Snippet #2787843

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: Mercer von Riegan Character Portrait: Vridel von Hresvelg Character Portrait: Sorcha Blaiddyd
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I.Y. 1180 - Horsebow Moon - Wednesday the 3rd
Village of Garreg Mach - Midnight - Overcast
Vridel von Hresvelg


Vridel slid his sword home in its sheath, satisfied in some small way by the faint click it made at the end of the motion. Belting it on over his shirt, he picked up the black scarf on his desk and wrapped it around his face and head, obscuring the bright white of his hair and the pale tone of his skin. He was outfitted heat to toe in mottled blacks, greys, and dark blues, colors suited to the kind of skulking he rather planned to do this evening.

Professor Cyril had told them not to go out alone at night, and it wasn't as if Vridel disagreed with the wisdom of that. Anyone who did so was making themselves a potential target. But the thing was, that was exactly his intention.

Amalthea had been missing for four days, and they'd still found absolutely no sign of her. And for four days, Vridel had been able to think about almost nothing but the fact that what had happened was his fault. He'd heard the rumors. Knew that there was supposedly something or someone out there kidnapping young women. He'd even walked her most of the way to her rooms. But then he'd separated from her, and somewhere between there and her destination, she'd been taken. The conclusion was obvious, and he couldn't rest until he'd recovered her.

Even then it wouldn't be enough, but it would be something.

Carefully, he eased open his window. It wouldn't do to be seen leaving from the front of the dormitory. Reynard had taught him a method for exiting out of sight of the Garreg Mach guards; it might well be one the culprit knew as well, but all the better if he ran into him early.

Vridel had very particular plans in mind for what would happen if that were the case.

His feet hit the ground softly, and then he was off, making quick progress over the monastery grounds to the part of the wall that was roughened enough by age to support an ivy growth climbable to a lighter person. He doubted someone would be able to manage it carrying another person, but there was always a chance, he supposed.

Once he was over, he headed towards the town, sticking to shadows for the most part. He wasn't that focused on avoiding being seen; anyone else out here a this time would be automatically suspicous to him anyway, but if he could avoid rumors of someone who looked like him being the Death Knight, he'd prefer it.

It seemed, however, that someone else intended to not be seen. Someone up ahead, using almost the same method as Vridel to keep to the shadows, was more intent on staying there. From what Vridel could tell, the figure was dressed mostly in black with just a single dull grey sash around their waist. They were carrying a sword as well, but there seemed to be a dagger on the opposite side. Whoever it was seemed to be anticipating a fight of sorts, or at least was prepared for one.

It didn't exactly look like someone who'd be mistaken for a spirit—more like the ordinary sort of skulker. But Vridel wasn't going to take any chances. Not with Thea's live in the balance.

Most of his magic was literally too flashy for stealth on a quiet night, but he did have a few tricks Senka and the Professor had taught him, so he aimed a wind spell for the figure's legs, firing it off and drawing his sword to spring forward as soon as it connected, ready to lunge for them.

“Ack!" the person lurched forward, caught off guard by the sudden attack, however; they rolled back to their feet, sword drawn and ready to counter the attack. “Show yourself, you bastard!" from the sound of the voice, it was slightly muffled, but there was a familiar lilt to it. “You won't get away with this, you asshole!" the person continued, however; as they continued to speak, it became clear who the voice belonged to.

It was Mercer, doing a poor job at disguising his voice.

“What the—Mercer?" Vridel steps slightly forward so he's somewhat visible, sheathing his blade. He's confident in his assessment—it's the accent, and the very shoddy attempt to make it sound local. He shakes his head, not trying to conceal his own. “What are you doing?"

“Oh, hey Vi," he replied once it seemed he recognized Vridel. “And I could ask you the same thing! But I think I already know," he stated, sheathing his own sword as he walked closer to Vridel until he was visible. “You're out trying to find the Death Spirit, aren't you? And Thea. You can't deny it because that's exactly what I'm doing, and I know you," he replied, his eyes narrowing just slightly through the cloth covering his face.

“So, what do you say we just keep going? It'll be easier since it's the two of us."

Vridel suppressed a sound of frustration. The entire point of going alone had been being more likely to escape notice, something that was going to be harder with two people than one, but... he supposed the backup wasn't entirely unwelcome. “Fine," he said, the word turning mostly into a sigh by the end. “Let's get moving."

“Great!" he stated, sounding rather chipper about it. “We can split up if you want when we get to the town. Might make it easier to gather information that way," Mercer suggested with a shrug of his shoulders. He took off after that, running ahead of Vridel as if on purpose. When they reached the outskirts of the town, he slowed to a light jog before walking, perhaps to make it seem less conspicuous. They were, after all, trying to be stealthy, and not seen.

“Alright," he murmured softly, glancing in Vridel's direction. “How do you want to do this? Do you want to split up and I take the east side of town, or do you want to do this as one single sweep?" he asked, his eyes holding Vridel's with an uncanny sharpness to them.

Vridel could recognize Mercer being serious when he saw it, even if it didn't happen often. The situation surely warranted it. He considered the options, frowning slightly beneath where the scarf was wrapped around his nose and mouth. Splitting up would allow for stealth and covering more ground, but a sweep would be safer for them, admittedly. If they were dealing with someone who overpowered Amalthea, they could be in for trouble. She was hardly weak, even if she couldn't bring herself to kill people.

“I think—" he paused; a glimmer ahead of them had caught his attention. “What the...?" He squinted into the dark, trying to make it out. Was it the spirit or whatever?

Holding a finger to his lips, he nodded forward and darted between houses, trying to stay unnoticed and trusting that Mercer would keep pace. As they got near, it became clear that the figure was a woman's, from the shape. Bright blonde hair, braided loosely, cascaded down her back; the simple commoner's dress she wore suggested a girl from the town, but something was off. She held herself like.

Like a Princess.

“Sorcha!" he hissed, causing her to startle and whirl around. She had, in fact, acquired a drab, grey dress from somewhere, and had worn a kerchief over her head, but her face was uncovered. Wide eyes scanned the area, but she clearly hadn't spotted them yet.

“Who's there?" she demanded, tone iron. Her hand drifted towards the small of her back, as if reaching for a concealed weapon.

Mercer was the first to step out, his eyes narrowed to show his discomfort. “Damn it, Sorcha!" he stated, though it wasn't too loud. It seemed he didn't want to garner attention towards them. “What are you doing out here? Don't you know how dangerous it is right now!?" he continued, his voice conveying his displeasure.

“You shouldn't be out here! I don't care if you know how to take care of yourself, but..." he paused, his jaw tightening as he slumped his shoulders.

“That's exactly why I'm here!" she replied in an urgent whisper. It seemed she'd recognized them without any trouble once they'd revealed themselves. “I'm bait. Which is sight better than skulking around just hoping to run into him," she added, crossing her arms.

“What? You can't be bait," Vridel protested, fully on Mercer's side on this one.

“I can, and I will," Sorcha replied. “You think I don't want to find her, Vivi? You think I don't care enough to put myself on the line for it? You're dead wrong. Come along if you like, but I'm doing this." Her eyes flashed, and he knew then that she'd got this into her head and wasn't going to let it go. He grit his teeth.

“That's not the point, Sor!" Mercer replied. “We know you care, and we know you want to find her, because we all do, but you can't be bait. What if something were to happen to you? Then we'd have to look for Amalthea and you! Do you really want to do that to me? To Senka? To Vi!?" he continued. Mercer didn't seem like he was going to let this go, either, however; he didn't seem to stop her, either.

“You should have at least told the two of us. We could have helped, and we could have made sure nothing happened to you, too. I can't..." he paused to take a deep breath, “I can't risk you, too."

“And either of you could have told me what you were doing, but you didn't, did you?" She frowns at the both of them, eyes narrow, then sighs quietly. “I knew it was a risk, but it's not like I came completely unprepared. I just—I didn't—" She exhales the rest of the breath, shaking her head. Her expression eases, and she makes a clear attempt at a smile.

“I'd be grateful for the backup, really. But please—let me help. Let me do this."

It's Vridel's turn to sigh, and he glances aside to Mercer. “I suppose it won't hurt, since we're all going to be out here anyway." Stealth might be out the window, but... bait's not the worst idea he's ever heard, at least not now that she has actual backup. Maybe they'll get somewhere.

Mercer still didn't look happy, but he relented and nodded his head. “Fine," he spoke, taking in a deep breath. “We'll use you as bait since it appears that the Spirit is only taking women. Vi is as pretty as a girl, but he's lacking in certain departments to qualify," Mercer stated, retaining some of the lightness in his voice, while also taking a jab at Vridel, it seemed. He rolled his eyes, though, and crossed his arms over his chest.

Vridel made a discontent grumbling noise at the 'compliment,' but otherwise said nothing. It was more important that they get to it.

“Alright, so since we're using you as bait, we should probably focus on the areas where the Spirit has been sighted the most. We can go from there if we need to, but I think that'll be a good start as any. And," he paused to regard Sorcha, “if something seems too overwhelming, don't try to take it on by yourself. We won't be too far, but at least try to get away until we can get to you. We can't be too close, either, so... don't be too reckless."

She nodded firmly. “I might not be as pretty as Thea—or Vivi—" she winked at him there, smiling for just the briefest moment when he rolled his eyes at her— “But I can look pretty helpless if I want to. I promise I'll shout if something happens."

Giving them a salute that was probably supposed to be jaunty but in fact came off shaky, she turned back around, treading forward with just the sort of hasty almost-fear that he supposed a village woman aware of the rumors might adopt.

Vridel gave her a considerable head start before following, veering slightly to the left and supposing that Mercer would take the right. It was possible this Death Knight or Spirit or whatever it was would approach from behind, after all—they didn't want to be directly in his path before he took the bait.

Mercer did, in fact, take the right side, trailing behind Sorcha at the same distance Vridel was keeping. He still didn't seem too happy about the idea of her being bait, but he at least seemed to be focused on her. If something were to happen, it wouldn't be because they weren't looking. After a few minutes of following Sorcha, Mercer pressed against the side of a building and motioned for Vridel to do the same. He pointed in the direction of Sorcha, and mouthed something that looked suspiciously like look.

There was a figure in front of Sorcha, but it was a bit dark to make out entirely. It was still a good distance away, but judging from the outline, the figure was perched on top of a horse. Rather late for a midnight ride, and if it were this Death Knight, they needed to get closer. Mercer did just that, moving as quietly as he could, perhaps to get a better look at the figure.

Vridel frowned, creeping closer on soft feet himself. Sorcha made it a little easier on them by stopping where she was, right in the middle of an open street. It was still difficult to see—he gritted his teeth and chanced another few steps.

As if answering his frustrations, one of the clouds blocking the moon must have shifted, for the entire area suddenly brightened considerably. There—a figure in black armor, its helm fashioned after something like a horned skull. The horse it rode was black as the night itself, as was every piece of its armor and armament, save the glimmering silver blade of its scythe. Its eyes seemed almost to burn from beneath the visor of the helm, a deep crimson that—

Wait. It almost felt like...

Did he know eyes like that?

There was no time to consider it; the figure was riding towards Sorcha with a purpose, now, scythe raised. She had nothing but a knife and her wits to defend herself with. It didn't matter that he couldn't be sure the knight had committed to the charge yet—he wasn't leaving her out there by herself.

Summoning magic to the tips of his fingers behind his back, Vridel drew in a breath. “Eyes!" he shouted, knowing the others would know what he meant.

Sorcha threw a hand over hers just as Vridel let loose the spell, a bright flash heralding the appearance of the Nosferatu spell, chosen here more for the light than the effect, though he noted that it hit well enough. The knight's horse reared; Sorcha dove forward, trying to plunge the knife in for a weak joint on his leg.

He thought she might have succeeded, but it was impossible to tell. A moment later, she was thrown back with a hard yelp, landing forcefully on the cobblestones well behind Mercer and Vridel. She was entirely still.

Mercer seemed to curse beneath his breath as he glanced towards Sorcha. He seemed torn between aiding her, and charging the knight, himself, however; it seemed that his concern for her was a higher priority, and he made his way towards her. He checked her over, perhaps to see if she was still breathing, before his shoulders slumped slightly. It seemed to Mercer that Sorcha was okay, for the moment, before he stood back up, and unsheathed his sword. He made no sound, no cry as he charged at the knight. He was angry; it was easy to tell by the furrow in his brows, and the way his jaw was tight.

The knight seemed to have no problem fending Mercer off, even with his scythe. When Mercer would try a different angle, the knight would shift in his saddle and block with seemingly no effort. It only seemed to aggravate Mercer, though, as he began wailing on the knight with his sword. The knight did not seem affected at all by it, and merely appeared bored. Perhaps that was his intention, to make Mercer angry so that he wouldn't be able to think properly nor defend himself.

Mercer was pushed back with a well-placed kick to his abdomen, causing him to cough a bit violently as if to catch his breath.

Dammit.

Vridel shot a quick healing spell in his direction rather than cast again at the knight. He'd though the rider would have to adjust for how far back they were now, but to Vridel's unpleasant surprise, when he swung the scythe from where he sat, a shockwave rippled outwards from the end of it, knocking both of them back several more steps. Vridel felt it crack across his ribcage, a sensation that at once seemed like burning and cutting, and expelled a hard breath.

Barely getting his feet back beneath him, he tried to ready his sword, but his grip was unsteady, hands shaking until the sword itself rattled, wavered in the air.

The knight appeared to pause, then. Without a word, he lowered his scythe and wheeled his horse, riding away the way he'd come.

“Dammit," Vridel hissed, still struggling to recover his breath. “Get back here, you—"

“Vridel, stop," Mercer wheezed out, moving to Vridel's side as if to offer him support. “He's gone; we can't do anything else, and Sorcha's hurt. We need to get the both of you back and healed before anyone finds out we're gone and how we were injured," he stated, pulling in a deep breath. His face contorted, as if it were a pained one, but he smoothed it back out.

“There's not much else we can do," and it was obvious in Mercer's tone that he wasn't thrilled about the sudden turn of events. His eyes narrowed in the direction the knight rode off, and his jaw was clenched tightly as if he were grinding his teeth.

He was right. Vridel hated it, but he was right. Pushing out a hard breath, he returned his sword to its sheath and made his way over to Sorcha. “No such luck," he said, grunting softly as he lowered himself to kneel next to her. “Unless you learned how to heal in the last couple of days, I'm what we've got. I can take care of you two, but I'm just going to have to sneak a vulnerary from somewhere and call it good." They were never as good as proper healing magic, which was vastly superior in the short-term, but he could cover the gaps with what little self-healing he was capable of. It would have to go.

So saying, he got to work on Sorcha, carefully mending her wounds. There didn't seem to be *many*; but one broad slash had clearly caught her from shoulder to hip. It was bleeding only sluggishly, but if they didn't get it closed, she'd die.

Fortunately, this was what Vridel was best at. It took some doing, but eventually the wound was gone, as though it had never been there. She was still unconscious, but that was to be expected; she needed time to recover from everything. He took care of Mercer's more minor injuries too, then stood, pushing himself with some effort back into a stand. “Can you carry her? I can't."

“Sure thing," Mercer replied, scooping up Sorcha as gently as he could. Once he adjusted her so that her head was tucked into his chest, he glanced at Vridel with narrowed eyes. “We'll have to see what the others can find. I doubt that knight will be back, now that he knows we're looking for him," Mercer spoke gently, but his tone was hard. “We don't have much time if that's the case," he added. Chances were, if that knight knew they were looking for him, he'd either move Amalthea elsewhere, or worse...

“We can't let that happen."

“No," Vridel said, half-muttering and half-snarling the word. “We can't."

He was done failing her.

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