Shattered Soul

Nirath

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a part of Shattered Soul, by Nero D Lucifer.

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Nero D Lucifer holds sovereignty over Nirath, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Nirath

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Nirath is a part of Shattered Soul.

1 Places in Nirath:

6 Characters Here

Nero Dalmascer Lucifer [67] "I don't believe that there's no way of changing my fate."
Verdandi Saga Yngiv [63] "A labyrinth is a symbolic journey . . . but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world." ~Rebecca Solnit
Lucia Mirakel [63] "I shall not allow for more pain!"
Cain Azura [58] "I am going to become the Greatest there ever lived!"
Aleenia Anariel Taldren [31] Life is precious, it should be respected
Seriya Verrat [26] "No matter what kind of wisdom dictates you the option you should pick, no one will be able to tell if it's right or wrong till you arrive to some sort of outcome"

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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Nero Dalmascer Lucifer



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Walking up to Nero Johnathan examined him and with a soft smile crept onto his face kneels down. "Looks like your so called "plan" worked now then why don't we do what these nice Seraph are asking and get you to the temple. Now why don't you wake up they can get moving and I can file my report."

Reaching out the the unconscious warrior with the intent to wake him Johnathan couldn't shake the feeling something was off as he could feel a high temperature emanating from Nero's body through his gloved left hand. "A fever. Nero didn't show any sign of illness when we spoke earlier. What on Nirath happened?" In a hurry the knight captain swiftly exposed his hands putting his gloves into his front pocket on his jacket then wiping the sweat from his hands onto his pants before placing one on Nero's forehead and the other on his own.

"This isn't good Nero is running a rather high fever, what ever happened must have caused him to get sick or something." He stated wrapping an arm around Nero's back and hoisting the limp form of Nero up before adjusting and balancing their weight the knight captain looked towards who he could assume was the Seraph in charge of escorting Lucia and Seriya home shrugging off the distrusting stare.

"You can keep starring at me like that until your eyes fall out. I can't change what happened during that war as much as I wish I could." Johnathan said moving out of the back alley to the clinic carrying the six foot Nero along. "Seriously when did you get so tall? Now your even taller then me." He muttered to himself ignoring all the stares coming his direction. "Now then if you would be so kind as to lead the way it would be much appreciated." He pointed out letting the Seraph guide them.



As the monastery came into view Johnathan let out a sigh of relief as his shoulders were starting to get sore from rubbing the armor on Nero's arm. "Thank the gods this plate mail is killing my shoulder." he said not realizing until he looked back letting the priests take Nero inside to allow him to rub his now red skin. "Now that I know Nero's out of the way Leon's kid is being taken care of I need to file my reports now." He stated as he turned to the escorts.

"When Nero wakes up tell him to meet me at the inn before he goes I've got something his dad wanted the boy to have when he turned eighteen." He said as he walked away stopping just before Lucia and Cain. "Can I trust you two to watch over Nero for me. I seriously can't believe he trusted you enough to tell you his dad is the late captain of the group I lead today." Saying his piece Johnathan departed leaving Nero in the capable hands of the priests and priestesses.


Nightmare of the past

Despite being asleep Nero found himself in the uncomfortable predicament though unlike the previous night where he could force himself awake this didn't seem to be the same case he tried to force his will onto his body but he couldn't find the energy. "So much for jolting myself away." he said to himself trying to get a handle of his current situation.

"Last thing I remember I was purifying the demon before I fell unconscious after that... I'm drawing a blank. Some how I just blacked out I can't tell if it really worked or not since I can't force myself to wake up so I may be here for awhile." As Nero looked around he noticed that every now and again he was able to make out shapes or at least the outlines of something else that grabbed his attention.

"What's going on there?" He asked himself attempting to move close until his feet became caught on thick viscous like sludge the brought the young man to a stop. "What is this stuff it making it practically impossible to move... And what are those shapes? they seem all familiar, but where did I see them?" trying to force his way out of the muck like substance Nero soon found that what he wanted and what the goop was aiming for were two separate thing entirely.

The more Nero struggled against the substance the thicker it became and the harder it pulled him back. Let go of me you cursed goop I need to know what's going on!" He shouted trying to pry his legs from the viscous goop that clung to him with seemingly no success.

"Why? What good is knowing?" A voice rang out from seemingly all directions. "If I let you move you'll just be reliving the events from ten years ago. Can you say your willing to go through it more then once and not be torn apart by your emotions?" The childish voice again rang out but in a more mocking nature then a quizzical one.

"The hell are you talking about relive events from ten years ago?" Nero's question just seemed to escape his lips as he spoke. "I don't know watching my home burn was hard enough on me once I can't say I'll be able to handle seeing it a second time." he said with an almost defeated sigh.

"So why do you want to know wheat's going on over there?" The child rang out before the snapping of small fingers resounded echoing off unseen walls in the distance then Nero could feel himself able to move again.

"Wha... Why? How? Okay I'll just get away from here." Shaking his head from what happened Nero made his way towards the shifting outlines but the closer they got the more familiar they became. But it wasn't until he was right on top of them that he noticed where he stood. Looking over Nero hoped he wouldn't be able to verify it but there it was the boar he had shot the arrow still sticking out the side of the skull showing how Nero brought the creature down.

"You've got to be kidding me..." Nero's voice trembled as he forced himself to step away in aw. "Seriously what's going on? If this is a dream I need to wake up because I don't want to be dreaming of this nightmare any longer." But no matter how many times he tried to will himself to move none of his limbs would listen. Instead Nero found himself running along a branch covered path kicking up fallen leaves in his wake.

By the time he was able to catch his breath Nero felt a deep discomfort bubbling at the base of his gut. "Please I don't want to see this again." he cried out until he finally looked up to see what was left of his home town buildings he visited burning to the ground smoke billowing from each window followed by the pained and dying screams of those stuck inside.

As his gaze swept along what was visible of the town Nero almost dropped to his knees when he saw the long streaking blood stained earth. His stomach was doing flips trying to get the young warrior to look away but he didn't seem to be able to force himself to pry his eyes away.

Then as Nero started towards the fountain at the center of town everything began to fade away. Only to find himself back standing above the boar.


Two Days after the encounter with the demon

With a groan Nero began to sit up holding his head "Did I hit my head?" he grumbled trying to get his blurred sight to focus. Though to his own surprise Nero found himself in a bed in an unfamiliar location. "Uh this isn't the alley where I had the demon." he said to himself before waving down one one a priestess. "Excuse me miss but could you tell me where I am?"

Looking at Nero the priestess gave a brief answer "Your in a monastery for Temari goddess of miracles." she stated before excusing herself.

Left in a brief silence Nero began mulling over the events that transpired. 'I don't know how long I was out but last I remember I was holding Alissa who if I remember was a demon at the time.' he thought when suddenly a woman wearing a dress similar to the priestess how ever it seemed to have a more decorative trim to it compared to what he seen.

"You must be the boy our Seraph were talking about the one who seemingly cured that demon. It's good that your awake you had a high fever when the Knight captain brought you here." She said in calm and gentle tone before walking up and placing a hand atop of Nero's forehead.

"Well your fever has gone down significantly your almost back to a healthy temperature." As she said this she tapped Nero's head. "Well if your feeling better I'd like to ask you somethings."

Tilting his head Nero looked rather confused. "I appreciate your hospitality, and I'll answer what I can, but there's isn't much I can tell you that you haven't heard from any one I was with when we hunted the demon." he blurted out swinging his legs off the bed. Slowly standing Nero began to pat himself down straightening the collar on his jacket, and finally realigning the platemail on his arm.

When Nero was done making himself presentable or as close to presentable someone like him could get he turned his attention back to the head priestess. "I'll follow you so lead I'd rather speak to me in your office or something like that." he said walking keeping his hand down to his side. "I take it you took my sword while I was recovering? At any rate when we finish I would appreciate it if you gave it back."

With a nod the holy mother of Temari began to guide Nero out guiding him down the halls towards a large room with a desk in the back. "Take a seat I'll have someone bring in some tea." she said gesturing to the chair in front of the desk.

Nodding at the invitation Nero grabbed the back of the chair sliding it back a few inches before sitting himself down. "I know you said you were going to ask me some questions so before that I'd like to ask some of my own." he stated trying to find a comfortable way to sit in what seemed like a hard wooden chair. "One being what happened to the people who helped me with the demon? Last time I remember seeing them was before I passed out while I was holding the Chameleon."

After Nero sat and began speaking the head priestess simply nodded displaying a patience Nero was unfamiliar with. "I guess you would be worried but please do not fear you'll see them in due time." She said waving her hand as if to dismiss the subject.

"Okay... Second question. who are you? I mean I can see you hold authority in this church but really who are you what's your name?" Nero added not willing to press further less he anger this individual.

"Ah that is rather surprising I thought perhaps Lucia or Seriya would have at least mentioned my name once during your little demon hunt. Very well I am Mother Yeliss a priestess of Temari." Yeliss said hand up turned in a more religious manner. "Now then if I have fulfilled your questions would you mind indulging in mine?"

Holding still Nero simply nodded 'I think Lucia or Seriya might have mentioned her but I may have not been paying attention to it though.' he thought to himself folding his arms. "I will answer to the best of my knowledge but I'm doubtful anything I can say will be helpful to you."

"That has yet to be seen first since you asked me for my name. May I ask you who you are?" At this question Nero almost fell out of his seat.

"Right I completely forgot about common courtesy. My name is Nero Dalmascer Lucifer. My mother Emily Dalmascer was a Dragon Maiden. Before her untimely passing my mother was the current Maiden to an ancient dragon Dalmera who was considered to be the guardian of my village. Also I'm sure you can tell who my father is by the name alone." He said trying to keep it as brief despite showing interest in telling the priestess about who Dalmera is.

"I see so your father is the late captain of the Black Knights I take it. I'm sure he was a great man before his passing. But onto my other questions. Based on the report I read there was a demon in the town how it was able to elude the Seraph is beyond me. But the report Seriya gave me states that you were some how able to "purify" this creature could you elaborate that for me?" As she spoke Mother Yeliss Nero noticed her tapping some paper work on her desk.

"Well I can but I can't... This gift of mine is still a mystery to me I've been unable to find any records from religious books or the history books of anything like it. I mean I just found out that I can bring a Demon back to what it was before. Along side that I seem to have some kind of immunity to the taint that litters the land. Truthfully that's all I know about it." Hoping he gave a satisfactory answer Nero began looking back at the door to the office.

As Yeliss questioned Nero which he answered to the best of his ability. As the hour passed Nero set his emptied cup of tea onto the small plate on her desk. "I've answered all that I could as I said I still have no clue what this "gift" or ability of mine has in store for me. But for now I'll just let fate guide me." He said breaking the silence.

"Very well I'll be sure to have your sword returned to you shortly. But do stay out of trouble when you leave." the holy mother of Temari said guiding Nero out of her office.

As he stood in the hall Nero began stretching his arms above his head letting his sore muscle loosen up. "I guess it's almost time to head back to that place. I truly would like nothing more then to avoid it entirely but I have to see Dalmera and see if she knows anything about what's going on. Also maybe I could ask if they would like to accompany me there." He said with a sigh before following one of the priestesses to the entrance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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Ears flopped and tail limp, a beastgirl could be easily seen and heard from the roadway staring up into a tree and whining. It was perhaps a strange sight since the parallel road was not often traveled except by visitors to the nearby temple, and those visitors did not often linger in front of a tree – or so close to the temple.

There was of course an explanation for Verdandi’s strange behavior. Simply put: she was insufferably hungry and there were definitely apples in that tree. And she loved apples. What she didn’t love was heights, which could offer explanation why she was whining in front of the tree instead of climbing up it.

If she would simply head back into town she could probably buy something to eat thus eliminating her current dilemma, but then she might miss something. From where she was she could hear and smell when someone came and went from the cathedral. From the town, she could not. Moreover, she had her own reasons for avoiding the city. Thus far her recent memories of the place consisted of monsters lurking in the shadows and in everyday bookstores. Somehow she found that the town was now lacking its normal draw.

Not to mention the guilt that ate away at her – she could potentially return and run into an elderly bookkeeper still waiting for the return of his assistant, the assistant she said she’d return. But here she was two days later and she hadn’t had much luck. Verdandi didn’t know what was happening inside the temple, but she hoped that Alissa wasn’t being harmed. The beastkin knew already, that the girl likely already had suffered enough – subconsciously she rubbed her right arm. She also hoped that the group of misfit demon hunters was also all right.

Or at least better off than her in this moment.

Who was she kidding? They had to be, she doubted that no matter how serious the offense laid against them a group of priestesses would still be kind enough to feed them. And she seriously doubted they’d be anywhere near as bored as she was.

Her patience for this stakeout she had committed to was wearing thin.

Growling, she rested her head against the trunk of the tree and turned her thoughts over in her head, “Should I simply give up?”


Her eyes followed the group of priestesses and knights as they came upon the entrance to the temple, having carried Nero and the afflicted Alissa the entire way. Verdandi had been careful to follow them from a safe, unnoticeable distance. Using the tree line to mask her presence further that distance had reduced drastically, and she could easily pick up any chatter that occurred among the group members – though she didn’t overhear anything very important. Or at least she didn’t deem any of it important.

It wasn’t until they reached the monastery doors that the situation changed. The Knights left. They actually left. Apparently, they weren’t nearly as curious as the priestesses or herself. That or all the questions she wanted answered they already knew the answer to. It was a curious thought that raised more questions than answers, but she pushed those questions aside in favor of finding a better hiding spot. The knights were headed her direction after all.

Silently she worked her way backwards into the shadows of the wood and eventually crouched in some brush situated comfortably behind a tree, easily out of sight. Or at least that was what she had assumed. Yet, as they past by, she could have sworn that the captain, Johnathon, met her gaze.

The resulting nerves made her hair stand on end. For a moment, she was certain that he had seen her – he had look her right in the eyes, yet he didn’t say anything or even acknowledge her. He simply kept on walking. So had he?

This would bother her for hours – she knew it would. But her thoughts turned from the Knight back to the temple doors, which were now closing behind the last of the group.

Leaving her alone in the woods.

Wonderful.


She spent the next forty-eight hours roaming outside the temple; trying from time to time to see if she could spy any clues from any windows. But most windows were beautifully inconvenient. While some of the windows on the upper floors were normal, most of the ones belonging to the lower floors were stained glass and extraordinarily difficult to look through without being indiscreet.

Once or twice she thought to sneak into the building, but she could sense that the place was well monitored and moreover, she had little luck finding any place she could use as a potential entrance.

Perhaps, the thought it was a church and that it may be open to visitors never occurred to her. Or perhaps she was too fearful of being recognized as a part of the group of demon hunters and therefore interrogated to try walking in the front door. Although, admittedly, she didn’t actually know what was happening to the group within so she couldn’t state with complete confidence that was what was happening. Still, she could assume so.

Nonetheless, nothing changed that she was too fearful to enter or come any closer to the temple and too stubborn to give up her stakeout, so here she was starving in front of an apple tree. Her already drooping ears fell further and subconsciously she pushed her lower lip out further than it already was as she pouted. Her amber eyes analyzed the branches above her. She could reach those, but the apples lay above them, and she wasn’t quite that tall.

Still…she could climb up them. No no no!

“That’s a horrid idea.” Verdandi shook her head, but her stomach it seemed disagreed with her head. “…I guess it’s not that high…”

Taking a moment to turn the idea over in her head, she stole a glance at her surroundings. There wasn’t anyone around to see her should she fail – that provided safety to her pride. However, what if she got stuck?

GROWL!

Her hand shot up and gripped the nearest bough in answer to her belly’s hungry plea. With a slight leap she hoisted herself up, kicking against the trunk in support as she did so. She was soon seated a good six feet above the ground and in easy reach of a single golden apple, which she wasted no time in plucking and wolfing down. And it was delightful. However, after so long without easing her hunger pains, such teasing only increased her hunger and drove her higher in search of more.

By the time she had ate her fill, she was much too high. A good twelve feet from the ground, a glance down was all it took to freeze her to the tree.

Oh, she was stuck. And she’d likely remain stuck until someone got her down.

“Oh dear…”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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It was two days after the incident with the Demon and after Cain's own interrogation, he stuck around the town by living in the local inn. He wanted to learn more about Nero, and if potentially if he could potentially join whatever adventure he might provide. It may sound like a detour from his own personal quest, but he was a mercenary. The first thing about being a mercenary is that he had to work for his money, and his work was battle.

So he was now waking up and stretching like he was a bear after a long winter's nap. Cain did a couple of test swings upon his greatsword before looking out the window and seeing Nero being lead by one of the Priestesses to the entrance through his window. He hurried to gather his things and check out and grab Belzedar.

When he did most of these things, he approached Nero and gave a friendly wave. "Yo! Mister Nero! You want the Ten gold you won from our little wager? I'm more then willing to give it, and my services to you!" he shouted as he approached him. "My sword and services are yours. Where you go I will go. Besides, what better adventures await us?"

He was about to say more in his little speech, like say they could help each other out in whatever personal quests they had. However, Cain was interrupted by the sounds of rustling in a nearby apple Tree. "What the fel?" he thought as he stared towards the tree. Then he heard the soft voice of someone in there.

"Uhh, Nero? I think someone is up the tree. he remarked as he tried to figure out who it was through the leaves.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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#, as written by Lufia
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With the encounter resting behind the two young Priestesses, Lucia and Seriya face their inevitable punishments....




The walk home escorted by the Seraphs was unpleasant to say the least, as Lucia and Seriya both feared what was to come of them as they DID disobey direct orders, well, to a degree. It was apparent that Lucia had enough wit to understand what she had done, whereas Seriya, well, most Seraphs and Sisters understood she was a reckless idiot that would charge headlong to fight a demon she hadn't the slightest of idea of. But none the less there were punishments to get to, and both dreaded it. Barring a quick chat, the walk was quiet, and the party finally reached the Monastery.

The next two days were unpleasant for Lucia and Seriya, as their punishment began, starting with a simple apology to both the patron deity of the Monastery, and Mother Yeliss, to rigorous work handling crates, washing animals, moving injured, and alike, which almost killed Lucia, as physicality was her enemy that day with her injuries, to a single day confined to their separate rooms. While it wasn't necessarily a horrid punishment per se, it still felt horrid, as they both hurt from their working earlier, not to mention Lucia was still pretty well injured from her own magic, paired with the sore muscles from said escapade, and now more sore muscles from the labour she was assigned, Lucia remained mostly bedridden that second day.

Whereas Seriya hadn't felt as much pain in sore muscles and injuries. She was athletic enough that the lifting, running, and what-have-you were not even noteworthy. Though one of the tasks she had to do, seemed in her mind, to be pure evil to make anyone do, and that was to tend to several children's dolls. As she did that task, which ranged from a simple cleaning, to sewing, and even playing with them to entertain the child, she seemed stiff, and on edge the whole time. As she couldn't stand dolls, and in fact is scared of said dolls.

Yet the days had ended. While Lucia wasn't in perfect health, she was in much better condition than the days prior. The morning started with her typical morning routine. After, of course she puts on her Divine Vestments, a Plain white dress, ending at the middle of her thighs, allowing for easy movement for her, as she does run around like mad, as she handles her normal chores, and tends to everyone's health, along with a cloak which rested across her shoulders and extended to her hips, giving a more gentle appearance, added with a coat-tail beginning at her waist, along with sleeves that end roughly to where her arms meet the shoulder. It's mildly altered from a normal sister's gown, which was a longer dress, with bits of gold to it, symbolizing the Goddess, whereas Lucia's was purely white, minus the few gold pieces which mainly rest by her chest, and the Insignia of the Goddess Temari, which is a brass-colored bird against a brighter yellow sun in a manner that appears to be flying away from it. The Golden Phoenix as one calls it, which is what one would see and know that Temari is near. Moving along, Lucia noticed Mother Yeliss and Nero walking to the entrance, and soon swooped in to tail the two, curious as to what they were talking about. Soon she heard several words that made her heart almost skip a beat,

"Also maybe I could ask if they would like to accompany me there."

Almost immediately she rushed to a sprint to her room, as she had found a way from the Monastery, accompanying Nero to help everyone she can. As she burst through her door, hastily packing a bag of what little belongings she had, she wasn't much for material items, and soon rushing out, and meeting Nero at the entrance, not even changing from her divine vestments, holding a light brown leather bag, packed roughly, it's obvious that she packed in a hurry, as she came up, looking to Nero and Mother Yeliss, "I wish accompany Sir Nero. I've seen what he does, and see that his goal is like mine, to aid those in need." Her words were cut off by her hastened breath, as her determined eyes kept their gaze, with Mother Yeliss returning a almost sharp gaze,

"And what makes you think I'd let you, a simple Sister, go along with a man you've only a day's knowledge on?"

"Because..... Um....."

"It's that uncertainty that worries me, Sister Lucia. You're quick to rush forward and help others." A heavy sigh left Mother Yeliss' lips as she rubbed her temple, "Much like Seraph Seriya. You too rush into danger, without thinking ahead and not knowing what could happen."

"Ah...." Lucia's eyes turned away with her head, knowing that those words were true, and it hurt, as she thought that she'd be able to help those who needed it, though a third voice entered,

"Who said she'd run in alone?" Seriya replied, with a slight smile, with a bag in hand as well, "Mother, we both know that even though you've said no, that it won't stop us. Even if it means I pull Lucia by her wrist with me. I hate to say that, but you know that statement is beyond true. And if it'll ease your mind I'll go with her. That way, if danger lurks--"

"That does not ease my mind one bit that you'll be there. Seraph Seriya... But you're truthful in that statement. I cannot stop you, you'll go anyway. As much as I wish to say no, I cannot. As it'll just mean you'll leave without a farewell. Yet, I ask one thing, when this quest is over, I want you two to return. Am. I. Clear?"

"Yes, Mother Yeliss, I shall return with haste when I can. And I'll bring Seriya along."

"Then, let Temari's light guide the both of you. And please, come home safe."

With that, Lucia and Seriya's journey begins, with many twists to come. Some sooner than others....

As the two walked with Nero, they were caught up to with Cain, whom remarked on the bet he set earlier. With a sigh from Lucia and a laugh from Seriya, though their attention was drawn aside,

"Uhh, Nero? I think someone is up the tree"

Lucia looked to the tree, noticing Saga, and kept her eyes on her, her voice showing concern for the young wolfkin,

"Lady Saga, do you require assistance?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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Nero Dalmascer Lucifer



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As he was about to step through the door Nero looked back when he heard the familiar voice of Lucia saying that she would like to accompany him, followed by some worrying statements from Mother Yeliss only to be countered by Seriya. Worrying he might get whiplash should anyone else add a comment Nero simply looked back to the door.

"If this is all settled we'll head out as soon as we're all stocked up for the trip." Nero said opening the door where he was greeted by Cain saying something about the bet he made before saying he would also be accompanying them."Wait you were serious about that bet? You realize if I wasn't able to draw out that corruption we could have died right." he said in a rather shocked tone. "I honestly thought you were just trying to lighten the heavy mood back then. Though I will admit if that was the case it would have been some really dark humor." Shaking his head Nero looked in the direction everyone's attention had been drawn to. And to his surprise he noticed Saga clinging to a branch as though her life depended on it.

"How'd you get up there?" Nero asked with a hint of amusement in his voice despite concealing a smile. "Honestly why did you climbed up that high without thinking of how you were going to get down? Unless you intended to fall and hurt yourself." As he walked towards the tree Nero examined the branches before he grabbed one, and a fair bit of effort he pulled himself up while keeping an eye on the beastgirl who had gotten herself stuck.

After a minute of grabbing branches and shaking afew apples onto the ground Nero finally reached a point where he sitting next to the branch Saga was stuck. "Seriously how did you even get this high? I didn't know wolf beastkin could climb." He said amusingly before hooking his legs to the branch he was sitting on and stretching out his hand to get the beastgirl's attention "You'll have to be a little calmer though while you use me as a human ladder, unless you want us both to end up tumbling to the ground." Saying that piece Nero kept his hands out stretched as he swung his upper body down. "And can you make it fast? It would be very much appreciated I don't want too much blood rushing to my head while you make you decision on if you'd prefer to stay up here or not!"



After the days event with Saga, Nero couldn't help but observe his new friends. "At least everything won't be boring." he said smiling to himself. "Any way most of you already decided to come along with me but I would like to ask any way. This trip is going to be long and I can't really rely on myself forever, so I'm asking would you four like to accompany me travelling across this land?" He asked palming his sword waiting for the answer. "Should you want to come along I welcome you with open arms, and should you refuse I will understand and hope to meet you again someday."

Stepping back Nero let out a sigh "Now that that's out of the way I should probably tell you where I intend to go first don't I?" he asked bringing his armored hand to his chin. "So how do I put it I'm intending to go to a place I haven't been to for quite some time ten years to be more precise, it's the place I grew up and well...." Nero began only to trail of when he tried to bring up the topic of his destroyed home, fearing that negative emotions were showing in his eyes he turned his head slightly making it harder to see into his eyes. "Well you'll see once we get there why I'm a bit skeptical about returning there right now. But Dalmera is possibly the only one I know that can tell us what's going on and how to stop it."

Clicking the heels of his feet together Nero began walking away only slowing to wave at the bookkeeper and his assistant Alisa. And when one of the knight who had accompanied Johnathan approached. "Nero I take it that captain says to give you this and a message, and he regrets that he couldn't be here when you woke up." reaching into a small satchel the young knight handed Nero a parcel with a letter. "Ah thank you I'll open it as soon as I can, and when you see Uncle John next time tell him I said thanks and if he ever get's time off head to the town where my father is buried in he'll know where it is." and with a salute the knight departed.

'That king so demanding even though he hasn't even reached his thirties yet.' Nero shrugged looked at the parcel he was given before tucking it away, and opening the letter given along with it. 'Nero you wouldn't believe how surprised I was to see how big you've gotten your much taller then your father was that's for sure, I still remember when you were just a young lad trying to hold a sword for the first time, man your father almost exploded with rage "My child should not learn swordsmanship, I don't want him to become a killer like we were during that blasted war." I remember him saying to me when I visited the next day. Man he was steaming I guess he saw a big portion of himself in you. Funny I guess you and I both miss your old man Leon. But I'm trailing off now, I originally decided to write this because I didn't have time to speak with you in person. You should have received a parcel with this letter when you get the chance open it. It's the last gift from your parents I kept it safe so you could have it when you turned twenty, yeah it's a year late but now that it's in you possession you can do what ever you'd like with it. Don't stop being who you are and I'll see you soon sincerely Johnathan Daamnile. P.S. Try not to get yourself killed by any more demons your father would come up from the grave and kill me if that were to happen to you.'

With a soft sniffle and a wide smile Nero crumpled up the letter and set it in his bag along with a multitude of varying books and cases of potions. "Curse you Johnathan I was hoping not to think about my dad until I got to his grave when I see you next time I'm seriously going to punch so hard you'll be seeing stars for a week." he said sounding as though he was barely able to sleep despite being unconscious for two days. "Well we should head out no need to stall any longer."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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"Ha! If you go as far as Valsir Province my friend, you'll find that even a joke can be both humorous and serious. Besides, I have plenty of gold from my last few jobs." Cain stated with a small smile. Then he watched Nero go and assist Saga down from her accidental perch. Then Nero gave his speech and Cain smiled even wider.

"Well! We best get started! I said I'm your man as you won the Bet, and my services! Besides! You'd be alone with three beautiful women! You need some masculinity in this group! And I am the picture of Masculinity!" Cain declared as he chuckled a bit. And this was how Cain Azura cemented his place as another one of Nero's companions.

As he walked with the group they were stopped by a Knight who gave Nero a letter from the head of the Black Knights. As well as a parcel. Cain observed his new friend read the letter and watched as Nero sniffled. Cain made no inquiries, he would find out when they reached his old home. Cain nodded when he said no delays were to be made.

"Right Nero! Ladies! We're off! To a grand adventure of unknown promises!" The Swordsman shouted as his horse nudged him. "Belzedar, I swear by all the Dragons I can name, I do not have sugar for you!" the Horse didn't seem to care. It just wanted to mess with its master.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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She felt dizzy, staring at the branch she held in her iron grip and the distant ground below her. Verdandi had at one point tried not to look, thinking it might help dislodge her from her place in the tree, but alas closing her eyes led only to a momentary loss of balance that might have sent her tumbling towards the ground if she hadn’t opened them a second later. In the end, all she had managed thus far was to make noise enough to alert passersby to her presence in the tree. Both a good and a bad thing, she supposed.

Her ears twitched towards the sound of footsteps and for a moment she tried to glance in their direction. She only caught a partial glance of the approaching party before fumbling with her balance again, however that fleeting glance and her sharp nose and hearing told her just who it was. Why, it was the ragtag bunch of demon slayers she had been patiently waiting for. They were discussing something concerning a bet as they walked towards the city, that is, until the conversation turned towards her.

"Uhh, Nero? I think someone is up the tree"

That statement, spoken by the mercenary, directed all their attentions to the unfortunate beastkin stuck in the tree, who may or may not have flushed in embarrassment at being caught.

"Lady Saga, do you require assistance?" Verdandi cringed at being questioned so directly by the priestess – and perhaps at the unfamiliar label ‘lady’. For a moment, she remained silent but eventually she did offer a quiet and extremely vague answer.

“Uh…well…hmm.”

By this point, it was Nero’s turn to speak, "How'd you get up there?" The question as well as the amused undertone that Verdandi couldn’t help but notice only made her embarrassment worse. Especially, since her answer wasn’t a good one. "Honestly, why did you climb up that high without thinking of how you were going to get down? Unless you intended to fall and hurt yourself."

The beastgirl’s reddened face turned towards the now approaching man, an disconcerted scowl alighting it, “O-of course not! I just…uh…huh?” Her short-lived tirade was interrupted as she observed the warrior start climbing the tree. He reminded her a little of a bull in a china shop since his armor did little to aid him and more to stress the boughs and knock down plenty of apples. Verdandi blinked once or twice while she watched the apples fall before pouting, “…Where were you ten minutes ago?”

In another moment’s time, Nero was seated at the same level as her, an action that made her own perch tremble and sent her into a momentary panic, yet she found that having someone so close was also a comfort. It merely meant if she did lose her balance, someone could catch her. "Seriously how did you even get this high? I didn't know wolf beastkin could climb."

“…I was hungry.” Her voice was just a little whinier than she might have intended. But it was the truth of the matter.

"You'll have to be a little calmer though while you use me as a human ladder, unless you want us both to end up tumbling to the ground." A…human ladder? Her eyes flashed with confusion and curiosity and her head cocked to the side. People have helped her down before, but never using such a method. She glanced towards his outstretched hand, but flinched and almost snatched his shirt for fear he was falling out of the tree when he swung himself down. She counted her blessings that she hadn’t actually grabbed him, otherwise they probably would have gone tumbling to the ground. "And can you make it fast? It would be very much appreciated I don't want too much blood rushing to my head while you make you decision on if you'd prefer to stay up here or not!"

The beastgirl flushed, feeling slightly miffed by his amusement with her predicament, but alas still wasted no time in crawling – awkwardly, mind you – down her human ladder. As she descended she quietly whined her thanks.


The group was now back in the small town where they first met. Instinctually she still felt a little uncomfortable; after all, this was also where she first encountered the demon. Nonetheless that was no longer here nor there and reason told her the danger was no longer present.

Now Nero was talking about his journey, "Any way most of you already decided to come along with me but I would like to ask any way.” Wait, most of them had already agreed? Somehow, Verdandi found this somewhat surprising. Especially when one considers two of the four were a priestess and a seraph. How curious. “This trip is going to be long and I can't really rely on myself forever, so I'm asking would you four like to accompany me travelling across this land?"

Verdandi’s head cocked to the side while she mulled over the pros and cons of joining Nero on his adventure. There were many of both, travelling in groups was generally safer than travelling alone, and she might enjoy the company and security. Moreover, this man had the potential to save her. Subconsciously, she crossed her arms. However, he also may not be able to. Verdandi didn’t truly understand how his ability worked and she knew little of the man that possessed it. Her initial impressions of him have been nothing but positive. Still, who could say what would happen if she were to be revealed. Moreover, whose to say his quest wouldn’t be abnormally dangerous? And if it were, she’d be more a bane than a boon.

Verdandi realized he had been speaking and she may have been rudely ignoring him, but to her defense she had many things to consider. She did however catch the tail end of his speech; apparently, his goal was his hometown and someone by the name of Dalmera, who apparently knew more about the corruption than she or he did – and admittedly her curiosity was peaked at the thought of learning more about her own ailment. However, she was unsure whether she had the strength both physically and mentally to take up the mantle of ridding the world of all the contamination that had infested it. That kind of quest – that kind of responsibility was beyond the reach of someone who couldn’t even do anything about her own arm.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a young knight who had stopped the walking group right in front of the bookkeeper and Alisa’s, who she noted with great optimism had recovered, book store. He carried with him a parcel and a letter addressed to Nero. For a moment, Verdandi had to fight the urge to read the letter from over his shoulder, her curiosity egging the impulse on, but eventually she gave in to the proper etiquette of allowing Nero his privacy.

Besides, she found herself busy avoiding eye contact with the bookkeeper that kept sending her conflicted glances. It made her uncomfortable to know someone knew her secret – though she hadn’t verbally confirmed it. She much preferred knowing other people’s.

"Curse you Johnathan,” The beastgirl was startled out of her musings by Nero’s own remark. A quick glance towards the young man and Verdandi realized she couldn’t quite understand why he was cursing his old friend, after all: He had a bittersweet smile on his face. That didn’t usually prompt cursing, did it? “I was hoping not to think about my dad until I got to his grave. When I see you next time, I'm seriously going to punch you so hard you'll be seeing stars for a week." Verdandi frowned for a moment, confused by the violent intentions from what she had thought to be a rather kind man. Until, that is she realized his intention did not arise from negativity as much as playfulness. Still, she made a mental note not to mention his dad until she was certain they were on pleasant grounds.

After his little outburst, Nero turned back towards the rest of the group and spoke once again. "Well we should head out no need to stall any longer."

She supposed he was right; it was time to make a decision. The beastgirl could sense that whatever decision she made, her future had already become unavoidably tied to this man’s mission. Perhaps, she could avoid it for a while but – her arm throbbed – not forever. Plus, she was curious. And when had curiosity ever killed anyone?

Better not answer that question – "Right Nero! Ladies! We're off! To a grand adventure of unknown promises!" Verdandi watched Cain for a moment, amused by his enthusiasm she grinned. "Belzedar, I swear by all the Dragons I can name, I do not have sugar for you!" Her grin quickly grew to a poorly hidden giggle. At the very least, this would be an entertaining adventure.

“I suppose…I could join you.” She cleared her throat and walked somewhat ahead, “I’m travelling in that direction anyhow…” She blinked once before realizing her folly and turning awkwardly back towards Nero, “Um…that is. Which way are we headed?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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With their journey beginning, Seriya's horizon expands once more, whilist Lucia's freedom (If that's what you'd call it) has only just begun.


T'was a sight indeed, a Wolf stuck in a tree. Not a cat, but a Wolf. Granted said wolf was a beastkin by the name of Saga, whom likely had gone up there to either get a view of her surroundings, or to get one of the many apples in said tree. Most likely the latter of the two in Lucia's mind, as she watched Nero knock countless poor apples from the tree, as he was wearing a fair amount of armour, that with a weapon and what-have-you. She watched the young man climb and then become a human ladder for her. It was easy to say this was going to be an interesting journey. Though Seriya laughed, as she rested her left hand on her hip, watching Nero contort to being upside down, and spoke,

"You know, Nero, I could have jumped up there, and just come down with Miss Saga, Right?" though her red eyes turned to the Mercenary, whom made the comment about him being the "Image of Masculinity." Whereas Lucia simply laughed at the comment, it seemed to strike a bit of a nerve with Seriya, it was apparent to her that he was showing off, and her words showed that annoyance, "Oh, Mister Mercenary, the way you're showing off MUST mean you're compensating for something~♥" while her tone turned playful by the end, it was apparent Seriya had some notion of annoyance at the poor man. Though she was promptly bumped by Lucia, in a way to discreetly say "hush."

Speaking of, as Belzedar harassed Cain once more, Lucia walked to the man, lightly laughing at the duo, they were definitely an amusing pair, though reaching into her bag she took out a few sugar cubes, she kept them on her for patients, as it was something to focus their senses on rather than what is wrong with them, without even a word, she took Cain's hand, and gently placed the sugar cubes in his palm, her words were light, keeping sure she got across the kind tone, while keeping her voice above the debacle, "Now you do have sugar for him, Sir Cain."

Yet both Seriya and Lucia's attention was brought back into town once more. At this point, Lucia and Seriya felt at edge, having been escorted out by Seraphs with an unconscious person had stirred rumors around the small town about the two, Lucia most of all, having been escorted out twice did not look good for what remained with her reputation, though a light smile to the young Bookkeeper's assistant, Alisa was given from Lucia. Though as one of the Black Knights had come to deliver a message to Nero, something crossed Lucia's mind, 'Hold on... Dalmera? I feel like I know this name from somewhere....' as he read his letter, Lucia stepped aside into the store, looking for a book she had seen earlier, as she had grabbed it during the first fight against the demon, with a quick look she picked it up, thumbing through she found it. 'Dalmera... Wait. He's asking a DRAGON?! Nero... Wants to talk.... To a Dragon.... closing the book she placed it back on the shelf and regrouped with Nero and the others. Right when Nero spoke once more, followed by Saga

"Well we should head out no need to stall any longer."

"I suppose…I could join you... I’m travelling in that direction anyhow… Um…that is. Which way are we headed?"

With that, Lucia smiled, along with Seriya, she felt that she could trust those in front of her, and that they could accomplish any trial ahead of them. Yet Seriya cut her thought off,

"Well, Let's go then!!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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"Oh right location. We're heading towards the Sliventra mountain range." Nero said in response to Saga's question point towards the west. "The mountain range itself is west of here, but the river my hometown sat near is to the north. The trip itself will take a few days on foot from here to there." he added before looking at Cain and his horse.

"However on horse back we could get there in maybe a full day and a half. Perhaps we should pay for a coach..." Nero started though mid thought cut himself off shaking his head. "Actually that won't work. The mountain passage is far too narrow for a coach, and only barely big enough for a horse to walk along comfortably." He said tapping his foot on the ground before finally making up his mind. "We better stock up on provisions for the hike west." And with that he went off towards the market ignoring any rumor he heard whispered about him.

Untying the coin purse from his belt Nero quickly went through until he stopped at one of the stalls where he was able to spend several pieces of silver to get enough water skins to last about a week. "What should I cook... Ah I know..." Tossing his coin purse back and forth from one hand to the other while walking from stall to stall picking out different ingredients with a practiced eye. "Perfect these will do just fine for the meal I have planned." he said to himself as he tied the food into separate wrapping before putting them into his bag careful to not crush anything important and rearranging the potions he bought some time ago so they sat on top.

Now with shopping out of the way Nero looked towards his friends "Before any of you crack a joke about how me getting ingredients to cook. I'll just say this, poke fun at it and you'll just have to go hungry." he said smiling as he walked off to the entrance of the city patting his bag along the way not even acknowledging the people around him before he reached the main road.



Looking down the path Nero tried to keep his attention on the destination 'Certainly has been a long time since I've been on this road... No it's been a long time since I've been on this road heading home.' he thought to himself until he realized his left arm had begun swinging around in random directions as though it were trying to hit something with a sword an action that only gained a sigh from the young warrior.

"Right on towards the Sliventra Mountain range. Quick warning to those who haven't been out that far, there are a lot of sheer cliffs you can fall from." Nero said pulling himself from his revelry. "Also once you get through the mountain's pass there's a forest bordering the ocean to the west. We will want to get through that forest as quickly as we can no stopping to make camp." He added taking a deep breath.

"Finally if you happen to hear a howl coming from the trees I can't stress this enough run. Dire Wolves have jaws that are strong enough to tear platemail to ribbons but they're not exactly swift and their eye sight is rather poor, since they rely more on their sense of smell to lock onto their prey. And don't even try telling me you can take on a Dire Wolf, they hunt in packs."

Rubbing his shoulder Nero marched on towards the west trying to keep his mind occupied with thoughts other then past events. 'Let's see I should have all the ingredients for the dish I want to make tonight and I can always go hunting to replenish what we go through. Now when should I read my new book, maybe while the sun is setting or after I finish cooking, or it's possible for me to pull it out and start reading right now... Nope not a good idea reading would just distract me and cause me to trip.' he thought tossing several ideas around in his head as he moved along the road Nero kicked aside little rocks that had been knocked loose by wagons, horses, and carriages coming an going from the town.



Weiss


Using the shadows from his black cloak to obscure his face Weiss continued observing the small town he was sent to confirm if it was ready. "Certainly a promising place for master's chaotic dominion to grow." he said with his deep crimson eyes scanning the area for any potential demon he could present to his lord.

"Hey elf what do you think your doing here?" A large male stated grabbing a much smaller framed elf by his shirt before tossing him aside and spitting while the elf tried to scrambled back to their feet. "Now get back to your tree villages or hide in a forest that's what your kind is good at." spitting again at the elf the larger human started to walk away.

"Promising human there, but that elf... That elf is certainly harboring some extremely negative emotions perfect for maturing seeds." pulling his arm out of the cloak Weiss held out a strange serrated item that was emanating a dark aura from base to tip and with a grin started making his way towards the dirtied elf hiding the strange object back into his cloak while extending the opposite hand.

"Must be tough being an elf in a human dominated society. I can't say I'd be able to understand how your kind are feeling but I can empathize and I would like to help... All you would have to do is extend your hand, then not even the gods above will be able to with stand your might." Weiss said with a near cheshire like grin on his mostly hidden face watching as the elf tried to make his decision.

His grin would only grow wider as the young elf took Weiss' hand "Wise choice my elven friend." and with a fluid motion he brought out the seed before jabbing it straight into the elf's chest with enough force to break skin. Watching as black veins appeared on the elf Weiss began to speak once more as shadows began to swirl around his feet "As I promised now your power is going to be greater then even the gods. Let this corruption consume you and be reborn as a demon, devour you foes, and spread this corruption till it engulfs the entirety of this cursed world."

With his job done and a new demon about to be born Weiss allowed the shadows to take him away. Looking up Weiss began removing the cloak "I have done as you told me master. Now we need only wait for the newly born demon to mature and begin spreading your corruption even further." He stated dropping to one knee and bowing his head. "Very well you may rest now, you must regain your strength as from my understanding you were injured by your counterpart during a battle you initiated." The mysterious voice rang out from an unseen location.

"But it was only a shoulder wound I doubt it's..." Weiss started only to be cut off by an ominous boom as his mysterious mast brought their hands together. "Don't argue with me. One injury will be more then enough to topple even the greatest of giants. Heal and rest I have plans for you later." with a dismissing wave Weiss gave a bow until his master was no longer in view.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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He saw the sugar cubes the priestess gave to hIm. "Oh now you've gone and spoiled him." the Mercenary swordsman said with a frown but sighed and gave the cubes to the eager horse. "Don't say I never heeded anything from you. And say thank you to the Priestess by letting her ride you every once in awhile."

Cain listened to Nero's instructions and looked at Belzedar then back at Cain. He was one of the best horsemen in his village, so he had some confidence in navigating this mountain pass "I'm sure I can be able to lead Belzedar the right way." Cain stated. "In my village I was ranked number one horse rider." he smirked slightly at his boast and nodded vigorously. Belzedar rolled its poor eyes.

Then he finally realized what Seriya said in response to his statement of masculinity. Almost immediately, his face turned redder then his hair. "Oy Oy! Where did you pick up such statements?!" he asked in an embarrassed tone. "Such words shouldn't be spoken to by a Priestess! It's vulgar!" Nothing more was said out of Cain as the group started on their long journey westward.

----

When Cain heard Nero talk about their next destination he perked up. "Okay, mind the cliffs. Gotcha. You got all that Belzy?"

The horse only nickered at him as Cain gave a small smirk. But then came the statement of the dire wolves. Cain swallowed rather nervously. "You mean, bigger then normal wolves? The ones not entirely afraid of fire?" Cain asked as he rubbed his temple. "My bloodline would stop rather immediately in a dire wolf's stomach, so thanks for the warning Nero."

After he said that his anxiety returned in the form of a quivering right hand. It was itching to draw Beltharion at the first sign of trouble, but Cain had to keep his wits together as he journeyed on with the small band."This is going to be a really long next few days to Nero's hometown. he thought silently.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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"Oh right location. We're heading towards the Sliventra mountain range." Verdandi’s ears stood at attention when she heard their destination. It was hard not to be attentive. She knew that mountain range. She had documented a part of it before. "The mountain range itself is west of here, but the river my hometown sat near is to the north. The trip itself will take a few days on foot from here to there." Though, admittedly she had never ventured quite that far north or near the river – that was wolf country. Wolf country that she – even as a wolf-en beastkin – had never dared ventured. Rather it was because she was so closely related to the landlords that she knew better than head into that place.

How ironic, she would wander purposefully into corrupted land but not the land of a cousin of sorts.

Nonetheless, her tail and ears betrayed her by cowering at the thought of where she had just agreed to go and what she had just agreed to face: Dire Wolves. Still, she wouldn’t back out – not after she had already agreed. She was too stubborn for that, and though she wasn’t above a secret or two, she wasn’t a liar. She listened as Nero debated with himself over whether or not they should head by foot or wheel. Verdandi, knowing the area at least a little, knew his final decision even before Nero had said it. After all, a coach couldn’t handle the mountain roads – nor could it effectively navigate between the many wolf packs and their territories (or outrun one like she could on foot…then again few things could).

"We better stock up on provisions for the hike west." Verdandi paused for a while at the wisdom of Nero's words. As a traveler herself, one would think she was rather well practiced at preparing for travel. Yet, she always found herself wondering what all she would need except for ink and parchment, which were the tools of her trade, until she needed them - and by then it was usually too late. Then again, beastkin often preferred to live off the land anyhow, so perhaps this was the indirect reason for her thoughtlessness.

Nonetheless, she did quickly check her pack and decided that her funds were sufficient, but she could perhaps use some more parchment. So, though she did follow Nero as closely as she could through the marketplace, she made her own way towards some merchants that could assist her with her own needs. She found one with relative ease, though the woman was a bit of a...how to say, hardass, as she refused to haggle over her set price. Eyebrows furrowed, nose scrunched, and tail twitching, Verdandi ended up paying the asking price, before catching up with Nero just as he finished his own purchases and had turned to face his companions. "Before any of you crack a joke about how me getting ingredients to cook. I'll just say this, poke fun at it and you'll just have to go hungry."

Verdandi tilted her head to the side, most of her earlier irritation falling to the wayside as her curiosity rose in power, "You cook?" Admittedly, it was a surprising notion to her, that a man - a warrior no less - would be a cook. Though, on the other hand, there was nothing like a home cooked meal to strengthen the body. Despite the latter notion, however, Verdandi couldn't shake her doubt that the young man could cook well and as it stood she couldn't help teasing him or pressuring him for that matter, "Then, I'll be looking forward to it." Verdandi smiled innocently and turned away, "But please - do your very best, beastkin have a very sensitive pallet you know."


Beastkin have always felt most at home in the wilderness. It's an aspect of their nature. And from the moment Verdandi stepped outside the town and ventured away from its teeming population she had been temporarily contented. It was with a slight skip in her step that she wandered from left to right on the path, sniffed the perfumed air, and listened to the chirping of birds and insects - memorizing her surroundings by both scent and sound.

Her meandering was only interrupted as she passed by Nero for the fourth - maybe fifth - time and narrowly avoided being knocked to the ground by his flailing sword arm. "Eep!" For a moment, she eyed the offending limb, wondering if perhaps that was some form of revenge for her earlier teasing - but quickly deciding that was most likely not the case since he seemed almost as surprised as she was by its erratic movement. An odd tick then? Curious.

Up until this point the group, save the Cain and his horse, which seemed the most personable animal in the group as it pestered the mercenary most of the way thus far, had been strangely silent. It was likely that no one here was really quite use to one another or the situation yet. However, Nero - as was usually the case - broke the silence and led the way in finally beginning a dialogue. "Right on towards the Sliventra Mountain range. Quick warning to those who haven't been out that far, there are a lot of sheer cliffs you can fall from." It was unfortunate that so far, most of his conversation starters came in the form of a warning.

The mercenary turned to his horse, "Okay, mind the cliffs. Gotcha. You got all that Belzy?" Verdandi blinked, at the red-head and shivered at the thought of a cliff.

"Also once you get through the mountain's pass there's a forest bordering the ocean to the west. We will want to get through that forest as quickly as we can; no stopping to make camp."

The question stood firmly in her mind. Why ever couldn't they simply go around the forest, as opposed to through it? That seemed the wiser - albeit far more cowardly - thing to do. Was there a need to travel with great speed?

"Finally if you happen to hear a howl coming from the trees - I can't stress this enough - run. Dire Wolves have jaws that are strong enough to tear platemail to ribbons, but they're not exactly swift and their eye sight is rather poor, since they rely more on their sense of smell to lock onto their prey. And don't even try telling me you can take on a Dire Wolf, they hunt in packs." Another warning, and against the wolves. This was at least a warning she hadn't been blindsided by, unfortunately, she still couldn't avoid flinching nor cowering. Still, the question of early remained firm in her mind. Why should they head through the wolves' territory?

"You mean, bigger then normal wolves? The ones not entirely afraid of fire?" Verdandi thought to answer the mercenary's questions but they seemed more rhetorical than literal, moreover, he didn't give her much opportunity to, "My bloodline would stop rather immediately in a dire wolf's stomach, so thanks for the warning Nero."

The beastgirl nearly did a double take, "Your...bloodline?" She couldn't help wondering why that seemed to have been his first thought, "What about your life." Perhaps it was a male thing? Her head cocked to the side, but she eventually shook away the questions as they arose and turned back towards Nero.

"Perhaps, we could instead avoid Dire Wolf territory?" She moved to walk slightly in front of Nero, "Dire wolves are more aggressive than their less...dire counterparts, but they're still wolves. They won't hunt outside their territory unless they're starving. If we stay out of it, they won't hunt us. I would know, I am part wolf after all."

She paused for a moment, walk and all, before continuing, "Unless, that is, there is cause to brave the wolves for the sake of expediency? Is there reason to rush?" Verdandi smiled carelessly at Nero and her tail wagged playfully, but her eyes were contrastingly sharp - clearly preying upon and trying to pick apart his brain.

Though, perhaps now wasn't the time? She wondered. Nero seemed lost in his own thoughts as it were, so it may be best that she not join him?


She couldn't understand the necessity of it. It was perfectly possible to set up camp without needing to build a fire. Verdandi glared at the offending blaze as she huddled against the trunk of a tree situated just outside the fire's glowing ring. She hated fire. The others in the group were setting up camp, attending to their various tasks. But Verdandi had no such task - she could sleep on cold, hard rock and had therefore never taken to setting up a campsite. Moreover, she hated fire.

When the sun had started to go down, it was suggested - barely with words - that they should set up camp for the night. After all, mountain climbing was exhausting by anyone's standards...well, in theory. However, it seemed that the various members were fairing differently. Some well, some not so well. Verdandi was one of the former. She spent most of her life either working in endlessly in fields or traversing hundreds of terrains in her quest to map them out, so mountain climbing was child's play. The most exhaustive part of her day actually came in the form of that fire.

Her glare never once faltered, if anything it only intensified when the flame flickered mockingly at her and she answered it with a nervous growl. It was then that Verdandi made a firm (albeit reactive) decision. These people were likely going to set the mountain ablaze.

And she really hated fire.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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"Nero wishes to speak with a dragon!?"Oh mountain climbing~ Haven't done that in years~♥"




"Oh right location. We're heading towards the Sliventra mountain range."

That was quite a venture in Lucia's mind, it was a mountain range she'd see off in the distance, it felt like she'd never reach them before, and now she was going to them. This pushed a little more excitement into her mind, though, one statement lingered, Nero was going to talk to a dragon. It puzzled her as Nero ran off to gather supplies, which Seriya soon did as well, having been on long expeditions to stake out and combat demons. Yet the man came back, holding what appeared to be cooking vegetables, Lucia gently laughed seeing him make the mention of poking fun at him, and they would go hungry. Though Lucia did speak up, after Saga,

"Aw come on Nero, it's cute that you can cook."

While, yes, she was teasing him a little, there was a truth to her words, it was adorable to her that a man like Nero, whom had the image of a knight whom doesn't do a lot of delicate things, but him being able to cook was definitely something that she had not expected from him. Yet she did remember something, and looked around a little, and nodded, speaking with the others,

"I will return momentarily. I've something I must pick up." The thing she remembered, was a simple bag, well, not exactly simple, as it was meant to hold something more important, as she walked to a nearby shop, it was a leatherman's shop, as she entered a middle-aged man, his silver hair slowly receding showing more and more of his scalp, slowly turned his head from a parchment he was working on, and smiled while rising to face the young woman, setting down his tools,

"Ah! Lady Lucia! You're a little later than I expected, is all well? I've heard people talking about you getting involved with some roughians..."

"It's not what people saw. A demon was here, it's settled now, but things did not exactly look as it was. And I apologize if any of it affected you, Sir Ilthan."

"No worries, I had no doubts you were doing what you thought was right. Though I'll gander you're here for your medical bag?"

Lucia smiled, and gently replied, yet keeping an underlying joke in, it was apparent the two knew eachother well to a degree, after all, she was a regular, "Oh, Sir Ilthan! You know me so well!"

"Alright, Ma'am, give me one moment to get it for you." With that, the man walked into the back, as Lucia bounced a little, she was definitely happy, and soon the man came back, with a brown messenger's bag, it was large and looked like it could hold various things, though there were vials and alike notably peering itself out from under the flap, which was held closed by a golden buckle which trailed from underneath the tail feathers of a brass-coloured phoenix, "Hope you don't mind, I took a little creative liberties with it. Since you're from the Sanctum of Temari, and all your salves and herbs are packed away in there already. Most of it was made from that old bag you had, while I couldn't fix it, I made you a new one from it--"

"It's wonderful, thank you, Sir Ilthan...." Lucia's gaze had almost softened to the point of melting, knowing her mother's bag had been recreated in such a manner, as the bag had been placed gently in her hands, Lucia reached for a small pouch for a payment, giving a little extra for the extra work put in, while Ilthan tried to wave off the money, Lucia remained persistent, the standoff remained until she finally gave him the money.

Meanwhile...

Seriya had gone off to a place she knew would have rations that were good for a trip like this, a street stand run by adventurers, theoretically, the group would know how to make good rations. As she approached, one of them approached her, greeting with a smile,

"Hello ma'am! Welcome to the Travelling Hare! What can we assist you with!?"

He was loud, and very boisterous, it caused a sigh from Seriya as she looked to the man, her crimson eyes calming the man down alone, "I was wondering if you had some rations. Preferably for a fortnight with about five people and a horse." It was an incorrect notion to say five people, but Seriya had not known the eating habits of the others, along with the extra food would help if the travel had been longer than what they had in stores. Though the travelling merchant had noticed the half-elf's clothes, and understood,

"Oh, a Holy Seraph, going demon hunting?"

"One could put it that way, yes."

"Give me one moment, I should be able to get some supplies for you."

With that, the man turned around to his trunk opening it quickly, and rummaged through the supplies he had, pulling out a large sack that upon an investigation from Seriya, was filled with dried meats, nuts and even a bread of sorts. Rationed bread without anything was painful to eat, as it was hard and even tasteless. Though a amber gleam caught Seriya'ss eye, Honey. While she was not a fan of sweets, honey was a good thing to put on the bread, to at least remove the tasteless part of it.

"Oh, I see the honey has caught your eye. I can give it to you for a good price"

With a mention of the price, Seriya looked almost offended, haggling had not been a strong suit, though she did make one single mention,

"So you're telling me, you'll give a Seraph, the one person ensuring you can sleep safely from demons, THAT price? Just for some honey?" Granted, the price was going to be high no matter what, as honey was a delicacy, and Seriya knew it, but with the price it sat at, it was over what Seriya was willing to pay. Though it did go down by a mere four gold, it made it better, it was at least around market price. While she walked back, with an admittedly heavy bag filled with rations and a flask of honey she returned to Nero talking about their path,

"....Quick warning to those who haven't been out that far, there are a lot of sheer cliffs you can fall from. Also once you get through the mountain's pass there's a forest bordering the ocean to the west. We will want to get through that forest as quickly as we can no stopping to make camp."

At this point Lucia had returned, with her new medical and apothecary bag, and Seriya commented,

"So stay away from edges.... Unless you like climbing. Got it." Though before she even asked about the whole camp thing, Nero gave the reasoning,

"Finally, if you happen to hear a howl coming from the trees I can't stress this enough run. Dire Wolves have jaws that are strong enough to tear platemail to ribbons but they're not exactly swift and their eye sight is rather poor, since they rely more on their sense of smell to lock onto their prey. And don't even try telling me you can take on a Dire Wolf, they hunt in packs."

It was at this point Saga voiced her opinion, both giving details about wolves, and suggesting they go around the forest, not a bad idea, if they had time. Though Cain had chimed in, about fire driving off wolves, which isn't a bad tactic, but at the same time there's a wolf in the small group, that would end poorly,

"I wouldn't recommend fire. As we do have a wolf here, and not all wolves are driven away by fire. They could have learned it won't harm them of some sort. We should stick with Nero's plan of keep moving, which isn't bad either. Just.... Make sure we don't get surrounded. We Seraphs use the same tactics as wolves, surround the target, give it nowhere to run, and then strike it down. So we need to be wary, or just evade the problem in itself." While Seriya was not a hunter by any means, nor an expert, she understood pack tactics, and the teamwork that would be present.

Though that meeting came to an end...

Offering the bag with rations to Cain, as he had the horse, it could carry the weight, Seriya flanked Nero on the left, walking with her eyes moving around, while Lucia kept herself within reasonable distance with everyone, humming a light song, with her mind whimsically thinking about the adventure she was to have, and hoped that everything would end well.

Yet, the sun was setting, and eventually camp was made, with a fire in the middle of everyone, Seriya leaned against a nearby tree, trying to get a little sleep, as she was likely taking the watch for the night, though Lucia sat near Saga, making her best attempt to comfort her, after hearing her growl and glare at the fire, though brown eyes went to Nero once more, this time with some seriousness,

"So... Sir Nero... Mind telling us about the Dragon, Dalmera? I recall you telling us you wished to speak with him in some sort. Thus I must inquire, what on earth do you think asking a dragon would do...?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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"I would have suggested going around the forest if that were an better option miss Saga. But the mountain is a much more dangerous then the forest especially at night. See Nagas also hunt at night, but unlike the Dire Wolves, they have good vision even at night. But they avoid the mountain paths because those paths leave the scaly hunters out in the open and exposed for experienced hunters to take them out."

As he spoke Nero set up the spot he would sleep at before starting the prep work for his cooking.

"So... Sir Nero... Mind telling us about the Dragon, Dalmera? I recall you telling us you wished to speak with him in some sort. Thus I must inquire, what on earth do you think asking a dragon would do...?"

"Right I did say I wanted to speak with Dalmera, but your mistaken about her. Books who actually depict Dalmera usually don't describe her as a female dragon, I know I've read them. Since my mother was the Dragon Maiden for Dalmera I was able to visit and see first hand how powerful she is." Nero said grabbing all the ingredients he bought earlier along with a few plates.

Clearing the spot he could work with Nero got to work on the food his hands moved with experience until he was satisfied before turning his attention back to Lucia. "But until I meet a male dragon I only have Dalmera's word to go off of. But that's not answering your question, so while the food is cooking why don't you get relaxed and I'll explain to the best of my ability."

Rubbing his chin Nero began to think of what he could remember of the dragon. "I got the gender out of the way so at least there's that. So from memory of what my mother told me as a child and when I met Dalmera, I learned that she is a guardian dragon one of the oldest beings on the planet. Her magic is far beyond what even the strongest of mages are capable of conjuring. She's also a silver dragon I remember to always wanting to touch her wings, and claws just to feel how coarse her silvery scales were. Though she didn't seem to mind too much despite mom telling me not to bug her." He said smirking as he recounted the memory while grabbing a pan he had hooked onto his bag and setting the meat on it to cook.

"Now let me intercept any question about the reason my mother was a Dragon Maiden before any one asks. Unlike the other ancient dragons who pick a female based on qualifications, Dalmera chose a single blood line to serve her. That blood line being the Dalmascer blood line my family on my mother's side. So with our connection to Dalmera it was decided that every first born Female in the family would be conditioned to serve Dalmera." he said emphasizing the female portion of the statement then Nero pointed to the white patch of hair.

"This is the symbol of the connection a Dalmascer has to her, but only females will ever gain the power given by Dalmera. Myself and any other male simply have the symbol." Nero finished before flipping the meat letting it cook on the other side before starting on the vegetables using a knife he hid in his boot before swiftly slicing each one and setting them on the pan to cook along with the beef.

"Honestly I don't know what Dalmera was thinking when she chose to leave her mark on an entire blood line but I can't complain about it... First servings done, who ever wants it better grab it quick!" Nero called out pulling the pan from the heat before setting the food on one of the plates only to quickly start on working on the remaining food he bought.

"I guess you could say Dalmera like Johnathan is a friend of the family at least on my mom's side of the family who I knew since childhood, but I knew her long before I knew Johnathan." Stoking the fire Nero glanced up to the stars.

"But I rambled on enough about who Dalmera is that I almost forgot you also asked what I think asking a dragon would do. I don't know if asking Dalmera will really change anything, I'm simply hoping she can shed some light on what's going on." Nero said before falling silent and returning his attention to cooking.

As the time passed and all the food he cooked ready to be eaten Nero cracked his knuckles before grabbing a plate and walking to his bed roll. "It's going to be a long day tomorrow try not to stay up too late. We don't need any one half dead on their feet while we walk, so be up and alert because we'll only be stopping to set up camp!" he said sitting cross legged to eat and setting his bag down next to himself.

While he ate Nero couldn't help but think of the nightmare 'I curse my memory of that event, honestly if I were able to I would find a way so I could forget it completely.' he thought while he finished eating before letting out a sigh and scraping the little scraps of food that remained into the grass and pouring some water from the water skin over the plate.

"Right I still have to open that parcel Johnathan had that knight give me, guess there's no better time then while I'm camping now to see what mom and dad left me..." Moving to his bag Nero began pulling one item out after another until he got to the small box.

Taking a deep breath Nero began to remove the crude wrapping until he was sitting with a wooden box no bigger then his hand, as he examined the box Nero's attention was brought to the silver ribbon that was wrapped around and tied to keep it shut. "It really is a gift from them..." he said to himself as he went to remove the ribbon trying his hardest not to destroy it.

Happy with his work on the ribbon Nero put it in his left pocket before opening the box on itself. Though what he saw inside caught the young man off guard it was no letter, not even a pendant with the symbol he had on his hand. Instead he saw a silver locket resting inside. "I wondered where this went off to when I didn't see mom wear it for a week."

Removing his steel plating from his right arm Nero reached into the box and pulled out the locket hoping to open it so he could finally get a glimpse of what was inside that his mother had kept secret for so long. But when he did go to open it a sound caused him to leap forward in surprise closing the trinket. 'Did that come from the locket?' he thought once again trying to open the silver trinket.

Once the locket was finally open a small melody began playing. "I get it mom must have been enchanting her locket to play this tune for me at night." he said to himself as he wiped his face with his right hand allowing him to focus on what he saw on the inside. "Be strong my little Dragon Knight" it was faint with him being a good distance away from the fire but Nero could see it all the same. That seemed to push the young warrior past his own limit destroying what ever dam kept him in check.

"Damn it... Damn it... I thought I got past this I was a child then there was nothing I could do against a dozen fully grown men who was able to take out an entire village in a single day." With a quick glance back at the fire Nero tossed his blanket over himself allowing sleep to take him. Though doubt lingered in his mind, with how things were going would he be able to sleep peacefully at all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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"When you get as far as Valsir Province, Miss Saga, you will find that two things can meld to one concern. Life and Legacy being a prime example for all denizens therein." Cain explained. Belzedar gave a small look to Seriya that seemed to ask, "Do I look like a common pack mule to you that warrants me to take your load?" But the horse accepted it regardless as the group continued on.




Cain was doing maintainence on his sword. "You'll be ready for anything Beltharion." he stated to himself as he was doing so, but observing the conversations.

"So your mom was a Dragon Maiden, the ones my Master Kumatetsu would tell me about? Well, I don't know any reason or significance, but I can tell you if a Dragon marks your bloodline, back in Valsir Province, it is a big deal." Cain sheathed his sword and set it next to his bed. "We worship the Dragons like any other gods we have, No offense Sisters. Some of us that hail from Valsir even have a second name in Valsir's old tongue if you have certain qualities the Village elders recognize. For my hair and eyes, they called me, Na'ari, One who is Blessed by Dragons. A sign that I forge my destiny."

He rubbed his hands in the fire and said nothing else for a time as he ate supper and observed Nero opening is parcel and looking at the amulet that played music, rousing the group's de facto leader to tears before abruptly rolling into sleep. Cain soaked in the small emotional silence. He wouldn't let this day go into the realm of dreams on a sad note. He then fished in his one of his many bags that hung on his belt. "Now which one did I have put it in...? Oh by all the Gods and Dragons of Valsir.... Nope.... nuh uh. Aha!" after mumbling he pulled out a strange instrument.

"If music made the atmosphere go sad, it can lift up the spirits again. Allow me to fill the air with a song of hope and courage, so that troubles be made light."

With that said, Cain played his instrument, playing his song. As he played, memories of Home erupted, of the life and Village he left behind to pursue fame, and other things. He hoped one day, he'd return a Hero, and honor the memory of someone he loved, and lost. Cain eventually stopped and lowered his instrument. He heaved a shuddering sigh, as his anxiety once more returned, making him clutch the instrument as his right arm shuddered.

"What? A-already? D-dangit...not now. N-not when I'm trying to cheer up others."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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Verdandi’s glare towards the blazing fire never once faltered even while the young priestess, Lucia, made efforts to comfort her. Once or twice her nostrils flared with the detection of food, and the beastkin became aware that nearby the fire was something edible. This, of course, left her in a conundrum that would not easily solve itself. Somehow she would likely need to venture close to the open flame or simply not eat.

"So... Sir Nero... Mind telling us about the Dragon, Dalmera? I recall you telling us you wished to speak with him in some sort. Thus I must inquire, what on earth do you think asking a dragon would do...?" Verdandi was distracted for a moment by the priestess’ question – dragon? Surely, she couldn’t be serious.

"Right I did say I wanted to speak with Dalmera, but your mistaken about her.” The beastgirl breathed a sigh of relief with Nero’s statement. After all, it made far more sense than the priestess’ previous comment relating to giant winged lizards. “Books who actually depict Dalmera usually don't describe her as a female dragon, I know I've read them. Since my mother was the Dragon Maiden for Dalmera I was able to visit and see first hand how powerful she is."

Or not. Apparently, Dalmera was in fact a dragon. Verdandi was quite unsure whether she had simply missed this bit of news earlier, or if perhaps it had been glossed over as obvious. However, she was not raised with any degree of knowledge pertaining to dragons or their demeanor. So the only information she could summon to mind was that pertaining to dangerous magical beast, and suddenly she was frozen.

Still though she listened, if only to ascertain whether this creature that she knew so little of was indeed as dangerous as her instincts told her it was. “So from memory of what my mother told me as a child and when I met Dalmera, I learned that she is a guardian dragon one of the oldest beings on the planet. Her magic is far beyond what even the strongest of mages are capable of conjuring. She's also a silver dragon I remember to always wanting to touch her wings, and claws just to feel how coarse her silvery scales were. Though she didn't seem to mind too much despite mom telling me not to bug her." Verdandi made a mental note to research dragon maidens the next time she had the opportunity, since she felt sorely ill prepared for this conversation. Nonetheless, from what Nero had said so far, the beastgirl could assume that the dragon was neither feral nor particularly aggressive – which she admittedly found comfort in.


She continued to listen as Nero spoke, though momentarily she was slightly distracted by the rumblings of her empty stomach and the notable sizzle of cooking meat. She wondered for a moment if it would be possible to attain the food without having to approach the fire – she grimaced. It was an unlikely notion she supposed. "But I rambled on enough about who Dalmera is that I almost forgot you also asked what I think asking a dragon would do. I don't know if asking Dalmera will really change anything, I'm simply hoping she can shed some light on what's going on."

Verdandi thought about what Nero had said, there was a lot for her to ingest and as she had little experience with dragons it was all completely new – moreover she also needed time to consider the notion that the dragon might be able to offer more insight into the current events. If the dragon, Dalmera, was as old as Nero suggested then perhaps she could at least give some historical context. "So your mom was a Dragon Maiden, the ones my Master Kumatetsu would tell me about? Well, I don't know any reason or significance, but I can tell you if a Dragon marks your bloodline, back in Valsir Province, it is a big deal." Oh!? Verdandi’s ears stood at attention. The mercenary was giving away information! This was an opportunity then, to file away researchable information about her companions – not that she had any plans to use the information in any significant way, but she was a curious beastgirl. And wanting to know more about your travelling companions is certainly not unusually. "We worship the Dragons like any other gods we have, No offense Sisters. Some of us that hail from Valsir even have a second name in Valsir's old tongue if you have certain qualities the Village elders recognize. For my hair and eyes, they called me, Na'ari, One who is Blessed by Dragons. A sign that I forge my destiny."

Now that certainly was intriguing – both the olden language and their religious and cultural practices – and her curiosity was effectively piqued. Her ears faced the mercenary, hoping he’d continue and answer some of her unspoken questions – but alas that did not occur. Instead, Cain chose to end his monologue there, much to Verdandi’s disappointment. Of course, that didn’t mean her question couldn’t or wouldn’t be answered, it simply meant she’d actually have to ask them. With an excited flick of her tail she leaned forward – away from the tree and the young priestess and towards the mercenary – and opened her mouth to speak. "It's going to be a long day tomorrow try not to stay up too late. We don't need any one half dead on their feet while we walk, so be up and alert because we'll only be stopping to set up camp!" Only to have her opportunity to ask effectively cut off at the knees by their unspoken leader. With a slight whine, Verdandi filed away her questions for the night (but only the night). Tomorrow she was sure the mercenary would be peppered with more questions than he knew what to do with. But for the evening she would relent – if only because it would be awkward to try and engage in a scholastic dialogue after it had been suggested that they all turn in.

Now she was faced with a new challenge. There it sat next to a roaring flame, waiting to be eaten: mockingly glorious dinner. Her nose, ears, and tail all twitched irritatingly. She assumed it hadn’t been done on purpose, but it was extraordinarily inconvenient. With some personal effort, she gathered her willpower to crawl slowly forward towards the fire. Once she was within arms distance of the meal (admittedly a lot of stretching) she quickly snatched a plate and scrambled back towards the tree, nearly losing her meal in the process.

Fortunately, the embarrassing display passed quickly and she was contentedly eating and finishing off her hard earned prize. Perhaps it was a trait of her kin, but Verdandi tended to spend little time actually enjoying most her meals – especially on the road.

Setting her now clean plate aside, the beastgirl’s ears twitched again at an unexpected sound. Was that music? It was: a gentle, bittersweet tune that lulled the spirit to reminisce a past peace that one could never have again. But Verdandi’s past wasn’t peaceful or all that joyful, so she couldn’t so easily understand or appreciate the tune. Her ears pulled back away from the melody and her eyebrows furrowed, perhaps it was in jealous irritation or perhaps it was at the awkward crestfallen atmosphere that had suddenly descended upon the campsite.

The beastgirl glanced at Nero. He wore a weak expression that didn’t quite seem to belong on his normally strong countenance. It was a strange juxtaposition.

"If music made the atmosphere go sad, it can lift up the spirits again. Allow me to fill the air with a song of hope and courage, so that troubles be made light." Verdandi started somewhat at the voice of the mercenary, whose voice she had not expected to hear break the somber atmosphere. She supposed the thought was a good one, and the song he placed on his rather unique instrument was perhaps vaguely happy, but like the one before it, rather than alighting the heart with joy it seemed for fit for shrouding the heart in melancholy.

It seemed that the group was made of five rather damaged pieces. Though, somehow Verdandi felt that maybe this wasn’t surprising or terrible. It was likely their damaged parts that pulled them all together in the first place.

She blinked and gazed at the camp and all the people in it – and suddenly was struck with a thought. This was a beautifully broken picture.

A warrior that bore a heavy weight on his shoulder, whether it was an ability he knew little about but pressured his sense of justice to take action or a past that haunted him at every turn and anchored his heart in a moment that cannot be changed, she really couldn’t tell. Though she thought it was probably both.

A mercenary with a smile and a playful tongue that hides a guilty past (the likes of which she couldn’t be certain of) that he travels to seek penance for. Though perhaps he put far too much pressure on himself.

Two priestesses, one with a heart of gold and a conscience to comfort and bear the pain of others – and another with the responsibility to protect people from the pain in the first place.

It was like one of the stained-glass windows in the cathedral: broken but full of beautiful colors and empathetic stories. And she didn’t have the willpower to resist painting it all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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"It is interesting, to meet the child of a Dragon Maiden..." "So, we're off to see the Dragon. Great."




Lucia kept her gaze to Nero, while her eyes remained serious, her face had softened once more, as she watched the young man speak of his past,

"Right I did say I wanted to speak with Dalmera, but your mistaken about her. Books who actually depict Dalmera usually don't describe her as a female dragon, I know I've read them. Since my mother was the Dragon Maiden for Dalmera I was able to visit and see first hand how powerful she is."

It wasn't the answer Lucia wanted to hear, not that she wanted a specific answer, but, as she pondered a few moments, she could see the food brown over the fire, which Seriya looked to her and smiled mentioning one little notion to her, "Remember the last time you cooked? You had Mother Yeliss rioting at Sister Anna about all the cuts and burns you had. Even though your cooking skill itself isn't that well either~" while Seriya teased, in her normal fashion when it came to Lucia, they were close enough Seriya could tease her less combative sister (of sorts) and get away with it, though Lucia turned, with a smile, that of unassuming evil,

"Oh Sister Seriya, need I remind you of the last time you cooked? If Sister Elise hadn't been there, you would have burned the Sanctum to the ground~" It was a normal exchange between the two, though Lucia did add one more quip, "And need I start on the problem you've had with the children's dolls~?" Though the exchange ended as Nero had continued his explanation,

"So from memory of what my mother told me as a child and when I met Dalmera, I learned that she is a guardian dragon one of the oldest beings on the planet. Her magic is far beyond what even the strongest of mages are capable of conjuring." It felt weird to Seriya to hear that, as, it felt dwarfing to her to think of something that could easily make her and Lucia weak, especially when she thought of all the training she went through just to learn her Divine Aura, and even remotely control it...

"She's also a silver dragon I remember to always wanting to touch her wings, and claws just to feel how coarse her silvery scales were. Though she didn't seem to mind too much despite mom telling me not to bug her." Lucia laughed a little, thinking of this small child petting a dragon, let alone a massive dragon that has lived for eons, let alone the idea that she was likely to meet said dragon, though one comment snapped Lucia from her thought,

"Honestly I don't know what Dalmera was thinking when she chose to leave her mark on an entire blood line but I can't complain about it..." That was a familiar feeling, Lucia's magic was different than most of her Sisters, and while there were plenty of doctors, she was one of a few whom could heal others to a degree, though what set her apart was how much she could treat, while most whom had the same type, would heal the minor injuries, Lucia would put her body at risk when she healed. But her thoughts were broken by the heat of the flame, as she had almost stuck her hand in reaching for food. While Lucia knew burns were very unpleasant, and almost caused one once more. Though she grasped a couple of stakes with the meat and handed one to Saga,

"Here, I know you have an aversion to Fire...."

Though when Nero made the mention of sleep, Seriya poked at him to quite some degree, "Oh come on, Nero, we can sleep when we're dead." though her face went from a grin to a straight face, "In any case, I'll take first watch. Then one of you young men can relieve me when you're ready." after that last mention she stood up, sword at her right hip, as she looked to Cain, whom had began talking, mainly about his home, especially praising Nero of his Marked bloodline to a dragon,

"If music made the atmosphere go sad, it can lift up the spirits again. Allow me to fill the air with a song of hope and courage, so that troubles be made light."

With that, the scarlet-haired man took out this strange instrument, and playing it, the song sounded joyous as it intricately played, it was apparent to Seriya that the man had practiced the song often. Though he stopped, to Seriya it seemed to be through emotion, while she hadn't an idea as to what would cause his emotions to go off like they did, but she watched as the man's arm shuttered and shivered, in an attempt to control himself. With a swift turn of her foot, Seriya walked away, ready to stay up during the majority of the night,

Not like she wasn't used to it anyway...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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Nero was able to find himself asleep rather easily, though he struggled to stay asleep he couldn't stop tossing and turning , his eyes were flitting about under their closed lids while his breathing became rapid. As his actions in his sleep kept changing Nero soon sprang up his hand out stretched as though he was trying to grab something.

"Guess I'm going to have trouble sleeping again tonight the fact I'm heading home doesn't help either." Nero said to himself tossing his covering off his legs.

'Guess I'm a hypocrite telling every one to sleep, even though right now I can't seem to sleep myself.' he thought to himself grabbing his sword off the ground and setting it back onto his waist. Looking around Nero noticed Seriya standing guard leaving the platemail where it layed. "It's too early to switch guard duty, so I'll practice while until it's time." he said to himself moving quietly so he wouldn't wake anyone who was still sleeping.

Trying to keep with in sight of the camp Nero began to control his breathing keeping his gaze transfixed to the area in front of him while he freed his weapon from it's confines. With the blade shimmering in the moon light Nero let out one more controlled exhale before swinging the blade in wide arc before bringing it back around the opposite way. "I need to cut back on the force I'm putting behind each swing." he said to himself bringing his sword down in a downward arc until it caught into the dirt.

Letting out a heavy sigh Nero tugged the sword free flicking any clod of dirt that stuck to it. "My mind just isn't into it now, I really wish I didn't open that locket." He grumbled as he lightly flicked his blade around as he contemplated whether to put the weapon away and head back or keep trying to practice at the risk of his own health.

But it seems what ever way his mind was leaning to got interrupted by the rustling causing the young warrior to re positioned his sword towards the direction he was certain the extra sound came from. Waiting for a second or two Nero let out a sigh as he let his voice be heard. "If you value your head I suggest you stop dragging this stand off out and show yourself."

As though reacting to his voice Nero heard the thigh high grass rustled before two young looking figures emerged. "See Olivia I told you, we shouldn't have been wandering around with the older kids." the boy said before being hushed by the young girl who Nero could only guess was Olivia "He wouldn't have heard us if you were only lighter on your feet Lucas." she growled pulling his hair.

"Ow but you were the one who was excited about running into a grown up!" Lucas cried when Olivia finally let go of his hair. Letting out a huff the girl puffed her cheeks and crossed her arms "I was not excited just surprised we could actually find some one out here."

At this point Nero sheathed his sword smirking as he watched the banter between the two unfold. "Why were you two looking for people and why didn't you try the town that way?" he said kneeling down until he was at eye level with the two kids causing the two to flinch.

"Also if you don't mind me asking, who are the other kids you were referring two?" Nero asked producing the best smile he could as if trying to diffuse the tension in the air. "Olivia what should we do? He doesn't seem like a bad guy like..." Lucas started only to once again be hushed by Olivia.

"What did Pandora say about giving away her name to strangers?" She said in a quieter tone though not quite a whisper, this only causing Nero to sigh and lean in closer. "You know that if you want to whisper you should move away from the person, and lower your voice so it's harder to hear to make it harder to hear the words your saying right." He sated lifting his right hand to the side of his mouth.

As Olivia squeaked covering her own mouth Nero stood back up tilting his head from the left to the right producing a light pop as the muscles in his neck started to loosen. "So are you going to leave me in the dark or will you tell me who this Pandora person is?" tapping the ground repeatedly with his foot. After waiting for a good couple of minutes Nero understood what was going on. "I get it this "Pandora" person doesn't want people talking about them I see... Well I guess I'll leave."

With a wave Nero started heading back only stopping when he heard the two kids whisper and the grass rustle behind him signaling their departure as well. 'I know I should feel bad for following those kids but I need to make sure they won't get into any trouble.' he thought moving as quietly through the grass as he could keeping just out of sight.

After what felt like a slog of sneaking around following Lucas and Olivia around, Nero was about finally noticed the destination. 'That's a pretty big house for afew kids.' he thought watching as the two went through the door. "I guess that's where they sleep... Well might as well introduce myself." he said dusting off his clothes as he walked up to the door.

As he got closer to the door Nero looked around hoping to catch sight of any possible traps. 'I guess they don't really worry about intruders here do they?' he thought pounding his fist into the door though sorely misjudged the amount of strength he put behind each impact causing the door to fall off it's hinges. "Uhh oops forgot I need to rein in my strength when knocking on doors."

Moving past the collapsed door Nero again looked around for any traps with only the sounds of foot steps causing him to atop dead in his tracks. "What's going on here, who messed with the hinges on the door?" A voice rang out with the sound of a door creaking open. "I swear if Jason pulled another one of his..." mid sentence the voice stopped.

"Who are you?" Catching sight of Nero a young Elven girl who looked to be in her late teen years gave a rather sour look towards the young warrior who simply held up his hand "Usually it's proper manners to introduce yourself before asking for another's name." his tone was rather sarcastic.

"But I guess I did barge into your place without invitation so I'll let it slide. My name is Nero Dalmascer and I'm simply a wandering warrior, I also ran into Olivia and Lucas who seemed rather excited that they gave their own position away before they could try to take me by surprise." he added keeping the sarcasm in his tone as he spoke with the only action following being Nero patting his sword resting on his hip.

"I see... Very well, my name is Pandora I with the other children are staying here until we receive word that our home and families are safe. But things seem to be getting dimmer as time marches forward." The Elven girl said still keeping a guarded gaze on Nero.

"Huh is that right? I guess that would explain why Lucas and Olivia thought to try their hands in banditry." Nero said rubbing his chin thoughtfully as he watched Pandora walk to the top of the same stairs he approached hardly a moment ago. "Any way you hinted about your home and families being in danger. I know it's asking for quite a bit but would you mind telling me what happened." He added moving his hand away from the sword.

Keeping her accusatory glare fixed on Nero, Pandora put one hand on the railing. "I wish I could but for all I know you could be with the group who attacked our home Frindos in the first place." Though on the outside Nero simply nodded acknowledging the mistrust he could feel his blood boiling knowing that these kids who he only just met might be suffering the way he did.

"Alright I can't force you to trust me. But I honestly do want to help you kids are meant to play at home not worry about whether there's something there or not." Nero said forcing his words through his anger. Also doing his best from letting said anger bubbling up and showing on the surface.



Weiss


Weiss sat under a rather tall oak tree watching the leaves wave with the wind as it passed through them. "Why must this world be so Damned peaceful? And why isn't mast Zethract doing anything about Nero's interference with his plan?" Weiss asked himself rolling onto his side and closing his eyes as he put his attention on healing from his encounter with his opposite.

"Why is it that most other demons can heal almost instantly while I heal almost at the same rate a human does?" Weiss scowled holding his injured shoulder, but the scowl didn't last long before he fell asleep 'I sort of feel sorry for the poor boy while I can sleep just fine every year little Nero must suffer nightmarish memories of both his family's death along with the complete destruction of his home.' Smirking the demon was soon sound asleep.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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Cain was about to nod off, arm still shaking after he put the instrument back into its pouch, when he noticed Nero leaving. "Eh? He isn't sleeping?" he asked to himself. Belzedar pushed his arm to calm him down from his anxiety as the redhead sighed. "Thanks Buddy." he muttered, patting the horse on his head.

He didn't know what else to do, as he concentrated on sleeping. But he couldn't banish the causes of his current bout of anxiety. His thoughts of a life he wanted to have. Cain merely just stared at the open stars and skies. He slowly observed them and imagined himself in his younger days.

"Cain! Cain! Slow! Your hammering too slow! Come on! Away from the forge! Time to practice!" he recalled his Master shouting when he was in the mood to show him a new technique. He chuckled at the memory before resting his eyes only for a moment. Then Belzedar prodded him again.

"He's not back yet huh?" he asked the horse as he looked around. "Well unless our night watch says otherwise we'd best stay put Belzedar."

When he said this he leaned back and relaxed. Besides, Nero could take care of himself. He also didn't want to make Seriya mad. She looked like she could best him in a fight if she wanted to. So he sat and waited, and tried to sleep as peacefully as he could.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Lucia Mirakel Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv Character Portrait: Cain Azura Character Portrait: Seriya Verrat

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It was complete. Her ink drawing of the troupe she was gathered with, save herself. With the fire as the centerpiece, each character had carefully been painted in the half light cast by the shadows of the night and their own darkened thoughts. And though not the happiest portraits for any of her companions, it was an honest one and so she was satisfied. Perhaps, as time renders their pains, her future paintings would reflect their healing. For now, though she’d secret the painting away in her pack before turning in for the evening.

Most everyone, by this point, had fallen asleep already (or at the very least attempted to feign or force it) – except for the night watch Seriya. Though, their rest seemed universally restless. Admittedly, Verdandi wasn’t sure if the cause for this sleeplessness was the fact they were camping out in the open or because they were haunted by nightmares. In her case, she found the causes of insomnia often drifted from one source to another. She wondered momentarily as she closed her eyes and curled up upon her pack, if tonight would be a night of peaceful sleep or not.

The ever-present ache of her arm warned her not to expect much peace tonight – or perhaps any night in the future.

But still her eyes closed and sleep came.


Verdandi was greeted to a parchment dreamscape. The wolfkin blinked and took in the empty landscape. Nothing to be seen, yet. But a piece of parchment was meant for ink, and as soon as she walked black lines dripped from the fingers of her right hand and trickled into the vague outlines of places and things – not so unlike her own masterfully created maps.

With time, perhaps she could tell where this was?

But as the black and white landscape came to life, she realized that she was nowhere at all. It was a lost place in her mind and she was alone. Completely alone except for herself.

And she did not make the best of company.

Tap, rustle, tap.

‘Oh? Footsteps? But that wasn’t me?’ Or was it? Could there be another presence lingering in her mind? Was that possible? She searched her surroundings as they turned further from white to black forests until finally there were no shapes or white paper, only an endless sea of black ink.

Soon, the panic set in – the great unknown of the ocean – it intimidated the beast girl and she could see no end to it. ‘The ocean is a beautiful place.’ That was her voice, or seemed to be her voice, and it seemed to be in her head, but that couldn’t be her thoughts. It was wrong. Those were not thoughts she had ever had nor were they thoughts she’d ever believe she would have.

‘But it is. So beautiful. It’s not terrifying, unless you let it be.’ How she wished that was true, she would never let it be if she had the option, and yet the option always seemed out of her hands.

‘You could simply dive in. Enjoy the thrill and cool.’

Dive in? Into the pitch black sea? No. No that didn’t seem wise. Verdandi feared if she were to, she’d disappear into its expanse and never resurface. She instinctively took a step back, only to encounter another body. Shock riled her, pulling her ears back and tucking her tail as she turned around.

She froze when she encountered a living white outline of herself against the inky landscape. She wore a smile - weird smile – as though she had a secret and no care at all, and stretched out her hand in invite. But, Verdandi didn’t feel like she should take that black and white hand. It seemed off.

Her other-self’s smile twisted as she frowned clearly disappointed. And before Verdandi could react, that inviting hand turned against her – shoving her back into the black sea as the other-self willing fell back as well. Two simultaneous splashes echoed in the black landscape.

Terror. Panic. Hysteria. Verdandi was certain she was going to die. She could swim, yet in this short moment she had forgotten to and her lungs burned.


The beastgirl shot forward, momentarily unaware that she was now surrounded by her companions and the forestry instead of the inky ocean of her dreamland. Her lungs still burned, but even as she fought to catch her breath she noted her greatest pain wasn’t in her chest, it was in her right arm. It burned and ached and the pain seemed to be clawing its way over her shoulder.

But as her mind calmed and her heart appeased the pain too subsided until it was once again a dull ache.

At this point, Verdandi took in her surroundings. The mercenary seemed to be sleeping, Seriya was still acting as the lookout, and the priestess too was resting. But Nero, he was gone. The beastgirl cocked her head curiously. She figured since Seriya wasn’t visibly concerned she shouldn’t be either, but she was curious and she could use some fresh air. So quietly, she got to her feet and put her nose to good use.

Needless to say, it didn’t take long for her to pick of Nero’s familiar scent and follow it through the surrounding forest. Nor did it take long for her to discover the area she predicted he had been using for training purposes since the air was heavy with the smell of perspiration. What only vaguely concerned her was the scent of two other, unknown individuals – however, seeing as how no blood scented the air and Nero apparently followed them, Verdandi assumed they weren’t unfriendly, so still she followed his trail.

Until eventually she found a door-less house. Though, seeing as she could see Nero and a door in the doorway she could predict what had caused the door-less state. She could also guess what had made Nero come here – children.

Even from the normally out-of-earshot distance she stood at, Verdandi could hear the conversation occurring inside, and she knew the sound of children and young adults well enough to know who the warrior was conversing with. Moreover, the naïve and illogical thought processes of the young girl also gave way to her youth and inexperience.

"Alright I can't force you to trust me. But I honestly do want to help you; kids are meant to play at home, not worry about whether there's something there or not."

Verdandi frowned. Nero seemed to have given up too easily as far as she was concerned – he needed a lesson or exercise in persistence. So then perhaps, she should try her hand at speaking some sense into, what was her name, Pandora?

The beastgirl approached the doorway cautiously, not wanting to alarm anyone – especially not the kids – and audibly made her presence known, “Nero? Is that you?” Figuring that making it apparent that she had purposefully overheard their conversation would not encourage trust, Verdandi decided that playing innocent might be the best way to start. (Though that isn’t to say she was guilty of anything in the first place).

As the beastgirl peered into the house, she made an harmless show of being surprised by the presence of the elven girl before bowing her head politely, “Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nero Dalmascer Lucifer Character Portrait: Verdandi Saga Yngiv

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At first Nero didn't quite register Saga's approach because his thoughts were running wild trying to find ways to help the children. "Nero? Is that you?" It didn't quite click in Nero's mind that one of his new friends spoke up for a minute before hearing her speak again.

"Oh I'm sorry. I didn't mean to intrude"

"What Saga? Oh shoot! What time is it? Is it time to switch guard duty?" Nero questioned looking to the sky. "No the moon's still pretty high in the sky... Makes sense I haven't been away too long." he said with a small sigh of relief.

Turning his attention back to Pandora Nero began to lean against the wall. "It's nothing miss, Saga was it?" the young elf bowed her stern expression unchanged. "As I said I can't force you to trust me, but I can go see if everything in you village is safe." With a click of his heels Nero reached for the hood Saga was wearing. "Please excuse us I'll return as soon as I possibly can, hopefully with good news about your home."

As he walked Nero looked back to make sure they were far enough away before releasing Saga. "Sorry about that I just... Look you go on back to camp I'm going to head to the village that Pandora girl mentioned." he said rolling his shoulder although his anger filled voice he was trying to hide betrayed his calm appearance.

"I'm not going to let children suffer the loss of their families or home." The young warrior mumbled as he started towards the direction he believed the village was, basing his knowledge from the brief view he had of Saga's maps.




After running for a few good miles Nero began to slow down as his breathing began to become labored. Hitting a walking speed he began looking around for any sign that could tell him if he was heading in the right direction. "Right then one road goes south west while the other one keeps going south."

Shrugging Nero went on to the road heading south west keeping his hand on the hilt of his blade. 'I'm not really that well versed in the regions this far south so I hope I chose the right direction.' he thought as he began to pick up his pace moving from a brisk walk into a straight up jog.




After wandering for about an hour Nero took notice of a thick plume of smoke rising though he couldn't see the source he could tell he was getting closer. "I could be wrong but there's no harm in checking."

Rushing over the hill the young warrior was greeted by the sight of a burning house. "Hey... if there's any one there speak up!" he called out only to be answered by unsettling silence for several minutes. Then as Nero was about to assume the worst and walk away he began to hear heavy coughing over the loud roar of the flames. "We're in here... Please if your out there help us!"

Reeling back Nero began to scan the wall hoping to spot any weak point he could break down. "Try to stay low!" he warned hitting the wall as hard as he could. When he found himself getting no where Nero let out a low guttural growl 'Well I have to let the steam out some way.' he thought hopping back afew feet before charging at the wall again intending to apply enough force to cause it to crumble.

Several attempts and a badly bruised shoulder later Nero did break through the wall. 'Ow fuck that's going to hurt for a while.' he thought before getting blasted with thick smoke causing the warrior to start coughing. "I've opened a way out if you can still walk please come towards my voice!" he shouted doing his best to keep the flames from touching the bare skin on his face.

Stepping away from the wall Nero began looking around the interior of the building hoping to see who ever it was that called out. "Hey now don't die here I promised some...." Mid sentence Nero's sight started to fade black when a sharp thwack hit his ears followed by a heavy pain in his skull, but before his mind shut down completely he could hear two people speak.

"Jeez that kid did a number on that wall, think Lady Loki is going to like him?" The voice sounded rather energetic bordering pure excitement.

"Don't care just pack him up with the others and let's take him to that Frindos village." A more masculine voice sounded before starting to wrap a rope around Nero's hands and feet.

As he was rousing Nero began to shake his head as he tried to tune into what sounded like an argument. "I'm telling you this kid doesn't even look like he would last he's too scrawny." the masculine voice sounded his disapproval before the energetic individual sounded out. "He doesn't look impressive but he was able to break down a fairly intact wall without a hammer or ax!" he said and Nero could feel practically feel the grin and just how twisted and sinister it must be in order to sound like their enjoying the position that their in.

"Quiet boys it would seem the young man is finally coming to his senses." A feminine voice echoed bringing the two arguing to a stop. Letting out another quick shake Nero began lifting his head in hopes of seeing who his captors were while a few grumbles of pain left his mouth.

"Ouch you know I surprised that you didn't hit my head clean off my shoulders with the amount of force you put behind that swing.." he grumbled lifting his head. His comment seemed to cause both the lady who he could assume was Loki and the lithe individual to start snickering. "Smart ass I'm no amateur I knew perfectly well just how hard I was hitting you." the thicker muscular male said spitting in Nero direction.

"Honestly could've fooled me I mean my head is still throbbing in pain." Nero retorted but rather then simply answering the larger individual simply walked up to Nero and grabbed him by the collar. "Honestly I don't care what we do to you. I hope we have a combat trial so I can slowly cut you up and watch the life drain from your eyes." and with a grunt Nero was tossed to the side with enough force to cause him to roll twice before coming to a stop.

"Now now Bothric we don't want our new toy to break before we get the chance to play with him do we? Treat the poor boy with a little more gentleness." Loki said with stern but alluring tone in her voice causing the giant to grumble and walk away. "Sorry about him Bothric is rather on edge since news hit us about the Black Knight captain visited the town east of here not that long ago he just can't help but take out his frustration on those who he thinks is weaker then him." Groaning Nero did his best to look at this Loki woman.

"However Ethrion here told me that you might be stronger then you appear after all it's not every day you see some one risk losing an arm just to break down a wall to try and help people stuck inside. Especially not one with a sword as fine crafted as what you were carrying." she added running a finger across Nero's ear causing the young warrior to flinch.