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Shurik Mad-Blade

"Ik talam nedar, for your life is at its end."

0 · 286 views · located in Orlay

a character in “Journey to the West: A Tale of Heroes”, as played by Cypher

Description

ImageName: "I fail to see the relevance of this." Shurik Isaadim Mad-Blade. "I was once Isaad's child, yes, but that was long ago now." Shurik looks away dismissively.

Age: Mid-thirties

Sex: Male

Appearance:
In brief:
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 150 lbs.
Eyes: Grey
Hair: Black
Skin: Tan
Voice: The dude with the silly hair
The picture does not do him justice. Although he does wear the typical robes of his people, his skin is not ash gray - rather it is more of a deep tan or light brown, and his eyes do not glow; rather they are a very light gray.

Heraldry: "I am Shurik. My father was the sun, my mother the sand, my brother the jackal." Shurik's face takes on a brief moment of levity before descending back to its normal, blank mask. "Alai-lok ten riish, Outlander, it is... Complicated."

Faction/Race: Human, sub-classification Dailak-shir, a hearty race of desert dwelling scholar-warriors from the Seal of Ambrangyl. Belongs to the Malud, a clan of assassins. "The finest in the world."

Skills: "I am an assassin. I weave my cloak from the sky's darkness, I move with the speed of the wind across the desert and strike with the speed and anger of the kestrel."
- Stealth/sneaking and associated skills (pickpocketing, lockpicking, etc)
- Accomplished free-runner/traceur
- Excellent at Hand to hand/close quarters combat
- Adept marksman
- Skilled herbologist, especially in regards to poison-making

Weapons:
- A bronze short sword with a curved guard, used to disarm opponents.
- An iron dagger.
- A small sickle-shaped blade.
- A shortbow and barbed bronze arrows.

Gear:
- A hooded cloth robe, several layers thick, of varying colors, with the outermost layer having an integrated leather pauldron on the left shoulder.
- Several belts, holsters and pouches with various contents.
- Several lengths of rope with attached hooks of various shape, material and length.
- Scrolls containing maps, calendars, astrological charts and the description of his mission, his ward and the people he will be working with.

Spells:
- A basic chameleon spell that allows him to blend in better with his surroundings.
- A spell that, when cast, generates an obscuring mist or smoke. Good for escapes.

Weaknesses:
- His strength lies in his speed. If you can hold him and keep him in one concentrated area or occupy him in a stand-up fight he will be utterly dominated without assistance.
- Due to his religious beliefs he is more than willing to take on nearly suicidal risks. They haven't gotten him killed yet, but it is always a possibility.
- Does not play well with others, or anyone really. He's not big on interpersonal communication.

Personality: A basic, no-frills man of action. He doesn't speak much, and when he does his statements are peppered with his home tongue, making him difficult to understand. At heart he is a creature of honor; never causing more damage and death than necessary, and working if only in hope that his work made someone's day better somewhere. His religious beliefs place him in the mindset that he is in limbo and serving penance, and only through a glorious death may he be forgiven of his transgressions and either restored to live or permanently sent to the actual afterlife.

History: A former sellsword from the Seal of Ambrangyl (so called because it was supposedly the place where the demigod warrior Ambrangyl was killed and entombed during the formation of the world), Shurik lived a relatively unremarkable life until he was recruited to the Malud. However, once he was, he rose to some prominence amongst the Dailak-shir as a man of shadows and mystery. It is known that he was at one point a catastrophic wrong turn in a mission led him to forsake his former name and take up the surname Mad-blade as punishment, but he has never mentioned what precisely happened that day to a single soul on this planet.

Reason for taking up the king's call: The Malud doesn't like it when someone does their job better than they do. Also, business for an assassin's clan generally takes a downturn when both their potential clients and their potential targets have been slaughtered by roving hellbeasts bent on world domination. So they sent their best man to make sure the princess makes it through to the altar.

So begins...

Shurik Mad-Blade's Story

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Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade
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#, as written by Cypher
Every city, no matter how nice, has a refuge for criminals - a home for the cutpurses, the thugs, the murderers. It's just a matter of how hard you're willing to look.

Sometimes it's obvious; the ramshackle buildings skewed on sunken foundations, leaning over the streets like stone gods. Men lining the sidewalks, peddling poor-quality goods for a king's ransom in silver and gold. Women in scant clothing peddling their poor-quality selves for the same. Children in threadbare tunics chasing small rodents through the street, sometimes for entertainment, sometimes for a meal. And always, always, the scent of decay. Death lurks around every corner; by knife, by disease, by debris, any number of things, and sometimes the bodies stack too high. This is no longer a place to live, it is a waystation between life and death. It's where people who want to shuffle off the mortal coil in filth and obscurity go, and where people with no hope for anything but that stay.

Other times it's merely a run-down part of the city. The underground is there, but its pulse is faint - occasionally a man or woman, a bit too well-dressed for this part of town, will stride with authority down the cobbled street, thronged by large men dressed in black carrying oaken clubs, swords, axes. Occasionally a beggar will step from an alley and ask for a copper. Most of the signs will come from the local tavern, where amongst the usual crowd there are three or four folk who stand out amongst the rest - they carry themselves differently, speak differently, they aren't enjoying themselves as much or something about them is generally just off.

Such was the case in Orlay. A man in multicolored robes, faded by the desert sun, nursed a small mug of some exotic-smelling spiced drink, waiting for nobody in particular it would seem. He would occasionally sip from the drink or shift it around the bar, as if to stave off boredom - and, in truth, the man did seem quite disinterested in it all. He perched upon the stool in perfect still silence, like a human gargoyle, always poised, waiting to leap down on unsuspecting prey.

Eventually, a packet slid down the bar. The man opened it, read what was inside, left quietly. No one said anything, as though his entrance and exit had never happened.

--

Shurik quickly mounted the steps of the palace gates, weaving through the gathering crowd of warriors and citizens alike. He had no thoughts in his mind other than the mission at hand, no thoughts of the Legion invasion, no thoughts of home, nothing. He was directed by the old Starseeker crone, and came to stand on his rune. He did not inspect his surroundings, but quickly stood at attention, steepled his fingers and bowed his head. Those standing close enough could hear him muttering.

"Alad shi nobor, ta'ryar na-n Shurik bo ay'adaam, du irin jaast..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: King Albrect Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Bridget Harling Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar Character Portrait: Django "Black XII" Faraelis Character Portrait: Nathaniel Fenastus
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As the Stargazers finished the last of the placements, the eldest among them called for the doors to be shut and for those assembled to be silenced. After a few minutes of effort on the part of the Stargazers, the voices were quieted down to a hushed whisper from one or two particularly rude members of the crowd. The silence was maintained for a few moments, till the Stargazers started to unroll an old scroll, part of which began to chip apart from age as it was unrolled. One member of the Stargazers came before the crowd to speak.

"I understand that with such a grand task, there are many among you who are eager to do what you can to end the crisis." He spoke loudly, selected among his peers for his strong voice and his ability to speak clearly, something often lost among the older and more reclusive Stargazers. "However, we have seen that it will be necessarily to send but a few warriors, chosen by the stars themselves. Sending more will result in disaster." He paused to allow a moment for those gathered to understand what he was saying. "As such, we will select you soon, choosing out those destined by fate to join upon this dangerous task. When you are asked to step forward, please follow along and stand up here." The Stargazer gestured behind him, where the highest part of the flooring was, on par with the rest of the palace. It was an invitation to stand on the same ground as the Royal family, some more loyal citizens would consider it an honor.

The Stargazers were gathered around a scroll, where they whispered and discussed how to interpret the signs, after each choice was made, a young man or woman from their apprentices would be sent off to bring forward the selected. Kalad Ashchrom was the first to be selected, the young woman who came for him smiled pleasantly as she held her hand out to guide him. Then Shawn Holyfield, the young man sent before him gestured to the warrior to come up to the stage, far too frightened to make contact with the outsider. The Stargazers had brought before them: Rosaline, Django, Shurik, Bridget, Marielle and finally after a quick argument between the Stargazers, Nathaniel.

Each were told to stand next to the one selected before them, each was given bowed heads of respect from the servants to the Stargazers. An angry looking man wielding two swords left the spot where he was standing and started walking towards the group of selected, he spoke with fury in his voice, "You would choose such weaklings over me! That girl is barely a child! And look at him!" His face was red with anger and passion, deep feelings of betrayal in his heart. One of the Stargazers held out her hand in front of him, her voice was fearless, "You may not approach further. You are you leave immediately." The man drew his blade and struck her across the side with a single motion, having lost his senses.

Many would move to react, many would place hands on their weapons or start to take steps, but a whirling axe blade tossed from further in the room split the raging man's skull apart, his body dropping backwards towards the ground. As eyes turned to look, there stood the King, his arm outstretched from his toss. He stood up straight and continued to walk towards the group as attendants ran to assist the wounded Stargazer. The King's path lead him to stand before those that had been chosen, a severe look upon his face as he studied each of them intently for flaws and weaknesses. Even as he bore his gaze down upon him the Stargazers were encouraging the others to make their way out, and for those who would still see their bravery noticed, to make their way toward the Knight-Captains post. The city still needed brave warriors to defend it.

After a moment of quiet contemplation, King Albrect stepped before Kalad, patting the man on the arm firmly and grabbing on to the front panel of Kalad's armor. "You are the Ashchrom boy, all grown up. Good, you father once forged me a fine blade. I expect you to be forged with the same dedication he has always shown. A good man from a good family." The King nodded his head in approval, but kept his stern look as he moved down the line.

His judging eyes came upon Shawn, peering firmly into his eyes, as though they were two beasts in a staredown. Finally the King gave a nod of respect to the barbarian. "I received the bear. Killed with strong hands, hands I hope will give their strength to less hardened warriors." He paused for a moment to study the man, "And to crush the Black Legion." His eyes held firmly locked with Shawn's even as he began to walk down the line.

King Albrect looked upon Rosaline, the first softening of his facial expression came. "The daughter of Arthur Mellikot." He put his hand on her armor and gave it a tug, as older warriors were known to do with the young. "Shoot well," he patted the patch of her belly that lacked any armor to protect it, "and avoid a wound to the gut." Being mocked and complimented in the same was a difficult thing, but there was little choice but to accept his words. "Aim for the underbelly of the great lizards, arrows won't pierce their hide elsewhere." He continued down the line, his stern look returning.

Django fell before that deeply judging gaze, while the King stared down at the man as though he were a child being looked at for signs of guilt. "A swordsman, hopefully a brave one. You remind me of a man I once fought beside. Use you talents to guard my daughter well." He gave Django a firm pat on the shoulder and continued along.

As he came before Shurik Mad-Blade he seemed almost frustrated, he looked forward at the man with a deep scrutiny that he had not placed upon the others. "I will confess, I know nothing of you. My men tell me you come from the deserts to the south, I have never ventured there." The king placed his fist to his chest and made a firm pounding noise. "Use what skills you possess for this quest, ensure that the Black Legion falls. And perhaps, after this is over, you will be willing to tell us about your people."

King Albrect stood before Bridget his left hand tensed into a ball, his eyes slowly edged from a look of study to a gaze of anger. He reached out and grabbed her arm like a man about to scold a child. His senses seemed to take hold and he relaxed his grip and gave her a gentler pat on her arm. "I know your face, and it hurts my pride to have you stand before me, yet I cannot deny the need for those with your skills. You have killed many, yet all this will be pardoned if you complete this quest. You will find yourself rewarded." He paused as if to let go of something in his heart, "Bring my daughter back to me when the task is done and you will also have my forgiveness."

He stepped away from Bridget quickly, moving to stand far above the Sky Elf before him, "If you have received any ill treatment from my people, please forgive us, we are not used to meeting with your kind." He held out his hand to take hers and gently held it for a moment, "In Orlay, our elders are respected, and you should have received such respect while you were within our city. I will try to secure you a much more appropriate reception when you return. I thank you for coming."

Finally he came to the last, Nathaniel. He shook his head a bit when he came before the young man. "Youth and ambition often follow hand in hand. I do not know what role you will play in this tale, yet you are a part of it as destined by the stars. You are young, and were I choosing men for this task by my eye alone you would not be here. Do not take these words as insult." He grabbed Nathaniel by his armor and pulled at it to check it was firmly in place. "Regardless of age, you return as a man with full rights. You will bear the title of hero as mightily as any other."

The King stood at his full height, stepping before the group as a whole and looking over them. "Do you have any questions for me? Any thing you need to request or any clarifications I can make as to the intent of this quest?" His voice was firm and strong, possessing the refined quality of nobility and the strength of a veteran warrior. As he finished speaking, a young man came up and handed the king the axe he had thrown earlier, now cleaned of gore.

Setting

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Character Portrait: King Albrect Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade
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#, as written by Cypher
Shurik had continued his prayer unabated the entire time. After he had stepped onto his rune, two more had arrived - a slight framed man carrying a sword and lance, and a man easily larger than most draft horses. He mentioned something about a bear, but Shurik was not paying attention to that one, or indeed anyone around him. He continued his diligent praying, his voice low, his eyes closed. He couldn't see anything outside, but a change in the atmosphere of the palace courtyard keyed him in - the ceremony was beginning. One by one, footsteps started around him - the soft, careful padding of Stargazers making their choices.

Inside the assassin's head, a soft humming emanated from the runes around him. The Malud were not known for their mages -- indeed, magic was a completely different caste in Dailak-shir society, one that the Malud were technically not allowed to study -- but it was not unheard of for the Malud to occasionally have possession of a few select men or women that could feel the power of magic in the world, to know the discordant tones of the various runes. The Odosun, or 'song of the ancients', the arcanists called it, the tune that a properly-inscribed series of runes made, when completed, in the conscious mind of the writer and those around him sensitive enough to know the feeling. All around him, discordant tones rang out, but occasionally, through the jangling hum, a distinct pattern would emerge - eight sounds, repeated over and over again.

One of those notes was beneath his feet.

Shurik knew he was chosen before he felt the tug of the Stargazer on the hem of his robes. Without breaking his prayer, he opened his eyes, the music of the runes fading from his mind. He looked at the Stargazer pulling him forward briefly. She -- and, he noted, the other seven Stargazers moving through the crowd were also shes -- was young, with waist-length brown hair and fair skin. Her back was to him, but her figure was thin, fingers long, limbs almost spindly. Shurik imagined, in a detached manner, she would be pretty to someone somewhere. Perhaps even Shurik. But his duty was not to some astrologist woman, it was to the task at hand.

At last they broke from the crowd, and the seven others stood in a line with Shurik towards the middle. He resumed his prayers, ignoring the belligerent in the crowd, even as the whistle of an axe came across his right shoulder, abruptly halted by the wet sound of it embedding itself in the man's face. Shurik was impressed with the throw's accuracy, but did not raise his eyes until he was addressed.

He saw what he expected from Albrect; a tall, fair-skinned blond man with the appearance of a man who may once have been a great warrior, but was now watching the sun set on him. He said a few words to everyone in the party, stopping briefly to speak with Shurik. The warrior-king pounded his chest with a closed fist and nodded. Shurik's face didn't change, but he raised two fingers on his left hand; touched them to his forehead and his heart, and then repeated the gesture upon Albrect. "I expect I know as much of my own peoples' ways as you do, perhaps less," he intoned softly, evenly, "but should I return from this encounter, I will request that our elders come to speak with you, my liege."

Then the two moved on. Time passed, and the floor was opened for questions. Shurik remained silent.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: King Albrect Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Bridget Harling Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar Character Portrait: Django "Black XII" Faraelis Character Portrait: Nathaniel Fenastus
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Many of the Stargazers gather their things and beginning returning towards their tower, even with the importance of sending off the heroes, they have many tasks ahead of them. There are stages to this battle that go beyond what a commander can judge with his eyes, and to this end the Stargazers regroup to see beyond what normal men can see. They gather to tell of what will come, to serve as the King's wise advisers in the darkest of hours.

King Albrect is a strong willed man with the heart of a lion, but his body is aged and his nights have been restless, even as he stands before the selected heroes, expending his composure to appear strong before a tide of destruction. Many friends lost, many more still to lose, yet a King cannot afford tears nor sorrow. He lifts his hand, fingers gesturing to a woman standing far behind, a lady in service to the queen. The middle-aged woman turns and begins heading towards the inner part of the castle, where the royal family makes their home.

No severe questions came from the heroes, yet there were things that must be said all the same. After a deep breath and a moment of thought the king began to speak.

"No simple task awaits you in the west, there are many dangers, as I am sure many of you are familiar with. The Black Legion is marching upon us, and more of their numbers emerge with each day. Many of my men and women await for the beginning of this quest and they will give you the opening you need to make it to the cover of the woods. I ask that you honor their sacrifice, for they march out knowing they face death in leaving the city walls."

His eyes closed for a moment, as he pictured what he could remember of the paths beyond the western wall. His fist tensed as he struggled to recall a name.

"Many years have past since I once walked in the outer lands, my mind is not clear on the paths nor should I advise you on where to go when you enter. My daughter seems to feel the pull, her eyes sometimes drift, her attention absent as she peers off to something beyond out sight. Follow her gaze should you become unsure of the way to the Black Legions' lair."

He glanced over each of them, "You will have a short period of time in order to prepare yourselves, I had packs of dried food readied, bread and salted meat along with waterskins. It would be best not to take the time to hunt, unless need demands it. Every day it takes for this quest to complete is a day that we spend having to hold our walls. My generals tell me they believe we can hold against this siege for three weeks, I do not believe we have more than two. Rapacity is a virtue in this, mix it well with carefulness but dread to tarry. We place the fate of Orlay in your hands."

A woman, beautiful with a steady look appears in regal clothing, from her eyes it is clear that she has been crying though she has done her best to cover it up. Beside her is a younger woman, wearing plainer, yet still fancy, clothing. The first of the two is the queen, a necklace bearing the crest of the royal family intends to make it clear to those who would not otherwise know. The woman at her side is her handmaiden, a woman of distinction and scholarly wit. Behind the two, a small girl peeks out to see the strangers who have gathered in her home.

Neither woman says anything as they walk closer, nor does the girl, who swiftly returns to hide behind her mother. The King gives a brief glance behind him, hearing the clack of less practical shoes on the wood and stone of the floors.

"Here comes my wife with my daughter now, please forgive her grieving, she does not wish to see our daughter part from our arms. It is a thing of sorrow for us both, as I imagine any parent would feel. Excuse us for showing our hearts so plainly," the King spoke with a softer tone, his voice shifting from how he speaks to his subjects into how he speaks around his child and wife. "Have Mylina come over here, these are our champions, selected by the stars of destiny."

The little girl was lifted up by the Queen's handmaiden and carried over towards her father. Mylina desperately buried her face in the handmaiden's neck, hiding away from the unusual people who she was being introduced to. The handmaiden stood the girl beside her father and pressed a hand on the child's back with a whispered, "stand properly." The Queen stood back, watching from a short distance away, she did not wish to come closer as her heart was already pressing her close to tears again.

"This is Mylina. My only daughter. She was born with strange markings upon her back, circles and line with runes and other archaic markings. They were recorded and many have worked on deciphering what it means but to no avail. The Stargazers tell me that this is what will undo the bindings of the Black Legion and reduce them to dust before us. No other reason would I let my daughter part my sight were it not for the end that meets us should she not go. I am glad so many of you speak of dedication, and I ask that you do what you can to protect Mylina on the way there and back again."

The little girl's eyes glanced at each of the warriors gathered, her own mind barely understanding what was being asked of her. She had been explained that she would accompany them, but her young mind couldn't appreciate the importance of such a monumental task. Her eyes looked over each with confusion and fear, only a couple of them were anything similar to the people she was used to.

"Gather yourselves, your task will soon begin, follow my man," He gestured to a middle aged scholar who was walking into the room, "He will guide you to where we are getting ready." The King leaned down to hug his daughter, "Mylina, these warriors will guide you. Stay with them, listen to what you are told and try not to be afraid. I love you my child, I am sorry to ask you for so much."

The scholar gestured with a limp hand, "Right along this way," his voice was rasp and nasally with an unpleasant whine. He started walking towards a side courtyard where several attendants had bags in their hands to hand off and an armored man stood beside a small cashe of weapons and gear. A couple of younger ladies, hardly twenty, stood together holding several finely woven, and darkly colored cloaks, behind them remained the rest.

The Scholar spoke again, "Take what you will, if you need for anything else before you depart, simply let me know and I'll see if we can fetch it for you." His unpleasant voice did not seem to bother the attendants but one of the girls with the cloak seemed to cringe slightly as he spoke. His every word like fingernails on slate to her ears.

Minutes after the young princess was lead out by her father, held firmly by the hand. She was wearing a many layered dress of fine quality, and well crafted shoes for a woodland journey. She fussed over the rough wool cloak that covered her, the scratchy fibers were something she was unused to having to wear. Her father gave a stern look and she put her hands down, letting the cloak rest against her without further adjustment.

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Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade
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#, as written by Cypher
There came a child. Shurik wasn't surprised. A smaller detail would be expected should the princess be of age, if only because she could handle herself to some degree. No, this made sense. The assassin looked nonplussed. When the group was conducted towards the secondary courtyard, Shurik stepped forward. No guard moved to stop him, surprisingly enough, as his robed body moved with silent ease towards the queen. Once he arrived before her, the assassin, in a curious display of compassion, unheard of from the mostly cold and aloof man, he gripped the woman by the forearms and turned her to face him.

"On my blade, I swear that so long as I stand your daughter will not come to harm." Making a small gesture at his belt, he pricked his thumb with the sickle-shaped blade hanging naked at his waist, drawing a small amount of blood. He touched his thumb to his forehead, and then to the Queen's, drawing a thin line down the center of her forehead. "Dali hustur, i meela-sok shinai, milady. 'In blood, the life-bond is sworn'." His face remained unchanged as he delivered a single solemn nod, then swept back into the fold of the group. He sucked the last of the blood from his thumb and wiped it on the hem of his robe, approaching the armorer.

A fine sight greeted his eyes An assortment of blades, small and large, stood before him. From the pile, Shurik selected a brace of throwing knives with an integrated leather quiver of significantly better quality than the one he possessed. Shurik removed his old quiver and replaced the belt with this new one, then removed the old arrows from the original quiver and slid them carefully into their place. A shortbow in a waist-holster greeted his sight next, and Shurik, glad for the sight of a bow, looped it through his main belt over the sword, and then withdrew the bow and drew the string as a test of the draw. It was a bit light for his tastes, but it would do the job - and perhaps he could even manage a few overdraws out of it. It was taken from the royal armory, after all - nothing but the best for a king and his royal guard.

He moved to take a pack of dry food and water and threw it over his shoulder, accepting a spare cloak from one of the handmaidens - a brown hooded cloak with a green inner lining - rolled it, and tied it onto the pack with a handful of rawhide straps. As he stood, it was then that he noticed the king standing there with his daughter, Mylina.

The assassin did something strange then. First, he returned to the armorer and took an iron dagger from the counter. Then he removed his own dagger -- a much sharper, lighter affair -- and approached the princess. Holding the sheathed blade by the sharp bits, he nodded to the king and knelt before his daughter.

"Milady," he intoned in his strange, deep voice, "a princess must know how to defend herself. This is a knife of the Malud, one of the finest daggers in the world." He gave his attempt at a smile, which would only prove to be slightly disconcerting, so he quickly stowed it beneath his serious face again. "So long as you carry it, the shadow of the Malud will lay over you like a shroud; no harm will come to you so long as one of their number still stands." He turned the handle towards her, offering the blade and sheath.

"Be careful, it is sharp, and a blade such as this cuts both ways." It was his way of saying the knife was double-edged. He nodded slowly, waiting for Mylina to accept the blade.

Shurik didn't once question the fact that he was about to offer his favorite knife to a six-year-old girl.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: King Albrect Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot
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For once, since being summoned and chosen for the quest, Rose felt something other than optimism. It was dread. Soldiers, men and women, were going to sacrifice themselves so that they may make it to begin the journey in earnest. She was taken aback by this revelation, she didn't know- or perhaps even wanted to know- how they were to break through the lines of the Legion. Now it dawned on her. They were to be given an opening by the sacrifice of soldiers, who believed that they, they would end this nightmare. Rose's eyes grew wide and for once since being called, looked distressed. How many of those being sacrificed had she known. It could be any of them. Lily, Adel, Caine, even her father. Rose bit her lip, tasting the copper on her tongue. Could they truly succeed, and make sure that this sacrifice would not be in vain? She didn't know... She just didn't know.

Rose was brought out of her dread by the appearance of a tear stained face. The queen. Rose bowed her head to the queen and looked up just in time to catch a glimpse of the little tyke hiding behind skirts. It almost brought a smile back to Rose's face, but her thoughts were still in turmoil. This would not be some grand adventure like she thought it would be. It wasn't going to fun, and the entire kingdom rest on their shoulders. Suddenly, she felt the entire weight upon hers, and no precious child would make her forget about it right now.

Mylina. Such a pretty name. And she looked so worried and confused. A hand went to Rose's forehead as her thoughts flew up into a flurry. Dammit, everything got some complicated in such a short amount of time. Not only was the kingdom in their hands, but this little child as well, no more than seven years old. Dammit. This wasn't her, this wasn't Rose. She wasn't some savior, she was just a loyal- if troublemaking- soldier, a proud member of the Valigart. Not some hero. Still though, she couldn't pull her eyes away from the child. The precious little thing in her daddy's arms, scared out of her mind. Her own thoughts went to her own father and he used to hold her like that. Finally, the tears began to roll down the conflicted archer's cheeks.

She was being selfish. This wasn't about her, how everything was complicated for her. It was about the kingdom, about her friends, and most importantly, about that little girl. "Dammit," She muttered under her breath in a cracked voice. She shouldn't be crying in front of this child like this. Rose was her protector, she couldn't seem weak in front of her. Rose pushed the tears back and put on her best smile and approached the king and his daughter. She nodded at the king with the same optimistic (if troubled) smile she appeared in. And although her eyes were red from tears, she tried her best to look brave.

She knelt to the Princess and ruffled the girl's hair, still smiling a wide and comforting smile. She placed a warm hand on the girl shoulder and spoke, "Hello there Mylina. My name is Rose," She said, "I'm one of your guardians. Don't be scared, and don't worry. I won't let anything happen to you- Ever," she said with full conviction, giving the girl her hand to take. "Let's go yeah? The faster we get done, the faster we can get you back home and to your mom and dad!" She said, optimism swinging back in full. Once again, she gave the girl the widest smile she could possible muster. Who would have thought Rose could be so... Sisterly. "Now go with your dad for the moment, I'll see you again in a minute, okay?"

With that, they were taken to a courtyard with provisions and gear. She had enough arrows and supplies to last a while, but she still took on extra provisions of rations and water- personally carrying the supplies that Mylina would need herself. Despite her not being the strongest of those assembled, she would bare the burden herself. Rose had decided to personally take up for the child, since she couldn't see a man like Shawn or the foreigner acting nice to the girl, and she would probably be frightened of the elf. It had to be her. She even managed to snag another quiver of arrows before picking out a dark blue cloak to wear over her armor.

Again, Mylina was lead out by her father in a wool cloak. It looked scratchy by the way she tugged at it before her father shot her a look- a look all fathers gave their daughters. Rose still got those looks from her own father. It made the archer giggle. She approached the child and knelt in front of her again, this time adjusting the cloak for her. "You'll get used to it eventually," she said with a wink. It was about this time the foreigner with the dark skin approached. Shurik was it? He did something Rose didn't expect the man to do. Comfort the child. He didn't seem like the one who would try to comfort a child, even if it was with a blade. It was a touching sentiment to be sure, one she couldn't help but smile at. She looked at Shurik with the same smile and spoke, "That's nice. But if she cuts herself with it, I'm cutting you," She said with a wink. Despite he was handing a dangerous weapon to the child, she kept her mouth closed (for once). Who was she to reject the sentiment on behalf of the child?

Then she chewed on the side of her cheek, thinking. "Huh... How about some some cookies for the trip?" Without waiting for the answer, she turned and barked at one of the star-gazers. "Hey! Someone fetch me a bag of cookies!" She called before standing and handing out her own hand out for the girl to take. She looked up to Albrect and nodded with a optimistic smile. "I'll look out for her, sire. She reminds me of myself," She said on reflection. Then she thought about it for a second...

"I don't know if that's a good thing though," She said, shooting another wink to the child.

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Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot
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The king did not acknowledge Shawn's request, but in honesty it wasn't one to begin with. Shawn was going to take it even if he had to kill the others to do so. He glared about at the others and the king as more spoke, and looked up as the girl was shown to them, revealing a small quivering figure that they had to defend from the Legion and all of its horrors. Shawn smiled and rolled his shoulders as though he were loosening up to prepare for a fight, a sign that he was anxious for battle. The challenge piled on with every moment, and surviving in of itself would bring his name glory, but Shawn was strong enough to shoulder all of it, and use that weight to crush his enemies. The woman who had stood beside him went to console the child, as did the whisperer from before, and Shawn watched in interest, as well as listening carefully to their words. Both used flowery speech to bring comfort, but talk never won battles, not amongst the clans at any rate. The giant of a man turned to face the King, slamming a fist to his chest and grunted.

"She is clan" He said simply as he turned and headed to view the weapons and armor provided by the King's men, casting aside his own battered blade for a hefty claymore, weighing as much as a small child, part of the weight focused at the tip of the dense blade to make swings faster, giving them more momentum and cutting power. It was a fine blade, and Shawn accepted it, holstering it as he looked around at the selection again, not seeing anything else that suited his eye, and so took a knife and called it a day for the shopping. He finished as the whisperer and woman finished speaking to the girl, and Shawn decided to approach her, crouching down to get closer to her eye level.

"Shawn strong, you no need be". It was simple, and to a fellow of the clan, it would be an insult, but Shawn meant it as comfort. She had the power to do what none in the clans could, which was destroy the Legion, so she obviously had strength elsewhere besides her arms. Shawn chose to respect it, or kill her if those marks were just that and nothing more. He stood and joined the others, settling beside the first to be chosen, one whose armor bore more funny symbols, and gave him a stern glare.

"King say Orlay fight so we start. Nine clan die so Shawn get into Orlay... Excited to see how many Orlay worth one Clan. They die with honor like Clan... die strong like Clan" He said, a tinge of sadness in his voice hinting at his missing his brethren, remembering as they slew other clans together, and eventually the Legion until numbers overcame them. The barbarian looked over at the King one last time and gave a nod as he headed out, grabbing a mud brown cloak on his way, snatching a slab of beef from a banquet table as he headed back outside. He lived his day to day outside... it felt wrong to not do so now at the start of his greatest conquest.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: King Albrect Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Bridget Harling Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar Character Portrait: Django "Black XII" Faraelis Character Portrait: Nathaniel Fenastus
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Far behind the inner wall to the courtyard, beyond this small grassy patch smelling of sweet honey and lilac sprigs, there was a war. The battle was raging once more, and the faint clash of metal, the shattering of blades against blades haunted the air with a shrill reminder to those gathered in this safe place. Death ravaged on as time was spent here. Few smiles came to the faces of those servants here to assist, and for some, the only reason they were not in tears was because they had already mourned for the dead who still live, those swordsmen who held the privilege of being the front line.

The actions of Shurik were frightening to the young queen, who lacked the age, or years of battle her husband had. A small gesture from the King kept her reaction pleasant, she trusted her husband in these matters, despite the whelming fear that plagued her. She was not prepared for blood. She spoke in soft words, "I thank you for your kindness, bring my child back to me and you will have my gratitude for the rest of my days." Shurik's ways were confusing but, should anyone be able to do something like this perhaps this group of strange individuals was the best bet in succeeding. Or so the Queen thought as she watched Shurik step away.

Rose's comforts, along with those of Shawn were received with nods of appreciation from the King and strange stares from the young princess, she did not speak in response to either of them, she simply watched them with curious eyes. It felt like something more lay behind her gaze, something eerie.

In the courtyard, the girl held the knife she was given in her hands, looking at it the same way one might admire a piece of art, she held it gently. The King looked to Shurik, "thank you for your kindness. I am happy that you will be on this journey." The King smiled at Rosaline's behavior, "You will do a fine job. Orlay trusts you to guard our walls, and I trust you with my daughter."

Once everyone appeared to be ready and had things gathered the King gave a gentle push on the back to his daughter, "Stay with your guardians, listen well to them. It is time for your journey to begin and for all of us to play the roles we were born to play." He looked up towards the others, his voice spoke with more conviction, "We begin. Head towards the city gate, there will be several of the people of Orlay present to assist in this endeavor. Each is ready to do what they must to help, to guard you till you can escape the Black Legion. A last warning, stay together, work together. You will surely each come to understand each other's strengths and weaknesses." He held his hand up, "May the Ancestors watch over you, and the stars guide you."

The pathway down towards the city gate was made clear, any debris that might have been blocking the passage was now removed. By the gate a small group of riders in heavy armor sat atop fine horses equally armored. Groups of spearmen stood at the ready behind them, great shields in their off hands to create a wall to pass between. At the far back an elderly man stood, two apprentices by his sides held up paper banners covered in runic wards and geometric shapes.

The last bit to this plan seemed to be the arrival of the Princess and her guardians, though few at the walls could spare the time to watch their approach.

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Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade
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#, as written by Cypher
Shurik didn't speak during the walk to the procession. He didn't look at any of his compatriots, didn't even consider their existence. He focused on two things. One, the Princess. Two, the gates.

When the small group arrived, Shurik noted with dismay the large gathering of troops at the gate. This was unnecessary by his standards. It was too theatrical, too showy -- anyone watching outside would easily notice the group leaving, and only dumb luck could protect them at this point. That, or the possibility that the Black Legion would consider an entire detachment of hand-picked elite warriors a fatter prize than a small party of adventurers and a child. Shurik would have crossed his fingers, were he an overly superstitious man. But alas, he wasn't. Also, crossing one's fingers at someone, in Dailak-shir terms, is a dire insult to one's mother's fidelity, punishable by a righteous public beating. It saw a lot of uses around bars, cantinas and harder parts of town.

The assassin noted the archer girl speaking to the large tribal. She mentioned carrying the princess once they broke through the gates. This was a sound decision to Shurik; but the barbarian seemed... Rash, unpredictable. He was also one of the largest targets. Should the Legion take notice of the party, he would be the first one to be shot at. Shurik was much smaller and more agile, and slightly less visible despite his distinctive robes and hood. He dropped back slowly to the princess, noting a few moments later that the archer girl had stood at her side as well. She made a quip to the girl about daughters driving their fathers to premature baldness, and Shurik tilted his head slightly, not diverting his gaze from the procession in the slightest.

"The Legion threat will not end the stress on your fathers' heads," he said matter-of-factly, "but it should relieve some of it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Bridget Harling
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The castle grounds were abuzz with activity, a familiar sight to the veteran warrior studying their movements as they prepared, himself preparing for the day his blade would be turned on them. In his boredom waiting on the others to pick out weapons and tend to their affairs before setting out, Shawn had decided to climb a tree and liberate a sturdy limb from the proud oak, and sat parallel to the gates as he whittled himself a sturdy club, watching the Legion intently as he did so. By the time he finished, the others were gathering near him, and decided to rejoin the group, with the one named Rose asking Shawn to tend to the child when they made their way out through the Legion.

"Shawn fight, not nurse. Shawn lead charge, crush Legion underfoot. Whispering man close behind, catch what Shawn wound, and girl in middle with magic user...", Shawn said as he pointed at Nathan, "...so strong can fight. Fire man behind them, make sure Legion can't split group, while others kill stragglers. Archer's have daggers ready, no need bows until we break through" Shawn replied to the suggestion, believing it to be a bad idea for him to care for the child when skulls needed crushing. He may be a brute, but even he had need for strategy on the battlefield... a Battlemaster didn't earn his title by being completely mindless like the beserkers.

"Shawn want test new club anyway" the beast of a man said, almost playfully as he swung the hunk of wood around, casually though to a trained eye one could tell he had bludgeoned with such a weapon before. "But Shawn best at charge, he and nine clan had break through Legion to get into city and only lost seven to Legion... Orlay archers kill other two clan when we enter range" Shawn said, shooting Rose and Bridget a glare, not knowing if they had been on the wall that day or not, but for the moment he assumed they both were, tensing his body as though he wanted to crush them on the spot, which he did, but restrained himself for the greater glory of defeating the Legion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Bridget Harling Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar Character Portrait: Django "Black XII" Faraelis Character Portrait: Nathaniel Fenastus
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The outer wall shook with the might of the endless ranks of the Black Legion, the next wave of the assault reached the stonework with a clash of metal on rock. Arrows pelted fanatically downwards as the legion fell one by one. Their thinning gave little comfort as a sea of new warriors poured forward, marching upon their own fallen to get ever closer to overcoming the defenders of the city. Goodbyes were suddenly halted as the demands of the wall came to light. A stocky man of foreign origin fell from the wall, his dark screams quickly silenced under the unforgiving blade of a Black Legionnaire, for there were no prisoners taken by this army nor mercy shown.

The young princess made no noise, nor did she cower or show awareness of the events transpiring around her. Even as other children hid within the walls, weeping in fear or cowering in their homes, Princess Mylina simply watched. A man in his twenties standing atop a nearby roof, able to survey the other side of the wall shouted down to his captain, the man on horseback who would lead the Calvary out into the field. "Sir, they're all forward pressed, the gap is there!" the man's voice was hard to hear over the clash of battle, but he used every bit of his voice to cry out over the noise.

A young captain, identified by the overlay on his garment (though his years would indicate otherwise), gestured towards the group to come forward, the time had come to give an opening, to split apart the enemy forces in order to give the heroes the chance they would need to reach beyond the walls of the city. It was a half day's walk to the Great Wall, if they were swift of foot they could make it far sooner. Alacrity was as necessary as carefulness, a trial for a group of individuals that were little more than strangers to each other. Time would bind them closer, or seem them all destroyed.

A horn was blown to coordinate the various parts of this endeavor and immediately the old mage's hands began to gesture in wide arcs, eldritch power crackled forth from the two banners, the numbers and geometric shapes rose up and away from the page and began surrounding the elderly man, the life in his cheeks seemed to drain away as his gestures drew closer towards himself. Arcane energy polluted the ground below him in a mirage of color and distortion, a sight few would see again, a magic never before preformed and likely to ever be performed again.

The gates pried open with the turning of a spoked wheel, the archers above leaned over the wall to fire arrows at the entrance as the Calvary captain reared his horse and drew out his sword, glimmering brass in the sunlight. As his horse's hooves landed on the ground the horsemen all took their charge, galloping into the horde that lie before them. They were but the wedge to open the way, and they rode out with cries of bravery swinging their blades down to strike at enemies as their mounts trampled over the Legion. Behind them rushed the spearmen, holding open the gap by jabbing at the Legion.

The Valigart were given their order to keep watch over the heroes as they made their way through the gap, to shoot down any of the Black Legion that broke past the spears or horses. Their arrows were precise and well timed, pegging back each of the foes and slaying many of them. Even as they fired to clear the path, the wall below them was being marched upon, the legion edging closer to the archers. One seemed to stay her attention but a sharply barked order brought the focus back to where the other arrows flew.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar Character Portrait: Django "Black XII" Faraelis Character Portrait: Nathaniel Fenastus
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Rose held Shawn's glare and looked back into the barbarian's eyes. "Orders were to shoot anything that moved," She stated in a matter-of-factually tone. Everything in the Legion's sea of bodies looked so alike, she couldn't say whether it was or wasn't her who gave Shawn's clanmates the killing blow. Even if she did, she was given the orders to protect the city at any costs, and she didn't feel regret at taking any of her shots. What she destroyed then meant one less she had to destroy here, and she wasn't going to apologize for it. But the conversation, if one could call it that, didn't have the chance to get heated as the order was given to open the gates.

The sounding horn indicated the beginning of this journey and the opening maw of the gate was just the start of their path. Rose took a couple of steps back to better cement her position of a rear guard and in one fluid motion had her bow in hand and an arrow in the other. The arrow's fletching was dyed red and orange and the shaft was expertly inscribed with mystical runes. Before gate had opened wide enough to allow for the onslaught of the calvary and spearmen, she began to play a song on her bowstring. She drew and loosed the arrow, firing it at the gap in the gates. In midair, it crackled and popped, igniting in intense flame and piercing the chest of the unlucky legionnaire to find itself in the path of Rose's runic arrow. Upon impact, the entire being burst into flames and like that, the mad charge was off to a start.

And a mad charge it was. Rose expected the barbarian to lose himself in the blood and war instintly, and she wasn't surprised when he did. What did surprise her was the tiny elf Marielle's raw ferocity, managing to even keep up with the barbarian. Next was the loud swordsman Django or Black Thirteen or whatever he called himself screaming no quarter at the fire mage. Shurik, well, the foriegner was gone in a flash, taking the princess along with him. Truth be told, Rose felt more comfortable with Shurik taking the princess than anyone else, as the man seemed least likely not to find a blade in the sea of warriors. Though Rose wished he wouldn't violently kill with the Princess in tow. They were supposed to protect her, not mentally scar her.

It seemed her and the medic were the only really sensible ones in the fray. As Nathan ran ahead to keep up with their companions, Rose followed behind at a clip, letting fly a couple of unruned arrows, each finding their home in the chest of a Legionnaire. Here, even Rose displayed another facet of her personality. The trained killer, a disciplined and lethal soldier of Orlay. She drew another arrow, this time one with deep blue fletching and runes. She nocked it and aimed to the side where the spearmen were busy holding the line. She fired past two extremely surprised spearmen and planted itself into the ground. Moments later and the runes kicked in, slicking the area around the arrow in a thin sheet of ice. Rose immediately nocked another arrow, and couldn't see the sight of a number of legionaries slipping on the ice to be dispatched by the spearmen.

Rose managed to keep step with her group as they surged forward. Wasn't hard to keep track of them really, just follow the bodies. After firing another unruned arrow, she withdrew two arrows, one with white fletching and another ice arrow. She fumbled the white arrow and dropped it on the ground, but managed to nock the ice arrow and sent it flying towards the front of the group. It impacted a Legionnaire, freezing it solid for either the Barbarian or elf to smash at their convenience.

The white fletched arrow would later explode into a heavy white mist, allowing the survivors of the charge to retreat back to the castle under cover. If she had timed it right, it would set off once her party had made it to the woods.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar Character Portrait: Django "Black XII" Faraelis
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Before Kalad could consed to the battle plan of the barbarian and admit his plan was better, he saw a flash in the mans eyes, followed by a shiver that he understood to mean the man was entering what the books refereed to as the 'berserk stage' of the barbarian warrior. They lost their minds, in a manner of speaking simply on the subject, in order to focus on their strength, meaning they could deal great damage as well as receive such blows with no sign of stopping until they either died or forced themselves to calm down.

He made a note not to get too close to the man until such a time.

When the horn was sounded Kalad looked around for a moment before taking off, making sure that someone had taken up the princess before the group surged forth into battle. It was the assassin Shurik who would carry the little girl through the fray, a task Kalad would have accepted if need be, though he was glad the fastest of the group had done so. He would be able to dodge the strikes of the enemies and should be able to deliver attacks of his own which would either end them or fall them for the others to take care of. The assassin followed close behind Shawn and Marielle, the elf surprising the mage with her combination of both strength and finesse despite the fact that he had read up on the race, though there was little information about them, leading him to know only that they were much stronger and generally more graceful than a human, and that they seemed ageless and immortal if compared to any race near Orlay.

When the man beside him, Django, called out about giving no quarter, Kalad gives him a grim smile and draws his rune-blade, long sword crafted for him by his father, scribed with fire magic runes which etched geometric patterns of triangles and lines and calculated spirals and curves down the length of the sharpened iron. Before he could reply, however, an arrow sang through the air to strike the land somewhere ahead of the group, causing him to look back to the archer Rose and give a thumbs up before speaking.

"No quarter given...sounds good to me." Kalad says, looking back to Django as he smirks, the runes slowly beginning to glow orange from the base of the blade, moving towards the tip, "Just don't get to close, wouldn't want you to catch fire!"

As he speaks the last words his eyes go hard and he slings the blade towards the man, sending a fireball the size of his head past him, striking one of the Legion in the chest, causing him to become engulfed in flames which quickly spread to those closest to him. Turning back he looks around to check on the others as he runs, then brings his sword down again to his right, cutting off the arm of another enemy, the hot blade moving through the black armor like a knife through butter, searing the wound closed.

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Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar
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#, as written by Cypher
Shurik crouched by the stream after he completed his run, dropping the princess to his side and giving her a look that just dared her to run away. He knelt at the water's edge and dipped his crescent-shaped dagger into the water, running his fingers along the well-forged edge of the knife, sweeping the ichor away from the blade. At that moment he looked like an old fisherman cleaning his skinning knife; aside from the low ritual chanting that constantly seemed to float around him whenever he wasn't knifing someone in the back or talking to them from the front.

Inside his head, behind his closed eyes, the song of the runes continued; those few pristine notes accompanied by the bass rumble of the Legion behind him and the high, crystalline tones of the Princess's own life. He finished cleaning his blade and opened his eyes when the barbarian started to speak. He heard the large man, nodding quietly to himself, and then nodded again at the elf's affirmation. Unlike most people, elves didn't make Shurik nervous. Although they were few, and hidden from most; occasionally sky elf traders would come to a Dailak-shir desert town and trade their goods for others'. Shurik had met a few elves; and killed at least one, remembering it as a tough fight. Deep down, he was slightly pleased that he was now fighting alongside one of their number. Some time passed in silence. Then:

"The large one speaks with a great deal of sense for someone many have passed off as 'primitive'." His voice rumbled from near the stream as he sat cross-legged, sharpening his crescent knife. "We will follow the stream, as it is our best option for the moment--unless someone has a better idea, which is doubtful." There was no condescension in his voice, no sarcasm, just pure, cold affirmation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar Character Portrait: Django "Black XII" Faraelis
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Rose sat on a rock and let her gaze drift skywards. The talking of the others were just a dull whisper in the back of her mind. She was too far lost in her own thoughts to make out what they were saying. She gripped he bow tightly as she thought. Before they broke into the forest. Before they had made it here to relative safety. She had seen some of the legion ascend the wall and attack some of the Valigart. She didn't know if they all nor none had survived the attack, and that thought frightened her. Her thoughts fell upon Lily and Adel and whether they were the ones who fell to the Legion. She could feel the despair in the recesses of her mind try to take hold of her mind.

Then she sharply tore her head away from the sky and those thoughts. Thoughts like that were not going to help anybody. Not the Valigart, not the princess, no one. Instead, she folded her thoughts up and tucked them somewhere dark. She leaned forward and came to rest her chin on the end of her bow. Despite being surrounded by brave men and an elf, she felt so very alone. Even if she tucked her dire thoughts away, that did little for her underlying dread. She was uncharacteristically quite as the others spoke. She didn't even return Shawn's hate-glare.

"Yeah, follow the river. Whatever," She muttered, throwing a glance back the way they came. What she wouldn't give for just a little bit of peace of mind. To know that her friends had survived. Even so, there was no denying that there had been loss of life either way and that hurt. She allowed her hers to drift away from the path they had trod and back to the matter at hand. Apparently, they were following the river. Sounded fine to her. She never really ventured out of the city, even before the Legion nonsense started. She could find nearly anyplace in the city, but leave that and she was about useless.

She glanced over at Shurik and the Princess. She mustered a forced smile at the princess, merely to fain airs. Then: "Next time, try not to behead anyone with the princess in tow, yeah? That can't be healthy for a girl her age," She said. She had no idea what kind of childhood the Dailak had, but she did know that Mylina wasn't Dailak. Despite being neck deep in legion territory, Rose wished to shield the princess from as much unnecessary bloodshed as possible. She then reached under her blue cloak and pulled out a waterskin. She pulled back and tossed it over to Shurik and explained, "It's the princess's."

Then her eyes drifted to Django, who was laying on his stomach listening to the stream. She was amused by the man. Much less so by his eagerness. She frowned and shrugged, "Dunno, but if it bleeds, then an arrow to the head will solve that problem," She said tapping on her bow, "Or we could have the big guy throw the elf at the problem until it goes away," She added, gesturing toward Shawn and Marielle.

"So are we going or what? I'd rather not stay in one place too long," She said, standing.

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Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot
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#, as written by Cypher
Shurik waited on his haunches at the riverbank, his low murmurings coming down to complete silence as he finished the ritual cleaning of his blade and carefully returned it to its sheath, listening to the rasp of the curved blade against the rough leather of the weapon's holster. He secured his weapons in their sheaths, and then hauled up the hem of his robes, revealing thick cloth trousers and tall black boots. The assassin folded the hems of his pants and slipped them into the top of the boots, cinching each tightly with a short length of cloth before lowering his robes again. The assassin listened to Shawn speak to Rose, making his best attempts at comforting her. Shurik appreciated his attempts at increasing the obviously troubled Rose's morale, although his speech was a little ambiguous; and although the assassin appreciated the barbarian's skills both on and off the battlefield more than a 'civilized' person would, even he had to admit that Holyfield's speech wasn't the vest for increasing morale at all times.

He stood, his feet falling softly as always across the cool grass, as he stood alongside rose. His low voice was still the same calm, detached rumble as before as he said, "What Shawn means is that the Valigart are obviously more than a match for any Legionaries that may have breached the wall. Should your sisters have fallen, it was only because they lost their footing on a rampart choked with the bodies of their enemies." The assassin stood with his arms crossed, looking downriver.

"We have to go," Shurik stated matter-of-factly, hearing the clanking of Legion armor on the field far away. "The river is low and the banks are exposed; the mud will bog down our progress, and there will no doubt be some sort of cover on the spillway; a cover that will no doubt take significant time and effort to breach." With that stated, the assassin freed his knife from its sheath and withdrew his sword from its loop, taking a few test swings, readjusting his arm to its almost unfamiliar weight. "I will move ahead and attempt to scout what we will be dealing with. I would suggest that if anyone were to join me, it would be Rose or Shawn."

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Character Portrait: Kalad Ashchrom Character Portrait: Shawn Holyfield Character Portrait: Princess Mylina Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot Character Portrait: Marielle Silverstar
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"Coddled?" Rose couldn't help but laugh. The last thing the soldiers were was coddled. Especially her, the daughter of the greatest archer in Orlay. She had certain expectations to live up to because of that heritage . "We may not throw our children off into some wolf pit to toughen them up, but the soldiers of Orlay are a hard sort. We would happily give our lives for our king and our home. Hell, we are fighting for our homes now, and we're cornered. And you best of all should know that a cornered beast is at it's most dangerous, barbarian," She said, staring daggers at Shawn.

"Especially the Valigart," she added, raising her head up high. Depression had shifted into indignation at Shawn's words. "Do you understand how hard the woman have to work to be recognized in Orlay? Much less to become part of the army? The Valigart is the best at what we do and that's to kill whatevers threatening our home before the bastards can even see us on top of that wall," She said. "These lifeless bastards don't have that drive, they don't feel like us. If the things weren't so damn resilient, then they too would have been crushed like everything else that stood against Orlay and her safety," She said, boldly implying the Barbarian's own tragedy. Then she shot a glance to Shurik, "We do not go down easily, and we do not lose our footing, assassin. Best you remember that," She said with full conviction. Their words managed to light a fire in her heart, and now she fully believed in her own words. The Valigart would not let some undead legionnaire bastards kill them, Rose included.

Without waiting a response from either of the men, she unclasped the cloak around her shoulders and tossed it to Marielle, "Hold that for me, please?" She not so much as requested, but demanded. Rose didn't harbor any bias against the elf, but that didn't mean she too was safe from Rose's mood. Then she pulled off a bag and pressed it into Kalad's hands, explaining that, "It's Mylina's. Don't lose it," she said, talking long steps away from the group. "Come on Shurik, didn't you say something about scouting ahead? Then lets get to it," She told Shurik as she pushed forward ahead of the man, nocking an ordinary arrow into her bow as she walked. She threw her head back to the others and then said, "And if the princess is hurt when I get back, I'm going to shove an arrow up each of your asses." The barbarian didn't manage just to start a fire, but more akin to an inferno. Rose couldn't help but want to see a Legionnaire and put an arrow square in the middle of it's skull.

"Come on people, let's get this done so I can go home and stop worrying about this," She called.

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Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot
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#, as written by Cypher
Quickly and silently, Shurik followed Rose through the woods. At one point he had traded his sword and dagger for his shortbow, keeping one arrow nocked at all times as for the sake of stealth. Shurik was no crack shot in comparison to the Valigart, but he could hold his own at range. The two traveled through the woods, low to the riverbank, for what seemed like ages before they eventually came to the breach.

Shurik had never seen a dragon before. To be perfectly honest, the Dailak-shir didn't even believe in dragons, with the exception of myths and faerie stories. They were long gone from the desert sands, chased to the far corners of the world by elves, barbarians and a wide range of other things both natural and otherwise, and the desert-dwelling scholarly types honestly believed that every last one of them were gone. So to see a dragon, even a dead one, was something new for the assassin.

His reaction was exactly what would be expected: no reaction. An intent observer would note that his right eyebrow raised a matter of microns, but other than that the assassin was unflappable. He looked at the dragon, and the Legion marching down its back, with the casual detachment one would note a crushed beetle. He traced his eyes down the ranks of the Legion all the way to the emaciated, corpse-looking commander type, then looked to Rosaline.

"We will have to use the dragon," Shurik murmured. "It is inadvisable, yes, but it is also the only forthcoming solution. We will have to distract them." He cocked his head to one side, looking at Rose with a note of inquisitiveness. "That is your specialty, I trust?"

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Character Portrait: Shurik Mad-Blade Character Portrait: Rosaline Mellikot
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Rose was no scout, that much was plainly obvious. Compared to the assassin behind her, whereas he would have been a whisper, she would have been a shout, yelling 'Hey, look at me!'. Though, it was an unfair assessment, as the Assassin most likely spent his entire life perfect and training his craft. He could make the woodland creatures- if they had been any anywhere in the whole bleeding area- stick out comparatively. On her own though she did an... Adequate job as a scout. She was trained to fight in formation with her sisters, whether it be on the wall or on the ground, and this scouting thing was relatively new for her.

But like hell was she going to give Shawn the satisfaction of this job over her. The anger she felt towards the barbarian had funneled and fueled her into determination. She carefully gauged each step, listened to the surroundings around her, kept her eyes on a pivot and always kept an arrow nocked. Where she lacked in stealth compared to the assassin, she more than made up for in accuracy- no doubt. She had believed herself to be the best in the Valigart after all.

The sight the pair of them came upon was... Surprising, to say the least. The bloody legion had been using a dragon- a beast of the wilds that she only heard of in tales from her father when she was just a little girl. Cautionary tales about the beasts and dangers of the forests. Of course she always brushed these stories off and paid no mind to them. To see one here and now, being used as a bridge for the legion no less... It was humbling. The sight sapped whatever remained of her anger and was replaced by apprehension. She wished not for the first time, nor the last, that she was never chosen for this mission.

But here she was, and those were the cards she was dealt. She looked back at Shurik, surprise clearly plastered to her brow. Of course the assassin didn't seem to be phased by this sight. A want to roughly shake the man and ask him if he even saw the damn thing shot through her head, but held it in check. He was a... Hard man to read, and shaking him wouldn't help in the slightest bit. She turned away from Shurik and further inspected the wall... The wall they would have to cross. And soon.

Aside from the dragon (which was a sight in of itself) Rose saw the Legion unit seemingly led by a grotesque monster. A dry being- for it could not be called human, nor did she believe it even was once- that seemed powerful, strong. She closed her eyes, shaking her head. Things were not fun. Her eyes analyzed the rest of the wall, taking note of where the grate had been and it's supposedly enchanted bars before turning back to Shurik. He was the first to speak. Strange, him being the stoic fellow and all.

"We will have to use the dragon," He murmured. "It is inadvisable, yes, but it is also the only forthcoming solution. We will have to distract them. That is your specialty, I trust?" "

She threw a glance back at the wall before giving him an answer. She raised two fingers and spoke, "Two flavors. Smoke and sound. Smoke to disorganize," she raised a white fletched arrow partly out of her quiver as an example, "and sound to confuse," she said, dropping the white and raising a pink fletched arrow. She grinned and added, "Am I really that predictable?"

She found herself wondering if the back of the dragon could be frozen over, like she did earlier during the charge. That would buy them some time, at least, but would it be enough? She kept her musings to herself and spoke once more, "Shall we return to the others then?" She asked.