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Phile Mortimer

"Is there a thing more important then love?

0 · 338 views · located in The Tunnels

a character in “Rift”, as played by Castella

Description

Phile H. Mortimer
Image























Role
The Cleric

Age
18

Nationality
Akharian

Gender
Female



Personality
Phile would be damned (excuse the language) if her proclivity to healing magic define her. Driven, aware, and capable are how members of the clergy choose to describe her, dozens of the senior staff shaking their heads in admiration and amusement as as Phile's slight figure bobs through the gardens. True, she is wholy dedicated to her studies, the singularity of natural phenomenon and healing magic draws Phile with inescapable pull, but she refuses to display characteristics found in her sister mages; indeed Phile's capacity in healing goes beyond that of the physical world. Quiet, exacting, and gentle, Phile has become privy to many secrets and taboos of the community around her, soothing emotional burdens and quenching the ire of many with cool words.

To say she knows enough secrets to bring the surrounding village to it's knees would be understatement. When asked however Phile only winks, a playful smile crossing her face and says, "Doctor-patient confidentiality." In fact, Phile often acts like a secretive 6-year old who wants to play a game rather then a 18-year old priestess.

Many aspects of Phile's personality have yet to see the light of day. A hopeless romantic Phile hides a library of romance novels under her bed and while none has piqued her interest, she may admit to playing matchmaker once and a while. More concerning however is her passions. So carefully concealed, controlled, confined, extraneous circumstances may drive Phile from the world of careful reasoning and into darker arts. And while every moment of her being is dedicated to the care of others, something dark, evil troubles Phile to her very core.


Pros
Phile often jokes that the only reason people take notice of her at all is her talent in healing magic, and while many would say that is exactly the case, she takes it in stride. Even so, Phile has become extremely well versed with the medicinal qualities of local and exotic flora and fauna, knowledge which Phile often refers back to in practice. The combined use of magic and non-magical healing heartens those more skeptical of magic and has earned her respect. Socially, Phile is the epitome of grace, carrying herself easily through conversation and putting others at ease; a combination of good memory, empathy, and the ability to accurately read body language.

Cons
It seems to be contrary to popular belief but Phile is often hesitant when using high-level healing magic and this hesitating carries through all aspects of Phile. Phile is easily plagued by doubts, her decisions suffering from it. One would say she is physical incapable of making spontaneous decisions and while this is viewed as virtue by many, in a busy clinic that isn't always the case.

Committing to a patient is easy enough; committing to a relationship is another story.

Despite all the time spent in the garden, Phile is hardly an outdoors type nor the courageous type when face-to-face with monsters. The slowest runner, shortest jumper, weakest member, and loudest screamer the only thing that makes up for the pitiful state her body is in is her dexterity and stamina (for walking).


Appearance
Phile is a slim 5"6 with few curves and little muscle definition to speak of. Generally Phile is a rather plain woman, the shock of white hair sets her apart from everyone else; an accident when she was young she says, an unfortunate display of overexcited youth and magic. The tips of her hair curl up, the very ends brushing the nape of her neck and frame her gentle brow.

While working Phile wears the robes appropriate for her office; a flowing white thing with little decoration. Off duty however, Phile has no qualms in showing her preference to fashion. She wears modest tops and bottoms of linen and cotton, her favored piece being a cotton riding skirt. Her traveling gear sits at the bottom of her closet, having been used little.


History
The peaceful fields of Ley were but a story's image created by a fantastical youth; to young to remember fully Phile dreamt of her hometown as she studied the healing arts, plucked at a young age from home. She remembers the cobbled way up to her home, the one with the newly thatched roof, broths of the elm swaying in the wind like a sky of green and brown. The family hound she remembers, a massive beast of brown a white usually so tame, so genial turned vicious with the passing of a cloaked figure. There was a massive amount a movement, dizzying to a child, a loud sound, the dog dead, and the bloodied figure of her mother carried into the house.

Under the thatched roof, Phile wasn't allowed near her mother until all was quiet; she snuck in. As her mother had done for her when she fell and struck her knee, Phile knelt down and kissed to owie, exactly what followed, Phile isn't sure anymore. There was shouts and smiles, hugs, kisses, celebration and surprise but it all ended with a journey to a distant garden. With a solemn farewell, a little Phile wonders what she had done to deserve such punishment.

Phile spent the next 13 years under the tutorage of some of the greatest healers in the realm, excelling in traditional studies and some of her own personal research. The events of her childhood are understood but the pain of being separated from her family has irrecoverably damage that tie. As Phile returns to Ley to serve as the priestess she looks forward to the future.


Island by Yuna
You're an island
I'm just a little boat
I'm heading somewhere
I don't even know
Hope you don't mind me stopping by your shore
Come with me and you'll never be alone

Open up your heart to me
We'll explore the seven seas
Sail away and find your dreams
And if you drown I'll help keep your head up
And if you drown I'll help keep your head up
To breath

You will lead the way
I'll be battle storm
We can let the waves tell us where to go
We can always do anything you want
We will try to capture the natural love

Open up your heart to me
We'll explore the seven seas
Sail away and find your dreams
And if you drown I'll help keep your head up
And if you drown I'll help keep your head up
To breath

We watch the blue sky
Before the sunrise
And tide is getting high
I'm here by your side

We watch the blue sky
Before the sunrise
And tide is getting high
I'm here by your side

Open up your heart to me
We'll explore the seven seas
Sail away and find your dreams
And if you drown I'll help keep your head up
And if you drown I'll help keep your head up
To breath


Other
Knowledge to fix the human body also allows the knowledge of how to harm it. (warning)

Personal Use: [color=#778959]

So begins...

Phile Mortimer's Story

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Dew had set early on this late-summer day, chilling the leaves of her garden cold to the touch. Running pale fingers over the late flowering herb, Phile listened for the prelude of the new day.

Phile Mortimer has always been a morning person. She rose with the morning mist, nipping at her ankles and wetting the hem of her robe. Doctor Renalds once told her that she resembled a specter, the remnants of a dream wandering about as the living still slept, an ethereal figure surrounded by silence and stillness and stars. Phile remembers the crinkle around his eyes as he added that her ghost was that of a face ink-stained and leather-bound journal in hand. His hand was heavy upon her head, ruffling the white curls she had so carefully styled.

Six months have passed since but few things have changed. Doctor Renalds was still with the clergy and Phile still rose at the break of dawn but the responsibility, the duty which she carried now was different. Knelt amid twisting broths and seeking vines Phile shifted over to her right. Pausing but a moment to admire the jewelwood blossom she plucked twelve of it's leaves in quick succession, her hand moving with the confidence of a master and care of a mother. This garden was born of her own sweat and tears, a labor of love cultivated to perfection after it's previous gardener passed from old age. Under her care the garden had transformed from a simple public garden to a lifesaver, the plants she cultivated favorites from the clergy famous for their healing properties.

The jewelwood leaves were stuffed into Phile's hemp satchel after careful examination; they were to be pulped and strained later to make a salve for a farmer's daughter. It was an easy job and one Phile delighted in, working hard at the morter, mixing summer's fragrant herbs carefully to create the most effective salve. An apothecary's job, none fitting for a priestess in her white, dirtying her robes in a garden plucking weeds! Well, Phile suspected that's what Ley's pastor thought the first time he spotted her toiling in the mud. More romantic, she mused, to be among the growing rather then then the soon-to-be dead.

Phile stopped her train of thoughts there. Inappropriate, unbecoming, immoral she scolded herself silently, snatching her hemp satchel, heavy with the morning harvest and stood as fast as her knees allowed. There wasn't a soul awake in the abbey save the cat but Phile couldn't help but feel embarrassed. It was a good thing that no one was awake, seeing the normally collected priestess look so flustered with little provocation would've been concerning. Shaking her head, Phile wondered how indeed had the thought troubled her so.

A soothing heat from the abbey hearth greeted Phile as she entered the wood and stone building. Upon reaching the nearest workbench she set to work, dumping the contents of her sack across the surface hoping to fall in a steady working rhythm. The single candle which she worked by became increasingly useless as the east-facing windows lite up; Phile paused as her salve strained to watch the sun rise.

Hurried steps sounded behind her, a frenzy of clacking shoes and fluttering robes. What's the rush, Phile thought, there has never been need of 'rush' in a village like Ley.

"Beautiful morning isn't it Miss Ingram, perhaps we should go out for a walk later," she coolly suggested, her eyes still watching the haloed picture of Ley.

The frenzied movement of the woman stopped in shock. Phile spared a glance and mentally congratulated herself in guessing correctly who had approached. Miss. Ingram however looked like a trapped deer, eyes wide and completion pale. It sounded as if she had ran a marathon with the heaving breaths she was taking. Between her heaving breaths she managed, "PriestessPhile *gasp* arifthasappeared!"

Miss. Ingram's words hit the priestess like a ice-cold wave. Ley had yet to experience the terror brought forth by rifts but Phile had plenty experience with them during her studies abroad; stretchers of injured carted through an over-crowded clinic where panic hung in the air like the reaper, women and children huddled within the cold marble halls waiting with breaths held when news of the monster's death were brought. It was time like that when students were called forth to help.

"Thank you Miss Ingram, your quick thinking has already saved many," Phile crossed the room, face still impassive but a sense of urgency lit, "Please take a moment here and catch your breath. I will alert the guard and make necessary preparations. Do not worry yourself anymore." She slipped in a reassuring smile and was out the doors of the abbey in seconds.

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Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait: Melissa Bellhouse Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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(Flynn will wait for Jacia's response before responding to Irid)

Though the now-named 'Lisa's' curiosity had indeed gotten the better of her, 'Ichabod' had some reservations about diving headfirst into the affairs of others, especially when they were as hectic as they appeared to be.

"Miss Hartford," Cadbury began, "We may better fare keeping our curiosity in check, lest we draw undue attention to ourselves. I suggest that we remain here, until-"

His rationale was cut short by the abrupt appearance of a rather hasty member of the clergy. Rounding the corner of a nearby building, he almost missed her entirely.

"Well now, Miss Hartford, perhaps we may be able to get to the bottom of this inconspicuously after all! Cadbury bade her to follow his example as he addressed the rapidly approaching Phile.

"Excuse me, fair Clergy Maiden, but might you know what all of the commotion is about? We are a merchant caravan, and we are expecting to meet with some of the towns guardsmen and entrepreneurs."

The setting changes from Ley to Taakeira

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Brandon Cole was the first member of the guard Phile had came across, standing near the eastern entrance of town square stationed between the tailor's shop and Mrs. Smith's general store. He was an older member of the guard as well as the largest; prolong peace in the Akhar countryside wore away at his wits and at every evening tea Mr. Cole was prone to over indulging in honey cakes. His weight has been detrimental to his health, never mind his ability to preform his duties as a guard. Hardly able to touch his toes Mr. Cole came in only last week to have Phile heal a gash caused by his careless handling of a sword.

"Morn'in Miss Mor'imer. 'Tis early fo' such a lady 't be up!"

This was not the man Phile had hoped to see. Familiar with all of Ley's guards she had hoped to stumble across Iridian who, if she recalled correctly, went for a morning run at the break of dawn everyday without fail. Such dedication to his duty was admirable, zealous as he may be, such a contrast to the half-dozen other guards. A city man, the village girls swooned, who was chivalrous to every lady he met. Or, at least that's what they told her, Phile herself only acquainted with the idea of Iridian, but his many admirers were regular visitors to the abbey.

Phile squared her shoulders, speaking quickly without missing a stride. "Mr Cole ready yourself and alert all residents, a rift has open near Silverwood's farms. Miss Ingram came flying into the abbey to alert me and it is my intention to minimize damages." Beside her Mr Cole waddled to keep up with the priestess.

"Now wait ta' min't Miss Mor'imer, I ain't seein' nor hearin' a rift any where here," Cole sputtered out in surprise; evidently the thought that Ley could be the location of a rift hadn't crossed the man's mind, "Hol' on a min't Miss." He slapped down a fat hand onto Phile's slim shoulders; she nearly fell.

"Mr Cole we have no time-"

"Jus' take a good lis'en Miss and lis'en close." Brandon Cole gave her the most piercing of looks, his thick brow scrunched in concentration, framing his beady brown eyes. She listened. Dawn was passing, the silence which hung over the early morn was lifting as the farmers, bakers, tailors, and mothers rose to tend to their responsibilities. Phile heard robins songs and whispering trees carried on the wings of the wind, like a symphony who's melody could be so easily missed in the bustle of life.

"All is peaceful,"Phile said slowly, her voice barely a whisper. "There is no sound except that of a new-day stiring. All is peaceful. " The hefty guard nodded, removing his hand from her shoulder placing it instead on the waist band of his pants.

"Yes Miss Mor'imor," Brandon's eyes hadn't left Phile, the older man regarding the young priestess with a cool Phile envied. He neither seemed boastful or excited in his ability to perceive what she had not. "No rift Miss, but had there were, I'd been there ta handle it before ya had ta chance ta risk ya self."

Phile nodded, "Thank you Mr. Cole, that's very," she struggled to find the word, "considerate of you. Even so, I will go investigate the claim and make sure all is well. Good day Mr Cole."

The guard waved at her retreating figure. Phile was perhaps to quick to judge the man based on habits and appearances. Had she encountered the young Iridian she doubted that their encounter would be resolved as quickly. In fact, it may have caused more trouble then an empty rift would've.

She rounded a corner and before her lay Silverwood farms, but a ten minute walk. Indeed there was no rift, no horrid monster, no black magic spewing forth from who-knows-where but instead it looked as if a small gathering of people huddled around the edge of the farm's cornfield. Interesting, something must have happened, but what?

So resolute was her focus (now that the initial danger of rift monsters seemed null) she didn't notice the man and accompanying girl approach.

"Excuse me, fair Clergy Maiden, Phile jumped and squeaked with a start; she struggled to calm her heart as the man continued," but might you know what all of the commotion is about? We are a merchant caravan, and we are expecting to meet with some of the towns guardsmen and entrepreneurs."

Phile folded her hands in front of her, composed once again, "I apologize, I did not expected to be regarded so early in the morning." She glanced over the travelers, curiously examining the two but cautious to be polite and welcoming. The young girl had the most fiery hair Phile has ever seen, only matched by the fire of youth that shone behind the girl's eyes. Must be an apprentice of sorts Phile thought, with the man her guardian or master.

"I cannot say what the gathering is for, I was sent to see for myself," Phile purposely omitted news of a rift and continued, "If you're looking the town guard, allow me direct you east into the village. A man by the name of Brandon Cole should be able to help you connect with the people you seek."

There was something odd about their story. Ley was a small village and a great distance away from any of the major cities. If the goal of this excursion was to teach the nuts and bolts of mercantilism would it not make greater sense if the man took his apprentice to a town? Perhaps this warrants more investigation then the supposed rift.

"However, if you are weary, allow me to lead you to the abbey. We welcome all and will be serving breakfast soon. My name is Phile Mortimer, I am the priestess of this village." She offered a smile but decided to prod a bit, "It's rare that we get any visitors seeking to do business. Usually travelers come for a drink before leaving to parts unknown. Excuse my forwardness, but please what stories do you bring?"

Phile ushered the two up the path she had come, giving one last glance towards the cornfield gathering; that investigation could wait.

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Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait: Melissa Bellhouse Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"If my fair mentor here has no objections, I don't see any harm in taking breakfast at your abbey," Lissa answered. This way she was able to observe how the clergy of this village began and set about their day. It was the real reason she was out in the world, after all. To immerse herself in the local customs and get a feel for people and not just those behind the stone walls of her castle. This was not part of their act, this was her reason. So obviously she jumped at the chance. Not to mention the possibility of warm food was casually thrown about. Breakfast sounded nice, after their hard day of traveling.

"Greetings and good morning Miss Mortimer," she greeted the priestess, lips smiling at the added alliteration. "My name is Elisia, and this gentleman here is Ichabod, as he says, we are merchants," she added with a soft smile. Though she may had been young, still a child in her teens, some gracious deity had saw fit to gift her with a silver tongue. She spoke with the diction of someone older, someone intelligent beyond her years. Maybe it made up for the fact that her arms were spindly things.

As the cart followed behind the priestess, the woman saw to pry a bit into their history. Melissa responded with a light chuckle and agreement. "I asked my mentor here why as well. He saw fit to teach me his craft not behind a desk, but on the road," she said shaking her head. "I am the daughter of a merchant, you see. My father hopes to see me follow in his footsteps one day, and in order to do that, I must learn what being a merchant really means. The Merchant Guild frowns upon family teaching it's trade within itself-- something about attempts to create a dynasty... I'll be quite honest, I do not understand it fully myself, though it's not in my position to question. Fortunately, Mister Ichabod here is a close family friend and offered to take the reins of my apprenticeship. Of course, the last thing I expected was to be on a cart bound to your little hamlet the very next day. Personally, I believe he did this on purpose. Throwing me right into the water, if you will." She added the last bit behind the transparent screen of her hand, as if trying to block the view of her conversation from Cadbury.

The lengthy explanation just rolled off of her tongue like water from a grail. She found weaving this story to be quite the fun endeavor, seeing how she got to expound upon Cadbury's skeletal frame. She was still a child, and a child's imagination was a marvelous thing. Particularly, Melissa found herself enjoying playing make believe. "Though, I will admit, the first thing I've learned is that this cart is in some dire need of cushions. I think that if I ever get out of this seat, I won't be able to sit back down for quite a while!" she said with a mirthful laugh.

"If I may, Miss Mortimer, may I inquire about your duties as the priestess? I find myself curious-- and perhaps to extend our pleasant conversation. I've had no one but Mister Ichabod to speak to for a day, and while you could not want for a nicer gentleman, I find myself in need of a fresh voice," She said, doing that little head tilt thing she does. It gave her the appearance of a curious little kitten.

The setting changes from Taakeira to Ley

Setting

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Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait: Melissa Bellhouse Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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This Elisia child was a wonder to hear speak. So sharp, so well-spoken, Phile felt her suspicion melt away to pure curiosity with the girl's energetic chattering, having no reservations in joining with Elisia's light laughter with a giggle of her own. Merchant's apprentice indeed, the girl was gifted with golden words that could charm every gold coin from a greedy man's hand.

Phile lead the way around the back of the abbey along a branching path as the young Miss presented her own queries. Though entertained she was not quite satisfied with the explanation the girl gave, partially because the older gentleman had nothing to add and the notable--thought easily overlooked-- lack of details: names, dates, locations, etc. Still, the odd pair seemed unlikely to be at all hostile, the curiosity the young girl expressed genuine too.

"Oh I suppose why not, but I do hope Mr Ichabod understands it was hardly my fault if you had mind to make a change in vocational studies," she shot a playful wink in Elisia's direction before continuing, "A priestess' duty varies from city to city, village to village. Here in Ley I would say that I am only 'priestess to Sol' sometimes and 'a skilled healer' most. During festivals and holidays I don my white robe, balance a silver headpiece atop my head and lead celebrations with, well, celebrating. They are but few days of the year however."

Hours of her time had been devoted in learning how to properly carry herself as a high priestess, time wasted the moment she had been assigned to Ley. Not that she resented the fact. The volumes of text she had read were enlightening (if not a bit dry) and Phile took joy in simply knowing, even if that knowledge was not used as often as her knowledge of healing. For the better too, her interest was far more invested in healing than religion.

"My duty as a healer is far more rewarding, though equally stressful. I see to any injured or ill within this region meeting calls for help even it means a half-hours ride on horseback." Phile wondered if the swell of her chest was visible or simply a feeling perceivable herself. Indeed she was proud and couldn't help but show off. "Whether it be midwifery or potion-brewing I am here to serve, out of love not duty. See over there," she pointed off to her left where her garden lay. The three had reached the back of the abbey and Phile was in the middle of tying the horse down to a post, filling the trough with water. "In my free time I tend to the abbey's garden who's plants I use to pulp into salves and creams that treat bruises and cuts. Should you like a tin I would happy to provide."

Unlocking the back door with a key kept at her hip, Phile ushered the two through the door taking lead. Already the smell of breakfast wafted through the stone corridors, the sweet scent of porridge made with fresh milk and a spoonful of honey enticing to her empty stomach. She lead them into small room, close to the kitchen with an excellent view of Lay's countryside.

Bowls and platters were set about filled with food but Phile didn't join at the table; a young woman in a tawny robe had skittered in, not uttering a word but pulled at Phile's sleeve urgently."Perhaps the most exciting of my duties--excuse me, duty is hardly the word, perhaps habit-- is to make visitors welcome here. I've had a pleasant time speaking to the two of you, but please if you would excuse me..." The woman whispered in Phile's ear and for a moment she allowed her collected composure slip but a hair.

She looked back at the mid-aged man and young girl and thought longingly, if only I could stay to chat longer. Elisia and Ichabod seemed to be the most interesting pair to pass Ley in months but, oh woe, her duties called her elsewhere. With one last smile Phile was struck by an idea, a kindness.

"Miss Elisia, one last thing. If you go into town you'll find a small tailor's shop run by Mrs. Smith. A frightfully stern lady she is but makes the best cushions in Ley. If you just tell her 'Priestess Phile needs this favor done'," she said with a mischievous sparkle in her eye,"Mrs. Smith will happily comply."

And with that, she was off.

What a morning this has been, Phile huffed as she strode to the main entrance of the abbey. The sun had hardly past the horizon and already her feet tire.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer
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It was all Cadbury could to do keep from shedding a tear at the sheer grace with which the fair Lady Bellhouse spoke with. Though her regal tone probably incurred more than a few suspicions from the gentle Phile, it was a trifling concern when compared to the enormous amount of pride he had for her.

As the two chattered on about their lives, he couldn't help but reminisce about how much the young Princess had grown. Why, it seemed like just yesterday that he was changing young Lissa's soiled diapers. How long had it been since he had patched up a scabbed knee, or comforted her in the wee hours of the morning after a terrible nightmare robbed her of her slumber?

Part of him felt rude for remaining silent after the young Priestess had gone out of her way to remain hospitable to them, but he simply couldn't find it in his heart to deprive Lissa of this opportunity to talk with people outside of the castle walls. This was, after all, the entire purpose behind the campaign. He felt that he would have to address her manner of speaking at some point during their travels- they were fortunate enough to have encountered another fellow silver-tongue, but he feared that her mastery of language might leave the lay-man struggling to understand.

Which was a painful thing to consider, as he spent an insurmountable amount of time teaching Lissa everything he knew about the inner workings of proper speech!

Before he could reminisce any further, however, the three had reached their destination- a rustic and very beautiful abbey, positioned at the heart of the little village. Entering its welcoming doorways enticed both visual and olfactory senses, as the aroma of freshly made breakfast wafted into his nostrils. His stomach gave an antagonistic gurgle, reminding him that it had been an entire day since he had a proper meal. Despite his slim stature, Cadbury had an impressive appetite!

Sadly enough, however, their new acquaintance would be whisked away from their very eyes just as they were about to settle down. She instructed his protege about a local tailor- an endeavor that he was actually quite interested in exploring! His aspirations to meet the tailor, however, were quickly quashed by an abrupt disturbance.

"Miss Moooooooortimeeeeeer!"

The shrill cry rang throughout the halls of the Sanctum of Sol, defiling the otherwise aura of tranquility. He shot Melissa a playful smirk, sensing her own curiosity.

"Well milady, if I know you as well as I lead myself to believe, I would wager that you are far more concerned about whatever Lady Mortimer is being called to attend to? I imagine it probably has something to do with the commotion we observed earlier."

While Cadbury himself would rather not draw undue attention upon themselves, he couldn't still his insatiable longing to figure out just what was going on. For all his bowing and silver-tonguing, Cadbury had a faint streak of mischievous curiosity that none save his wily Lissa could detect. Of course she should be able to- it was undoubtedly her impish nature that rubbed off on the otherwise characteristically 'prim and proper' butler in the first place!

"Unless, of course, you would rather consult the master tailor?" Cadbury joked, "I'm sure you are simply chomping at the bit to have a go at mending my Under Garmaments!"

Most people believe that Cadbury's non-work related joys come from his work with Magicite. They couldn't be farther from the truth, as it was, in fact, moments such as this that gave him insurmountable amounts of excitement- any opportunity to make the Lady Bellhouse either cry from laughter or cringe from embarrassment!

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait:
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At the walking pace of a priestess who was enjoying her morning, the time it took to get from from the abbey kitchen to the gateway took approximately five minutes when sunny, six when rainy, and seven when the sky drummed out it's great light shows. Today it took two.

Her strides were light but she wanted no surprise with her coming. "If," Phile announced with a light tone that gave no indication of the whirling clouds of annoyance that brewed underneath her cool exterior, "there is a banshee in need of an exorcism, I am afraid you have come to the wrong place. Mrs Silverwood is the primer expert, having extensive experience dealing with her children."

It was mean, yes Phile knew, but the jab was small in comparison to what she faced later in the afternoon because of Kai's rather boisterous summons; gossiping old hens with their poisonous words, angry monks scolding, "Miss Mortimer, an abbey is no place to court suiters." Oh how her ears already burned with embarrassment.

Then again, everyone would be occupied with the rift.

The subject of rifts was a hard one to shake from ones mind. Even during her conversation with Elisia, the shadow of the rift hung over Phile's mind like a big brother who could take any action he pleased while all she could do was react. Even if there hadn't been a monster this time, Ley could not remain idle. The very fact that one had appeared meant possibilities of dozens more, not all empty as this has been. No, investigations must be conducted, drills implemented, emergency training renewed and retaught just in case. She herself would have to review shielding magic.

Covering the distance between herself and the group of four, Phile studied them closely before speaking. Two of them were unknown to her eyes, the girl with tropical birds for hair lay sprawled in the ground (a story for another time Phile was sure) and a young man seated beside the guard, his clothing ill fit for his demeanor. A mage and a warrior Phile guessed by their guess, and she was rarely wrong.

She gave a brief nod of acknowledgement to Iridian and a pointed raise of the brow to Kai before speaking directly to the two strangers. "Ah, excuse my rudeness, please don't let my previous statement shape your first impression of me. It has been a long morning," a terrible excuse, Phile resisted the urge to wince.

"My name is Phile Mortimer, I am the priestess of Sol in this little town," she introduced herself then offered a hand to the mage on the ground before continuing, "Welcome to Ley, both of you. While it isn't unusual for guests to stop by the abbey I must admit, Mr Valka, your presence is most concerning. Has something happened?"

A part of her felt bad for the deception, omitting the fact that she was well aware of why the group was here. As Mrs Ingram had informed her at dawn a rift had opened over the Silverwood cornfield. Phile could only assume that Iridian was the first to respond, drawing the attention of the two strangers whose own interest in the matter she couldn't guess. Even so, Phile had learned long ago that sometimes staying silent drew more information then questioning itself.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait:
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Ater Kai's ear-splitting call there was a short but awkward pause, broken by a huff of disapproval from Jacia. She then proceeded to angrily jump up and down on the spot, making more dissatisfied noises before whinging to Iridian about how bored she was and then using him to push herself over. Kai barely managed to contain a chortle, and certainly failed to stop himself from smirking. For someone who had spent so much time at a prestigious university of magic, she had very little common sense. Not that Kai had a great deal more, but he had more sense than to try to push people much bigger than him over with only his index finger.

Unsurprisingly, it wasn't long before Priestess Mortimer appeared. She carried herself perfectly serenely and spoke calmly, but her words suggested that she wasn't quite so at peace as she would have others believe.
"If there is a banshee in need of an exorcism, I am afraid you have come to the wrong place. Mrs Silverwood is the primer expert, having extensive experience dealing with her children."
Kai scowled at the insult but said nothing. No doubt his companions found it most amusing, but Kai found the remark rather unbecoming of someone who was meant to welcome all who came to her door with open arms. However, it wasn't too long before she started to make excuses.
"Ah, excuse my rudeness, please don't let my previous statement shape your first impression of me. It has been a long morning."
A long morning? It was yet to reach seven, she could only have been awake for so long and not had large bags drooping under her eyes.
"Don't worry, I suppose it's only to be expected, considering Mrs Mortimer sold off her little banshee at the first given opportunity." Kai retorted. His voice was not as venomous as it might be, as his reply was simply to let the priestess know that he wouldn't just sit there and take it while she foul-mouthed him and his siblings. She was lucky that the comment had been to Kai; Rhys and Art would have "accidentally" broken things around the abbey and annoyed its inhabitants, and Alice would have shrieked at an ever increasing volume and pitch until Phile sang her praises.

Phile then introduced herself to Jacia and Flynn before asking why the group had come to the abbey. If Kai didn't know better, he would have accused Phile of already knowing why they had come, but why would she ask if she already knew? Since it had been just about that only reason Kai had been brought to the abbey, he felt obliged to answer that question. He drew in a deep breath before setting off on another garble, making various gestures with his hands as he went along:
"This morning I woke up and went outside to find that a rift was opening in my cornfield. Out of it came Flynn, utterly naked but for his shields. I left him some clothes and left him, and then he found me, and then Iridian turned up, and finally Jacia. We talked for a bit about the rift and Flynn, and then decided to come here to see if you could help him. He says he's lost his memory, so we thought you were the best person to come and see.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait:
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Ignore this.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer
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And cringe she did. The mention of Cadbury's undergarments sent shivers down her spine as she closed her eyes and tried to not think of his unmentionables. Surely, this wasn't meant for polite conversation, and she had hoped it would keep it's geniality. She tried her best to ignore the comment and focus on something else. The echoes of Phile's name resounding through the abbey was that something else. "And... Th-then you know me very well," she said, with only a hiccup to form. Seems like she still hadn't fully got the image of Cadbury's undergarments out of her mind.

"Shall we then?" Lissa said, extending a hand in the direction Phile went and her name had come from. With a wisp of a smile, Lissa spun on her petite feet and headed that was as well, with perhaps a gait becoming less of a teenage girl and more of a Queen-in-waiting. Old habits died hard. She retraced Phile's steps exactly, and before she realized it, she had came upon the culprit that kidnapped her conversational partner. Culprits, rather. Indeed, just as Cadbury suspected it had been the same people who was the center of the commotion when they arrived.

Melissa's eyes scanned the crowd. There was the guard, them two farmers, and a woman. Of course, now suspicious eyes were cast upon the second farmer, while the first was indignant for some reason. The woman, aside from Phile, looked the text-book definition of bored. Lissa tilted her head as she noted that the look did not suit her, nor did falling over because of a failed attempt at pushing the guard. Lissa smiled, certainly they were a lively bunch.

Then the other farmer began to speak (if only just barely. The man was certainly no wordsmith). They must not have noticed the little girl standing back in the hall, yet. Along with his tongue came the names of the group. The farmer was a Silverwood, by Phile's own admission. Iridian, the gaurd-- Jacia, the woman. The oddest one of the bunch was the proclaimed Flynn, the man who seemly fell from the rift by the Silverwood's account. Fantastic-- she had only heard of these rifts in passing, and then only beasts poured from their maws. And yet, here stood a man, and a quite tame one at that.

What little caution she had was thrown to the wind when it was revealed that Flynn had fallen from a rift. She took long strides (while still keeping a ladylike air) and inserted herself into the group proper. "That must have been quite the sight, Mister Silverwood. And quite the story," She added with a warm smile. Childhood imagination designed her so that she fully believed every word of this Silverwood character-- what reason would he have to lie? With what caution she had thrown to the wind moments ago, another foray into scene wasn't too much of a stretch.

She took a step forward and put herself a polite distance away from Flynn-- utterly unafraid of the man. What had she to be afraid of? The man didn't seem dangerous in the slightest. "Is it true Mister Flynn? Do you truly remember nothing?" She asked, head curiously tilted to the side.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer
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To Flynn's pleasure, the priestess who was to examine Flynn appeared to have been reserved and competent- a welcome commodity in this otherwise bizarre situation! Even her quip at Mr. Silverwood seemed to permeate class and the wit usually reserved for the older and wizened.

Before Flynn could utter a word to her request, however, the very same Silverwood interjected in his usual harried tone, explaining the situation as best as he possibly could.

However, as he was about to explain the credibility of Kai's claims, out of the corner came even more new faces- one younger, and one with quite a bit more experience in his eyes. The younger of the two stepped up to the hapless amnesiac, inquiring to the truth of Kai's statements with a demeanor of grace that she was obviously either gifted with or very well coached into.

Gently loosening himself from Iridian's grip, Flynn knelt down to become eye level with his newest acquaintance.

"I'm afraid that Mr. Silverwood speaks truly, Milady." Flynn addressed the incognito Princess, attempting to match her air of politeness, "And that's precisely why I'm here- these nice people tell me that Miss Mortimer will be able to assist me in my predicament!"

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Though Cadbury could sense no immediate malice from the young man, his duties as a Guardian superseded any intuition he may have into his character. He knew nothing about this man, save for the fact that he fell from a Rift. Though he had never experienced a Rift firsthand, he had heard enough about the calamities that followed their appearance to know that Flynn had the potential to be quite problematic. Instinctively, he gently grabbed young Miss Bellhouse by her shoulder, placing himself between her and Flynn.

"Am I to assume that you are the young lady's father?" the young man asked Cadbury.

He shook his head, responding, "Not exactly, though I am charged with both the instruction and well-being of my pupil. Ichabod Alabastor, at your service, Sir Riftdweller." He extended a hand to shake with the strangers.

The young man accepted the handshake, adding, "Flynn Rowe, a pleasure. I'm none too sure if my memories are to be restored this day, but in the event that the situation go awry, I would recommend that you and the young lady vacate the premises..."

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer
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"UUGHHHHH. Iridian, would you believe me if I told you that I have read over one thousand books in my lifetime, that I have sat through lectures on spellweaving that lasted nearly six hours, and yet nothing I have ever done has ever been as boring as this?"
Jacia's proceeded to follow on the complaint by attempting to push the soldier with a single finger. It didn't work. Gaze at her face, confused, was all Iridian could do before he realized the mage had pushed herself instead, and to the extent of falling. She grabbed for the squire's arm. With a hand faster than his thoughts, he reached out to hold her up without so much as shifting his position to counterbalance the girl's weight. The pull was stronger than he foresaw and Jacia's weight forced him to bend his knees and stick out his rear end, leaving him unable to pull her up and leaving herself dangling helplessly. 

Iridian couldn't remember a more embarrassing moment in his life. 

Mage and soldier stood there, trapped by gravity, beforer Kai and Flynn. Over his now, pink-shaded cheeks, his eyes widened in surprise. The buckle securing his glove became undone. Like water off a riverstone, it slid off his hand through Jacia's grip. It sounded like she fell smack on her behind as Irid struggled to regain his balance. 

And, of course, the priestess of Sol decided to show up then and there. If Irid's cheeks had been rosy a moment ago, he could feel them growing an intense shade of red. The embarrassment prompted him to remain quiet for the small conversation that followed, including the introduction of a merchant and his young protégée, choosing to merely nod his agreement with Kai in response to Phile. 

It wasn't the behavior of a proper protector of Akhar, Iridian was well aware. He kicked himself mentally for it but that merely perpetuated the crimson color on his face. He held out an ungloved hand to Jacia, hoping the gesture would ease the stirring shame.

Iridian was ready to speak only after Flynn had given his, as per usual, depressing comment. "However, Sir Alabastor, contrary to what Sir Rowe would have you believe, he has been nothing if not cooperative and courteous since we've met with him." He tried to sound as confident as possible.

"We do hope there might be something you're able to do, Priestess Mortimer."

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer
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"I am honored that you think so highly of my ability," Phile muttered, her hand straying to touch her chin, her mien pensive, "The dominion of the mind is, however, little understood. I've only had a handful of experiences with those..." Phile paused, "magics."

Sol had started his climb to a lofty position in the sky, rendering candles unnecessary in all but the darkest corners. Day was fast approaching. Had this been another day Phile would've been beside herself with worry; the halls were to quiet, the visitors limited to those before her. There was something wrong but she was too deep in thought to notice. The situation at hand was one so far beyond the reaches of her imagination. Phile wondered if this was some sort of elaborate prank, contrived by the same mind that had lured her up a massive oak tree on Sweetest Day after discovering the massive pile of romance novels under her bed.

She swept the thought away as soon as it had appeared; she had never been more embarrassed.

Phile examined her newly admitted patient, Flynn, if she recalled correctly from Kai's rapid-fire explanation. He was mirroring her in manor, and while mimicking is said to be the greatest form of flattery, Phile found herself confused. Did this man truly come from a rift? He looked nothing like a spawn of evil, too curious, too honest, too...

Having fully conceived a plan of action, the slim priestess moved between Ichabod's ridged figure. A simple step-by-step list, Phile hoped that she needent go beyond step two.

"I appologize Mr Alabastor, Elisia, but I must cut your meeting with Mr Rowe short," she placed a gentle hand on the older gentleman's shoulder, "I am a firm believer in doctor-patient confidentiality and, if I may be so bold, ask you to return to the room I had left you to. In fact," she looked to to the farm boy. Her taunt hadn't been received well, even now she could feel waves of ire roll of the young man. "Kai, why don't you accompany our visitors to breakfast? I doubt you've had breakfast when guiding Mr. Rowe to the abbey." It was less of a request and more of a push; she would make a more formal, well-worded apology to him later.

She turned to the guard and mage, the young man's face nearly the same color as the mage's hair. It was almost...cute. Whatever had conspired between the two was still a mystery and Phile had little time to delve into it; she suspected it being a small matter. She cleared her throat, "Mr. Valka and Ms. Jacia I request that you both stay here as I make a diagnosis. I have no means of defending myself if attacked and if your fears of Mr. Rowe reverting to a more animalistic state do come true, I would like some backup. For now, I ask both of you to take a step back."

There was going to be some protest, a push against her instructions for curiosity was a strong force to be reckoned with. But she has fought against far stronger foes; parents beside themselves with worry, husbands a nervous wreck as new life comes, silent friends and jealous lovers. It was a dual matter of soothing both injury and emotions, the latter being far harder the treat then most would expect. Words were a wonderful thing but this morning Phile simply ushered them in line with a tight smile and a stubborn look in the eye.

"Now," Phile addressed Flynn directly, "Mr. Rowe, as I've said before I value the private relationship held between a healer and her patient but given the extraordinary circumstances that have brought you here today, I ask you bare with the extra company. We will remain here. You may remain seated Mr. Rowe." Rolling up her sleeves, she shifted until she stood at arms-length from the blond.

As any good doctor, Phile presented a quick debriefing"First, I want to make sure that you're memory loss wasn't cause by physical trauma," she rattled. "There may be a chance that, having fallen from the sky, that you suffered a minor head injury upon landing. A quick diagnostic and I should be able to find the problem in a blink of an eye. It's quick and requires nothing on your part except a bit of relaxation." Carefully, she pressed the pads of her fingers together as she was taught by the clergy, drawing energy in preparation of said step.

"However, if I cannot find an underlying cause to your memory loss on your physical body," taking a deep breath, she wonders briefly what the mage's reaction will be,"I will need to resort to...ah...mind magics. It is a much more complicated matter. Hopefully, it will not come to that."

The tips of her fingers tingled with magic now, and as she pulled them apart one could see a faint green glow at each tip, a dancing energy within the early sunlight. Less noticeable is the slight glow about the pupils of her eyes of the same tint. Only those looking directly into her eyes could see it.

Only a brief touch to the chest with all ten fingers would be needed for Phile to make a through assessment. Lowering her hands so they assumed the correct configuration she paused. "I will move when you're ready Mr. Rowe."

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer
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"Kai, why don't you accompany our visitors to breakfast? I doubt you've had breakfast when guiding Mr. Rowe to the abbey."
The idea of breakfast was rather tempting; Kai hadn't eaten yet and the very idea of the thought made his stomach gurgle quietly in anticipation. Still, he was rather irked by the fact that Phile wanted away with him, but complied with her request nevertheless. He had been to the abbey a few times before, and knew where the dining hall was. As he set of towards it, he ushered for the small redhead and her mentor to follow.

It wasn't long before they arrived at the dining hall. Smells of freshly cooked breakfast wafted from the kitchen and up Kai's nostrils; what did it matter if he gained no knowledge about Flynn and his origins when the alternative was breakfast? Kai sat himself down promptly and ravenously began to devour the food in front of him. The breakfast wasn't particularly lavish, it consisted of buttered toast, a couple of sausages and baked potatoes, but it tasted good enough and would sustain Kai for a while. Despite the speed of his eating, Kai wasn't eating at all messily. Lute playing and farming had made him good at making simple, repeated movements, which was odd, considering Kai's clumsiness in many other tasks.

It was hardly long before Kai had finished his entire plate and wiping breadcrumbs from the side of his mouth. He turned his head to the window and peered out. There wasn't anything special outside, but the position of the sun in the sky told Kai that the rest of his family had probably all got up and were wondering where he was. Perhaps he should pop back to tell them about the morning's hectic goings-on. He felt rather rude about not having spoken to the pair Phile had sent him off with, but his family were probably fretting about him, particularly Alice. Kai pushed his plate to one side and stood up.
"Sorry to leave you so soon," Kai began, "But my family have no idea about my whereabouts, and I ought to tell them."
With that, Kai hurried off at a brisk walk through the back of the abbey so he wouldn't disturb Phile and Flynn.

Kai decided to take a shortcut home. It involved walking through some woods on the edge of town through which there was no path, but Kai had memorised the route to his house. Twigs and dry leaves crackled beneath his feet as he trampled over them, interrupted by the occasional soft thud when there was nothing to crackle beneath his feet. However, when he came to a patch where there was nothing but soft earth beneath his feet, the crackling persisted, almost mimicking his footsteps. He stopped for a moment, and the crackling stopped as well. He could hear a quiet sound like a thin piece of wood creaking gently, just like a bow being drawn... Kai realised almost too late, and as he began to move to the side, an arrow sailed from the foliage before him and drove right through his left shoulder. Had he moved any later, the arrow would have pierced his trachea and killed him instantly. A loudly shouted obscenity escaped Kai's mouth before he wrenched the arrow from his shoulder. Fortunately, Kai had developed a rather high threshold for pain after multiple incidents such as being gored by a bull and kicked in the head by a stallion (which might well explain some other things). He charged towards where the arrow had come from and ran headlong into a man lurking behind a bush. Kai bowled the man right over, causing his bow to fly from his hand and his arrows to spill from his quiver. The man quickly tried to draw a dagger on Kai, but a swift and forceful kick to the head staggered him. A couple more had him unconscious. Kai knelt down to get a better look at the man who had attempted to assassinate him. Kai had no idea why anyone would want him dead; he was just an insignificant and inoffensive farmhand. The man was dressed like a soldier, but his armour wasn't that of the Akharian military. Instead, the Eagle of Gar was emblazoned into his breastplate. Was this man just seeking to kill for sport, or was something bigger taking place? What if more troops were to follow him? What if Gar had broken its oath and now sought to invade Akhar? If so, Ley was in grave danger. Kai used the soldier's dagger to stab him through both ankles so that he wouldn't be going anywhere any time soon, and began to hobble back to the abbey, trying not to sway too much and clutching his wounded shoulder.

Now that the adrenaline was fading, the pain in Kai's shoulder became much more intense. The arrow had not only managed to dislocate his shoulder but break it as well. As if that wasn't enough, the arrow had been barbed, meaning Kai had done even more damage to his blood vessels after wrenching it out, causing him to bleed an amount that you wouldn't expect to come from a shoulder.

By the time Kai had got back to the abbey he was beginning to lose his balance and felt rather light headed. This time he had come to the main entrance, since he now had every intention of disrupting Phile. Surely Flynn could wait a while, his shoulders were both as they should be and he wasn't bleeding at all. Kai once again opened the abbey's doors, only this time with far less gusto.
"Miss Mooooooortimeeeeer..." Kai croaked, trying to lighten the situation, although he doubted it would make anyone less concerned, as he had a large hole through his shoulder and his right hand and sleeve were bathed with blood.
As he stood there, a quiet clopping noise began to resound inside his head, slowly growing louder and louder. It wasn't the most threatening of sounds, but it was easily enough to disgruntle Kai.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait:
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At first Iridian wasn't too pleased with Phile's idea to witness the healing process in case Flynn sprouted devil wings and began breathing fire. The image of the possibility, however, was enough to scare him as to the fate of Ley if the stranger indeed underwent a demonic transformation. His morning shift as guard would have to wait. Much as he hated to interfere with his assigned schedule, he knew the appearance of a Rift was a primary concern. Which cannot excuse your five minute tardiness in the morning jog, you didn't knwo about the Rift then.

The soldier watched the priestess at work attentively. He was impressed by the soothing quality he detected in her voice, feature that had not been present when she'd berated Kai. As Phile kept analyzing Flynn, suddenly he took a step back, eyes wide open in surprise. The priestess' fingertips were glowing. Iridian had never seen magic at work from such a small distance. It was mesmerizing.

He had never taken part in an actual battle, with what still being a squire and the war ending before he was born, and his injuries from training drills he had either ignored until they went away or he had treated himself with the basic first aid knowledge he'd been taught in the army. Irid had never had the need to go to a member of the clergy to tend his wounds and this first encounter with healing magics was astounding, if a bit unnerving as well. He'd never been witness the other kind of magic at work either, the kind folks at the Arcane University deal with. Those mages had zero necessity to make an appearance in the Military Quarter of Kalistos and, as far as older soldiers had told him, they much preferred pouring over old tomes in the university. The thought prompted him to glance at Jacia but he glanced away as fast as the memory of the embarrassing moment they'd shared instants ago bloomed in his mind once more. His cheeks slightly red once more.

Kai Silverwood took his mind off that soon enough as he burst through the front doors of the abbey, echoing his previous call to the priestess. His tone of voice was not quite right however...

Whatever Iridian's initial reaction to seeing Kai once more might have been was forgotten as the guard's pupils found the sickly red wound on the farmhand's shoulder. The mark of an arrow. It didn't make sense, the boy was supposed to be having breakfast at the Abbey's dining hall, not bursting, wounded, through its front entrance. "Silverwood, what happened?" Worry was thick in his voice as he made his way to the doors, ready to help Kai steady himself. A villager had gotten hurt on his shift. By an arrow. Stray thoughts in his head were scolding him. He should've been on guard duty, not escorting someone as harmless as Flynn. The thoughts tuned out the clopping sound that rose steadily.

As Iridian took hold of Kai, however, he saw the view outside the abbey's doors. A few horsemen had surrounded the village, cutting it off from the fields and woods, handfuls of foot soldiers had arrived at the farthest buildings and were clearly pillaging and the buzz of arrows being shot unharmoniously filled the air. Ley was under attack. The first scream rang out.

"Ley is under attack..." and as he said it the truth of it pushed him into action, the soldier made his way from the abbey, Kai and his wound forgotten behind Irid's footprints. He ran towards the first villagers he saw, all the while trying to seize up the enemy. The Eagle of Gar flew ferocious on the banner carried by some horsemen. The soldiers were not in battle formation, surely because Ley was a small village... easy game.

Two women, a man and his child were cowering behind Sir Cole's girth, the old soldier unable to speak his usual, comforting words. Well before Irid reached them he yelled, "To the abbey! Go to the abbey!" The villagers hesitated for a moment before obeying. They abbey was a big building, it had a gate, and it was made primarily of stone. They wouldn't be able to light the place on fire easily, the soldier thought grimly, remembering the fire arrows that he'd seen moments ago.

"Sir Cole, go to the barracks and wake the other guards!" It wasn't his place to command older soldiers, but the fear in Cole's eyes had clearly driven all senses from the man. In fact, he seemed glad to suddenly have orders to follow. "Tell any villagers you meet to take refuge in the abbey!"

Irid's balled the fist that held his lance until they were white. This was the moment to prove himself. To defend Akhar and its citizens. All his life he'd trained in case something like this happened. He felt adrenaline pumping through his veins like cold, tiny spiders. The soldiers from Gar had not reached the abbey yet. A few villagers that'd heard his shout had. Iridian stood before the building, under the gaze of the statue of Sol, and assumed a battle stance.

A first soldier came out from behind Old Gladys' bakery armed with a sword. The Eagle on the man's uniform had a wicked eye on Iridian. The man came at Irid but the butt of the squire's lance met the enemy's head before he was in reach of the sword. It sent him sprawling to the ground, where Iridian seized the opportunity to drive the spearhead into the man's gut. The cold spiders crawled throughout Iridian's body.

So this was what the fever of battle was like.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Jacia Zash Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer
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As Lady Mortimer explained the procedure, Flynn felt a sense of ease. No longer was he anxious about his potential hazardous origins or danger- the soothing words of the Priestess were enough to ease him out of his anxiety.

At her request, Flynn gave an equally calming "Please, by all means" in response.

Her hands were as delicate and calming as her words were- gently analyzing his person with magically augmented fingers. If Sir Valka could see the face of the Riftspawn, he would find that his face of utter trance mimicked his own.

The procedure, however, was to be cut short by the re-entry of Mr. Silverwood, who was noticeably less eager to announce his presence than before. To Flynn's horror, he turned around to find Sir Valka crouched over a wounded Kai. Before he could offer any form of assistance, however, his horror was intensified by the mutterings of the town guard.

Ley is under attack...

The words stunned Flynn- oddly enough, however, he was not stunned with fear. The mention of an attack sent Flynn's mind into a frenzy of responsive thoughts- paradigms, strategies, counter-tactics. The news turned Flynn into a calculated and calm strategist- a response that he was quite sure wasn't normal for the lay-person.

As he heard the commotion start, Flynn quickly arose from his sitting position, eliciting orders to the individuals who were able.

"Lady Mortimer, tend to Mr. Silverwood's injury. This structure is big and sturdy enough to hold the population of the village, so it will need to be fortified as soon as possible."

His attention then turned to the mage and the farmhand, "Kai, remain here and help barricade the Abbey once your injury is attended to. Sir Valka and I will make sure that your family finds their way here safely. Miss Zash, I realize that you have no personal investment in the village's well-being, but judging from the sounds outside, the enemy appears to have the village surrounded. If not for the villagers, you will need to help barricade the Abbey to save your own life."

He had no time to ponder his seemingly innate knowledge of militaristic tactics- they came to him as naturally as walking or breathing. Hot on Sir Valka's trail, he arrived just in time to witness the guardsman slay an enemy. His mind a torrent of thoughts, he quickly strode past Iridian, taking up the fallen soldier's sword.

"Sir Valka, we must act swiftly. The incomprehensible commotion indicates that the enemy has the village surrounded. The air is rank with the smell of smoke and they bare a multitude of torches- these men intend to raze the village. We must get the civilians barricaded into the Abbey, as it is the least flammable structure in the village."

Flynn took a moment to both survey the immediate area, as well as taking a few swings of his newfound weapon. Just as quickly as his knowledge of tactics seemed to surface, so too did his apparently innate skills with a blade. He resolved to simply accept it for now, dealing with the more pressing matter currently.

[color=#696969]"Our numbers are limited, so if we are to engage them directly, we must take advantage of any form of chokepoint so that we may not be surrounded. You know the village better than I, so I will follow your lead. If our first objective is to get the villagers to safety, we must be swift.

It was at this order that the collected, yet noticeably harried Cadbury could be seen hastily making his way towards the two, the Lady Bellhouse in his arms. Despite his age, he was quite agile when the situation called for it, and he felt that carrying her was the swiftest way to avoid pursuit (despite any complaints she may have had.)

"Sir Guardsman," Cadbury began, "Where is the safest place I may leave Melissa? I will gladly offer my services to help defend the village, but absolutely no harm must come to her!"

In his bewildered state, he was completely devoid of concern for giving away their identities. Perhaps Sir Valka had caught on to his slip-up, but now was not the time to be troubled with such concerns.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait:
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The moment her fingers brushed against Flynn's temple, she was a ghost in another's body, a visiting entity touring another's land, observing with wide-eyes but reserved with her touch. To the casual observer the only magic in the room were confined to the tips of her fingers but any learned mage would know that the ethereal glow was but an indicator. Magic flowed below the surface, through invisible channels where mana roared to life like a river overflowed.

And roar did it. Upon submerging her mind's eye within Flynn, Phile was immediately overwhelmed by the mana potential the man had. A pool so wide and so deep she failed to perceive any boundary; with a mana pool like that Phile could resurrect an entire army twice over. In theory at least.

Her body felt the eyes of her companions on her body and heard scuffling dulled by the thick walls of the abbey but gave no physical response. She dove deeper, the light at her fingertips dancing up to her wrist, carving up an intricate pattern.

Flynn's body was unlike anything Phile had encountered before. She had treated men and women, young and old, fit and weak, magical and muggle, but none had such foreign feeling. It was if Flynn wasn't human, almost. Phile stored that bit away for later; she was getting side-tracked. While it wasn't usual that Phile forced another to tell their history by sheer force, it was exactly what they asked her to do.

As by her word, Phile proceeded to do a physical check-up. The bumps and bruises across his body did spell a story of a short fall but nothing was indicative of a major head trauma. Damn.

Phile withdrew her fingers from Flynn's temple but the glowing figures that have, at this point, crawled up her arms, didn't fade. All for the better.

For the second time this morning her name was called with great urgency. She had intended to inform Flynn of the results of the examination but her attentions turned rapidly toward the bloodied figure standing before the abbey doorway. Her own blood rushed through her ears and suddenly it was as if she were trodding through mud. The words "attack," "enemy," and "raze," reached her ears. Numbly she crossed the distance between herself and Kai, barely acknowledging the instructions given by Flynn and Iridian.

She took a shuddering breath, intending to clear her head but only filling it with the sharp scent of blood. Magic was still actively running through her palms and for that she was grateful. Ducking under, Phile tossed the arm on Kai's uninjured side over her slim shoulder and pressed one hand into his wound. There would be pain from the touch before the magic could numb and start the healing process, she braced herself for resulting retaliation.

"Mr. Ichabod," the lanky trader's slip-up was not lost on Phile but there were much more pressing matters, "The central chambers are by far the most fortified portions of this abbey but," her eyes strayed to the trickle of villagers that stumbled through the gateway; her stomach dropped. "But...I'm afraid that this abbey was not built for war. I...I," she couldn't find the reassuring words expected of a priestess.

Urging more mana towards healing Kai, Phile lead the way towards the abbey's inner walls.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Unsurprisingly, Kai was greeted by expressions of shock and horror at the hole in his shoulder. It must have been quite the surprise for them, to see him dragging himself through the front door with an arrow wound when they were expecting him to be breakfasting, where he would be under significantly less threat from stray arrows.
"Silverwood, what happened?"
"I-I finished my breakfast quickly, so I went home to tell my family why I wasn't there." Kai began, forcing the words out of his mouth with significantly more effort than usual, "I went through the woods, and I got shot. I found the man who did it and kicked him in the head a few times and stabbed him through the ankles. I think he's still alive. He was wearing Garian uniform, and I thought it would be best to come back here before I ran into someone with a better aim."

"Lady Mortimer, tend to Mr. Silverwood's injury. This structure is big and sturdy enough to hold the population of the village, so it will need to be fortified as soon as possible. "Kai, remain here and help barricade the Abbey once your injury is attended to. Sir Valka and I will make sure that your family finds their way here safely."
While the abbey was the strongest structure in the village, Kai had his doubts about how good an idea it would be to round up the entire village into it. Wouldn't that just make it easier for the Garians; they would have the whole population village in one place, making it far easier to slaughter them all. Then again, the alternative was uncontrolled chaos, so Kai kept his mouth shut. He didn't say anything to Flynn's request either, he just nodded weakly.

Before Kai was entirely sure what was going on, Phile had slung his left over her shoulders and shoved her hand into his shoulder wound. He winced and recoiled slightly from the pain of having something shoved into the wound again, but he trusted that Phile knew what she was doing. The pain gradually began to numb as her magic began to mend the wound, and he hobbled along towards the centre of the abbey with more ease as the wound began to close.

By the time Kai and Phile had reached their destination within the abbey, Kai's wound had now closed. A dull pain still lingered in his shoulder and he hadn't regained any more blood, but at least he wasn't losing any more.
"Thanks." Kai smiled to her, "I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused you this morning; your comment earlier was justified. If we're not all slaughtered, I'll try to be less of a nuisance in future."
As Kai walked over a rug he felt a tile press down beneath his foot. While it wasn't too uncommon for tiles to press down a bit when stepped on, this one felt like it was sinking in. Kai pulled his foot back and placed it where it was gingerly. The carpet sank in far too much, there was obviously a hole there now. Confused, Kai knelt down and cast the carpet to one side. There was definitely a hole there, and it looked like it went down quite a way. There was a ladder leading down, as well. A spark of hope ignited inside Kai's heart; maybe there was a large cellar in which the villagers could hide! Without thinking about it, Kai went down the ladder to see what was inside. It was only just light enough to see, and that was only from the light coming in from above. The floor was hard, damp and slightly slippery, and water could be heard dripping from the ceiling. Kai pressed his hand to the smooth, bumpy wall and squinted into the darkness. This certainly wasn't a cellar; this was a natural underground tunnel! Perhaps it lead out of the village; salvation was at hand! Kai hurried back up the ladder to Phile, reeking of excitement and hope.
"There's a tunnel down here!" Kai told her, "Maybe if we can round up the villagers we can get them out through here!"
Not waiting for a response, Kai hurried towards the exit of the abbey.

As Kai came out of the abbey's front door, a stray musket round smashed into the wall next to him, far too close for comfort. Keeping his head down, Kai hurried closer away from the abbey and towards Iridian and Flynn. Not feeling particularly safe, he picked up the battleaxe of a recently slain Garian soldier and clutched it tightly in both hands.
"Flynn, Iridian!" Kai called out as he drew closer, "I've found a tunnel in the abbey that might well lead out of the village! By the looks of it, it's our best bet for reducing casualties, if we can get the villagers out through it."
"A tunnel, you say?"
Kai turned around to see the captain of Ley's guard standing behind him, clutching a sword in one hand and a shield in the other. He was a tall, stocky, grizzled man in his late forties with dark skin, thick stubble and a slightly aged face. However, despite his post in Ley, he wasn't lacking in experience. Kai simply nodded in response to his question.
"Sound's like you're right lad, we'll keep casualties to a minimum if we evacuate the village." he continued, "Iridian, round up everyone you can, and get as much help as you can in doing so. You two can help him. While you're doing that, I'll buy everyone some time. And I don't want a single word of protest from you; now, follow your orders!"
With that, the captain returned to the heat of battle. Kai, following the captain's orders, hurried off to the edge of the village to alert as many villagers as he could, shouting at them to get to the abbey as he ran.

In the meantime, the captain had made his way to the centre of the village.
"HALT!"
The man's voice was so forceful and commanding that the battle ceased for an instant. Eager for it not to spark up again, he continued speaking.
"Where is your commander? If he is half the man he ought to be, he'll come out and face me, man to man!" the captain bellowed as he brandished his sword.
From amongst the ranks of Garian soldiers one soldier rode forward. It was immediately clear that he was their commander, as he dressed far more lavishly than the others, two garments that made him stand out particularly were his mantle and a magicite encrusted gauntlet that covered the entirety of his right arm. What was even more surprising was that he did not carry a weapon. He dismounted his horse and walked confidently towards the captain of the guard; a sneer playing across his face.
"Well then, let us get on with it." he smirked, before withdrawing slightly.
All stopped and remained silent as all eyes turned to the captain and the Garian commander. He beckoned with his gauntleted hand for the captain to make the first move. And make the first move he did. Raising his sword, he charged towards his opponent and swung his sword down in a powerful arc. The Garian commander simply raised his gauntlet slightly, creating a thin, mirror-like screen in front of him. The captain's sword made contact against it, breaking his sword into two and badly jarring the shoulder of his sword arm. As the two made eye contact, the captain lost the little hope that he had clung onto, but he wasn't going to surrender. So, the Garian commander lunged forward, and grabbed forcefully onto the captain's scalp. As he tightened his grip, the captain's eyes rolled back into his head, spasms convulsed through his body and blood frothed in torrents from his mouth. Once the spasms stopped, his body was cast aside like a child's toy. However, instead of lying dead on the ground, he got up and began to move, his eyes still rolled back into his head and his mouth still wet with his own blood. He approached one of his men, staggering about like a drunkard. Instead of an act expected from a leader, he swung his broken sword into the man's neck, severing his jugular vein and killing him. The Garian commander began to laugh hysterically at the scene and ordered his troops to return to their work. The Akharians, both guards and civilians, fled in terror as the Garian military laid waste to their homes.

By this point, Kai had reached his home on the edge of the village and had sent many villagers of to the abbey. He was blissfully ignorant of the carnage unravelling the village centre. Kai arrived to find his father clutching a hatchet so forcefully that his knuckles had turned white. His mother and twelve-year-old sister were cowering behind him.
"Kai, where in blazes have you been?!" Mr Silverwood snapped, "We thought you were dead!"
"Da, it's a long story, I'll tell you later. Kai replied, "For now, we need to get to the abbey; I've found a safe way out of the village."
"It had better be a damn good one!" Mr Silverwood grumbled and proceeded to follow Kai.

Kai clutched his sister Alice's hand tightly as the family ran towards the abbey as fast as their legs would carry them, Kai leading the way. As they ran, Alice suddenly let out a loud scream and fell down.
"Alice, what's wrong?" Kai asked as he knelt down beside Alice, who had now fallen over.
"M-my leg..." Alice stuttered through a stream of tears, "Kai, I-I've been shot!"
"For the gods' sake, we do not have time for this!" Mr Silverwood complained as he hoisted up Alice and continued onwards, "We'll see what we can do about your wound once we're at the Abbey."
So, the family pressed on, Mr Silverwood carrying his wounded daughter in his arms.

The Silverwoods were by no means the first to the abbey, many villagers were piling in through the doors and being directed through by the clergy. Alice wasn't the only wounded one, either. Mr Silverwood swore under his breath, but proceeded through as calmly as possible. Fortunately, people were fairly eager to get to safety and so moved rather briskly. Alice continued to sob in pain and terror despite the kind words her family offered her. Kai just hoped that they would reach Phile soon.

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait:
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A shudder ran through Iridian as Flynn tried talking to him. A whisper that chilled him to his core. A realization that he had tried to ignore from the second he saw the Garian eagle soaring around the village from the front doors of the abbey.

The battle was lost before it even began.

"Our numbers are limited, so if we are to engage them directly, we must take advantage of any form of chokepoint so that we may not be surrounded. You know the village better than I, so I will follow your lead. If our first objective is to get the villagers to safety, we must be swift."

""Sir Guardsman, where is the safest place I may leave Melissa? I will gladly offer my services to help defend the village, but absolutely no harm must come to her!"

"Mr. Ichabod, the central chambers are by far the most fortified portions of this abbey but...I'm afraid that this abbey was not built for war."

"Flynn, Iridian! I've found a tunnel in the abbey that might well lead out of the village! By the looks of it, it's our best bet for reducing casualties, if we can get the villagers out through it."

"Iridian, round up everyone you can, and get as much help as you can in doing so. You two can help him. While you're doing that, I'll buy everyone some time."

"Ley is under attack..."

The voices around him mixed together, a vortex in his mind stained red by the blood seeping out of the soldier he'd defeated. The words clashed against each other in confusion, unsure of where to go to be understood. Others just stood there, becoming bigger and more hideous. They flashed. They jumbled. They pleaded. They ordered. They melded together and formed an alloy, a shiny block of words that was too big to fit through his understanding. Imprinted on the block though, he saw words that had appeared amongst the people's but had not been spoken.

You broke your vow to protect Ley, no matter the cost.

Once he realized it, Iridian's senses came back to the battle, to the village that was quite quickly evolving into a wreckage.

"No matter the cost" meant to not give up even if all seemed lost.

"Sir Ichabod, Miss Mortimer is right. Take your protegee into the tunnel in the abbey. I do not know where it may lead but it can't be worse than here. And stay with her. As a foreigner you have no reason to fight this battle, but if you were to lead the villagers down that tunnel, the sacrifices of our guard might well be worth it." If Ichabod could truly fight, it would be nice for the survivors to have someone who could take care of them. Yet a small bell rang in his mind. What kind of merchant knew how to fight, let alone be confident enough to offer his assistance in a battle? Iridian ignored the stray thought, there were more important matters at hand.

He nodded his understanding at his captain, and turned to Flynn and Kai to signal for them to follow him... except when he turned to the farmhand, he realized the boy was halfway to his house. Good lad. The Silverwood home wasn't on the way to more populated areas of Ley, however, and Iridian wished the boy luck under his breath. The soldier turned to Flynn, "This way, come!" He jumped over the dead Garian soldier and made for the alley he'd come from, grimly noting the direction his captain was headed towards. As with Kai, he hoped the best for the captain, he was a good man.

Irid ran down the alley, constantly looking back to make sure the stranger was following him. He was pleasantly surprised by the man's ability to keep up. As the alley intersected with a larger road, he stopped, looked both ways and said, "We're going to the marketplace which is nearly at the heart of the city so it's likely no enemy has reached it yet. But at this time of the morning no guard has a shift there and most of my colleagues ar - were at the barracks. It's a busy place since early on and we need to make sure as many villagers as possible get out of this alive...we need to..." His words trailed off and the end was hard to hear over the hiss of arrows as they flew over their heads. While no Garian's might've reached the market yet, some of their fire arrows surely had.

Making sure the larger street was clear for a second time, Irid crossed the road as fast as he could. He didn't want to risk any enemies following them. Once they were in a second alley, the soldier ran once more. The urgency with which he moved was evident. His lance hand twitched. His eyes flickered all over.

Quickly enough their alley intersected another but as they reached the crossing point, Flynn and Irid ran into an archer with a golden eagle emblazoned on his chest. As in training drills, the squire's lance point was faster than his thoughts, but his shaken state of mind impaired his precision. Instead of a fast death, his lance delivered a non-immediate deadly blow to the man's sternum. The enemy collapsed in agony, but still very much alive for the moment. Irid chose to leave him, there was no time to deliver a fast death anymore.

They came upon the end of their alley and beyond stood a beige, square building. Not large by city standards but clearly almost as big as the abbey in Ley. Crouched behind a crate, Irid looked at Flynn right in the eye and spoke, "Inside the building, there is almost nothing but an open, square courtyard populated by several merchant tent-stands. As you can see, there are several on the outside as well. Maybe if we could lure the Garian forces inside, we could use it as a chokepoint? I'm sorry Flynn but this is all I can offer you here." There might have been one or two other possible chokepoints in the village but neither was close to the market, and the market held the most people.

Sweat formed on his brow. Some tents were already on fire thanks to the archers and somehow, some enemy soldiers had made it to that area of town already. Time was ticking. If Flynn had a plan, he'd follow his orders but if he didn't, well... "No matter the cost" meant to not give up even if all seemed lost.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kai Silverwood Character Portrait: Iridian Valka Character Portrait: Cadbury Roverfield Character Portrait: Flynn Rowe Character Portrait: Phile Mortimer Character Portrait: Melissa Bellhouse
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The catastrophic moments that followed the dispersal of the new found group, in Cadbury's mind at least, seemed to drone on for at least three times as long as it actually did. Between the harried cluster of orders, questions and concerns, and Iridian's brief moment of anxiety, Cadbury wasn't sure whether to feel panicked himself or dejected. However, a quick paradigm shift on the guardsman's part was sufficient enough to reassure the old bodyguard- not only was his resolve restored, but Cadbury also believed that this young man was making the right call. There would be no way to save the entirety of the village, especially when the enemies' numbers were so superior to their own.

There wasn't time to think about that, however. It was time to act- to make every move as efficient as possible.

Before he could act, however, he noticed a look of utter bewilderment plastered all over Lady Mortimer's face. He was fairly sure that his tightly knit cover was unraveling thread by thread. In the face of such a threat, however, his cover story suddenly lost its importance, and he felt compelled to offer as much comfort to the priestess as possible.

"Lady Mortimer..." he began in a more formal tone.

He placed Melissa on the ground, taking a moment to put two fatherly arms upon each of her shoulders. He smiled at her, hoping to instill some form of confidence back into the once poised lady.

"Phile, I understand how you are feeling. I felt as such that first moment when I saw combat. However, though we haven't known each other long, I see a resolve in you that is one of the strongest I've ever witnessed. The villagers are looking for someone to look up to, which I believe needs to be you. You've shown such kindness to the young lady and I, so I can only speculate as to how much the villagers look up to you."

"As for these rapscallions..." he grinned reassuringly, loosing a surge of energy from his Handy Helpers to demonstrate a fraction of his abilities, "Allow me to be your aegis, milady. This old merchant has a few tricks up his sleeve, and he certainly isn't going to show them any quarter!"

With that, he chanced a glance at the young Princess. He wasn't sure if it was naivety or willpower that kept her as calm as she was, but regardless, the young lady's composure compelled the old man to beam with pride. He only had a moment to take it in, however, as he had work to do.

"Now then, Phile, if you will take the young lady's hand," he calmly addressed, taking care to mitigate formalities in order to maintain a reassuring and fatherly tone, "we will make our way to the Abbey. Do not worry about anything else at the moment- your job is to escort the young lady back to the Abbey. Once there, we will begin our efforts to make sure everyone has a safe and efficient escape. Does this sound plausible to you?"

---

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Flynn's face, a once wide eyed and submissive blank slate, now stood amongst a crumbling village as a pillar of focus and decisiveness. Though he wasn't quite annoyed at the overload of information that was clearly affecting Irid's better judgement, he was noticeably worried that they were making inefficient use of their time. In ambush situations like these, time was a premium and nothing short of swift and efficient action could make the best use of it.

Though he couldn't tell you exactly how he gained such insight...

Almost as quickly as he slipped out of reality, however, the dutiful guardsmen came to, and began acknowledging each bit of information as succinctly as each order demanded.

As Silverwood, Cadbury's group, and the Captain dispersed, he once again met Sir Valka's gaze, tailing close behind as he headed towards the direction indicated by his higher up. As they ran, the two of them came across a fork in the road, at which point Sir Valka found it necessary to brief him further about their destination.

They were delving into the heart of the city, The Marketplace. If the guardsman spoke truly, this should be the area with most people. However, if the enemy has any knowledge into the commercial tendencies of the village, it should also be the place that the enemy will target next. His words falling mute at the hands of the enemies' arrows were testament to their intents. With naught but a quick nod, the two proceeded, making sure to keep their eyes peeled and their arms steeled.

Their path brought them into contact with an enemy archer, too occupied priming a flaming arrow to react to Sir Valka's mortal blow. Even though the soldier lay writhing, Flynn's face was cold and focused, instead coming up with ways to salvage their situation despite the obvious disadvantage. As Sir Valka removed his lance from the writhing guard, Flynn took it upon himself to relieve the newest victim of his crossbow and quiver. He also removed a vial generously filled with oil from the guards left hand- Flynn was beginning to see the nature of these soldier's plans, and was hatching one of his own to counter the invaders' ambitions. Swiftly flinging the quiver over his shoulder, he ran to catch up to his ally, who had ran ahead without dallying.

The two eventually made their way into the heart of the marketplace. To Flynn's disappointment, however, the market was quite open, save for a lone beige building outlined by Sir Valka. Luring the army into this building would not be enough to deter the bulk of their forces- at most, the two of them could potentially take out a single coalition before being overwhelmed.

Sir Valka must have realized this as well, judging by the sweat that was rapidly pouring from his brow. Flynn, however, was determined not to be outdone, as he rapidly scanned the marketplace. As the guardsman had pointed out, there were several merchant tents that had already been set ablaze. Most of the actual structures were still in tact, but for how long, Flynn couldn't be sure.

...or could he?

"Sir Valka," Flynn began, "It is quite apparent that the enemy wishes to raze the village, but judging from the sparse amount of arrows they've loosed so far, I imagine that they intend to invade the village first. I believe we can use this to our advantage. A moment, please!"

Quickly dashing to the outskirts of the marketplace, he chanced a glance over to the villages entrance, where the enemy forces were steadily marching in to begin their full-scale invasion.

"The enemy marches slowly and confidently; the main invasion force, I imagine. At their speed, I'd imagine that they will arrive here in a manner of minutes." Flynn informed, dashing back just as swiftly as he had gone, "However, their flaming arrows have ceased, and I do not believe they intend to begin another fiery assault as long as they approach. Here is what I propose- when they arrive in the village, we use these arrows I've taken, combined the already ablaze tinder around us, and begin to raze the village from the inside. The quickest road that leads to the abbey is quite narrow- if we first impede their path with fire, we can split up and set fire around them, forcing them to cluster and fall back. With this strategy, we lose the village, but I believe that we are more than capable of driving back the invaders and preventing them from pursuing the rest of the villagers."

While he could certainly understand any reluctance that Sir Valka may have with the plan, it was the only one Flynn could see that diminished as many unnecessary casualties as possible. He anxiously awaited the guardsmans response, fearing that every second deliberating made their plan of action that much harder to execute.