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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 · 697 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 Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Kyero nodded.

"Very well."

He glanced to Linde.

"I will keep them safe. You have my word."

"Mm. Please do. Because if you don't, I think you know what's waiting for you." She said with a kind smile.

Kyero smirked as he lowered his hood to hide his eyes.

"Of course."

He turned to Lonan.

"Come."

He led Lonan away as Linde remained with Okumi, turning to her with a smile and tilting her head slightly.

"I do hope you'll forgive me for prying, miss Okumi, but... You are afflicted with a grave illness, aren't you?"

Her smile shifted slightly.

"Even if I wasn't a doctor I could have put that together from your mask and your use of hand gestures to communicate. And as a doctor I can't turn away from this. Will you tell me your affliction? Maybe I can find a way to help you, or at least make your condition more tolerable?"

Meanwhile, Kyero and Lonan reached the stables where they met with Aetrius.

"We have decided to survey the caves and discern the true intentions of the bandits. If they intend to disband, we will leave them to their devices. If they intend otherwise we will frighten them out of Cre' Est forever. Will you accompany us? I could use your help."

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 was lost in her thoughts, what was she supposed to do. She knew she should stay and heal, and help with the villagers of Atlum, but Kieran was still out there....In Veilbrand that is. She was pulled from her thoughts when she heard separate sets of footsteps entering the stables. Aetrius looked up and saw Kyero and Lolan. " We have decided to survey the caves and discern the true intentions of the bandits. If they intend to disband, we will leave them to their devices. If they intend otherwise we will frighten them out of Cre' Est forever. Will you accompany us? I could use your help." she heard Kyero say.

She looked up at the two and thought for a moment then spoke up, "I honestly do not see why you would want my help in this, seeing as I'm as injured as I am...But...If it's recon that you need, I can easily help with that. When it comes to stealth I may as well become one with the shadows." she said with a slight grin, she crossed her arms as she paced a bit to think further, "You said caves, correct? I remember seeing them when I arrived. Shouldn't be too hard to track those bastards down. And if they want to fight, we fight fire with fire...Calculative that is of course." a slight chuckle came from her, then she looked back at the boys, "When do we leave? I'll prepare at once."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Kyero nodded.

"We can leave as soon as you're ready."

He glanced around and saw the people of the village wandering around, and looked back to Aetrius.

"For obvious reasons I'd prefer we left sooner than later. I can't hide my eyes forever in crowds like this."

He pulled his hood down slightly further as one man off to the side seemed to be growing a little too curious about him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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They found Aetrius in the stables as Lonán went to say his ‘good morning’ to Hawk. The stallion nudged his owner as it received a pat on the head. He then ensured his horse ate a slice of apple for his breakfast and nodded in satisfaction. Hawk whinnied at him as if asking if they were going to leave or if there was other business.

”I got business to take care of Hawk. Be good.” He said as he pulled out several crossbow bolts and put them in a quiver on his left hip. Checking the rest of his equipment he took a moment whilst Kyero was still talking to Aetrius to utter a prayer to Heresta.

”Heresta, Mother of War, Mistress of Battle. Guide me this day to victory. Guide me to Honor for My Clan. Guide me to attain my hopes and dreams. To this I pray, Amen.”

He then turned to the other two and nodded at Kyero’s statement eyeing his actions and then the curious man. ”I agree. I am ready to go when you two are. Let's go and take care of them once and for all.” he stated, looking at the two with an eager look in his eyes along with a wolf-like grin.

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 nodded understandingly as he stated he's prefer to leave as soon as possible, for both of the reasons he stated. She went back to Bree, gently petting her, "I have some stuff I need to do, okay? You behave no, got it? Or no fresh apples later when I come back." she chuckled as she pet Bree for a moment, then grabbed her bow and quiver, equipping both to a leather strap on her back placing her cloak over the weapons to conceal them, and grabbed Bree's reins. She left the stabled with Bree in tow and walked back to where Okumi and Linde were talking currently.

Aetrius held the reins out to Linde as she spoke, "Linde, please watch over Bree while I am gone. Make sure she doesn't get into any mischief, or get lonely. She tends to do get lonely when I am gone." she chuckled, for Bree to only huff at her owner and smack her with her tail. Aetrius glared at Bree playfully, "Looks like no one will be getting dinner tonight then." she chuckled, and pat Bree once more, then turning to Kyero and Lolan, "Whenever you're ready, Kyero, we may leave." she eyed Kyero and Lolan, her and the latter were both equipped with long ranged weapons, and Aetrius had her blades with her just in case things went south. They would have what they needed, so she hoped anyway.

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 nodded as they walked back to Linde and Okumi, where Aetrius handed Linde the reins asking her to look after Bree.

"You have my word, Aetrius. We'll keep a close eye on her and keep her company." She said with a cute little giggle as she held her hand out for Bree to sniff and nuzzle before petting her neck and nose.

As Aetrius said she was ready, Kyero nodded.

"Very well. Then let us be off."

He began to lead them towards the edge of the village. From there it would be roughly a twenty minute walk until they reached the caves.

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
Image



Okumi stopped as her sleeve was grabbed, a little startled, but not letting it show on her face as she turned back to face Linde. Watching her speak and apologise, Okumi could only faintly smile in appreciation of her concern. Shaking her head, Okumi gave the ‘Okay’ hand sign once more, indicating that Linde needn’t worry about the maiden’s feelings on the matter. They were mercenaries, warriors and assassins. The way they dealt with a situation would be fundamentally different, but she couldn’t entirely fault them for it. She just… didn’t want to be a part of that. It seemed that Linde was in agreement with Okumi on that point, which wasn’t entirely surprising given that she was a woman of medicine. Nodding at the assertion that there had to be a better way, Okumi turned in full to face back towards the group, particular Kyero as Linde’s pleas were directed his way.

The new plan was a lot more acceptable to Okumi, provided that it panned out. She liked to think they could trust the bandits to reform if they said they would, as surely strong men like that could find honest work and livings. If not, some preventative threats were far better than simply slaughtering them through what Okumi frankly thought of as gruesome means. Hopefully this could all be resolved diplomatically, in a peaceful and fair way. Nodding to herself, Okumi realised that Linde was bowing to her, turning to give her undivided attention as the woman requested her to remain, at least while Kyero and the others did their work. It seemed she wanted some company, or at the very least was curious about Okumi’s heritage. Most guests to her shrine usually had questions, so she wasn’t entirely surprised. Nodding to Linde, Okumi looked about for somewhere nearby to sit, moving over to a conveniently sized boulder to rest. Still, she wasn’t entirely sure how she was going to talk about her shrine to Linde; but at the very least she’d try.

Thinking on this as the others said their parting words and made their way for the cave, Okumi gave a small prayer and bow before waving goodbye. Waiting for Linde to come over, Okumi felt prepared enough, and so she began attempting to communicate. Hooking her hand into a ‘C’ shape, but letting her thumb hook downwards, Okumi placed her fist below it, slightly separated. The result was something akin to a question mark. Pointing then to Linde, then to herself, Okumi traced the house symbol in the air again, trying to determine what exactly Linde would like to know about her shrine. If it was simply about where it was or how she came to work there that would be simple enough, but if Linde wanted to know more about the type of worship that was going to be a little more complicated. Although she could do it, it was difficult to do a sacred dance on uneven soil, not to mention Linde might not even recognise the origin.

After waiting for Linde’s response, it seemed that the woman had something else on her mind, and perhaps tactfully, had waited for the others to leave before asking. She was direct and to the point, striking at the heart of the matter as Okumi flinched slightly at being called out. She’d managed to avoid further discussion of it with Linde at the inn since Aetrius’s wounds were far more pressing, but it seemed that Linde already had her suspicions. Looking away only for a moment, Okumi turned back towards Linde before nodding. Pulling up her bag from where she’d placed it, the shrine maiden retrieved out an old, battered looking journal. Opening it up to one of the pages marked with a tab, she then presented it to Linde to read, looking away once more to give the woman privacy to read.

The handwriting inside was neat, but different to Okumi’s. Much more tight and compact in the ligature. Of course, what Linde didn’t know was that this was her father’s journal, and contained what research he had done into their illness. The page itself covered more of Okumi’s status as a ‘carrier’ of the disease, in that she seemed immune to its negative effects, but was capable of spreading it to others. Coined in the journal as ‘The Wilt’, it seemed to spread through airborne particles from the carrier or the original source, a vibrant purple flower. Assumedly, the disease was also in the bloodstream, so it was likely that Okumi’s fluids were also capable of spreading it if ingested or let into the body through other means. Those that contracted the illness took on a variety of symptoms, including muscle fatigue and weakness, dizziness, difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pains and hallucinations. Bloodshot eyes seemed to be an early indicator that one was about to come down with the more debilitating aspects of the disease. Following these symptoms, the body would then have difficulty regulating temperature, as well as trouble maintaining fluids, leading to both dehydration and the ‘Wilting’ aspect of the illness.

No known cure was found, though as Linde flipped through the pages a little, she saw that there were newer entries added by Okumi, indicating that animals seemed unaffected and didn’t seem to be able to be carriers. Time until death seemed to vary, but the soonest that she’d witnessed someone contract and die from the illness was three days. The airborne nature of the virus seemed to have a limited lifespan, in that it didn’t linger on surfaces or in the air too long if Okumi did choose to speak or breathe in open air, however, she hadn’t done any testing regarding this. Okumi had an assumption that those the disease killed were also capable of spreading the disease in the same fashion as her, but was uncertain if once dead the bodies would present a further health risk. In the earlier pages of the book, there were more traditional, dated entries from Okumi’s father, chronicling his family coming down with the illness, and his slow descent into the symptoms before death, watching his children and his wife pass before he too, succumbed.

Sitting and waiting as Linde read, Okumi felt… Embarrassed. Ashamed. Guilty. Exposed even. All of her history was laid to bare, but what felt worst of all was that chances were, Linde would feel one thing: Pity. Okumi hated being pitied. Not only did it reinforce the helplessness of her situation, but she didn’t deserve it. Everything was her fault. She’d been the one to bring this plague on her family and her home village. While her father had worked hard even through the pain to try and find a cure, she’d just blissfully been ‘taking care of them’, despite being the cause of their ruin. It was a bitter reminder of how cruel the world could be. Still, despair didn’t help anyone. She’d have to learn from those mistakes, carry her burden and find a way to absolve herself of those sins by helping others, and continuing the teachings of her mother. She couldn’t let her family’s legacy die just like that. She’d do what she could until her last breath.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Aetrius smiled and nodded as Linde took the reins and gave a last look and turned and walked with the others. While they were now on their mission, she remained almost entirely silent. Her foot steps among the cobblestone, then dirt couldn't even be heard, she was indeed as light as a feather. Might as well have been walking on air. As they eventually would see their destination in the distance, Aetrius looked at her companions, "So, what are our plans, exactly? I know we're only going to observe, but if things go downhill? Especially down hill fast, what are our moves going to be in this game of chess?" she asked, she had placed her, hood over her head by this time, her mouth being the only real feature to be seen. She would need a new mask, at least that is what she thought she would need. She felt exposed and not well hidden without something to hide her face behind, but her old mask was now broken and useless. She sighed, and kept pressing forwards to where the bandits would 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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As Okumi nodded and mimed the importance of the book, Linde smiled. She stood up and walked over to Okumi, taking her left hand and putting it on Okumi's shoulder very, very gently.

"I give you my word I will take good care of this book. What I want to do is study the records your father kept in more detail, as I believe there is a way to either contain or cure this disease. Everything has a weakness, after all. And I will either find this disease's weakness or at least find a way to help you contain it so that your being a carrier no longer endangers anyone else."

She let go of Okumi's shoulder and tucked the book into her pouch at her hip.

"Would you like some tea? And perhaps to go shopping for a new outfit? We can't have you wearing a bloodied and battle-worn shrine outfit like that, now can we?" She said with a giggle.

Back with Aetrius and Lonan, Kyero remained in a half-crouch as they moved closer and closer to their destination.

"If things go south, I have one smoke bomb left to cover our escape. It will last for approximately two minutes before dissipating. That should be enough time to cover ground enough to stay ahead of them."

Their goal came within view as they crossed the treeline. Kyero ducked down low behind the bushes, urging the others to do the same.

"There's the entrance... One guard, just like last night. He should be easy enough to get past. Once we're in, the cave system has support beams on the sides connected to rafters at the top. We stick to the rafters and work our way into the caves until we find either someone we can interrogate for information, or until we overhear something about what they intend to do next."

Kyero made a small bird call which got the guard's attention. As the guard stood up, he glanced to Lonan.

"Be ready to take him down once he's close enough, and don't let him sound an alarm." He whispered as the guard began approaching their location out of curiosity.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Lonán remained silent as Aetrius spoke to Kyero. He didn’t want to weigh in what would happen if things went south. Sure, he’d be ready for if it did, however he did not want to pursue that until it did. They neared the bandits’ hideaway he did as he was told and got down. Then Kyero got the guard’s attention and got the Okay to take him out as he got closer.

”One guard he says. That means I must act fast, and effectively.” He watched as the guard drew closer. 30 feet, 20 feet, 6 feet. Lonán took a breath and struck out.

Lonán’s left hand shot out from the bush grabbing the guard by the collar of his tunic and pulled him in. He punched the man in the stomach to knock the wind out of him and stop him from talking. Then The red haired Saharan punched him square in the chin. The guard’s eyes rolled into his head as they closed. Lonán lowered him to the ground and put his hand under the guard’s nostrils. Still breathing, but unconscious. He nodded his head to Kyero.

”Right everyone. Lets get going.” He whispered out as he shook his hand. He had a feeling the guard would have a very bad toothache for when he woke up. Right now, he had to follow Kyero’s lead.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Kyero smiled slightly as Lonan made quick work of the guard and set him on the ground. Kyero picked the guard up, hoisting him over his shoulder, and walked him over to a bunch of bushes about fifty feet away just to give him that much more of a task if in the event he woke up anytime soon and tried to shout a message.

Afterwards, he led Aetrius and Lonan to the entry point and peeked inside. The downward angle of the path was approximately fifteen degrees. Easy enough for them even in their conditions. Up above, the rafters were about twelve feet above the cave floor. Plenty of room to hide.

He looked to Aetrius.

"Wait here."

Kyero entered the cave and spied a crate to his right. Running to it and leaping off of it with all the grace and athleticism one would expect of the world's most deadly assassin, he caught the rafter beam and hoisted himself up with one arm perching on the balls of his feet on the sturdy wooden beam. He looked down to Aetrius and Lonan.

"One at a time. Stand on the box and I'll hoist you up." He whispered.

He held his hand down for them.

"Quickly."

Hoisting them up one after the other, taking care not to aggravate their injuries, Kyero led them along the rafters through the first several paths and turns which he remembered from the night before. Slowly they progressed beyond where he'd stopped previously, until at last the path opened to a much larger area where almost two dozen of the bandits had gathered and were talking all at once.

Kyero led them higher into the rafters of the more open cavernous space, now some twenty feet in the air. He crouched at the edge of the rafter and held onto a vertical support as he leaned over the edge to close his eyes and listen to the chatter below.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Aetrius watched as Lolan had managed to skillfully and swiftly knock the man out and Kyero drag the unconscious man into the bushes for extra measures. Silently she walked into the cave with the two men, her cloak slightly flowing in the night breeze as she sauntered in, her footsteps were of a mouse, not even an echo could be heard. She looked around as they walked, memorizing their way in and the current surroundings in case if things did go against them.

She heard Kyero whisper to them to come over and that he'd help hoist them into the rafters. She let Lolan go first after silently arguing who would go first, Lolan tried to be a gentleman, but Aetrius insisted he went first due to weight comparisons as well as efficiency, etc. She smirked when she was hoisted up and silently followed the two in the rafters, eventually hearing chatter coming from below further ahead. She moved past Lolan and got down as low as she could in the shadows, and listened to the current conversation at hand.

"The boss gave his word, that was our word as much as his." one said eagerly, "But we're a proud gang, we don't bend to other's wills." another of the group countered the first one's point rather aggressively. They were clearly at a stand still in their part, some wanting to go with the agreement, while some wanted to go back and attack Atlum, surprisingly not too shocking to Aetrius. She looked up at Kyero and Lolan, to see their shadows and motioned with her hands that she hadn't a clue on what to do, seeing as they were even confused themselves.

"We have the numbers, armor, weaponry. They don't." another one chimed in. "But they have that woman with the mask, as well as the man in the cloak, and the red haired guy. They're skilled warriors, shouldn't take them so lightly." said the man in the corner. Aetrius nodded, a small grin on her face, were they scared of the small band of stragglers? Apparently so. She listened in further to see if they could acquire anymore useful information from the bandits. "There was that rather attractive woman with them, could use her as bait seeing how fond they were of protecting her back there. the first man who had spoken up first. Linde, Aetrius thought. Were they going to be so foolish as to use her as a means to an attack? She shook her head and thought, what if they were that dumb, maybe they were, but there was no chance they were about to let Linde be used against them.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Kyero's ears and brain filtered what he was hearing below into relevant and irrelevant. Talk of anything other than attacking Atlum was marked as irrelevant, as it was non-threatening. But everything about attacking Atlum again, and everything he was hearing about using Linde as bait drew his attention.

"I say we roast that little village and take whatever survives as our pay in lieu of the boss getting sliced."

"Are you insane? He gave our word, and he always led us right. If we break his word now then we-"

"Who gives a fuck about that? He's dead! We follow our own rules now!""

If you want to violate the boss's word, you need to go through me." Said a rather burly one who swung a double-bladed axe while taking a stance.

"You wanna fight me? Fine! Let's go ya big brute!"

The one talking of burning the village swung a sword and prepared to do battle with the much larger one. They squared off and charged one another with the others around making a circle and keeping the blocked in to fight. The charge turned into a clash of blades as the weapons struck one another, and an ugly brawl broke out between them ending with the axe wielder disemboweling the sword wielder. As his insides spilled to the floor he coughed up blood and fell to the ground a minute later.

Anyone else wanna go against the boss's word?! The brute shouted.

There was a lot of murmuring, but nobody spoke up or stepped forward.

The boss gave his word that our days of raiding were over. We all knew this life wouldn't last. We stole more than enough money to all live like kings! Enough is enough! Now let's-"

A dagger was thrown through the crowd landing squarely in his jugular on the right side. He coughed and gagged and choked on his own blood before falling to the ground and going still about twenty seconds later. The one who threw it appeared from the back. A lanky fellow with a lean build and a sinister look on his face.

"All this talk of staying true to the word of a dead man grows tiresome. We didn't get into this life to be nice or stop when we thought we had "enough." We are bandits. Brigands. Thugs. Degenerates. We don't do "nice." We take what we want when we want it. And one little man with red eyes and a fancy blade isn't going to change that. Nor will his other little friends. We are still seventy strong at least. They are four or five people at most. The odds are so in our favor it may as well be a guarantee. So..." He brought out another dagger.

"Anyone else feel like being "nice" to these village idiots?"

Silence...

"I didn't think so. Get some rest and prepare "

Kyero had heard enough. He turned to Aetrius and Lonan.

"Here is what we need to do. Since that one clearly isn't afraid of me... Yet... We need to scare him to scare the rest."

Kyero looked back, and saw him sitting in what had to be the boss's chair with two large goons beside him. Obviously he had now assumed command. Kyero looked to Aetrius and Lonan.

"Aetrius. I need you to make your way to that corner," he said, pointing to the northwest corner of the room, "and be ready on my mark to destroy the chandelier hanging there over that tunnel entryway without being seen."

He looked to Lonan.

"Lonan. I need you to climb up and be ready to close the shutters of that skylight as well." He said, pointing to an open skylight at the center of the room with two hinged wooden doors.

"I need you both to be on point to my signals. It is vital that your timing is perfect and that there is as little light as possible in this room when I make my move. If he can see me, this will all be for nothing. And we will be vulnerable to a massive counter-offensive which my lone smoke bomb isn't going to save us from. Once you are in position, give me a wave. When you're both in place, I will wait for the right moment to signal you both to begin. Are you ready?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Lonán witnessed what went on, the battle for leadership in terms of the equivalent of a Saharan Honor Duel, and then the means of assassinating the bigger man by someone with more guile. He gave a small silent prayer to Heresta to receive the two warriors slain. ”Heresta’s Palace of Warriors, open up your doors, receive the men who fought and died. Receive them and judge their life and deeds accordingly.”

But it did become clear, the one who now lead them had no intentions of leaving. He had to be dealt with however the scare tactic Kyero had planned work. He listened to his instructions and gave a nod and began to make his way towards the Skylight, prepared to do his part and ensure it was perfectly timed.

If darkness is what Kyero wanted, he’ll get it. He kept himself hidden and gave a wave towards Kyero indicating he was in position of the Skylight prepared to shut them at his signal. ”Lets do this! The time to put fear into their hearts comes! Heresta guide this battle of intimidation!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Aetrius' eyes winded at the sight that had taken place, as for a bounty hunter like her that was a sight to behold. She looked at the other two and nodded at Kyero's orders for what he wanted her and him to do. With swift ease, and becoming one with the darkness, she ever so gracefully climbed over to the corner of which she was placed, she placed her hand on her hip, withdrawing her dagger and getting it at the ready, mentally preparing herself for the mark. She looked back at Kyero through the darkness and gave a nod and a wave, as well as singing On your mark, Kyero, she looked back at the red haired male and nodded as well, taking note of his placement as well. She awaited her order eagerly.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Kyero waited patiently for Aetrius and Lonan to get into position. Both moved with precision, which was excellent. Aetrius might make for a good assassin if she were so inclined someday. But it was time to focus.

Kyero looked down watching what happened below like a hawk, waiting for just the right moment to signal the dousing of lights.

"So what do we do first?" Asked one of the thugs near the new self-appointed leader.

"We rest and prepare our weaponry and armor for a final assault. If those five stand in our way again we will not stop. We will overwhelm them with sheer numbers. That's all wee need."

NOW.

Kyero gave a wave of his hand, signaling the others to do their part. Aetrius expertly used her dagger to slice the rope holding the chandelier, causing it to fall and crash by the lower entrance into the massive cavern, dousing much of the light on that side. Lonan, near simultaneously, slammed the two hinged doors closed and held them in place until he found a latch to lock them that way and move to a better position just in case something went wrong.

Kyero took that as his cue, and disappeared into the darkness.

"What happened?!"

I don't know! I can't see a thing!"

Someone get a lantern or something!"

The confusion was clear, and a moment later the leader was in the middle of the room in the dark. His outline was just barely visible.

"Someone get a fucking light in here!"

At that moment, a red light appeared almost exactly ten feet away from him.

"What the-"

A second light appeared.

"What is this?"

The lights grew brighter and brighter, and before long it was clear what they were and from what, or rather whom, they were being emitted.

"Oh... So it's you. What do you want?"

There was no response, but the eyes grew brighter.

"You want to kill me? Then come at me! So long as I know where your eyes are, I can kill you. So come!"

The sound of a dagger being drawn filled the room, followed by the sound of two other daggers being drawn. But before the leader could attempt any attack, another had rushed the red eyes. A slight shift in their position, and a splatter that was only visible because of the light of his eyes. Black liquid flew through the air in a massive stream blocking his eyes from the leader's view for a moment before he was able to see them again. A cry of pain, and then the sound of a body hitting the floor crying out in pain filled the room with an eerie echo because of how empty the chamber was now.

Another tried to rush, and again a shift in the position of the eyes, a splatter of liquid, screams of pain, and echoes of said screams resounding through the chamber and the halls beyond.

But what had the leader sweating now in the dark was the fact that the eyes never blinked or looked away. It was as if they were frozen wide open and staring a hole through his face.

"What do you want?!" He yelled.

The eyes narrowed, and grew even brighter. But despite how bright the eyes grew... There was no face illuminated with it. It was just a pair of eyes floating in the darkness.

"What do you want?!?" He screamed again.

He couldn't take the silence anymore. He rushed forward and attacked, but paused as he seemed to hit a brick wall. There was a sharp pain in his chest, and the eyes slowly disappeared from view as darkness once again took over.

A moment later, someone pulled a few levers which opened the skylight and the new self-appointed leader was dead in the center of the room with a single blade wound to the heart and lying in a pool of his own blood.

The red eyes, and whoever they belonged to, were nowhere to be seen...

"What the fuck?!"

"It was the red-Eyed Demon! He did this! He killed our leader [u]again[u]!"

"Anyone else think it's a good idea to attack Atlum?!"

Bedlum erupted through the caves as others rushed in and out through the various entrances. Kyero was back in the rafters, having pulled on a black face mask so only his eyes were exposed which was how his face was never reflected. He lifted the mask and sighed as he nodded to the others to join him. And together they watched with satisfaction as the bandits all began turning on one another and fought amongst themselves until at last they shouted what the group wanted to hear.

"No more! No fucking more! I'm done!"

"Same! I'm out of here! I'm not dying for a few more gold than I already have!"

And the others were all in agreement. Kyero pointed to the skylight, and they all left through it as the cavern was cleared of bandits. Once above ground again, Kyero smiled as he looked at his companions.

"Well done, both of you. I could not have managed that alone. The village is safe."

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Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Aetrius smiled at the chaos that had begun below them in the rafters, a sight to behold for sure. Panic, pure and utter panic, all due to the three of them, a genuine wide smile crossed her lips as satisfaction hit, a smile no one would bare witness to as the room was shrouded in pure darkness. Atlum is safe....For now... she thought to herself. She slowly rose to her full height, and as the others hopped through the skylight, so did she. Once it was done and over with she looked around the darkened night sky, and stretched. She looked at her companions and gave a small genuine smile to Kyero and Lolan, "Good work indeed, boys. But it was simply child's play, but Atlum and the people of it are safe, for now." she gave a slight nod and crossed her arms, thinking for a moment as she placed her hand on her chin while in thought. She looked back at Kyero and Lolan as a small rumble came from her stomach, "W-wouldn't mind accompanying me for some well deserved food after we get back to Atlum, would you? And this time, I won't end up murdering someone." she said with a slight chuckle, and began to walk back to the village, but turned on her heel to look at the others, "At least I don't think I'll murder someone else tonight....Not in my plans anyway." she chuckled again at her dark humor and headed back towards Atlum after a thankfully successful mission.

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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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Tea time with Okumi had been absolutely lovely. They had managed to connect a little more with Linde sharing about herself and Kyero, and Okumi sharing what she could about her shrine and illness. The tea was heavenly for this time in the early morning, and Linde relished the chance to simply sit and sip tea with another person. She hadn't had the time in some number of weeks, and she had missed it dearly.

She recalled for Okumi how her work as a doctor forced her to travel a lot and leave her own clinic, the Almna Apothecary and Clinic, in the hands of her nurses and a family friend. That time spent away was like spending time away from family. Everyone in the clinic knew each other very well and were as close as blood in many cases. Despite no romantic feelings among them, the friendship and familial bond was very strong. Linde loved her employees and all of her patients as well, even those who gave her a hard time when they came in. A few young men would deliberately injure themselves to spend time with her, as she was in high demand as a bachelorette back in Cre' Est. Everyone knew she was single, and being twenty-one years old she was in the prime time of her life to find a husband.

She was not ready to settle down though. She felt something missing. Like something in her heart hadn't completed itself yet. And that before she could marry, she needed to find the piece that finished the puzzle that was her heart. She apologized to Okumi for rambling on, but Okumi tried to assure her it was no trouble.

When they finished their tea Linde took her shopping for clothes at a local tailor, picking as many varied outfits as she could for the shrine maiden which were just normal, everyday clothes. Despite her work, Okumi seemed to want to just try looking normal, and she tried on each one seemingly having a good time throughout the experience. Finally, she held up a white dress and a black dress with more of a covering to the body checking which Linde thought looked better.

Linde happily pointed to the white dress and took it from her, folding it up and preparing to walk it to the counter to purchase it.

"Perhaps I am biased, but I think this white dress draws out more of your feminine charm." She said with a giggle.

With the dress chosen, she walked to the counter and brought out her coin pouch. She had approximately five silver on her at present. She'd need to get more soon. Perhaps a visit to her clinic would be in order...

After having paid the man behind the counter, she handed the dress to Okumi to wear as they left the tailor. Linde, meanwhile, held onto Okumi's old shrine maiden outfit and folded it up nicely for her to carry as they headed to the edge of town to meet with the others. And thankfully they didn't have to wait very long.

On the horizon came three figures who walked calmly back, seemingly unharmed and in good spirits. As they drew closer they found that it was indeed their new friends. Kyero in the center wearing his cloak with hood drawn followed by Aetrius and Lonan. When they arrived, Kyero relayed the story. Linde was slightly saddened that a small handful were killed, but it was better than a wholesale slaughter. A few lives of those more aggressive and bent on conquering than fleeing were a small price to pay in the end. Still, Linde said a silent prayer for the men who assaulted Kyero and lost their lives while he intimidated and killed the self-appointed leader.

"Aetrius is hungry." Kyero said.

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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 they entered the town, Aetrius could see two people standing at the end of the entrance of the town. As they got closer one could see that it was indeed Okumi and Linde, perhaps they were waiting for them to return? Well, waiting for Lolan and Kyero to return anyway, least that's what Aetrius thought. As they grew closer, a small smile appeared on Aetrius' face as she looked at Linde, but then just as quickly it disappeared. She remained silent as Kyero and the others exchanged words, telling the two other girls what had taken place. Her attention was taken back when she heard Kyero mention her being hungry.

"H-hey now, last time I didn't even eat that much...If anything. Sorry that I need food?" she said as she looked down with a somewhat embarrassed look. She looked back up at the others as she spoke, "Since Atlum is safe for now, I need food and rest since I plan on heading out early tomorrow for Veilbrand first thing at day break. If any of you want to accompany me, feel free to, just know it's going to be a long trek there, and I don't know what we'll find there...Just make sure you really want to. Not going to waste time if no one actually wants to go with me. You have enough time to think it over..." she said, and started to walk to the tavern by herself, to only stop and turn to look at the other's before she continued her way to find food, "Companions would be appreciated, but this mission isn't your burden to bare....Just mine.." her voice was rather soft and sad as she said those words. Clearly this meant much to her, but as to why the others wouldn't know why exactly yet. She wasn't very keen on talking about her past or personal issues such as Kieran, and why she mattered so much to this seemingly heartless individual.

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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 Kyero mentioned Aetrius was hungry, Linde chuckled as Aetrius began her response. However, she quickly moved into saying that she was going to head to Veilbrand first thing tomorrow. And to that, Linde had something to say once Aetrius was finished speaking.

"Aetrius, I must insist that you remain with us here in Atlum for at least two more days. Your injury is still fresh and at risk of re-opening. Especially with your activity going after the bandits. I would like to check both your and Lonan's bindings in the next half hour or so, since we are on the subject. Not to mention the wound was quite severe. Your bandages will have to be changed at least twice a day and the wound cleaned for the next two days if we are to be certain there is no infection. And if there is infection, I will need to treat it the moment symptoms arise."

She walked towards Aetrius and put her hands on her shoulders.

"I understand the burning desire to save someone you care about, especially now that you know where they are. But please have patience. You can do nothing for them if you let your body deteriorate before you reach them."

She smiled sweetly.

"Stay with us here for just two days, Aetrius. That's all I ask. Please just give me two days to be your doctor, and everyone else's, so that I can confirm you are all fit to travel and are past the point of worry for infection or other medical complications. For you and Lonan especially, having taken crossbow bolts, you are at the greatest risk. Because the cut on my shoulder was clean, the local doctor's stitching has handled the binding of the flesh much cleaner than those I did for your wounds. Yours will take more time to heal."

She let go of Aetrius' shoulders and took a step back.

"Will you give me these two days, Aetrius? To be your doctor? I promise to accompany you to Veilbrand either way, but I would feel better if you took these days to rest instead of travel."

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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 followed the group into town, feeling particularly proud of himself that his contribution in the plan against those that wanted to stay helped coax the bandits to leaving Atlum alone. Hopefully to get them time to both rebuild and have the Military send for a guard. In the latter case he’d be no longer needed to aid them. Which meant two things, he needed to hopefully earn compensation from the Mayor, if he was still around, or leave to find the next prospect.

He was opting to do the latter when Linde explained to Aetrius to stay two extra days. He actually began to see the logic when she listed off the injuries commonly suffered between the Bounty Hunter and himself. He felt like an idiot for not putting his health into consideration. His Mother would have smacked him for that, as well as The Old Wolf for possibly saying otherwise.

Sighing the Saharan nodded. ”It would seems the good doctor has a point my friend.” Lonán said in interjection. ”Besides, I need to meditate on my next move too, though I will consider your invitation to heart given your motivations, alongside other things.” before he could elaborate, his stomach began to rumble and groan, begging to be fed.

He frowned as he looked at the offending stomach. ”Correction, I’ll have dinner first. Then I’ll meditate on it.” He said with an embarrassed look on his face as he grinned sheepishly before he prepared to follow Aetrius and whoever else wanted to go eat a meal before doing what he said he was going to do afterward. Meditating was a long process anyway, so he’d wait until later in the evening before he did so. For now, he’d celebrate the major victory over the Bandits with his newfound friends, and feel happy knowing he helped save Atlum.

Word would spread of this, and Honor would be gained back home. It was what mattered deep in Lonán’s heart, second only to his friendships slowly budding into bloom. He’d cherish both if he was to continue the Great Battle that Men called Life.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Food was in bound for the young hunter, but before she could get another step in, she felt a hand on her shoulder. She groaned and looked to see Linde, she listened to her speak and tell her not to leave yet, but to wait. Aetrius wanted to argue, to deny her plees to help and stay and heal. To just leave in the morning, but...Aetrius saw her logic regrettably. She hated that Linde was right, in every way as usual. She groaned, her head fell and after a moment of silence she looked back up at Linde and spoke, "Fine...I'll stay...but two days only. After that I'm leaving, understand?" her voice was surprisingly calm and soft as she spoke to Linde. She nodded again and looked at Lolan, "Okay...Thank you, both...I...I appreciate your willingness to help..." she said with a slight smile, and turned back to Linde, "And yes, Linde...You may, be my...doctor, if that is what you want that is." a slight blush overcame her face and she quickly turned back to where the direction of the tavern was, and made her way there. Trying to overcome the embarrassment she felt, for some unknown reason to her, as well as her need of food.

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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 overall consensus was food first, medical after. Linde could live with that. She gave both Aetrius and Lonan a small bow before gesturing for Okumi to come with them. She leaned in and whispered to Okumi that she didn't need to partake in food with them if she felt too concerned about lifting the mask. Linde would deliver her a meal later tonight after she checked her wound.

The offer was there, if nothing else to help ease her concern of removing the mask in the company of others.

And so they journeyed to the tavern to eat and relax. As Linde entered the tavern and sat down with the others at the table, waiting for the server to arrive and take their orders, she asked how the others were faring with their injuries. Her wound had been a clean slice to the shoulder, which didn't hurt as much because of the fact that the skin was cut so well that it didn't cause fraying or splitting of flesh or muscle which was often at the core of the pain. With a handful of stitches and an anti-inflammatory salve and bandaging applied, Linde's wound was fairly easy to dress.

But for Aetrius, having taken a crossbow bolt to the side, was the one she was most concerned with. The softer flesh and typically underdeveloped muscles in the sides of the core were often the easiest to destroy. She didn't doubt that Aetrius was well conditioned and her musculature fairly well balanced, but all the same she was worried about the wound. Those softer tissues and muscle groups, when not developed evenly with the rest, could take longer to heal due to being looser and more flexible, prone to shifting around with bodily movement which could delay the healing process.

Aetrius assured her that she was fine. Sore, yes. But fine. And after inquiring about Lonan's arm wound, she was satisfied that he was telling the truth when he said he too was just sore but otherwise doing fine.

Okumi was next, having taken a knee to the face and a crossbow bolt through her shoulder near the clavicle, she too was in jeopardy of the same problem Aetrius could potentially have faced. The muscled in and around the clavicle were much weaker than those of the chest (specifically the pecs) and the deltoids. The clavicle was mainly connective muscle and tissue. Very vulnerable to harm and strain from such damages. Okumi made an "Okay" thumbs up, indicating much the same as the others. Sore, gestured by rubbing her wound, but a thumbs up. She was okay.

Linde was glad they all seemed to be all right. Kyero had elected to remain outside to wait for them, as he wasn't one to venture inside crowded areas like taverns. His eyes were impossible to hide in such places, and they didn't need that kind of negative attention.

Their food arrived, and they all ate in relative silence though there was some pleasant conversation exchanged before moving to the inn to rest for the night. Once they arrived, Linde visited each one of them in turn in their rooms. Lonan was first, as his room was right next to Linde's. She removed the bandaging on his arm and cleaned off the wound with a disinfectant solution before wrapping it in new bandages. She also checked his head where he was hit by the club, asking him a series of questions and testing his visual concentration and coordination by having his eyes follow her hand through multiple patterns to confirm whether or not he had a concussion or had just been dazed by the blow. And luckily it had been the latter. Had the blow been a bit lower, he'd have had a concussion for sure and this would have proven difficult for him. The bite on his side was healing well, but she dressed it anyway before bidding him goodnight.

Next was Aetrius. For her, this would be a very uncomfortable situation due to the fact that, in order to reach the wound and dress it properly, she'd need to request Aetrius remove her clothing enough to have bandage wraps around her torso...

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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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After they went back to the tavern and ate, having pleasant small talk even for her, they all retired to their rooms after they all settled down. Aetrius bowed out first and went to her room. She removed her belt and weaponry, placing them on the edge of the bed, and her boots, placing them under the bed. She sat down on the bed, legs crossed and began reading a book. Moments later there was a gentle knock on the door that garnered her attention.

"Door's open." she said with an all too relaxed tone, going back to her book.

When the door opened in stepped Linde, she put her book down and gave her her undivided attention.

"Yes, Linde?" she asked, who only came a few feet away from the bed.

"It's time to dress your wound, Aetrius. Would you mind if I sat down?"

Aetrius reluctantly nodded and looked back at her.

"So, where do we start?" Aetrius asked rather nervously.

"I would like to request that you remove the armor and clothing covering your torso. I have the easiest access to the wound if you aren't wearing anything around the point of injury. Try not to worry. We're both women and I'm a doctor. Modesty isn't an issue with me." She said with a smile.

Aetrius was hesitant, highly hesitant. Not just because she was a doctor, but of her scarring.

She looked up at her and stuttered a bit.

"I...I uhm....Not really comfortable doing that...Not cuz you're another female or doctor, just....My own reasoning, it makes me rather, uncomfortable..." Her voice was rather distant, and the relaxed tone in her voice was all but gone by now.

Linde smiled at Aetrius.

"I understand. Many patients in the past have been reluctant to reveal their bodies to anyone. Even doctors. It's happened to me as well, many times. But I think I have a way around your discomfort. At least in part."

Linde shifted her weight and gripped her own shirt, lifting it up along the side of her body showing the same spot on her own body where Aetrius' wound would be, but nothing more.

"Would you be more comfortable lifting just this much of your shirt and lying on the bed for me? It will be easier for you to hold the clothing out of the way and easier for me with you lying still."

Aetrius thought for a moment, that would be more comfortable for her. But having to hold it up would cause her side to be tensed up and harder for Linde to work with. She sighed and stood up, slowly grabbing the bottom of her shirt, then stopped and looked at Linde, pausing for a moment, then she spoke.

"Just....just promise to not be...disgusted by what you see?"

Aetrius asked, her voice held some sort of sadness in it, but the reasoning was left unknown at the moment for Linde.

"Fuck it..." She muttered under her breath, and gathered enough courage to remove what needed to be done for Linde to address the wound properly. With her leather gloved hand that wasn't injured she removed her over cloak and shirt, tossing them aside.

What was left was her long, rather think pants and boots and gloves, her chest was tightly bound with chest binding, making her basically flat and modest for the most part. It helped in combat and helped free up her mobility, among other reasons. She slowly turned back to the bed where Linde was sitting. Her back was littered with a plethora of scars littering her body, all ranging in sizes, shapes, severity, and recent damage tissue. They were a mix of A multitude of scars big and small on her back, as most of those are due to whips, and then a few dozen scars from arrows and bolts all over her body, especially her abdominal region and arms. Indicating as to what she has been through, and how many close calls this one human has endured. As well as her tattoos that were now visible. One on the center of her back and one on her right shoulder. She kept her eyes down and away from Linde, ashamed to look her in the eyes.

She stuttered as she spoke.

"I-is this good enough? I-if I need to r-remove more, I will..."

The usually calm and collective and apparently confident Aetrius was now gone, leaving the now current shell that was Aetrius in her most vulnerable state. Which usually appeared when people could ask and would usually ask about her scarring and tattoos, which usually caused her to panic and stutter.

Linde observed calmly as Aetrius removed her clothing in full along her upper torso, revealing her scars and numerous wounds received from over the years doing whatever it was she did. And Aetrius' demeanor upon completion of this task was... Surprising. But as she spoke, stuttering and looking down seemingly embarrassed beyond recognition from who she was before, Linde slowly stood up and put her hands on Aetrius' shoulders.

"You've already gone out of your comfort zone, Aetrius. I would be nothing short of inhuman to ask more of you. Here... Lay down."

She gently urged Aetrius to lay down on the bed, keeping her hands on her shoulders and using her thumbs to give her flesh a tender massage.

"Just relax, Aetrius."

She grabbed her tools, washed her hands, put gloves on, and began to work. She began by undoing the bindings around her abdominal area, leaving the bindings covering her chest in tact to help with her comfort level. And as she worked, her hands were incredibly soft. Incredibly tender. Almost as if the woman who fought five bandits didn't exist. Her hands were so gentle that it was almost like a completely different woman was working on her now.

"These scars all tell tales of your exploits, Aetrius. You should not be ashamed of them. Even if many of them look to be caused by something humiliating, you bore the pain and pushed through to become who you are today. You have nothing to be ashamed of." She cooed softly.

She removed the patch over the wound, and began applying her solution to keep it clean of infection while checking the stitching as well. The stitching did seem a bit loose, so she had to clip them and re-stitch the wound. And even while stitching she was gentle and the prick of the needle barely registered with her skill to use it in just the right way.

"So, Aetrius. Would you tell me more about yourself while we have some time?" She asked.

"I'd like to know more about where you come from and how you got to this point. Or at least what details you're willing to share. I will not pry into matters that are too personal to discuss." She said.

Aetrius slightly blushed as she was calmly talked to by Linde and guided over to the bed and laid back down on her back, watching as Linde busily got to her work of taking care of her wound. She could barely feel the needles and alcohol being used as not only did she have a high pain tolerance over the years, but the medicine used worked wonders. She would have fallen asleep if Linde remained silent, her eyes opening as Linde spoke up, asking about her scars but offering Aetrius to refrain from explaining if it was too personal.

She sighed and remained silent for a moment, looking up at the ceiling as she was lost in thought. Where would she start first? Most were self explanatory for Linde to figure, multiple crossbow bolt scars practically made her look like a pin cushion of sorts. Others were obvious slices and stab wounds, the most prominent one was on the same side as the wound Linde was currently working on. It was a long, rather good sized scar that ran along her side. She chuckled as the memory came back to her.

"The scar right below your hand, that one... Heh, got that one not by fighting if you can believe it. Instead, years ago when I was living on the streets....I was running away by an angry store owner as I stole what was my dinner. I hopped a metal, barbed fence. But as I was hopping over it, my side got hooked and it tore into my side. It was a poor sight to see if you asked anyone that saw. Twelve year old me hooked on a fence like a piece of meat." She chuckled a bit, but groaned as laughing caused discomfort as Linde was still at work on her wound.

Linde listened to the story Aetrius told her about the long scar on her side beneath the latest in what was obviously a series of crossbow injuries. And Linde couldn't help but chuckle a little to herself as she finished stitching Aetrius' wound. And when Aetrius groaned, Linde placed her hand over Aetrius' stomach and gently massaged it to help ease the tension in her muscles.

As the mind encountered pain, the core was often the first muscle group to respond. And not often positively.

"That must have been a sight." She said with a tiny hint of glee.

Linde sat up straight and looked at Aetrius calmly, but with seriousness.

"Mine is but a single reminder of a deadly encounter, but nevertheless the fact that I am alive is nothing short of the Goddess's mercy." She said quietly.

Linde slowly removed her gloves and placed them in a bag before putting it in the trash, and then stood up beside the bed, facing Aetrius.

"Please pardon the display, but..."

She slowly lifted her shirt, revealing her stomach, breasts, and upper chest area to Aetrius. And along Linde's middle, directly between her breasts and stopping just shy of the base of the rib cage, was a massive, jagged scar from a single puncture wound. Obviously this was caused by a serrated blade of some kind, and it was a grim reminder that not even Linde's body was safe from the marring scars of life.

"This wound..." She turned around, revealing a near matching scar on the back... A full puncture from front to back.

"Was received in a battle against Te'i Sai." She said quietly.

"It was when I met Kyero. He was injured after fleeing from them, and I tended his wounds. But after doing so they found us and presumed I was already his ally. So they attacked us, and I was unable to match their speed or expertise with their weapons. I was stabbed in the back through the chest, and left to die."

She slowly lowered her shirt, turning back around to face Aetrius with a sad, but still somehow charming smile.

"Kyero managed to drive them off and save me. I don't know how he did it. But he did."

She chuckled.

"The Red-Eyed Demon saving a life instead of ending it. Who would have guessed, right?"

She sat down on the edge of the bed, putting her hand on Aetrius'.

"No matter how many scars you bear, your story is your story. Be proud of your marks, Aetrius. They do not define you, but they do tell your story to the world." She cooed.

Aetrius chuckled, and a small smile appeared on her face when Linde found what she told her a bit humorous albeit dark. At least she could make one person laugh, never mind even cracking a small. A first for her. She listened to Linde as she began to explain her scar, sitting up as she gave her full attention. But what she didn't expect was for Linde to start disrobing, quickly she looked away as a blush over came her, only to glance up when Linde had turned around, seeing an entry wound. Her expression changed, her face flushed white and looked somewhat saddened at the fact that Linde could have, no should have died. But due to Kyero, she lived. She looked back at Linde when she turned around and fixed her clothing, not realizing that Aetrius was blushing all the while.

She only blushed more when Linde gently placed her hand on her's when she spoke a word of encouragement to her about her scars. She sighed and nodded. Aetrius pondered for a moment, and then looked back up, she sighed and begrudgingly started to remove her gloves. Starting with the leather gloves themselves, then stopped when it came to the under wrappings that kept her hands hidden.

She paused, and looked back up at Linde and in a soft voice she spoke.

"No one....well, not many people have seen my scars...Only those who are lucky enough to have..." she paused and looked away, her right hand holding the bandage over her left hand. "But....These....these are my worst scars..."

She slowly unraveled the wrappings, they fell to the floor where they lay. Aetrius looked down at her badly and distorted hands. They were marred over by dark, scars obviously burn marks. They were in the shape of chains, leading from wrapping around her palms and lead up to her elbows. Seeing how the gloves covered them perfectly, no one else had to wonder why she constantly wore gloves as well as layers.

"These... These are a reminder... Of the man that took everything from me... as well as the scar on my face... and back..." she said as she remained looking down at her hands that she held out in front of her, hands shaking all the while from fear and the memories coming back to her the day she received her most notably bad scarring.

"W-would you like to know...?" she asked rather innocently, which was odd coming from someone such as herself.

Never did she open up to someone like this before, not even to someone she barely knew. But, something about Linde made her feel like she could trust her, and be honest with certain aspects that others would most likely find repulsive.

Holding Aetrius' hands seemed to help her calm down, at least a little bit. Linde was not blind to the flush in her face, but she passed it off simply as Aetrius being new to this situation. And what she said afterwards only confirmed it. She was not used to people seeing her like this. Showing her past. Her nightmares. Her demons. The scars of numerous clashes and belittling moments... Culminating with the scars on her hands and arms.

She asked if Linde would like to know, but Linde brought up her right index finger and put it to Aetrius' lips.

"... Another time, perhaps." She whispered with a warm smile.

She gently put Aetrius' left hand in both of her own, sandwiching it softly.

"You have shown me so much already, and I thank you." She said, her smile growing even warmer.

"I feel I understand you much better now, and it makes me even more determined to help you find your friend. Kieran."

She slowly let go of Aetrius' hand, placing her hands in her own lap.

"Once I have ensured your wound is travel ready in two days, we will set out for Veilbrand. And we won't stop until we find Kieran." She said calmly, but with confidence and authority.

Aetrius couldn't help but blush more as Linde held her hand closer and tighter to herself and spoke to her as she did so. Her encouraging words did help a bit, but it wouldn't alleviate the struggle she dealt with for so long, the memories, nightmares, constant self hate and regret due to the cause of them. But she nodded, and smiled a bit as well when Linde confirmed wanting to leave with her, no matter what.

"Thank you, Linde...Your kindness...Is something I'm not fully accustomed to...Thank you..." She said with a genuine, but small smile.

Her hands twitched and she finally realized she still hadn't fully dressed herself yet. Aetrius quickly stood up and fumbled while putting her clothes back on, and when she was done she took a deep breath and sat back down, looking back at the floor then back up.

"So...Now what then? Like..Where do we go on from here?"

Linde's warm smile did not falter despite Aetrius quickly moving to clothe herself. And as she sat back down to ask where we go from here, Linde was happy to answer...

"For now, we rest. In two days, Veilbrand. It need not be more complicated than that." She said with a chuckle.

Linde said goodnight to Aetrius, giving her a small bow before leaving, and moved on to Okumi's room. She knocked quietly, entering upon a little tap in response against the door, and walked inside. She sat with Okumi at the bed and checked her wounds, which Okumi was a bit reluctant to show. However, once Linde showed she had gloves at her disposal, Okumi was relieved and allowed Linde to work.

It was a simple procedure to check her wounds, clean it, and re-bandage it before Linde bade Okumi good night and returned to her own room to check her own wounds. Her cheek was still raw and missing a layer of skin, but overall it was her shoulder that was the main concern. Her stitching held well, but the wound was seeping slightly. She cleaned it off before applying her disinfectant, and then re-bandaged herself as best she could.

For the next two days, as promised, Linde kept a close eye on everyone's wounds. She cleaned them, re-bandaged them, and made sure to keep everyone as occupied and content as she could during these two days of rest. The village was starting to settle in after what had happened, and had begun proper reconstruction by the time they departed for Veilbrand the next morning.

And as they all hit the road, now on horseback courtesy of the mayor as thanks for their heroic deeds, Linde was riding just behind Aetrius who took the lead position.

"Does anyone have any stories for the road?" She 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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The food and conversation was pleasant, and following the two days of doing no strenuous odd jobs in town as he healed from his wounds, which were checked and rechecked by Linde, Lonán was well on the way to recovery and preparation for the next adventure. The Saharan earned back the silver he spent, and 20 more besides.

When he wasn’t doing odd jobs, he was meditating in his room, trying to commune with the Holy Goddess, or his Ancestors for guidance on what to do next. Either continue on his way, leaving the group of friends he made behind, or join them on their next adventure which he considered doing; Veilbrand. He only visited there only with the Caravan he provides security for several years ago. He kept to himself and stuck close to what he guarded, and was glad to be out of there for the next destination they had.

When he thought he had no answer from Heresta, he recalled why Aetrius wished to go, recalled that sooner then later he had to speak to her about why he decided to truly tag along. That alone it seemed a good enough reason for joining.

So he did, atop Hawk and in the middle of the group, he was whistling a tune as their journey began, when he heard his most favorite question being heard. ”Do I have any stories? I have stories passed down to me from my grandfather from his father and their fathers before them. But I think I’ve got one that’s a little bit more easy to remember: Mainly the time The Old Wolf took me to deliver some of the weapons he made for the first time when he took me in as an apprentice, as well as provide services such as shoe traveler’s horses and the like for an extra silver or two...”

——

So began his Narration of ‘Lonán’s First real Adventure’, in which his Grandfather Magnus Arzura, known in his younger days as The Iron Wolf, took him to town. In this time, Old Magnus was still grieving the passing of his wife, who was not only a good fighter in her youth also, but a far better Blacksmith if she ever got in the forge with him. Lonán remembered that when she passed, the Old Wolf seemed to wear a frown more often then not, even the joy of hammering seemed to not lift his spirits.

But on this day in Question whilst providing his services and delivering his creations to their new owners Magnus noticed a drunk man robbing a woman in front of her child. Lonán poked his head out of the wagon.

”Grandpa, I got Lord Ragnar’s blade ready for deliver-.” he called out, only to see Magnus grab the sword in question from his hands, and storm straight up to the robber.

“Robbing someone in Public Eye is Punishable by removal of your hands.” Magnus coldly said, getting the other man’s attention as he turned and shoved at him.

“Bugger off and shoe a horse old man, or chase a skirt, if you’re into that.” The robber replied, gripping his knife tightly. Magnus held his ground.

“You do not want this fight.” Magnus warned, glaring at the man in front of him as he drew the weapon. “Because I will test this weapon’s sharpness.”

“I always wanted to kill you Blacksmith-Agh!” The man’s head rolled off his neck as Lonán stared at it in shock. The young boy of Ten remained frozen in that state, whilst Magnus gave the woman a handful of coin. Lonán was at last shaken from this shock when he saw the boot of his grandfather kick the head away like a ball. Looking up at the Older Saharan Lonán seemed both nervous and scared as he shifted his feet and tried his best to look the man straight in his piercing Grey-Blue Eyes.

“You learn from this Young Raven. Heresta does not like Robbers and Cutthroats. Do not waste breath in a one on one duel either.” He stated.

”But, I don’t know how to properly wield a sword, let alone take your lessons to heart unless I learn how to do the former.” the boy said, shyly looking away from his grandfather’s gaze. ”Will you please teach me?”


——

”He then Smiled at me. For the first time since Grandmother died, the Old Wolf smiled. He replied with a yes and that I had much to learn. We grew closer then I ever thought possible as a grandchild to his grandparent. So he taught me how to wield a sword and how to fight. But the story of my first adventure, and the sight of a man killing another man, finally instilled me with the Warrior Spirit the Old Wolf wanted me to have. To continue the legacy of the Arzura Warrior Clan.” Lonán smiled, finishing his tale as he bit into a ration of cured jerky he had in a pouch as he rode.

”Anyone else got a tale or two?”

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