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Okumi Chrysanth

"... ...! ..."

0 · 845 views · located in Cre' Est

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

Description

Okumi Chrysanth
Image



Age: 22
Height: 5' 2"
Weight: 113lbs
Voice Example: Rachie
Basic Personality: An honourable and kind shrine maiden, Okumi used to be a bundle of positive energy. Nowadays she has tempered her personality somewhat, but she still tries to maintain an optimistic outlook. Although somewhat talkative, Okumi frequently limits herself to gestures and written communication, as the medical mask she wears tends to become uncomfortable if she speaks too much. As such, many believe her to be mute, and might find themselves surprised to hear her voice. Determined and hardworking, she arduously does what needs to be done without complaint, and quite enjoys simple and peaceful living.

Basic Background: Born to a scholar and a priestess in Gweynura, Okumi had a loving pair of parents and two younger brothers. With her mother hailing from Triveila and mildly ostracised in Gweynura due to her beliefs, the decision was made to migrate back to Triveila with her new-found love and establish a worshipping shrine. The first born in the family, Okumi helped with the daily life and running of the shrine - their lives self sufficient as they grew their own food, cared for the animals, and only rarely headed into town to trade. It was a simple, peaceful life; catering to and allowing travellers rest while praying to the gods for peace and prosperity.

This lasted for quite some time, until tragedy struck. It had begun innocently enough. Okumi had been enjoying a morning walk through the forest when she saw it. It seemed to sparkle and shimmer in the sunlight, a vibrant piece of flora. In the end she brought the strange purple flower home, as it was quite pretty, and she'd never seen anything like it. No one knew the consequence such an action would have. A sickness spread through Okumi and her family, leaving all of them but the young girl bedridden and ill. Suddenly, life became harder as the work to maintain their livelihood that had been split between the five of them was now handled by Okumi alone. Not only that, but the girl was now responsible for caring for the four of them. It was unsustainable.

Desperate, Okumi made a journey into town, but with little to trade and fewer coin to share, she was left to fend for herself. One by one, her family succumbed to the illness over the coming months. They fought valiantly, but it was too much for them. She was alone. Shattered, shaken and broken from her ordeal, Okumi decided to move into town and see if she could perhaps find work and start a new life. What greeted her was a valley of death. The town was abandoned, decaying and diseased, the sickness having swept through while she'd remained in the mountains. She'd brought it to them. Unbeknownst to Okumi, she'd developed an immunity to the illness of the flower through exposure to the other plants of the forest. But it was still within her. She had been a carrier. She'd brought this plague to her family and the town.

Still, Okumi did not give up. Though she despaired for a time, her will to live was stronger. She'd carry on her family's memory herself. Over the next month, Okumi prepared herself for her journey, collecting up all manner of items. Most notable among them was her mother's ceremonial Naginata, but more than that, she discovered her father's journal. He'd been studying the flower and illness that had struck them, and although unsuccessful in cultivating an antidote, the information about the disease and how it was carried lead Okumi to one conclusion. Everything was her fault. She couldn't risk exposing anyone else to its fatal sickness. Having gathered everything she needed and buried the dead, Okumi gave a final prayer before taking herself into a voluntary exile, crossing the land all the way to Cre'Est and making a meager, peaceful living in a shack in the mountains.

Despite the occasional aggressor, for the most part, travellers to her small shrine were grateful for a place to stay and free food. Having learned more of her nature as a carrier, Okumi adopted a face mask over her mouth and nose at all times, which seemed to prevent its spread. Those that were hostile found that her time alone had made her strong and capable of defending herself to some extent, though she was certainly no combat expert. With her home somewhat near to Atlum and knowing of the plight they experienced, Okumi made way to help bury and honour the dead. It seemed like the only way she atoned these days.

So begins...

Okumi Chrysanth's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Linde nodded as she listened to Lonán.

When he spoke about everyone's "mutual friend" being "out scouting," she nodded and said, "I agree. He should be returning any time now." She said.

She nodded quietly as he asked if there was a definite plan.

"I am certain there will be a plan, but sadly I don't know what it would be yet. However, one thing I am certain of is that it will involve attacking them where they are least protected. Given their numbers, there's not much other option."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Lonán nodded at Linde’s assurances that there was a plan. Then Aetrius spoke about what will happen, for when they came back. Lonán’s scarlet brows furrowed in a slightly annoyed way. It wasn’t because she wasn’t speaking the truth, she was speaking it.

But saying the town isn’t safe anymore would mean defeat. He narrowed his eyes and simply said, ”That last point is precisely why they need to be dealt with sooner then later. To wait for them to come back is lunacy. To say this town doesn’t have a hope for survival means defeat, and for this occasion, that is blasphemous. Heresta did not grant this victory to give false hope.”

He sat up to his full posture. ”We find them, and strike fast and hard. Hard enough for them to scatter into the winds or to fall to the earth, their bloodshed proof that the Goddess smiles on our prowess.” he added, giving an air of confidence in his statement. But the confidence was his shield. Shielding his anxiety, that would often crop up at a monent’s notice. But the anxiety did come. It made him stare at the table and not at anyone directly in the eyes. He had to keep calm and fake the looking in the eyes for awhile..

He had to if he could win their friendship so he can look at them in the eye for real.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Linde looked back and forth between Aetrius and Lonán as they exchanged words about the bandits and the situation at hand. Her face contorted slightly as she drew her hands in towards her stomach and slumped ever so slightly while looking to the side. She kept her eyes on the ground for a moment, the gears turning in her mind. And finally she looked back up to the others.

"I must agree with Aetrius that this village is no longer safe, but not for the same reasons."

Her voice was soft and calm despite her somewhat despaired expression.

"Those bandits lost their leader today, and for men like them who follow no creed or any laws but their own are unpredictable enough as it is. Kyero took their leader's head in a single stroke, and they all fled in response. But that retreat means little if there is nothing to ensure it sticks."

She took a breath and let it out on a sigh.

"However, striking hard and fast against numbers like theirs when we have only the four of us is a death sentence. All of us barely fended off five each today, and there are still well over seventy of them left out there. Even with Kyero by our side I doubt we'd survive any kind of blitzkrieg assault against them."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Aetrius nodded at what both of them had said, she wasn't as cold hearted as some may believe, shockingly enough right. "I didn't mean we'd leave the people here to die. It isn't safe for anyone...If we can devise a plan to get them somewhere else that is safer than here, that's why I had intended...." her voice faded a bit at the end, she didn't want the others to think she'd want the villagers of Atlum to all perish. She turned away and sighed, and looked back as she stood up, weakly allbeit.

"I could use a drink, or few...If anyone would like to accompany me, you may. I'll be in the tavern if you need my assistance." with that she walked to the door of the room and paused for a moment, Allbeit you'd even want my help though, seeing as how one hand is still broken, ow.." she winced at the pain that shot through her right hand, "Yeah, drinks sound nice..." she said to herself and walked to the tavern, either by herself or with whoever would want to accompany the rather cynical bounty hunter.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Lonán was humbled by Linde’s talk, as he realized he was talking out of his convictions of battle. But he had to calm down from his momentary bout of anxiety and think rationally about the situation. Then Aetrius again spoke, and through the cynicism he picked up on what she was trying to say.

Find a way to get the people somewhere safe. But that potentially would hurt the local economy...would it? It was then he realized he hasn’t had a shred of sustinence! He now realized why his anxiety was on the rise. He needed food to take the edge off. Old Wolf always told him that if he got hungry, his mind would lose its focus. He needed supper. A great big helping of supper, and the quicker and most filling, the better. He would have voiced this to everyone when Aetrius made the offer, which was two birds in one stone indeed.

It gave him quite a lot to do and gave more opportunity to at least be social with everyone, hopefully he didn’t screw it up. So he stretched in his chair, popping a several vertebra into order.

”Well, I feel I can think better with some drink and food, in fact I think I’m as hungry as a horse, no offense to mine or yours.” he said as he stretched his legs and winced a bit at his hurt one. He then nodded to himself before moving to join Aetrius and whoever else would be joining them downstairs for drink and more pleasant conversations.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Linde nodded, rising from her seat.

"I suppose you are right. None of us have eaten in some time. Best not to make plans on an empty stomach."

She looked back to Okumi.

"Would you like to come with us, miss Okumi? I'd love the pleasure of your company a while longer."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
Image



Though mildly condescending to have her parchment cooed over, Okumi seemed to enjoy the attention, still beaming throughout the introduction. As far as the actual conversation went, Okumi stayed silent for the most part, nodding and looking to whoever was leading the talk at the time. In one on one conversation she did her best to hold her own, but it just wasn’t practical to try and communicate her thoughts in large groups. Besides, it’d be rude to interrupt the talking only to gesture some vague concepts. Truthfully, she kind of missed being the loudmouth at the family table who wouldn’t shut up, but she’d adjusted to this new form of living, and now barely remembered how she used to act prior.

The conversation moved on to the bandits, a rather normal progression given what they’d just been through. Honestly, the talk was a little disconcerting to Okumi. She valued peace, balance and harmony – If everyone could get along, that would be the best solution. Unrealistic, true, but it didn’t sit well with her as they discussed plans for attacking the bandits unaware. Overall, the attitude around the whole situation was a bit of a downer, Aetrius speaking of the inevitability of another raid and the end of Atlum. Reflexively, Okumi rubbed her shoulder injury. It was true, they’d been lucky to survive the last assault, but why couldn’t they use this time to celebrate rather than looking at all the negatives? Perhaps it was naïve to think so, or maybe immature, but Okumi wasn’t fond of this kill or be killed perspective everyone seemed to have.

Still, she wouldn’t voice it. Instead her expression was the only thing that gave away her opinion and intentions – Though not many tended to pay attention to the mute girl in conversations. Either way it was a relief to hear that Aetrius wasn’t completely defeatist when it came to Atlum. With the comment for drinks signalling the end of the conversation, everyone seemed to be getting up to make their leave, Okumi included. She wasn’t the kind to drink – One slip up with her illness could be disastrous – so this was when she’d likely make her leave. She could do some more work with the dead into the night as long as she rested her injured shoulder by only using her left arm. Then, as long as she got some sleep she could-

"Would you like to come with us, miss Okumi? I'd love the pleasure of your company a while longer."

Snapped from her thoughts as Linde spoke from the doorway to look at her, Okumi jumped to her feet in mild embarrassment. Pointing to herself, she waved her hands dismissively while shaking her head, first mimicking the motion of drinking from a cup before Forming a cross above her face with her arms. Letting her arms fall back to her side, she then gestured to Linde, making the drinking motion again before giving a double thumbs up. Once more letting her arms drop to her side, she pointed to herself, then outside, before pantomiming a digging motion. Overall, it was a pretty spirited performance, but she hopefully got her message across. As much as she liked company, it wouldn’t do well to get too attached. She’d isolated herself for a reason, so remaining close to people was a risk they shouldn’t have to take. Besides, what good was a mute girl in a conversation? Especially one that wouldn’t eat and drink with everyone...

Setting

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Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Observing Okumi's miming, Linde smiled sweetly.

"I think I understand, miss Okumi." She said with a small bow.

She stepped halfway out the door, but stopped and looked partly over her shoulder.

"You know, miss Okumi."

She looked all the way back to Okumi with that same smile from before.

"It was very nice to make your acquaintance today, although I'm kind of sad I couldn't hear your voice. Perhaps I could convince you to stay the night at the inn? I'd like to check and, if necessary, replace your bandages tomorrow morning. The most likely time to be stricken by infection for such a wound are within the first forty eight hours after it occurs, after all. So... See you tomorrow?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Aetrius nodded as Okumi denied going with them to the tavern, she gave the white haired girl a nod and to her surprise everyone but Okumi and Kyero wanted to accompany her. While she usually prefered to drink alone, having comrades to drink with was something she couldn't turn down. As they eventually arrived to the tavern attached to the inn, she kept the main door open until all had entered, then walked inside after. She scouted a table in the corner and tossed the bar keep a sack of assorted coins, "Drinks are on me." she said with a small smile, the bar keep nodded and took the coins.

As they all eventually would take a seat at the table, Aetrius reclined in her seat, finally getting comfortable. She had ordered herself a few drinks, and as she was beginning her third, she over heard a conversation behind her. A group of five or so men were being loud and rather obnoxious, to not just her but everyone else. She ignored it until she caught wind of part of one of the men's conversations, "Did I ever tell you of that one girl that I had? Ah, a fine one she was....Small, young, pretty, tight, tight body....Never forget one's first" he said as he gave a jovial laugh. Aetrius put her drink down and continued to listen in on the conversation.

"She was with some younger girl in Saharan years ago, five or six I can remember. Sisters, I don't know. All I do know is that she is now some floozey at a whore house in a few cities over. Her name was...K...Kie....I can't remember, but all I know is that she is a rather known one, as well as one of the best, so I've heard." Aetrius had had enough, and stood up, walking over to the table she placed her hand on the man's shoulder tightly and said, "Remember when I told you I'd find you one day...? And that'd I'd kill you when I got the chance?" she said with a growl, the man's eyes widened and he turned to face her, to only be punched in the face with a heavy fist, reeling backwards. "What the fuc....Who re you?" he growled out in pain. "The one that vowed she would kill the man that had hurt the one person she cared about most!" she exclaimed as she grabbed him by the shirt collar and slammed him against the table and pulled her knife to his throat and whispered into his ear so that only he could hear, "I am Korriban "Aetrius" Borral. You raped my sister, Kieran Borral, and I am going to bring justice to her...But before I do I want to know one thing..." she dragged him across the table, drinks and food going across the place as she slammed him back into the table, not realizing in doing so she had reopened the wound on her side, but as she was lost in a blind fury and rage, she didn't give a single shit, she wanted answers and she would get them, "Where is Kieran? Where is she, you sick fuck?" she growled at the coward as she held the blade to his throat, just enough for the blade to knick the side of his neck, "Tell me, or so help me that the gods will even find your worthless life's end funny."

The man whimpered as a warm liquid slowly flowed down his pant leg, "I-I don't even know what you're talking about. I've never seen you, trust me I'd recognize an ugly bitch as yourself." he said as he spat her in the face. Aetrius grinned, and whiped the spit from her face with her sleeve and looked him in the eyes, "I never forget the voice and face that would become my greatest mark yet. Give me a reason I shouldn't gut you like a fish." she glared at the man, not breaking eyecontact or even budging from her position. She finally found the man that had caused so much grief and pain for her and her long lost sister, and if he really did know where Kieran was, she was about to find out now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Linde followed Aetrius and Lonan to the Tavern across the way and took a seat as Aetrius paid for their drinks. Being a doctor, Linde did not drink. But she did partake of a cup of iced tea which she brought with her to the table as she sat across from Aetrius with Lonan on her right.

There was a rather loud commotion behind Aetrius from another group of men. Definitely drunk from the sound of things, but something Linde did not expect was for Aetrius to respond to them the way she did. She stood up, walked over, and started to speak rather aggressively to the man as if he had done some kind of personal harm to her. Linde didn't understand but was on her feet immediately until she heard something about someone Aetrius knew being harmed.

Linde froze in that moment, half-way to closing the gap between herself and Aetrius, and simply gave the man she was interrogating a thousand-yard stare.

For what seemed an eternity Linde did not move, but finally seemed to find her feet again as Lonan was trying to add to the interrogation. She held a hand up to silence Lonan, marching over to Aetrius.

She reached down and cupped Aetrius' cheek in her right hand gently forcing her to look up and placed her forehead to Aetrius'.

"Enough, Aetrius... Enough... Please." She whispered.

She looked Aetrius in the eyes the whole time, her gaze gentle and filled with sympathy.

"This man is not worth the energy you're expending. Please, let go of him. There is a better way to find out about your friend." She cooed softly, her breath brushing against Aetrius' lips.

As Aetrius was looking at the man she was so close to finally killing, she heard another voice that she recognized as Lonan, and growled. He should have just stayed out of this she thought to herself as she could tell he was walking up to the two. She didn't want them getting involved in this, as it could only make things worse and or ruin her chances of finding Kieran.

She didn't break her eyes away from the man as she spoke, "Lolan, stay out of this. For the betterment for you and everyone else, stay out of what you know nothing about!" she barked, she knew she came off too rough, yet again but she was not about to let him slip out of his grasp after all this time. She held the knife closer to his neck and her stare only deepened as her anger and fury rose.

But she heard another voice, and felt someone gently place their hand on her cheek. Her eyes widened and for a brief moment she looked away, breaking her eye contact with the man to see none other than Linde, mere centimeters from her face. She heard her words, but it didn't correlate to her brain right away, as she looked at Linde, for a split second she didn't see Linde, but Kieran. Linde looked so much like her, except the hair color. Aetrius looked her in the eyes, and tears slowly filed her amber eyes as she looked at Linde, reverting back to her last moments she had spent with her sister, "B...but...K-Kieran....he...he hurt you..I-I have to do this. For you....I have to." she said with tears and a whimper in her voice as she looked at the woman before her, and then looked back at the man, her tears still falling as nothing but malice and fury filled her heart. "I have to end his worthless, shitty existence..." her words came out as not simply a whisper but raspy and filled with sadness and hatred.

As the tears streamed from Aetrius' eyes and she uttered those words of an individual named Kieran, Linde was no closer to finding out who this was. But it didn't matter now. Aetrius had looked back to the man with hatred filling her voice as she said she had to end his existence.

Linde wasted no time in reaching further across Aetrius' face with her entire arm to cradle her head against her chest as her other hand came around and rested on her shoulder. Linde turned her head sideways and put her cheek on Aetrius' crown, and cooed softly to her while using her thumb to stroke and toy with the hair and flesh behind Aetrius' ear.

"Shhhhhhh... Aetrius. This man clearly has no fight to offer you, and his life is not worth taking." She whispered.

She turned and kissed the top of Aetrius' head before resting her cheek against her once more.

"Just relax, Aetrius, and I'll show you a better way to deal with men like him." She cooed.

As she kept her death stare locked with the man yet again, who was only able to look at Linde for further help, Aetrius smirked and scoffed. "You're nothing but a worthless piece of sinew that needs to be exterminated..." she growled, the man only coward more at her pure fury and urge to kill the poor bastard. He was the man that had done the crime, that she knew for certain. His voice, his face, body type, even his smell was the same. She knew it was him. After all this time, she found him and was finally able to kill him. As she was about to simply glide her blade across his throat, ending his life, she felt herself being touched yet again.

As her head was gently cradled into someone's chest, Aetrius reluctantly dropped the blade, it clattering to the floor with a metal and wooden sound. Her grip on the man loosened, until she completely let go of his shirt and and her hand fell by her side limply. The man managed to scramble away, and tried to make his getaway, but even his friends or at least drink mates grabbed him and held him for Aetrius, pinning him against the table, "Ye are even a worst bastard than we thought, Micah." the taller man looked at Linde and Aetrius, but more so Aetrius who was only being calmed by Linde, "Aye, Miss? What do we do with him? You get to be the one that does it yourself though. He hurt ya, and will receive his punishment." he said and held the man by his arms, practically smashing him back into the table, not letting him going anywhere anytime soon.

The method seemed to work, as Aetrius went nearly limp in her arms and melted into her embrace. The man tried to flee, but was stopped by his own mates who held him still. Linde, however, wasn't done with Aetrius. She continued cradling Aetrius' head to her chest and stroked/toyed with the hair and flesh behind her ear as she leaned down to whisper in her ear.

"Thank you, Aetrius. I'm proud of you."

Her hand came over and cupped around her cheek, helping guide Aetrius into a fully standing position as Linde smiled up at her and used her thumbs to wipe her tears.

"Now... Let me know you another way to deal with men like this."

Linde turned towards the man who was being held by his friends, and walked slowly up to him with a very, almost unnaturally calm smile on her face as she gazed at him with almost bedroom-like eyes.

She leaned in close to the man and kissed his nose.

"Would you gentlemen please lay him down on the table for me on his side, so I can see his back?"

Aetrius shook in Linde's embrace, not just from sadness as well as anger. She was so close, so close to finding where Kieran was, if she was still even alive and where she was. She calmed yet again as she heard Linde's voice, and slowly nodded, not a single word came from her mouth, just a simple nod. She looked up as her head was gently lifted, and sniffled. She tried to give Linde a smile, but it was barely a twitch in her mouth. She looked on as Linde had asked the men to turn him onto his stomach on the table, but before they did, Aetrius walked over to the man and looked him in the eyes, "I will not forgive you...Ever...But...You earned my mercy...for now..." she said softly and turned to almost walk away, but stopped and turned on her heel and punched the man square in the face, his body going limp for a moment as his knees buckled. Aetrius smiled slightly, and stepped aside, letting LInde have her way with whatever she had planned. Taking a temporary seat behind LInde she sat.

The two men looked at Linde as she spoke, and nodded. Holding him still after he recovered from being suddenly punched by Aetrius. They flipped him over, forcing him onto his stomach being pressed against the wooden table, his right arm being forcefully pressed into his back keeping him from going anywhere.

Micah looked from the corner of his eyes as Linde enclosed the distance, his eyes widened. "H-he-hey, Missy. Y-you gotta help me. Th-that love of your's is psycho." he stammered, trying to wiggle away, but to no avail as the other men kept him pinned down. Aetrius glared up at the man who had commented on Aetrius and Linde being a presumed couple, she scoffed at his comment, and spoke under her breath, "Pft, please...Not that fortunate...." she murmured, but after she said it she felt her face go a bright pink and looked away, hoping as to no one hearing her retort to his comment.

Linde stood in front of Micah's face and bent her knees until she was in a squat position, her knees held together in front of her body and her arms resting on the edge of the table. And in her eyes was a calmness accompanied by emptiness. No emotion whatsoever. Her gaze was dead, her eyes glossed over. A thousand-yard stare like none Micah had ever seen before.

Linde was silent, just staring at him for a long, long time as he stared back and tried to plead for his life.

Finally, Linde blinked and her eyes returned to normal as she smiled and stood up, placing a hand gently against his face.

"Micah... I'm a doctor. I am sworn to do no harm to those under my care. But you," her fingers slowly started curving until her nails pressed against the flesh of his cheek. "You are not my patient."

Her fingernails dug into flesh, blood seeping out around them as Micah cried in pain. Linde retracted her nails slowly, letting a few drops of blood drip from them to the side of his face.

"My mother was a doctor and taught me everything she knew. She was a beautiful, kind hearted woman. She raised me with love and tenderness. A mother's love. True and Pure. But my father..."

Her hand glided across his bloodied face to his neck as she stepped around slightly for better position. Her fingers slid out to different positions just beside his spine around the position of the 7th and 8th vertebrae in his neck and shoulders.

"He was a general in the Cre' Itian military until two years ago when he retired. And he taught me... Other things to enhance what I had learned from mother dearest. And this," she applied a small amount of pressure to each fingertip in turn, causing various parts of his body to twitch in response. "... This is what I learned."

She pressed down hard with all ten fingers on each point, and suddenly Micah's body began to spasm and tremble uncontrollably as Linde's face darkened. She was still calm, but there was another emotion now present in her face. Or, rather... A lack of emotion. Apathy.

Despite the pain Micah was in, Linde showed no signs of caring or acknowledgement of it. Nothing at all. It was as if she was staring into a chasm of darkness, and it was staring back at the world through her. She released her pressure, and Micah's body slowly calmed as his breathing began to become deeper, harsher, and more erratic.

"... Kieran." She said coldly.

She pressed her fingers down, and his body spasmed and trembled again. But this time muc more violently. Her pressure had increased. But a moment later, she let go. And as his body calmed, she knelt down, fingers still in place, looking him in the eye with that cold, apathetic glare.

"... Kieran." She repeated.

Aetrius watched on silently as Linde continued to interrogate the man, if that's what one would call it. It was pure torture, and Aetrius was relishing in his pain, maybe a little too much. But maybe it was deserving. Who knows, but all she knew is that she wanted to know where Kieran was, and then to put an end to his life, herself. She did twitch and wince when Linde did pop her pressure in between the spinal plates, something Aetrius absolutely hated. But she looked on regardless at the sight, and it also impressed Aetrius how such a kind and gentle soul could be so cruel....but also...made her feel something other than intrigue? She wasn't sure, but perhaps for another time.

Micah on the other hand was in complete agony, and wished for it to end at any moment. But it seemed like an eternity for it to ever end. Perhaps it wouldn't and this would be his fate forever. But as it continued, he eventually grew too weak and between gasps for air and pants, he softy spoke, "Veilbrand...She...she's in Veilbrand..." he said through panted breaths.

At the notion of that, Aetrius jumped to her feet and walked to him, forcing her way past Linde and smashed the man's face into the table, and grabbed him by the back of the hair, "What part of Veilbrand? Where is Kieran?" she demanded, her voice was filled with anger and fury as she was so very tempted to just smash his head into the table until it was nothing but sinew and chucks of flesh. One of the men looked at Aetrius and calmly said, "The Love Dove...It's a rather highly costly, popular place there...Or so I've heard..." he stuttered, looking away in shame. Aetrius looked back at him, "Thank you...Now...When was the last time you saw her?" she barked at Micah, who only spoke without moving anymore, as blood spilled past his now broken nose, mouth, and teeth, "A...A month ago...Just last month...She....she's a good one, ya know..." he chuckled weakily. With that Aetrius had heard enough, she was about to use her blade to simply slit his throat, but she opted for a new approach, she simply hit him on the back of the head with the knife's hilt, and walked away, knowing all she needed.

But as she walked away, her adrenaline and anger slowly melting, she collapsed to her knees, holding her side as she was able to feel a hot liquid on her side. "Dammit....N-not now...Not now..." she mumbled, she needed to leave, now. To find Kieran. But as her wound was now reopened, she wasn't even able to ride a worse, let alone go on a long journey to Veilbrand.

Linde thanked the men holding Micah and walked over to Aetrius, helping place pressure on her wound as she helped her back to her feet.

"Come, Aetrius. Lay down here on the couch. I will tend to your wound and we will go rest at the inn for the night. You can't travel right now. Not like this." She cooed.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
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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: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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As she sat down with Okumi and asked her questions, Okumi seemed to hesitate before nodding and handing LInde a book.

Linde flipped through the pages gingerly, taking in every word possible. The neat writing made it easy, and as she read from the start to the end, Linde's face fell further and further until, at last, she closed the book and set it on her lap.

She was quiet for a long time. Her eyes were closed. Her hand rested on the book's cover. Her legs were drawn together, heels flat on the ground. Her back straight. And her face calm, despite her saddened expression.

She opened her eyes, and slowly looked at Okumi.

"Miss Okumi..." She said quietly.

She raised the book to her chest and gently hugged it, gazing into the ground with a thousand yard stare.

"Do you mind if I keep this book for a while?" She asked, almost unconsciously.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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#, as written by Tanman
Okumi Chrysanth
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Having been lost in a daydream recalling happier days that she could never return to, it was Linde softly calling her name that brought Okumi back to reality. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been reliving those moments, but it must have been quite a while, and Linde seemed to have finished at least a cursory reading of her father’s journal. Meeting her gaze, Okumi could sense it in her eyes and in her posture; that awkward stiffness and sadness when someone found more than they had bargained for; that they didn’t know how to respond to what they now knew. All Okumi could see was that Linde was saddened by what she had read, and as the shrine maiden had suspected, had little more to offer than pity and sympathies. Not that she expected more than that, there wasn’t much anyone could do for her.

So when Linde asked to keep hold of the book for a time, Okumi wasn’t sure how to react. Immediately she felt defensive. After all, it was her father’s book. One of the last remnants she had to remember him by, so she was highly protective of it. Not only that, but it had a record of all the important information she had transcribed about her disease, which was crucial for both her, and anyone she felt the need to share that with.To her, it was one of the most valuable things both personally and for sentimental reasons, only equaled by that of her mother’s naginata. But… She wanted to trust Linde and others. Perhaps she just wanted to read it in more detail, or truly did think she might be able to research some sort of cure or suppressing medicine. So long as it returned to Okumi before they parted ways… That would be alright.

Nodding cautiously, the reluctance of Okumi to let Linde hold onto it was clearly visible in her hesitation as well as her eyes, but it seemed that for now, Okumi was content to share it with Linde. Pointing to the book, Okumi then held a hand over her heart, before clasping her hands together in a pleading motion. Finally, she made a cradle out of her arms, as if holding a baby and rocking it. She really wanted Linde to know how important that journal was to her, and to take care of it. She didn’t want to lose one of the last pieces of her family.