Snippet #2787107

located in Fódlan, a part of Fire Emblem: Apotheosis, one of the many universes on RPG.

Fódlan

A continent divided into three different factions: The Adrestian Empire, The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Senka Rinaldi Character Portrait: Amalthea von Kreuz Character Portrait: Mercer von Riegan Character Portrait: Cyril Eisner Character Portrait: Vridel von Hresvelg Character Portrait: Sorcha Blaiddyd Character Portrait: Jeralt's Journal
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I.Y. 1180 - Verdant Rain Moon - Sunday the 24th
Old Duscur Border - Midmorning - Hazy
Senka Rinaldi


It had taken almost four days to reach Lord Kleiman's lands after the incident with the Crest scholar, however; the scholar's accusations had managed to spread like wildfire through the academy. Students had been looking at her like she was a beast; that she was as dangerous as the man claimed her to be. Senka knew, without a doubt, that she could be if she didn't learn to control her Crest, but she also knew that she wasn't. She would never hurt people that way. She never wanted to hurt people, but even she knew that sometimes, you had to. But never the innocent. Her people were innocent, and she had seen the kinds of faces they'd worn when they were blamed and attacked.

She would never want that to happen to anyone. It was why she was learning, fighting, doing everything she could so that she could rebuild her home, and, perhaps, have peace. She pushed the thoughts from her head as she gripped Libi's reigns. Most of them were a mounted division now, but they moved at a reasonable pace for those who were not. Cyril had positioned everyone as they had practiced: in pairs. Sylvi walked with Devon, Sofia and Dierdre walked close together, Sorcha and Mercer took to the skies, and Vridel and Amalthea were trailing along as well. Reynard, as he usually was, was no where in sight, but Senka knew he was around somewhere.

That left her traveling near the professor. It made sense, she supposed, that they travel like this. They didn't know what they were up against, and with the fog in the woods, it made it difficult to see anything too far ahead. At least if they were attacked, they would have the advantage of being together, already.

The Professor walked rather close; enough so that one large hand actually rested on Libi's neck, just in front of where the saddle ended. He was looking out into the mist, though, possibly using the point of contact so he didn't lose track of them. Already, the members of the group that were further away were almost impossible to see; Sorcha and Mercer had vanished entirely.

Abruptly, Cyril's eyes snapped slightly to the right. He turned his head, slowing Libi to a stop with his hand. It wasn't for several more seconds that the reason became clear. Out of the mist, Reynard materialized. “I think I found what we're looking for," he said without preamble. Unusually for the rather collected Black Eagle, there was a perceptible anxiety touching his features, pinching his expression.

“Explain, please." By this point, the others had caught on to Cyril's signal and halted as well.

“I'm not sure I can," Reynard replied with a grimace. “They look like... well I saw two things that looked like wolves, but the size of two, maybe three horses, easy. And this other one... might be the size of the greenhouse. I have no idea what in the world it is, but it wouldn't shock me to learn it eats people, to say the least. We might be in over our heads on this one, Professor."

Cyril considered this for a moment, eyes narrowing thoughtfully. Eventually, he expelled a breath, then looked up at Senka, speaking low enough that only she could hear.

“I'll fight this for you," he said simply. “I'm sure the others would be willing, too. But that's what it would be—for you. Are you all right with that?"

She shook her head. “No," she began, pulling in a soft breath, “they are fighting this with me. I believe in them and their abilities. And I believe that they also possess sound judgement. If they cannot handle it... I trust them to get away, that they'll be able to." She knew that it was a very real possibility that they could get killed. The descriptions alone of the creatures were enough to put a touch of fear into Senka, but she had to do this. She must do this.

“I'm alright with that."

The smile that spread across his face then was perhaps the truest one she'd ever seen there. Shifting his hand, he patted her knee, giving it a gentle momentary squeeze before releasing it. “Good. You understand now." It wasn't said condescendingly at all—he seemed to be genuinely pleased with the answer. “You can form them up, then. Keep them in their pairs, but otherwise, the initial strategy is yours. We'll adjust if something's off, but you know what you need to."

Senka felt something strange in her heart, like it skipped a beat, perhaps? She pushed the thought out of her mind, and nodded. She opened her mouth to say something, however; the sound of a copse of trees being knocked over caught her attention. She snapped her eyes forward. There, just beyond the mist of the fog was a large creature. It looked like an overgrown lizard, teeth grotesque and sharp points. There were horns, or spikes, protruding through its nose and back, almost as if it were growing straight from its spine.

Glowing red eyes pierced through the fog, and Senka felt her breath catch in her throat. “You... you bear our Crest. For what purpose did you come here?" the creature talked, the sound deep and guttural. It surprised Senka as she glanced in its direction. What did that mean? Did this creature bear a Crest of Maurice as well? Its head lifted, as if sensing something before turning its attention back to her. “It appears that your presence has been detected by bloodthirsty beasts..." it continued speaking. Senka furrowed her brows, though, and shook her head. She couldn't allow this creature to shake her.

“You'll be lucky to make it out alive in this den of beasts." Almost as if on cue, a shrill cry echoed over head where Sorcha and Mercer were. There was also a low rumbling sound, coming from behind where Vridel, Amalthea, Sylvi and Devon were. The beast, whatever it was, disappeared back into the thick of the fog, though, as a giant wolf appeared, charging Amalthea and Vridel's group.

“Everyone, on your guard!" she shouted, pulling her sword from its sheath and glanced at Cyril. “We focus on that demonic creature. Everyone else will deal with those two beasts," she spoke, glancing upwards for a moment. That shrill wasn't anything a wyvern or pegasus could make. They must have encountered a sky creature.

“Uhhhh, yeah I think we can handle this, maybe!" They still couldn't see Sorcha, but a moment of relative quiet yielded the twang of a bowstring, so it was likely she and Mercer had spotted... whatever made that shriek, and were now engaging it.

“There's another!" Reynard called out, ducking past them to reinforce Vridel, Thea, Sylvi, Devon, Sofia, and Deirdre. At least they had a decent number to split the creatures between.

“Straight ahead," Cyril said, swinging up behind her on Libi. They'd sort of practiced this—maneuvers where she'd carry him a short distance on horseback so they didn't get separated by enemies or terrain before they reached their destination. Though the Sword of the Creator was slung across his back, he gripped his javelin in his free hand instead, the other arm banding around her waist to keep himself on Libi. “I can... feel it, I think."

Senka spurred Libi forward, moving in the direction the beast had disappeared to. The fog was becoming airy as they went further in. They didn't have to go too, far, though, that Senka could still hear the fighting between the others, however; the beast merely glowered at them. This is what they'd called a demonic beast, what they thought she would turn into. She could feel something stir inside of her, but she pushed the feeling down. She wouldn't allow herself to answer the calling, whatever it was that was bubbling beneath her skin.

She was stronger than that. She had to be.

“So, you've decided to meet your end, here, inheritor of my Crest," the beast spoke, causing Senka to furrow her brows. Its Crest? What did that mean? It turned in their direction, though, and bellowed. “Then come, oh inheritor of my Crest! My beastly blood is roused! You will not be able to stop me!" it shouted as it charged in their direction. Senka readied her sword.

With a firm squeeze to her shoulder, the professor slid off Libi, probably so the horse would have full speed and maneuverability. As the Beast charged, Cyril threw his javelin, lightning crackling along its length, but did not stop to watch it land, instead sprinting towards the creature's left side.

The javelin struck the beast in the side of the head, burying several inches into its cheek and jerking its face to the side. Despite its prior focus on her, it swung towards him, rearing up onto its hind legs and trying to smash the Professor with one of his massive forelimbs. He was, in fact, nearly the size of the greenhouse, just as Reynard had said. Cyril darted to the side, but the monster seemed prepared, bringing its other arm down, shaking the ground and cracking the earth with the force of impact. A frustrated growl echoed from its chest, and it repeated the smashing actions, apparently unable to catch Cyril. Its snarls of rage and frustration only grew louder, almost enough to put a tremor in the earth on their own, things that could be felt as much as heard.

It was certainly distracted.

It did, however, seem to notice the sword strapped to Cyril's back. “That sword... it's the sword of the king!" it shouted almost in a relieved tone. “Are you the one who can liberate me?!" it continued, thrashing towards Cyril. Senka needed to use this opportunity to attack, though. With the main focus on Cyril, she spurred Libi forrowed and clutched her blade. She didn't know how thick the creature's hide was, nor if she'd be able to penetrate it much with her blade.

She could feel the wind rushing her face as she attacked, bringing the sword down on one of its hind legs. It roared, though it seemed mostly unfazed by her attempt. Pursing her lips together, she directed Libi away from it. The creature didn't seem to like that, though, and began charging a rather large fireball. Once the fire ball was formed, the creature released it in Senka's direction, causing her eyes to widen as she did her best to stir Libi away from it. She narrowly dodged it as the beast turned its attention back to Cyril, attempting to use its tail as a means of attack.

He jumped aside, managing to avoid its blows and peppering it with quicker bursts of magic, though there simply wasn't enough time for him to build up the more powerful strikes of which she knew he was capable.

Senka summoned what she could of her magic, sagittae. The accuracy was low, but she had to try something. Pulling in a breath, she focused on her Crest, willing it forward as best as she could. It would make her magic slightly stronger, and that was all she needed. She needed something stronger, something that would manage to get through the beast's hide. Nearby, she could hear the others struggling with their own beasts. From the sounds of it, Mercer had resorted to using his sword, and Amalthea was shouting something incoherent, perhaps at Sylvi, who'd responded.

Once she could feel her magic strong enough, she directed it at the beast, watching as the arrows penetrated its side. At least Cyril would have the chance to counterattack, now, it seemed, as the beast cried out.

The moment in which it flinched seemed to be all he needed; he shot heavy blasts of magic for where he'd already injured it in the face, driving the steel javelin deeper in the process. The lightning he used first left blackened scorch marks around the pole, the searing heat enough to blind it in one eye, it seemed. It reeled, staggering backwards and shaking its head frantically. The javelin refused to dislodge, though, and the second attack, a heavy miasma spell, came in behind, knocking it almost to the ground before it managed to recover.

Cyril, in the meantime, had made his way back to her. His face and arms bore heavy scratches from debris; one near his eyebrow was bleeding heavily, but he was steady when he spoke. “Do you have anything that can hold it for a bit? I have an idea."

She wasn't entirely sure if she did. The only thing she could think of was to try and use blizzard to freeze it in place, or at least its legs. It wouldn't be for very long, but if she could combine it with her Crest, it might just do the job. “I don't know how much time I can buy you, but I'll do what I can," she responded, kicking Libi gently to spur him towards the beast. Summoning blizzard, she drew on her Crest once more, feeling the magic intensify. When she was close enough she released the spell towards the creature, watching as it wrapped around its legs, creating thick blocks of ice.

“Cyril," she shouted, turning her attention towards him. “Now," whatever he had planned, now was the time to do it as the creature tried to free itself.

He was already running, sprinting past her and Libi at what seemed to be reckless, breakneck speed. When he reached a certain distance from where the beast was trying to tear its limbs free of the ground, he jumped. Maybe it was his own Crest, or just the sheer amount of training and practice he'd had, but he seemed to fly higher and further than any human had a right to, catching onto one of the armorlike plates on the beast's shoulder and using it to swing astride its back. It shook, frantically trying to dislodge him as though it sensed what was about to happen, but even when one of its legs came free, it simply couldn't break his grip.

Grabbing the sword from his back, Cyril stabbed downwards just as the second leg cracked free of the ice. The Sword of the Creator glowed a heated red-gold, sinking into the beast's hide to the hilt, and it gave a massive shudder and a deafening roar, pitching forward to the ground with a massive thud that felt like an earthquake. The rest of the ice cracked off and disappeared; the Professor withdrew the sword and jumped of, flinging hot blood from the blade with a powerful stroke of his arm.

Not more than three seconds later, there was another thudding crash as an enormous birdlike creature fell out of the sky, snapping dozens of tree branches on its way to the ground. “Flames take you!" Sorcha shouted, her voice raw with some kind of strain. She was not yet visible, however.

There were faint whimpers in the direction of where the others were, their beasts falling as well, it seemed. Senka released a breath she did not realize she was holding, and watched as the demonic beast breathed heavily. Its body began to dissipate, as if it were evaporating into the air.

“Well done... Finally, this nightmare of a thousand years is at its end." He seemed almost satisfied, relieved even, that he was no longer going to live. “Inheritor of my Crest... if this body is to decay, then the sword... I leave it to you." He heaved, his breathing becoming labored and difficult, and Senka could only watch as his life faded. His eyes locked with hers, and he spoke his final words, “That vile woman... do not trust her; do not trust Seiros." Seiros? Wasn't she already dead, though?

“Wait, what do you mean?" she spoke, her eyes frantically searching the creature's. There was a strange smile to his beast-like face. The color was fading fast from his eyes, and he lifted his clawed arm with what little strength he had left, and pointed. It was hard to say which direction he pointed in, but it looked like it was in the direction of the monastery. His hand fell limp after, and Senka knew he was gone. They would get no more answers from him. His body dissolved into ashes, a strange phenomenon, however; when nothing was left but human bones, Senka spotted the sword he had referred to.

Gingerly, she reached out, grasping it in her hands and stared at it. The blade itself was slightly curved, and looked almost like a spine. It made her shudder, however; it had to have been one of the Relics, judging by the Crest stone that resided near the hilt. Why would he leave such a thing to her? And did that mean this creature was truly Maurice? From the way he spoke, the way he reacted, it seemed as if this was truly the disgraced hero of legend.

A hand fell gently on her shoulder; Cyril stepped to her side and gave it a squeeze. “You all right?" he asked, blinking mildly as though they had not just been fighting desperately for their lives. Only his lingering injuries gave the difference away; he'd taken more of them this time than she'd ever seen on him, while she had none at all.

“I'm fine, but..." she was confused about what the creature meant. “That beast... it... it was truly Maurice. And he said not to trust Seiros. I'm... confused, but," she paused to regard him, lifting a hand to rest it on his cheek. “You're injured," that much was obvious. “Do you... need me to take care of your wounds?" she stated. The others were making their way towards them, she could hear, and the flapping of both Lady and Sir's wings seemed to disperse some of the fog around them.

He smiled slightly, lifting his own hand to rest it on hers and leaning slightly into the touch. “Only if you're not feeling too depleted," he replied. “I'm in no danger from them."

Amalthea looked relatively untouched, though she was sporting a few pieces of grass in her hair. It was almost difficult to tell with the color. Mercer looked like he was bleeding from his left shoulder and had a large cut on his cheek, perhaps from the bird-like creature they had defeated. Sylvi looked rather worn as did Dierdre, but they were also mostly unharmed. Senka smiled slightly; she knew they would be alright. Sorcha's arm seemed to be broken, which was a little more alarming, and she had a lot of drying blood in her hairline, but Vridel seemed to be taking care of it. He was spattered in so much blood his hair was turning pink, but relatively little of it seemed to be his. Devon was out of arrows and knives, but otherwise seemingly fine. He was helping support Sofia, who was walking with a limp where part of her armor had been torn; perhaps one of the creatures had bitten her leg. Reynard had nary a scratch, which was somehow unsurprising.

“What happened here?" Sorcha asked, blinking at the obviously-human-sized bones and the new sword in Senka's hand.

Senka smiled as she summoned what healing magic she could, and applied it to him. “We felled the demonic beast, but," she began, allowing her eyes to drift towards Maurice had once been, “he has finally found peace after a thousand years." Mercer seemed confused as did Amalthea. Before she could explain further, the sound of a snapping twig caused her to grip her newfound sword, and turned it in the direction of the source. Were there more?

“Wait," a voice called out, as a man approached the group. His eyes were sunken, and his hair was slightly matted to his face. He seemed familiar to Senka, but she couldn't quite figure out why. “That beast... it is finally gone. You have rid us of a plague we were not able to combat," he spoke, staying a safe distance away, it seemed. “We are grateful for your... Senka?" he stated, stepping forward as Senka furrowed her brows in confusion. As he approached, his face came further into view, and her eyes widened in recognition. She was glad he'd whispered, though, as he took another step forward.

“There is no need to thank us," she stated quickly, hopefully enough that the others would not question his hesitation. She thought Espera was dead, that he'd been slaughtered along with the others. As General of her father's army, he'd been one of the first to lead a counterattack against the Kingdom's army. She thought he'd died in the ensuing chaos.

“I am Espera, and we are grateful for your assistance," he spoke, placing a hand towards his heart and bowed. It wasn't a traditional bow, though, and Sorcha would be, perhaps, the only one to recognize it as one of Duscur. Senka wasn't going to pretend to not know her old General, but there were other things to consider. Mercer and Amalthea did not know of her Duscur heritage. Sylvi, Devon, Sofia, and Dierdre were not aware as well. She couldn't risk it, not yet.

From the way Sorcha's eyes widened, she did in fact recognize it. She returned it the same way. “We were happy to help, Espera," she said, throwing Senka a look and pursing her lips. Clearly, she was thinking through something. “Our leader today was Senka, here, so the credit goes mostly to her." She nodded towards Senka, smoothly making it so that the two could refer to each other by name without the need for unnecessary introductions, and if Senka preferred for the others to remain none the wiser, it would be possible.

“We are in your debt, Senka," he stated, bowing once more, and keeping it. Senka felt her lips twitch slightly upward, but she shook her head. “As a handful of Duscur people, we feared that beast would wipe the last of us out. Now that it has been defeated, we can hope to rebuild ourselves. And as natives of Duscur, we always fulfill our debts. Should the need ever arise, please do not hesitate to contact us. Despite what others might say," he paused, his eyes glancing over the group, “we never forget our debts."

“Thank you, Espera. I will... keep that in mind." Part of Senka was overjoyed, and part of her was pained. They were still struggling to keep themselves alive, and there was nothing she could do to make it better. Even with Maurice gone, that was only one hurdle for them. There would be more, and Senka was partially sure that Kleiman would turn his attention on the last remnants of Duscur now that the beast no longer plagued his lands.

“Stay safe," was the only thing she stated as he straightened his posture, and nodded.

“May the Gods of Duscur watch over you," he spoke before departing.

Sorcha edged over subtly to fit her hand in Senka's and give it a squeeze, no doubt understanding at least part of what she was feeling right now, and offering the only support she could in front of people who didn't know what this meant to her.

Cyril, on the other hand, turned, his arm brushing her shoulder for just a moment before he was speaking, setting the others to prepare for their departure, and in so doing, removing their attention from Senka and what had just transpired.

She was just glad to know that her dearest friend was still alive. And she was glad for the comfort of her best friend. Without them... well, she didn't want to think of it.

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