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Kyero

"My purpose in life is my own to find. Nobody will tell me where I belong or what I can become!"

0 · 634 views · located in Cre' Est

a character in “Assassin's Pledge: Awakening”, as played by KumoriRyuu

Description

Image





Name: Kyero
Age: 22
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 210 lbs
Voice Example: 0:38

Basic Personality: Kyero is a very disoriented and easily agitated person. Because of his upbringing, being essentially brainwashed and tortured into the perfect assassin, he knows very little to nothing of normal life and struggles to maintain a semblance of normalcy as he tries to find a purpose in this world. He is, despite his lack of "normal" education, very smart and highly perceptive as well as a human lie-detector. He does not forgive and forget, nor does he negotiate. He's a steadfast and powerfully determined person who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He is also, despite his still learning why, fiercely loyal to those who accompany him and will fight to the death to protect them as his only human connections in this world.

Basic Background: Kyero was born to a mother who was part of a cult worshipping the Lord of the Nether Realm. A Demonic spirit was summoned via a ritual and occupied his body despite the ritual being interrupted towards the end. The Demon was unable to fully manifest, but its power remains in the form of a pair of glowing red eyes, enhanced senses, reflexes, and the ability to sense the living energy of others within a ten meter radius. Kyero was tortured into the perfect killer, and brainwashed into thinking that all there was in life were his orders to kill whoever the Grandmaster pointed him to. He was a living weapon, to put it simply. But after discovering freedom of thought, Kyero rebelled against Te'i Sai and killed the Grandmaster and those who sought to fulfill the Grandmaster's designs for the continent of Cre' Est. Today, Kyero wanders the land hoping to find a new purpose in life.

So begins...

Kyero's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral

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Miss Almna continued her service to the wounded, and her next victim was going to be a rather harsh blast from the past.

It was a little girl, no more than eight years old. She had been maimed by her father due to him having gone insane after losing his wife and the girl's older brother in the attack. He slowly slipped away during these three days, and had finally snapped, coming at her with a fire wood chopping axe. She lost her left arm below the elbow and had a severe laceration on her stomach.

A woman who rescued her from her father as the guards took him down raced her through the streets screaming for help.

"Someone HELP ME!! She's going to DIE!!!" The woman shrieked.

Dozens of people saw the woman and got out of her way as she ran so as not to knock the girl from the woman's arms. Finally, the cries reached Linde's ears, and she flagged the woman down as quickly as possible before immediately preparing her tools as the girl was rushed over and set on the table.

"Doctor, for the love of the Gods please save her!!"

"I understand, miss. Please calm yourself and keep your voice down."

The woman was hysterical and had to be dragged away by others nearby who were eager to help. And as Linde finally had the girl to herself, she quickly bound the stump of her left arm to stop the bleeding and tore the girl's shirt away to have full access to her stomach.

"Sweetheart, can you hear me?"

The girl's eyes were as wide as saucers, and she was breathing erratically. She didn't register anything from Linde's inquiry, so Linde was forced to pinch the girl's cheek to snap her out of her stupor.

"Stay with me, sweetheart. The doctor is here."

"M-mommy?" The girl asked.

"N-no, sweetheart. It's the doctor."

"Mommy. My arm feels strange."

Linde realized the girl was hallucinating, envisioning Linde as her mother. A coping mechanism for the pain and shock that was setting in. So Linde put a hand on her forehead as she used the other to gently manipulate the flesh of her stomach so she could see the full extent of the damage.

"I'm right here, my love. Mother's here." She cooed.

The girl's eyes brimmed with tears.

"Mommy... It hurts. It hurts so much!" She whimpered.

Linde tried to smile and stay positive, but it was clearly being forced.

"I know, my love. I know. It's okay. Mother's here now. Just close your eyes love. It will be over soon."

The girl did as asked, closing her eyes as she continued to cry while Linde began applying a salve to numb the pain while she worked. She numbed the arm first, followed by the stomach. And once that was done she inspected the stomach wound... And the prognosis was not good at all.

Part of her intestinal wall had been split, and Linde didn't know if she had the tools to save her. Intestinal fluid was flowing freely around her insides, and that wasn't good for her organs (or anything, really). Linde worked as quickly as she could to find a way to stop the flow of fluids, but she was ultimately unsuccessful.

... It was happening again in almost the exact same way, and Linde's eyes grew wider with fear as the reality of failure to save this child began drawing near.

She had almost given up hope when suddenly a stranger wearing a brown cloak appeared beside her. She looked at the figure, who handed her a vial with a paste-like substance inside, and walked away briskly through the crowd. Linde looked at the paste in the vial and relief washed over her face.

It was Gunta Paste, a natural adhesive which worked even when submerged in water to seal almost anything from metal pipe breaks to surface wounds from shark's teeth while swimming in the ocean. Linde hurriedly opened the vial and applied it to the intestinal wall sealing it shut at last with a sigh of relief. Now that the flow of fluids had ceased, she got to work dabbing the fluid with a cloth to soak it and wring it out off the edge of the table to get it out of her stomach cavity. Once it was as clean as Linde could make it, she began sewing the wound shut as carefully as possible.

With that done, she properly applied the same paste to the girl's arm stub, and then wrapped it in bandaging to finish her work.

"Sweetheart... Can you still hear me?"

The girl was breathing much more slowly, and her eyes had remained closed. Her lips quivered, and her tears had since ceased.

"... Mommy?" The girl whispered.

Linde leaned closer, putting her forehead to the girl's.

"Yes, my love... It's over. Your ouchies are gone."

"Mommy... I'm scared."

Linde's lower lip quivered and she released a slight whimper upon hearing those words, but she fought back her emotions as she gently lifted the girl into her arms, cradling the girl's head against her breast as she slowly rocked back and forth.

"I'm here, my love. I'm here... Mommy's here." She cooed.

Linde began humming a lullaby to soothe the girl, and it worked. Within a few minutes the girl had fallen asleep in Linde's arms before being handed to the previously hysterical, now outlandishly grateful woman who took the girl home.

Linde sighed with relief as the girl was taken away, and she fought back a tear as she cleared her throat and looked around.

"Is there anyone else who needs medical attention?" She called.

Meanwhile, from a rooftop nearby, the cloaked figure looked down upon the scene with a slight smile visible beneath the hood.

"Well done, Linde." He whispered.

He disappeared a moment later.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Arc 1 - The Worst Of Humanity



Time is a fickle and harsh mistress. The flow seems different for every human being no matter how closely related their lives and lifestyles may be. In the flash of an instant, things can go from good to bad. From bad to good. From good to amazing. Or from bad to the worst it could possibly be.

And in this moment, for all present in Atlum, time suddenly seemed so irrelevant.

"THE BANDITS HAVE RETURNED!!" Came a unified shout from down the South Road.

Dozens of people ran through the streets screaming about the bandits returning to the village. And behind them, just around the corner, the bandits appeared on horseback brandishing all manner of weapons and hooting and hollering at the villagers who were being trampled in their path.

At first Linde was shocked, but part of her was also glad to see them. Glad for the chance to pay them back for what they'd done. But as more and more bandits appeared both on horseback and on foot, she started realizing why it was that the village had been half burned to the ground and why so many people had been injured and killed.

... There were dozens upon dozens of them. Just down the South Road alone from what she could see there were at least fifty or sixty of them.

And from the North Road, another forty to fifty appeared.

"What in the name of-"

Linde couldn't finish her sentence before she beheld one of the bandits decapitating a fleeing woman holding an infant with a poleaxe. The infant fell to the ground into the street and was subsequently trampled by the horses en route with their murderous riders. Linde's heart and jaw hit the floor, and her eyes widened in terror.

"How could they...?" She whispered.

Linde's arm was suddenly grabbed, and she turned to see the one with the brown hooded cloak.

"Kyero. Is that you?"

The figure nodded.

"Can we stop them?"

Kyero shook his head, and Linde's heart sank even further.

"B-but we can at least repel some of them right? Give the people the chance to flee?"

Kyero looked up from under his hood, exposing his glowing red eyes to her.

"No, Linde. There's far too many of them. To remain is to die."

"But the village-"

"Is dead... There's nothing we can do for them now."

He gently released her arm, and her eyes began welling with tears as she looked back to the throngs of people who were being slaughtered in the wake of the oncoming rush of bandits.

"Linde. No amount of warrior's pride is worth your life. You know these are impossible odds. We can't fight them like this. Not out in the open."

She looked back to him with pleading eyes as she gripped his cloak.

"You said 'not like this.' That means you must know of a way to put a stop to the massacre at least! Please, Kyero!"

Kyero glanced to the crowds of people fleeing, then to those being slaughtered and trampled, and then to the bandits themselves as they rushed in with a crazed and eager look in their eyes. He looked back to Linde and gave her a solid nod of his head, walking out into the middle of the street with his hood drawn and down to hide his eyes. He withdrew two small black balls from either side of a pouch hidden beneath his cloak at his lower back, and held them to the sides for a moment before throwing them out at both the North and South bandit leaders at the vanguard of each attack point.

The balls flew through the air and struck the ground in front of their horses, creating a massive plume of black smoke that overtook the entirety of the street at both the North and South ends behind the crowds and stopped the onrush dead in its tracks.

He looked to Linde, and she nodded furiously as she rushed into the streets.

"Everyone! Flee to the alleyways! Their horses cannot follow those narrow passages!! GO NOW!!!"

The people began following her request, leaving the open streets and fleeing towards the alleyways which were too narrow for horses to pass through. Those who were left and able of the village soldier regiment took up positions near the alley entry points, and Linde remained in the streets behind Kyero as he drew a pair of gleaming translucent green daggers with a solid black interior reminiscent of liquid flowing out in thin branch-like strands to the tip of the blade.

... They were made of Orichalcum, a legendary metal which was nigh indestructible.

Linde took her place beside him, preparing herself for a fight by shedding her doctor's coat and taking a fighting stance. Kyero too took a stance, standing almost perfectly upright with his body bladed sideways. His left dagger was held out in a Heaven grip just above his left knee, and his right was held in an Earth grip tucked by his waist just behind him.

"Kyero... Thank you."

"We still can't fight this many in the open, especially with many of them on horseback."

"What do you propose?"

"We need to get rid of the horses somehow. They're too great of a movement and speed advantage. But I only have one of those smoke bombs left and nothing else that could do the job."

"Don't worry. We'll find a way."

As soon as Linde said that, the smoke began to clear and the bandits slowly began walking their horses towards Linde and Kyero. Clearly they weren't as crazed as they had appeared earlier... There was a quiet intelligence behind the eyes of the one who led them. And it was clear he had a warrior's mentality as he seemed intent on getting close enough to speak to Linde and the man in the cloak.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
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It seemed Okumi was destined to go hungry - There never seemed to be a moment of peace in Atlum. As the bandits poured over the hill like ants swarming over a feed, the priestess immediately began to see the gravity of the situation. This was no small group of highwayman, it was more like a small warband. Tens of men were coming over the horizon to the north, and even though it would have been futile to try and flee them on foot, yet another squad of brigands were closing in over to the south of the town, cutting off the main roads out of the village. A pincer maneuver, to ensure no one escaped. Barbarians.


It seemed the gods planned to test her once more. Either that, or this was one more chance for her to find absolution in death. Maybe… It was impossible odds to fight in a head on confrontation, but perhaps she could buy some time, create a diversion with her life and give the village a fighting chance to escape? Or, if this was to be the end of the village at the hands of these monsters, maybe she should… Unconsciously, she’d realised her hand had made its way up to hold her mask, and immediately she shrunk back as if startled by herself. No. No matter how awful these men were, it wasn’t her place to cast judgement. Not only that, but there was every chance they could spread the plague further before it took its toll. If it came down to it, she’d have to pray that in her passing the cursed flower’s toll would end.


Having stopped to contemplate all these things, the world around Okumi was swimming with movement. Faintly, she felt the rush of movement beside her as the warrior woman mounted her steed and charged into battle, as well as people running past her in a bid to escape. It was something like the eye of the storm, the battle and death all around them, but here, where the storm hadn’t yet reached, there was an eerie calm about the air. As well as an impending sense of dread. With some engaging to fight the attacking vanguard, it was then that the smoke clouds billowed out from seemingly nowhere, coating the area in a fine veil to cover their movements. The female doctor from before made the call to retreat into the alleys, an advantageous position in order to choke the amount of enemies and prevent them making the most of their mobility. It was a wise enough plan. Having lost track of the two warriors in the confusion, the shrine maiden began a cautious retreat to regroup with the remaining forces of the village.


Moving back as one of the last ones to get clear, Okumi did her best to allow civilians to escape before planting herself towards the front of the people set to defend the entryway. Though she wouldn’t be much good for negotiation, her Naginata was well suited for combat in such a space, and it would not be an easy feat to slip past her. With tension filling the air as their adversaries made a slow approach, it seemed that, at least for the moment, they weren’t going to blindly rush in to eliminate them. Appraising the woman next to her, prepared to fight with her fists at the ready, as well as… Well, she wasn’t sure where he’d come from, but the cloaked man with the impressive set of daggers looked quite formidable. They appeared to be in a discussion of tactics, almost like they’d been in this sort of situation before. Okumi wondered about the connection, but there were more pressing matters for the moment. Depending on how negotiations went, this could very well be their last stand. Okumi felt her throat tighten. If death had finally come to claim her, she would do everything she could in her final moments to make amends.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Heresta seemed to want to test her wayward Warrior of the Arzura Clan. For why would the Bandits suddenly flare up in many numbers for another raid. The moment Lonán heard the cries of panic and quickly looking behind and in front as he began to realize the tactics. One thing entered his mind before he witnessed the slaughter. ”Shit, I picked the wrong day to assume the Battle I dedicated to Her Name was over. In fact.... I think her Humor is showing.” After that, rage was boiling in him at the senseless slaughter, almost making him ready to blindly charge out, when a hand grabbed him and pulled him onto her horse and rode a bit. They seemed to be going for the men who charged in.

The thought occurred to him, that this large group must have one single leader. Which means he was either strong or cunning. Words of the Old Wolf entered his head, once more reminding him of ways to plausibly intimidate, lie, or hide one’s way out of a fight that one side is outnumbered in. The woman jumped off her horse and told him to guide her someplace safe, thus Lonán realized he wasn’t on Hawk. He was about to call when he saw the Stallion in full gallop catching up to him. Good. If he had to fight he’d rather do it with his horse and saddlebags (where he kept any extra bolts and other such useful items). He rode the Mare to a decent spot where he knew the horse would be safe. He turned to Hawk as he dismounted and went for his saddlebags.

”Hawk we are in some odd trouble again it seems. But now I need you to stay with the Mare. Don’t do anything to her. You know what to do if trouble comes your way. Either kick it in the head or run him over as you escape.” He instructed the horse as he pulled out some crossbow bolts and set them to his belt.

He then moved towards rejoining the woman who helped him, even as she shouted Lonán noted the Angelic Knight and a person he never saw before. Along with a man with the entire group approaching them, meaning the leader was about to talk. With talking, that meant hopefully ending the fight before it got to ugly. He shot a warning shot at one of the masked woman’s attackers.

”I believe your boss is about to do some talking. So if you attack my friend any further, I’m going to seriously think about not missing next time. Or would you like to meet the sharp bite of my sword?” He gave out with deadly, venom-filled sarcasm. The way one of the bandits looked at his weapons and angry look, it looked like he was about to possibly widdle himself silly.

”Intimidation is an easy way to make them stand down, but remember to keep that guard up. They may get bold later.” The words of his grandfather hummed in his mind. Lonán mentally slapped himself. Now wasn’t the time to lose focus. He had to maintain eye contact to the bandits as much as he can without dropping said eye contact.

He also mentally prayed whatever happens with any negotiation happened immediately. If any of the villagers were to see another dawn that is. He had to focus on the intimidation and/or an escape strategy if need be.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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The bandit leader walked his horse up to Kyero and Linde, stopping around ten meters away and giving a hand gesture to stop all of his bandits from doing anything further until given notice. He remained on his steed, eyeing the pair as they glared back at him.

"So... Obviously you wish to appeal to my humanity and stop my attack, is that right?"

Linde was about to speak, but Kyero held his arm out to the side to stop her. He stood up straight to his full height from his previous partial turn, and faced the bandit leader fully. His hood was still down, but he tilted his head up just enough to partially squint to hide his eyes while he peeked at the man to analyze him before speaking.

"Why are you here?"

The leader scoffed.

"Why would any group of bandits raid a village ripe for the taking when its mother nation is on the brink of war?"

"... Profit."

"Exactly."

The leader hopped off his horse and walked towards Kyero.

"You see, I'm a businessman. True, my business lies in thievery and killing those in my way. But business is business in this cruel world. And my business is booming. The more we take, the more wealthy we become. It's a simple formula, really. And it doesn't require a lot of intellect. Just one clear mind and a following large enough to see that mind's vision through to the endgame. Efficiency, my good man. Efficiency."

"What right do you have to take these people's lives and homes like this you monster?!"

"Darling, calm down. This world is cruel. If it wasn't us, it would be someone or something else. The way I see it, we're just saving them some time."

Linde's stomach dropped and she felt like throwing up.

"You're a twisted piece of garbage!"

Kyero remained silent and glanced around to take in the situation.

All of these men are fighters, if a bit rough around the edges. It's their numbers that are the danger. If we can find a way to fight them in a more controlled environment...

He looked back at the people Linde had met earlier.

... We might just have a chance to save this place.

He looked back to the leader.

Now, how to make him-

"I'll make you an offer, hooded one." He said as he pointed at Kyero.

"You give us the woman next to you, and we'll be on our way. I'm sure all of us would be able to show her the time of her life back at base."

Thunderous laughter and cheers erupted from the bandits as they all eyed Linde with hungry eyes.

Really, why wouldn't they? A voluptuous full bust. A tall and lean frame. Softly muscled legs and arms indicative of a woman who knows how to handle herself. A gorgeous face. Long flowing hair, great for pulling and tangling their hands in. She had everything that a group of lecherous men like this could ask for.

Kyero's eyes narrowed slightly beneath his hood.

"Here is my counter-offer."

He pointed one of his blades at the leader.

"I'll make you a wager, and if I win your days of raiding villages such as this one are over."

There was silence for a moment, but once again thunderous laughter erupted from the bandits including the leader himself.

"You really think we'd do that, wager or otherwise? What kind of honorable fools do you take us for?" The leader yelled.

Kyero smiled.

"Fine. I knew you were cowards."

... The laughter ceased, and all of them now had their eyes glued firmly on Kyero.

"... What did you call us?"

Kyero's blade remained pointed at the man.

"You're a businessman, and businessmen, as everyone knows, make terrible warriors. They're too soft."

He lowered the blade and turned his back to the leader, sheathing the daggers behind his back.

"I suppose the idea of challenging your best 'men' was expecting too much of you."

The bandit leader pulled out a pistol and pointed it at the back of Kyero's head.

"You dare mock our courage as men and fighters?! We may not have any honor as you see it, but we have our pride! What is your wager?!"

Kyero's head turned, the lower half of his face visible beneath the hood carrying a confident smile.

"Send twenty of your best forward. If they can defeat me, or defeat those who share my desire to see this end," he said, gesturing to Linde and the others.

"Then your raid may resume. But if your best fail to defeat us..."

He turned to face the leader, and his smile widened as he gripped the handle of his right-side dagger.

"Then your life is mine to take, and your men will disband and never again cause trouble like this for as long as they live... Deal?"

The leader glared at Kyero, his finger obviously itching to pull the trigger as he fought the urge. He dropped the pistol to his side and placed it in its holster.

"Deal!" He shouted.

He turned to his men and began pointing to them one by one to select his chosen fighters. Kyero glanced to Linde, who nodded at him with a smile and walked a little closer to him, still in her stance.

Kyero turned and looked to the others.

"I apologize for putting you in this position, but I saw no other way out. Will you stand with us?" He asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Lonán watched the negotiations, and watched how the tension build and fester. The man in the hood just managed to do something to gain a possible chance of saving the village. Now all he had to do was survive fighting more bandits, but these are guys the leader was picking. Anything could happen. The men could fight dirty. It was a gamble, and if there was a chance he’d use his gambling purse he would have done so. He’d bet on himself to win naturally. When the man in the hood asked his question Lonán smiled and loaded his crossbow.

”I’m with you. Heresta help us all.” He said as he set the Crossbow to his waist and grasped both hands on the blade, his left hand grasping with only his thumb and first two fingers, as he got into a stance as the men got picked out one by one. ”Right, twenty of them, a small handful of us..pick out five, and fight them. Save getting angry for the last one standing if you can.” That was his strategy. He just hoped it’d go that smoothly.

If Hawk could talk, he’d say that two times out of ten does his master’s planning go so smoothly.

“Finish them off quickly!” Shouted the Leader.

Five men charged towards Lonán, who smirked at the thought of luck being partially on his side. But the moment two of them pulled out crossbows of their own, he knew he had to adapt quick. Quickly he grabbed at his own and took aim and fired. A pain shot in his arm as he felt enemy bolt do a decent scratch on his arm. ”Shit... Got him in the chest though.” He thought as he saw the other crossbowman decide to hold off in case he hit his melee comrades..wait where were they?!

WHAM!

A club struck him on the side of his face, sending him flying three feet back, causing him to glare at the one responsible and getting back into his stance putting his crossbow away again, noticing that his arm was indeed bleeding. The one with the club chuckled as Lonán gritted his teeth and used this moment of taunting to his advantage, slamming the point of his sword into the bandit with a snarl, twisting once before pulling it out.

”Screw saving anger for last man. I’m letting go now or I’m a dead man.”

”Little Raven, if they don’t wish to fight fair, remember the golden rule at that point.” the words of advice rang in his mind as a grin formed. The next man who tried to attack him got a kick to the groin area before swinging his blade into his neck, sending the Bandit’s head flying into the ruins.

A sharp bite into Lonán’s side was returned with a pommel to the nose and grabbing the perpetrator by the neck and pulling him in front of him, as he felt a thunk hit the bandit. In dropping him he glared at the final crossbowman, who by now was becoming nervous that he began fumbling with resetting it. And thus, finally Lonán let go of his rage.

”This is for the Children you’ve killed, and the people you’ve widowed! RARRRRRGH!” He cried out as he charged at the bandit who by this point dropped the crossbow and tried to bring his sword out. He desperatly swung when Lonán closed the gap on him, and swung down with all his might.

The Bandit backed away before falling into two pieces, whilst Lonán clenched his teeth. His leg caught that blow, and standing on it was getting painful, in fact he believed it stabbed his leg more then sliced it. His left arm was bleeding as that same hand pressed on an open wound on his side. He slammed his sword on the ground and glared Forward, leaning on it to survey his part of the fight.

”This is a fine mess I’ve gotten myself into, all to help people. The level of brutality they’ve caused though. I’m not going to ask for money.... this time.” he angrily muttered to himself, ”When you make it to Heresta’s domain, Tell her, that An Arzura sent you there, and that the Clan is still powerful. Heresta’s breath I’ve got a headache...”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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How'd she get roped into this, was one of the bounty hunter's first thoughts. Always one to get caught in the cross hares no matter where she went, apparently. Was it worth it? Fighting for people she didn't even know, lest cared about? Maybe, but was getting herself killed like this what she wanted? No, of course not. But she had to fight, for herself as well as the others. She listened to the hooded man's words, and begrudgingly nodded, looking back at the men that were selected. Five looked at her, they were big, tall, strong, larger builds than her, of course. Naturally she'd get the bigger enemies, right? Was her luck after all, as it always happened. Two melee, two cross bow, and one had brass knuckles. Take out the cross bows first, then the knuckles, melee last as I can easily fend them off, she thought. She could determine who was a bigger threat easily in mere seconds. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, calming herself and surveying the surroundings and what she could use to her advantage before they would start.


Finish them off quickly!” Shouted the Leader. At that instant she unsheathed her twin blades, and got into a defensive position, the cross bows would need being extinguished first. As the one with brass knuckles charged at her first she grinned, she easily flipped over him as she grabbed his shoulder and pushed him using his momentum against himself, resulting in him getting a mouthful of dirt. She grinned, as one of the crossbow users started to steady a bolt, she took a bolt of her own and swiftly threw it with all of her might, causing it to pierce his right eye and lodging itself comfortably in the eye socket, his body slumping soon after as blood pooled around his corpse. One of the swordsman charged at her, almost catching her off guard, but she managed to parry his first blow, but only received a metal gloved fist to her left cheek. "Ugh..." she groaned, as blood was spat out of her mouth and onto the ground in front of her. She countered and returned an equally if not harder blow to his jaw, managing to stagger him, as the other cross bow user aimed at her, releasing his bolt, she managed to grab the swordsman who was staggered and using him as a human shield she hid behind him, the bolt piercing his chest. She swiftly dropped his body as his last breath existed his lungs, the man with the knuckles managed to come out of nowhere and get in a punch himself, causing her to stagger backwards, her mask falling off as his fist made contact. She groaned yet again, as she looked at her mask that now lay on the ground, she tightened her fist, seeing as how the mask was now cracked in half. "You bastard." she said as she looked at the man who grinned at the now unmasked Aetrius.

"Just as ugly as I had imagined. The mask is a good look for ye, girl." he said with a grin as he prepared to go in for another hit. Aetrius growled and caught his punch, only resulting in her to growl in pain as a sharp pain rippled through her wrist and forearm, it was broken for sure. "You fucking bastard, you're going to die." she yelled as she charged him, smashing him into the ground. She proceeded to give him at least three solid punches to the nose, and then the jaw, landing a solid last punch that gave a solid crack as her fist made contact with his horribly disfigured face. As she slowly stood up, she looked down at the man, and swiftly stomped his head in once, then twice, then thrice. She heard a click sound from infront of her, she looked up to see the other crossbow user taking aim at her, a small grin on her face.

"Just go for it, you bastard. Have the bollocks and just go for it alread-" she began, but suddenly felt an all too familiar feeling in her right side. She looked down to see a crossbow bolt had lodged its way into her side, a chuckle erupting from her mouth as she looked back up at the raider. "Wha....what? You're fuckin' nutts, ya know that?" the man said as he looked at the woman he had just shot in the side with his crossbow. Aetrius chuckled more, "You're all the same. You think because you have something I don't, that you're instantly better. Well guess what?" she started, she looked down back at the bolt, and with a swift motion she snapped the bolt in half, leaving the bolt side in, as anyone knows if you are stabbed, shot, or land on rebar, you never pull it out or try to get it out. You leave it in until you can get proper medical attention. "I've been shot, stabbed, trampled, burned, sliced, whipped....et cetera, et cetera. You can't kill me so easily." she said as she slowly made her way to the man, who only looked on at her in horror and awe, as she was certainly a sight to behold. She grabbed the man by the throat and hoisted him into the air, grinning, "You make a fine decoration, what says your friend?" she grinned, the man struggled to get out of her grasp, the last man with the sword charged Aetrius, who grinned and swiftly turned, to see the eyes of the man who she was holding widen. As it turned out, he had been impaled through the chest by his own comrade. She used the swordman's surprise to her advantage, and swept his feet from under him, and swiftly plunged her two swords into his chest and neck, watching him choke on his blood, and then go still.

As Aetrius looked around, she saw that Lolan had finished off his five by now, and nodded. The others had been fighting their own onslaught. But as the pain and blood loss finally hit Aetrius, she fell to her knees, gripped the crossbolt wound tightly, becoming weak and her vision clouded she fell onto her back, trying to help stop the blood flow, as her wound wasn't fatal itself, but if she kept losing blood without proper attention soon, she could very much so expire.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
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As the discussion and negotiations between the Bandit Leader and Kyero as he was known continued to a crescendo, the shrine maiden remained on alert, but she felt something rising in the pit of her stomach. And it wasn’t the fact she was hungry. Was it dread? Fear? As it was decided that she and a few others would fight for the livelihood of this town in such desperate odds, Okumi couldn’t misplace it. Twenty men, and to be divided evenly, that would be four or five each. Sure, she had fought off the occasional stray bandit or mugger in her time, but that was individually. She was practically self-taught, and by no means a professional. Instinct and quick judgement was all she had, and these men fought, murdered and pillaged for a living. She had no doubt that the warriors could handle their own, but if she fell here, would that ruin everything and the bandits would launch the all out attack? Who even knew if they’d keep their word even after this ludicrous fight?

It was at that point that Kyero and Linde turned to her and the other two warriors, apologising, but making a final plea for their assistance. At that point, there was no turning back. Giving a simple nod before holding her hand up, Okumi made a simple ‘Okay’ signal, leaning down to remove her travel bag, retrieving her Naginata and making a few steps forward into the street as her wooden sandals clacked on the ground. Undoing the clasps and string holding the sheath around the blade, Okumi tossed it back behind her towards her bag. Planting her staff, Okumi made a short but silent prayer with her hands. If this was to be another test by the gods, she would just have to find a way to meet it. Opening her eyes and pulling her Naginata from the ground, Okumi spun it twice through her hands, once again becoming accustomed to its weight. Compared to her burdens, it was light as a feather. With the pointed end pointed towards her enemy, she lowered her body, ready to face the bandits to the end. No matter what happened, this would be a defining moment of her life. It was time.

The shout of the Bandit leader to finish them rattled Okumi, and it was only then that she realised her leg was trembling. That brief moment of hesitation to glance back was almost the end of her, an arrow ripping through the air just narrowly missing her head, making her eyes widen in fear and surprise. Recoiling back as if she’d actually been hit, she barely managed to keep her footing and correct herself in time to see the two men coming at her, a longsword on one and a handaxe and shield for the other. Her hesitation was giving plenty of time for the archer and his companion with the crossbow to notch up and prepare another shot, and at this point, the last man with his pike was simply standing back and smirking. Did they not take her seriously?

“Look at this one, she’s shaking like a rabbit.” The swordsman spoke, and as the two got closer, they began to circle around her, staying wary of her range advantage over them. They knew she was scared, but they also knew that didn’t mean they could completely let their guard down. Inching about as they circled her, Okumi continued to glance between the two, while simultaneously trying to keep an eye on the three at a distance. They could fire again at any moment, and if she made a careless advance or step that could be her end. “Shame we have to mess her up. But maybe we can still have some fun if she’s not dead by the time we’re done with her?” The brute with the axe spoke that time, and made a despicable face Okumi wouldn't soon forget.

The swordsman or the axe wielder? Which would move first? Seconds later, she got her answer as the man with the blade attempted to rush forward. Immediately, Okumi adjusted her naginata, but as the man moved to the side she quickly came to the realisation that this was a feint. Attempting to turn as quickly as she could, she choked up her spear in a bid to increase the turn speed, but it was far too unwieldy to get back in time. The horizontal slash was interrupted as he caught the shaft, and in that moment, she knew he was upon her as the axe was bearing down on her shoulder. Dropping her Naginata and ducking to the side to avoid the brunt of the blow, Okumi cried out in pain as the man swiftly brought his knee into her face, sending her sprawling into the dirt as she fell back. Mocking laughter came from the man, who simply tossed her naginata to the side.

“You lost girl. Just surrender peacefully, and I’ll make sure it’s not so bad for you. It’ll be fun, trust me.” Okumi winced as she remained on the ground, glancing around her. By now, the three at the back were practically holstering their weapons, and the swordsman was letting his friend take command. Just like that, she’d already lost. She’d let everyone down. Trembling still, her hands clenched into fists as she attempted to push herself up off the ground, but she could only give out a sharp cry of pain as she was wrenched up by her hair, now looking deep into the brigand’s face as he eyed her over. Instinctively, her hands had moved to claw at the ones on her head, but she froze as she saw he’d tucked his axe into his belt and was now reaching towards her mask. “Let’s see that pretty face of yours-”

“..!” All at once, the adrenaline began to hit Okumi and her body moved. With her left hand, she lobbed a cloud of dust into his face, staggering him a moment. Next, she followed with a kick to his stomach. It wasn’t particularly strong, but it distracted him long enough for her to flick her sandal off. It was a move born of desperation, and the bandit never saw it coming as his handaxe was knocked into the air. Catching it with her right hand, Okumi swiftly switched to a reverse grip as she brought it down into his throat with a desperate war cry, punching the sharp side into a lethal cut as she fell forward with his body, the bandit’s hand going limp as she was released. Rolling forward with her momentum, she could hear the cries of alarm and swearing from the other Bandits, so she only had a few seconds to take advantage of the confusion. Getting up into a pirouette she leapt, and with surprising precision, the handaxe flew through the air, striking the man with the crossbow in a shoulder gash - not enough to kill by any means, but for now, he was incapacitated.

Her breathing heavy, Okumi continued her spin as she reached her weapon, spinning in time to look up at the swordsman approaching her. “You bitch!” He swore at her, but in his anger, his approach was predictable and he hadn’t noticed that she was once again armed. A quick thrust was all it took to pierce through his stomach, Okumi grimacing at the blood, but quickly retrieved her Naginata as she turned to look at the remaining three, now scrambling to take her down. An arrow was loosed, but Okumi was ready, her arms moving just in time as the shot became entangled between her long sleeves. The outfit was a bit ruined, but that was the least of her worries now. Both sandals lost to combat, Okumi was now sprinting up on the pike wielder, and like her, he’d moved to hold his ground and let her own momentum work against her. The difference was that Okumi knew her own weapon’s weakness, and learned from her mistakes. As he planted himself to deal with her assault, Okumi shifted, instead taking a berth around him as she didn’t stop, closing in instead on the ranged attackers of the group. Seeing Okumi so close before he could draw another arrow, the archer already had his short sword out, and charged to meet her. In this sort of scenario however, she had the advantage. Before he could get anywhere close to striking her, there was a flash of steel as the Naginata cut through the air, slicing at his torso.

Not content to stop there, Okumi was moving to follow up on the crossbowman, who was bringing his weapon to level against her despite the pain from the axe that had struck him. At this sort of range, there was no avoiding his shot, but- Crying out in pain as the bolt ripped through her shoulder, Okumi fought through the injury as she closed in for another decisive slash, stumbling a bit as she took him down. Skidding across the dirt, panting, sore and exhausted, she forced herself back up again to look at the last enemy. Raising her Naginata, she couldn’t stop her gasp of agony as it felt like a fire had been lit in her shoulder. Damn, she couldn’t wield her weapon properly with that sort of injury. Shifting her weapon to her non-dominant hand, Okumi knelt for a moment to recover before making her approach at her last adversary, her injured arm trailing somewhat limply behind her.

Reaching the final soldier, she knew she wouldn’t be fast enough to outmaneuver his pike in a joust, nor was she strong enough to brute force it away with her Naginata in her weakened state. As she closed the range, her Naginata dragging slightly along the ground in front of her, the Bandit gave his own war cry as he thrusted straight at Okumi’s core. And then, the clang of metal as it was dragged to the side, Okumi unable to stop herself from smiling behind her mask as her plan came to fruition. Using the the hook on the back of the small hand axe she’d concealed behind her, she’d managed to drag his shaft out from hitting her, even with her injured arm. Unprepared for such a close range attack, the bandit could only cry out as his final breath left him, Okumi having choked up her Naginata once more for close range stab to his neck.

As his weight fell against her, Okumi twisted and pulled her weapon free, taking a step back to let him drop to the ground as she panted, dropping the handaxe to her side. She was injured and bleeding in various places, but she was alive. And she’d won. Staggering slightly back towards the group, she felt a little dizzy, but was stable for now. Faintly, she realised she could taste blood in her mouth, likely from when she’d took that knee to the face. She’d need a new mask. Using her weapon as something of a walking stick, while her other arm clutched her shoulder, Okumi made her way towards the alleyway, stealing a glance towards her other comrades to see how they were fairing. Hopefully better than she had gone. Finally, as she reached the alleyway, she gave the faintest gesture. 'V for Victory'.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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The battle had begun with the words "Finish them quickly!"

Kyero, keeping his gaze on the leader, didn't move a muscle as five large and well-armed men rushed at him. What followed was almost like watching a ballet. Kyero, keeping his left foot rooted in the same spot the entire time, spun, ducked, and leaned out of the way of all five as they went sailing past him.

They all spun and turned to face him again, only to hear a 'CRACK' behind them as one of them fell to the ground holding his jaw and growling in pain. They looked up and saw that Linde had just retaken her stance with hands up ready to fight.

"Take my word for it. You're nowhere near his level. So try me instead!" She goaded them.

The bandits looked to each other, looked to their comrade who was in the process of getting up revealing a now broken jaw, and then back to Linde as they all cried in rage and rushed her at the same time.

Linde quickly backpedaled away from them to keep the distance safe, and waited patiently until she saw what she was looking for.

Don't ever let multiple enemies spread out around you. It's a losing situation. Try to move until they start lining up behind one another in their desperation to reach you. It's safer, and you deal with fewer enemies at a time. Their momentum and positioning both work against them.

Linde skidded to a halt as three of them lined up with one another while she had been turning to the side, and slammed the heel of her boot in a spinning kick into the lower abdomen and upper groin of the first in line. She quickly used his momentum to spring launch backwards into a backflip, landing gracefully on her feet, and watched as they fell onto one another in a pile.

The other two, however, had gone around and were now on top of her.

Linde rushed to parry the blow of the one on her left, but received a sharp punch across the face from the one on her right sending her sprawling to the ground and skidding across the dirt. The impact and friction tore off a small layer of skin over her left cheek and forced her to bite the inside of her mouth causing blood to begin seeping inside. She spat out a mouthful of red liquid and tried to stand, but was pushed down onto the ground by the one who punched her. He straddled her, his groin above her posterior and his hands holding hers on the ground.

"How now, girlie? Still all full of that bravado, eh?" He asked.

Linde struggled to gain some form of leverage, but it was no use. The other bandit walked up beside her as the others stood up to watch with sick smiles on their faces. The one who walked up beside her kneeled down and grabbed her hair, forcing her head up so he could look at it.

"Damn. We fucked her face pretty good already."

"Well, now we're just gonna fuck her. Sound like a fair trade?" The one straddling her asked.

They started laughing and both picked her up off the ground and made moves to take off her clothing. But in doing so had to release one of her hands, and that was all she needed. The instant her hand was set free she reached up and back over her head to grab the hair of the one holding onto her and pulled his face into the back of her head, breaking his nose and staggering him. He let go, and Linde was 100% free as she ducked down and punched into the other man's groin as hard as she could. She felt something give way beneath her fist, which was rather sickening, but didn't stop there. She launched herself up and drove both fists into the underside of his chin and extended her fingers to rake his throat.

Her nails dug in deeply and slashed open eight long, neat lines of flesh along the throat which were instantly red and bloody as he staggered backwards holding his groin. As he staggered, she spun around kicking across his temple which resulted in his being knocked out. The other was just now starting to recover, and the other three were rushing in as well. She had to move fast!

She rushed to the one who was recovering and pulled his dagger from behind his back, slamming it all the up to the hilt into his kidney before pulling it free and doing so again into his lung. He would not last long, now. She pushed him forward towards his companions who went around brandishing their own weapons against her. Two swords and one double-bladed axe.

Linde jumped back to avoid the axe swing, and parried one sword stab off to the side. But the third swung down hard at her head forcing her to attempt another parry. But he was too strong and put too much force into it. The sword pushed down against her dagger and dug into her shoulder about half an inch before she managed to get control and stop him. With his blade now in her shoulder, she was free to take the dagger under his arms and slash his throat. He staggered back, gripping the now gaping wound and choking on his own blood, and fell to the ground.

Linde pushed the sword free, but was too late to stop the other sword user from slamming into her and knocking her to the ground once again. She turned and saw him aiming to stab straight down into her chest, but all she could do was roll to the side to avoid a direct blow. But he still managed to get part of the blade to slice down through the flesh of her shoulder blades causing her great pain. She rolled onto her stomach and tried to stand, but was kicked onto her side by the axe wielder who stood off to her right and aimed to decapitate her with a downward swing. Linde swiftly lurched her body sideways, scraping her fresh shoulder wounds against the dirt opening them slightly farther, and reached up to grab his groin.

He froze as his axe hit the ground next to her. She squeezed hard for all her worth until she felt two pops in her fist. She let go and rolled to her feet before pushing him around and in front of her as she sensed a stab coming behind her. She was right. The sword impaled the bandit she was using as a shield, but still managed to puncture part of her lower abdomen by about an inch or two. Linde let the two of them fall to the side after pulling herself back and off the blade, and as she tugged them both off balance she picked up the axe, held it high above her head, and drove it down into the spine of the final sword wielder.

Both men went still after a few moments, and Linde dropped to her knees panting deeply and hissing through her teeth at the pain she was in.

...

It was over.

The leader was dumbfounded and left gawking at the results.

"How-... How could this happen?"

Kyero's smile beneath the hood never left. It only grew.

"I believe we had a deal." He said, approaching the leader with both orichalcum blades drawn.

Not only was orichalcum the strongest metal on Earth and nigh indestructible, but if it was forged properly an orichalcum blade could slice through even other metals as if they were nothing but paper. A human body stood no chance.

The leader was still in shock, but he looked up at Kyero and drew his own blade to defend himself. He rushed at Kyero, and in a blink he had raised his weapon high above his head and came down aiming a slice down Kyero's middle. But for Kyero, the attempt was laughable. He simply turned his body and stepped slightly to one side, and the man's blade struck nothing but air and dirt as it embedded itself into the ground.

The leader looked up at Kyero, who pulled back his hood revealing his face, his raven black hair, and his glowing red eyes for all to see.

The leader's face went pale as a sheet, and he stammered incoherently as Kyero raised one orichalcum blade up to his throat.

"All businesses fail eventually. It's just a matter of how? And the how for you... Was hubris."

The orichalcum blade was then pushed forward with great speed force, slicing through flesh and bone before emerging behind his neck and being pushed skyward. Kyero had guided the blade through all of the soft tissues in his throat and in between the vertebrae of his spinal chord to make the cut that much cleaner. The leader's head slowly fell from his shoulders and rolled to the ground at Kyero's feet, who turned towards the others with a deadly glare.

He held the bloody orichalcum blade up and pointed it at them.

"Let this be a warning to all of you," he said loudly as he pointed his second dagger at the leader's body. "This man led you to murder the innocent for nothing but pleasure. There is no business here. Wealth comes with a price, and the price for him was death."

He turned the blade he pointed at them, blood still dripping from it to the ground.

"What will the price of whatever wealth you have accumulated be?"

The other bandits had also gone pale as sheets not only because of Kyero's eyes, but because their leader was now headless and very, very dead. Almost all of them had followed this man because he promised them wealth as part of his "business." But now... Now he was dead. And they were face to face with the Red-Eyed Demon. Sure he was just one man, but he was also the legendary assassin of their time. Even in a group of five or six they would stand no chance. Not against those orichalcum blades, and not against those eyes.

The bandits all turned on foot and on horseback and began to flee the village, disappearing beyond the buildings as they raced back to whatever hole they crawled out of.

Kyero sheathed his blades and walked over to Linde, helping pick her up and brush her off.

"The female warrior needs your help at once. I'll get started on the others."

Linde nodded, and rushed over to Aetrius.

"Just hold on miss. Keep the pressure there. I'll be right back!"

She raced to the medical tables, and thankfully her tools were all still there. She quickly gathered them all, throwing them into a bag and raced back to Aetrius' side as she began to tend to her wound.

Meanwhile, Kyero approached the others slowly and with a calm and as non-threatening an expression as he could muster. He was well aware that many of them, if not all of them, either feared him or loathed him for his reputation and the stories about his exploits as a "demon assassin" who was as evil as the creature which inhabited his body. Reputations aren't everything, but for many people they were the only impression of him they had.

He looked over towards Okumi.

"That bolt needs to be removed, carefully... Will you let me?" He asked her.

That bolt was the priority here. The other wounds received were not life threatening, but that bolt to her shoulder could be if it had either nicked or severed her brachial artery.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral

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Everything was muddled and in slow motion as she laid there in the street. Many a time she had this experience, but this time, was she about to die? Would this have been the end of her? Sad really, if it was. But she wouldn't give up, not this easily. She had tried to pull herself to somewhere else, but she was only able to move a foot or two until she collapsed again, having left a small blood trail. Voices were going all around her, but all she was able to make out were here and there.

"The female warrior needs your help at once. I'll get started on the others." Aetrius heard an unfamiliar voice call out, most have been the man with the hood. She looked to her side as the same woman she had helped before rushed towards her and began to speak to her, "Just hold on miss. Keep the pressure there. I'll be right back!" the woman said as she examined her wound quickly then ran off to probably find some medical supplies and tools. "N-nah, I'm just gonna pull it out and bleed out..." she said sarcastically to the woman. That was too harsh, Aetrius....Maybe not to the one offering to help you, dumbass, she thought to herself. She laid there as the woman came back and began to tend to her wound, starting with the crossbow bolt in her side. At first she relented, not wanting to possibly bleed out right there in the middle of the town square. But as she looked towards the woman who was tending to her wound, a small smile crept across her lips, but then just as swiftly did it go away, "You...You shouldn't have to help me, ya know?" she said with a groan as the pain of the bolt finally came in full force. Her hand slowly beginning to register how badly damaged it was, her hand tightened out of instinct, resulting in her to let out a groan yet again. "Wh-what's your name, anyway, love? Don't think I got that earlier..." she asked as she looked back at the woman, studying her face, as for some reason she seemed familiar to the young bounty hunter, but she wasn't exactly sure yet. If this woman was indeed someone she knew, why couldn't she remember, she remembered everyone's face she had ever seen, planted it in her memory if they were to ever double cross her path.

Aetrius looked around as a way of distracting herself from the pain and the small surgery that was going on in her abdomen, "Where....where is my horse? Do you know where she is?" she asked, with a sad tone in her voice as Bree was the only thing in the world that she had left, as well as ever cared about anymore. If she were to lose her, she wouldn't know what she would do.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral

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As Aetrius laid there, she groaned out in further pain as she felt the woman examining her wound more, even when she peeled her flesh she could feel it. She did all she could to not scream out in pain, as well as her pain tolerance was, this...this was a first for her. "My name is Linde. Nice you meet you. Now, lie still." she heard the woman apparently named Linde say. She nodded slowly, her eyes shut tight as whatever Linde had began applying to her wound first burned but then slowly began to numb, then ended as a cooling feeling on her side. A numbing agent, clearly as well as probably a drug to help the patient ignore the pain their body was otherwise feeling. Linde...Linde....Noted..., she repeated the name and committed her name to memory, if she would need it that is.

She looked on as she could still feel her side, and could feel Linde pull and tug as she was sewing up the bolt's entry wound. She breathed heavily from her nose, keeping her breathing as calm as she could in this state. She looked to her side to see Linde grab another bottle of a mysterious liquid and put it to her lips as she had her head lifted off from the ground, "Drink this. It will help clear your head and give you some energy back." Linde said urgently to Aetrius, who only nodded and smelt the liquid in the bottle. Was it truly what she said it was? Poison perhaps? Didn't smell like any poison she knew, or of something that could kill someone. It had a strong smell, and if that was anything to go by, Aetrius knew it would more than likely taste just as bad. But she took the drink anyway and quickly drank the substance, only to cough horribly after she swallowed the blue liquid. She laid her head back down for a moment, then took a deep breath and tried her best to slowly get back to her feet, allbeit she was incredibly weak and staggered a bit as she stood up, gently holding her side where the bolt had previously been. "Th-thank you, Linde..." Aetrius said softly as she looked at the doctor, giving her a very small smile, she could feel a slight blush over come her face, and looked back away, to manage to see her mask still on the ground. It was broken, cracked all the way through, no way to properly fix it. She huffed at the sight of her damaged mask, one she made herself years ago. She sighed as the mask would be of no more use, and left it where it lie. Perhaps she could find a better mask, or if need be make one for herself again. The mask while yes was used to hide her identity, she also wore it as a way of not having to see her face, as she wasn't much of a fan of how she looked in recent years mainly due to the ghastly scar that ran down half of her face, disfiguring her rather badly.

She looked back at Linde, then at the male in the hood who was apparently now tending to the others, "So...Now what? Are we going to deal with more matters, or can I be on my way now...?" Aetrius said with a slight groan as she held her side, she knew leaving on her own wouldn't be the wisest decision due to how badly injured she was, but at the same time she wasn't one for companions.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

0.00 INK

#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
Image



Watching Kyero engage in combat with the Bandit Leader, the girl could only wince slightly as the man was beheaded in a single clean slice. Clearly, that hooded figure was leagues above her own capability in combat, but that didn’t make the way he went about it any less gruesome. Not that she could really talk. She’d killed five men today, more than she’d intentionally done in her life up until this point. It made her stomach turn, but the alternative of leaving the innocent civilians here to die would have still stained her hands. With a few words of threat, the example that Kyero had made of their leader seemed to be enough of an example to scare them off - after all, it didn’t look like she or any others of the elected warriors would be much good against the remaining 79 or so bandits. A relief, to say the least. She didn’t much feel like dying, though her body might be arguing otherwise with the amount of pain it was in.

Having staggered slightly away from the crowd, Okumi planned to make her leave. There were too many risks in staying amongst this many people in her state. She’d established that the Wilt could be spread through the air and had taken precautions for that. When it came to her injuries however… Although contact with her blood didn’t necessarily spread the illness, no doubt if it got into someone else’s wound or was ingested the effects would be catastrophic. Gritting her teeth as her shoulder flared once again, Okumi knew she was in trouble. This wasn’t the kind of thing she could patch up with a set of bandages and medicinal herbs at home. She’d saved this village, so perhaps it was time to be a martyr. Slip off unnoticed and meet a peaceful end. Had she done enough to deserve that..?

"That bolt needs to be removed, carefully... Will you let me?" A deeper voice sounded beside her, startling Okumi slightly as she turned, pivoting around the pole of her weapon. She’d been kneeling down to retrieve her bag, and hadn’t fully realised his approach or concern for her. Looking up, she met his red, glowing eyes, and was suddenly struck with tales from her childhood and travellers she’d met at the shrine. The Red-Eyed demon… Even as a priestess, she’d always assured herself that those rituals she performed were more of a tradition than any sort of actual method of containing or stopping a demonic presence. Somehow, the stories seemed a little more real in that moment. Slowly pushing herself back up, Okumi did her best to force a smile behind her mask, shaking her head slightly. She couldn’t risk having someone else deal with this and becoming infected. Gesturing with a point to herself, Okumi made the simple ‘okay’ symbol again, hoping that her message was clear: ‘I’m okay’.

Except she wasn’t, and that would be clear to anyone that looked at her. She was disheveled and barely managing to keep herself standing and moving. In fact, she thought she might faint if she stopped, so that was why she refused to. Making a pulling motion towards her heart, Okumi then pointed to Kyero, putting her hands together in a clasp, then pointed at Lonán. She wasn’t sure if he got the message, but what she was trying to say was thank you, followed by directing Kyero to help Lonán rather than prioritising her. Then, while he was busy with that, she’d make her escape from the scene.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Kyero observed Okumi carefully, his eyes narrowing at her gestures.

"If you mean to tell me you're all right, you're not fooling anyone. If that bolt isn't removed it will become septic, and you have given too much to these people and this village to allow that to happen."

Kyero flipped his hood back up just in case any villagers came back, not wanting to cause a stir. But he stepped forward and scooped Okumi into his arms and carried her over to Linde who was finishing helping Aetrius with her wound. He set Okumi down, and Linde shared her tools with him. He carefully cut the fabric of Okumi's outfit around the bolt and applied the same tactic Linde had. Applying a bit of numbing paste and creating two small incisions to remove the bolt before inspecting it for tissue and arterial damage before sewing it shut.

Linde was fast running out of supplies though. But with Okumi's most significant wound treated for the time being, Kyero helped her to her feet and looked to the others.

"We don't have enough supplies to treat all of your wounds. You should head to the local clinic. It's just down the South Road."

Linde had just finished helping Aetrius as he made the announcement.

"You won't come with us?"

He shook his head.

"It would be unwise for you all to be seen with me, regardless of what we accomplished here. You and the local doctor can finish this without me."

"Okay, but will we see you again?"

He nodded.

"I intend to follow those bandits to see where they went and what they're planning to do. They retreated for now, but there's no guarantee my threat will keep them away. I need to be sure."

"Then wait for me. I wish to be sure of that as well. Once I have seen to their injuries, and my own, I will come with you."

Kyero was clearly hesitant to take her up on her offer.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Lonán’s head was swimming at the moment. He felt the area where his head was struck swell, making a good lump on his head and making the pain feel like his head got hit by a wagon. He caught glimpses of the other fights but it seems by some miracle, they survived the onslaught, and the hooded man began his assault on the leader as he promised to do. The short work of the leader and the sudden fear in the now broken gang made it clear this man was no ordinary human. In fact, all the rumors and ghost stories began to flood in his head, though it ached his mind so.

About a man with red glowing eyes. If this man had them, then Lonán knew he was in the presence of someone who could kill him and end his Clan Line without even a second thought.

Then the Angelic Knight and He began to help others, the masked woman being the more seriously injured being tended to by the former and the spear wielder being approached by the latter. Lonán needed a drink, but his flask was in his saddlebag. Hooking his good arm around his blade handle, he gave two sharp whistles to signal Hawk it was safe to come to him. He watched as Hawk came out of the hiding place, leading the Mare he had been instructed to protect, causing him to sigh in relief. ”Hawk. Come.” he simply said. The sooner the drink came the sooner he can take the edge off his headache and concentrate on his other injuries.

Hearing the Hooded man talking to the mute woman, who almost told him to tend to the red haired warrior first, caused a chuckle to come out of Lonán. ”I’ll be fine, A good drink and a little visit to a doctor will fix me up...and cost me a bit from my gambling purse..” The latter part he muttered to himself as he watched both The Angelic Knight and the Red Eyed Demon fix up the two women.

Then the Demon announced his intentions and next instructions and Linde almost interjecting her insistence to go with him. ”Some of those wounds on you need rest to fix. And plus, I’m in this as much as you both are now Milady. Allow me to accompany you whilst he scouts ahead. If he is who I think he is, he can handle himself for a while.” He said, trying to intercede and come with a better plan of action, one that gave a bit more strength in their numbers as well as a second opinion. ”It’s just a thought-ow my brain box...” Hawk seemed to whinny a chuckle, causing his owner to glower at him.

Someone was not getting sugar with his oats tonight, that was for certain.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
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The man eyed her over, and Okumi felt like he was appraising her somewhat. Either that or her curious mannerisms was leading him to become more scrutinizing. Okumi wasn’t aware that what Kyero was actually doing was working out how to deal with her. It seemed he was determined to assist her, so she’d simply have to get her parchment roll and spell out why that wasn’t a good idea. As he flipped up his hood and stepped towards her, Okumi’s thoughts raced as she tried to work out what he was doing, as she’d only just started kneeling towards her bag. “..!!..” Moments later she felt her legs swept out from under her, and found herself somewhat embarrassed but equally surprised how firm he felt as he carried her across the street. Firm… But still gentle. Not wanting to fall, and not quite knowing what to do with herself in being treated in such a manner, Okumi held on until she was set down nearby Linde and the other woman, the warrior who seemed in worse shape than she was.

Now seated, Okumi could only watch as Kyero set about getting the tools he needed to remove the crossbow bolt. Taking the time to look him over herself, she could tell he was indeed greatly concerned, but what she was more concerned with was the presence of any cuts or injuries on him. Seeing none, despite her initial embarrassment she reluctantly relented, turning her body to allow him access to her main wound. Even with the numbing paste, it was a painful extraction. The process was uncomfortable, not the least of which was after he’d cut into her maiden’s outfit she was forced to slide it down her arm, leaving her shoulder and an uncomfortable amount of her side showing, her chest bandages apparent to keep her dignity, as did the way she held her arm. Still, he was respectful enough in treating the wound, and Okumi couldn’t deny she was grateful. The white of her outfit was stained a deep red from blood, and Okumi was aware that she didn’t have too much else to change to; especially with her travel bag. She’d have to acquire cloth and dye and make herself something new when she returned to her little abode.

Once he was done and helped her to her feet, the shrine maiden took a loose strip of cloth from her sleeves, tying it tightly to hold the shoulder of her outfit up and into place to reduce her amount of exposure. Turning to Kyero, Okumi made the same gesture she had before to indicate thanks, however, his attention was diverted to Linde and the others, and she self-consciously stopped herself from doing anything more to distract him. The talk moved to following the bandits, of which Linde and Lonán planned to accompany Kyero when given a chance. Depending on which way that lead them, she might be able to provide them some modest accomodation at her shrine. Still, if she was going to be attending another clinic, she’d have to make preparations. Retrieving the long roll of parchment in her bag, she unfurled a small portion, writing out a simple message dictating the danger of her blood before tearing along the base and rolling it up. Tying it with a simple rope, she cut that with her Naginata in a practiced motion. Seemed she wrote stuff like that regularly.

For now, she was set as she’d ever be, but even as they meandered towards the clinic, Okumi’s thoughts turned to the people she’d met. Who was Kyero? Was he really that notorious figure, the red-eyed demon? And what was his connection to Linde? If he was a demon, why had he been so kind to her and the people of the village? She had a lot of questions playing across her mind, but she’d become so used to her solitude and remaining silent she didn’t really know how to speak and ask them anymore. So instead she’d simply follow. Maybe she’d get her answers if she remained with them a little longer. After all, she did miss company. And if she could aid and thank them for that by allowing them to stay at her place on the mountain road, that would make her happy. For now, she wandered to retrieve her sandals and the other bits of belongings she held before they completely left the area.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Kyero and Linde nodded to one another before turning to the others. Kyero walked away, disappearing around the corner of a nearby building while Linde faced everyone.

"Please follow me, everyone. The local clinic is just down this way."

Aetrius, as she was called, was initially reluctant. But with a little friendly persuasion Linde managed to convince her to accompany Lonan to the stables nearby to tie their horses while they came to the clinic.

Once everyone was present, Linde and the local doctor got to work. They dressed their cuts, applied basic pain killers to some water or tea, whichever was preferred, and had them drink, etc. Other wounds which were more serious were dressed with antiseptic paste, sewn if need be, and given pads and medical bandage wraps.

In total, tending to all four of them, Linde included, took about two hours. But once everyone was fully taken care of they all remained in the clinic in their medical beds to rest and relax.

By early evening, they had all woken up from a group nap and had gathered at the inn just across the way. They shared a series of rooms joined by a central meeting room, usually reserved for VIP guests such as nobles or royals, but today the massive suites had been conveniently rented for them by a 'friend.'

Linde faced everyone with a smile, hoping to break the ice, and stood up to bow to everyone.

"I suppose a more proper introduction is in order." She said, clearing her throat.

"My name is Linde Xe' Almna. I hail from the capitol city here in Cre' Est, and work in the Almna Apothecary and Clinic which I founded four years ago. Since then I have both been running the clinic and doing volunteer work in situations just like today, though usually it had less of a violent ending... It's a pleasure to meet you all."

She sat down, looking to her right where Lonan was seated.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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That evening, Linde returned with Aetrius and Lonan to the inn to rest. Okumi returned there as well on her own time later in the evening. While there, Linde tended to Aetrius' reopened wound. She cleaned it, pulled the old stitches, applied new stitching, and made sure to give her a double stitch treatment given how she seemed inclined to go through more violent motions that might tear a single strand again if given the chance.

That night they all didn't sleep very well. The threat of the bandits, the mystery of Kyero's presence, the number of dead civilians and the state of the village...

Next morning, they went downstairs and quietly ate breakfast together at Linde's request. They didn't talk much, but they enjoyed a nice meal to start their morning and the down time and peace was very much needed for their weary minds. And as they exited the inn, Kyero had returned just as Linde said he would.

He stood in the middle of the street, brown cloak covering his face and eyes once again as he was out in the open.

"Kyero?" Linde asked with a yawn.

"I followed the bandits yesterday to a cave system outside of town near the forest just Southwest of here. I wasn't able to get very far inside, but from what I could see they are well defended within its walls."

"I see. That proximity also explains why they were able to attack again so soon."

He nodded.

"That's right."

"So what should we do about them? I mean, I'd rather not kill them all if we don't have to. Thinning their numbers should suffice. But, knowing you..."

"You probably won't like my suggestion."

"... What is it?"

"Sekhai Smoke."

"You're right, I don't like that suggestion."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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The night came and went and Lonán slept fitfully for a time. His dreams were of the bandits, and the overwhelming odds against beating them. He had to remain steadfast however, for the Mother of Battle does not acknowledge cowardice. No exceptions, not even to a warrior of his Clan.

The morning came, and stretching his limbs he got up from his bed and spent the first few minutes staring in the mirror. Silently calling upon a prayer to his goddess for strength to see another day, he then got properly dressed, in is clothing first and then his armor that he has used for several years. It was all routine. He then met and enjoyed breakfast with the group, feeling a bit more at ease and even felt tempted to crack a joke.

As he walked out into the morning sun, and squinted a bit as his eyes readjusted. Linde’s friend Kyero had returned with news of the bandits and a possible idea. He watched the two discuss it for a time before he gave a small whistle to signal he was coming into the conversation.

”Southwest you said? The proximity does indeed make Atlum unsafe for the townsfolk, so we need any ideas possible.” he stated before popping his neck, before hearing Linde’s worry about the suggestion. ”What about the smoke makes you not like the idea? Surely smoking them out is a good way to take them out one by one? Unless that’s not what this smoke does?” He ended his line of questioning by asking the obvious, mentally slapping himself for sounding like a dunce in front of everybody.

”By Heresta’s gaze I’m not on top of my game today. Well as the Old Wolf says, ‘Ye ask a stupid question laddie, you get a stupid answer! Like how cheese is made!’” He thought.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Linde's eyes trailed to Lonan, her eyes slightly wider than normal.

"Sekhai smoke is a paralyzing gas created by Te'i Sai. It paralyzes the lungs to cause death by suffocation, and is meant almost specifically for situations like this. But the problem I have with it is that it's too easily carried by the wind. If Kyero uses it inside the caves and it leaks outside, it could spread to any other number of villages and settlements for miles around and turn them into ghost towns."

Linde looked back to Kyero.

Kyero. I'm sorry. But I can't let you do it. You must know of another way to deal with them."

Kyero shook his head.

"I'm afraid I have no other suggestions, Linde. The likelihood of it spreading to nearby settlements is low, and I found it worth the risk."

"It's not worth the risk! Not even close! We're not using it!" She barked.

Kyero sighed, seeming to relent to her declaration.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Aetrius groaned and winced as Linde tended to her wound yet again, baring it the best she could without the use of a numbing agent or alcohol. She sat there as still as she could until Linde had finished, this time doing double stitches instead of one row. She sighed when she finished and put back her clothing, keeping as much of her body covered as she could. She wasn't a prude, but she was self conscious of what had happened over the years. When she was done she climbed into her single bed and laid there on her back, looking at the ceiling, and that is how she remained all night. She couldn't think of anything but her sister and how to get to her. She knew she had to get there, and get there as soon as she could, but like Linde said, she wasn't in any shape to go on a long journey, nevermind even fight.

She went with the others to eat in the morning, allbeit she didn't eat much, if anything. Her mind was too busy trying to think of her plans. To leave the others and go on by herself and possibly end up getting herself killed, or wait until she could heal enough for her to get Kieran like the others suggested. All she knew is that when she could, she would be leaving for her sister. No second thoughts. When they all left the tavern, and found Kyero, she went to be by herself for a while. She went to the stables where her horse was put and sat down on a barrel next to Bree. She placed her head against the horse' head and sighed, "I don't know what to do, Bree...I finally know where she is...but...what now?" she said to no one but herself in all reality. She needed new armor as well, as the bolt itself caused damage to the suit as well as when Linde had cut into it the first time to help with the wound. But for now she was dressed in her secondary set of armor that she had brought with her. She sat there for a few minutes, just thinking whether to leave or not, she needed help and sadly Bree was of no use to her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Lonán’s eyes briefly widened at Linde’s explanation of what sekhai smoke was, and the potential outcome it would have with it. He was about to ask if there was a better way to execute the idea when the two of them argued like a married couple, with the resulting suggestion vetoing. ”Well, good to know who is the more cautious thinker out of the duo.” He remarks. ”But still, Now we know where they are and how close they are. If poisoning or smoking them out won’t work, then why not trap them in the caves? Bury them alive and let them think twice about harming innocents.”

He thought it was a good plan, but the problem was if the caves had two or more entrances/exits. The problem was also that they were well defended down here, which might make it impossible.”Its either that or another alternative, even evacuation of the remaining population. I’m willing to help figure something out if need be. Unless of course, there’s another little present to give the Bandits to make them feel sorry that is.”

At this point however, he was hoping Heresta would bless them with a strategy that’d benefit everyone. He then looked around and half wondered where Aetrius walked off to. ”Probably tending to her horse. I should check on Hawk when I get the chance. He’s probably gonna scold me for wasting silver and not getting anything to recompense for it. On the other hand, who died and made a horse Financial advisor?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura

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Linde huffed.

"You raise good points, Lonán. If it has more than one exit burying them is a waste of resources and time."

She glanced to Kyero.

"Any ideas?"

Kyero was thinking, index finger and thumb resting under his chin.

"Give me a moment..."

Linde sighed.

"I have one idea we can try, but it will be time consuming and require a good deal of coordination and cooperation."

"... And?"

"We need to thin the herd to send the greatest message. Those with numbers fall not to shows of force, but superior intellect and tactics. The best way to do that with our numbers and resources is to set traps at staggered intervals around the cave entrance to slow them down or kill them as they leave and spread out. Dead falls, hanging nooses on a trigger, small poison gas bags hidden in leaf piles, and more. Like I said, it will be time consuming and require coordination and cooperation. But if we can set these traps without getting caught or allowing any of them to escape the area, we can thin the herd and destroy their morale. They'll be an easy clean up afterwards."

"But our physical conditions..."

"Will not be an issue. If this works, I can take care of the stragglers on my own without risking further injury to you all. But I could use your help setting it all up."

Linde wasn't crazy about leaving it to him to clean up the stragglers, but their bodies were still too raw from what had happened to risk a fight. They would have to trust Kyero to do his part when the traps did theirs... If they did theirs.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
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The night was peaceful. With people retiring to home to rest and eat, Okumi set about her work lit only by the moonlight and the faint orange glow of the nearby lanterns. Some would have found it eerie or disconcerting, but to her, she felt an odd obligation as she moved about her work. With her injury to her shoulder it wasn’t particularly fast or efficient, but she hadn’t grown up as the kind of person to complain about that. The trundle of the wheelbarrow wheel squeaked as it moved, along with the soft sound of dirt being parted faintly filled the air. The maiden continued making the trip back and forth from the streets to the graveyard, depositing the bodies, digging graves and getting each into their own separate tomb for rest as she buried them. Not just the villagers. Even the bandits that she and the others had slain. While sounds of bar brawls and raucous laughter came from the inn and taverns, Okumi separated and isolated herself, but continued to do the work that needed to be done.

It was the early hours of the morning by the time she finished, and already, her body was protesting the strain. She was fit, but doing such work while injured wasn’t necessarily the smartest idea. Still, every single one was buried, their graves marked by twigs and a small note. She probably could have left at that point, having already done more than could be expected of her, but even if her traditions and beliefs were thought to be foolish, she’d continue to carry them out. She’d continue the legacy. Standing in prayer, she gave her respects to those parted. Even if some of them had been reprehensible in life, in death, they would have the opportunity to be cleansed of their sins. One day, everyone would find peace if that is what they sought. All things deserved a respectful burial, and the opportunity to return once more to the Earth.

Taking a brief look around her for any bystanders, Okumi saw none. Pulling down her mask, she took a deep breath of the night air. It was only at times like this, when her job was done, and everyone was safe and at rest, did she feel like her burdens were lightened. Staring over the mass of graves she had made, Okumi felt a mixture of melancholy and pride in her work. “May your body find rest, and your soul seek peace.” Okumi spoke, barely more than a whisper, before pulling her mask back up to her face. She’d planned on staying at the Inn, even before Linde’s offer. Though she was still cautious about having her injuries inspected, she was satisfied that sharing the same parchment she’d given to the doctor about her disease would be sufficient for Linde to take proper hygiene and medical care. Turning to head back to the inn, Okumi expected she wouldn’t get that much more sleep, but she was somewhat used to that with her lifestyle. Her body could rest when she was dead.



Morning couldn't come soon enough. She wasn’t sure why, but she’d had a restless night. That wasn’t to say the bed was uncomfortable - It was better than the bedroll and items she’d prepared at home, but there was something nagging in the back of Okumi’s mind. Maybe being in an unfamiliar place or amongst so many people left her body on edge? Regardless, she was tired given her time last night, and the poor rest wasn’t helping that. But it was a new day. Work didn’t wait for the weary. Having woken earlier than the rest intentionally, Okumi ate and drank in privacy, before the later meet up for dining in the commons room. There, she sat and watched them recharge and eat, politely denying inquiries into her own eating habits. Afterwards, the group made their way outside to meet with Kyero, returned from his scouting mission.

Listening to the discussion and plans for eliminating the bandit group, Okumi looked away, paying attention, but not enjoying the subject of discussion. She understood the intention of the group, and protecting the people and town of Atlum was a noble thing indeed. However, no matter how misguided her thoughts may have been, she found it senseless to go openly seeking to kill so many men. Was pre-emptive violence really the only answer? And when would it stop? Should everyone adopt that attitude, would war never end? Would people ever grow to trust their neighbours? Okumi found herself restless thinking of such topics. If she were to defend this town, was this how she wanted to do it?

For a moment, there was silence as it seemed the plan of attack was settled on. Taking a step forward, Okumi realised this was her chance to speak. Or rather, to display her opinion. Well… To do so would take time and a lot of work. Writing on such a complex thing wasn’t going to be easy, so she’d need to be brief and get the main point across. Pointing to herself, Okumi shook her head, then made a simple motion of her thumb to her neck, wrenching it across. She then gave a short bow with her hands together, a clear apology. Gesturing to herself again, she pointed up the mountains, ‘walking’ a pair of fingers on the palm of her hand, before tracing out a box with a triangle on top of it in midair in front of her. Taking a few more steps in that direction, she turned to face the others before waving, intending on making her leave. She had to return to her home. This wasn’t the kind of life for her. Killing, even to protect others, she didn’t have the stomach for it. She was a shrine maiden. And as a shrine maiden, her job was to honour the dead, not bring about more. Returning to her temple, she’d return to her simple, peaceful life.

At least… That’s what she thought at the time.

How wrong she could be.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Linde shook her head.

"No, we have to find another way Kyero. Even with traps and your skills, there will still be too many of them."

"Do you have a better suggestion?"

"I... I don't know."

Kyero sighed softly.

Linde, meanwhile, noticed Okumi as she began to make her way to what Linde could only presume was her home. The box with a triangle on top was a universal sign for 'Home,' and Linde jogged over to Okumi and gently gripped the fabric of her outfit at the elbow.

"Miss Okumi. I-... I'm sorry."

She gave Okumi a small bow.

"I almost forgot you're a shrine maiden. The thought of killing people must be horrifying for you. I'm so sorry."

Linde offered Okumi a smile.

"We will find another way. I am not fond of the idea of killing that many myself, no matter what they did to this village. There must be another way. A better way. Wouldn't you agree?"

She kept a grip on the fabric of Okumi's outfit, gently gripping between her thumb and index finger, and turned to look at Kyero.

"Please." She whispered.

Kyero took in a deep breath, looking down deep in thought as the subtle glow beneath his hood became a bit more visible.

"A non-violent solution." He whispered.

The glow faded, and he looked up to Linde from beneath the hood.

"... There is a way that could work, though I prefer the thought of eliminating them to this."

Linde let go of Okumi, watching Kyero intently.

"It will require some reconnaissance. I was only able to get far enough into the caves to confirm it is in fact the same group. But I don't know what they intend to do yet."

He turned to look at Lonan.

"I propose that you and the one named Aetrius come with me into the caves to uncover the intentions of these bandits. If we confirm they seek further harm or damage to Atlum, then I will require your help to employ an ancient fear tactic to frighten them away from this land forever. I will explain if this chance arises."

"And if we confirm they have the intention to disband as per your deal with their leader?"

Kyero sighed in irritation.

"Then we will leave them be."

Linde smiled and returned her gaze to Okumi with a small bow.

"Miss Okumi, while Kyero takes them to investigate the bandits, would you please stay with me a short while longer? I am curious to learn about the shrine you come from, if you are willing to share."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth

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Lonán felt all the more prepared to help with the traps. But it seemed that Linde felt that there was enough lives lost in and for Atlum’s sake. When Okumi announced her preparation to head for her home, Lonán could only nod. It seemed to turn the pressure on Kyero via Linde to think of a better solution.

He watched as the supposed Red Eyed Demon ponder in thought for a minute or two and then rehearsed what seemed to be a recon mission with two outcomes. A scare tactic or leaving them be, and it consisted of just him, Kyero and Aetrius.

”Scare tactics.” he said with a small click of his tongue, feeling slightly disappointed in going the nonviolent route but understanding the rationalization of enough blood has been spilt for this village. Both by the Storm and the Bandits specifically. Besides, the Old Wolf pulled several scare tactics in his day. He even dressed up as a devil one time for the purpose of spooking his grandmother’s clan, the day they first met. The resulting beating she gave him, according to the man himself, was worth seeing her beauty go pale with fright.

Mentally shaking his head, Lonán put up a small accepting grin. ”All right, better then nothing. Lets go find Aetrius and tell her the plan then. The sooner we go, the sooner we can ensure the village’s safety.” He confirmed with a nod. He knew that he’d have to leave Hawk behind on this one. Caves are no place for a horse, even for a stallion as brave as him. But it couldn’t be helped.