then I just simply explained to him what really happened in the castle and he seemed to understand. I think we have some sort of mutual respect for each other now. Of course, if he has lied to me, I will see his head on a stick for all of his soldiers to see."
Evin was so proud and excited with himself. It was the very first time he was able to defuse a conflict as apposed to escalate one. He hoped that it wouldn't be the only time for him, but he knew that this type of problem solving wasn't his favorite. He would have to go out for blood eventually. It was just his nature.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Valcrest

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The orders from Captain Mageria arrived just a few hours after the excitement from the assassins started to wain. All together there were three dead from the attack, two decent soldiers and one whom they were better off without if truth be told. He had been disciplined several times for his behavior in the past, and no one really mourned him as they prepared the bodies for travel back to Newhaven.

Of course there was a great deal of grumbling from the men as they packed up supplies and tents that they had just started to set out, but it was all done away from where the officers could hear. Given that they hadn’t even been there long enough to finish setting up, it was fairly quick to break down and get back on the road. By early evening everyone was back.

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Mageria stared at Chandos in disbelief. For the most part she managed to keep her emotions under control, but her eyes always reveled the strength of them. In this case her temper was slowly climbing, washing the color out until they reached an unsettling light blue grey.
“Let me see if I have this straight.” She had to pause to take a breath. “While you all were setting up camp, three of the Pack managed to work their way in. Two of them took out three soldiers while the other one simply walked up to Grim and started talking to him. After which he ran off and they all disappeared into the forest. Do I have this correct?” The icy politeness of her tone gave no lie to her state of mind. She was pissed. Chandos shifted uncomfortably where he stood in front of her.
“Yes ma’am. That is correct. But I was too far away to hear what was said. And Pondus went off to check on something as soon as he got back”
Mageria pinched the brow of her nose. “Very well. See to your men and tell Grim I want to see him as soon as possible.”
As Chandos left Mageria resisted the urge to swear. Much as she wasn’t happy about leaving the Pack alone right now, it was what had to happen. But what they did, both recently and in the past . . . . she couldn’t forgive or forget.
After a long moment she pushed away from her desk and went to find Krander in the War Room.

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(King Rory)
--
He found him fast asleep in his down-filled bed, an open bottle of wine standing alone among several previously opened and drained bottles that were scattered across a lopsided table next to the bed.

This was Samwell Hastings, in all of his glory.

Second Lieutenet Hastings was a tall and burly man, his height nearly surpassing that of his king, and he was the greatest of archers that King Rory had ever known is his lifetime. There were many legends around great and challenging feats that Hastings had apparently done, most of which weren't true, yet the man retained no sort of an ego. He cared not to be viewed as the hero he truly was. He respected Hastings as much as he did Phelix, even though Hastings had a drinking problem.

"So, this is the glory of the Blackpond military?"

The man immediately jolted awake, sending the empty glass bottle that was in his hand skittering across the floor. He flaild about madly, trying to identify the speaker and pass off that he wasn't asleep. His demeanor changed when his eyes fell upon King Rory.

"I've told you many a time before, Hastings, I will not have any man drinking like this while on duty.."

Hastings' expression dimmed even more,

"And not offer any of it to me!"

Immediately both men smiled and laughed.

Rory patted Hastings on the shoulder as he sat down next to him, smoothing out his cloak so it wouldn't bunch up as he did so.

"Hastings, I need you to gather up a battalion of good and hardy men, with three or four squads of spears for backup and frontline troops. There is a Newhaven encampment just outside of town, near the edge of the forest, I believe, and I expect you to lead the assault in the morning."

"B-but my lord, it will take until morning just to equip the troops, let alone-"

"Mr. Hastings, do you defy my orders so openly? You will have my troops ready by morning that is fi-"

He was interrupted by the infamous black suited man that now stood behind him in the dooway, staring at the two men with an almost ghostly demeanor. Again, he held a note, this time it was neither formally addressed nor signed.

Time is running out, Lord Graybeard. My informant tells me that there has been alot of activity in the camp recently, and we both know what that means, don't we? Yes, the camp will be moving out soon, and any chance of you finding any information regarding the Wolfpack will be gone. I trust you will attack by dusk tomorrow, for they may be gone by then.


Rory sighed and stood back up, shooing off the man in black. He turned once again to face Hastings,

"By morning, Mr. Hastings." And with that, he was off again, heading towards the opposite end of the long hallway.

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(Eulalius)
--
Eulalius made sure to accompany Evin as he gave his reports to Crystal, standing next to Ella in silence as the events unfolded. He had originally planned to confess his private business- which now felt more like ancient history- to Crystal, but ultimately decided against it.

Eulalius approached Ella after Evin's 'shove', taking her by one arm to the other side of the room. Not necesarilly out of hearing range, but not close enough that every word would be able to be made out.

"Forgive Evin for that gesture, he can sometimes be that way. He also plays..eh, mind games, you could call them." He paused for a moment, examining Ella.

"So, Ella. In my years of being at this school you may be one the recruits I know the least about. I hope to fix that here and now."

Eulalius smiled, and awaited Ella's response.

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Crys listened to Evin, not really reacting to the story, or Evin's poking at Ella until it was done. Finally, she nodded, holding back the laughter and trying to sound responsible, which was hard to do when Evin was acting like a cocky teenager. "You told him the truth? You're lucky to be alive." She stated. "All of you." she added, staring at the spot where Ella and Eulalius were and staring at the girl for a moment before turning back to Evin. "Although, if he actually believed you, I'm glad that you managed that. It is a small, and probably momentary, victory, but a victory nonetheless. We haven't had one of those in quite some time..." She wondered, if this Knight had actually believed what Evin told him, what could he really do about it. "If only there was some way to actually prove the truth... All this conflict is bad for everyone. Newhaven has severely weakened their defenses by coming after us. I'm sure that if we could solve this issue, they would be glad to leave us alone."

She turned the wave of laughter she had been holding in, into a small smile. "Oh, and I know where you were born. My mother even knew a few childhood stories that, luckily for you, she never shared with me." She stated jokingly, the smile turning into a little smirk. "Which I consider to be a little unfair since almost everyone knows mine." She added, a slightly irritated tone in her voice amongst the amusement. "Anyway, just so you know... While you were gone, one of Lena's healers came here. The girl informed me that there is this fool in the ruins attempting to pass himself as one of our assassins. The man probably put on a cloak and entered Lena's camp announcing he was a member of the Pack, the idiot. I sent Ali after him." She informed.

At that moment the door opened and Jake walked him. Based on his tone he seemed very uncomfortable to have found Evin and the others there as well. "Oh, hum... Crys I need to talk to you, as soon as you can."
Crys nodded. "Alright Jake. Why don't you go get some rest and I'll find you when I have some time."
Jake didn't answer, he simply walked out again. Crys frowned slightly at his behavior, but brushed it aside. She didn't want Evin to ask about Jake's assignment, mostly because she couldn't give him that answer. Not yet, at least. She sighed, only slightly, before she had the chance to stop herself. Then she spoke again, out of the blue. "Oh, before I forget. Eulalius... Whatever it is you are doing behind my back... Be sure you don't get caught." She smiled at the man. "I wouldn't want to feel obligated to enforce the rules again so soon." She said that in a nice and pleasant tone. The last thing she really wanted was more trouble anytime soon, so whatever he was up to, she really didn't want to know right now. She turned back to Evin. "Anything else I should know?" she made a habit out of asking that, even if she believe she had been told everything.

--------------

As Jake came into the camp he walked a straight line to where he was told Crys would be. As he opened the door he saw Evin there and flinched at the sight of him, not even noticing the other people. "Oh, hum... Crys I need to talk to you, as soon as you can."
She told him to get some rest, she would find him as soon as she was free to talk. He nodded, and walked back out. The thought of how close Evin was to seeing him earlier had made him shiver. He couldn't let that happen, that would be suicide. Jake walked to the lake, happy that Ali wasn't there. She was probably on an assignment somewhere. He knelt down and washed his face. Damn, if they ever knew the truth... Not even Crys would forgive him for what he had done. "I'm going to get myself killed this way." He whispered to himself, staring at the water.

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#, as written by zath
(Zath)
Later that night there was a knock on king Rory's door. Standing outside was the king's newely appointed Head of the Castle guard, Zath Alen. As head guardsman, he had to be able to see the king when he needed to speak to him. not just for conversation, but for reassureance on some suspicions he had about his allies.

"It's open" Zath had heard, so he opened the door, and promplety bowed before the king.
"Your magisity" Zath said with the utmost respect.
"Hello, Zath, I have been expecting you," the king said "...what is it you would like to discuss?" Zath took center stage and smiled nerviously upon the king, ovbiously slightly intoxicated.
"I would like to know if you are Informed about Phelix?" the king was going to awenser when Zath cut him off to finish his question..."is going to Newhaven" again the king opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by Zath "I would like your permission to follow him to Valcrest, and report any strange activity to you." again the king opened his mouth to speak, but... was silenced again with more words from Zath" or, if your magestey wants, i could go deal with the issue of two black knights... I belive i could take them on, as long as i recieve a few men, i could eleminate them..." this time the king silenceced Zath, and Started to Speak...

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Evin's excitement slowly faded as Crystal spoke. It wasn't the way she was speaking to him, it was just the fact that Evin didn't want to start going overboard if Crystal began to condescend him or ridicule him like she liked to every now and then. It was all in fun for Crystal, but Evin could take it quite seriously depending on his mood and right now he needed to relax a little or things might get ugly. He was lucky to do so too. When he was less mature and less able to control himself, he would have gone off when Crystal mentioned Dani and the stories. He did want to say something about that though.
"You know, if Dani knew the worst of it, she would probably want me dead." He chuckled.
Crystal ignored that and moved on about a poser at the Ruins, but then she was interrupted by someone at the door. When he swung the door open, Evin could tell that something was wrong with him. It was Jake and it seemed like it was awkward to have everyone else here, especially Evin. Evin found this very curious. Why was he trying so hard to avoid Evin. He hadn't spoken to him since he arrived back at camp, so what was wrong with him? The weirdest thing was that it looked like he had seen someone wearing similar clothing at the Black Knight camp. Evin didn't want to jump to conclusions, but everything seemed a little peculiar. When Jake left, Crystal continued once again. This time she directed Eulalius, so Evin didn't pay much attention.
Crystal turned away from Evin after speaking to Eulalius. "Anything else I should know?" She asked.
Evin saw the way she turned away as arrogant. She had done it before, but this time it seemed to bother him a little more than usual. With a frown he said. "Yes there is something I would like to ask, but I know I wont get the answer to it if I ask, so I'll just explain the position I am in." He walked closer to Crystal who was still facing away from her. He whispered in her ear so neither Ella or Eulalius could hear. "Seeing Jake today, I'm now under the impression that he was in the encampment when I had broken in. Now I know, you wont tell me why I would find Jake talking to a Black Knight so I am going to find out for myself."
Evin walked to the door, opened it and then spoke again, "Of course, it is only an assumption." He walked away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When Evin pushed Ella into the desk and she hit her elbow. It was very painful, she had hit the nerve in there that really hurt. Eulalius took her aside and explained to her that Evin could be hard to handle sometimes. That was for sure. He had once stabbed her in the middle of the night. He explained to her that she had to be alert at all hours of the night even when she was asleep. She couldn't use her right arm for a week. after that. When she complained to Dani, Evin had explained that it was training and that she was over reacting. Ella sure didn't think of it that way.
There was another time when she had been forced to stand on one leg while balancing a bucket a quarter full of water. About an hour into it, he started throwing his knives at her and she had to avoid them. He had her do that for a total of two hours. Just a couple of hours afterwards, he made her run the obstacle course in the training grounds. It was impossible with her cramped leg. When she failed, he made her sleep without any covers for that night. She really hated that man sometimes.
Then he said. "So, Ella. In my years of being at this school you may be one the recruits I know the least about. I hope to fix that here and now."
"Well, what would you like to know?" she said with excitement. It was great when people found some sort of interest in her. It was rare that she had people interested in her as an orphan. The only person who really had interest was the King of Newhaven.

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Lena was done meditating when Alistair went into her tent. "We have a new traveler, and I sense the presence of others, however I can't exactly place them."
"Hum..." Lena mumbled. "I wouldn't expect him to be alone. No one is that foolish. As for people outside our territory, they are of no importance to me."
"If they get into a confrontation..." Alistair started.
"They wouldn't. If Crys sends someone to handle this, well... She knows better than to try and start a fight in our grounds." Lena stated with a small smile. "Let us simply keep an eye on our visitors. As long as they keep to themselves they are not our problem."
Alistair bowed respectfully. "As you wish."

Lena laughed at that response. "I know what you actually mean when you say that Al... What is troubling you my friend?"
Alistair seemed to flinch at the question. After a while of silence, the man sat on the floor in front of his leader and spoke. "Dani Rivers."
Lena's expression hardened and her voice sounded slightly cold when she responded. "What about her?"
"Don't... Don't get me wrong when I say this, Helena, but... You haven't been yourself since you returned from the Wolfpack camp." The man stated, avoiding her eyes and trying not to sound judgmental. "You haven't exactly lingered too far from your tent lately, which means your headaches have been debilitating you and you have avoided contact with others which tells me you have been in a lousy emotional state." He explained.
Lena chuckled. "You know me too well. I might have to kill you in your sleep." She joked. "Dani was my family, and she's gone. Is my behavior that unusual to you?" She asked.
"You always accepted death quite easily... Even your mother, and Sar-" Alistair stopped himself before he said the wrong thing.
"Yes, even Sarah and she was a child." Lena answered, coldness in he voice. "I appreciate your concern, friend, but I will be fine."
Lena's tone of voice was a clear warning for Alistair to leave. The man accepted that response even though he knew it was a lie, he stood up and slowly made his way out of the tent, and back to his duties.

Lena watched the man leave and sighed. Alistair was a good friend, but what troubled her was something beyond Dani's death... It was the whole mess that she left behind. "Damn... Daniela, what have you done? These kids are going to kill each other unless they know the truth." She whispered to herself with a frown. What Dani had told her she couldn't tell anyone, not even another healer. That would be a violation of her oath, and Lena took that very seriously. Eventually she stood up and went back to tend to her patients. Whatever happened next... There was nothing she could do about it. Her hands were tied.

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Crys let out an irritated sigh at Evin as he mentioned Jake. She didn't respond to any of it though, not with the other people in the room. She sat where she was and simply let Evin leave without giving him another word. She had to actually swallow the response she wanted to give him, and the unpleasant gesture that would have followed it.
As soon as he left the cabin so did she. She didn't mind leaving Ella and Eulalius there, she simply walked out and walked to the memorial. A few actives stopped her along the way to ask for information. She stopped to talk and assured them that she would speak to them a bit later, and kept walking. When she reached the memorial she simply sat there by a tree and sighed. "Argh, Evin! Why can't he just leave things alone? Just this one time!" She muttered, an angry tone in her voice. Her mother had made her swear not to talk about Jake's assignment with anyone. Not even Evin, not even Ali, no one. Crys found that strange at the time, she couldn't help the feeling that she was only getting half the story herself, but she promised anyway. She was seriously considering going back on her word and telling Evin the whole thing. If he started investigating this he would eventually find something... And anything he discovered could get Jake killed. That was a dangerous situation. "Damn..." She muttered.

----------

Jake sat by the lake for quite some time. He caught a glimpse of Crys passing towards the memorial, but didn't even consider following her there. She said she would find him and now he really needed to be away from her. After a while he stood up and walked through the center of the camp, not towards his house, but to the dining area. There one of the nice ladies there greeted him cheerfully. "Jacob! We haven't seen you in a long time."
He nodded. "Yes, ma'am. I've been moving around a lot these days." He said, forcing a small smile and letting the woman serve him a bowl of soup. He didn't really go there to eat, but... He might as well. He hadn't eaten in over a day, hadn't slept either, but he didn't count on actually resting anytime soon anyway. The place was almost empty, it was silent. He hoped it would stay that way. It's been too much excitement for one day.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Blackpond

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(King Rory)
--
Rory stared at his trusted Head Guard for a moment.

The Head Guard was quite the position of honor, in terms of Castle Guard hierarchy. His duties were to simply keep the Castle Guard disciplined and kempt, as well as assign rooms or potiential VIPs for them to guard.

The armor of the Head Guard (Sometimes referred to as the Guardian's Armor among the Castle Guards) was much more decorative than the others, often displaying badges and awards and the like. The base was the exact same as any other Castle Guard armor- Save for the trophies and pearl-colored trim instead of gold-, but the thing that really pointed out the position was the helmet.

The Helmet of the Guardian, as it was often called, was a beautiful masterpiece of steelcraft and metalworking. Not many people know the story behind its existence, but the Helmet is believed to be as old as Blackpond itself, possibly even older.

It had a darkened steel, spherical-shaped base, with the neccesary eye, nose, and mouth slots. From the bridge of the nosepiece to the back of the head was a small ridge-Often called the 'Dragon Spine' for its bone color and shape. From brow to brow was a crown of iron thorns that were made from a darker metal than the steel, to the point where it almost appeared to be obsidian. Finally, on either side of the ridge in the middle was the phrase 'We will endure', engraved by the master smith of Castle Blackpond upon Rory's ascension to the throne.

But even in all of the armor's glory, Rory was often dumbfounded that Zath-Whom was the acting Head Guard- often chose not to wear it.

Rory turned his back to the man, continuing his writing in his jorunal. Without looking up from the page, he spoke:
"I give you permission to follow Phelix into Newhaven, but nothing more, Zath. Do not touch him, and stay a good distance away at all times. Mistrust is a silent killer, and I won't have any of it here."

Zath started to respond, but Rory cut him off with a hand gesture and waved the man off.

He continued writing the journal entry:

I have begun making preparations for the assault upon an apparently well-hidden Newhaven White Knight garrison outside of the city grounds, its location revealed to me by the infamous 'Mr. Smith' earlier today at the morning report conference. I have hopes that information within the camp may lead to further insight on the Wolfpack, who also apparently have been hoping to make some sort of aggreement with Blackpond. KNowing the Wolfpack's endeavors, they wouldn't seek to make such a deal unless it was beneficial to both parties.

I've also come to grips with myself with the situation of the war with Newhaven. I wish to end the war, much like many of Blackpond's citizens, but Newhaven seems to be more power-hungry than ever before. I won't have that kind of devilish evil mar the beauty of these lands. Newhaven must be stopped, destroyed, or captured at all costs.

But to take down Newhaven will be a slow and grueling process, and if they are receiveing constant aid from the Healers than this war could drag on for ages to come. I don't want to directly start a war with them, so I have hopes to passively intimidate and taunt them into motion against Blackpond, than capture whom I can and force their services on my own forces. Should they resist, than the Healers will be wiped out of the equation.

I've got an itching palm upon my sword's hilt at my side. There's a method to this madness.

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(Eulalius)
--
"Well, what would you like to know?"

Eulalius stared at the young girl for a moment, but looked away. Again and as always, he caught sight of her eyes. Her deep eyes that cryed out in silence.

"Well, I'd assume start with the basics. I'll go first, I suppose."

"As you know, my name is Eulalius. My birthname was Eulalius Titus, but when I first arrived here at the Camp I changed the name to Eulalius Aurelius, in an honor to the village I gre up in, Goldhollow. Perhaps you have heard of it? Anyway, I grew up as an information broker in Goldhollow itself, my "shop" just beyond the rear gates of Newhaven. I tried to get into a seperate business and moved into Newhaven itself, but the information exchange called me back to Goldhollow. I was hooked, if you needed to know anything about anyone within Goldhollow and most parts of Newhaven, I was the kid to come to."

"And what happened to the business? I grew up. I had heard of the Wolfpack, and apparently they had heard of my business as well, as they were first to find me while I was actually on a search for them, ironically enough. I gratefully accepted the proposal, and would have done so even without the dagger to my throat. AFter that, I went through training just like everyone else and you are now, and here I am years later."

He paused, than looked back to Ella,

"So kid, whats your story? You seem to be awful young and-pardon if you take offense- fragile to be looking to becoming an assassin..."

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#, as written by zath
(zath)
The next day,
Zath was summoned to the king's chamber again. He Didn't know why, but haden't the nerve to ask why. As he stepped in front of the king, the king looked at him with a steely grin,
"Zath, my head-guard, you are here." the king pronounced
"your madjesty?"
"I Have a request for you." the king said, "I want you to wear The Guardian, when you leave to follow Phelix, it's very cruel out there, espically if the people from newhaven know who you are, if you have armor you can protect yourself"
"My king," Zath started " I humbley rufuse your request, not beacause i want to, but because i have to."
"Have to?" the king questioned.
"Yes" Zath responded modestly.
"Why?" The king questioned. King rory was intrested in hearing this.
"Because in my village, Oaki, we do not wear armor, it disrupst our physiological flow. 'If you wear Armor, you are weak like everybody else, but without, you are strong.' That's what my father told me when i was young, before he died. You see, the clothing i wear isn't just regular clothing, it is blessed to match my spirit. If i put on armor, all my attacks would be worthless, I would be another Civilian, When I use my Shadow copy or death cry, i require my spirit and body to be one, if i wear the armor, not only can i not hide from my opponents, but defend myself." Zath was Inturrupted my the king.
"defend yourself?" the king was mistified my his usually cocky head guard's serious responce.
"Yes, I can't use my abilities with armor on, i need to be in tone with my shard." Zath responded and gestured to his hooded Cloak he always wears, and whipped his wrists back, and two Katars fused out of his wrists. "If i wear armor, i cannot summon my blessed soul Katars." This was the king's first time seeing Zath acually weilding his Katars, he was shocked that any living being could do that. "The head monk that took me in when my father was killed blessed my katars to always protect me, and he fused them into my wrists, at first it hurt, a lot, but after awhile the pain went away, and i was told to never take off my cloak for the reason that if it leaves my body, my Katars become regular Katars, and slice my wrists off."
The King was amazed, with this new relelation, "Then, Return to your post." the king replied, "...and see that your cloak never comes off"
"Yes your madjesty" Zath replied, and left to his post for the day.
"Just when you think you've seen it all," King Rory mumbled to himself...

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Ella was very interested in Eulalius' story. She believed that this man had a very interesting life, with a lot more interesting moments to speak about than he had told her. It was the bare minimum, but there was no reason to doubt why he was chosen by the assassin's. Unlike Ella, he had done suspicious stuff for a living, all Ella did was sit around in a room and cry for most of her life. Eulalius seemed to see the same thing as Ella did. She was no where near capable of being an assassin, yet everyone seemed to believe that she was. She tried to prove herself, but failed miserably and it almost cost her her life, yet he was interested in the her. In the person whom Evin would sometimes call, "worthless." Despite this, she entertained him with an answer.
"My life is rather Boring. I don't understand your interest in it but... My full name is Ella Page, no middle name. I was born in Newhaven to a family I never knew, but not because they are died before I was born, but because my mother was a teenager who was raped and wasn't ready to have a child. That's what I was told at least." What a thing to tell a child she thought. "I met the the King when I was young, more like the prince. The king didn't want anything to do with me for some reason. The Prince on the other hand was attached to me like he knew me or something. When the his father passed the throne down to him, the new King let me live in the castle. He was really interested in me and treated me like a part of the family. When he got ridiculed, because the people thought that their king was having a bit too much fun with me, he had to send me away, just before my birthday. I had only lived in the castle for about a year. The last thing he told me before he sent me off was that he would tell me a secret when I was old enough."
"That never happened. As the years pasted, I waited for him to come back and tell me this secret, but he was killed before he could tell me. The Shadow killed him and then posed as the King. This fake king sent his white knights to take me from the orphanage. I was sent to the dungeons and tortured. Then one day the prison guard took me to this fake king and he was going to kill me, but then Evin and the other assassin's came and saved me. I was taken here and the rest is history."
Ella took a big sigh. It took a lot to tell this story, and she was beginning to tear up. Maybe her life was interesting, just in another way. Choking back tears, she said, "Would you like to know any more?"

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Mageria was stalking toward the War Room when she saw Sadi walking down the hall. About a year ago she had formed him and a small group of others into a sort of informal watch group that patrolled the city and watched for spies and enemy soldiers trying to sneak in. Generally they kept tabs on trouble makers and reported to her about once a day. Not even the White Knights knew about them. Being nobles, they probably wouldn’t understand the need for such a thing. Mageria on the other hand, was quite aware of the need to listen to, and watch over the general population. At a signal they both ducked into a side room. Mageria listened at the door for a moment until she was sure no one had seen them, then turned around and raised one eyebrow.
“Anything new to report?”
Sadi shook his head.
“The usual grumblings about food and other supplies. A couple of people who want to try and take over in order to run things better their own way. No spies that we’ve found so far, other than the one’s that we already suspected. Per your orders, we’ve not tracked Jake, so we’ve no record of his movements in or out.”
Mageria nodded.
“Good. Continue watching then. I have the feeling that things are going to start getting worse soon. If you see someone that you believe is suspicious, send someone to get me. Under no circumstances are you to confront them yourself.”
Sadi nodded and quietly checked the door. Once he was sure it was secure, he left, quietly slipping out through the corridors. Mageria stayed behind for a minute more, frowning out a window. She wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, but she had the same feeling that she usually got when seeing a storm front on the horizon. Whatever came next, it was going to be big.

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#, as written by Tyce
Phelix woke up feeling feeling refreshed. He hadn't felt this good since the day after his inception to the black knights, when he got to sleep in. He got up and dawned his peasant clothes and packed some bread and water, and grabbed a jar for milk on his way past the farms. He was extremely excited about the next few days.

As he was leaving he walked by to bid Rory goodbye. He over heard part of the conversation he was having with someone that sounded like Zath.


"I want you to wear The Guardian, when you leave to follow Phelix, it's very cruel out there, espically if the people from newhaven know who you are, if you have armor you can protect yourself"
"My king," Zath started " I humbley rufuse your request, not beacause i want to, but because i have to."
"Have to?" the king questioned.
"Yes" Zath responded modestly.
"Why?" The king questioned. King rory was intrested in hearing this.
"Because in my village, Oaki, we do not wear armor, it disrupst our physiological flow. 'If you wear Armor, you are weak like everybody else, but without, you are strong.' That's what my father told me when i was young, before he died. You see, the clothing i wear isn't just regular clothing, it is blessed to match my spirit. If i put on armor, all my attacks would be worthless, I would be another Civilian, When I use my Shadow copy or death cry, i require my spirit and body to be one, if i wear the armor, not only can i not hide from my opponents, but defend myself." Zath was Inturrupted my the king.
"defend yourself?" the king was mistified my his usually cocky head guard's serious responce.
"Yes, I can't use my abilities with armor on, i need to be in tone with my shard." Zath responded.
"If i wear armor, i cannot summon my blessed soul Katars."
"The head monk that took me in when my father was killed blessed my katars to always protect me, and he fused them into my wrists, at first it hurt, a lot, but after awhile the pain went away, and i was told to never take off my cloak for the reason that if it leaves my body, my Katars become regular Katars, and slice my wrists off."
The King was amazed, with this new relelation, "Then, Return to your post." the king replied, "...and see that your cloak never comes off"



So, Phelix was going to be followed? He gestured his hand putting a minor spell on the king, perhaps he would slip and fall, or all his quills would go missing today. Phelix trusted the king, and was hurt to know the king did not trust him back. With a tear in his eye and anger in his heart he turned and hurried out of the castle only stopping to get the milk he had planned on getting, but even that didn't cover up the bad taste he had in his mouth.

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(Eulalius)
--
Choking back tears, she said, "Would you like to know any more?"

Eulalius felt a new swathe of sympathy for the young recruit, seeing as she was only moment away from having tears stream down her face, not counting the ones that already were.

Eulalius still gave a slight smile and sigh as he rubbed Ella on the top of her head and patted her on the shoulder, before embracing her altogether. The first hug he had given anyone since..well, as long as he could remember.

"Thats enough for now, Ella. I can tell your past isn't something you like to talk about openly, and it must be hard."

Eulalius drew away and glanced back towards where Crys and Evin were, to find that neither of them were there. He started towards the door.

"Perhaps sometime soon we can continue. I can tell there are a lot of feelings bottled up inside of you, and we can't have that bottle overflow, now can we?"

Eulalius gave one last, quick smile before heading out of the room...

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(King Rory)
--
The dreaded morning had come where the Blackpond forces were hoped to assault the Newhaven Encampment outside of the camp. Rory left his throne room after his conversation with Zath and headed towards the Castle Courtyard to find that the battalion he had requested for was finishing their prepartations for the assault. King Rory took a moment to inspect their loadout further.

Hastings had chosen to equip the troops with mainly swords and hammers rather than axes and spears. Nearly half of the battalion was also equipped with tower shields. Alongside the battalion were the four squads of spearmen that would act as a supporting force for the battalion during the siege. They were to be placed around or in the battalion as Hasting's saw fit, which Rory trusted was good judgement.

After observing his force, he turned to find Hastings himself preparing for battle, his squire readying his armor and equipping it on him accordingly.

Rory strolled up to Hastings, and personally strung his bow before hadning it to him.

"Hastings, I trust you have readied some sort of plan of action before marching forth, and I would like to hear it..."

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#, as written by zath
Zath walked out of the palace and caught a glimpse of Phelix, as he didn't see him back, he decided to catch up and explain that he was ordered to follow him.

"Phelix, Wait up!"He seemed not to hear him "the king ordered i follow you into Newhaven on important buissness, so i mineaswell hake the most of it..."

He started walking at the same pace as Phelix, they were off.

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander walked into the War room and instantly Silence befell everyone.

He walked to the front of the room and got behind the podium. He seemed to yell, but this was just his natural one step up from speaking voice without any modification at all.

"We are gathered here to day on rather dark business. As most of you know, we have a small battalion outside of Black Pond. I bring this up because I expect you all to forfeit one to four soldiers each. We will be sending them there with fully formed plans on how to defeat Black Pond. Not that no one in here is untrustworthy, but the plans will be kept between Mageria, Myself, Xypher, and the other captains, but they are well known and will be executed. Please send relatively fit soldiers and perhaps some of the stronger of your enlightened. If we are bombarded and defeated at this encampment, we will have to pull all of our troops out of all remaining parts of Valcrest and play defensively." He paused for emphasis. "We do NOT want this." His not came out somewhat emphasized and shook the room slightly.

"You have three hours to equip and send for your men and women. If you cannot handle it, you will be replaced by someone who can. Dismissed."

He looked at Mageria for support, because inside he was torn apart by what might happen not only to his people, but also to his lover.

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Mageria nodded back. She understood the risk that Krander was taking, but he knew that it was necessary as well as she. There was a good chance that some of them were going to be killed in this upcoming fight, but it seemed that it was one that couldn’t be avoided. She waited until the rest of the soldiers filed out, talking quietly among themselves. Once the room was clear she walked slowly up to the front, hands clasped behind her back.
“This is what has to happen Krander. Blackpond isn’t going to leave us alone, and it’s too dangerous to try and let the fight come to us. We have to choose the battleground, try and find the strongest point to fight from.” She nodded at the map of the realm pinned on the wall. “Once you pick your point, I’ll surround it with my troops in the woods. Hopefully we can bait the trap with something tempting enough that they ignore the risk. If nothing else, they’ll be a safety net and a fall back position for the rest of you.” She reached out and laid a hand on his shoulder. “You know that I’ll watch out for Phelix. If I see him, I’ll ‘capture’ him and bring him back for interrogation. He knows me, so he shouldn’t fight too hard.” She winked at him. “Who knows. You might come home to find him stuffed in your closet after all.” She gripped his shoulder reassuringly for a moment more before stepping back.
“I have to go get my people ready. We’ll head out as soon as we can in order to get into place.” She tilted her head to one side.
“Anything else?”

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander listened and nodded as Mageria talked to him. She was right after all.

"No Mageria, that will be all. You are dismissed." He joked. As she turned to walk he sat down and cried. He cried and cried for himself, his people, his lovers, his ancestors. The tears just came. He felt very vulnerable and instead of bringing attention to himself he modified his voice volume to almost not existent. He was howling but no one could hear anything. It was actually quite the sight to see. After a few minutes he took off his modification and went to his room. He needed to sleep. He would eat in the morning, train, and then play it by ear from then on out.

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Mageria twitched in her sleep. If one happened to be looking, one would have seen her eyes dart around beneath her eyelids. She tossed restlessly, one hand unconsciously seeking out the dagger she kept under her pillow.

She stood with her Black Knights as they attacked the Wolfpack’s camp. Five black shadows, faceless and known only to each other, they had given up everything of their past in order to be worthy to strike this blow. These assassins had killed their King, and now they would pay. At a silent cue, they all charged forward, blades at the ready. The Pack had only been surprised for a short moment before they joined the fight as well.
As Captains, Mageria and Krander had repeatedly told the soldiers that any obvious civilians were not to be harmed, but in a fight such as this anyone who picked up a weapon and fought back would be treated as the enemy.
Mageria had been in the thick of the fight, managing to not take any joy in it, simply doing her job. But suddenly it all went wrong. The fight swirled around her in one of those odd moments of peace that one sometimes finds. She was looking around for another target when a man with coal black hair stepped out of the shadows, swinging a shining blade on a long rope around his head. Mageria recognized him, even after all the time had passed. I know you, she thought, staring at her old friend wearing the cloths of an assassin. Struck absolutely dumb by the sight, she dropped her guard for one, critical moment. He brought the hooked knife up and around, using it to knock her helm off and at the same time scoring a deep cut across one cheek. She moved with the strike, turning away before swinging back and raising her sword once more. She saw the same shock spread across his face. Time seemed to stop, even though from a distance she could hear Grim bellowing in blood rage as he cut his way through the camp. He brought his own blade up, readying for another strike . . . .

With a muffled scream Mageria shot straight up in bed, her dagger held out in front of her to fend off the blow. Her breathing was ragged as she scanned the room, trying to figure out what had been a dream and what was real. Finally she collapsed back, fishing out the sheath for her dagger and slamming it in. Clenching her fists in her hair, she tried to stop shaking, but it was a losing battle. How do you get over losing a friend like that? With another muffled oath, she pushed out of bed and walked over to her cloths chest, kneeling down to fish out an old book bound in black leather with gilt lettering. It was an old book of children’s tales, the kind her mother had used to read her to sleep with. He had sent it to her, when she had mentioned one night that she had lost her family’s copy when they died.
“You’ll need this someday,” he said. She had laughed, but secretly she had cherished the chance to reclaim some small part of her childhood. With a sigh, Mageria climbed back into bed, slowly leafing through the pages to look at the illustrations. Somewhere along the middle was a tale where a monster from the forest tried to come into a brave farmer’s home. The monster wore a mask, but the brave farmer wasn’t fooled and drove him away with his family’s help. Mageria spent a long time simply staring at the illustration of the monster, hiding his true face away behind his mask. Then she gently shut the book and put it aside, curling up in bed and closing her eyes.
How do you get over losing a friend like that?
You don’t.

The next morning Mageria donned her black armor and strode out into the courtyard. Before her were a couple dozen of her best soldiers, all of them trained in ‘unusual’ battle tactics. She nodded to them as she went to check her own mount, a warhourse of frightening intelligence and utterly indifferent looks. She was a weapon in and of herself, and a good ally to have on the battlefield. Once she and her soldiers got to their assigned locations, they would pick several locations from which to strike. With a sharp whistle, she lead them out, some of them to their deaths. All she could hope for was to be as good a leader as she could be, and not waste the lives entrusted to her.

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Evin found himself walking around the camp with no direction. He had no clue where he would start on his investigation. In the end, Evin believed that it almost didn't even matter. There were other things that Evin should have been focusing on. Most importantly they had to find the prince of Newhaven where ever he was. Evin thought that maybe he could do both of these things. He could travel to Newhaven and try to figure things out. Maybe he could even get into the Newhaven archives. He could find info on Jake and the Prince at the same time. All these idea, but would he be able to do it?
As he walked past the Dining area, he saw Jake sitting, probably waiting for some food. There didn't seem to be any more people there, so he decided he would stop for a visit. He walked into the room and sat across the table from Jake.
"So, what is it that you don't want me to know?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ella seemed to find a sweet spot in this man. She wasn't sure what it was about her that did this to him, but she knew for a fact that this man seemed to like her. It was nice to see that there was someone in the camp that was just so genuine. She had spoken to many people in the camp, but this was the only person who could emote like that to her. Eulalius seemed to her like a genuine friend.
She no longer had to fight back any more tears, she felt better.
"Thanks." She said as Eulalius walked out of the cabin. She wasn't sure if he heard her, but it didn't matter. She walked out of the cabin and went over just to sit by the fire pit. It wasn't lit, but it didn't matter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Blackpond]
The past couple of hours had been spent being suited up for battle. Hastings only demanded the best from his squire. The best armour fitted perfectly to his body that would protect him, yet allow him to stay mobile. The only way he could get through all of this was with his gin by his side.
The sweet smell of alcohol could make any of his pains go away, even the hard parts of life. It was his escape from everything and anything that he wanted and at the moment, it was the long and tedious task of getting suited up. He took a big swig of his gin as King Rory walked in.
"Hastings, I trust you have readied some sort of plan of action before marching forth, and I would like to hear it..."
Hastings motioned for his squire to wipe his mouth for him. The squire took a dirty rag and wiped it over Hastings' rough face.
"I believe that I could push my forces right through their front door. Seeing that they are already packing up to leave, I expect them to be week. I will create a wall of spearman in my front lines, two squads of them. The other two, I plan to have protect the rear. When the spearman have pushed through the main defences, I plan to have about twenty five percent of my soldiers split off to their right flank. I will have one of the spearman squads in the rear follow them, just to be safe."
Hastings took another swig of his gin and then smiled.
"I have a feeling I can finish this camp off in ten minutes at the most. I would put all my money on that, that is if I had any money. I spent it all on that gin you see there." He laughed a raspy laugh and waited to hear what his King and friend thought of his plan.

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Ali was frustrated. She hadn't found anyone available to go with her to the ruins. Everyone was busy and the few people who weren't, well... They weren't guys she would trust to watch her back. She would rather take no one than take someone she couldn't rely on. She had lost too much of her time doing this and she had left that healer girl waiting for her. Ali honestly hoped she had gotten tired of waiting and left on her own... She didn't really want any company. She'd rather be quiet all the way there.

She did want to see Lena. She hadn't seen her since the day the woman came back from watching Dani die, she was in a such a mess that Ali didn't know how she didn't realize what had happened, even if all Lena told her was that Crys wanted her back immediately.
The rumors that went around camp told her that the attack in which Dani was killed was the one and only time the Black Knights themselves had raided the camp. It was the worst attack the Pack had suffered... A massacre was the term she had heard. Finding her thoughts running back to Dani and her death she closed her eyes and nodded. As she did so she noticed that she couldn't hear the sound of burning wood at the large campfire that marked the center of the encampment, it hadn't been lit since Dani died. She knew she was passing through it though. She simply kept going, walking towards Crys' cabin to tell her that she would be heading out alone, and to apologize for taking so long to leave.

As she walked though, she still had her eyes closed, and when she headed straight for the entrance of the cabin, she collided, rather painfully, with someone that was heading in the opposite direction. The impact knocked her back, causing her to fall, well... On her butt. "Damn, what the hell..." She muttered, finally realizing that she literally wasn't watching where she was going. She opened her eyes and frowned, looking up at the man that was apparently walking out of Crys' house, she knew Eulalius by name and reputation, but nothing more. She wanted to apologize for being so stupid, but the words that actually came out were completely different. "What are you doing here?" She asked him in a slightly curious tone.

------------

Jake ate his food and simply laid his head on the wooden surface of the dining table. It was getting late, but he didn't want to move. He was tired, he just wanted to lay there and enjoy the silence for another minute. He could feel that the cooks were staring at him, but didn't have the courage to ask what was wrong. Not even the one who knew him since he was just a boy. Slowly he began to close his eyes. He could hear the women discussing if they should ask him to leave or not, but soon there voices faded and another familiar voice overcame everything. He wasn't asleep, not yet, he was simply lost in his memories.

"I think it would be great." Crys said out of the blue.
"What?" Jake asked with a chuckle. They had been sitting by the lake for over an hour without a word, he had no idea what she was talking about.
"To actually be invisible, and not just feel that way." She stated. They had their backs to each other and Crys was leaning against him, so he could feel a slight shrug of her shoulders as she spoke.
"How can you feel invisible? Everyone always seems to be watching you..." He said, frowning at the water.
She laughed. "Well, yes... They watch me expecting me to trip, or have a breakdown, which is justified since I have done all that, but... They don't see me. I suppose that is my own damn fault because I'm just incapable of getting close to another person, but... It bothers me sometimes. How everyone assumes they know me so well, when really all they know are... Random facts." She explained.
"Oh..." Jake laughed. "So I'm not a person?"
Crys went silent and after a few seconds of that silence Jake stopped laughing. Suddenly, he felt her full weight on his back. "Do you feel this?" She asked, in a serious tone.
"Yes, but.."
She cut him off. "This is how much I trust you. So, no... You are not 'a person', you are my best friend. I trust you to always be there to watch my back... In one way or another." She stated. The she chuckled and added. "No pressure."
Jake laughed. "Right, Crys... No strings attached?"
"I wouldn't say that." She answered, with a little snicker. Then she reached over her shoulder and patted the top of his head. "We should go to sleep or my mother will have both our heads. We have to leave before sunrise."
He nodded, as she got on her feet and walked back to the camp.


Jake raised his head and opened his eyes, scolding himself for letting those memories come to life. He hadn't slept that night and the mission they were assigned to the next day was the last of Jake's career as an assassin... Before he was brought back and sent to Newhaven, that is. If he could change anything... He would have changed the outcome of that one assignment so he would never have to leave the Pack at all.

When he snapped out of his thoughts he heard another familiar voice enter his ears, this time the person was sitting right across from him. It was Evin. "So, what is it that you don't want me to know?"

Jake smiled slightly and leaned forward not to be overheard by any of the cooks. "I don't care about what you know. I do care about my orders, and they require me to answer that question with: This doesn't concern you." He stated, a serious look crossing his face as he spoke. "I take it you won't take my word for it, so... I'll explain this the best way I can. The only person who would be allowed to provide you with that information would be Crystal. However she won't do that, because Dani said, and I quote: 'No one else should ever know about this'. Take my friendly warning Evin, push this out of your mind, because digging into it could bring some unpleasant consequences. For me, for you, and specially for Crys." He said all that in a whispering tone, and then stood up to leave.

He hoped he had gotten the message through and not made things worst, but somehow he doubted that.

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(King Rory)
--
"I believe that I could push my forces right through their front door. Seeing that they are already packing up to leave, I expect them to be week. I will create a wall of spearman in my front lines, two squads of them. The other two, I plan to have protect the rear. When the spearman have pushed through the main defences, I plan to have about twenty five percent of my soldiers split off to their right flank. I will have one of the spearman squads in the rear follow them, just to be safe."
-

Rory laughed with Hastings before turning serious rather abruptly, making it clear that the assault was not to be taken for granted.

"Hastings, I must reiterate that you cannot get to cocky with this mission. Newhaven Knights are clever, and they have been known that they can turn the tide of a battle even with the smallest number of forces.."
Rory was distracted for a moment as he visualised a defensive maneuver that he personally lead in defense of Blackpond some years ago, within the first year of his reign.
The cent of Blackpond blood can not and will not be washed off and atoned for in this life
, he would later pen in his journals.

Nonetheless, Rory thought about Hastings' chosen strategy for a moment.

"Hm, based off of our experiences with these Knights, I would advise against any of your force breaking off, but after the spear wall breaches the defence, have all four squads move and form four circular schiltron about the battalion. Make sure everyone works as a team, and try and keep the men from routing or fleeing. Its important to have everyone together in one unit, schiltron included."

"I will accompany you to the gates, but no further. I will also send a man to keep watch just outside of city limits and inform me when the battle is over, and who is the victor. If Blackpond forces triumph, than I will meet you in the camp."

Rory started off towards the main gate of Blackpond, expecting to hear Hastings bark his orders any moment..

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(Eulalius)
--
Oh, what to do about that girl? Eulalius thought as he came closer to the door of the cabin. Eulalius was beginning to become drawn to Ella, as a father would a daughter. She had her fair share of problems, and no one seemed willing to listen. It wasn't something Eulalius could personally relate to, but he reasoned with himself that no one really deserves nor needs to keep anything like that bottled up.

Another thought flashed through Eulalius' mind, erasing his previous feeling nearly altogether. He almost cringed at the vision.

Hmm, if I can just get there before morn-

His thought was cut short as he bumped into someone. Well, bumped isn't really the correct word. Slammed, rather, into another being as he exited the cabin.

He was dazed for a moment, but otherwise unscathed. He looked down at the person he had run into.

This girl he had run into certainly wasn't a member of the organization. In fact, she wore attire that didn't point out what faction she serviced for. Before he thought abou drawing a dagger on the girl, he reasoned with himself that it was a healer. Any other citizen-or member of any other faction, for that matter- would have easily been noticed and killed by now.

"And now just where are we off to in such a hurry, missy?"

Eulalius extended a hand to help her up and offered a smile.

Can't go around being all 'moody' and 'unfriendly' can we? Tis' odd that many people find assassins unsociable. WE're just like them. Although maybe its the fact that we kill for a living..

Yep. Definately the killing..

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Ali didn't quite respond to Eulalius at first, she was pulling the bow she had dropped on the floor behind her and examining it for any scratches. If there were any she would go insane. After throughly examining the surface of the wood and the string for any tears, Ali let out a relieved sigh and stood up, not accepting the aid that had been offered to her. A lame attempt to regain some of her dignity after randomly walking around camp with her eyes closed.

She rested her bow on top of her left boot, so it wouldn't touch the ground as she brushed the dirt off her clothing with her right hand. Finally, she looked Eulalius in the eyes and answered him with a small smirk. "Who are you calling missy, sir? I am in a hurry because I should have left camp on assignment hours ago. I can't find a reliable active to accompany me and now, as it seems, I can't even find Crys." She let out a slightly amused snicker. "This is most definitely not my day." She stated with a slightly disappointed tone in her voice.

Then she smiled. "I'm sorry... I don't think we've actually met, if we had you wouldn't be calling me missy, that's for sure." She stated with a small chuckle. She then offered a hand shake and added. "My name is Allison Blake, I'm an instructor." She often found herself having to say that to people, she looked way too young to be anything more than a recruit, if she could be taken for an assassin at all. The only thing that would give her out for being any more dangerous than any little girl was the sharp look in her eyes, other than that strangers would often take her for a kid carrying someone else's bow. She could find that amusing or insulting, depending on the person's reaction. Eulalius had amused her... Her recruit had not. Therefore the boy was now laying in the healers' cabin with a few broken ribs.

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-Near the Edge of the Forest-

Mageria surveyed the future battlefield with an eye toward the coming battle. She had placed her men around the area so that they could strike quickly and fall back. She shifted restlessly, trying unsuccessfully to ease an itch. Waiting before a battle was always the hardest part. Besides her Star, her warhorse also shifted, but she was more interested in a nearby mouthful of grass. Gently Mageria pushed her muzzle away.
“You know you’re not hungry, you greedy pig.” A sudden movement down below caught her attention. She raised a spy glass to her eye and focused. A grim amusement twisted her lips.
“Well, things are about to get interesting.”
She whistled softly, a signal that was repeated up and down the line of men around her. Some readied their bows, some mounted their horses, some simply settled into their own particular type of battle mind. Come whatever may, they were ready.

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#, as written by Makoto
Setareh had stared at Alison deadpan until the woman finally had walked away. Setareh didn't work in groups or even couples, and she felt the woman hadn't either. She twisted the flower back and forth in her hand allowing it's green ink to stain her fingers. She accidentally let her mind drift to that of her father.

He'd told her to never let anyone close enough to touch her, metaphorically or physically. Love was an illusion and if wielded correctly, a great weapon. He'd told her to keep her allies close, but her enemies closer. He'd told her to gain trust with some of the camp, so that if need be she could be taken from them and held at their mercy.

She then thought back to the woman who'd offered her a job along side. She didn't like group work, but the other woman didn't either. Setareh supposed it was best that way, to at least ally with someone who detested the same things you did.

She breathed out a sigh and walked toward camp, finding the woman in conversation with a tall brick wall of a man. She walked up to them and met Alison's eyes, "I apologize for my rudeness, I'd be honored to come along side of you. This camp's aura is stifling as it is. It'll be nice to get out. I'm ready to move when you are." She nodded to the woman, "Setareh, The Comet, at your service. "

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Valcrest

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(Near the edge of the forest, the NPC portion of the conflict..)
--
Valcrest could often be a harsh and unforgiving place, especially in the hotter, wetter regions of the northern portion of the great forest. The overcast sky this day did nothing to negate the heat, and, in fact, seemed to amplify it to some extent. The mud-strewn ground and small hills of jagged brown rock made the landscape look both in thirst and over-hydrated.

But that would soon change, but it would not be water that would drench the rocks. It would be blood.

The two armies were maneuvering into final position, their contrasts as striking as their similarities. Pride, as well as the chosen battlefield, demanded that they move around in the open.

Hundreds of fearsome, heavy armor-clad warriors were brandishing their clubs, hammers, and swords, among other weapons; at the same time they roared their impatience with those keeping them from charging forward.

The heavy, repetitive beat of drums stirred the blood of the vast force of Knights, yet the three captains that had gathered them together were not ready to let them loose. Their hesitation derived from a seemingly mutual distrust as from caution against their dispised foe.

In stark contrast, the troops lined up against the Knights suggested a unity and discipline that was almost remarkable, if not unique, for their city's reputation. They wore uniform breastplates that fit them snugly, and most of them bore tall tower shields. Their kilts were fresh and tipped with metal-points. Many also wore tight helmets that gleamed in the mid-morning sun. Theit weapons were the same as their foes, but had obviously been recently cleaned and sharpened in preparation for the conflict. Like the foe, these warriors of Blackpond had been divided into specialty units. Troops with spears led the ranks, followed by swords, then clubs and hammers, next was bows, and finally another rank of spears.

And while no banners flew over the opposing force, this force only showed one. On a field of light grey, the crest of Blackpond loomed lonely and proud.

The drumbeats from the other side grew louder, more incessant, Hastings noted. Some of the petty officers glanced up at their commander, whom was mounted on one of the great muscled horses so valued by the higher castes of Blackpond society. But Hasting's large figure did not give any order yet. His eyes continued to survey the enemy, as if he were inspecting each individual warrior.

Even the Blackpond forces began to grow restive. Despite their shifting and muttering, their leader contiued to act as though he had all the time in the world.

All through the Blackpond army, trumpeteers raised great curled goat horns, blaring out harsh notes. From the opposing side came similar calls. Drummers from both sides began to beat faster, louder, stirring up the warriors.

Then Second Lieutenent Hastings raised one lone hand, and brought it down in a swift chopping motion.

With a unified cry, the soldiers from both sides stepped forward-

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Mageria waited until the two armies clashed together with a mighty roar. For long painful moments she watched from the side as they fought. Finally she drew a small horn and blew a single clear note on it. From each side of the battlefield her forces swept forward, like a silent shadow, bows at the ready. Once they came in range, they released their shot in one mass effort, picking and choosing their targets with care. There wasn’t many places that they could hit easily, but it was enough to distract the enemy from the main thrust of the Newhaven army.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Newhaven

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#, as written by Seerow
“Three men are dead Pondus!”
Chandos hadn’t been pleased with the events that had happened at the camp. Speculation and rumors were whispered with fear and loathing among the men. Theirs had been wild accusations and guesswork at best. Some in favor of their commanding Black Knight, other’s in spiteful doubts for Grim. All of them marching in tired repetition back to Newhaven. Beckoned by Mageria to return for new orders. Ahead of the group the leaders were hissing words of debate to another.
“You let them walk out of there alive, you let them kill our soldiers!”
“I let them do nothing Chandos, and I do not answer to you.”
The aged man wiped the sweat from his brow he was exasperated from their winded argument and hopeless to do much else but spit venom at the knight. Good warriors had died for no reason, and for Chandos the blame fell to their dotting leader. A man who had encountered an assassin and let him leave without struggle. Even worse they were members of the Pack and deserved nothing short of execution just for being in his presence.
“What’s gotten into you Grim? You’re a Black Knight Pondus the Wolfpack is our most hated enemy. This injustice will not go unpunished!”
Chandos would regret his words once he felt the fist rocket against his face. When the realization struck he was dumbfounded. Absent mindedly holding his cheek as he sifted through the dizziness that appeared. He kept moving though now he stammered a bit, trying to keep the men from seeing him weak.
“Injustice… You’re so buried in your misgivings you’re blind to the reality we’re facing. Newhaven isn’t a fortress and we’re losing ground fast. Every generation this war has dragged through has left us weaker and weaker. It won’t be long before Newhaven is a legend and its people are gone.”
“I can’t let this go Pondus.”
“Then go do what you have to, and I will do the same…”

That conversation had felt like days ago. Of course he hadn’t seen the bald general since they had passed through the gates of Newhaven’s keep. Grim had decided to visit the archives and delve right into his research. Of course the old library retained much history in its walls, but its true purpose served to help educate Enlightened on their conditions and to ease the burden of understanding their gifts. There was also the occasional public novel or poem, but these were for refined tastes and interests.
Grim sat hunched over a small desk pouring through manuals thick with dust and reeking of mold. He was vigilant in his search to find some sort of logs that tracked Enlightened in Newhaven. His hunt was in vain and hours were wasted as he sought for answers. Inklings and hints could be ascertained but he wanted so much more. There had to be proof to the Wolf’s story something more then just mere words. In his heart he knew it.
The research was tedious and Grim caught himself drifting in and out of sleep between scouring scrolls and tomes. Time was lost adrift a sea of information and dreaming. When another life had found Grim it was wholly unexpected. The keeper of the books was an ancient man with thin stick like limbs and a long gray beard. His eyes were dark wizened with years of experience and fleeting knowledge. He moved rigidly with pain in his joints keeping a dim lantern aloft over his head. Lupin he was called by Grim though his real name had been lost to dementia.
“There you are sir knight,” the old man’s voice was barely a whisper and spoke with gentleness. “Many callings have been sent for you. This morning the men went to war.”
“Went where Lupin?” Grim forced himself to his feet masking his concern.
“They ride to Blackpond. I pray for their safe return.”
The Black Knight moved with sudden alarm. Taking up his sword he brushed past the elder heading for the stairs. Moving briskly and with stern intentions. “Thank you Lupin,” he managed in his rush for the exit.
“Till all are one sir knight.”
Grim gave a quiet nod a serene smile taking his lips. That was a line he hadn’t heard in a long time. The small mantra that ensured their reunion to be a joyous one. When or where such reunion would happen was up to interpretation but Grim liked to think that it talked of heaven.
When he had emerged into the Newhaven commons there was no need to plot his course. Advancing toward the stables was just the beginning. Taking a steed strong enough to bear his weight, Grim began his journey toward Blackpond. Knowing that the battle could well be over long before his arrival, he was determined to aid his comrades. There was no way to stop the fighting not right now, the least he could do was fulfill his vows to Newhaven.

The setting changes from Newhaven to Valcrest

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On the battlefield, both armies clashed together over and over, too evenly matched to gain an advantage over one another. The commanders yelled orders, the trumpets called, and the warriors fought, but still they could not gain advantage one way or the other.
Along the edges of the battlefield, Mageria’s forces slipped along the main force of the battle, weaving in and out in order to distract the Blackpond forces. Here and there they brought down a target, but still they could not make much of a dent.

Swearing, Mageria brought her people around to gather them for another strike. They had worked their way around the back of the battle and for the most part the forces here were well rested and ready for anything that they might try. With swift hand signals she sent them left and right, keeping only a few men with her to continue to harass the rear flank.
“Captain!” One of her men pointed at a small rise a couple hundred feet from them. They were so close that she could clearly see the ornate armor of an officer. He seemed to be giving orders, a thought that bore out when the ranks of spear men pealed off to either side to push toward the Newhaven forces on either side. The rise was only lightly defended from the back, and with a strong enough push they might be able to take it with little casualties from the Newhaven side.
“Archers, take the left and right flank. Chargers, straight up the back. We only have one chance at this, so let’s do it right. Take the commander alive if we can.” She settled her helm firmly on her head and pulled her sword, grimly preparing herself for the coming moments.

Working quickly Mageria and her men moved back through the forests, their mounts making quick work of the underbrush. She waited until they were all ready, really only a moment, but it felt like so much longer. She checked left, then right, and raised her sword. Wait one more moment, and then she brought it down sharply, leading a sudden charge forward, directly toward the mostly unprotected rear of the Blackpond forces. From either side of her, she could hear the twang of the archer’s bows, and the steady hoof beats of the men beside her. A few men went down, but for the most part the Blackpond forces were too surprised to put up much of a fight. Mageria and her men managed to break through the spear men, using the weight of their warhorses to take the advantage. After that it was only a few feet to the officer, who turned and raised his own sword, gleaming in the light.

Mageria brought her own weapon around, fighting with every ounce of her skill to try and subdue the commander. She didn’t think that she could do it without killing the man, which she truly didn’t want to do. But at that moment, one of her other men must have seen her trouble. He pulled forth a sling, not the most noble of weapons, but one that was eminently useful. He swung once, twice about his head and let it fly. The stone flew true and fast, whizzing through the air to strike the commander full in the helm. Stunned, he dropped his sword and staggered for just a moment. Mageria seized her chance and sheathing her sword, she leaned over and with a scream of effort grabbed the man and hauled him to lay across the saddle in front of her. Wheeling about, she charged back into the forest, her men on either side of her. Working her way back toward the protected flank of the Newhaven forces, she could hear the Blackpond solders starting to fall apart with the loss of their commander. It was the best that she could have hoped for.

Once they reached relative safety, she sent one of her men to report to Captain Krander. He worked his way through the guards that Captain Mageria had insisted on in her paranoia.
“Captain!” He saluted and struggled to get his message out, still winded from the fight.
“Captain Mageria sent me to tell you that she has captured the Commander of the Blackpond forces. She’s withdrawing back to where it’s safer, and suggests that you do so as well. She believes that the Blackpond forces will falter without their leader and that a small force will be able to hold them off.” He pulled off his helm and pulled out a water flask, drinking thirstily.
“She also suggests that capturing the Commander is a far worse blow to moral than we could strike in any other way.” He swayed slightly in his saddle, battle fatigue starting to catch up with him.

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander hated being captain some times. He was never allowed to be there right when the battle started, but only to help sway the fight and leave, as was tradition for the White Knight captain. He was born and trained a fighter. He wanted to fight, but was left unable to except during the largest of battles.

He sat in the forest about a quarter mile back, far from archer range with one man and one woman to defend him in case of an ambush. He was humming and warming up his voice when he saw a man riding towards them. The woman drew her bow back and muttered, "On your orders captain."
"Hold your fire. He appears to be with us." As he got closer the Newhaven armor shone clearly in the sun.

Captain!” He saluted and struggled to get his message out, still winded from the fight.
“Captain Mageria sent me to tell you that she has captured the Commander of the Blackpond forces. She’s withdrawing back to where it’s safer, and suggests that you do so as well. She believes that the Blackpond forces will falter without their leader and that a small force will be able to hold them off.” He pulled off his helm and pulled out a water flask, drinking thirstily.
“She also suggests that capturing the Commander is a far worse blow to moral than we could strike in any other way.” He swayed slightly in his saddle, battle fatigue starting to catch up with him.


"Damn. Right as I was prepared to battle. I agree, I will ride into battle, and give the command. I suppose now isn't the best time to reveal my ability either, so everything has worked out except for my boredom."

He kicked his horses flanks and with a "Yah." he was off. He arrived and gave the signal to allow retreat from battle. All blows were now defensive on the Newhaven side. The soldiers started pushing down the Blackpond knights and telling them to leave with their lives. A few stubborn knights remained to fight taking a few more New Haven lives, but once they were eliminated the rest fell back.

He boomed over his command, "Fall back to our marked spot, and set up camp. Those of you who know the drill, set up the perimeter."

He hadn't swung a sword in a long time, and he thought of that as figurative and literal. He wanted to see Phelix badly and he wanted to fight. He would probably be holding spars in the night to keep moral up and to stay warmed up for any possible ambush during the night.

The setting changes from Newhaven to The Ruins (Healer's camp)

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Lena hadn't slept all night. She had a group of healers waiting for her command, but she was finding it difficult to keep her clan under control and, at the moment, her advisors were having trouble reaching an understanding. Out of the four men, Alistair was the only one still silent.

"They can simply crush us at any moment. I think the best we can do is keep out distance from this."
"And do what they are trying to intimidate us into doing? Acting like cowards in order to stay out of trouble? I'm not sure I am comfortable with that notion."

Lena let out a small sigh. Her eyes were closed and soon enough the voices around were nothing more than background noise. The question had been if they should send a group to help survivors on the battle that had broken down between the two armies. Somehow that discussion had turned towards Blackpond, and their recent attitudes towards the White Shadows. Once she opened her eyes again, the discussion had escalated into a heated argument, and one of the healers was standing up, clenched fists. "I will not have our people live in fear because we refuse to take a stand!" he exclaimed.

"Sit, or I will make you." Lena ordered in a calm tone.
The man hesitated for a second, but eventually he took his seat on the floor amongst the others. Taking a deep breath, he calmed his tone before speaking again. "Our healers are afraid of traveling to Newhaven. The soldiers from Blackpond have been harassing them and making threats. The last group we sent returned before even reaching half of the path to the City."
Lena smiled gently at the man. "And you suggest that, since they are threatening us, we should simply do as they, oh so kindly, ask and stop aiding Newhaven?" She laughed. "That is not the smartest way to proceed. We would be pretty much stating that we can be pushed around and bent to any Ruler's will if they persist enough. That is not a message I am willing to send."

Alistair finally spoke his opinion. "I say we address their King and kindly remind him that when Blackpond was being massacred in the past we did not hesitate to offer them our services in spite of Newhaven's requests. If even so he is not willing to leave us at peace, then maybe we should remind him of how much we are needed."

Lena glared at him. "I'm not comfortable with leaving soldiers to die simply to prove a point, Alistair."
Alistair bowed his head slightly. "I understand, but something needs to be done. We cannot sit and accept this kind of disrespect. Hopefully the threat will suffice."

Lena stared at the men, locking her gaze on each one of them at a time, finally she opened a half-smile. "I will send their King Rory a personal message. Meanwhile, if no one else has the courage to travel to Newhaven... I will head for the city myself. I doubt any soldier would be dumb enough to try and intimidate me."

Lena stood up from the ground where she had been seated and looked at Alistair. "Send our healers to the battlefield to aid the soldiers... Any soldiers. Make that much clear to them. There will be no taking sides unless I say so."

Alistair stood up and took a bow before leaving. Lena faced the other three men. "Return to your duties."

The other three men left her tent taking respectful bows as they did so. She could tell they were unsatisfied, so was she. It was time she started to show Blackpond that the help of her clan was not something to be taken for granted. Nothing in the world ever comes for free.

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"Take my friendly warning Evin, push this out of your mind, because digging into it could bring some unpleasant consequences. For me, for you, and specially for Crys." Jake got up to leave, just as his food was coming in. The lady had prepared a nice soup for him and it was all going to go to waist. Evin looked away from Jake and started playing with his rope dart. Jake continued to leave at a sluggish pace. Before Jake got too far away from him, Evin said, "You know I hid a secret from the clan for a long time. If I hadn't have done that, we could have found the killer a lot sooner, before he even stole the throne. I was too worried about what pain it would cause me, and I didn't look at the big picture. Look where we are now!" He paused for a second, he was getting too worked up. "If you hide a secret for too long, the unpleasant consequences you once thought to be unpleasant will be the least of your worries."
He let Jake go after that. There was nothing else more he could say. Evin could tell that the secret he was hiding was killing him inside, but if only he knew what the problem was.
"Where is Jake going. He looked a little run down so I made a soup for him." The old cook said, disappointed that everything she worked for was in vain.
Evin would have been kind and taken the soup for himself, but he refused to eat the food that was made here. He just sat and watched the woman ponder over soup.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Blackpond

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(Summary of the Siege of the Newhaven Encampment)
--
The battle had lasted for much longer than expected. The noon sun shone brigtly in the sky, and yet neither side had really gained nor lost any ground.

The White Knights had taken a beating, much from the deployment of the nearly impenetrable schiltrons, but the overzealous efforts of the Blackpond forces ultimately led to their own demise. Most of the force was demoralised from witnessing their commander fall and then become a hostage at the hands of enemy forces, but a rally was called on their part and they continued to fight, hoping to save the life of their beloved general.

But inevitably the battle was a stalemate. The grounds of Valcrest now littered with blood, a few soldiers and mourners can be seen surveying the dead, looking for lost loved ones or perhaps looking for usable pickings. A tight code of honor is all that kept these citizens and soldiers from being killed on the spot.
--
King Rory

The mangled bodies lay strewn as far as the eye can see, and well beyond that. Severed limbs and other bloody parts could be found everywhere.

The once gleaming breastplates of the armies of both sides now lay in the dirt, caked with both mud and the blood of comrades. Though the battle had ended in a stalemate, few had actually survived, as the cities of Newhaven and Blackpond tended to be brutal with victory and defeat.

Rory walked amongst the corpses, grieving for each slain soldier he laid his eyes upon. His heart cried out further for any of those whom had not been lucky enough to die but had been captured by Newhaven, among them being Hastings.

Rory wept until morning at the loss of his people and for the loss of his beloved Lieutenent.

A servant had come to check on him, but Rory waved him off and bade him to fetch a messenger to his quarters.

Rory then sent said messenger to Newhaven after Phelix, as Rory wished to speak with him as soon as he could.

The setting changes from Blackpond to Valcrest

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#, as written by Tyce
Phelix had finally gotten to Newhaven, after taking a nice detour and long walk around. He was excited to see Krander but needed the walk to still his nerves. He also had not been around Valcrest much lately so seeing the beautiful nature was a nice break as well.

He entered Newhaven and walked directly to the house he had rented for the week. He inserted his key which had been under the mat and walked in. He immediately wrote a note and folded it into an envelope. He waved some good luck upon it and strolled over to the castle. He found a guard and slowly approached, hand ready to make an attack on himself fail or have the guard fall or something similar.

"Excuse me." he said rather loudly.
The guard stood at attention and turned towards him. 'He was sleeping,' Phelix thought to himself.
"Hi there, if you could find someone to deliver this to Captain Krander it would be very gracious of you. Also, please allow what is private to remain private?"

The guard under the helm gave him a look Phelix could not see, which would have read, 'Oh, I intend not only to read it, but never to deliver it.'

"Of course sir, good day." The Guard grabbed the envelope and "luckily," he forgot his previous notions.

"It may be noted that Krander as at war right now, and we do not know when to expect him back.

Phelix nodded, saddened, and turned to head to his temporary home, alone and defeated.

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#, as written by Seerow
(At the battle before Blackpond)

The ride was hard and unbearable but somehow the Black Knight had managed all the way to Blackpond’s gates. His horse was tired and welcomed the rest now that their journey was over. Grim however was still fresh but his blade would not go to work this day. For by the time his feet had touched the firm ground Krander had emerged onto the scene and gave the signal to pull back.
Much to his own small comfort it appeared Newhaven had been victorious. A win that the soldiers needed and the people back home would welcome. Morale was such a finicky thing and it felt like they hadn’t had good news in such a long time. Grim even found himself smiling at the knowledge but quickly banished such an outlook in order to focus. He wasn’t here to bask in glory.
When the last of Blackpond’s men withdrew or fell, silence began to settle in. The lines of Newhaven retreated back toward the forest, having likely decided to encamp somewhere nearby. Of course this was all a guess, and Grim decided that to find out was to follow. Trailing behind the glinting armors of his brethren to see where it would take him. He had been unable to spot any ranking officials during the march. There were a few captains that he managed to pick out, but theirs was a rank that could not lead him. Surely there had to be someone more then just Krander behind this operation.
Grim didn’t bother to worry himself with checking in. His was a guise that no one could confuse and with time someone of importance would find him. For now he just walked patiently along idly chatting with those that would speak. Learning much of what had transpired from the mouths of the weary.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Assassin's Camp

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"It's morning." Crys woke up to a familiar voice sounding in her ears. Annie's voice. She immediately realized she probably fell asleep where she was seated, under the tree at the memorial. She immediately felt pain on her knees and her back when she stretched her legs. She felt a blanket slide off of her when she moved. "Annie... How long have you been watching me sleep?" She asked, a little annoyed that the girl hadn't waken her up.

Annie chuckled. "Not long. I went to see some of the healers that were at the battlefield to rescue survivors. They said there wasn't much left to save. Gruesome sight, those were the words they used." Annie made a pause, probably reminding herself of the fact that Crys had just woken up. "Anyway... It's over now. The night was quiet and they were fighting close enough to the forest to be... Bothersome for you, so Jake suggested we let you sleep through it."

"Jake was here?"
Annie sighed. "Oh, yes... He was, but I haven't seen him since the battle started. He told me that... He probably had nothing to tell you that you don't already know. Either way he will be back in a couple of hours. He didn't say where he was going."

Annie said all that really fast. Crys was still a little bit sleepy and didn't catch half of it, plus, she didn't know how long ago the battle ended, but the 'bothersome' sensation was far from being over. Ever since she was a child, Crys could sense death at a considerable distance. The night her father died she carried that sensation with her from Newhaven all the way to Blackpond, before knowing who's death it was she had sensed. It was a rather... Empty, sensation. As if suddenly something inside her had been wiped out.

"I woke you up too early, I guess." Annie stated, probably watching her reaction.

Crys nodded. "No, its fine. I'm already used to it. I barely mind it anymore."

"Your enlightenment wouldn't be such a hassle if you put more efforts into developing it." Annie said casually.

"Are you scolding me Annie? Seriously?" Crys couldn't help but laugh at the girl.

Annie giggled. "Oh, I would never. I'm simply stating it. I mean... Alistair is also an empath and he doesn'thave the same problems you have. He has actually learned to influence people's emotions as well. It is very useful, if used with caution.

"I know that." Crys mumbled in an annoyed tone. "And you think I'm being lazy."
"No. I think you are afraid. Pain is frightening, I understand it."

"You're too smart for your own sake, kid." Crys nodded, smilling as she got on her feet and folded the blanket over her arm. "Wait, what did you said Jake told you?"

Annie sighed. "He asked me to tell you that... He had nothing to say to you that you don't already know, and he'll be back in a few hours."

"Damn liar." Crys muttered to herself. There were definitely things Jake had to say that she didn't already know. Of course, by that he meant he wasn't going to talk about it.

Annie sighed. "I left a book on your bed. I know people come in and out of your house all day, but I doubt they would go as far as to touch your bed. My mother sent it. It's the information on the Shadow's weapon. She thought it might be helpful to you."

Crys nodded. She hadn't really thought about that dagger since after the battle. She would have maybe Ali or Evin have a look at it. She definitely didn't want that book in the hands of anyone outside the group that had been face to face with the Shadow. "Alright Annie, thank you for the information."

"Don't mention it." Annie stated with a small chuckle, then she turned more serious and added. "Crys... Whatever Jake is doing, I honestly think he should stop."

Annie said that and walked away from the memorial. Crys smiled slightly as the girl walked away. She wasn't fooled in one bit by Lena's excuses for having her daughter work in their camp. She didn't consider the ruins to be as safe as they once were and wanted Crys to protect the girl. Which, of course, was the least Crys could do for her. However it did point out the fact that there was no longer a safe place to run away to... The war was just everywhere.

The setting changes from Assassin's Camp to Valcrest

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As always, the aftermath of battle was harder to bear than the fight itself. Sometime during the charge, a soldier had managed a lucky strike with his spear. She hadn't even noticed it at the time, but it had worked it's way into the vulnerable knee joint and left a deep slash. On top of that she had wrenched just about every single muscle in the upper half of her body hauling the Blackpond commander around. All of which meant that she wasn't in the best mood at the moment. Since she was still on duty, she had to stay in her armor. Which meant that the best she could do for her leg was to wrap a rag around it and hope that she didn't tear it open further or it got infected. She had rubbed it with a cloth soaked in alchole, so she didn't think that was going to be too much of a problem.

Ah, the glorious life of a Knight, she thought to herself. How I would miss this if I left.

She looked toward the tent where she had stashed the Blackpond commander. His weapons had been taken, and he had been sat firmly in an otherwise empty tent, with soldiers outside and two inside. He would keep until she got around to him. Right now she needed to find Krander and report in. Honestly, she had captured the man, but she didn't have a clue what to do next. Torturing someone went against every code she believed in, and she didn't think the man would just tell them what they wanted to know. If need be, she'd haul him back to Newhaven and dump him on the Warlord's desk, but before that happened she'd talk things over with her noble counterpart. Groaning slightly under her breath, she limped off to find the Knight commander.

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Jake had slept a couple of hours, but his nightmares woke him up before daylight. He never had nightmares before, he always slept soundly even after facing death, but after Dani's death he was unable to close his eyes without reliving the last time he saw her: the day he raided the Wolfpack camp with the Black Knights. Dani had insisted on it, she told him he needed to do whatever was necessary to gain their trust. Jake should have never crossed that line, he should never have put himself in that situation.

At the moment, Jake was sitting by a tree, very close to where the Newhaven officers had made their encampment. He had made himself invisible and had stayed away from the trails so that, no matter how many people passed, no one would trip over his feet. He was simply watching the movement of soldiers walking back and forth... He had been there ever since the battle started, and watched from a small distance as the two armies collided. Jake couldn't help but think of himself as useless right now. He was standing in the middle, but he couldn't actually help the Pack or Newhaven right now. Still he felt more at peace near the army than he ever did at the camp... Maybe it was the fact that he had killed Dani... Not only her, but many other assassins, and he couldn't forgive himself.

Jake managed to hide the fact that he was there during that attack from Crys so far, but he knew it wouldn't last very long. Once she found out, the fact that her mother was killed with a poisoned dart would make it obvious that it had been his doing. She would never forgive him for that. Even if that dart was never shot with the intention to kill, that wouldn't matter to Crys. He shot the dart, and he lied, nothing else would matter. He thought of Evin's words as he watched the soldiers... Evin meant well, but he couldn't understand the problem. Not really. Jake was sure the man would be the first one to want his head on a stick when the truth come to public.

As he thought about all that, he caught a glimpse of a black armor and darted his eyes towards the Black Knight captain as the woman passed. He noticed she was walking with a limp and frowned slightly to himself. After a moment or two of hesitation he got on his feet and decided to follow from a distance just to see if he could find out was going on with the war.
Anyone else would consider such move to be foolish. If something was to happen to brake the illusion, Jake would become visible amongst a crowd of Newhaven soldiers. while wearing assassin clothing. However he had made it a part of his routine to walk quietly and not bump into things. There would probably be no harm in walking around.

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(A messenger sent by King Rory)
--
He was not supposed to be there. His mere presence was a clear act of war. However, this man did not care. He and the two men with him were sent on a reconaissance mission based on a report passed onto their superior-King Rory- by another scout. The two men with the messenger normally would have passively discounted any word passed to them by the King (Not all of his subjects are loyal), but the mere mention of Newhaven had sent the men off with the messenger into the unfortunately glorious city.

In these times of war, no pardon was given to any citizen of Blackpond, no matter how peaceful their intenet may be. And because of such, cross-city messaging services of both cities were private and stealthy operations. The program in Blackpond had no name, and for a citizen in Blackpond to deliver a message to a citizen of Newhaven required quite a hefty fee and a personal permit from Rory himself. Rory's Second Lieutenent (Formerly Hastings, but now an open position) was often ordered to read the letter before Rory gave his stamp of approval. Such an act was sometimes looked down upon for "invasion of privacy", but Rory would not have conspirators in his city.

-

The three men quietly worked their way under the city through the sewage drains, and surfaced in what seemed to be a graveyard behind a chapel. They immediately did their best to "blend in", the three acting like mourners over a grave. When their surroundings were clear, they continued into the city, following their directions given to them by the scout to where Phelix was staying. One man knocked on the door while the other two watched for anyone that was giving them too much attention...

The setting changes from Newhaven to Valcrest

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Down the road an old beggar woman sat listlessly on the street corner. She had no family, little money, and rarely knew where she was going to sleep at night. One thing she did have a great deal of was time however. Ever since she joined a certain group, she had a bit more coin at the end of the day. The men down at the end of the road were looking far nervous for them to be here honestly. She slouched down a little further and shook her bowl at a passerby.

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#, as written by Seerow
Talking to a commander was far from Grim’s mind. At the present he enjoyed the peace. Preparations were being made for the night and the men were gravely silent from the battle. Mourners were common and even from where he stood he could hear the mingled sounds of pain and laughter. Some were overjoyed at their victory, and others were laying on a makeshift cot in agony.
As for the Black Knight specifically he preoccupied himself with lending a hand where he could. Aiding in the chores that needed tending. Fetching wood for the fires, helping set up tents or digging ditches. Keeping himself occupied and ultimately ignorant to his captain’s doings. Of course later he heard that there was an enemy general in their custody. It was a good sign and a clever plan, but Grim couldn’t help feeling doubtful as to its effectiveness. Such wit had won the field today, but who knows what tomorrow would bring.
Blackpond was dealt an insult. They would return angry as ever. Grim frowned at that prospect he knew that hate was poisonous. It could grant incredible feats and even fell foes who are otherwise unbeatable but it has a price. It fills the heart and mind with a madness and blinds reason. He understood this well for there was a rage that shadowed his spirit. Some may call it a blessing, and others a curse. For Grim it’s often a struggle. A lifestyle that required some caution. He was sane most of the time but it only takes one wrong event to set in motion a chain of regrets.

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(Eualalius)
--
Eulalius glanced at his former instructor.
How long has it been that I didn't recognizer her?

Then again, she did appear to be young. She may not have been an instructor Eulalius saw much of. Because he was admitted into the guild at an older age than most, his training was ever so slightly less tedious than the other recruits that had trained with him at the time. Come to think of it, Ali seemed young enough that Eulalius may not have even had her as an instructor.

Eulalius took Ali's delimma as a proposition for himself.

"Well, I suppose I could fill that spot for a reliable active. So you're an instructor, you say? I don't believe I trained much, if at all, under you.."

Eulalius smiled again and shook her hand, but continued before she answered.

"So, what exactly is this assignment of yours?"

The setting changes from Valcrest to Assassin's Camp

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Allison gave Eulalius a small chuckle. "Oh, you wouldn't have trained under my supervision. I haven't been an instructor very long I only have one recruit and he is a thirteen year old brat. I just point it out because people tend to mistake me for a recruit, and then they try to scold me for carrying weapons." She smirked. "It's all good until they try to put their fingers on my bow... Then I have to get rough on them." Sure it was a strange thing for Ali to say something like that to a man twice her size, but it was the truth.

When he asked about the assignment Ali smiled. "Oh, I'm supposed to go to the ruins and deliver a message to some mercenary fool. Nothing big, but Crys wants me to take someone along."

As she said that the girl she had spoken to earlier turned up and introduced herself. Ali watched the girl for a few seconds then nodded. "Alright. Then I figure we should leave before Crys realizes I haven't even moved yet."

"A bit late for that." Ali froze where she was standing when she heard Crys' voice behind her. Crys laughed. "Calm down. I'm glad you didn't leave. I have a different assignment for you, so I need you to come with me." Crys grabbed her shoulder and started pulling her towards her house.

Ali waved slightly at the other two assassins as she got dragged away. "What about the impostor guy?" She asked Crys, with a small frown.
"He can wait, this cannot." Crys stated, pushing her into the cabin and closing the door. "Sit." She said, pointing at a spot where Ali imagined a chair should be.
Ali chuckled, locating a chair on the other side of the room and placing it at the spot where Crys had pointed before sitting on it. "What is this about?"
Crys looked for something on her bed for a few seconds until she finally found a book underneath her pillow. "This."

Ali watched, a little bit intrigued, as Crys dropped the book on the wooden table and sat across from her. "Annie brought me this book. It's all the information Lena had on the Shadow's dagger. You remember that dagger, right?"
Ali laughed at the question. "Are you serious? Of course I remember it."
"Good." Crys stated. "Read this then and see if you can get any information while you are in Newhaven."
"Newhaven?!" Ali jumped into a standing position with the shock of what she was being asked to do. "You can't honestly expect me to make it into Newhaven."
"Sure you can. All you have to do is put on a white robe and announce yourself as a healer." Crys smirked slightly. "You spent a year with them, I'm sure you can pull that off easily. Most of the Knights are still camped out in the woods. It's the best moment to sneak into their archives."
"What would I be looking for exactly?" Ali asked, sitting back down slowly.
"Any information on the missing prince. Take the Ruler's family tree and tear it apart until you find some kind of lead. Understand?"
"Alright. You want me to leave now, I assume."
"Yes, and... Ali... If you will be passing yourself out as a healer, you have to..." Crys nodded towards the bow Ali held in her left hand.
"My bow? I have to leave my bow." Ali sighed. "I never leave my bow behind, ever."
"You can't conceal the bow Ali. You know that. Healers don't carry weapons." Crys said, seriously.
Ali frowned, intensely, at the thought of leaving her weapon behind. Finally she got on her feet and wandered over to Crys and put the bow in her hands. "Take care of it, will you?"
Crys smiled. "Absolutely. Now get going."

Ali nodded, she took the book and left Crys' cabin, walking to her own. Leaving her quiver and putting on the white robe, that had been left in her bed, over her own clothes. She got a traveling bag ready and walked out of her house straight past the gates, towards Newhaven.

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Crys let Ali leave, still holding the girl's bow in her hand... She didn't feel right holding it, she knew that Ali didn't like people to put theirs hands on that bow. She took a clean blanket and wrapped it around the weapon, leaving it to rest in a protected place, near her bed. It would be there waiting for when Ali came back. Hopefully she wouldn't get herself in trouble.

After making sure the bow was protected, Crys sat back at the table and scribbled down a note:

I can't afford to send anyone at the moment. I had to change my plans. If there is any trouble, don't hesitate to warn me and I will handle this impostor myself. Otherwise, let him get tired of waiting or come find us himself. I have greater problems on my hands at the moment.

Annie is perfectly fine, just in case you are wondering.

I wish you well, as always.

Crystal


She folded the note and exited the cabin. As soon as she did that, she scanned the camp for the girl that had been waiting for Ali by the entrance. Once she located her, Crys walked a straight line to the young healer. "Blanditia... I apologize, but I won't be sending Allison to the ruins after all. Something came up and I had to give her another assignment." She then handed the girl the folded note. "If you could please deliver this to your leader and apologize for the inconvenience I would be very grateful."

Crys knew Lena would understand. She knew that the woman probably had bigger issues to resolve right now herself. This rogue person would have to wait, luckily for him.

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Blanditia dusted herself off and sighed, "Of course" she said with a sweet but slightly tired smile, "I will leave right away, It was nice to meet you. The next time we meet please just call me B." she said and smiled picking up her bag from the ground and taking the note from Crys. She bowed her head and walked out of the camp in a easy pace, not worrying about being late with this note.

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After Jake left, Evin had fallen asleep at the table he was sitting at. It had been a while since he had had some rest and it was well needed for sure. A couple of hours past until the lady who had the soup woke him up. She didn't mind that Evin was sleeping there, but she didn't like the noise that he was making. It seemed that Evin had been snoring while he slept there and it was rather bothersome. She wouldn't have been the first person to be bothered by Evin though without stopping. He left anyways out of respect. She seemed nice enough.
Evin walked down to his cabin. He could tell that Crystal had been there, but he was used to living with someone now. The cabin was rather large and had three rooms. There were two bedrooms and a common room. The common room was where he usually was. It was where all of the work was done and the meetings were held. It had two desks which were placed at the back two corners of the room. Dividing the two desks was a bookshelf that shot out from the wall. On Evin's side, it contained books that Evin enjoyed and studied from. It also contained a few books that Sebastian had when he was second in command. There was even a few special objects that Evin never dared to touch. In the center of the room was a big table where Evin would usually be found eating, but it was usually used for important meetings. The table was always cleared of anything and was very beaten down. It was older than anyone alive in Valcrest for sure and had probably been witness to hundreds of secret and probably tons of blood as well. The Wolf Pack had gone through some tough times in it's past and there was a long family line of leaders that had been assassinated. That was when Crystal's family had taken control and balanced everything out. The rest of the room contained a few paintings, but they didn't really interest Evin.
The room on the right was Crystal's room. He hadn't been in that room very often, so he could never really remember what it looked like. He knew it was a lot larger than Evin's room though.
Evin's room was originally just a large closet that contained a fair amount of the archives of the Wolf Pack, but after Evin moved in and wanted a room to himself, the archives were moved into a secret room in one of the cabins in the camp. His room was big enough for a bed and a small side table though and that was it. Evin was used to that though and didn't mind all too much because of the fun little secret that he found in his room. There was a floorboard under his bed that was able to be moved. Underneath that was a tunnel that lead to a room that was carved into the center of one of the larger trees in the camp. It was rather new and when he first discovered it, there was nothing in it. He filled it with all of his weapons for his own personal armoury. Evin wasn't sure if Crystal knew about it, but he wasn't sure if Dani even knew about it. There was nothing in the room when he found it. Who knows what it was intended for.
Evin went into this secret room to stock up on some weapons. In the next couple of hours, he would be headed for Newhaven.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Valcrest]
When Hastings woke up, he had a sudden panic attack. He wasn't in his room in Castle Blackpond like he thought he was when he was waking up. Instead he was in a tent, being guarded by a couple of individuals in Newhaven armour. Those scum that he probably saw on the battlefield were now holding him hostage. Who knew what was going to happen to him. Would he be killed and displayed to the public, would they send his dead body back to Blackpond? It was interesting to entertain the thought of the several things that could happen to him, but it was also good for Hastings to be in this position. He knew that the Wolf Pack would take care of any situation that they found important to their cause. Despite popular beliefs from Newhaven, tides had been turning and the once impoverished city of Blackpond was taking this war. Hastings wouldn't be surprised if the assassins came out to help them to gain some support from Blackpond. Hastings had a feeling that Roy wouldn't fancy any offers from the Wolf Pack though. After they took out the King of Newhaven, he was sure that Roy would be too nervouse.
The Guards realised after only a few minutes that Hastings had just woken up. It was a rather slow reaction time for people who were supposed to guard him. They began making jokes about how pitiful he looked sitting down there, seemingly defenceless. If Hastings wasn't in the middle of a camp full of these drones, he would have killed both of them by now. Instead he sat and listened to them for a few more minutes before he spoke to the two men.
"I believe that I deserve a bit more respect from you two. I may have been captured, but I probably have more sway in decisions that happen in this camp than either of you two." That shut them up. It was sad because it was probably true. Hastings was an important figure in Blackpond and whatever Newhaven did with them, could effect political tides in this war. "May I speak to your commander as soon as possible. I would like to discuss things with him."

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Mageria had given up trying to find Krander. He was somewhere, but for the life of her she couldn’t manage to track him down. And frankly, she hurt enough that she didn’t care. She had spent the time instead checking on the men that had rode with her in the final charge, checking on their wounds and finally ducking into her tent to bandage her own wound. She had been sitting in one of the medical tents, gently scolding one of her men for being stupid enough not to block a sword thrust that he should have been able to deflect.
“Next time, when I tell you you need to practice your low blocks, your going to believe me, right?” She turned when a runner coughed behind her. She glanced at him and he saluted, murmuring softly that the Blackpond commander had woken up and was demanding to see her. She nodded and bade her soldier goodbye.
“Ye give ‘em hell, Lady. ‘E’ll never expect ye to be a woman.” The man yawned and settled deeper into his bunk and watched as his commander walked out of the tent. Once he was sure that she was far enough away that he was sure she couldn’t hear him, he muttered under his breath.
“Bloody scary woman, too.”

Mageria walked up to the tent where she had the commander stashed, noting that the soldiers on duty looked rather sloppy. Normally she would have given them hell for such a thing, but this time she had told them to do so, so that the Blackpond commander might underestimate them. She nodded slightly to them and received a ghost of a wink from the one on the right before she ducked inside. She knew that she portrayed a rather grim visage, given that her armor still bore the marks of the recent fighting. She had removed her helm given that they were in camp. Flexing her fingers in her gloves she felt her face settling into a cold mask as she stared expressionlessly at Hastings.
“You wanted to see me?”

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Thomas rubbed his nose and suppressed the urge to sneeze. Again. He didn’t care how often they dusted in these archives, it wasn’t often enough. With a sigh, he shifted one tome to the side and reached for another, flipping it open and running one finger down the close spaced writing. Obviously the previous Archivists were under the impression that they needed to save paper, meaning that he needed a magnifying glass to read it. Her pulled a lamp closer and leaned over the page, eyes quickly scanning down it. To one side he had a page of notes that he had been writing as he looked for any hint of what had happened to the sole remaining ruler of Newhaven. Boring as his search was, he felt a distinct sense of urgency. Out in the forest, Krander and Mageria were leading their soldiers against those of Blackpond. He wished that he could be there with them, but at the moment this was just as important. Mageria had come to him late the night before they left, asking for his help.
“We need to find out what happened, Sidin. And we need a leader again. We can hold it together for now, but we need a leader again.”
Sidin happened to agree with her, which was why he was neck deep in dusty tomes rather than at his comrades' sides. A scuff behind him warned him that the Archivist was once again investigating what he was doing.
“Master Knight. I might be able to help you find something, if I knew what it was you were looking for.” Sidin turned and smiled brightly up at the bent old man. The Archivist looked as if he had been here since the Archives themselves were built, and probably even before that. He was fiercely protective of his domain, and hated to see anyone intrude. The fact that Thomas had practically taken up camp here for the past day grated on him to no end.
“Good sir, if I knew what it was that I was looking for, then I would have found it long ago. I simply need to find out what happened to the younger brother of the King.”
The Archivist snorted and shuffled off to one of the shelves.
“Then you’re looking in the wrong place, you idiot. You don’t want to look at the official records. Not if they don’t want to record something like that. You need to be looking at the personal journals, things that people record that they wouldn’t tell anybody else. Probably you want,” he grunted as he pulled several volumes off and thumped them on the table. “the journals of the people close to the royal family. These will get you started.”
Thomas sighed and pulled the first journal toward him and turned up the lamp, rubbing his temple as he got started. Opening the first one brought a cloud of dust up, causing him to sneeze. He glared at the innocent looking tome and pulled his sheaf of notes closer, scanning quickly.

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#, as written by Tyce
Phelix walked to the door and opened it slowly realizing who was there.

He immediately pulled the first one through the door so hard that he fell flat on his chest inside the cabin and then yanked the other two in to similar effects. He stuck his head out the door and looked around. The only person of note around was an elderly beggar down the street. He shut the door quickly but quietly, not wanting to draw more attention than had already been gained.

Phelix quickly turned waving his hand to protect himself by cursing them all with bad luck. "What are you doing here? Why are you here? Are you following me? And why the hell did you not try to blend in a little more?" Phelix shout-whispered. He hit the closest man atop the head.
"Answer or die by my hands. I am supposed to be on break."


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Krander had been lost in his thoughts. When he had found himself he was in quite the predicament. Alone, in the middle of the jungle, near a bear cub, with a mamma ready to attack. He drew his sword swinging in a large defensive arc connecting with the mamma cutting one of her front legs cleanly off. She roared in pain and charged for a head butt. Krander mistimed his swing and was hit in the chest. Blood was still flying out of her arm as she weakly clawed at his chest tearing the armor sheet latch out of place. His armor slid off as he stood up. He bent down to take it up and she swung again knocking him to the ground. He grabbed his sword and thrust up then rolled out as she fell atop the sword penetrating her heart further to the ground. The baby bear was cowering up against a bush staring at Krander. Krander felt and tasted blood and he was covered in dirt and blood of the bear. He went to retrieve his sword but she weighed far too much. He approached the baby bear and attempted to comfort it.

Interestingly enough it came to his beckoning. He held and petted it until it stopped shivering. Then he whispered, "This is for your own good cub." He grabbed the bear under the chin and yanked back, snapping its neck. He set it down gently a tear falling down his cheek. He sighed and looked around at the scene of death. Perhaps an omen, perhaps just consequence for the bears life. He headed back to camp. He had interrogating to do.

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(The Messenger, Norcliffe)
--
Norcliffe rubbed his head in pain at the knock he had received by the blunt end of the handle of a blade. He glanced up a Phelix in fear, belieiving it not to be him for a moment. It had been a long time since Norcliffe had actually seen him, mostly because Norcliffe himself was often in Newhaven or somewhere between the two cities.

But it wasn't the first mission he had been sent to Phelix for. Gesturing for his two comrades to lower their weapons and hoods, he stood:

"Phelix, its Norcliffe. We aren't following you, but someone was. I bear a message from King Rory himself, he said that it is urgent."

Norcliffe embraced the calming quiet that came after he handed the sealed envelope to Phelix.

And it regards Hastings... Norcliffe thought. Oh sure, he had read the letter, but who wouldn't in these times of war? Norcliffe had never been too terribly loyal to Rory, but he respected the man enough to read his mail and make sure the letter was appropriate for the receiver.

In fact, Norcliffe recited the statement enclosed in his head:

Phelix,
I know that this is short notice, but I need you back here at Blackpond. I will explain the happenings between Zath and I in this letter, but the true intent of this letter will be talked about in person.

I allowed Zath to follow you not out of mistrust, but out of worry. I love my subjects, Phelix, and you especially. I do not doubt your fighting prowess in combat, but you have to realize that there are some scary figures I've learned about that reside in Newhaven. Zath stayed behind you to keep you safe, no more. I can't lose you Phelix, not now. Hastings is gone, and I'm not sure he's even alive by now. I need you to get back here as soon as possible, and as I said the rest we will talk about upon your arrival.

-Rory

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Jake had wandered around the Knights camp and through conversations he had managed to discover that they were holding a commander from Blackpond as prisoner. He also managed to reassure himself that the few people he knew there had lived through the battle. That was all he really wanted to know. Before he made his way back to the camp he managed to sneak his way into captain Mageria's tent and leave something near her things. Two things actually, along with a note.

It read:

The bandages are for your leg. They are soaked in some of the stuff the healers use. They sting bad, but they heal wounds twice as fast.

The vial is for the prisoner. Painful, but not lethal. Just in case. Careful with it.

No wolves have been seen heading for Blackpond.

Sorry I didn't say hello, but then... I was never here.


He left the unsigned, folded, note next to a small kit of bandages and a vial that contained a black needle inside. After that, he left the camp and started to slowly make his way back to the Wolfpack.

------------

Ali walked the trail leading to the city of Newhaven for the first time in a very long time. She felt strangely unprotected without her bow, although she was not at all unarmed. Underneath the white robe, on her belt, she carried several throwing knives, and bot her daggers were sheathed at her back. Even so, she felt strange to be doing this. She wasn't at all the best of liars.

After a few hours of walking she sat on a rock by the trail and pulled an apple from the inside of her bag. Ali closed her eyes, while starting to eat the fruit, carefully listening for any surrounding activity. She wasn't really worried though, she was posing as a healer... Healers were rarely ever bothered in these parts and currently the Blackpond soldiers had better things to do than try to scare away healers. At some point she thought she might have heard something, but after she stopped to listen, she didn't hear anything else.

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(Sorry to post a lot, but I'm trying to catch this guy up.)

Thomas was starting to feel as if he was chasing shadows. He had gone through several journals so far, but thus far he hadn’t found anything. But then he found an journal from one the the court ladies that mentioned an old scandal. This was the kind of woman who saw everything, and told nobody but the pages that she wrote on. Actually, the woman seemed to hear everything that went on. It was a little erie.

Apparently a few ears ago the then Prince had taken an interest in a young orphan girl. Rumors about why had ranged from her being the then King’s illegitimate child to the then Prince having a sick interest in her. Thomas felt a spark of interest. At this point any lead was of interest for him.He worked faster, scanning through the pages. It seems that the rumors had gotten so bad that the child had been sent back to the orphanage after a year. Thomas pushed the journal aside and went to look through the official records. There was always some record of the orphans of the state, if only so long lost relatives might be able to track them later. It was the work of only a few minutes to dig out the records, but when he did it only lead him to more dead ends. At some point she had been taken from the orphanage on the authority of the King, for reason of suspected treason. She had been kept for quite some time in the dungeons. Reading between the lines, she had not been treated well. Which pretty much put paid to that line of inquiry. Even if the child had been illegitimate, she wouldn’t have been treated in such a manner, not by her own family. And anyway, records showed that she had disappeared sometime during the same time that the assassins killed the King. She had probably perished during the fighting and never been claimed. A heartbreaking story, but one that was all too common.

Thomas pushed away the records and scolded himself for wasting time on something that didn’t matter. He wasn’t looking for her, he was looking for the brother of their King. He sorted through the records again, searching for something pertaining to the Queen. She would have known what was going on, and there would have been few people for her to trust. Strangely though, there were no records that he could find. When he asked the Archivist, the old man sorted and shook his head.
“The King from then burned them all when he exiled her.”
Thomas felt excitement swell up in him.
“Exile? I thought that she, well, died or something.”
“Eh, no. I don’t rightly know why, but she was sent away years ago.”
Thomas suppressed the urge to shake the man.
“Where?”
The man looked up confusedly. “Hmm? Where what?”
“Where. Was. She. Sent?”
The old man snorted. “Where else? South. Where all the unwanted’s go.”
Finally he had a solid lead. Thomas packed and prepared for a journey of at least a week. First he had to get down there and then find the former Queen, in the hopes that she knew something more about what had happened back then.
Working quickly he left a message for both Commanders Mageria and Krander, if they managed to come back before he did. He gathered some supplies, and forced himself to rest for a short time. Then he left the Castle, heading south in the early morning light, riding one horse and leading another. If he was going to get answers, he needed them fast.

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Blanditia entered the healer camp and smiled at her home before going to Lena's hut. With quick movements she knocked three times waiting for her to answer trying to think of other places she would be if not in her home. As she waited she hummed to herself and played with the shadows of plants which was great entertainment to the young girl.

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Halfway back to camp Jake spotted Ali. He had to hold back on laughing when he saw what the girl was wearing, he would imagine she would have protested to being dressed as a White Shadow, mainly because whenever Lena found out she would be furious, and she knew that. He could tell that she noticed there was someone there, but couldn't see him. He walked a step closer, still at considerable distance, and whispered.
"Where are you going dressed like this?"

The girl sighed and nodded, whispering back, not looking in his direction. "Where the hell do you think? I'm in charge of finding the King's missing kid."
"Oh... I see." Jake finally let out a small chuckle. "You are going to the archives I assume?" He asked.
"Yes, why?" Se replied, slightly annoyed by the laughter.
"Just remember... Files can be destroyed. That's why there is no record in the clan's records that point out the fact Dani sent help after us in the battle... For instance" He snickered. "Remember the tunnels we took to the throne room?"
"Sure. I remember." She answered with a shrug.
"Good. Then you know that walls in that castle have ears." He sighed and added just in case she hadn't quite got the picture. "Find a servant that's old enough to have been there. Shouldn't be so hard, even for you, blondie."
Ali lowered her head to conceal the laughter. "You're pushing your luck Jacob."
"Oh, I know, but it's fun. I have to go, Crys must be dying to yell at me for half an hour. See you later."

Jake let Ali go over the information she was given as he walked back to camp. This was the most important thing anyone could do right now. Hopefully she would find something soon. Hopefully whoever took over Newhaven next would be able to put an end to this.

The setting changes from Valcrest to The Ruins (Healer's camp)

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"There is nothing I can do for you, except maybe end this right now." It didn't take Lena very long to come to that conclusion, although she had a feeling that Dani had been expecting to hear it.
"We can't choose how we are born, however we can choose how we die... Sometimes." Dani Rivers chuckled, slightly, while controlling a small coughing fit. "So, thank you, but no thank you."
"This poison is non-lethal for a healthy adult. If Jake had known..."
"If he knew anything, then so would Crys. I couldn't let that happen quite yet." Dani sighed. "You know how these kids are... They can't deal with the fact that some things can't be helped. I had better plans for my time than watching Crys whine, expecting me to drop dead at any minute. It would be a whole new level of unnecessary pressure for her to deal with."
"I think you overprotect your daughter Dani. You have a completely twisted notion of just how much she can take." Lena stated in a severe tone.
"Oh, I know that. I also know that nothing I ever said or done will actually have her prepared for this. However, I dare you to blame me for trying."
Lena laughed. "No, I wouldn't dream on it." She stopped laughing and let out a small sigh. "How are you feeling?"
"As if my lungs were filled with rocks. It's delightful."
"This will end badly, Dani. Let me tell them the truth."
Dani nodded. "No, you can't, please. Promise me you won't say a word about this, to anyone."
Lena flinched. Never, in her life, she had heard Dani say 'please'. It was just not in her vocabulary. After a moment, she sighed. "Alright, I promise."


Being able to close her eyes and see her past flash before them had never bothered Lena before, but now it did. The promise she had made still haunted her. This situation haunted her. She opened her eyes, and let out a sad sigh. She had been trying to write a letter to the King of Blackpond, however she felt that written words wouldn't have the effect she desired. She made a decision, and packed a bag.

Leaving her tent she found the girl she had sent to the assassin camp. She gave the girl an intrigued look. "Hum, you're back already?"

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#, as written by Tyce
Phelix eyed the man suspiciously before recognizing him.

"I'm sorry Norcliffe. These times have me uneasy. Tell Rory I will depart in one day. I need that day off. I would appreciate if you said NEED. If not, have him use the telepath in the prison to contact me. He should still be alive."

He walked over to the door, opened it, and motioned for them to get out.

"I'd advise you move quickly, lest I make you leave." he threatened.

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Blanditia looked at her and smiled a small smile and nodded "Yeah, she wrote you a letter" she said and handed it to her. "Are you going some where?" she asked Lena out of curiosity and confusion. She watched the other healers walk past with a loo of happiness in her eyes, this was her home. She felt safe here and loved. "Can I ask why and where?" she knew that she shouldn't but she asked any ways.

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Hastings wasn't all too surprised when he saw that the commander was a woman. There were rumours that there were White and even Black Knights that were women and now he had proof. Although, Hastings didn't really believe in women ruling an army, emotions would make decisions for her and she wouldn't be able to clearly see the entire picture, only focusing on the little things (only Hastings' opinion, not mine!). Odds were that she had gotten the positioning not based on her skill level at all, but her sexuality. Things like this made him sick. He was glad the Blackpond wasn't quite the same as Newhaven in that way.
He looked up at this woman, who seemed to have been favoring one leg over the other. Most likely a minor wound on her leg or something along those lines.
"To have me under capture and not tell me what types of acts will be preformed on me is a war crime in Blackpond, I'm sure you understand. Now what is your plans with me?"
He sighed for a few moments after speaking. He had just realised that it had been a while since he had a drink. The last time he remembered was just before battle when he was suiting up for his mission. That battle never came into existence though. The encampment had probably moved out by now as well. There were no chances of him ever getting any information on the Wolf Pack from that camp.
"Oh, and do you happen to have any rum which I could have. I'm parched. Maybe you could get one of your patsy's over there to get it for me?" He motioned towards one of the guards standing in the tent.

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Mageria nodded and tilted her head to the side, a small smile forming on her lips and being pulled to the side by the scar running down one cheek.
“The rules of war are a bit strange in Blackpond if you think that we would just reveal our plans because you asked for them. Would you tell me your plans if I was in your place?”
She flicked her fingers at one of her men to send him on the way for something for Hastings to drink.
“Let’s start with the easy things. What is your name?”

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---Headed South---


Thomas dismounted slowly and sighed heavily. He had been riding all day, and he knew that he would be riding for at least two more in order to get where he was going. He was deep in the forest, and perhaps had been slightly foolish to start out traveling on his own. But he didn’t think that he could draw anymore people away from the Castle and he wanted to try and slip by unnoticed. A thought that he sincerely regretted as he heard rustling in the trees to either side of him. Unobtrusively he checked his weapons as he looked around. Given all of that, he was perhaps not as surprised as the bandits that stepped out of the trees would have hopped.
“Well well. We got ourselves a bit o silver that wandered our way. What do you say lads? Should we take the toll?”
The men around him laughed crudely as they drew closer.
Thomas gritted his teeth. Too many for him to take on at once. Which meant that he would have to even the odds just a bit. He smiled brightly at the one that seemed to be in charge, and reached inside for where his Enlightenment lived. His eyes glowed softly, although he took care to keep them downcast for now.
“Ah now, you don’t want to be robbing me like that. Not when I can be so much more useful to you.”
The bandit spat to the side, but looked like he was reconsidering things. Thomas increased the strength of his gift, ignoring the headache that threatened. Now all of them should be feeling more kindly toward him.
“And what is it that we might want from the likes of you, other than the silver that you have?”
“Why, news; good sir. I’ve come from Newhaven and I know all of the latest gossip.”
He proceeded to launch into a long involved tale, that was mostly true except for the important bits, and exceedingly funny in its telling. It took some doing, but after a while he had all of them in stitches, some of them having to set down their weapons as they laughed. He stopped influencing them as soon as he could, but he still ended up with a wicked headache that pounded at both temples. In fact, after a bit they got friendly enough that the bandits insisted on taking him back to their camp and having lunch with them. He agreed, and proceeded to ask them about any news that they might have had. They didn’t have much, but it was still useful to know. After eating and talking, he set back out on the way south, a couple of the bandits insisting on traveling with him. They said that they didn’t have anything better to do, but he was a bit concerned that he might have pushed them a bit too hard. Still, he didn’t turn away the company. And he got a few more supplies out of it, which he also wouldn’t turn away.

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#, as written by Seerow
(At the site of the battle before Blackpond.)

Much later a specter was sighted near Blackpond’s front door. The dead littered the ground where the armies had collided. Broken spears and weaponry were jutted from the earth like sadistic blades of grass. Dark stains pooled beneath corpses of friends and foes. The red smatterings decorating the faces of tormented warriors. Bodies were broken and mangled, formed into unnatural shapes. Eyes filled with the icy fear of death theirs a mask of pale oblivion. The young and the old, the brave and the foolish. Death cared not whom it took man, woman, or child. So much bitterness only beside so much regret. The very silence screamed out with its eerie symphony, playing it’s melody for those lost. This was their war.
Grim bore his armor with reluctance. If he had believed it safe he would cast his tools of bloodshed aside with respect for lifeless. Even now he could feel their gaze of anguish all of them asking the same question ‘why?’
The engagement was so short and yet it had already cost both cities good citizens. Grim moved among them mindful of his steps. Taking care to quiet each deceased one by one. Ignorant to which side of the conflict the befallen belonged. Delicately straightening the dead laying their weapon beside them.
“Rest child of Valcrest and be at peace. Do not grieve honored soul, for no more pain shall befall you… Till all are one.”
It was a quick and hushed prayer he uttered for each. Closing the eyes with care and proceeding on through the field. He wasn’t alone of course both sides were taking to their loss. Graves were being dug somewhere and families would be informed. Grim only hoped he could ease the anger that saturated the area. Of course his intentions weren’t entirely selfless. It was meant to help find a reason for his stake in this mess. Within there was a part of him that wished to drive the people of Blackpond before the winds. To protect Newhaven with a ferocity only he could achieve. Yet he couldn’t deny the self loathing. The beast in his heart represented many of the things he had come to resent in life.
“When this war ends,” he started “I will banish this magic from me. I will put the beast to rest.” A promise made to the fallen.

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#, as written by zath
Zath saw him and he kept close to him as he was told, "Where are you going now?, Phelix?" he started to feel a shiver down his spine, so he ejected his katars slowely as he looked around, everything seemed peaceful...

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander finally returned to camp, exhausted and bloodied. He walked towards the command tent and saw a guard on his way back.
"Lionel, what are you doing out of the tent?"
"Sir," he bowed, "I only leave on Magerias Orders. We captured the commander of the Black Pond forces and he is dehydrated." He motioned towards the cup he was holding.

Krander grabbed it out of his hand and drank a quarter of it. He then undid his armor and urinated into it to fill it up.
"Now, bring it back and do make him drink it. Then do not act not surprised that I am back." He motioned to the tent. After about 5 minutes he walked up to the tent where Hastings was choking.

"How does my piss taste, Hastings?"

"Exactly like your woman there." He retorted looking at Mageria.

Krander smirked. "You know, you are lucky I got here. If anyone is going to be roughing someone up it is better that I do it than Mageria. She is known to kill first, think later." He gave her a look and a smile.

He looked to Hastings and got down on one knee.

"Remember, you are lucky that it's me doing this."

He made a fist, and punched him square in the jaw with a right hook.

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Hastings smirked at the woman who was standing there. She seemed to be nice enough and he didn't see any harm in giving his name. Maybe she would even know of his name and his reputation. He and the Rory were quite close and it would be no surprise to him if the woman standing in front of him would maybe think twice about harming him. It was a long shot, but he decided it was worth a try, unless it backfired of course. They could see him as a valuable asset for information on the King himself.
"I'm Second Lieutenant Hastings of the Blackpond army. I hope that you understand I mean no harm to you as long as you mean no harm to me. If you intend to kill me, I will ensure I will take out more than my fair share of you beforehand." Hastings licked his lips, trying to moisten them a little to speak. "Now, I hope as apposed to that, we could have civilized discussions instead."
The guard then came into the tent with his cup like he had requested. Hastings hoped that it would be rum like he had requested. He could taste the alcohol already, chills going down his spine as he did. The excitement of it was unbearable. The man put the cup to Hastings mouth and he poured it in. Hastings instantly realised what he was drinking. The bitter, salty taste loomed through his taste bud and into his very mind. It was sickening. Hastings initial reaction was to spit it out, but he knew that this was probably the only liquids he would have in a while so he swallowed it, not all of it though. He left some in his mouth. Enough so he could still talk without anyone realising he hadn't swallowed it all. Then he started working on the ropes behind his back that bound his hands. He could tell they were poorly tied. It wouldn't take to long to get out of it.
Hastings felt along the rope and realised that it was ultimately attacked to the tent, so it would make it harder for him to get up and run off. Then he said to the woman, "I realise now that you wish to do things the hard way." Hastings tried his best to make it look like he had nothing in his mouth. He wasn't sure how well he was doing.
"How does my piss taste, Hastings?"
"Exactly like your woman there." He retorted looking at Mageria.
Krander smirked. "You know, you are lucky I got here. If anyone is going to be roughing someone up it is better that I do it than Mageria. She is known to kill first, think later." He gave her a look and a smile.
He looked to Hastings and got down on one knee.
"Remember, you are lucky that it's me doing this."
He made a fist, and punched him square in the jaw with a right hook.

The seconds before he made that hit, he saw it coming. This new man had slowly raised his hand and swung with great force. Hastings kept his mouth closed, it would be worth it in just a minute.
Hastings was dazed by the blow. It took him a few second to regain fluid thought. He was almost done toying with the ropes. Only a couple more seconds. Then he felt something run down his face. He realised that he was bleeding from the nose. He couldn't exactly feel any extreme pains so he knew it wasn't broken, but it was a good hit.
"I'm lucky for more than one reason." He said to the man.
He spit out the urine that was in his mouth right into the face of the man. Then he freed himself from his bondage and instantly saw a throwing knife in the man's boot. Typical for someone to hide a weapon in a boot. He grabbed as well as the man himself and placed the knife to his neck.
"I would kill you, but you are rather pathetic and besides, I think it would be a waste of my life doing so seeing that your woman there would probably kill me on the spot. If she was in your spot, I would find much more worth in killing her. Now get me something more edible to drink now."
Hastings dropped the knife and then turned around, placing his hands behind his back to be retied. Escape at this point was impossible, but he wanted to prove a point to this man. He was not to be messed with.

The setting changes from Valcrest to The Ruins (Healer's camp)

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Lena first took the letter and read it over, taking some time to make out the blind girl's handwriting. After she was done reading it she nodded to herself and mumbled "Understandable." Then she looked at the young girl before her, having heard her questions and ignoring them while still a little lost in her thoughts.
After a moment or two had passed she finally answered. "I am leaving for Blackpond. There I will ask to speak with their King. If my request is granted I will try to make him reconsider his current attitude towards our clan. If such meeting is not granted, then I will know for a fact that the matter is not open to discussion. In which case I will be forced into a reaction."

She gave the girl a serious look as if she meant to tell her exactly what reaction meant, but instead she smiled slightly. "Something tells me I won't be gone very long though. If you have never been to Blackpond, maybe you would like to come along. You might not get another chance." Lena wasn't sure why she was asking the girl to come with her, but it wouldn't bother her, so why not?

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Mageria had jerked forward to try and stop Hastings from slitting Krander’s throat, but had forgotten the wound and nearly tripped at the sudden fiery pain that lanced up and down her leg. She gritted her teeth and fought down the sudden urge to beat the both of them over the head for being so stupid.
“If you both are done trying to prove which of you is tougher than the other, perhaps we could get on with the more important things?”
Her voice was icy sharp and her eyes had lightened to an off grey color. She walked over to Hastings and retied his ropes, making sure that they were secure but not so tight as to cause harm. Pushing him down onto his stool, she pulled a small silver flask from the pocket of her cloak and took a sip before offering him some. It was a well aged brandy that she kept for special occasions, mostly after battles where she wasn’t sure if she had won or lost. She could see that he was one of those who craved strong drink, which meant that the loss of such would be more keenly felt than a threat would be.

She shifted again, feeling the ache in every muscle in her body. She was, perhaps getting too old and battered for this kind of thing.
“Now, much as I might choose otherwise, we are going to treat you in the same way that we would hope that one of our people would be treated if they were captured by your people.” Her tone clearly made this a warning for Krander as well as a promise for Hastings.
“There has been far too much blood spilled this day, and I for one am getting sick of it.”
She limped closer to Hastings, staying out of lunge reach, and looked him straight in the eyes.
“Now, Second Lieutenant Hastings of the Blackpond army, why is it that your King continues to fight everyone he comes across? He attacks Newhaven, which is bad enough, but he’s attacking the Whiteshadows as well. Which plainly is madness.”
She loosened her shoulders, hearing her armor creak.
“Why is he doing this? What could he possibly hope to gain?” 


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#, as written by Tyce
Krander stood up after punching the man and was taken aback by the fact that he had escaped his ties. By the time he realized that his own urine penetrated his eyes. He screamed rather loudly but not to enlightened volume. Next thing he knew, with his eyes burning, he was on the ground, his own blade to his neck. He listened:

"I would kill you, but you are rather pathetic and besides, I think it would be a waste of my life doing so seeing that your woman there would probably kill me on the spot. If she was in your spot, I would find much more worth in killing her. Now get me something more edible to drink now."

Krander knew he was in no danger, not for the fact that he thought the man was weak, oh no, but because of his ability. He knew that he could have launched the man into the air, perforating his ear drums if he needed to. He laid there holding back laughter at the irony of the whole event.

He watered his eyes and double checked the ropes for tying. Mageria had done a good job.

"Lionel, strip down bare and walk around camp four times please. Do not cover yourself, and be sure to be seen. I assume you were the one who did not die up our, " he paused, " Guest properly."

Lionel slowly began to strip and walked outside.

After Mageria had spoken he interjected, "Do not think I underestimated you Hastings. Believe it or not I have done my homework. Just know this: The moment you didn't kill me will not only be the moment you regret most, but also the moment all of Blackpond will regret most." He then awaited his answers to Mageria's questions.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Newhaven

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Evin found it very easy to get into Newhaven undetected. The broken sewer grate had not been fixed since he last visited about five months ago. It seemed like no one had noticed it, it wasn't even guarded. The simplicity was just great. He thought about the time when he had gone in with Ali over a year ago. It was exactly the same as it was last time. Surprisingly clean too.
Evin wondered what Ali was doing when he was leaving camp. He had seen her walking around in the White Shadows' cloak when he walked out. It appeared that she might have been traveling back to the Ruins to visit or something.
Evin didn't have much trouble continuing down the streets. He avoided busy roads and tried to stay in the dark alleyways. Things would be a little more difficult in a few hours when the curfew started. Curfew for the people of Newhaven was at ten at night until seven. Security is doubled and almost no street isn't watched. He would have to kill a few people if he got stuck in a bad spot. He knew ways around this though and it was really only a last ditch effort. Of course, since security had been heightened after the death of their 'king', Evin wasn't sure what exactly to expect at night.
When Evin got to his destination, in a narrow alleyway, he made sure no one was looking. There was a door there. This was the old house of Jake last he remembered. When he tried to open the door though, it was locked. This would have to wait. Instead he headed towards the castle to look through the archives.
When he got to the castle, it looked a lot different from the last time he had seen it. One could tell just from the condition of the stone where the destruction took place after that massive explosion Perry caused. That got Evin thinking.
Did Perry mean for this to happen? Did he know that he was outnumbered in the fight and wanted to take us down with him. Well he did a good job.
Evin approached the entrance to the castle. He had dressed himself up as an elderly before he had entered Newhaven, he hoped it was a good enough disguise. It was only about ten minutes until curfew when he made it to the drawbridge where he was stopped by two men who stood guard.
"Oh, don't mind me sirs," Evin trying his best to mimic one of the elderly men he saw on the streets as he was walking here, "I'm just here to pay my taxes. I couldn't pay the tax collector when he come to my door you see, and now I have the money. I would like to give it to the collector personally."
The guard didn't speak, he just grunted and motioned Evin to follow. It seemed the plan had worked. The only problem here was the escort. He would have to get rid of the man silently. As they passed over the drawbridge, Evin began to remember the faithful battle only a year ago. The moment when he first really intended to kill the man was when he was standing on the drawbridge he stood on now. Then of course, the courtyard that followed. Stains of blood could still be seen on the statue where the Shadow had impaled himself. To die because a man tripped over you, what a pathetic way to go, although Perry deserved it.
Evin walked further along the courtyard and finally through the big doors at the main entrance of the castle. The incredibly spacious place, decorated along the sides with suits of armour and fancy portraits. No one else but them were there. It was odd to see such a large space and be one of the only two to be in it. Now was Evin's chance. The guard was walking a few paces ahead of Evin. It was as simple as a kick to the back of the head to cause the man to pass out. Evin realised his next problem, hiding the body.
Evin searched for a place in this barren space to place a body, but found nothing. Then he realised something. He went over to the suit of armour and dismantled it. He began to place the pieces of armour onto the man. It took him about ten tense minutes to put the full thing on. It looked very sloppy and he was sure that the cleaners would find him in the morning.
For now, he was off to the library where the archives were.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Valcrest]
Ella couldn't hear to much of what Jake and Ali were saying. At least, she believed it was Jake from the sound of the voice, she could see him no where. Ella herself was up in one of the trees. She had been following Ali since she left camp. She was so curious to see what was happening. Slowly though she began to get board. Ali had stopped talking. The conversation was obviously over now and Ella started playing with her ring.
The ring was beautiful and was the only thing that she had to remember anything about her family. She was told that her mother left it with her when she left her at the orphanage. Although Ella didn't care too much about her past family, the ring seemed a little more special and only because of it's beauty. It was white gold with a large emerald in the middle. Around that was a bunch of small diamonds that had the most beautiful shimmer when the sun was out.
Ella found herself a little too distracted by her ring. Before she knew it, her foot slipped and she fell out of the tree and into a bush. She was sure that she would have been heard by Ali. Her and Ali got along really well though. They talked a lot. Hopefully, she could talk her way out of this one. She poked her head out of the bush she was tangled in.
"Hi!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Valcrest]
Hastings decided that it would be best to stay honourable. Besides, he already had found a flaw in Krander that he was going to use to it's fullest potential. The moral of this army must have been terrible if punishments were as strict as what he just witnessed. Poor Lionel, having to do such a thing. It was the perfect storm for his newly formulated plan.
Krander began to speak:
"Do not think I underestimated you Hastings. Believe it or not I have done my homework. Just know this: The moment you didn't kill me will not only be the moment you regret most, but also the moment all of Blackpond will regret most."
"My friend, I will kill you one day, but I intend to do so with honour on the battlefield, no matter how deplorable your actions are."
He wasn't going to listen to any more of what that sick man had to say. It wasn't even worth his breath. Instead he directed his attention to the woman. She had asked him a question, and it was worth answering.
"Rory beliefs are different than mine and I cannot say for myself why he wishes to attack the White Shadows. I on the other hand wish to force them into submission. They would work for us on our men and our men alone. I have no intentions to kill them, just use them." He said.
Hastings glanced over to his right. He noticed that the other guard standing there was nervous. His gaze directed towards Krander. He would be out of this camp in no time.

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Mageria shook her head and turned away, disgusted with what Hastings was saying. It was an insane plan, one that couldn’t possibly end well. On the other hand, it was such a bad plan, and would cause such trouble for Blackpond, that she was almost tempted to let it happen. Almost.

Years ago the White Shadows had saved her life while she wandered about as a mercenary. She might not agree with the way that they were allied with the Pack, but the healers deserved to have the same choices of everyone else. She had always left orders that any healers that showed up were to be shown respect and allowed to do their work. And the idea of trying to force into submission an entire clan of Enlightened . . . . purest folly. If not for the fact that Blackpond attacking the WhiteShadows would send the realm even further into chaos, she would gladly give them the chance to get taken apart in a variety of interesting and painful ways. Only a fool angers the people who know how to put you back together, because those people are also the one’s who know how to take you apart.

Mageria turned back to Hastings, absently rubbing the scar on her cheek. She watched him closely, alert for the least change in his expression. There was a thought that had been worrying at the back of her mind for a very long time now, and she finally had the chance to perhaps get an answer. She hadn’t missed the way that Hastings referred to ‘Rory’. Such a lack of title meant that he must feel very close and comfortable to the King indeed. Down by her side one hand fiddled with her silver flask, intentionally catching the light with it to draw his attention. Any weapon at hand, right? When she spoke her voice was gentle and deceptively mild.
“So, your Rory. Did he contract with the Pack to kill our King?”

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#, as written by Tyce
Krander sighed a breath of relief, but not physically, more mentally.

'You cannot win at a battle of the ignorant because of them he is king.' he thought to himself.

He watched as Mageria handled the situation and watched as Lionel came back in shivering. Krander got a blanket out of a chest in the corner and brought it to Lionel.

"Here you go son. Go get dressed." He patted him on the rear and sent him on his way.

'Oh, Phelix,' he thought, 'I sure hope wherever you are you are having a better time than I am.'

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The moment Jake stepped foot inside the Wolfpack camp, several actives walked up to him asking for assistance on their assignments. Jake gave them all the excuse that Crys wanted to see him, however, he didn't go looking for her. First he went into the dining area and sat down at one of the tables. The cook from the night before glared at him severely, which caused him to snort out a chuckle. "I'm sorry... I've been having a tough week."
"We don't actually have food to spare, you know that." The woman said, frowning.
"I know, Bethany. Again, I apologize." Jake mumbled, closing his eyes and rubbing his temples.

Suddenly he realized the woman had sat across from him. "Has Crystal rejected you, Jacob?"
Jake opened his eyes quickly and frowned at the woman. "What are you talking about?"
"I see you following that girl around since you two were only children Jake. All of a sudden you seem to be avoiding her completely. I assumed she might have rejected you."
Jake sighed, pressing his forehead against the wooden table. "If only it was just that simple." he mumbled.
"What did you say, dear?" The woman asked, curiously.
"I just have been very stressed lately. I see no reason why I should expose Crys to my problems, specially now." He stated, more clearly.
"So she didn't..."
"That... Is none of your concern." Jake cut the woman off before she actually asked the question. He knew where that conversation was heading, and he didn't really like it. He didn't mean to be rude to the woman, she had known him since his arrival in the clan, and Crys since birth. He owed her that much respect, but thinking about the personal implications of his mission was something his mind wouldn't bear at this point. He nodded. "Excuse my manners, it's been... Complicated."
The woman simply smiled. "Say no more. However I do worry about the two of you. Crys has been more and more alone since her father died. It can't be good for her. And you..." She nodded, a small sigh escaping her. "It is apparent that something is seriously troubling you, boy. You should talk to someone about this."
He smiled as he stood up to leave. "No... I just need to make it less apparent."

Then a boy entered the dining area, Jake recognized him a being Ali's recruit. "Jacob... Crystal wants to speak with you. Now."
"Of course. Where is she?"
"At home." The boy answered, before running off.
Jake sighed. There was no way to avoid this now. He left the dining hall and made his way to Crystal's cabin.

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Ali had finished her apple and was silently going over what Jake had said. It would be unwise to go around asking questions, healers don't do that. Keeping her cover was important as well. However, he had a point: Files can be destroyed. "Hum..." She mumbled, ideas suddenly forming in her mind. "That might work." She whispered to herself. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of someone crashing down into the bushes. Ali nodded quietly, a smile spreading across her lips. "What is it with recruits and their inability to stay on top of trees?" She mumbled in an amused tone. When she heard Ella's voice though, she simply couldn't help it anymore and broke down in laughter. "You really want to make Evin murder you, don't you?" Ali asked, standing up and watching the girl. She nodded a little bit. "I don't have time to escort you back to camp, although I should, and it would be highly irresponsible to let a recruit wander off alone, so... I guess you're coming with me to Newhaven. If we survive, then Evin can kill you... That if you're lucky."

With that said, she started walking down the path that led to the city of Newhaven. Still laughing a little while doing so.

---------------------------------------

[Assassin's Camp]

Crys was sitting on her bed, fiddling with the metal chain around her neck. She heard the front door open, but no footsteps. "Over here Jacob."
Jake's steps were slow, hesitant, he was dreading this encounter. Crys laid back on the bed. She had her arms crossed under her head, in a similar way to how her mother laid back to think, and let out a small sigh while waiting.
She had made little changes to that room since she moved into that cabin. She removed her father's desk from its place on the corner of the room and moved it to the common room, where it once had been a long time ago, before her father moved in. Aside from her bed and own personal belongings, there was a small wooden table, two chairs and... A book shelf. Those were the contents of Crys' room. Everything in its exact place where she could easily find all that she needed. Her weapons, at their respective sheathes, on the right side of the bed, a jar of water and a glass on top of the small table, no window. Life as been that way for Crys for as long as she could remember it: Everything in its place, at a calculated number of steps away.

When Jake finally stepped into the room he stopped by the door and didn't move.
"Sit." Crys told him, pointing at one of the chairs.
Jake moved, as he walked towards the chair she counted his steps. The chair was out of place, she had tripped over it when she walked in and hadn't bothered to fix it. He let out a sigh as he sat down. "So... Do you have something you want to talk to me about, or... This is about me failing to report?"
Crys nodded. "Both. First thing... I have a question that needs an answer."
"What question?"

"I know you are hiding something from me. I understand that, under circumstances, it's necessary. What I don't understand is why you are so upset."
"I'm not..." He started.
"Oh, don't you dare lie to me Jacob." She warned him, in a cold tone of voice. "Even without my ability I know you all too well, so don't bother lying. Something is eating you up inside. What is it?" She frowned at the ceiling as she asked the question. She could hear his heart banging against his chest as he obviously tried to find an answer that would be acceptable.
"I just don't want to talk about it right now." He stated.
"Why not?" She asked, a little more calm since he was finally being honest.
"If I do, I'll have to lie. I don't want to lie to you, obviously you find that annoying." He explained casually.
"Obviously." She agreed, in an irritated tone. "You surely understand why this bothers me, don't you?"
He sighed. "I know, Crys... I really... I'm sorry. I will tell you eventually, I promise."
She nodded. "So you don't understand why it bothers me. You just think I mistrust you."
"I would if I were you."
"You're not me. So don't try to guess what I feel like." Crys sighed.
"Right... I know for a fact that it annoys you." He chuckled. "I'm sorry. Why does this bother you then?"

She sat up and stared at him. "I'm worried, you idiot. You're getting careless, Evin spotted you at the Black Knight's camp."
Jake sighed. "He's not sure of what he saw. Otherwise he would have put his knife to my throat instead of trying to question me."
Crys nodded. "Don't underestimate Evin, Jake. No matter what answer you gave him... He didn't buy it."
"Where is he? Speaking of it."
"Who knows? When he gets himself in some sort of trouble or feels the need to gloat, I'll find out." She stated, in a half amused tone.
Jake laughed. "With my luck he'll probably come back bragging about how he caught a traitor"
Crys frowned at him for the joke. "I wouldn't doubt it. Watch your back, will you?"

"Alright, I will." Jake sighed. "Crys... Don't get me wrong, but... What the hell are the books for?"
She laughed. "Oh, these..." She sighed. "These are my mother's journals. I keep them here so people won't touch them."
"What about your father's journals?" Jake asked, curiously. He had seen Bastian write in his journals. He was constantly making notes.
"I never found them. I think he might have stashed them somewhere... You know dad, he was a little odd." She chuckled.
"Have you been... Eating, sleeping... All that?" He asked.
"Yes, I have." Crys stated. "You?"
"I've been trying. It's getting harder and harder to sleep though." He admitted.
Crys sighed. "Are you sure you don't want to abort this whole mission?"
"I'm sure I can take a little more, don't worry about it." Jake mumbled.
"I'm not so sure about that Jake."
"I'll let you know when I've had enough. I promise I will." He stated. "There are few things I still think I can do."
"Who will you be doing it for?" She asked, seriously.
He chuckled. "I do everything for you. You know that."
Crys sighed. "Sure you do... " Then she laid back on the bed and nodded. "Very well, Jacob... Report."

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Blanditia nodded and smiled happily, "now?" she asked and wanted to leave now; something in her was drawing her toward the city. She figured the chain on her neck, the simple gold chain was braided and well made which made. She looked worried and tired but excited, she played with her golden hair with an excited smile at Lena.

{{sorry its short}}

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Hastings hacked out a laugh when Margeria had asked him about the king's assassination. It was almost ridiculous to think that Blackpond would ever even associated with the Wolf Pack. Blackpond didn't like those Pack members just as much as Newhaven did, but they had no reason to attack like Newhaven did. What really made Hastings laugh though was how aggressively they went after the Wolf Pack when it was obviouse that their army couldn't handle battling on two fronts.
"It seems like it would've been a good idea to use the assassin's to take out your king, but the fact is, we don't like the assassin's all to much either. We can't trust that they wont do the same thing to us and kill our king. We don't want to take that risk."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Valcrest]
Ella didn't really say anything else to Ali. She understood exactly what she had just told her. Evin would kill her if he ever found out that she went along with Ali to where ever she was going. Actually, Evin would probably kill Ali if he ever found out she brought Ella along with her to where ever she was going. She was taking a big risk doing this and she had to be grateful.
After a couple more hours of traveling, things were just getting a little weird. Neither of them were speaking to each other. She understood why. Ali was probably mad at her for doing this, and she should have known better than to follow Ali out of the camp.
"Why were you speaking to Jake? I didn't see him, but I knew he was there." She hoped that this subject wasn't to touchy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Newhaven]
There was nothing here, nothing at all. Evin had spent hours looking through these archives, and surprisingly, he hadn't been bothered at all.
Jake's records had been completely erased from the archives. There wasn't even a record of him from when he became a citizen of Newhaven back when he was expelled from the Wolf Pack. Evin knew then that something was wrong, but he couldn't put his finger on it. He closed the book that he had been reading and rested his head on it for a few minutes of rest.

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Lena chuckled at the girl's reaction. "Yes, now. I'm leaving this instant." She looked the young apprentice over to make sure she didn't seem to tired to travel that distance. She did seem tired, but not excessively. "We might cross the battlefield on our way there and possibly the encampments where the Newhaven soldiers are stationed, so... Stay close to me at all times. We wouldn't want any incidents." With that final instruction Lena started walking off towards the main entrance of the camp. As she passed then entrance she whispered words to Alistair and then added in an audible tone. "I'll keep in touch." Not elaborating on how exactly she planned to keep in touch. No more words were spoken as the healer headed out for Blackpond, assuming the girl would follow.

---------------------

[Valcrest]

Ali didn't even notice she had been completely ignoring Ella for hours. She wasn't upset with the girl, after all she had done far worse when she was a recruit, she was simply lost in thought. Between what Jake had told her and the actual task at hand, she was confused on what to do. Impersonating a healer was a disrespect, if Lena was to find out what Crys had ordered her to do there would be trouble. The White Shadows were the only actual ally of the Wolfpack, that was one major risk that she was taking.
When Ella spoke Ali stopped walking, letting out a little sigh. "Jake was heading back to camp and stopped to give me some input." She shrugged. "I don't know where he was coming from though. I haven't really talked to him since he came back or since I came back... Doesn't matter." She shrugged slightly. Jake had been strange ever since he came back, she didn't really like that, but she didn't actually have the time to think about it.

She started walking again slowly, but less silent this time. "So, we're getting close to the city now, so pay attention... I'm impersonating a healer. That should grant me access to the city, the castle grounds and the library, which is great. However, if I'm identified as an assassin I'll be dead... If I'm lucky." She paused trying to push away that possibility. "So, I want you to walk one step behind me at all times, only speak if you're spoken to and if asked, only if asked, tell them you are my assistant, got it?" Ali had worked as an assistant the year she stayed in the ruins, as punishment, and for a reason: Assistants were the lowest life forms on that camp. Much like being a recruit at the Wolfpack, but a little bit worse. Still, it was the only explanation for someone traveling with a White Shadow and not wearing the characteristic white robe nor being enlightened. Then she added in a severe tone. "I imagine you have something on you, anything, that identifies you as once being citizen of Newhaven, correct? So, if I happen to get arrested, show them whatever it is and tell them I captured you. If you can cry it'll be better. Unless we happen to be dealing with an actual Knight, they should let you go." She said all that casually as if she was talking about the weather. Not worrying about being heard. She knew for fact that there was no one around.

Ali crossed her arms behind her head as she walked. "Argh, I hate these robes... I swear, Crys is going to get it for making me do this." She muttered, deciding to express her discomfort now before they actually made it to city. She opened a little smirk and added in an amused tone. "So, how's Evin treating you?" Ali thought that if she could imagine something worse than training under Crys' command, that'd be training under Evin's command. At least Crys was forced to be sympathetic, either she wanted to or not. Didn't make it any better though. "My first week of training Crys literally used me for target practice. I still have the scars." She chuckled. "She has an impressive aim for a blind person. Just my luck."

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--Headed South--


Thomas hummed softly as he rode through the forest. It had been a stoke of luck to run across the bandits earlier that day, as it had lead to him getting some cloths that had been better suited to wandering about the forest, and traveling food. It had also earned him a bit of an escort before they had to get back to where ever it was that they were denning up. So here he was, dressed a bit more like a bandit, and traveling alone once again. On the other hand, once he passed back by, he had the feeling that they would come in handy. He had to remember to make an effort to recruit some of them once things settled down. Most of his contacts were based in and around the city, including the net that Mageria had set up. He snorted softly. The poor girl thought that she was being so secret, and she really had done well, but he was better.

He shifted restlessly before settling back down in the saddle. At the rate he was going, he was going to find the Southlands sooner than he thought. Whether or not he could walk by the time he got there remained to be seen.

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Jake was about done telling Crys absolutely everything he had seen and heard since the past days. Wasn't all that much, but there were useful details there that she could use. He seemed tired, she could tell. She sighed. "Do you want to lay down a bit?"
"No, it's..." He yawned mid-sentence, and completed it laughing. "Alright. I haven't been sleeping well, but if I try to sleep during the day it gets worse, so..." He sighed. "I can manage."

Crys nodded. "You are too stressed, Jake. It really worries me." She sat up on the bed facing him.
Jake chuckled. "Then stop that."
"Stop what?" She asked, a little confused.
"Stop saying I worry you. I doesn't really help relieve the stress." He explained, then changed the subject. "Do you ever wonder what is written in these journals? There are about..." He stopped to count the books.
"Twenty six books." Crys completed, standing up and taking one. "Sure I wonder, but... I don't know how to ask someone to read these for me. I mean, I'm not sure my mother would have appreciated that."
"You have a point there." Jake agreed. "However... When you write a journal you instantly assume someone will eventually read it, right?"
Crys sighed. "Alright." She stated handing out the book to him.
Jake immediately pushed the book back to her. "I can't do that."
"Why not?"
"It's... Dani's personal business." He mumbled. "I simply can't."
Crys nodded, standing up and putting the book back in its place. "Exactly." She stated

At that moment a hesitating voice called from the other room. "Crystal?"
Crys nodded and walked out of her bedroom and into the room where the active had called out for her. "Dennis. What can I do for you?"
"There is a man dressed as a bandit coming into out territory, heading south. He doesn't seem to be a bandit though."
Crys sighed. "What makes you say that?" She asked.
"He is riding alone and he doesn't carry himself as a bandit. He looks... Noble, actually."
Crys frowned slightly going over the infor,ation. "You don't say? How long until he comes this way."
"A few hours, I assume. Should we intercept him?" Dennis asked her.
"No... I'll go. I want to meet this person."
"What?" Jake's voice sounded in her ear.
"I want to know who he is and what he wants in the desert. I'm interested."
"Crys, what if he is a Knight?" Jake asked.
"What if he is? Do you think he is going to simply kill off a blind girl? Even if he tried, I'm not exactly a pushover." She said, with a little smirk. Taking the katana from where she had left it and walking out of the cabin.
"Even so... If you go, then I'm going with you." He stated following her.
Crys nodded, laughing. "Honestly... You miss following me around, don't you?"
Jake sighed. "You have no idea. Seriously though, you are approaching him like this? Anyone can identify you as an assassin miles away Crys."

She nodded, leading the way out of camp. "True. However, it is now common knowledge that this is our territory, so if he is not out here hunting us, then he is doing something far more important. I'd like to know what that is." She stopped walking as soon as they crossed the main entrance. "So... I'm simply going to inquire him and let him be on his way. You, on the other hand, are going to follow. Carefully."
Jake nodded. "Alright. You might want to stop talking to me now too. You know, I'm not really here."
Crys nodded, walking towards the trail and stopping in a spot where she was sure to be seen, waiting for the man to come riding past them.

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-Outside the Camp-

Thomas rolled his shoulders to loosen them. Hours of riding wore on both the body and the mind, leaving him exhausted and bored almost out of his mind. Being as he was alone, he had to stay alert, but it was almost impossible at the rate he was going. To try and stay alert he started listing all of his agents in the order of importance and planing what he was going to send them on next. That took a couple of hours. After that he started making plans on how he was going to track down the former Queen once he got to the desert. The only problem with that was that since he didn’t know what the situation was going to be like, he couldn’t really make any real plans. The best he could do was to make plans about how to make plans. Once he realized that he was planing how to plan, he decided that he really needed to think about something else.

Of course, that was the moment that he turned down a twist in the path and saw a young woman standing in the road. The moment he saw her, several things passed through his mind at once. One was that she was dressed like an assassin. Assassins don’t travel alone, which meant that there was probably more in the trees to either side of her. The second thought was that he was grateful that he was dressed rough, nothing like the White Knight or noble that he was. He slouched in the saddle, assuming a posture that was no better than a common bandit might have.

His eyes flicked his eyes over the woman as he drew closer. Now he could see that she carried a katana, not a common weapon. Still, the odds were rather low that she was hear to kill him directly, and he would have heard if the Pack had started killing off the bandits. The crew that he had run into earlier would have warned him if that was the case. So, best idea was to simply ride past her and go on his way. Carefully, he drew off to the side so that he didn’t crowd her and nodded as he got closer.
“Good Day, miss.”

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#, as written by Seerow
(At the site of the battle, before Blackpond.)

The dead lay patiently never eager to be and in their silence they had a profound presence. Both threatening and serene. Grim remained vigilant in his work. Setting to rest those that he could, knowing he’d never get to all who had fallen. It was a calling of kindness a gentleness that was contained. Reserved with pity for those who paid the ultimate price. He was still a Black Knight and he still defended Newhaven despite his misgivings on how his kingdom was acting.
He didn’t even notice the group of men approaching until they had circled themselves around where he kneeled. Their shadows casting Grim into a darkness with their ill intent. The first voice called out.
“Leave em’ alone yew bastard!”

Grim beheld four ragged men looming threateningly toward him. Though each possessed bits of armor it took hardly a keen eye to tell they weren’t soldiers. Likely workers of the field that were armed for difficult times. They reeked of sweat and soil, and their gaze was hard with the toils of loss. The Black Knight could see the bitter sting of resentment. Calmly he rose to his feet though the farmers remained their determination too great to intimidate on size alone.

“I mean you no harm, I was praying for those who ar-”
“You were stealin’ from our kin thief. I ave’ half a mind to cut ya down where yew stand.”

Grim threw up his hands dropping his blade helpless beside his feet. It was too late to avoid conflict the first of the earth tenders made his mistake. A sickle flew through the air and his aim was well from threshing wheat for his blade took Grim’s flesh and bit deep. Digging into the underside of his right arm. Grim staggered back curling around his wound as though death itself had taken his arm with an icy grip. The farmers were taken aback by surprise knowing well their forerunner’s attack was far from serious how little they knew.
Pondus shuddered trembling throughout every inch of his form. Shaking with such ferocity that his armor clacked and clanked from the rattling. Whispers were spewed with intensity praying for the souls of the farmers, begging for mercy. Seeking out to unheard ears before he sunk into the darkness. Thrown from reality to a pit where he knew the beast waited. It hungered and anticipated with a predators thirst. It’s unwavering stare watching with untold patience for the chance to devour once again.
“Run! Please!”
Grim could hardly hear his own voice against the wind, though he knew he screamed them with all his might. The unnamed feeling welling up from inside it’s tainted magic tearing through the skin. Holding its wickedness in his heart. The gentle emerald eyes became engulfed in a red haze burning with such intensity that allowed scarlet lights to wisp from his skull. Grim was gone, what remained was what his men called War.

The sickle-wielder hadn’t the chance to escape. A great hand took to his throat and try as he might the weapon he swung bounced harmlessly from his captor’s shell. The fingers curled drawing the ragged man’s veins to view, the vessels pumping blood at such an alarming rate that they threatened to burst. Suffocation is a terrible end. The farmer rasped and clutched dangling like a hanged man from the brute’s clutches. Worry not the peasant didn’t suffer long. Grim’s skull crashed square with the man’s face, the bloodied remains an unidentifiable mush that was cast to the dirt.
The next was caught from behind having tried to escape the hell unleashed upon him. The Black Knight had wrenched his helm free tossing it betwixt the feet of another runner. The prey in his arms already fastened against his chest by a single arm. As though he were a wild beast Grim sank his teeth deep into the dirty worker’s neck biting deeply and rending as he pulled free. Swallowing the gobbet of flesh only to return for seconds. A few more great chomps and the victim buckled from the pain and blood loss going limp in his arms, he was promptly discarded.
Flailing desperately against the ground was another farmer. His legs having been tripped up by a great black helm. Clawing the dirt to gain leverage that he may pull himself free but it was too late the armored hulk was on him. Taking him up by his sides Grim forced the farmer to his back so that he could dwell on the terrorized face of this lowly creature.
“You look so scared heathen, out of sight out of mind!”
His hands reached for the thug’s skull. Cradling the sides of his face with both palms. The ends of both thumbs taking the tormented man’s eyes. Blood and liquids oozed from the wounds pouring down over a screaming mouth. The cry of anguish mingled with Grim’s own laughter light and careless. A joy to the Black Knight reveling in the agony giggling at the horror.
“I will destroy you, all of you! Die maggot of Blackpond. Die, die.. Die Die!”
The thumbs pushed harder sinking and gouging with renewed strength. When the life wouldn’t be snuffed the Knight’s grin only broadened. They were going to play a little longer. Calmly he removed his hands and wedged his bloodied digits into the farmer’s mouth. Two palms were inversed facing the roof and bottom, with a curl of his fingers he gripped both of the helpless thing’s jaws. Gauging carefully placed power he began to separate them. Forcing the maw wide open enough that he could gaze down the wretch’s throat. Literally seeing where the cries were omitted. Further apart they went, and beyond even that limitation. The red eyes lit up like a fire of hate finding thrill at what his toy could take. More pressure was applied and the mouth cracked finally blood seeping from where the break occurred. The toad was soon gone and there was nothing left to fight. The fourth and final gang member having actually escaped.

Grim rose from his feet releasing his captive. The rage was shedding from him. It’s strange control was breaking up and the danger was passing. A quick stomp ended the third man’s life, the only merciful act left. The crimson seemed to smoke out returning his eyes to their green hue and freeing Pondus from the hate. He had nothing more to say there was nothing he could do now. Picking his helm up gingerly he began his trek back to camp. Being sure to collect his broadsword as well. Heedless to the body fluids caked all over his gloves. Wallowing in his own lonely thoughts.

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(worked this scene out with Seerow earlier)
-Trickster-
Hastings had just claimed that Blackpond had nothing to do with the death of Newhaven’s King when one of Mageria’s soldiers stuck his head in the tent and whispered urgently to her. She listened with her head cocked to the side before turning back to Krander.
“There’s something that I have to take care of. I’ll be right back.” She turned and ducked quickly out, pausing only order the men standing outside to not let their guard down at all. Then she was hurrying away toward the former battlefield. Some of the men had seen Pondus attacked, and were luckily too far away to try and come to his aid. It was lucky, because when Grim was in the grip of his rage, he could not tell friend from foe. Once he came to his senses, he was safe enough, but most of the men were still afraid to draw his attention. Which meant that it was up to her to make sure that he was OK.

Mageria stalked through the camp, her grim appearance keeping the soldiers away as much as her black armor. It took her only a few questions to find where Grim was and it was time for a long overdue chat with him. With hints of a limp still showing beyond what she could conceal, she made her way up behind him.
"Pondus. Report." Her voice was distinctly cool and her eyes had started to shade to a lighter color.

-Seerow
The hulking man was startled at his discovery, having been so entrenched within his own thoughts that anyone could have caught him unaware. Mageria’s voice sounded strong in the Black Knight’s ears. She was his captain and much more, a savior and redeemer, a leader and threshold against all the madness. It was upon her shoulders that he cast his doubts and fears only to find there was still resolve. A finer captain, he believed, then any in Newhaven.
Wheeling about on his feet he came to attention. Standing straight and pulling his helm free from his head. Allowing his dark locks to fall freely about his face. His emerald eyes locked with her own and he gave a salute with his free hand.
“We have won the battle before Blackpond, but to take the city and keep I advise would be an exercise in disaster. The casualties just from such a short skirmish were more then what either city could hope for. However, we have high morale and I believe the enemy now holding within his stone house stews in bitterness.
The Wolfpack remains where it is encamped. If I had to guess they’re resolved to stay put. Jake mentioned a new leader has been selected and that their trust is at its weakest point. He also mentioned that the Wolves were hoping to bargain with Blackpond for support. The truth about that particular rumor, however, is somewhat hazy at best. There is much confusion in the Pack and it could be that high ranking members are acting of their own accord.”

Of course Grim opted to keep Evin from the report. There was much at stake both personally and professionally should it be found out he let a Wolf walk into his camp, and then walk out. He was careful to keep his gaze locked not wishing to appear nervous or uneasy.

-Trickster-
Mageria nodded and shifted to the side to take the weight off her injured leg. The results of the battle were not what she had hoped, but more htan she could have expected with such evenly matched armies. She hated the blood spilled, but still she fought, in order to protect teh people that she had sworn her oaths to.
“We’ve given Blackpond something to think about at the very least. We captured one of their commanders, Hastings by name.” She arched a sardonic eyebrow. “He and Krander are getting along wonderfully. As for the Pack, we’re stepping back the pressure for the moment so that they don’t have any reason to ally with Blackpond. We can’t afford to fight a war on two fronts. Not if the Pack is one of the fights.”

She stared for a moment at Grim, weighing his expression against what she already knew of his experience at the camp with the Pack members that had ‘snuck’ in. She placed an enormous amount of trust in her Knights, and they repaid that with loyalty that was unmatched. Grim was more than the sum of his skills and his Enlightenment, he was someone she could always trust at her back, in or out of a fight. The fact that he hadn’t said anything about the assassins . . . could be taken in more than one way. But she had placed her trust in him and that was not something that she did lightly. Therefore, there had to be a damn good reason for what he did, and what he wasn’t saying. But she had to know. She stepped closer and lowered her voice enough that their words wouldn’t carry more than a few feet.
“Grim, surely you know that by now Chandos has made his report. I know that three men died. I know that three assassins made their way into the camp. One of them talked to you, the other two seemed to be a distraction of some sort. And Chandos was quite . . . upset by the way you dealt with things.” That was an understatement if any, given that Chandos had been all but sputtering with anger and sported a rather colorful black eye that he carefully did not mention how he got. She searched Grim’s face, trying to make sense of things.
“What could he possibly have said, that made you let him go? Did he threaten you, blackmail or something? Whatever it was, we can make it go away, with no one else the wiser. But you need to tell me everything that happened.”

-Seerow-
The emerald orbs cast down from her careful watch part in shame and in contemplation. He considered Mageria’s words and they weighed heavily. There was much to consider, and the words would require a coloring of cleverness. He couldn’t possibly explain his actions on a hunch which for now was what they were. A part of him that knew he was kidding himself with a desperate and private hope. Yet he couldn’t let the matter lay it all had made so much sense. He had to find a solution or at least an explanation, thousands could be spared if what he believed within could be proven without.
He drew in a deep breath before daring to attempt to tell his tale. He returned his stare and in his face was certainty. The words that ebbed from his lips were hushed and held with a seriousness one could only find among those in misery.
“I have hunted the wolves as any other of our order. To each I always offered the same ultimatum. To surrender those responsible in exchange for our battle. Always the answer the same they would have death before ratting another out…

I was given something important. A chance Mageria. This war is going to destroy us all, The land of Valcrest has only two cities of formerly four. In all the land Mageria… there is only -two- cities. When does this madness stop? Who will safeguard the future if not Newhaven? Captain… I have something I must do. If I am wrong then nothing will have changed, but if what I understand is the truth. Then everything will have to alter.”

-Trickster-
Mageria studied the man standing before her. It was clear that he wasn’t going to tell her what had been said and equally clear that it was something that changed the way he viewed things enormously. Something was going on and if only the Pack wasn’t involved in it . . . She took a deep breath and nodded, her expression grave.
“Very well, Pondus. I’ll let you do what you feel you need to, on a few conditions. One, assassins lie. Remember that.” Old pain laced through her voice for just a moment. “Whatever they might have told you, make sure that you have found the truth of it all the way to the bottom. Two. Promise me you won’t do anything foolish. Alone, at least. We’re all that each other have, and we stand together. Always.” She reached forward and gently grasped his arm to emphasize her point, then stepped back.
“Is there anything that you need?”

-Seerow-
Grim gave a sort of sad smile. He knew Mageria worried, they were slowly losing ground on membership. There were fewer Black Knights now then ever and of the four only two were fielded. This lead to some wondering about Jake and Set, he hoped they were well. When he pulled from his trance he found the sensation of touch, she was always worried about her knights.
“You needn’t be concerned my journey will take me only back to Newhaven. I will be absolutely certain and I’ll report to you once I know for sure.”
He reflected on his words earlier and couldn’t help but return his doubts back into the conversation.

“I understand your misgivings Captain. I myself am no sympathizer to the Wolves. If there’s a chance for peace or at least reconciliation with either of our enemies, it would mean the lives of many would be saved from open battle. M’lady I believe we must put aside our differences sooner then anyone will want.”

There is was nothing more he could offer. Of course Grim would continue to serve Newhaven as best he could. Still he was enthralled by Evin’s words a personal discovery that could mean much more. Better yet it could mean an answer to so many questions. He promptly turned and retreated back toward the encampment. With Mageria’s blessings he decided to embark on his quest as soon as possible.

-Trickster-
Mageria watched him walk away before sighing under her breath.
“If only it was that easy, my friend.” She turned away herself and made her way back to her tent, meaning to adjust the bandages that she had used earlier. She was not entirely surprised to find the note from Jake, and immediately put the bandages to good use. They did burn like someone was holding an iron to them, but she had no doubt that they would work as well as promised. Then she picked up the vial and examined it carefully before placing it in a pocket of her cloak. It might come in handy as well, if she could bring herself to use it. Then she pulled her cloak about her shoulders once more and made her way back to the prisoner's tent.

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[Outside the Pack camp]

The moment Jake caught a glimpse of the man that came riding towards them he whispered to Crys. "White Knight." He had seen Thomas in Newhaven. Crys didn't react except she gave him a very discrete sign which made him worry. It meant: "Whatever I do or say, don't move." Jake didn't like that sign at all, but he was forced to follow that order anyway.
When Thomas started riding past them and said "Good day, miss", Crys opened a pleasant smile and replied with "Good day indeed." However, her eyes glowed a brigther tone of green and the man's horse became slightly uneasy and stopped. Crys didn't move from where she was, she simply leaned against a tree casually. "Horses are sensitive creatures, are they not? They sometimes refuse to follow certain paths if there is imminent danger." She said that without any hint of threat in her tone. "So, may I ask what business brings you into my territory, sir?" She asked in a slightly more serious tone.

-----------------------------

[Battlefield, before Blackpond]

The travel from the plains to the northern end of the forest was silent. Lena was very much lost in thought and fighting the urge to visit the Wolfpack to see how things were doing. She knew she shouldn't though, so she simple moved along.
She did want to see the remains of the battlefield. The healers she sent to aid the injured had described it as a gruesome sight. That coming from a White Shadow was really something. She caught a bit of noise from where the soldiers were camped, but didn't turn that way, not yet. It might seem strange for anyone to actually want to see something like this, but Lena was different that way. She always wanted to see the ugly.

She was walking aimlessly and careless along the path in the woods, however her attitude changed and became more alert when she spotted the first of many dead bodies in the open field. The woman's blue eyes covered most of the battle grounds before she even took the first step. The sight of some bodies already properly arranged for burial, and the sight of fresh blood (amongst other things) intrigued her. Someone had already been there. Maybe more than one person, however, the fresh footprints near all the dead bodies, old and new, were very similar. Between the respectful gesture and the carnage, it was quite an intriguing contrast.

Lena walked amongst the bodies and severed parts, her eyes examining the dead as if she was able to actually retrieve any useful information from them. "Why won't Blackpond claim their dead?" She whispered to herself with a frown. She didn't understand why no one had come for those people when they probably had families who cared for them and deserved to bury their dead. It was simply ridiculous to deny those people the right to mourn.

Her eyes caught the sight of a man who seemed to have been bitten to death. The earth surrounding his body and a couple of others, soaked in blood. If Lena was to believe in monsters she would have sworn a very big one had gone through that place and turned three adults men into a bloody a mess. However, she never believed in any monsters or demons other than ones existent within mortal men. She looked at the ragged clothes in one of the corpses and knew then those weren't soldiers. With a small sigh she crouched down and touched the blood. "Come on, what happened to you?" She sighed, closing her eyes.

"Memories linger after death, Dani, I've seen it. Most people think they don't, but they matter. The last thought you have before your eyes go black... That thought usually goes to the one thing you left unsaid, or undone. Regret is the worse feeling, but it's usually our last."

"I have no regrets."

"Maybe because you won't be here to see the damage."

"I have faith in the people I'm leaving behind, Helena. I have faith that my clan is strong enough to hold together..."


Lena's own memories slipped away from her as others took their place. That man's last moments had been unpleasant ones indeed and yet Lena was able to maintain her focus long enough to relive every second until the very last. After which she jump to her feet, an intense blue glow still present as she opened her eyes. "Who are you?" She muttered. The sight of the black armored figure still fresh in her mind, fresh blood still in her hands. Her eyes finally stopped shining, a mix of fear and curiosity could be seen within them. Lena had seen a lot of things in her lifetime, but nothing compared to this.

After a split second of hesitation, she turned towards the Newhaven encampment. She had to see this man for herself.

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-Outside the Pack camp-

Thomas felt a moment of anxiety that he pushed to the back of his mind. The best way to sell a role was to believe it with all your mind. So he built a fortress inside his mind, one that hid the real him and left only what he would want someone else to see on the outside. The man he was pretending to be would be a bit worried, but he wouldn’t see any real harm in one slim girl standing along side the road. He filled the front of his mind with how tired he was, how sore, and how much he was looking forward to the end of his journey. When his horse pulled to a stop, he reached forward and stroked it’s neck, trying to calm it. Then he looked over and the girl and smiled charmingly.
“Beggin’ your pardon miss. I didn’t know that I might be crossing paths with a parcel of land that someone might be callin’ their own. If you’d be so kind as to point out the paths that I shouldn’t be wanderin’ down, I’d be glad to go on my way.”

He wanted to call upon his own Enlightenment, but given that the girl almost certainly had caused something to happen with his horse, then there was a chance that she could detect anything that he might try to do. He shifted a bit and glanced sidelong at the girl, sinking deeper into the role that he was portraying.
“As for my business young miss, while I might ask why you think you have the right to be askin’ me that, I’ll just say that it happens to be my own.”

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#, as written by Seerow
“Sir Pondus there’s an unusual figure approaching the site. Karas spotted her heading directly for us.”

Grim could have cared less. His personal journey filled his mind it occupied the entirety of his will. There wasn’t time for such little things. Could a single individual really cause so much trouble anyway? Besides Mageria was here and about a hundred other capable men. Why bring this to Grim’s attention? A quick glance about the immediate area explained everything. He just happened to be the highest ranking member available at the moment. Not to mention the closest having been floating around with the grunts rather then interrogating Hastings. A long sigh escaped disappointed lips. He wanted to head out right away, but his quest could wait a little longer.
Calmly he withdrew from his packing pulling the black helm carefully over his face once more. Taking up his blade that he may be prepared for anything. In secret he hoped the weapon wouldn’t be necessary. There was enough death for everyone he didn’t wish to add more to the body count. With a slow steady stroll he began to make his way in the direction the runner had mention their guest was to arrive.
It was quite a stroll and it surprised Grim just how far along the way Newhaven was watching. It was a lonely endeavor but then the Black Knight was going to have to get use to traveling alone. In a way he preferred the thinking time, but he hated being such an easy target. Many a mugger had met a bad end by targeting the wrong Knight.
When the figure finally came into view he could have slapped the runner with frustration. The flowing white robes and leisurely walk. She was one of the White Shadows or Grim was a fool. For such an alarm over the appearance of a healer was pointless. They were a peaceful clan so long as one didn’t try to hurt them. In fact they were often merited for their generosity and kindness.
He moved toward her without fear and continued till he was within hearing distance, stopping short before her pathway. He collected himself and gave a short bow of respect, proving he was no enemy of hers. Though he couldn’t hide his anticipation already swaying from side to side. His legs eager to find their way home hoping this little exchange wouldn’t be long. Despite all that he still spoke with respect not wishing to anger their guest.
“Greetings White Rose, I’m afraid the battle is long since over. Though if you wish it many could still use the hands of a talented healer. I’ve come on behalf of Newhaven to welcome you.”

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Blanditia had followed Lena dutifully, when she saw the bodies her hand instinctively went into the other arms sleeve to grasp the cuff bracelet that held her dagger, the beautifully made dagger with a gold hilt and diamonds on the edges on the blade itself, onyx stones decorated the hilt. It was old but it was beautiful and it was hers. It was one of the two things she had from her past, the past she couldn't remember. When she saw the emblem on on of the soldiers chest her heart lurched, she had never seen Blackpounds Crest before do to blood covering it or just not noticing but the symbol brought back a feeling in her chest. Fear.

Blanditia stopped in her tracks and stared, a memory semi coming to the surface, it was blurry but she was running from someone with that symbol on his chest. Someone calling to stop him, stop her that what had happened could make it back to.... the memory ended and she took a shuddering breath. She ran to catch up with Lena, feeling small and vulnerable without her.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Newhaven

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When Evin woke up, it was about four hours past curfew. He was almost stunned to see that no one had come over to question the fact that this man was in the archives after curfew. Maybe they just thought that since Evin looked like an old man, they might have just thought he was looking for something important with little time to do so, being an old man and all. These people in Newhaven could be nice sometimes, maybe too nice in this case too. They would have been better off to send him away, although if he did leave he would probably cause more trouble outside the castle.
Evin put away the census of all of Newhaven's population from three years ago back. He was clueless afterwards. He had no idea where else he could look for information on a man who didn't want to be found. Surprisingly, he had a brilliant idea. If Evin didn't want to be found, he would want to be dead. On paper it wouldn't be too difficult to be pronounced dead, especially if he had connections. The Black Knights had connections with anyone they wanted. Evin even recalled a time long ago when the Black Knights wanted assistance from the Wolf Pack once and we graciously obliged. That wouldn't happen again for years.
He rushed over to all of the death records of Valcrest that were known of. Newhaven liked to keep track of as much of Varlcrest in that area as possible. Evin searched through the death records to find a Jake Turner around the same age as the one he knows died in the last year. It didn't take too long for him to find the right person. The record referred Evin to a small report on the death. The report said that about a month after arriving in the city, he had run into the wrong people while walking home one night. It was said to be a mugging gone wrong. The report seemed believable if you didn't know that Jake Turner was still alive. He continued to read and realised that the muggers were being held in the dungeon until the year to come. Evin saw some opportunities in talking to them.
Evin was on a roll and was getting excited. The only thing left to do was to search for records of these people who were in the dungeon. He needed to know some background on these people before he began to talk to them. It was better to understand them before gaining their trust. The only problem was, the records of these people seemed not to exist. He should have known that it was just a false lead. There was only one more thing that he could do, but he wouldn't be able to do that in Newhaven. He would have to find Lena. If there was anyone who would cover something up for Jake it would be that woman, and he would do anything to get information out of her. Other assassins out there might have been scared of this woman, but Evin wasn't. Not anymore. She understood Lena's capabilities clearly, but she knew that she would never show them off in front of her clan. Even then, if she decided to use her powers against him, it didn't matter. His memories were only just memories and could no longer hurt him. Not after he realised the truths about his past.
Evin had one problem while finding his way out of the castle. He had forgotten what way was to the exit. Eventually he found a hallway that seemed a little more up kept than other parts of the castle. This must have been an important place in the castle because it was not only well kept, but also very well decorated. There was a Purple carpet with gold hues stretched across the entire hallway and the stone looked older, but it gave things a nice look to it in a creepy way. There were five rooms running down this hall. It was becoming obviouse that this hallways was either for the White Knights or the Black Knights. It was the only reason that it would be this nice and not be for important people. The way the hall was decorated with the darker tones in it, he assumed it would be better suited for the Black Knights who would probably have a darker sense life to go along with it.
He walked into one of the rooms, he couldn't spend too much time in here. He didn't know when someone would come back. So he had to be quick. He ransacked the room. It obviously belonged to a woman. There was a bunch of female clothing in the chest where all her clothing was stored away. There were two things that caught his eye while looking through the room. One was a bottle of wine that seemed familiar. He didn't drink wine, so he gave an old friend of his a bottle just like it a long time ago. Another thing he found in the chest was a small box. It also looked familiar, but he wasn't sure from where. He was about to open it when he heard voices coming from down the hall. The box would have to wait. He put it in one of his pockets and left the room. Lucky, the people were gone, but he didn't want to take any chances. He decided that it would be best to leave the castle now before he was caught sneaking around.

The setting changes from Newhaven to Valcrest

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[Outside the Wolfpack camp]

Crys stepped forward, arms crossed in front of her chest, mainly for the purpose of showing her hands were away from her weapons. She stopped beside the man's horse, and turned her eyes at him. If he hadn't yet realized it, at this point the blindness would be very much apparent. "It's funny how people assume that hiding their identity is as simple as a change of clothes." She nodded, smiling and placing one hand on the horse's neck, gently. "If you were what you are pretending to be, you would know were you stand right now. Since you seem not to know, I'll explain what right I have to ask of your business..." She made a small pause as if trying to stop her tone from straying from the casual one she was currently using. "This territory belongs to my clan. We have claimed it and fought wars to maintain it. Something I'm sure you, sir, are familiar with." Her smile turned into a little smirk, and then faded. " As for your business, I have no interest in them, whatever they are. However, due to recent events I'm not willing to ignore one of your kind riding through my territory. So, if you would be so kind as to reassure me that my clan will not be bothered, you have my word that you will not see even the shadow of a wolf across your path again."

----------------------

[Outside of Newhaven]

As the city of Newhaven came closer, Ali slowly began to change her attitude into a more relaxed and careless one. The White Shadows never appeared worried, or acted unkind. Never. So, Ali allowed a much more gentle look to take over her blue eyes. Deep down, she was hoping this still worked out as planned even with Ella tagging along, however none of her many thoughts showed in her expression as she approached the city's main entrance. One of the guards walked a few steps closer to the two girls as they approached, the other two stayed behind near the gate. "Halt!" The man commanded, in a severe tone. "No one is allowed in the city past curfew!"

Ali sighed, putting on the most honestly apologetic look anyone had ever seen on her face. "Oh, my... I completely forgot about that. I suppose you couldn't make an exception? I understand the laws are meant to protect the public, but, you see... The group I was in all turned back halfway here because Blackpond has been pressuring us, and... I am honestly a little reluctant to the idea of camping under those circumstances." Ali stated, looking around as if she was trying not to appear nervous and was failing miserably. She knew that Blackpond's intimidation had took its toll on the willingness of most healers to travel to Newhaven, so she expected that the guard would let her pass if she showed signs of wanting to turn around and run back to the ruins. She could tell by the man's expression he was tempted to let them in, but he was suspicious. Then he locked his gaze on Ella. "You don't seem much like a White Shadow to me miss, care to explain why you travel with one?" The soldier asked with a eyebrow raised. Ali knew she shouldn't try to speak for Ella, if the question was directed at her, but she could help by playing her part correctly. So she shot a look filled with contempt at the girl. "You heard the man, speak!" She commanded, in a firm tone, but without raising her voice.

------------------------
[Newhaven encampment]

Lena raised an eyebrow when she caught sight of the Black Knight moving towards her, but only for a split second. She did recognize the man immediately even without seeing his face. The moment she caught sight of him she could tell the memories were still very much present in his thoughts, amongst other, more recent, things. However he appeared to be, in all, a different person than what she had seen in those visions. Everything about it was odd, even the fact she was able to use her own Enlightenment while being at this distance and without any visual cues or triggers, it had never happened before. She held back a sigh, not wanting her expression to show what she had seen.

She motioned for the girl that was following her close to stand a couple of steps behind her. By the time she stopped walking, a couple of steps before the man, her expression was unaffected by her many thoughts. She bowed slightly, before turning her blue eyes towards the black helm and speaking. "I appreciate the greeting, although I consider to be too much to send a Knight to greet a simple healer such as myself." She stated, in a slightly amused tone, sure that she wasn't announced as a healer. "In spite of the unusual circumstances that have caused me to turn this way, if there is need, I will stay and aid your wounded. However, what brings me here is the... Unusual, sight of the battlefield. Not only I found someone had already anticipated my actions to honor the dead, I have also spotted a quite noticeable mess that seems quite recent. I found it quite intriguing and decided to come this way. If anything, I was hoping to extend my compliments to any warrior kind enough to show such respect for fallen enemies. It is a very rare thing to see nowadays."

Then she made a long pause and laughed lightly. "Forgive my lack of manners, Sir. I suppose I don't leave the ruins often enough to put them to use." She said, now realizing she hadn't stated her name. "My name is Helena Turner, I am also the leader of the White Shadows." She stated, not asking his name as Black Knights were not exactly known to give away their identities. "I suppose I shouldn't hold you any longer, I'm sure you would much rather be on your way home" She stated, casually, not explaining how she knew the man was leaving camp. "However I must ask if you have properly cared for the wound in you arm." She smiled gently. "Most would be surprised to know how frail the human body actually is. One can never be too careful." She stated.

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-Outside the Pack Camp-

Thomas knew very well who he was talking to, between the blindness and the young age of the girl. Not many assassins would survive being blind, and the fact that she felt sure enough to give a guarantee . . . . all added up to her being Rivers, the daughter of the former Pack leader. Which also meant that she was an empath and probably had sources of information of her own. Which meant that they were both pretending not to know who the other was. A bit pointless really, but it was the sort of thing that let them pass each other on a pass and not kill each other on sight. He smiled gently and leaned forward, resting his forearm on the saddlebow in front of him.
“It would seem to me, young mistress, that identity as you put it, would be more a trick of the mind than anything else, a way of acting with other people and changin’ how they see you, rather than anything else. So long’s you believe it, and th’ person you be talking to don’t have an unfair advantage, then your identity be what you believe it is.” (If Crystal is listening to his emotions, then she gets the feeling that he feels she is an equal opponent and that he’s enjoying the conversation as a test of skill.)
“Now, you have my word that I’ll not be bothering a hair on the head of any of your clan, so’s long as they don’t harm me and mine in return.” He smiled broadly, flashing a grin that she couldn’t see.
“And I’m flattered it is that you’d be thinking highly enough of me to be valuing my word,” he placed one hand a little too dramatically on his chest, “Being as how I’m just a simple traveler, who happened to go down the wrong path. A mistake that I’ll be sure to make sure don’t happen again.” (Truth, and a sort of wary respect)

-Newhaven Encampment-

Mageria had just stepped out of her tent when one of her soldiers ran up to her with the news that one of the White Shadows had been spotted near the camp. While normally she would have welcomed such a thing, the things that Hastings had been telling her had her worried about what one of the healers might face if they tried to aid Blackpond. She thought for a moment, staring into the middle distance while she thought furiously. The bloody stubborn idiots would never accept an escort while on the battle field, but she still felt the need to extend help, in memory of all of her men that they had helped over the years. Wheeling around, she dashed back into her tent and seized a scrap of paper and a charcoal stick.

Not even noticing that she was writing in a code that she taught all of her knights, she scribbled out a quick message.

Believe the White Shadows to be in danger, due to comments made by prisoner. Warn them and offer aid if they will accept.
M[/b]


Working quickly she folded the scrap and sealed it with a blob of black wax. No seal of course, the color of the wax was enough to identify who it came from. Walking back outside she gave it to the man who was still waiting for her orders.
“Take this to Pondus. Run.”
He took off across the camp, perhaps warned by her tone of voice that she would not accept any hesitation. It only took him a couple of minutes to get back to the other Black Knight, even if he felt a bit of apprehension in approaching him. But orders were orders and he walked up, catching his breath as he did so. Collecting himself, he held out the sealed message to Pondus, saying only, “Message from the Captain, sir. She thought it was urgent.” 


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#, as written by Seerow
“Your reputation proceeds you White Rose.” he used the same name by which he greeted her. A sign that he was aware not only of the individual called Helena Turner but by the sigil she bore. After all he didn’t say White Shadow but had used an singular identifying alias for her. Newhaven wasn’t entirely blind in fact it was rather keen on the movers and shakers of the world. Grim had much understanding of each faction’s leader. He has studied Wolfpack members and potential candidates for both allies and enemies.
The White Rose, Helena Turner, was said to be a seer. Though this remains unconfirmed Grim had no doubts as to the nature of her mysticism. He glanced casually down at his arm, the metal faced the healer the wound concealed beneath the bulk. Her words only reassuring what they both knew. She had seen his brawl with the crop keepers. She had witnessed the terror of his magic.
Shame took his mind, guilt gripped his heart and though it wouldn’t show, a shadow settled over him that would not shake. Defending oneself or protecting his beloved Newhaven was one thing, but every time he took a life out of rage it cost him. It mattered not he would hold that burden steady till his dieing day. Never forgetting the price of every soul spent.
Once he pulled from the deep his eyes took back toward the sudden guests. He eyed the young companion Helena had brought carefully. Gauging for himself that such a frail looking thing could never be more then a healer’s aid. So instead he faced the White Rose speaking with an edge now as he felt uncomforted before her all seeing gaze.
“There is no need to be coy Lady Helena. Your reservation does not escape me, and your thankfulness could go toward the wounded. I am Sir Grim, and I’m afraid that I am short on daylight. So if you wish to proceed I’d kindly ask-”

From behind he could just hear the heavy drop of feet rushing behind him. The behemoth twisted back glancing over his shoulder to spy the Newhaven sigil making its way toward them. By the time he had decided to face the incomer the messenger had actually arrived being fleet of foot and well practiced. He delivered a fine parchment folded into a small delicate scroll. With nothing more then a bow he was on his way back.
Grim’s thumb broke the seal it still hadn’t fully cooled and was stringy at his brush. Pulling the message free from its form he read the message. Deciphering the code took him some time, they rarely had been using letters of late for fear of interception. Yet from the quick scrawl and the smear of the charcoal he could ascertain Mageria was hurried and furthermore concerned. When was the Captain not worried anymore? Grim didn’t reflect the fear that was contained by the words, but he did look long and hard at the healers while he weighed in how to explain what he knew.

“I’m afraid I’m going to ask you to kindly come with me. You’re in danger out in the open. I understand this is much to ask since your pledge of neutrality. All I can give you is my word that I mean you no ill will and that I do not intent any treachery. If you refuse, then I can do nothing more to protect you.”

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Hastings had spent a while just thinking and nothing but thinking. His eyes had gazed back and forth between the two men guarding him. The one who had been standing there since he had woken up, and the other one was relief for Lionel. The new guard was a lot more bulky than the other. He was at least 6'4 and weighed well over two hundred pounds. His arms were covered in scars of previous battles and even fresh cuts from the battle he just fought. Hastings was surprised this man could have survived so many battles with all those cuts on his arm.
The other man on the other hand was rather small. He was about average height for a man from Newhaven, but was definitely not the average weight. Hastings couldn't help but think about how desperate Newhaven must have been to have to recruit men with the muscle mass of this man. He was practically a toothpick. There was nothing that this man could do to protect himself if Hastings broke free. If the man was enlightened, things would be a little different though. The only problem was that it really made no difference what his power could be. With the moral of everyone working under Krander, it wouldn't be too hard to break free in the first place.
A gentle sleep was slowly making it's way through Hastings/ Just as he began to close his eyes, someone walked through the door. To his surprise it was Lionel, his old friend. It turned out that Lionel was humiliated by what Krander had done to him --no surprise-- and couldn't take the ridicule from all his peers. He decided to get away from all of it by coming back to guard. He relieved the large man from his duties and he sat down on a chair that was placed on the far side of the tent. Now everything was in the right place. Hastings made his move.
"Krander is such a terrible person isn't he?" He said to his guards. "He must not really care too much for his men if he is willing to humiliate them for punishment. He obviously only wants you to die for Newhaven. He only sees you as a pawn in the chess game." Hastings paused to separate his thoughts. "You know, I would never do that to my men. It wouldn't be their fault that they couldn't tie a rope properly, it would be my fault for not training them properly. Instead of punishing the behavior, I would try to teach them how to prevent it from happening again. In Blackpond we don't have pawns. We treat every soldier like the knight they really are."
The two men looked intrigued. They completely believed him and for the most part it was true. Of course sometimes Hastings would punish people, but he didn't want these soldiers to hear that. He could see as their mind began to work. He could almost hear themselves saying, 'if only I lived in Blackpond.' Now it was time to go for these pawns to become knights.
"If only I had people like you in Blackpond. If you could have guarded me like this on the battlefield, there would have been no way that I could have been captured. In my eyes, you two are truly Knights."
"It's too bad you are stuck here, sir. I would work for you even if it meant death." Lionel said. The other one nodded in agreement.
"Well it isn't to late to start. You could start by helping me get out of this place." Hastings said.
The two men looked at each other. Hastings saw the apprehension on both of their faces. Hastings didn't give them another second to think. "If you help me, you will be rewarded greatly by the King, I assure you. Hundreds in Gold."
That was enough to convince them to move forward with Hastings' escape.
For the Next few hours until their shift was over, they went over plans for his escape. The next day, when the two of them were on guard duty for Hastings again, the plan would go into action. Hastings only hoped that the men didn't redecide before that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Just outside Newhaven]

Ella was given direct orders to act as though she was an assistant. She had no idea what it was, but she guessed it didn't matter. All she had to do was tell the guard that she was an assistant when she got there. Ali seemed to give her a simple task. Nothing that would involve much hard work, just a few simple words. There was no way to mess it all up.
As they approached the entrance to the city, a guard walked right towards Ali. Ali had seemed to put on a completely different character. Different than what Ella had always noticed talking to her at least. Ella didn't pay much attention to the conversation though. She was more distracted by what she could see in front of her. The great city of Newhaven was beckoning for her. She hadn't been there for over a year and it just seemed like she needed to go there again. It almost felt like she belonged in Newhaven, up in the majestic castle like the good old days. She imagined her sitting at the throne while the king pretended that she was royalty and he was one of her loyal servants. The king was so nice to her. The closest thing to family she ever had...
"You heard the man, speak!" Ali's voice was sharp and demanding. It didn't sound like the way a healer would talk to anyone.
Ella had been too lost in her memories for too long, she hesitating as she thought about what the right answer was. "Umm, well... you see," Ali gave her a disappointed look. She had screwed it all up, "I'm a... you know, a traveler and this woman saved my life!"
The guard didn't look convinced. "Ok, can I see the wound you have. If she saved your life, you must have a wound."
Ella paused for a second. Of course she would have a wound, why didn't she think of that. Then she got an idea. "No, you see, as I was traveling not too far from here, I became hungry, so I found a tree with some fruit, little did I know, that fruit was poisonous. I'm lucky that she found me. She has to give me a herb to flush my system out every couple of hours or I'll die. That is why I need to travel with her for the next couple of days."
The guard obviously found the story believable. He let them pass. When they got far enough away, she asked Ali, "So, how was that?"
Ella was very proud of herself at the moment. Obviously Evin's quick decision making training worked for her after all.

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[Outside the Wolfpack camp]

Crys laughed lightly, mostly because the man had realized who she was, but also because of what he said. "If that is what you consider identity..." She said, shrugging. "I have a different way of seeing things, so to speak." She said, patting the horse gently before removing her hand. "You can put on another man's shoes, if it comes necessary, but you would be mistaken to assume you will not be making the exact same footprints." She stated, in a slightly amused tone.

She simply nodded when he said he would not harm anyone in her clan. That was expected. If he was there for the Pack, the general tone of that conversation would be much less respectful. "Very well. traveler. As I said... You will not see or hear from my men. Not now, or on your way back. You have my word, and you will find it to be just as good as your own." She stated with a little grin. Then she slowly began to turn and walk away from the trail. As she felt herself standing next to Jake, she stopped and turned to face the Knight again. "One more thing, Sir. When you get home, unharmed, be so kind as to warn your friends that the path they are currently taking is also a dangerous one." She smiled. "Unless something is changed, that is." Crys made this sound more like an offer than a threat. She was not going to explicitly say: tell your captain I just want to end this., but she would hint it anyway. Hopefully this man would take that hint.

As she turned and walked past Jake, she gave him one more signal: Protect yourself. This one order he usually never followed, but she expected him to try this time. After all, he could not afford to be seen and ruin his cover.

---------------------------------------

[Newhaven encampment]

Lena sighed and was unable to contain a tone of laughter in her voice due the alias Grim had used for her. It was slightly ironic since the rose she had engraved on her clothing was a reminder of her former self, the one that hid in shadows and in aliases. She nodded, slightly. "I have not been addressed by any name other than my own since I was... Well, your age, boy." She snickered. "The habit of hiding is one that's hard to lose, and I have no wish to regain it." She explained.
The healer watched with curiosity as the Knight seemed to become uncomfortable to be in her presence. She was so used to that reaction, she could identify it even underneath the black armor. She kept a close watch on the man as he fell silent. He probably realized what she had seen.

As Grim began to speak again the healer's eyes had wandered beyond the Knight's figure and towards another that approached with a message. She watched carefully as the Knight read the message brought to him. Afterward which he asked her to go with him for protection. Lena hesitated to that offer. Of course, she was aware of the danger she was in, however, she was not alone. Even if she was, apparently these people had some information she didn't have. After a little while of thinking, she nodded. "Very well, Sir. If it is for my own protection then I shall go with you." She stated, taking a small bow.

--------------------

[Newhaven]

Ali really had to force herself to keep it together when Ella started searching for words to say. She had to act as if the story wasn't new to her when it finally came out of the girl's mouth. However, internally all she could think of was the hundreds of ways that could easily be proven to be a lie. Those thoughts were still spinning through her head as they crossed the gates. Ali only found herself breaking out of them when Ella spoke. Ali sighed deeply at girl's question. She still had the memory of being a recruit very much alive in her head, and she liked Ella. So, she wanted to tell the girl she did a great job and leave it to that, however... The danger involved in this mission demanded her to be honest. "It was acceptable. However, anyone smarter than that guy would have noticed, even though I tried my best to hide it, that I had no idea what you were talking about. Anyone smarter would have asked me the name of such herb I'm supposed to be treating you with and the reason why I couldn't simply provide you with such herb for you to treat yourself. Most importantly... They would have noticed that the story you told completely contradicted the way I behaved towards you."

She said all that in one severe whisper, all the while keeping the same relaxed and carefree exterior. After a while of silence, she looked at Ella and gave a small smile. "Rule number one in these situations is to never try to change the story so... We'll just have to go with it." As she spoke, they both walked towards the castle gates. One look at Ali and no questions were asked. Ali made sure to always greet every soldier with a slight bow of head as she passed, and remind herself no to shy away as it would be her usual. As they entered the courtyard Ali's pace slowed to a halt. Just the sound of her footsteps on those grounds brought her memories she would rather forget. Her eyes wandered momentarily towards the blood stained weapon that pierced through that killer, she didn't turn to face the statue that held it, she simply resumed walking and made her way through the castle doors.

Ali had her doubts when Crys had told her to pose as a White Shadow, but... No one asked a single question or seemed to even mind the fact that Ella was with her. When she reached the Healer's Station she knew why: The place was deserted. That was good too, she was pretty sure she could never fool another healer.The place had several beds meant for patients, and another room to the left where the Healers could sleep. That was Ali's destination.

Once inside she sat one of the beds and looked around the room, her eyes searching for something. The room was simple, had five beds with small bedside tables in between them. Stone walls, stone floor, a window.
After a while of silence Ali started to speak, mostly to herself ."The archives are usually locked and guarded after curfew, so maybe we should sleep and go there in the morning." She said, causally, her eyes still running through the room. Then she opened a small grin as she got on her feet and walked to a loose stone in the wall. "Got you." She mumbled. "I spent a year at the ruins you know... I've learned a lot about the Shadows." She pulled the stone out of its place and found a small book hidden behind it. "Most important thing about them is that they always leave notes behind for other healers to find." Ali sighed looking through the book. "Damn... I have to read all this and it's in code." She sighed.

Ali knew healers left relevant notes on patients hidden for other healers to find, specially when they couldn't carry the information around with them. Obviously, all that information on the castle staff would come in handy to anyone who wished to infiltrate. Ali included. Mostly... The staff members' ages and medical histories. If she couldn't reach the archives just yet, she would start with this. She laid down on one of the beds in the room and began looking through the book mentally breaking the code the healers used. Surely, they never really taught her that, but... They weren't very careful with what they left exposed for her to see. She looked up from the book after only a few minutes and set it aside. She knew exactly where to start.

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(Newhaven Encampment)
Once Mageria had sent her messenger off, she ducked back into her tent one final time. Like an idiot she had let Grim go off on his own, not even checking to see if he had tended his wounds. Which she knew he hadn’t; he never did. Therefore it was her duty and privilege as Captain to teach him the error of his ways. She grabbed a small kit such as the ones that battlefield healers often carried; this one was similar, but it contained some very specific herbs and tonics. She had put it together at great cost, but the cost of not having it she counted as higher. She slung the bag over her shoulder and walked out, headed toward where she had last known that Grim was. She couldn’t stop a sigh of relief when she saw him escorting the White Shadows back through the camp. She raised one hand to signal him, then drew the lot of them to the side away from the crowd of soldiers.

“Apologies Mistress, but there’s something I have to take care of.” She smiled apologetically at Lena and sat Grim down firmly on a camp chair. Her experienced eye found that he was favoring his right arm. She grasped his wrist firmly in one hand and turned it over, carefully unlacing his gauntlet and pulling it off.
“Right mess they made of this, didn’t they?” She continued to hold on to his wrist and dug through the bag with one hand, eventually pulling out a small vial of a pale green liquid. Bitting the cork, she pulled it free and carefully poured it into the cut. Instead of burning or stinging as most cleansing tonics did, she had this brewed to numb the area instead, leaving no chance that the pain might trigger Grim’s Enlightenment. Everything in the kit was similar, since if there were wounded about she couldn’t risk Grim going berserk near them. She plugged the vial back up and pulled out a salve, carefully spreading it along the slice.
“Don’t think it needs stitches. Not this time anyway.” She pulled a roll of bandages out, wrapping the arm firmly and neatly. Over the years she had become a decent field medic out of necessity, all those times when she was alone with people that she was trying to save and not knowing how to keep them alive. She began watching the medics as they worked, and learning from them when they had time. Anytime she could turn Death away, wether it was by blade or bandage, she counted that as a victory. But there were so many times that she couldn’t . . . . .

Carefully she finished her work, casing the dark thoughts back to the back of her mind where they belonged. The present was what mattered now and the people before her. She knotted the end of the bandage and stood up, offering Grim his gauntlet.
“Next time, block a little better.” She smiled wryly at Grim and finally turned back to the healers.
“Again, I’m sorry for the delay.” Her eyes flickered between the two women before settling polity on Lena.
“I’m sure you have important business that drew you here, so I’ll do my best to be brief. During this last battle, we captured one of Blackpond’s commanders. During questioning,” she held up one hand, “and he is being treated fairly and well, he spoke of his plans for the White Shadows. While not privy to what his King plans, he himself spoke of wishing to force the White Shadows into submission, that they might serve him and his men alone.” Mageria drew a deep breath, feeling a weight of responsibility settle on her shoulders. “If you were to enter into Blackpond, I do not think that your status would protect you.” 


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#, as written by Tyce
(Newhaven Encampment)

Krander was just getting back to his tent to grab some papers and meet with Mageria when a shadowed bulk of a man came running at him. He instinctively drew his sword and prepared to swing.

The man slowed and spoke, "Krander, it is I, Carlisle, and I have urging news. We must meet with Mageria so I may only tell this once."

He saluted Krander and waited. Krander nodded, grabbed his paper, and came back outside his tent. "Follow me Carlisle, and in this time of war, keep your face shown at all times."
Carlisle nodded and followed behind Krander.

"Cook! COOK!" Krander yelled, holding back using his enlightened power (not that he needed it with his volume anyway). A small feeble but extremely rough looking man approached.

"Yes my liege?" he asked, bowing his head.

"Prepare a feast, use the largest store of meat we brought for in case we were here for a long time. I want it all cooked up, to order, and all of the White Knights, Black Knights, Healers and workers fed. Send your apprentices to take orders. Also, tap into the largest wine barrel and allow ONLY TWO cups to each soldier, we do not want to be weak, but instead we want to be enjoying ourselves. Also, prepare something to order for our prisoner, but check it all for some kind of weapon someone may sneak into his tent. In fact, only YOU should prepare his food, and make it damn good, understand?"

The cook nodded and ran off.

"I must speak with Lionel before we are off Carlisle." Krander said..

"Sir, I suggest we find Mageria first, as Lionel is part of the issue..."

Krander looked awestruck. Lionel, he basically trained him from a weak coward into a strong guard. He couldn't believe one punishment was enough to make him stab him in the back..

"Okay," Krander said trying to hold back the wavering hurt in his voice, "lets find Mageria, immediately."

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(Outside the Pack Camp)
Thomas watched the young woman walk away. A hard look crossed his face, looking out of place.
“If you don’t like the path you travel down, mistress, you shouldn’t have started us all down it yourself.” He dug his heels into his horse’s side, taking off down the path at a fast cantor. The sooner he was out of this area, the better. Once again, he had to question the madness that had led the Pack to killing the King of Newhaven, for no good reason. It might have been remotely understandable if they had a contract, but to simply kill the King . . . . it was suicide. They had to know that they would be pursued to the ends of the earth for that. He shook his head. It could be that he would never understand it. But for now he had a goal that he might actually achieve.

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Blanditia whimpered, she didn't not like that idea. She peaked over Lena's shoulder, "Is he safe?" she asked the older woman he blond hair fell into her face and she watched the man with untrusting eyes. Blanditia had just remembered something from her past and it was making her feel unsure about going with the man, For all she knew he knew her and her past.

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#, as written by Seerow
“My apologies Lady Turner or would you prefer Helena? May I ask who your compatriot is?”
He glanced to Blanditia whom he could tell was in protestation of their accompanying him. The frail girl had an air that was unusual. Grim couldn’t place his finger on it yet. It didn’t matter Blanditia posed no threat for all he knew. He paid her little mind and found his eyes constantly trying to match with leader of the White Shadows. The woman possessed a power that terrified the Black Knight and he eyed her with caution. Being careful not to come seem cross with his look.
Calmly he turned and began his journey back toward the encampment. Being careful to glance back and make sure they were following. He kept his grip around the handle of his blade. There was no telling what could happen out in the open. There was just a hint of fear and excitement and Grim privately wondered if they were in danger even now.
Of course the trek was short and the encampment was a welcoming site. The knight even gave a sigh of relief once he could spot the spit fires and tents. He eased his hand from the hilt, continuing at an even pace. Always checking back or waiting for the healers to catch up. Imagine his surprise when Mageria was waiting near the entrance. Her arm upraised to summon the Black Knights.
Grim looked perplexed when he caught the sign. Could it be that danger had befallen on the encampment in the time he was away? Without hesitation he picked up speed and approached his captain expectantly. To his chagrin he was seated promptly, taken aside from the bulk of the soldiers to be tended with in secret. Mageria was well versed in many aspects of war and she located the wound without so much as a prompt from the Black Knight.

Grim would have protested but he knew the Captain wouldn’t have it. She had his gauntlet on the floor literally within seconds examining where the skin had been split during conflict. Mageria was the only person besides Grim himself brave enough to attempt at mending his wounds. With the nature of his enlightenment he couldn’t be tended by just anyone. She was a pleasant medic and spoke with a mothering tone. Though the nurturing was kindly, Grim was unresponsive allowing her to work without distraction. Grateful for her aid.
Before long his arm was bandaged and he was given words of great wisdom to dismiss him. She was aware that he was trying to escape the encampment, and though Grim wanted to leave he remained if only to listen in to the details behind the message he was delivered. Patiently he waited saying nothing more for the moment. Pondering on the implications of what they had extracted from the prisoner. Could Blackpond really force the White Shadows into servitude? Would the healer’s now ignore the needs of Blackpond incase this information proves true? He was eager to hear Helena’s opinion on the matter and remained seated in the chair to satiate that curiosity. Knowing well he’d be leaving before long regardless what he discovered.

The setting changes from Valcrest to Newhaven

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Ella realised that what Allison had said to her was true. There were flaws in what she did, but she put it in much better terms than Evin would have. Evin probably would have praised Ella at first, telling her what a great job she had done. She would be happy for the next few days of her accomplishment, but then she would be struck down by Evin, quite literally. He would come from out of the blue using his powers and punch her square in the face. He didn't hit hard, but it was always enough to knock Ella out for a few seconds. Then he would explain to her what she did wrong, and not in a nice way too. Then came the punishment, anything from collecting fire wood, to dodging Evin's rope dart. It was no fun working with Evin. It was nice to know that she would be freed of him until she made it back home.
Today, they wouldn't do any work. For now they would just sleep. Sleep in her old home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Evin spent a few hours down one hall. He did not move an inch while he was there the entire time. He mostly spent his time just listening for any sounds that would come down the hall. By the time he finally moved, it was probably around three o'clock. It was then that he determined that no one was going to go into the Black Knight's hallway. It would be a very luxurious place to sleep for the night. It was exactly what he did. He went back into the room he was in before and hopped onto the fluffy bed. Evin could only describe it as walking through a thick fog. It was one of the best sleeps he would ever get.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Newhaven Camp]
Hastings had nothing to do from that point. Two new guards had come to take the place of Lionel and his friend. Now would be a good time for him to sleep, but then something happened. Hastings heard a rustling at the entrance of the tent. Two men walked in. One had a piece of paper in his hand and it seemed like he was taking notes.
Hastings knew exactly what this meant, they had come to interrogate him. Best timing for it too seeing that he was so sleep deprived already. An interrogation could go on for hours. He was bound to slip up in the condition he was in at the moment.
The man without the paper spoke to him. "I have been requested to come take your order. We are having a feast and I will be making food and be serving alcohol to everyone who wishes it. Including you."
"Fine." Hastings said.
"What would you like to order." The man asked. The other man was ready to write down Hastings exact words. It wouldn't be easy.
"I would like a Salmon Fillet en Papillote with Julienned fennel bulb, leeks (the white part only), carrots and snow peas. Seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper, and coriander seed and garnished with orange wedges. To drink I would like a dry vermouth please."
"Will that be all?" The man seemed rather annoyed.
"Oh, yes, I would like that all to be sent to the man Lionel who was guarding me earlier today. As I'm sure you heard, he was having it rough. I myself would like a glass of dry vermouth as well if you don't mind."
"That is enough! I will have it served in thirty minutes."
"Do it in twenty. My chef does it in only fifteen so it shouldn't be too much a hassle for you to do it in five more. Oh, and be sure to tell Lionel who ordered this for him."
The man said nothing else, he just walked out. The other man took a few more seconds to write down the order before walking away. Hastings just eyed the doorway and waited for his order to come in.

The setting changes from Newhaven to Valcrest

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[Newhaven encampment]

Lena smiled slightly when Blanditia asked if Grim was safe. "He'd have to get through me." She whispered to the girl. Surely, for the man to get through her wouldn't be so difficult, but she was simply meaning to assure the young apprentice that if she wasn't worried, there was nothing to worry about. She then let a hand rest on the girl's shoulder. "We won't be here for long." She said, still in a whisper. She had noticed the girl's attitude change considerably since the