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Samyan Zaheer

spiffy

0 · 91 views · located in The Horat-verse

a character in “The Great Guild Fortune”, as played by druidquest

Description

"You want me to say something? Like anything? Did you want my sage advice or did you just miss my amazing voice?"

ImageName: Samyan Zaheer
Sex: Female
Age: Forever 23
Race: Ashura

Physical Description: Samyan is a young ashura woman with long white hair and yellow eyes. Her hair is worn down, with a thick long sticking up in front and hanging in front of her face. She has pale blue skin that is soft and unblemished, as if she's never worked a day in her life.
Clothing: A black yukata tied loosely with a black obi, often showing the short white nagajuban underneath. She wears black han-kote and suneate as well, though if there were a full suit of armor to go with them, she doesn't have it.
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185 lbs
Skin Colour: Pale blue
Hair Colour: White, oddly
Eye Colour: Yellow

Occupation: Treasure hunter, apparently
History/Bio: Samyan presents herself as a vagrant from the southern edge of Vahira's territories. Allegedly, her father died in the war when she was very young, and she was sold into slavery by her poor, desperate mother to feed her eight starving siblings. She worked tirelessly for many years to a cruel and abusive master, before finally making her escape when the area was attacked by Yunean soldiers. She wandered for many days and nights, constantly on the verge of starvation or under threat by dangerous brigands, before finally making it back home, only to find, much to her dismay, that her family had all died only a few weeks earlier when the town was ravaged by plague. All except for the youngest - her baby brother, Simyin. The two traveled far afield, Samyan resorting to many heinous crimes to provide for him… until the fateful day came when he was killed by a gang Samyan had crossed. She fell into despair, taking her first life that day as she killed many on a rampage of senseless revenge. With no one left in the world beside her, Samyan took to walking the earth as a treasure hunter forevermore.
Home Town: Claims to be from Bargadi in Ashuran Sune, but those more familiar with the empire might note her accent and dialect are those of Kashran, the empire's capital.
Home Country: Vahira, Empire of the Ashura

Personality: Narcissistic and air-headed. Speaks in a fairly soft, deadpan manner which can distract from the fast she's completely out of her mind.
Fears and Desires: Hates responsibility, loves dicking around doing her own thing.

Equipment and Weapons: A large grass-cutting scythe.
Styles and Abilities: Though she doesn't use any specific styles, Samyan has clearly received a great deal of training at some point in her life.
Chi and Augmentations: Augmentations to her muscle strength and bone durability, as well as an odd form of necromancy which allows her to stitch herself back together in the middle of combat, from most any injury.

So begins...

Samyan Zaheer's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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0.25 INK

The noise and lights of the festival flowed around the streets of Poyo like the river the small village stretched into like the web of some spindly river-dwelling spider, currently bloated beyond capacity by the influx of revellers from the surrounding countryside. A number of other travellers off the trade routes also filled out the throngs of celebration, like flies crawling along the hairy legs of the river-port-trade-spider-village.

This was an excellent metaphor.

Samyan leaned over a selection of hand-carved dragon emperor dolls, four lower arms folded inside her plain black kimono and a long grass-cutting scythe held in one hand like a walking stick. Long white hair fell in front of her face as her finger drifted back and forth between one souvenir and another, trying to decide between the two as a line formed behind her. Several minutes had passed since she had approached the vendor, and a number of those who had queued behind her had started growing very visibly impatient, though the elderly gentleman who ran the stall didn’t seem to notice, given where his gaze was fixed.

“Hey lady, can you hurry it up?” A man huffed behind her. “Some of us have a festival to enjoy.”

“I’m having trouble deciding,” Samyan replied, brow furrowed intensely as she studied one of the statues, and then the other. “It’s a tough choice.”

“Which ones are you looking at?” an older woman chimed in, quick to try and speed things along before the man made a scene.

“This one and this one.”

“...This one and that one?” the woman confirmed tentatively.

“Right.”

The man peered over her other shoulder, confirming for himself. “That one and this one.”

“Yes.”

“They’re the same damn one!!” the man shouted, throwing his arms up in anger and frustration.

“They have different personalities!” Samyan retorted, equally angry at this human's apparent inability to grasp the obvious.

WHAT?!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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0.75 INK

#, as written by Nulix
"Fifteen years as a healer in the Imperial Army," The woman barked back, smashing her cane into Suiken's head. "The only position in the army women were allowed to have. We studied the Oni and the Ashura for years... yes, the way you channel your Chi is quite clever, quite dangerous in fact!" The woman grinned. "An Oni or an Ashura with your spirit is as dangerous as a yunishman with a blade! But there was one thing you never figured out. Together... their chi is more powerful than anything."

The woman brushed Suiken off her before turning to Namari. "You want to lift the curse on those handcuffs? You get yourself a Snow Oni and an Ashura working together... you already have the Oni, now you only need the Ashura." The woman smiled wildly, revealing her missing teeth and laughed. "Of course! You won't find any of those in Poyo!"

***

Samyan felt a pebble bounce off her head.

"Hey!" A voice called. The Ashura-in-disguise turned to spot a young shark-boy in a hanfu with his arms crossed, tapping his feet as he waited for Samyan to finish selecting her purchase. "Hurry up and pick!" The beast-boy whined. "I want my emperor doll!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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1.25 INK

Samyan rubbed the back of her head and scowled at the sharp-toothed brat. “You can’t rush important decisions in life, boy,” she said wisely, turning back to the stall. “Adopting is always a big commitment. It’s important to think carefully so you don’t make any mistakes.”

A vein throbbed in the Yunish man’s temple. “THEY’RE SCROGGING DOLLS!!”

“Is that what they’re for?” Samyan asked, eyebrows raising slightly. She put a finger thoughtfully to her chin. “What a thing to sell at a festival.”

Dark red shot across one of the man’s eyes as a vein burst from apoplexy. His lips curled in a snarl around clenched yellow teeth, and the curled fingers of his left hand hovered by Samyan’s shoulder, making an impressive show of restraint to throw her into the river. “Just take one of the festival souvenir dolls, please,” he hissed.

“Or just get both!” the woman chimed in, ever the master of de-escalation.

“They might not get along, though?” Samyan picked them both up gingerly, bringing them close to her face to examine them. “I should take a bit of time to consider this.”





Samyan bolted around the corner of the crowded festival streets as a variety of souvenirs and snack foods were hurled through the air behind her, accompanied by a howl of rage and bloodlust.

”DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLS!!!!”

She darted through the crowds, shaft of her scythe bouncing against her shoulder and face impassive as she absconded swiftly from the man seeking her truly unjust demise. Her feet made a light tap tap tap tap sound in the dirt as she went past a crowd of guards who seemed to be investigating a stall that had been wrecked by two drunk women, her back keeping straight and only one arm pumping along at her side as if she were on a brisk morning jog.

“A man is trying to kill me,” she said in passing to the Yunish prefect, not bothering to stop and elaborate before disappearing into the throngs of revellers at the other end of the street.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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1.25 INK

The dimming sky glittered with the sparkles of fireworks cascading through the air above Poyo. The town glowed a bright, golden orange, with faint hues of red from the reflection upon wood painted in a bright crimson color. Ren Van gazed out at the village as the boat drew closer to the docks, letting his hand gracefully graze across the silky glass surface of the waters. There appeared to be some commotion at one end, someone falling into the water? Seemed as though it was being taken care of though as a nearly buck naked figure staggered to the shore.

The Hedonism of some of these Yune seemed to have no bounds. Ren looked back to the town, paper lanterns were now more clearly visible, as were the revelers running about and enjoying themselves. What an exciting time, a chance to celebrate and cheer on the great accomplishments of the Emperor, of Yune! Great feats like invading Yeuxkyen and stealing parts of their land! In truth, there was only so much bitterness Ren could still feel towards that, his home felt much less homely these days than in his youth. Still, that did not entirely erase the sense of indignity the whole celebration brought with it.

Never mind that though, this was his first time being in the lands of Yune Proper, a chance to see new lands, peoples, and hopefully make a little extra coin.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________


The boat finally docked, and Ren began to step out onto the peer, boots touching down on the wet planks. It had been trickling down a little, but not so much to be a problem for the swordsman. He tossed the coins he owed to the boatman, grabbed his bag, and made his way down the dimly lit docks towards town.

Once he reached the cobblestone streets connected to the waterfront, he was greeted by the sights and sounds of crowds of men, women, and children of every race. There was running about, singing, eating, shooting off fireworks. It would almost be a wonderful thing, and Ren might just have to stomach putting on a happy face to avoid conflict, but he rather hoped he could simply avoid doing anything that would even remotely please Yune's emperor.

Some of the stalls he passed were filled with wondrous items, some from different corners of the known world. He'd even spotted some clothes from his home land! Golden robes with bright right embroidery throughout them, probably worth a small fortune, and not something that seemed practical for him to own right now. There was also a food stall he noted had noodle dishes like pho and xoi, and even had a plate of lettuce wrapped goi cuon rolls. The familiar temptation of home called to him, but he saw the stall owner was a fellow Yeuxkyenan. Dressed the way he was now, Ren suspected it might not be the best way to meet a fellow countryman.

Skipping past the stalls, Ren decided to stroll past the many columns of merchants, through the brightly lit streets and thin fog of firework smoke, to try and locate some sort of tavern or inn.

”DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLS!!!!”

Ren was startled by the screaming as he watched a towering white figure speed past him in the street. He slowed down, looking towards the crowd the individual had disappeared into, only to hear another startling shout from behind him.

”DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLS!!!!”

A deranged man, eyes ablaze, pulled back his arm, winding up for a powerful punch, aimed for no apparent reason at Ren! The fist flew forward, all power released in a forward projection to the Yeuxkyenan's face. But in a move both swift and almost undetectable, the dark armored swordsman had brushed his arm up and to the side, knocking his assailants arm to the side, gripping onto the wrist, and quickly responding with a firm slap across the screaming man's face.

A slight trickle of blood came down from the screaming man's now split lip, his eyes now glistening, lip quivering. Ren shook his head.

"You're going to need to calm down and get a grip over yourself, whatever your problem is. You go around throwing fists at random men in armor, and you're going to end up with something broken." He patted the shaken Yunean on the shoulder. "Happy Emperor's Day." Ren spoke softly as he walked away. Almost immediately after the confrontation, his eyes landed upon an inn.

The Golden Peach.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________


As he reached the doors, watching a pair of punks leaving, with hands up to their noses for some reason, he felt a sense of relief, a chance to finally relax, get something to eat, and hopefully a place to sleep. Upon entering, he was almost immediately greeted by the sight of a Snow Oni in the room.

Ren felt his heart sink a little.

Of all the places and times on this planet he had to come across another one, it had to be here?

He cast his gaze away from the blue monster, eyes catching sight of several interesting other folks here too, the Beastmen (Beastwomen as well?) in particular. One of them seemed pretty big, but despite their unique nature, Ren didn't really have any good or ill feelings towards them. He hadn't really interacted with many before, so as far as he was concerned they were just strangers.

The swordsman found himself an empty booth, placed his bag down in a corner, took a seat, and settled in. While he waited for a server to come greet him, he started milling over what he might be able to do in Yune for work, and also what he could do to avoid the Snow Oni. The fellow seemed tough, but he'd fought with them and against them before, he knew he could handle himself against them if he ever had to. Still, Ren had no interest in being someone's 'unpaid warrior' again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Captain Jensu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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2.00 INK

#, as written by Nulix
Prefect Ro searched Ginchiyo's face for a moment, his brown eyes meeting hers. "I'm- married to the job," He explained, displaying perhaps the most humanity he was capable of. Despite the officer's awkwardness his demeanour towards Lo-Muna and Ginchiyo seemed to shift. It was in small details: the way he lowered his parchment pad, or how he'd uncrossed his arms. Prefect Ro suddenly seemed less threatening. It was a warm summer night after all, and the smells and sounds of the festival beckoned for him to return.

Small footsteps clacked. The trio of prefects turned to see a goblin in sea-fairing wear approach. "If it helps I saw everything," The goblin spoke up.

"And?" The prefect asked.

They smiled at Ginchiyo and Lo-Muna before turning back to Ro, staring up with cat-like goblin green eyes. "The truth. Every word," They replied. "A game of mahjong with two shady characters. She won. The pair of sore losers caused a scene and threw her straight into this man's cart."

"And your name, miss?"

"Not a miss," The goblin corrected. "And it's Jensu. Captain Jensu."

"Well," Prefect Ro began, turning from the goblin captain to the vendor, the beast-man, and the wild-woman. "Seems cleared up to me."

Ginchiyo had begun to negotiate a small reparation fee to the man when screams cut through. The prefects turned to see an pale blue figure a head above the rest of the crowd, running toward the town square. Just then, a sound began to echo out from the gate. The village bell.

The street stopped dead at the sound, the festivities and merriment of the festival drawing to a close. And then came the panic. Ro frowned as suddenly the citizens of Poyo rushed down the street, pushing past the mini crime scene. "It's the village bell," One of the two teenage guards informed nervously as they began to run off with the crowd. "There’s some sort of trouble out there!"

“I knew this holiday was cursed!” The other guard screamed as he ran after his partner.

"Quickly!" A voice called through the crowd. Ro turned to see the town crier yelling out over the citizens. "A state of emergency has been issued! Everyone to the town centre!" He announced. “To the safety of the village square!”

"Altan! Huo!" Ro commanded his two lieutenants. The prefects snapped to attention. "Forward by my lead."
Ro turned to face Lo-Muna, Jensu, Ginchiyo and the racist. “Stay with us,” He said before hurrying forward down the street. The brass whistle that hung from his neck bounced at his step. His long green armour rattled. His hand held down a short-sword, and on his back a tower-shield swung with each step. Upon it's bronze ribs were the yunish characters for the raging rivers province and the word prefect. Poyo was a small village, and the handful of prefects in town were perhaps the only skilled lawman in miles.

Ro pushed passed a screaming crying citizen, making way for the four to follow toward the town-square. All the while the bell rang on…

***

Inside the Golden Peach Inn the bell was heard loud and clear. And it was though the mood of the tavern shifted all in one moment. Takai, Suiken, and Namari were suddenly struck by an onslaught of patrons rushing towards the exits en masse. They pushed and shoved as they did, nearly knocking Ren’s booth in.

A guard on the street outside stuck their head into one of the inn’s shoji curtains. He was breathing heavily. "Quickly! Poyo is in a state of emergency: everyone to the town square!" He called out to the inhabitants. “Trust me. You want to be as far from the walls as possible." With a heavy swallow he too ran off with the crowd of citizens toward the centre of town.

The waitress too hurried, avoiding the cook who leapt out from the kitchen and collided face first into Kaor’s side. The cook fell to the ground before Xanth and Kaor as the waitress making a swift exit.

***

As Yamato drunkenly approached the east gate to the village the bell began to ring from the walls above. The loose assemblage of guards atop the wall’s ramparts were running frantically. Even in his drunken state, the tengu knew something was wrong.

"Hey!" A guard called out to the ronin as he slid down a ladder and staggered to into a run. He was a young man, late teens, perhaps early twenties, covered in spots. And looking like he’d never before wielded the spear that was now gripped between his sweaty palms. "Something's happening... I, I think we're under attack." He blinked at Yamato, noticing his trio of blades. "You've got to get to the village centre. We could use your help... and the Mayor will pay anyone who helps!" The guard nodded at him and began to run with the rest of the populace, hoping he’d follow.

***

The bells were faintest on the village outskirts: farmlands outside the wall but inside the Poyo's radius. And through the fields were sparse families too ran. A single boy pelted down the dirt road toward the walls, ramming violently into Sunaraashi as he did, who’d wandered outside the festival grounds. The boy stood and backed up slowly, looking at the strange Sunen in fear. "…Are you going to eat me?" He whispered, his voice trembling.

***

Samyan and her two dolls had run from the scene of their crimes directly into the cobblestone laden village square. To Samyan’s surprise, she was not the only one running, as beside her crowds began to pour into the square in panic. Bells were ringing from the village walls.

Before her towered the town-hall tower, and standing before it was a figure of red-stone decked in ancient armour, holding out a banner high in the air. His face was expressionless, his body unmoving and built out of glistening red stone. It was a statue of a noble yunish man from ages passed, propped up in the centre of the square. The stature stared Samyan down as if to tell her she did not belong here, in the heart of Yunishness. And perhaps the gods were about to make her pay for her deceit.

***

Several streets over Yuwen strolled calmly as the people ran forward toward the distant town square. It was filling to the brim with the citizenry and visiting guests to the port village. A small smirk grew on his face: both because he knew how badass he looked walking calmly in the chaos, and two... because he caused this.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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3.00 INK

Samyan stared up at the statue commemorating some nameless peasant soldier. What respectable people the Yunes were, to honor some long forgotten nobody. Even if this nobody seemed awfully rude and judgemental.

There were an awful lot of people crowding into the square around her. They seemed to be trying to keep their distance from her walking stick, but the more the square filled with bodies the harder that became, until they were desperately leaning back into their fellows to avoid the sharpened blade curving toward their faces. Samyan pondered this for a moment, wondering why they didn't just move away, then just sighed at the foolishness of humans and leapt into the air, landing on top of the crowd as they were pushed into the space she'd just occupied.

"Hey!"

"Ow!"

"Watch it!"

Samyan strolled leisurely on the heads and shoulders of Poyo as if she'd lived there her entire life, turning her head this way and that as she looked for a place to go with fewer people. She moved back toward the markets, against the flow of people until the throngs started to thin out. She began hopping to bridge the growing gaps between people, balancing like an acrobat on her rapidly shifting footholds, and when the spaces finally grew large enough she jumped several feet through the air, landing hard enough on a prefect in green armor to leave an imprint of her foot on his face and knock him nearly off balance. He was remarkably sturdy.

Samyan gave a knowing nod to the guard's raven haired lady companion, then stepped down toward the ground and headed off toward the walls, finding herself curious about what everyone was moving away from.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Captain Jensu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
Ro rose, looking back at the massive figure who stepped on him, but the chaos of the crowd distracted again.

***

Yuwen turned back to Kaor and Xanth in the street. The lantern-light shined in his eyes. "Follow me... and everything will be alright," He said with a smile. "I promise." The man wore a chest-plate, and had a blade on his hip, but nothing else about him seemed particularly assuring. And yet, when he spoke to the two, for whatever reason, they believed him- or at least, they believed he believed himself.

The super mercenary combo began to follow Yuwen as he marched toward the square.

***

One finally step brought Ren atop the town-wall. Suiken climbed the ladder up after him, and when the snow-oni reached the top he was treated to quite a sight. Over the rooftops they could see the town-square, and almost all of Poyo stretching out around it. And beyond the bright streets was the country: the rivers, the hills, the forests. Calm. Peaceful. There was no sign of a threat.

In the dark path stretching out from town person ran, not towards the safety walls but away- into the darkness of the night. A single figure, with a body belonging to a goblin. "Attention all!" They could hear the distant, echoing voice of the mayor from the town-square as he got ready to address the crowd...

***

"Attention all!" He repeated. On a wooden stage built in front of the tall town-hall tower and beside the statue of shimmering stone Mayor Loy-Qui, a rat-faced man with no beast-man blood in him, watched over the square which was packed to it's fullest with over a thousand citizens and travellers summoned by the bells, the last ones now arriving at the edges of the crowd. The town had gone into a deadly silence, the bright lanterns that swung in the winds no longer as festive as they had seemed an hour earlier. Overwhelming all was the sound of bells from each of the village's five gates, ringing together in near perfect unison. The elderly yunish man glanced down at the scroll he held in his hands. After a moment he stepped forward, his silken purple robes the only thing clear from the farthest back of the crowd.

"Poyo is under attack!" He announced loudly. "At the twentieth hour... I received a report from the farthest northern outpost, saying an army of bandits was approaching... at least three-"

"That's not bad!" A feminine voice said from the crowd.

"-Hundred!" Gasps of shock and cries could be heard.

"Poyo has thirty-seven guards, as well as the twenty prefects in Commander Ro's unit... that is fifty odd men against... three-hundred," Loy-Qui explained awkwardly, trying to raise his fingers before realizing he did not have the required digits. "And so I am forced to declare a state of emergency! And forced to ask upon you, citizens of ability, citizens of our great Yune Empire, to step forward and defend our village against this threat! For what we have not in numbers... we have in gold: three-hundred gold coins to each man or woman of any race who steps forward to fight with us! Three-hundred for each bandit who threatens our home on this holiest of holidays!"

A silence went over the crowd as the numbers sank in, despair on the tongues of the people, most whispering where to hide or how to escape the town. "Would all willing step forward... and all unwilling or unable step back and find shelter and hiding," Loy-Qui stammered. "Find somewhere safe."

"Wait!" A voice called out as the crowd started shifting. All eyes turned to one figure as he pushed past the guards and leapt onto the stage. He stood tall with olive skin, striking green eyes, a determined face and glimmering armour beneath blue robes: a heroic image next to the cowering Loy-Qui, now almost in tears.

"I have information!" The man declared as he stepped forward dramatically on the stage. "I know! I KNOW! Where the banditos will attack!" The human, Yuwen Fortune, announced loudly over the crowd. "I just escaped their foul grasps... they've set up camp in the swamp, twenty minutes outside the north-gate, and are currently preparing their attack!" Yuwen nodded eagerly at the assembled citizens. "I will ambush them... and destroy them! I have done so before, and I will do it again!"

Yuwen looked over the crowd and he raised his finger to the sky. "I will save this town! But I cannot do it alone: listen carefully, for my next words are intended only for the most heroic of warriors." He reached back and pulled out a duo of ebony jians. He rose them above his head in a cross.

"Who among you is a brave enough hero to join me, Yuwen Fortune?!" He called, his voice echoing for a moment as it travelled across the square. Yuwen paused and watched, waiting for the willing to step forward and the rest, which he predicated to be around ninety-nine percent of the current crowd, to step back.

Prefect Ro glared at the man from the back of crowd. A frown grew on his face, the truth of the scenario sinking in...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
Yuwen squinted at Sunaarashi across the lantern-lit square. He'd seen the man before, upon entering the village. "Then I will need your sword."

"A Sunen and a beast-man? We don't need to hire a bandit to fight bandits!" A bearded man screamed, his hands around his mouth like a cone.

"Then would you rather die?" Yuwen exclaimed. "Because you would not accept the help of a beast-man? Or a foreigner? Because you will not admit one can thieve and still do good?!"

The crowd quieted as Yuwen spoke. "Wise men ask for help when it is needed. I can stop these bandits, and save Poyo, but I know I can't do it alone," He admitted. Yuwen stood rose high, his gaze sweeping from the makeshift ambush team to the citizens behind them: heads becoming a blur as they lined into the distant streets. Almost every citizen of Poyo was here, as well as the visitors for the festival. The lantern light reflected off their faces, marked with fear. It reflected the mothers, and the children who clutched hands tearfully. It reflected off the guards: most of them barely seeing any combat at all. In reflected off the Mayor, the leader of this town, who had backed to the farthest edge of the stage.

"Poyo is not built for war..." Yuwen began quietly. "Your community is one of peace and happiness and these bandits have threatened that. And they've ruined Emperor day!" He clutched the hilt of his blades angrily. "And I swear to you! I swear: we will defeat them!"

"Wait!" A voice called. The crowd turned to see a man step up on the stage: Prefect Ro, weapon ready as he glared at Yuwen. "Ladies and gentlemen this man is a fraud," Ro said, his words met by gasps in the audience. Yuwen rose and eyebrow at the prefect and pointed at his own face in disbelief. Ro marched forward, pushing Yuwen back before taking his place at the centre of the stage.

"Yuwen Fortune is a liar and has ruined this festival for his own self-serving needs." Ro ripped the report out of Mayor Loy-Qui's hands and raised it high. "This is a fabricated report." Ro announced. A prefect rose another parchment in the air. "Sent via carrier hawk we've just received a message from the forest prefects. Bandit activity in the area is, and I quote, 'completely nominal.'" He threw the paper into the crowd that had grown more and more enraged. The report landed to grabbing hands. Ro turned to Yuwen grimly. "There are no bandits."

"Can you prove that?" Yuwen asked in response, defiance in his voice. "Bandits can be... very evasive." His hand lay on the hilt of his blades as the two men slowly began to circle each other on the stage.

"The prefects in the woods saw nothing," Ro spat. “You are a small, selfish man.”

"Maybe the bandits moved position!" Yuwen called, more to the audience and the soldiers he'd managed to recruit than to Ro. "Maybe they're attack the village! Maybe we have to go to the swamp and find the entrance to a secret tunnel! A tunnel that leads to the ancient cellar below Poyo! Doesn't- doesn't that sound fun!?"

Suddenly Yuwen heard iron footsteps on the wood of the stage. Large, armoured soldiers of the Prefecture were approaching, weapons ready. Yuwen turned from the soldiers down to the faces of those he hired, and the citizens beyond. Disgust, anger, and annoyance were the only expressions to be found.

"Look, I didn't lie!" He called out as the guards grabbed his arms. "There's something below this village, something worse men than me will try and get! Poyo isn't safe!"

"Please," Ro chuckled, stepping forward to the front of the stage. "I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt: Poyo is in no danger!"

Suddenly the statue beside the stage began to glow. Yuwen's eyes were consumed by light as the stone shone. And then, it blew apart by fire. A massive explosion rocked the stage, blasting everyone on it forward. A fiery piece of wood flung through Mayor Loy-Qui's back, impaling him to the stage as the crowd erupted in screams. Yuwen smashed into the cobblestone ground of the square, flaming pieces of wood zipping past him as deafening bangs roared from behind. He turned to see the town tower blowing apart, engulfed in a massive-fire ball expanding from within.

"Oh Sune!" He screamed, backing up slightly as the explosion blasted each layer of the hall apart, sending chunks and pieces scattering across town. A gargantuan piece of stone smashed apart the ground beside him as he limped forward toward a house.

"Formation!" Ro screamed in agony as he ripped his arm out from the large town emblem that had once decorated the tower, now a burning mass of molten metal which had crashed down upon the ruined stage. "Unit!" He screamed desperately through the fire and ash, searching for his men. A figure approached. "...Unit?" He whispered.

Wings expanded from the shadowy figure's form, and Ro raised his blade in horror. This was no soldier. He stabbed forward, a Tengu hand reaching out and grabbing the blade from him. The unarmed Ro dived as the Tengu proceeded to attack, flying out of the smoke and into the panicked square.

"Oh gods, not good!" Yuwen called as he pointed to the sky above. Descending from the mountain of smoke where the town tower once stood three dozen winged men, their red skin clear and their black robes fluttering violently in the winds. They wore opera masks, each one different, though even with concealed faces their race was clear.

"Tengu," Yuwen said as he turned from the approaching threat to the panicked citizens running for cover. "They were in the crowd! They were planning this!-" Before he had time to finish he was grabbed by the throat and smashed back into the cobblestone by a Tengu. One of many masked figures landing in the square. The figure who held Yuwen looked down at him. "Hello there Yuwen Fortune."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Lo-Muna's ears were ringing. She had managed to duck when the explosions went off but one of her ears got caught by some shrapnel. A drop of blood fell on her shoulder as she looked up just in time to see the Tengu descend from the sky. The sound of the snow oni's voice cut through the ringing as she got to her feet, looking over to see Yuwen being choked on the ground by one of the mysterious Tengu.

"Then fight!" Lo-Muna yelled at the snow oni as she raced over to Yuwen, delivering a swift, powerful kick to his assailant as she yelled, "Hands off!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Captain Jensu Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Sepokku
The olive-skinned man continued to pitch his idea from the stage, holding twin blades high above his head; Ginchiyo had to admit it was an impressive show, she may have even stepped forward to join him if it wasn't for the look on Ro's face. The people who did join the Olive-Skinned Stranger were all a curious bunch, and they seemed to be losing the crowd. If something wasn't done soon, a fight would certainly to break out. Ro started towards the man, and within a minute the Olive stanger seemed to have lost all credibility. She couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at the whole situation; how had this stranger managed to fabricate a report that fooled the entire prefecture?

Before Ginchiyo truly had a chance to think further on the matter, a bright light lit up the night sky as the statue of the Mayor began to glow with the ire that only fire could truly bring. She began to loop chi through her body, bracing herself as the Mayor's steel body double erupted into a conflagration that lit up the town square, seemingly determined to burn down the place he had helped build.

Stone and molten rock flew through the air, bits of it spattering against Ginchiyo like a rain of hot oil. It stung, but no more than it stung when oil popped and landed on your skin while cooking. She raised her left arm to block a large rock, causing it to split in two, landing on either side of her. There was a crunch as the piece on her right landed, indicating it had probably hit someone who hadn't scattered fast enough. There was no time to check, as a littler over a quarter century of Tengu exploded into action.

Ro was nowhere to be found, which was just as well, it was easier to fight without looking out for others. One of the feathered idiots locked eyes with her and darted straight for her, Naginata brandished for a great swing. She patiently waited the second that felt like twenty that it took the Tengu to reach her, and as its blade clanged impotently against her neck she smashed the wooden shaft of the weapon with her right hand. The bird-man left out a caw of confusion and shock as it tried to back up. Her footwork followed his exactly as she moved forward with him. Her left hand cocked back for a quarter second, then she shoved her hand through the side of her assailants skull. Bone gave way with a squelch as she flexed her hand in his grey matter.

Stopping to wipe her gore covered hand on the Tengu's robe, she looked for the next Bird to hunt. The air was hazy with smoke, and only glimpses of the carnage about her could be seen; a pair of white ears here, a tall dark skinned man just over there. But where was the Olive-Skinned Stranger?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Ren had been taking in the commotion of the city from the walls with the Snow Oni, the disconcerting news of the 'army of bandits' soon being relieved as some Prefect took to the stage to declare some fellow, Yuwen Fortune, a fraud? He was prepared to fight if he had to, but Ren supposed it was for the best that the tiny town wasn't forced to fight off 300 bandits. Numbers that were this skewed rarely translated to success.

Before he could truly relax though, the tower at the center of Poyo erupted into flames, bursting apart and sending bits of stone and wood across the town square. Hoped too soon it seemed, but the arrival of Tengu warriors struck the sellsword as odd. A fake attack immediately followed by a real one? Strange timing. And that Goblin that had been running away from the town, what was that about? Had they helped coordinate this?

The Snow Oni had darted towards the battle, leaving Ren with the briefest of moments to consider what he would do. There really was no alternative but to fight, but what was the best way? He took a glance around the part of town he could see, noting several men, women, and children cowering. The men, while not exactly impressive warriors, had the strength one would expect from farmers. Good enough? He hoped.

Ren dropped down from the wall, making his way around some of the hidden corners of the side streets, signalling to the men in hiding. "You men, get a hold of yourselves. Your wives and children are in danger, time to step up to defend them. Go grab some tools and weapons. Knives and short blades, make sure you have them tucked into a belt. Grab spears, shovels, pitchforks, and knock the metal parts off. It'll weigh them down and slow your attacks. Use the spears and makeshift poles to keep those Tengu at a distance from you, and when they get too close, use your knives to stab at them. Aim for the heads, don't bother with the armored areas."

They looked terrified at the Yeuxkyenan. "But... We're not skilled enough to fight them! What are we supposed to do!"

The warrior raised a hand to calm them. "This isn't about fighting them, it's about controlling the battlefield. They already blew up the tower, we do not want them burning the whole town down. We keep them here in town square. Guards and Prefect's can deal with any saboteurs, and town's folk can help prevent fires."

The terror remained in their eyes, but Ren's face remained stoic and unaffected. "We will save the town. Do what I said, support the guards and Prefects, and we will be victorious." With that, the townsmen ran off to either follow the sellsword's orders, or to flee, and Ren made his way to the town square, grabbing a deserted guard's spear that had been lying on the ground.

__________________________________________________________________________________


Another Tengu dove towards the female Rabbit Beastman and Yuwen, intent on ensuring their target wouldn't escape. Before it could reach them however, and wooden rod swung past the Rabbit, through the air over Yuwen, and collided with the face of the flying assailant. A loud *CRACK* resounded as the Tengu was pulled along with the spear, being cast down into the pavement head first with a loud thud.

Ren gave a nod to the Beastwoman and the Adventuring Charlatan.

"Happy Emperor's Day."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Ginchiyo Lao Tzu Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Yamato Hibiki Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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The Tengu was very good, Sunaarashi had to admit. The way he held his sword, the extra weight behind his blows afforded by the practiced use of his wings, his footwork; it was all impeccable. The Tengu was also smart, Sunaarashi realized, as his opponent broke away from their duel unexpectedly, flipping backwards to hover above the stage, glowering down at the sand warrior.

"You are the shadow of Sune," the Tengu said, the voice holding a hint of confusion. "The one they call the Hunter. For what reason are you in Poyo?"

"Why else would a hunter go anywhere but to hunt?" Suna said, shrugging. "But it seems I've traded one kind of prey for another."

"I have no wish to die today, Hunter," the Tengu replied with what was undoubtedly a sneer. "I draw my blade for coin, not purpose. Perhaps we shall meet again."

The Tengu didn't spare any more time before launching upwards with a blast of air, the opera mask it had wore dropping from above, cracking in half as hit the stage. Sunaarashi watched the black-winged Tengu speed away, then returned to the bag he had dropped.

"To hunt birds," Sunaarashi mused, sheathing his blade and unbuckling a strap. "You need bows." To this end, he pulled one free from his bag, along with string and a quiver of arrows. Quickly stringing the bow, Sunaarashi pulled an arrow free, and with a casual pull, sent the projectile forward and through the throat of a Tengu as it passed.

The winged enemy hit the ground with a heavy thud, and Sunaarashi drew another arrow from the quiver.

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Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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Samyan was a step away from the village gates when her attention was drawn by a sound like the great festival drum of Kashran, back toward the village square. She heard screams and saw black plumes of smoke rising over the tops of the fishing town's modest buildings, almost masking the silhouettes of multiple winged men when viewed from the edge of town.

Samyan touched the first knuckle of her forefinger to her lip with her other hand cupped under her elbow, considering this new development. An advance force from Tengala? No, Bobo (Placeholder Name) was totally worthless. Part of the festivities then? she supposed there could've been an accident with fireworks, and she had heard tengu enjoyed roughhousing at festivals. Perhaps Yune had a similar custom?

Ah yes, that must be it, she concluded, clapping her fist into her palm and tilting her head to the side to avoid a shard of flaming metal, eyes closed in self-satisfaction at her cunning deduction. This must be why everyone was gathered in the center of the village! How silly to think they were running from something. She'd shown herself to be such an ignorant rube, and on the most important day of the Yunish calendar!

Well, this might be her first Emperor Day, but she'd be darned if she didn't go all in on the attractions, especially when they went to the trouble of hiring what must be traditional Tengalan festival brawlers just for the occasion. Samyan chuckled softly to herself; She'd taken Bongo (Placeholder Name) for a provincial, know-nothing swamp village without two coppers to rub their ass with, but clearly she was wrong. There must be some great value to Binbou (Placeholder Name) that she hadn't realized.

Samyan handed her walking stick to one of the villagers running out of the gate (they must have lost! Better luck next year!), asking him politely to hold onto it for her. It would be a shame if she lost it. She then turned and began strolling back toward the village square.

The dirt road was littered with debris from the revelry. Samyan saw a handful of people laying unconscious in the middle of the road, partially trampled - the sad fate of many a festival drunk. A woman reached out to her, asking weakly for help. Samyan lifted her to her feet gently, then stepped past her, not noticing as the woman fell back to the dirt behind her, clutching a wound in her side.

"Oi, are you blind or just stupid?" interrogated a masculine voice above her. Samyan looked up to see a tengu land on the roof of what might have once been a shop, his wooden sandals sending a couple mud tiles clattering to the street below. He lifted his katana up to rest against his shoulder, glaring down at her. "Can't say I expected to see a snow oni around here, but it'd be best if you ran off. I'm not in the business of killing women." His eyes went to the Yunish woman bleeding out in the street. "....Preferably."

Samyan flexed one arm, clapping her hand against her bicep. "I'm fine. This is the way to the festival brawl, right? I wanted to participate."

The tengu blanched. "...Stupid, then." He clicked his tongue, then dropped down to the street, removing his mask and tying it to the sash on his waist. "I'll give you this one chance, out of pity. Turn around and leave."

"Nah."

"Oi! Do you really not get what's going on?! This whole town is under lockdown by the Ha- Ha- Ha…jago Warriors." The man withdrew from a more aggressive stance, coughing inconspicuously.

"Hajago?" Was that a mashup of the words for 'tooth' and 'potato'? What a strange thing to call a troupe of entertainers.

The tengu growled in frustration, violently mussing up his hair before jabbing his finger at Samyan in an accusatory fashion. "Just leave already!! Do you wanna freakin' die?! Get outta here!!"

Samyan pounded her fist against her chest, beaming with deadpan confidence. "It's ok. I've been in a brawl before."

The tengu gaped at her, wings twitching slightly. Just how oblivious was this chick? He grit his teeth, then sighed, shoulders relaxing as he adapted a battle stance. "Fine. Just know I gave you fair warning."

The tengu lunged forward, thrusting at her midsection yet meeting open air as Samyan stepped to the side. He slashed in an arc, chasing after her, yet hitting nothing as she twisted around behind him, her feet barely kicking up dust as she moved. "Oh, are you supposed to be testing me before entry?" Samyan asked, tapping her knuckles lightly against the back of his shoulder.

The tengu exhaled softly to center himself, then spun around, bringing his blade down and then back up in a crescent arc which once again hit nothing. He followed it with a flurry of rapid strikes, stepping in, out, and around what he saw of her space to try and get past her defenses, yet failed to so much as touch her kimono. Samyan looked at him as if she were doing basic calisthenics, not even slightly tired, and he cursed under his breath. Was this woman a genius or something? A savant? Was she a freaking savant? He narrowed his eyes. Maybe…

He offered a lopsided smirk to Samyan. "It's a brawl, right? Aren't you going to hit me?" If she dropped her guard and moved in close, he'd be able to finish this in a single swing of his sword!




A tengu came shooting through the air, smashing into one of his comrades and sending them both plummeting to the ground, eyes full of spinning stars. Samyan strolled casually around the wreck of burning buildings a moment later, bouncing a shattered katana off her shoulder and whistling at the impressive distance he'd flown.

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Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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"That was an impressive blow, wahid qawiun," Sunaarashi called out to Samyan, striding to where both tengu were attempting to get back to their feet. "But you didn't finish the job."

"Wai-," one of the tengu tried to say before Sunaarashi shot an arrow through his face. The other tengu tried to hobble away, but took an arrow through the leg, sending him back to the ground. Sunaarashi grunted as he picked the tengu up by the pants and slung him into a nearby flame, watching for a brief moment as the tengu's feathers smoked and then turned into pillars of flame that consumed the shrieking man in an instant.

Another arrow silenced those screams, and Sunaarashi turned back to Samyan, shrugging.

"Smells like turkey," the large man said with no hint at humor in his face or voice.

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Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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"Is that right?" Samyan asked in a tone which suggested she wasn't really looking for a reply. She looked around at the ruined square, filled with the bodies of the dead and dying, some mutilated beyond recognition, and the people clashing with what tengu remained. This didn't seem like the kind of brawl she had expected.

"Are all Yunish festivals like this? It seems strange that they would demolish their own village like this for a simple celebration." Samyan touched her knuckle to her lip and closed her eyes in thought, leaning forward as a tengu shot through the space she'd just occupied, screaming in rage. "A sacrifice to their emperor perhaps?"

The tengu hit the ground and spun on his heel, swinging his sword hard at Samyan's neck. She bent backward, the blade sailing over her nose, then did a roundhouse into the tengu's side, sending him rocketing across the square and smashing through a building on the opposite side. "What an odd custom. The world really is full of such wonders." She turned her head slightly, regarding the Sunish man out of the corner of her eye. "Who are you?"

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Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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"Just a shadow," Sunaarashi shrugged, sending an arrow into the hole the tengu had created in the wall. The arrow was met with a scream. "I sincerely doubt this is a custom of any festival. The Tengu must have a reason for coming here. A few dozen to stir up the villagers while another group fulfills their purpose here."

Sunaarashi pointed at the flaming tower. "They've been pushing to keep people away from the tower they destroyed. Whatever they want must be there."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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#, as written by Nulix
At the outskirts of the the town square Ro and a few of his men had managed to recreate formation, stabbing their way through a downed tengu and approaching Samyan and Sunaarashi. "You're right, " He spat, wiping his blade away. "They've not gone after the townsfolk, they want something else."

Ro watched as the few remaining Tengu flew over, dividing and changing tactics in the air. Some switching to go down and fight while others disappearing into the black smoke of the burning heap where the town-tower and statue used to be. "...Why blow up a tower... unless there was something underneath it," Ro whispered, turning to Sunaraashi and Samyan. "We have to attack them at the base of the tower, in the smoke - they're doing something there, I know it."

At Shuin and Namari's appearance Yuwen immediately uncoupled himself from Lo-Muna, swinging away from her arms to face the two. Yuwen combed the curly bangs out of his face as he approached the two. "Yuwen Fortune," he introduced, grabbing Shuin's hand and shaking it. He took Namari's, but instead rose it to his mouth and placed a kiss like a true yunish hero. He paused, his face scrunching up. "Sorry, you look..." He blinked. Familiar...

Suddenly there was a roar, like the sound of a beast wounded. Yuwen turned to find the source of the sound. Across the square Kaor, the mighty beast-woman he had spoken to earlier, was surrounded by a duo of Tengu. "This is no time to be divided," Yuwen whispered, turning to Lo-Muna, and then the others gathered. "That beast-woman needs our help."

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Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer
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#, as written by druidquest
Samyan looked where the guard was pointing, then turned back to him with eyes full of sorrow. She placed her hand gently on his shoulder, and when she spoke, it was the tone of one explaining to an unusually slow child. "That's not a tower. That's a bonfire."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Suiken Character Portrait: Takai Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Ren raised an eyebrow at the Yunish man, who thanked him in fairly good Yeuxkyen, with a dialect far better than most foreigners could manage. "Bin qui." Came a response of 'you're welcome' in Yunish that bore the marks Ren's of foreign accent. The rabbit woman's response had been far less formal, leaving Ren cocking a smile and giving a slight bow of the head in response.

Before he could respond further, a Tengu had been thrust in his direction, instinctively triggering Ren to grab at the winged warrior's closest arm. Ren gripped tight as he pulled the Tengu's right arm up and over the Yeuxkyenan's right shoulder. The attacker's chest met Ren's back, and before he could fight back to regain control of his arm, Ren dipped down slightly as he pulled the Tengu up and over his shoulder, slamming him down into the stone street with crushing force.

The arm, already heavily damaged, was finished off by Ren using his foot to break it. He considered mercy for the briefest of moments, but after a brief look of the battlefield realized now really wasn't the time. The swordsman quickly and efficiently drew his blade, pierced the chest of the Tengu, and quickly wiped the sword clean of blood. He let out a slight sigh before having his attention caught by talk of... Treasure?

Interesting twist to all this. The arrival of a prefect helped confirm the import of this attack. Ren almost moved to question the Yunish man, 'Fortune', about the treasure more, but he was interrupted by the roars of the bear beastwoman from the Inn earlier.

He supposed it would be prudent to lend his assistance. Before he did though, he briefly turned to Ro. "Backup? Is there any forces that can help us in taking the tower from them?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Yuwen Fortune Character Portrait: Namari Shioh Character Portrait: Sunaarashi Character Portrait: Lo-Muna Vanhi Character Portrait: Xanth Character Portrait: Kaor, The Mourned Character Portrait: Samyan Zaheer Character Portrait: Ren Van
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Xanth tried dodging the stampede that didn't bother looking down at what it was trampling over when the attack launched. After getting beaten around by elbows and knees, she flattened against Kaor's backside. She slapped away Kaor's signed command for her to get to safety with one hand as she unlatched the bracelet of a woman running past her and pocketed it with the other. The Mayor was on his way out, but he still stood for the town's will. Violence was a language Xanth could speak and she wanted to be paid for it. She signed Kaor the plan, and dashed off, leaving the dog to guard the beast woman's back.

In shadow, Xanth skittered up a wall. It was a simple strategy, but one that served them well during their time as mercenaries. Kaor stayed on the ground and drew attention while Xanth assassinated them from above. She had to be careful here, she reminded herself as she slipped over the roof and hid herself beneath an overhanging fixture from a Tengu swooping overhead, she didn't have the high ground advantage that she normally did. Xanth drew her twin daggers and waited.

As was the life of an assassin. A far cry from the invulnerable mass murderers myth had conjured them to be of late. An assassin that ever found themselves in the position of having to take out twenty people at once was a miserable excuse for one. Assassins had one job, and one job only, and that was killing a target before they knew death was coming. Most of Xanth's extensive kill count found their deaths in their own beds or, if they were lucky, the latrine, where the corpses could defecate respectfully. The gig wasn't glamorous. If she could tell them the truth, she would.

Black wings swooped past her hiding place. All the tension in Xanth's body exploded and she sprung out, latching onto the Tengu's back with claw-like knives into the base of his neck. She rode the hurtling Tengu down. His body took the impact of the fall, and they skidded to a stop, punctuated by Xanth splitting him open from his shoulder to his jugular. She cut off his nose in one swoop, pocketed it for proof, and was out of sight in a blink. She climbed to the rooftops, tucked herself into a little crevice, and began the wait again.

The second advantage came quicker than the first, and Xanth shot out for it - but the Tengu turned in his flight, and her dagger made its mark in the joint of his wing. She dangled with nothing to push herself off with until she was shaken off. She gripped one of her daggers between her teeth mid-air and planted herself on the wall she'd been tossed into. Foolish. She began her hobble of shame back into the shadows, when a horrible sound struck her ears. Her head jerked to catch her companion's snout turned up to the sky, her maw wide in a howl of pain. The world seemed to shake as the great bear was brought to her knees.

The dog made the valiant effort of biting at her attacker's ankles, managing to tear one off her and shaking their leg so violently Xanth could hear the bones breaking. Her vision went red. The lines around her eyes grew deep and harsh, and she took off sprinting. Her body jutted out sideways from the walls she ran over until she was upright on the rooftops again, not bothering to try hiding herself from their airborne attackers. She took the dagger from her teeth as she arced around and bared them in a snarl as she leapt, sailing over the heads of those coming to Kaor's aid, her knives out, an agent of quiet fury and death striking from above -

Thwack. Xanth was intercepted. A bandit had played her trick and swooped her from above, plucking her away from vengeance. Her targets and friend grew smaller beneath her dangling feet as she was carried away from the battle. A dagger twisted in her side, which Xanth didn't realize until it was already going for her throat. She immediately turned on her kidnapper, struggling and stabbing at them as they attempted the same. Their battle continued on in the sky, a scramble that kept ducking mid-flight and threatening to plummet. Her attacker quickly became fed up with the little rat climbing and bleeding all over him and he tried dropping her to her death. Xanth's hand shot out as she fell and glued onto his shirt, yanking him down with her as she swiped out at his nose with her knife. He roared out in pain and gave his wings a mighty flap. The fabric tore and Xanth fell down towards the alleys with the Tengu's nose, a scrap of cloth stuck to her outstretched hand.