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The Knights

The Knights

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The Knights are the defenders of the Sora System, a galactic republic that has expanded and conquered throughout its history. You are the Knight Elite, the best of the best, but, with enemies around every corner, even the best can be brought down.

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Introduction

Update: The Illegal Army ~The Knights reach the court of Sor and Loki and Xeroux face trial. With Oseal's scorched cape the trial tips in their favor and they manage to win their innocents. With the trial won, Loki decides to stay behind in Sor and make sure that the investigation on Oseal goes smoothly. The Knight's say goodbye to their friend and pick up a new companion, a royal guard, Artemis Maximus, who was assigned to join the Knight's from the King of Sor himself. The Knight's, with Artemis, make their way off-world to their next assignment. Aden Malkini, the Knight's old Commander who had abandoned them on Usin, had assembled a citizen army on the planet of Iceveng and intended on bringing the army to Usin to defeat the rebels there. The formation of this army was illegal and it was the Knight's job to meet Malkini and gather information on the illegal army. The Knights land in the deserts of Iceveng and find Malkini with his army of Kingsmen, descendants of former Neahians who immigrated to Sora. Malkini reveals that the army he assembled had united much of southern Iceveng, and had gone under the name the Propro Republic. Malkini then said that the armies next target was a city-state called the Kingdom of Tristonople. The Knights, not knowing what to do next, secretly contact Commander Roka, who had met up with a Sorillian Legion and the Legion's Commander, General Bogby. Roka informed the Knights that they should join Malkini in taking the city, and that the city would most likely fall apart after a few days under Malkini's and the Kingsmen's rule. That was when they would enter the city and capture the illegal army, when Malkini's city was on the edge of chaos. The Knights, with their orders in mind, help Malkini take the city. The army, met with almost no resistance, takes the city almost instantaneously, but Malkini and the Kingsmen, wanting a grand battle, proceeds to lead a slaughter on the city guards. The Knights confront Malkini over this who puts a stop to the violence, proclaiming that they had victory. After a few days in the city the Knights notice that the Kingsmen were able to run things without many incidents, largely due to two Kingsmen brothers, Nulix and Vecked Princeton, who controlled a large part of Malkini's army. Artemis, realizing the potential the Princeton brothers have, reports to General Bogby. Artemis proposed that the Propro Republic remain an active body after Malkini was captured, and that it would be given to Princess Anora of Sor, and that it be administrated by the Princeton Brothers. The plan is approved and Artemis returns to the city where Malkini has assembled the army to make a speech. At the speech Malkini is shot by none other then Vecked Princeton, who convinces the army to mutiny against Malkini and to march north to kill the Senator from Iceveng, Elliot Kingson. Nulix, Vecked, and the army march off, the Knights tending to Malkini's wounds as they do. Just as the illegal army leaves the Legion arrives in the city. The Knights explain the situation to Roka and Bogby, who decide that the Princeton Brothers must be stopped at all cost. The group would chase after them in two days after Malkini had time to get his wounds healed. Malkini was assigned to lead the Knight's in their hunt for the Princeton Brothers, so that he could finish what he started. It is now the night before their chase begins, and the Knights wonder if they will succeed, why Vecked betrayed them, and if their squad will ever unify completely... ~ Current Date: 15th of July, 2240

Update: The Court of Capima ~The Knights arrive on the planet of Kings Port and locate Commander Roka and Oseal. Once there Xeroux and Loki confessed to having set up the explosives on Usin, hoping to spare the others from accusation and also to buy the rest time to gather evidence against Oseal. Roka accepted their confession and told them that they would set off for Capima after he completed his mission on the world. Malkini's Knights follow Roka to a small house in a field of rye. Inside they find an old women who Roka had fought many years ago. She was a Phoenix. The group fought the women and managed to kill her, but not before loosing one of Roka's Knights. The next day Roka announced that they would head to the Capima Islands. Malkini's Knights at this point are in a state of panic. They had no evidence so far against Oseal and they had confessed to doing it themselves. Luckily Jove managed to search through Oseal's things and found a scorched cape. The cape could of been burned if Oseal had set the explosives too late and had run from the blast. With their evidence set, the Knights arrive on the capital city of Sor, and set off to the court district with Commander Roka leading the way ~ Current Date: 27th of June, 2240

Update: The Disaster on Usin ~The Knights, under the command of former Minor General Aden Malkini, arrive on the planet of Usin, in an area called Highrock where the stone walls and pillars stand tall along side a small river leading to a large, flat wetland. The Knights are greeted by two Knights of another unit, a unit under the command of former Minor General Roka. The two Knights who greet them are Oran Oseal, a white Knight who knows Nai from his days at the Tormaund Academy, and Ephraim Gauloris, a red Knight who knows Sentrius from his days at the Mt. Ravin Academy. The two direct them to Major General Yoff, who believes there to be an army of rebels in a nearby village on the side of a pillar. The General has placed a set of explosives beneath the pillar on which the village sits using a set of abandoned tunnels from an ancient underground city running beneath Highrock. Malkini's team, led by Oseal, sets off to investigate the village and report back to the General, and his army of three Legions, whether or not there is indeed an army of rebels hidden in the native village. They arrive at the village to find only the peaceful villagers. They report back to the Major General who sends Oseal to disarm the explosives, sends Gauloris to fly back to Commander Roka and give him the status of the mission, and send his army marching towards the village. The army capture the village and Malkini sets up camp for his team down the river, away from the rape and slaughter General Yoff permitted his legion to do upon the peaceful village. The night goes on and the team feels disgusted at themselves and at the General for allowing such acts to be performed by a Legion of the Knights. When morning comes the team is awakened by a bang. The explosives set beneath the village go off causing the pillar to fall to the ground, crushing all three Legions, and Major General Yoff, in the process. Malkini rushes off to the entrance of the underground city while the team head to the ruins of the pillar to investigate. When they arrive they find a single survive, a young woman from the native village; but apart from that, nothing but death. Malkini returns to them with two ships, one their black Elite cruiser, and the other the gold armored ship of General Yoff. Malkini explains to them that as he flew over he saw an army of thousands in the nearby wetlands, all heading towards the Highrock area. Malkini tells them to seek out Command Roka and convince him that they were not the ones to set off the explosives. Malkini then tells them that he would head south alone and form an army on various planets and return to end the rebel threat on Usin. Malkini takes off in his golden ship, and, with their mission in hand, the Knights set off for the planet of Kings Port, to find Commander Roka and convince him that they were not the ones to murder Yoff's legions ~ Current Date: 3rd of June, 2240

Introduction:
The planets and worlds have gone through much age, being settled and resettled over the course of time. The Helexicon Empire, a galactic super-power which rose from the southern planets in the late 1700's, that being 1700 years after the destruction of Phoenix Empire, ruled the worlds with an iron fist, their loyalties to the King and to their single God. The Empires reach stretched far as it grew, and in the northern lands, conquered in campaigns in the 1900's, the Empire's only power is through the Knights, a force of all Phoenix guards that enforce the Helexicon rule and authority in the region. The Phoenix, since the dawn of written history, have been a threat to civilization. They were humans, like all others, only they could bend the elements to their will. The Treaty of the Crosses in 1450 was a written agreement signed by all reigning systems at the time that all Phoenix citizens would be either killed or imprisoned. The North-East, ruled by the Dorman and Bakotian Empire's at the time, kept their Phoenix on the neutral planet of Croshana, an icy world of mountains and seas, where they lived alone in the cold. In the year 1892, the Helexicon Empire, which had been growing in the south, sent agents to Croshana. They unleashed the Phoenix, dressed in silver armor and capes, on the north. And the Dormans, the Naehians, and the Bakos fell to the power of the Phoenix Knights and the Helexicon Empire. A hundred year reign began of violence and oppression on the land. From this a common belief among the Northerners formed, a common religion. This religion was known as Matranism, and eventually it gathered an army. The Phoenix, though more powerful, were severely outnumbered in the Matranist revolt. In the North, every Phoenix Knights, and any family of theirs, were hunted and killed. The Common folk had won. The North-Eastern branch of the Helexicon Empire turned into the Matran System in 2094, which, twelve years later, split into the Ulfire, Pluoo, Vindico, and Sora systems. The Helexicon power in the North shrank into a small fringe that was absorbed into the surrounding systems. In the Sora System, the Knights, an order once loyal to the Helexicon and restricted to Phoenix, was now an order loyal to the Sora System and was open to all men and women born within the system. It is now the year 2240, and the Sora System had expanded and grown into a respectable and loyal republic. Tensions have arisen between the Sora System and the Ulfire System, as each has gained more land and power. You are a graduate of a Knight Academy, a two year training facility to prepare young students for life as a Knight. You have scored high enough at your Academy to be honored as a Knight Elite, a specialized branch of the Knights. One team of Elites, its said, are equal to a nearly one-hundred Knight soldiers. You have been sent to Capima Islands, the capital planet of the Sora System, to the tropical island of Avana-Nvaro, the location of the Capima Knight Academy and the location of the Knight Elite graduation ceremony. You arrive by boat ready to go through the ceremony and find out which team of Knights you will be grouped in...

The Squadron:
Aden Malkini - Knight Commander
Xeroux Falcus - Black Knight
Nai Gareki Tsukumo - Blue Knight
Sentrius Tetran - Red Knight
Joven Flynn - Green Knight
Demnix Valorai - Black Knight
Rasmus DeTylmerand - Black Knight
Artemis Maximus - Royal Guard

The World:
A map of North-East Space in 2240

Characters. Knights and Others:
The Knights is about, well, a group of Knight Elites. They will be the main team throughout the story, the protagonists. If you want to create a Knight Elite you must choose a Specialization and Academy from which you hail from, but, if you want to create a second character who is not a rookie Elite, or a character outside of the Knights entirely, you can.

Specializations:
To Join the Knight Elite you must of scored high on the final exam, which is a series of five different specialty tests given to Academy students at the end of their two year stay. Students who score over 95 percent on one or more of the tests become Knight Elites, their specialty, and armor marking them, being based on whatever test they scored over 95 percent on. The specialties are as followed:

Blue Armor - Outstanding knowledge of the battlefield and tactics.
Red Armor - Outstanding knowledge of weapons and arms.
Green Armor - Outstanding knowledge of culture and diplomacy.
White Armor - Outstanding knowledge of science and theory.
Gold Armor - Outstanding knowledge of biology and medics.
Black Armor - Granted to students who scored 95 percent or higher in multiple areas.

Academies:
To join the Knight Elite you will have to have trained for two years at one of nine Knight Academies:

- Knight Academy of the Avana-Nvaro Island, Capima.
- The tropical island of Avana is located west of the Capima mainland in the middle of the Nvaro ocean. The facilities are built upon rocks and cliffs of the island, and the rooms and halls often connect to outdoor walkways and balconies, as well as underground and underwater facilities. The Avana-Nvaro Academy is the crown jewel of the Knight Academies, having nearly ninety-percent of its students making it into the Knight Elite. It is the most rounded in its courses and has produced many great Knight heroes such as Knight Commander Javeith, who managed to stop the genocide of an entire country through diplomacy, and Knight General Jakson, whose strategic brilliance won him, and the system, the enemy state of Domanore.

- Knight Academy of the City of Urakas, Capima.
- The city of Urakas, on the western coast of the Capima Mainland, is the heart of Sorillian Matranism, and home of the Matranor, Sorillian leader of the Church. The city is built upon the hills and mountains, its buildings and streets made of white and brown brick. The Academy grounds stretch through three different city districts, and it is the largest Academy out of them all, housing nearly 6000 students. The buildings themselves are built with White brick, and are connected by passages and halls both outside and underground. The specialty of the Urakas is medicine, built also teaches a large variety of standardized Knight teachings. Many great Knight heroes have come out of the Urakas Academy, such as Knight Grandmaster Vosashan, who founded all the Knight Academies in the worlds, excluding the Umano Academy and the Ophonleonas Academy.

- Knight Academy of the Xenxai Region, Bao.
- The mountainous Baon region of Xenxai is home to the planets only Knight Academy. The Xenxai region is filled with hills, mountains, forests, and rivers. Within this lay several small towns and settlements that work off the land. On the edge of the bamboo forest lays the Knight Academy, a flat-ground palace, reaching over several acres, buried beneath the trees. The Xenxai Academy specializes in the art of stealth and swordplay, its teaching coming from the ancient fighting styles of the Bao Kingdoms. The Academy has produced many great Knight heroes such as Knight General Doxagai, who hunted and killed over one-hundred Phoenix's who had been in hiding during the early years of the 2200's and Knight Commander Dragoon, who, along with his partner Roka, managed to end the world war of Kridell by successfully assassinating the dictator of the Dorman Peoples States.

- Knight Academy of the Town of Yunsland, Olana.
- The Town of Yunsland stands as one of the single contacts Olana has to the outside world. The Town, in the cherrywood forest, only a few miles from the shores, is often, plagued with a storm, which usually lasts between a week and a month. The town is one based off production, with the citizens, hidden beneath their domed houses, stitching up fabrics and quilts for the rest of the planets to use. In the center of the town is the Knight Academy, a small castle with a small garden surrounding it. This is the Academy that the Northern farm children are usually sent to, and most of them don't score high enough for the Elites.

- Knight Academy of the City of Tarukas, Tusinvei.
- The City of Tarukas is Tusinvei's largest city. It spans across several fields and hills, and has several ships coming to and from it daily. The city, while not having large buildings or palaces in it, is still a productive and notable stop for trade. The streets are paved with old cobblestone, with gardens and trees common to be found on the sides. Thousands of houses span the cities reaches, and in its center are shops and spaceports. The Academy of Tarukas is located on a large hill, and overlooks a residential area not far off from the business section. The Academy garners children from the western worlds, and teaches them a rounded set of skills necessary for being a Knight.

- Knight Academy of Mt. Ravin, Ravin.
- The planet of Ravin is a volcanic one. On the light side of the planet, where the sun shines for all but nineteen days of the year, the planets volcanic soils make vast brown deserts where water is scarce and towns are scattered. On the dark side of the planet, where there are only stars, fire and rivers of lava are common and active, making the darklands unvoyageable unless traveling by the highlands, mountains and passes made by volcanic earth. On one of thee mountains sits the Academy of Ravin, a training facility that produced some of the best warriors and assassins the Knights have ever seen, such as Knight General Gnusis, who captured the last unconquered world in the Helexicon fringe, Harakos.

- Knight Academy of the Village of Phala, Umano.
- Phala is a small fishing village off the edge of the southern Umano subcontinent. The village is on the water, its huts and townplaces held by stilts a few feet above the seas surface, and its streets are connected by bridges. Bamboo and waterleaf are used to construct most the villages huts and boats. The Phala Academy is the smallest out of all the Knight Academy's and it usually only has about twenty to thirty students in it. The students who do not become Knight Elites do not join the rest of the soldiers and instead become Knight Forresters, Knights who patrol the forests of planets such as Umano, Ceegum, and Domanore. The Academy in Phala does not have an actual building, and is instead organized by the beach on the shore, since most of the students have houses either in the village or in the rainforest past the shore. Most of the training for the Phala Knights is done on the beach or in the forest.

- Knight Academy of the Village of Tormaund, Ophonleonas.
- In the desert of Cores lies the village of Tormaund, a small dry trading post that only gets supplies from outside the desert once a week, via camel, and only gets supplies from other worlds flown in monthly. Just outside the village on the side of a dune is a collection of sand huts. This is the Knight Academy of Tormaund. Sent here are the illiterate, the peasants, the criminals, or just the extremely unlucky. Despite this the Tormaund Academy has still produced a large number of Knight Elites, mainly fighters who seem fairly determined to prove themselves, such as Knight Commander Roka, who, along with his partner Dragoon, managed to end the world war of Kridell by successfully assassinating the dictator of the Dorman Peoples States, and Knight Commander Rudo, who ended a planned revolution on Iceveng.

- Knight Academy of the Territory of Ackan, Gengrolin.
- The Knight Academy in Ackan varies from the rest of the Academies as it is hanging. The Academy is built on the underside of a cliff, its location in complete solitude as the forested region of Ackan has only a few towns and villages. On the cliff above is forest and on the ground below is more forest, covered in fog and clouds. The students of the Gengrolin Academy learn the arts of large scale strategy, often being able to plan and predict whose army will be victorious on the battlefield. The Gengrolin Academy has produced many great Knights such as Knight General Bolapar, who won the war of Bakota in 2210.

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#, as written by Nulix
From a balcony overhead Joven Flynn watched the beach below. Small ships of both wood and steel had settled themselves on the shore, and the rest of the ships had simply cushioned themselves onto the white pearl beaches of the island. The first ship, and the largest, had come from Urakas, bringing in close to one-hundred students, roughly half of what Avana-Nvaro had produced. After them came a second boat from Urakas, but carrying the students of Gengrolin, who had landed in the city. After them came the Baon's, who had arrived by Starship on the beaches northernmost edge. By boat came the rest, Ravin, Olana, Tusinvei and Umano, all but the Ophonleonas boat, which was likely never to arrive at all. Jove watched as the water rocked the boats gently, in its waves were the blue and white sky. The seagulls crowed with the whistle of the winds, going through Jove's shirt gently. "I love this place."

"What, the island?" A female voice asked from inside.

Jove turned around to see a small form adjusting her polished green armor in a mirror, just inside his room, behind her was another balcony, though the view from that balcony faced the rocks and the trees, which loomed over. "This wont be my room in the elite," Jove said. "Until I become a General I'll be lucky if I even get to sleep in a warm bed."

The two continued to talk as they made their way to the opening ceremony, in the Garden square of the Academy. They arrived at the entrance of the gardens to see hundreds of Elites, armor and faces a mix of cultures and colors. In front of the crowd was a large deck, on it a podium. Behind the deck Jove could see the Knight Commanders and the Avana Headmaster getting ready for their introductions. At the garden gate Jove saw a few students from Ophonleonas run in, late as usual.

"This is it," Jove said with a smile. "These are the Knights."

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"Wow, I made it!" Sentrius exclaimed, happily, his chest swelling with pride. "It's better than I thought it would be!" Like most Knights trained at Mt. Ravin, he was almost as happy to be alive as he was to finally reach the highest point in a knight trainee's life. Walking throughout the crowd, Sentrius pushed people left and right trying to get a better view of the stage where the Knight leaders would be speaking.

Looking around him, Sentrius almost forgot how grand Capima was. Especially compared to the volcanic Ravin. So he might as well sit back and relax before the ceremony started. After all it might be one of his few chances after he finishes saving the galaxy several times over.

The setting changes from The UO-Universe to The Sora System

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A lot has changed since the days I dreamed of a Knights glory and honor. Once I was a boy in the sun fighting with a wooden stick against imaginary enemies. A child who knew nothing and was carefree because of it. And she was there with me, my Angel the woman whom I even loved as a foolish boy. Once we were happy living in that small house were the days were warm and the nights cool.Where the wind would whisper it's secrets as we lay in each others arms. But that was before fate ripped us apart.Once I was happy but no more. The reflection stared back at him as the Knight in his black armor stared in the mirror thinking of a time before,a time when life made sense. A time when he was happy and the dreams of Knighthood meant more then fulfilling an oath to a dead wife.

" Melina for you I would gladly trade this useless suit of armor, this Knighthood. All of it I would trade to taste your lips one more time, to look into your beautiful azure eyes one more time, to tell you I love you one more time. To hold against you against me one more time. Even life itself is meaningless with you at my side." Words spoken to a reflection with a longing so great it was wonder that Mithra himself didn't grant this descendant of the legendary Phoenix wish. Instead the Black Knight contented himself with one sigh and single grasp of the ancient ring before turning from the mirror to face the room he stood in. A well appointed room it was indicative of a disciplined life. The bed was made to exacting standards, not even the smallest particle of dust marred any surface.
The wood surfaces gleamed from a recent polish, the metal ones shone with unrivaled brilliance. And set before the bed was an armor stand holding the components of armor not worn daily by it's owner. This included the left shoulder plate, left arm plate and left gauntlet, and both leg plates and steel boots. In fact the only parts of the armor the Black Knight wore were the Cuirass and right arm plate and right gauntlet along with a gorget.

However both the armor he wore and what was on the stand shone brightly after all today was graduation day for the Knight Elite. Normally contending himself with keeping his armor dusted and clean of rust the polish was something new for these mostly ceremonial pieces of armor.And it being graduation day the Black Knight went about adding the other pieces of armor to what he wore. In the dim past a Knight usually had a squire to help him don his armor or at least a helping hand. But since the institutionalizing of Knighthood the squire had gone the way of so many other knightly traditions. Such as the unbending code of honor. In this Black Knights mind no knight had any business carving out reputations based on shameless acts like assassination.And yet some of the so called greatest knights were nothing more then assassins in fancy armor.

But first came graduation then changing the world. First came the faulds, in essence it was metal skirt of overlapping plates that was thigh length. Next Came the tassets, in essence hanging pieces of metal that were fixed to his faulds. And then there was the chain mail pants of black hue. Over top of them were the true leg plate with custom made knee plate joint that allowed more flexibility then normal plate. That being done all that remained was his left arm which was attended to.

Disdaining a helmet for atheistic and practical purpose. For the Black Knight simply could not figure how one could trade visibility for limited protection as massive blunt force trauma was still damaging helmet or not.

However his armor on and gleaming with two hours worth of polishing and shining he grabbed his weapons that lay in rack near the head of the bed so that he could get to them with ease just in case.First came his trademark pistols, custom made at his Father's weapon shop they were one of a kind involving much blood,sweat, and endless arguments with his father who disapproved of the departure from normal gunsmithing. Then his beloved sword crafted of a unbreakable carbon alloy it too was one of a kind. It's design and abilities were influenced by Melina who had desired a black sword to match the black armor she dreamed of donning one day....The flame it produced was to be a physical representation of the fiery will she possessed.

Armor, Weapons, and patience readied the Knight strode from his room into the hallways of the Dormitory were marched other Knights their armor running the gambit. Blue, Red,Green,White,Gold,Black. The smallest numbers were to be found in the those of clad in Black Armor, for the tests and training were grueling. To score high enough to make it into the Knight Elite was considered a miracle let alone score high enough to earn the coveted Black armor. Some looked at the Knight and his fellow ebony Knight Elite with covert jealousy hating the fact they themselves were not included in their ranks. Then again some didn't dream of the black armor and made no special notice of the color. After all Black Knight tended to get the worse assignments as HQ viewed them as the prefect shock troops. Skilled in not only weapons and warfare but also diplomacy and medicine. And it was this skill set that lent so many Black Knights to suicidal missions and one man army assignments. Were their highly visible black armor lent force to peace talks and respect to the enemy.

Such thoughts however were put on hold as his name was called out by a another Black Knight who had joined the march to the Garden Square where the ceremony was to take place.

" Hey Kazuki never thought we would be graduating in the same class. Your an old man always thought I'd be graduating after you." Kazuki's fellow Black Knight said a child at 15 years old he nonetheless wore the Black Armor. Although no warrior the 15 year old was said to be a tactical genius although Kazuki and many other Black Knights disagreed. A tactician had to truly understand and know combat. And one who could barely swing a sword or would never step foot on a battlefield would never truly combat. However he had scored high enough to both graduate early and don the Black armor so Kazuki made no comment on his poor combat ability. Perhaps maturity would turn him into a warrior but this Black knight wasn't holding his breath.

" At least I can beat a medic during fencing practice." Kazuki retorted with a bit of heat nonetheless. His age relative to the other graduates had always been a touchy point with him. At 21 the Black Knight was one of the oldest students studying at this academy but it also showed in his test scores. His age made passing the academic portions child's play as extra civilian schooling and independent studying augmented his knowledge. Although he did struggle with Scientific theory as he saw no point in anything that didn't have a practical and immediate application.

" Low blow man." The child knight replied muttering to himself as the Knights filed into the Garden Square more or less in color but intermixing after a few minutes. After all they were all Knight Elite and while the Black Knights had scored more the 95% in multiple areas and were generally seen as the best of the best they were all Knight Elite.

" This is for you Melina." Kazuki spoke softly to himself as he waited for the ceremony to truly start.

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#, as written by Nulix
The crowd of Knights had all gathered in front of the wooden stage, the back of it holding up a large banner and cover with the Knight emblem on it. From behind the banner came the Knight Commanders, armor of all colors and materials, and capes or silk trailing behind them. In the row of Commanders was Aden Malkini. The man examined the students as he marched in line on the stage and shook his head. As the Commanders lined up at the back of the stage a much smaller, crippled figure made his way from behind the banner. He was hunched over, and in his hand was a large wooden walking stick. His face ran deep with wrinkles and hairs of white, his his sockets sagged and his eyes were Grey. His white beard rested itself on a breastplate of gold, on it proudly standing a dove. On his shoulders flowed an ivory cape, printed on it a rising sun in viridian. The man reached the podium, grasping for its wooden edges as he did, letting his walking stick fall back onto his stomach.

"Knight Elite of the Sora Sysem, as your speaker of graduation, as a mentor of your life to come, Sir. Ridian Poxio Forlas Jeruniman Fero, former Grandmaster of the Knights!" One of the Elite students, clad in black-armor, announced from the side of the stage. The old man gave a look at the young Knight, chosen to announce for his speaking voice, and then turned back to the audience. Silence came over the gardens as the man pulled out a small piece of quilted paper, and then, after a quick glance over it, he spoke.

"The Knights have offered you all something. The Knights were once an entity to all of you. And outside force. Now... You are Knights. You are the Knights. You have taken your oaths, now pray you must not take an oath of war. For we are at war, yes, we are. As we have always been, as it is human nature. The Sora System... is a holy republic, run by the people and those who represent them. And the people want an Empire. They want conquerors. They want heroes of war. The Capima Islands is where we won our first victory. It is where Yerod the Great, warrior of God, struck down the Phoenix stronghold and turned it into the greatest city in the modern world. I speak of Sor, our capital. A capitol now rot with crime, dishonorable trades, and politics of the darkest kind! And I stand far away from that, all that. Yet it stands so close to you. We conquered Branko, we conquered Bao, we conquered Caprei, Krosak, even the Fringe, all as a republic! And the Knights serve that republic. I realize many of you may come from these worlds only a few decades in of conquest, and now you stand here, your minds still in stories of your fathers and forefathers, and all the awful things said about the Knights there. Yes, I know what they say. And why would you who hate the Knights join, we ask? Because you would not be able to read, not be able to write, not have money, and have your future confined to a village or a field or a mudhut for the rest of your life. The Knights offered an escape. Or perhaps you wish to serve your Nation, perhaps you wish to lead the wars, lead the conquests. The Knights offered that path. Or perhaps you are here because of a life you once led, a childhood lost. The Knights offered redemption. Or perhaps you are here because of the stories, of Knights of old. Have the Knights offered you that? I'm here to tell you yes, they have. The Neahian's conquered the Phoenix Empire, marking the beginning of our age. The Phoenix were brought back through the Helexicon Empire, the Phoenix themselves forming the Knights. And through the Emperors oppression we said "God! Empire! You are despicable." But the Knights were not. Chivalry, honor, these are the skills that define a Knight, and while the Knights were slowly mutilated into terrorizes and killers, their creed remained the same. We as a Nation hate the Phoenix, the world hates the Phoenix, for the cruelties our ancestors felt from their wrath. But from the cruelty, from the malice, came a code so pure that when we won our independence and the Helexicon Empire fell we kept it. And we swore that under God, the Matran, the People, and the Republic, we would uphold what the only the purest of Phoenix Knights could!" The old mans voice trailed off, the echo of his yell fading through the Gardens.

"But... we have not, we could not. Our legion armies, under the command of so called Knights have committed crimes that mirror, if not exceed, those that the Phoenix Knight have performed on our ancestors. General Doxagai has killed one-hundred and sixteen Phoenix. He has successfully continued our eradication of this harmful race. We called them monsters, not because of their power, but because they used their power against us and in cruelty! I wonder, if a hundred years from now, our children will be hunted and killed for the conquests we have led, and if one day in our lands someone will say "Sor you monster. Your finished." As we did to the Helexicon God all those years ago..."

"Treason!" A Knight clad in blue yelled from the crowd.

"Treason? Treason? You say I speak treason for stating consequence, eh?" The old man asked, a smile on his face. "History is not to be admired, it is to be learned from. You are Knights. You are the Knights! And you will be good Knights... I'm near my end, and I swear I will not see the Knights turn to dogs as they have before. This... is a noble order, and it will be forever more. I admit I haven't been here, on this podium, as much as I would of liked too, not because I think I am wise and that my knowledge is divine, but simply because I know I am wiser then the other men and women the order has had here over the past few years, and I know that my words are ten times holier than theirs on how to kill a man, or how to capture a city! We are not soldiers, Aor, we are Knights!" The old man yelled, look over the crowd. "You have taken your oath of loyalty, your code of the Sorillian Knights, you have sworn to these things. Now you will swear to me! On your knees! All of you, on your knees!"

An air of confusion ran over the audience at the request. The first who went to their knees was not an audience Knight at all, but instead a Commander, who, from behind the old man, fell to one knee. She was followed by the rest of the Commanders, and then by the Audience.

"No!" The old man shrieked "Not like a captured Dorman, kneel proper! You are about to swear to a code of honor! The code of the Knights!"

The young Knights who had gone on both knees quickly changed their stance. The only ones who stood now were the old man, and the Black armored announcer who approached him from the side.

"Sir Knight," The young Knight said. "We have already sworn to the Code of the Sorillian Knights, it seems idiotic to repeat it."

"Is that so, young man?" The old man asked, turning to face the Knight slowly. "Tell me, whats your name?"

"Artamis Favro, sir," The Knight said with a smile. Artamis was then struck in the face with the old mans walking stick.

"On your knees, Artamis Favro!" The man yelled. Artamis quickly did as he was told.

"This is not your code," The old man said, before turning back to the audience, all of them still kneeling. "No, this is the code of the original Phoenix Knights, the final code of the Neahian Knights! You will swear to this! You will serve your fellow Knights, both your equals and lessors. You will defend the defenseless, help the helpless, and protect the the honor of all men, women, and children. You will undo unfairness, cruelty, and deceit, in all dark corners where it may lurk. You will follow this code above all else, in all areas where it may conflict. Do you swear by this code?"

"I, Sir Knight," Came the first answer, from behind the old man. Commander Roka spoke it quickly. "I, Sir Knight," Came from beside him, from Commander Hexham. The crowd of Knights and Knight Commanders erupted into I's, all the while Malkini remained silent, until most but him had spoken. The old man looked over then audience and smiled. "Then arise Sir Knight. Arise Sir Knight. Arise Sir Knight!" He yelled. And they arose.

"Follow the code, enforce it! And that way, in the end, when you are helpless, or one day when your honor has been stripped unjustly, a new Knight may help you." He said calmly. "You are the Knights, and I am but an old man, passing my knowledge onto you. I hope, that at least in a few of you, I set you on the path of a true Knight. In action and in times of despair keep your head, and keep the code close to your heart. You may not win, but I promise you, you will have died a Knight. And your future, in whatever world it may be in, will be that of a Knight."

The old man grabbed for his walking stick once more and began to move towards the end of the stage. "Now I am old," He spoke as he walked. "And I have outstayed my welcome. Goodbye to you all. I have to go now. I'm ready to go." The man reached the stage and made his way down behind the banner.

"The great Sir. Ridian Poxio Forlas Jeruniman Fero, former Grandmaster of the Knights," Artamis Favro said, a red mark now across his face. "You are all Knights. On the beach bulletin board you will see a notification of what faction you will be in, and what Commander will be leading you. Thank you all and have a wonderful evening."

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Xeroux roze from his knee, a smirk on his face. He looked down at the pristine blue armor he wore, feeling proud. He had made it, he was one of the few from his academy to graduate, and with honors. He'd turned down the offer for the black armor he'd earned, liking the blue more. He chuckled, remembering the shocked and confused looks his professors wore when he turned down the black armor. He had two reasons for picking the blue armor over the black, first was that he was a humble boy, who never cared for false respect based on one's possessions. He wanted his fellow Knights to see for themselves what he could do in battle rather than when he walked down a hallway, and secondly, it brought out his eyes, the light blue eyes so many people had stared into after being saved by the young boy with wispy brown hair. The power of the eyes amazed him. He'd grown up hearing the expression "the eyes are the windows to one's soul" He took the phrase to heart, learning at a young age what could be seen in such simple looking organs. One's true feelings could be found there, and just by looking into someone's eyes, one's attitude could be affected. The blue armor bringing out his eyes was more of a strategy than a favoritism.

With his new sense of pride he headed through the throng of people down to the beach, desperate to find his assignment. Taking in the strange sights as he walked along, multiple colored armors surrounding him. The island was like nothing he'd ever seen, the sun felt so warm, and the air still cool. The sound of the surf was like no river or lake he'd ever heard. The gulls over head cried out to one another, looking for food or shelter. Small white clouds filled the open blue sky. It was so alien to him, but somehow comfortable. Though it was his first time off world, he had prepared himself for this day the passed two years in his training, studying every academy, every world in the Sora system. He dabbled in the other systems, trying to build profiles on his potential enemies.

His boots hit the sand, and sank slowly before his weight was properly distributed so he could balance in his heavy armor. He chose to wait for the rest of the Knight Elites to leave before looking his assignment up. No point trying to push and shove to the board, after all they were all wearing armor, few would gain anything by using such physical tactics. He crossed his arms and watched the waves crash on the shore, smiling as a small crab tried to fight the constant barrage of waves as it tried to get back in the water.

He knelt down, picking the small crab up, and walked out into the water, just far enough to where the water was at the top of his boots, before plopping the crab into the deeper, less "hostile" water.

Looking up to the sky, he smiled broader, remembering what being a Knight meant.

"Someday, I'll be a house hold name...Xeroux Falcus...Knight Grandmaster...yeah."

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Jove pushed past a Knight clad in gold. The crowd on the beach was massive, each new Knight trying to reach the bulletin board. Jove pushed past another, this one in blue, and another, in white, until he reached the front of the crowd. He scanned the names on the board quickly until he found his.

"Knight Commander Aden Malkini - Tower Seven Meditation Top. Sir Joven Flynn - Outstanding knowledge of culture and diplomacy. Sir Kazuki Shiroyama - Outstanding knowledge in multiple areas. Sir Nai Tsukumo - Outstanding knowledge of the battlefield and tactics. Sir Sentrius Tetran - Outstanding knowledge of weapons and arms. Sir Xeroux Falcus - Outstanding knowledge of the battlefield and tactics," Jove read aloud from the board. [i]We have a black Knight on our team,[/i Jove thought to himself, before pushing his way back through the crowd. He made his way out of the crowd and began his walk back up to the Academy gates. His armor had been scratched considerably, just by pushing against other armor. Jove muttered something to himself before continuing onto the tower.

He made his way back through the gardens and to tower seven. Tower seven was not the tallest tower at the Academy, but it was the most isolated, located on the east-most side of the island, overlooking the rocks and waves. Jove arrived at the meditation center to find himself alone. The center was on the top of the tower, which housed four student apartments on each of its nine floors, making its roof fairly wide. On it was a stretch of green grass, on its edge white sitting stones and a cherry tree. Jove sat down on a stone and pulled a small rag from his collar, hoping to buff out the scratches from his armor.

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Sentrius hurried to the beach, making sure he was in the front of the crowd before anyone else. He was finally a Knight. One of the best of the best. A specialist in a chosen profession designated to protect the galaxy. What better way to spend the rest of your life, eh? Sentrius was hopeful that he'd be the one promoted to his squad's leader. Looking for his name on the board, Sentrius finally located it. It seemed that his group contained a green knight, two blue knights, and...a black knight? Interesting, though Sentrius doubted that even a black knight would get promoted squad leader over him. Despite only specializing in one class, Sentrius' record is quite impressive.

"Tower Seven, eh?" Sentrius smiled. "Sounds good to me!" Walking up towards the grassy plains on the eastern side of the island, Sentrius looked down and noticed another knight, sitting down, polishing his armor. Sentrius saluted. "Greetings, soldier! I expect we'll be meeting Commander Malkini any second now, eh?"

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Jove squinted at the man, who was tall enough to block the sun even from a distance. "Hello gunsmith," Jove said, "My name is Jove Flynn, Knight from... well, here, second heir to the Kingdom of Sumer." Jove stood up and stretched out his hand, a white smile on his face, "And who are you, lutman?"

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"I am Sentrius Tetran," Sentirus explained. "This is my hometown too, actually," Sentrius added. "I trained at Mt. Ravin due to some, er, complications, but I was originally scheduled to transfer to Avana-Nvarro." Sentrius looked back at the rest of the knights as they traveled to their respective commanders. It would be an honor serving here...Yes it would.

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"You were set to transfer to the Island, eh?" Jove said with a smile, not truly believing what the man said. "Although I guess Ravin's alright too. The training must of been... grueling."

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"Well, it was, but," Sentrius said, before looking towards the wind as if posing for a heroic picture. "I survived. In fact, I led my class to victory, through overwhelming odds even. If you ask the Ravin instructors, they'll have stories about me." Sentrius explained. "Took on two Lava Drakes barehanded and saved a family traveling through the mountains. What a great day that was..."

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"That's good, we will need a good man in combat, because I only scored a sixty-two on the combat test," Jove said. "You, plus the two blues and our black Knight, and of course Malkini leading us, we should be unstoppable. You sound skilled, Lutman. I'm surprised you weren't skilled enough for the Black Knights."

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"Yes well, my medicine score's unfortunately weren't near high enough for me to be considered to be a part of the Black Knight's," Sentrius shrugged. "I had to settle on one and I figured...Why not weapon expert? And, uh, why do you keep calling me Lutman?"

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Nai's eyes wandered across her fellow knights, a broad smile on her face to fit the occasion. The presentation had been full with emotion and now, excitement and impatience filled the air as she watched the knights struggle to see their grouping on the board. Of course, she already knew hers having been one of the first to have seen it. The Blue Knight armor she recieved had not been out of charity or pity. Her skills were exceptional in her field and notable at best in the others.
Graduation truly emphasized this fact. The only reason she was here was because she had been decreed that she worthy enough to stand among these knights, to be able to fight on the same field as them. Even now, she could tell they were all on different levels of skill and potential but it did not matter. Right now, they were equals. Only time would tell that she was truly one of the best knights here.
Not that she was conceited or anything. It was a fact, not theory. Even if the others ridiculed her for the academy she had come from or her background, it did not matter. Nai knew nothing was easy and her status as a knight would be truly difficult to attain the level she wanted. Considering that she was the only girl in her assignment, it might even be difficult to earn their respect. Still, it wasn’t impossible. In fact, it was a certainty she would earn their respect.
As she waved goodbye to a nice female knight she had found, she set on the search for her assignment. An elite among the best the academies could offer. It was always her goal to be here. No one else pushed her here. It was what she had wanted. Right,what she always wanted. Reminding herself, she confirmed her information with the woman’s word on the location of Tower 7.
After reaching her destination, she found two knights in the middle of a conversation. Both seemed like powerful allies and would no doubt posses their own advantages on the field. Placing on her friendliest smile, she strode over to the two, stopping right in front of them with a small bow.
“Excuse me, sorry for interrupting but I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Nai Gareki Tsukumo. I’m from the Knight Academy of the Village of Tormaund. I hope we can work together without any problems.”

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"Well... your a Lutman, like I'm a Zoman. Its our ancestry. Your father or your fathers father was from the Lutan gulf, was he not? Your skin, and more notably, height, work in favor of Lutman ancestry. And your name is Sentrius Tetran, it doesn't get more Lutan than that," Jove said with a smile, trying not to offend the man, who was a good foot and a half taller than him.

“Excuse me," A female voice intruded. "sorry for interrupting but I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Nai Gareki Tsukumo. I’m from the Knight Academy of the Village of Tormaund. I hope we can work together without any problems.”

Jove smiled at the girl and stretched his hand out. "Jove Flynn. Heir to the Kingdom of Sumer, linguistics and cultural expert. Its an honor to meet you."

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"uh, yeah..." Sentrius frowned. "I guess that would be true...Though the name Sentrius was originally-"

Sentrius turned around, eyes widening as he heard a voice behind him. Ah, another newcomer. A blue knight it seemed. Sentrius bowed after she greeted them. "Miss Tsukumo, it is an honor to meet you," Sentrius said. "Welcome you to our squadron. I am Sentrius Tetran. I see you've graduated from Tormaud...that's really great!"

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"Yes, I mean... its not really an Academy, is it? Its just a bunch of sandhuts with a crazed teacher yelling at you, right?" Jove said. "And yet three of you made it into the Elites somehow, what luck! Not to say your acceptance was charity."

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Nai shook Jove's hand, "It is an honor to meet you as well. I didn't realize I was working with such an important person."

She then turned to Sentrius with a small grin, "Please, call me Nai or Gareki. Personally, I'm not a fan of such formality... And I suppose." Nai began to relax a little, thinking the two were alright until Jove began talking again.

"For your information it is still an academy despite what sort of people are admitted. It is a very underrated place actually with fine people there, many who you would be lucky to have as allies. It is true though, that we don't have the best in there but the three of us graduates are proof that it is very hard to become an elite there, whether or not others consider it a true academy. I hope you won't make such assumptions in the future."

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"I'm sorry, I apologize. I shouldn't underestimate how hard it is to learn how to fight, and how well Tormaund teaches it," Jove replied with a small smile. "Anyway, we only have two more students to go, and then our Commander, right?"

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Sentrius coughed uncomfortably, as he often did when feeling uncomfortable. "Well, hey...There were many quality Knight commanders from Tormaud. Rudo, Roka, Dragoon. All of them the best of the best. I mean just because it hasn't produced many Knights recently doesn't mean they're not worth the cut. It's just like the handbook says, "When it comes to knights, it's not just about the smartest and the strongest. It's about whoever has grit, determination, and the will to make past even the most dangerous of challenges. And when the time comes, they won't be the bowl on the bottom....They'll be the cherry on top of the delicious chocolate sundae of justice!...Or something to that effect. I was paraphrasing, but you guys get the point, right?"

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"Of course. I love the Tormaunders. And I'm sure you, my lady, and these two others I read about. This Oseal and Swipien, will become legends in their own right," Jove said, trying his best to come across decent to his teammates.

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"Yes, well, how about we drop this subject? Its clear we all have our own views of the academy and besides, we're not here to compare schools," Nai replied with a sheepsih smile, "And the mention of ice cream has reminded me I haven't eaten anything all day."

She laughed, clearly trying to break away from the subject of the academy. Already she was gatheing information on their personalities and the talk of the school had made it clear she was at a bit of a disadvantage.

"Anyway, will it be long before the Commander joins us? I'm eager to see what we're going to do, aren't you?"

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"Yes, when will we meet Commander Malkini?" Sentrius asked, glad to steer clear of the subject. "And when will our other squad members arrive?" Sentrius looked around. There were millions of students wandering everywhere. It was possible the others got stuck in the back lines somewhere.

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Aden Malkini bit his nails furiously, glancing at them every so often to make sure they didn't become uneven. He hated this. He hated the idea of a team. Of being a mentor, a leader. He was a soldier. He was a General. And he was a man ready for war before all else. He prayed that his students would not disappoint him. He took the final step onto the rooftop and saw three Knights by the rocks. "Hello," He called to them, making them all turn. "My name is Aden Malkini. I am not the Commander you will want, and you aren't the soldiers I want. But I made a promise. I promised I would be a good Commander, even if it kills me." Malkini looked down for a second, before outstretching his hand. "So, hello squad," He said, waiting for the Knights to introduce themselves.

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"Sir!" Sentrius saluted as Malkini arrived. "Sentrius Tetran, Weapons Sepcialist, Mt. Ravin Knight Academy, sir!" Sentrius then shook Malkini's hand and went back to stand in place. Have to make a good impression in front of the commanding officer if you want to get promoted after all.

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Well this will certainly be a fun group to study...

Nai stepped forward after Sentrius retreated, firmly shaking Malkini's hand. She had a sweet smile on but a business-like air around her. "I'm Nai Gareki Tsukumo from the Knight Academy of the Village of Tormaund. I'll be one of your two tactician and battlefield specialists. Its really admirable you follow through on promises and make such a sacrifice to do so as well."
The sincerity in her voice rang clear and with a small bow, she retreated to her position.

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Malkini gave Nai a smile before turning to the last man there. Jove grasped the mans hand, a grin on his face. "Joven Flynn, your only expert of linguistics and culture-"

"The Black armor scored a ninety-seven percent on his culture exam," Malkini interrupted.

Jove shrugged the comment off, "True, but he doesn't have it as his specialty-"

"No, he has it and everything else as his specialty," Malkini interrupted again.

Jove smiled. "Well, that's what I am... I'm also the second heir to the Kingdom of Sumer, if it interests you."

"It doesn't," Malkini said. "We get our nags milk from Sumer and that's it. Its a backward hellhole that wishes it had more of a say in Sor but wont because it doesn't have the ability to stay afloat without slaves. Now is there any other title I should know about, Mr. Flynn? Or is that all?"

"That's... that's all, Aden," Jove said with a frown, before turning back to his rock.

"Well then we wait for the other two," Malkini said. "And any other extra Knights they stick me with..."

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This is interesting to say the least. Kazuki thought as the aged former Grandmaster took what was to be just another graduation for the Knight Elite in quite in another direction. The way he spoke of the Phoenix Knights irked and intrigued this descendant of the Phoenix people. Most thought his ancestors little more then savages consumed by their power and blood lust. But this man long past his prime shed his own light and spoke an opinion considered treason, one Knight even voicing the fact. Still the former Grandmaster spoke on even making them swear a modified version of the Oath of Service, one this modern Phoenix knew was much closer to what the Phoenix Knights swore to so long ago. The oath he had sworn when first he came to the Knights was more of obedience but this new oath was more of Honor and true Duty to a righteous cause.

" The old man is either brilliant or senile." The Black Knight said to himself as the order to kneel was rung out from the one time Grandmasters throat. Kneeling he nonetheless made to attempt to say the oath out loud. He already knew what honor was he didn't need to swear to, words were meaningless only actions counted. Still the illusion must be maintained so he knelt and mouthed the words along with the rest of the Knight Elite gathered before this aged Knight.

Then came the rush to the assignment board the press of Knights in the armor sounding like the devil's fiddle as the steel of their grab rubbed against each other. Desiring no scuffing of his polished armor he milled at the back waiting for the crowds to thin as Knights went moaning to their duties. It seemed no heroic deeds to assault enemy planets were in stock.Striding to the board he checked it over noting the Black Knights were to be scattered to units in their singles. Obviously no war was brewing despite the recent tensions for the military tended to keep Black Knights together in small strike teams as their wide skill range saw them suited to Special Tactical missions ranging from rapid deployment to reinforce trapped units, to missions behind enemy lines were their language skills saw them blend in with the locals easily. Although Kazuki with his Phoenix heritage hardly blended in with even other knights. The black eyes and silver hair of his forefathers simply were too much of a rarity to let him meld with a crowd.

" So I am to report to Tower Seven Meditation Top. Hmm the Knight Commander is Aden Malkini." Kazuki mused aloud as he read the assignment board. He had heard of the man, then again so had everyone at the academies scattered throughout the republic. The man had been one of the best apparently before the lost of his whole unit had shaken him to the core. But instead of a dishonorable discharge the man had chosen or been forced into the post of Knight Commander. " The team set up is rather balanced although I hardly see why we need two tacticians as our commander is a Black knight and a former General at that but I guess we'll won't lack for officers." The Black Knight thought with some concern over the officer thought. Black Knights tended to find themselves as officers as the military viewed their widespread knowledge prefect for uniting other Knights with differing specializations into a cohesive whole. And while Kazuki had done remarkably well during the training missions when thrust into a leadership position he didn't know if he was truly capable of dealing with the stress of leadership. There was a big difference leading a squad of trainee knights with Veteran knights making sure nothing went wrong and leading a squad of Knight Elite during missions were nothing was going to catch him if he fell. Then again he was a Black Knight dammit he reminded himself and this was what all the training was about.


With that moment of crisis over the Black Knight made his way to the begining of his career as a Knight. Tower Seven wasn't much as it name suggested it was merely a meditation spot frequented about as much as the bathroom during rush hour on a hot day. Most Knights were far too busy studying to spend time in meditation. Something Kazuki had taken advantage of as it had been a quiet place to practice his swordplay and marksmanship unlike the training halls choked with would be warriors. Unfortunately his private practice spot was to be the future home of the squad he had been assigned to.

Once he had reached the top of the tower he took in the group. Most of the knights seemed busy introducing themselves to the group and swapping stories. The Knight Commander was looking somehow nervous and still in charge. The man hardly wants this position of leadership and yet he is still trying to do his best. The man must really believe in the Oath of Service. He thought to himself.

" My apologies Commander Malkini for arriving in such an untimely manner. The assignment boards were swamped with eager Knights. I will endeavor to make up nonetheless for this lateness in the future" Kazuki said saluting the Commander with a crisp salute." I am Kazuki Shiroyama Black Knight of the Avana-Nvarro academy Commander." the Black Knight add with a deep and graceful bow despite the burden of armor and sword. " I look forward to serving in this unit to the best of my abilities Sir Malkini."

Kazuki at times like this wish there was a less cocky way of introducing himself. When he was still a trainee it had been easy. No one was impressed by a trainee knight. But one clad in Black armor was considered impressive. Technically he should have introduced himself then listed his abilities. But saying he was one of the top swordsmen in this year's class of Knight Elite, that he had beaten Veteran tacticians with ease, Telling them he could speak almost all known languages, that he knew the best way to treat almost any wound, all of it just seemed way to cocksure to him. And while he didn't usually care what people thought of him he hardly wanted his first day to be boasting about himself.

The setting changes from The Sora System to The UO-Universe

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Xeroux rushed to the 7th tower, knowing he would be late.

"Great, I'll be scolded my first day! What a great first impression...I should have just pushed my way to the front of the line!"

He raced into the garden like area, seeing his fellow squad mates and Commander already present. His heart dropped as he hurried to fall into the little formation there was. With a crisp salute he introduced himself.

"My apologies for being late commander" he bowed low to Malkini before turning and bowing to his squad mate. "Sorry for being late you guys..." He said with a sheepish grin. His attention snapped back to his commander, who was waiting for him to introduce himself. He felt his face flush noticing the same look on their faces as well. Though he was the last to arrive and they probably knew each other's names already, including his by simple process of elimination, they still waited.

"I am Xeroux Falcus, Knight Elite hailing from the Academy of the Territory of Ackan, Gengrolin. I'm looking forward to your teachings, and getting know my fellow squad mates."


He smirked, finishing what he felt was the important piece of an introduction. 'Just the basics,' his grandmother used to tell him, 'if they want to know more, they'll ask. Never overload a new aquantince with to much information about yourself. You don't know if they can be fully trusted for one, and it makes you seem cocky.'

His smirk faded to a small warm smile. This was it, the beginning of a new chapter in his life. These were the five new and closest friends he'd have for now. Together they would meet countless dangers and challenges, but he felt that they would overcome them all, getting a strong since of determination from every one of his new squad members. Fire burned in his pale blue eyes, ready to open the book, and begin the new chapter.

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Xeroux rushed to the 7th tower, knowing he would be late.

"Great, I'll be scolded my first day! What a great first impression...I should have just pushed my way to the front of the line!"

He raced into the garden like area, seeing his fellow squad mates and Commander already present. His heart dropped as he hurried to fall into the little formation there was. With a crisp salute he introduced himself.

"My apologies for being late commander" he bowed low to Malkini before turning and bowing to his squad mate. "Sorry for being late you guys..." He said with a sheepish grin. His attention snapped back to his commander, who was waiting for him to introduce himself. He felt his face flush noticing the same look on their faces as well. Though he was the last to arrive and they probably knew each other's names already, including his by simple process of elimination, they still waited.

"I am Xeroux Falcus, Knight Elite hailing from the Academy of the Territory of Ackan, Gengrolin. I'm looking forward to your teachings, and getting know my fellow squad mates."


He smirked, finishing what he felt was the important piece of an introduction. 'Just the basics,' his grandmother used to tell him, 'if they want to know more, they'll ask. Never overload a new aquantince with to much information about yourself. You don't know if they can be fully trusted for one, and it makes you seem cocky.'

His smirk faded to a small warm smile. This was it, the beginning of a new chapter in his life. These were the five new and closest friends he'd have for now. Together they would meet countless dangers and challenges, but he felt that they would overcome them all, getting a strong since of determination from every one of his new squad members. Fire burned in his pale blue eyes, ready to open the book, and begin the new chapter.

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Xeroux rushed to the 7th tower, knowing he would be late.

"Great, I'll be scolded my first day! What a great first impression...I should have just pushed my way to the front of the line!"

He raced into the garden like area, seeing his fellow squad mates and Commander already present. His heart dropped as he hurried to fall into the little formation there was. With a crisp salute he introduced himself.

"My apologies for being late commander" he bowed low to Malkini before turning and bowing to his squad mate. "Sorry for being late you guys..." He said with a sheepish grin. His attention snapped back to his commander, who was waiting for him to introduce himself. He felt his face flush noticing the same look on their faces as well. Though he was the last to arrive and they probably knew each other's names already, including his by simple process of elimination, they still waited.

"I am Xeroux Falcus, Knight Elite hailing from the Academy of the Territory of Ackan, Gengrolin. I'm looking forward to your teachings, and getting know my fellow squad mates."


He smirked, finishing what he felt was the important piece of an introduction. 'Just the basics,' his grandmother used to tell him, 'if they want to know more, they'll ask. Never overload a new aquantince with to much information about yourself. You don't know if they can be fully trusted for one, and it makes you seem cocky.'

His smirk faded to a small warm smile. This was it, the beginning of a new chapter in his life. These were the five new and closest friends he'd have for now. Together they would meet countless dangers and challenges, but he felt that they would overcome them all, getting a strong since of determination from every one of his new squad members. Fire burned in his pale blue eyes, ready to open the book, and begin the new chapter.

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Malkini glanced from Xeroux to Kazuki to Jove to Nai to Sentrius, and then back again to Xeroux. "I... am a military leader, and as you know leaders like to control. I am establishing a chain of Command. Based on first impressions only. Kazuki, I'm gone, the situations appropriate, your in charge. Your opinion, out of all these introductions, means the most to me. Lets hope you don't betray your rank. If were both gone, Nai, your in charge. You seem dutiful to the Knights, and not so dutiful to your own personal gain, which is good... or bad. I don't really care, your the third. Next is Sentrius. Your a soldier, Sentrius, but I don't know if your a Commander. Your the fourth in this chain. Xeroux, your fifth... I like you, but your the least a soldier. And Jove, your last. That means when everyone's dead, your in charge."

Malkini looked over the Knights, before turning around and strolling towards the stairs. "Knights, in a half an hour we leave for Usin. For the cliffs or Umoud, along the river Mevish. There we meet General Yoff, who has four legions in the area. A revolt has happened against the King of the planet, and we believe that if this rebel group gains power of the world, they may want to detach from the Republics control, in which case we would have to invade and kill a large portion of the population, an event that no one wants. So we are going in now and stopping this issue before it becomes a problem. Any questions?"

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So I am to be an officer after all it seems. Melina would have gotten a kick out of that. Kazuki thought with a subtle smile that was half sad and half happy. But so swift did it come and pass no one would notice fixated as they were upon their own machinations. Seeing as he was to lead this squad in Commander Malkini absence or when it was deemed appropriate for the Black Knight to take charge he decided to limit his response in favor of studying the group deeply." Yes Sir Commander and thank you. I will not betray my rank and shall live up to your example at all times Commander." The newly made Black Knight of the Knight Elite spoke with another salute.

Studying the group the Black Knight found them eager, puffed up with pride at being the latest in a long line of Knight Elite. Their armor polished and scuffed from rushing to the boards. Frankly Kazuki found it a little much, all their eagerness. Combat was a serious business with no place for the foolishness of youth and exuberance of pride. Their actions would shape the course of history, lives hung in the balance and history would be the judge. Their blades would cut a path through history and as such they had to measure each swing. To never swing wide and destroy more then was necessary, they were knights not butchers. But maybe this knight's Phoenix blood gave him a solemnity and seriousness beyond his 21 years lived. As both the descendant of traitors and a race wiped out by his fellow knights forefathers he felt a greater need to control his exuberance. In many ways this descendant of the Phoenix loathed the carte blanche way the genocide of his race had been carried out. Women and Men in the prime of their life cut down for the crime of being Phoenix. Elders and children cut down to eliminate future threats. His race was innocent of the actions the Phoenix Knights had committed and yet all had to burn for the crime of being of the Phoenix blood.

"Knights, in a half an hour we leave for Usin. For the cliffs or Umoud, along the river Mevish. There we meet General Yoff, who has four legions in the area. A revolt has happened against the King of the planet, and we believe that if this rebel group gains power of the world, they may want to detach from the Republics control, in which case we would have to invade and kill a large portion of the population, an event that no one wants. So we are going in now and stopping this issue before it becomes a problem. Any questions?"


His thoughts disturbed the Black Knight Kazuki had to think for a moment before his mind could comprehend what his commander had said. The causal way the man spoke of having to decitmate the world's population should the revolt got of hand infuriated this descendant of a race who barely clung to survival because of a similar manner of thinking.

" I have a question Commander if you would entertain it..." And here the Phoenix Black Knight took a breath as if calming himself, now was no time to let too many emotions rule him." Are we really compelled to slaughter a world simply because of the actions of a few rebels. Is a son guilty of his Father's Sin, is a wife responsible for what her husband does with his warriors fate. Is a Nation to be held accountable for the actions of a rebel faction. I don't mean to sound like a traitor but that kind of thinking is why my race is all but gone from the face of the universe. I will not participate in the slaughter of innocents simply because Headquarters orders it Commander. I am a Knight not a mindless sheep to be ordered about. I serve honor,duty, and justice. And my weapons serve nothing else." And here Kazuki had took another breath far too much he had said and revealed. But then again it felt good to make clear the kind of person he was, that no one could claim he acted differently then he believed. And while he had no qualms about drawing his blade or using his guns in actual combat he wasn't going to kill for pleasure or end innocent lives simply to appease those in charge. As he said he was a Knight and to him that meant he was above blind obedience. He had become a Knight to honor a vow to Melina a woman although dead still held his heart. And instead found an order that was equal parts obedient sheep and fools drunk on their own glory. No Heroes of old or honor he had yet to find. Some called his forefathers monsters but never did a true Phoenix sink to blind obedience.

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"War is about messages to its leaders," Malkini said slowly. He took a few heavy steps forward until he faced the Black Knight directly. "If a leader has his towns slaughtered, his confidence will go down. Make him the dictator of nothing, make everything they touched turn to ash. Make every town his soldiers ever occupied nothing but bloody streets. And then make him look at it... look at all." Malkini looked directly into Kazuki's eyes. "And then you kill him, because hes just a man who tried to conquer a pile rubble who now sits in chains."

A smile came across Mallkini's face. "Of course you will only have to live through that if we fail here. The rebels are plotting and trying to form an army on a village built on the side of one of the massive stone pillars there above the Mevish. A good distance down the river is our good General Yoff and his army. They are using an abandoned underground city as an outpost and base. Its an old city of stone, all reaching beneath the Mevish river. Its from when the Dals occupied the planet, and there's only one entrance. Its this opening in the base of a massive statue built into the rockside, just off the side of the Mevish. And the statue, ironically, is of a Knight. A Neahian one, but a Knight none the less."

Malkini turned back to the group, a few of them disturbed by the concept of cutting a village down to pieces. "Look, the city runs underneath the pillar holding the village. Yoff wants to set explosives there and blow it up, causing the pillar, the village, and any rebels inside it to fall to the ground and die. Believe it or not the Knights in Sor thinks that's inhumane, and what that really means is that they don't want to upset the King of Usin, because then they loose a big source of vegetables for the north-western provinces that cant farm themselves. Kiris and what not. That's why they're sending us. To kill the rebels and try not to hurt the villagers, that's why we are the elites, that's why were Knights. And the Knights never fail, eh?"

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"Sir, I-," Sentrius began to blurt out as Malkini told them the chain of command. Had his files not been read? He had practically led his own graduating class through their various trials back at Mt. Ravin. He alone had evacuated several families out of the way of danger when their village was attacked by raiders. Sure, Sentrius was a soldier, but he had leader qualities beyond anyone else he knew! Certainly more than the black knight or the strategist anyway.

Though now was probably not the time to worry about this. He'll get to show his chops pretty soon when he gets the chance. Sentrius listened to Malkius' speech on leadership and their mission. Sentrius nodded as he listened in on their mission briefing. Getting rid of some rebels. Sounds like as good way as any to start off a Knight's career.

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"So, any objections about our task?" Malkini asked.

"I have one, well I suppose its more of a question really, sir," Jove said, stepping forward. "It sounds to me like this General Yoff has the situation under control. What is the point of us going there."

"To spare a village, are you deaf?" Malkini replied.

"No sir, its just that, in my opinion, we could be far more important in Bako Bay, where we can really cut down some crime," Jove said.

"If I ever want your opinion, which I never will, I will ask for it, tongue-master," Malkini said. "And by crime in Bako Bay I assume you mean the illegal slave trading going on behind the back of your families legal slave trading, correct?"

Jove gave a sheepish grin, "Well, I wasn't suggest-"

"No, no, I'm sure you weren't," Malkini interrupted. "But Jove even if I wanted to help you, or your family by attacking a faction that poses a threat to them, which I don't, I couldn't. I have orders to go to a planet and get things done. On the planet, I have to adapt... we have to adapt to the situation presented. Now, lets not linger. We head down an elevator that heads underwater, those who have gone here for long know all about this hanger, I'm sure. Its massive, and our ships there, its black with big windows and large engines. I suspect that once we take off we will have reached Usin within a day."

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Xeroux frowned hearing his ranking, but that's what he got for choosing to hide his test scores for medicine and biology as well as for diplomacy and culture. He was going to wow them, at least he hoped he would.

The mention of the mission brought him back to the room, his squad and master all looking ready to go. The mission sounded simple enough, stop the rebels, save the town. He saluted at the mission, but quickly dropped it as his commander continued.

"Kill innocent people if we can't stop the rebels?! I didn't sign up for this..." Kazuki seemed to read his mind, as the same words, and them some came from him in retort to their commander, who quickly put the Black Knight in his place. He then did the same thing to Jove. He was beginning to wonder just who this man was, he didn't seem to thrilled to be a mentor to them. It was dangerous to have a commander that didn't truly want the position. Not even faking like one wanted it would create the bonds necessary to truly be a well grouped squad. Xeroux learned that the hard way back in training.

It was a rainy day in the forests, his group had been tasked with scaling the cliff walls in the Northern Province, in order to practice the element of surprise and surrounding your enemy. Two teams were picked, one team was tasked with defending the cliff top, the other tasked with taking said cliff top. His team leader, Gadou was the one who came up with the idea to surround the other team, He'd lead half of their team in a full on attack, while the other half would attack from the back. Gadou placed a young girl, whom Xeroux had forgotten the name of, Asklan or something of the sort. She was against the idea of separating and it was no secret she had feelings for Gadou. The entire trek down the mountain side she kept complaining about who she was stuck with. Gadou and Asklan were destined to become Black Knights, the only two in their class, and both were set to graduate in the coming months. For Xeroux, it was his first year with the Academy and his first sparing exercise. He couldn't have been more thrilled. Rock climbing was second nature to him, but he was quickly quieted and placed at the end of the line for climbing order. Asklan had set her stakes and began the long, slow climb up the sheep cliff side, carefully placing her hands and toes to not slip on the slick rock. Xeroux was impressed with her climbing skills, but the others on their half of the team lacked any knowledge of how to properly climb. Asklan grew more and more frustrated, hating that she was in charge of what she called, babies. She hastily set her next stake, and as she pulled her self up, the stake slipped, and so did the team. She was close to a hundred feet up, the next climber 75, and so on. Xeroux hadn't even begun to climb when she fell, taking the others with her. Asklan died before impact, the others weren't so lucky, and two died later of their wounds. Gadou cursed himself for what happened, and vowed never to lead a team again. rumor had it that failed all of his exams the next month and assaulted the Grand Knight just to be expelled.



Xeroux sighed. He had been lucky that day, but one sure thing about luck is that it changes. He filed in, waiting for the rest of the team to start heading to the hanger. He wasn't sure where it was, and getting lost in the School wouldn't do him any favors.


"This has to be flawlessly executed..." He muttered to himself. "Like Kazuki, I will not allow my blade to slay an innocent man, woman, or child. There's enough bloodshed in the universe already. Us adding to it would only be counter productive."

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"Alright, now we should be off to the docking bay, get to Usin a bit early so that we can... take all necessary precautions in avoiding slaughter," Malkini said with a fake smile, before heading down the stairs. "I find it amusing the amount of problems you all have with the mission," Malkini called to the group following him down. "Commander Hexham's group is going off to negotiate food prices with an indigenous Baon village and Dragoon's group is going on a scouting mission for General Braun. It looks like you got stuck with the one Commander going off to stop a war. What a start, eh?" Malkini reached the bottom of the tower and continued on down the passage to the east hall. "In fact, had you gone with either of those two your missions would of been spreading love and picking flowers."

Malkini walked down the east hall until he found a small wooden door on the wall. He quickly slammed it open and made his way down a flight of stairs, the rest of his team following. "I hope you all know how to take action in combat, all personal senses of honor and the value of life and all that garbage aside. I'm going to need you, all of you, ready and able to kill every and anything coming at both you and me, understand?" Malkini reached the end of the stairs and began walking down a narrow dark hall, at its end a metal arched door with a circular viewhole on it.

"Now where is this leading?" Jove asked from the end of the line of Knights. "I told you already, Jove. I'm starting to think you have hearing problems," Malkini replied. "This leads to the docking bay, if you submitted your clothingcases and itemcases to the men at the beach and if you name was clear on it before the opening ceremony it should be on the ship already."

Malkini approached the arched door at the end of the hall and stopped moving. The door began to slide open slowly, until the inside was clear. It was a small area that couldn't hold more than ten people. "Step in, everyone," Malkini said, stepping into the small frame and stepping to the side. The rest of the group went in. The metal door slide to the side once more, covering up the exit. There were no lights in small room, and the only light came from the viewhole, which only showed the dark hall, and a small display monitor on the door below it, which had the blue number twenty-one on it. A small beep was heard, and as soon as it came on, the small box of a room shot downward. The tight unit moved at an incredibly rate, the high-pitched whizzing of each floor flying by as it did. "Were going down I'm assuming? This is like a lift?" Jove asked.

"Yes. The docking bay's underwater, Jove," Malkini replied. Jove counted as the blue numbers on wall bound monitor raced downward, going from twenty-one to zero in a matter of seconds. And then it raced on, going from zero to S-one, S-two, S-three, and onward. Through the one circular window Jove could see the speeding rock outside replaced by water, not that they would need the window to know that they had submerged since a high pitched plunk could be heard as it entered. Jove looked back at the monitor, the numbers moved much slower now, once every twenty seconds. A drastic decrease.

“The lift tubes run from the bottom of the island deep beneath the water,” Malkini explained, the number turning to S-sixteen. “There are various structures built beneath these waves, this island. And the elevator goes to all of them.”

"And exactly how beneath is this docking bay?" Jove asked.

“I thought you trained on the Island, Jove. What? Did they never take you off world?" Malkini replied.

"Oh, no sir," Jove said. "They only take the ones they groom for the Black Armor off world, and you have to show... a lot of promise for that."

"And you have none, I forgot," Malkini said. "Anyway, the docking bay is not far now… we should be entering it soon, very soon.”

As if in response to Malkini, the lift heard another plunk. The blue ocean in the window was replaced by smooth, dark metal. The high pitched hum of the engine beneath the lift began to deepen. The monitor slowly clicked to D-sixteen. A crisp sound crackled as the door slid to the side, small drips of water landing on the ground from the top of the lifts arched entrance. Malkini wasted no time, walking down the newly presented hall hastily.

"The architect really doesn't like light, does he?" Jove muttered as they walked down the dark hall. At the end it made a corner, on the ground was the shadow of a warm blue hue. Malkini marched around the corner, which revealed a huge bunker of starships, watercrafts, and airmachines, all of them packed up in the huge bunker. The west most wall of the bunker was a large glass wall at the end of the bunker. On the other side of the glass was the ocean, and all the life in it. The fish of the sea blazed through the bright blue shimmering light with a flurry of colors, the bizarre sea plants growing around the glass. The window lit the bunker with its life; it was a sight unlike any other. "Our ships down there," Malkini said, walking onto the bunker.

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"Ah, the docking bay. I've heard stories about it's history. It was originally built during the great war against the phoenixes in the past, wasn't it?" Sentrius asked. "Of course it's been upgraded since then to accommodate more modern technologies." Sentrius continued as they walked further into the dock, closer to reaching their destination. "This is the birthplace of many heroes. My guess is...It's finally our turn."

Once down in the bunker, Sentrius stared in amazement. "Looks like a fairly standard ship. Then again, this is a fairly standard mission. I'm sure once the higher-ups hear of our success on this mission, they'll hand us an upgrade."

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"The pilot room has two couches, one on each side of the pilots tab, and at the end it leads to a kitchen, which leads to a hall. There is the bathroom at the end of the hall, and a bedroom at each end. Come on now!" Malkini called as he approached the large black ship. On the side there was an entrance curved with the rest of the ship. Malkini placed his palm on the door. A quick beep of recognition greeted him and the door unlocked. He opened in and walked up the mini stairs into the large kitchen area. "I get the right bedroom, the five of you get the left," He informed the Knights as he went off down the ships hall.

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"Um, wait..." Sentrius frowned. "Only one room? Well, yeah I suppose that's the average standard for a ship this size, but um...Exactly how many beds are there?" Sentrius asked. Sentrius looked around. It looked like a pretty nice ship for what it was. At any rate, they'd hopefully have a bit more space to move around and their room. And...perhaps having one room wasn't such a bad thing. They could talk to each other, assess each other, and build a better team dynamic. It starting sound more promising already.

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"There are six beds, lined up around the walls, so you have one extra," Malkini replied. "And don't give me the standard ship size nonsense, they gave me a small ship cause they hate me. You should see the elite ships Commander Dragoon and Hexham have. Four and six bedrooms, canons like you've never seen, its unbelievable that they stick me with this."

"You did loose multiple legions in a city capture, right? That's what got you here," Jove muttered.

"Shut up, Jove," Malkini replied.

"And is there a reason you keep on referring to Dragoon and Hexham? Are you three Commander's friends or something?" Jove asked.

"Jove, for you incompetence I'm removing your bed rights. When we sleep you sleep on the floor, understood Sir Knight?" Malkini said.

"Yeah, that's fair," Jove muttered bitterly to himself as the team went onto the ship.

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Malkini sure seemed...slightly pathetic at times. Sentrius figured it must be stress, otherwise the General would be in good spirits...though his recent losses probably weighed on him too. Still, Jove really didn't have to poor salt in the wound as he did. Sentrius shook his head and walked into the ship, heading for the bedroom.

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"Anyway, I'll be out in a minute people, just have to examine my room to see that its... up to par," Malkini said, before wandering into his room and locking the door behind him. "Lutman Sentrius, tell me, what do you think of our good Commander?" Jove muttered to his fellow Knight.

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Sentrius eyes narrowed a bit. "Well, I'd prefer if you didn't call me Lutman for one thing," Sentrius started. "But, as for Malkin...Well, I think his recent losses were hard on him, as they would be on any commander. But, he knows he has to pull through. We have to show him respect as we would with any Knight Commander, and we'll be rewarded with strong leadership and a powerful team dynamic." Sentrius stated. "Quoted from the great Knight Commander Acen during the famed Battle on the Riverside."

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"God in heaven, Tetran, if I wanted quotes I would of asked you for them," Jove muttered. "As for the man I think he is a complete and utter idiot that should be kicked out of the Knights immediately on accounts of mental incompetence."

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"Even if his record isn't exactly spotless," Sentrius stated, somewhat dully. "He was made a commander for a reason. And even if he's not the leader we had hoped for, wanted, or needed, he's still our leader...And we should at least give him some respect for that." Sentrius then shrugged as if out of excuses for their commander and went to sit down on his bed.

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"By the way people, the reasons were not flying yet is because were waiting for another student they stuck me with. He was on the late boat from Urakas, his names Loki Dinn if any of you are interested. He was sent down here and should arrive shortly," Malkini called from the open crack of his room door.

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After hearing their commander speak once more about another new recruit arriving,
Sentrius shook his head. "Alright, so maybe he hates us all, but we've got to make the best of it right?" Sentrius asked the others. "We've got to concentrate on the mission anyway, right?"

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"I suppose. I still feel we could do more as Knights fighting illegal slavers in Bako Bay. Much more good we could do there," Jove replied.

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"That is a problem, but the rebels are more of a concern to the government right now," Sentrius shrugged. "Besides, I'm sure with our numbers, the problems in the Bako Bay will be a piece of cake to handle."

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"They don't do anything about the bastards, all the while my family goes broke. Southern Ceegum buys their slaves illegally, Capa Voka buys them illegally, no one has any honor nowadays for decent business," Jove muttered, shaking his head sadly. "Besides, that General he mentioned had three legions. What is that? Twelve-hundred men? Its like four-hundred a legion... or maybe four-thousand. It may be inhumane to blow the village but its better than wasting our time on it..."

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"For the love of something holy, the first day as a knight and they're already gonna kill me..." an eighteen-year-old grumbled as he ran--or rather, slowly clanked along at a faster-than-walking pace--clad in his shining red armour. It wasn't even his fault; the boat was late. He couldn't remember the reason for the delay, but whatever it was, he wasn't responsible. Looking down at his suit of protection as he hurried along, a light frown crossed his face. "And this thing might be all pretty and honorable, but I'll never get used to this, either...Please, -please-, don't let it be mandatory..."

Loki released a quiet sigh as his eyes fell upon his destination, not far ahead of him. He thought he could already see a group of knights, probably his team. "Prepare yourself for the worst, Lo. This could get rough..."

Not long after, the teenager slowed to a halt near the group of knights, offering a short nod. "Here. Sorry."

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"Ah, you must be Sir Loki Dinn, eh?" Commander Malkini said, stepping out of his room and approaching the Knight. "And I see your wearing your completely mandatory red armor, good man. To think they give me two reds and two blues and not one science officer! Lets pray the ships doesn't break down, eh?" Malkini gave a full grin at the young Knight. "Your from the Urakas Academy. So am I. No life like the city life, eh? Your bedrooms there, opposite of mine. I'm sure you'll find it nice and cozy... or something to that affect."

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"In my opinion, it should all be made illegal," Sentrius frowned. "After all, why do you need to force other people to work for you without pay when the tech labs have already started to build robotic assistants to help with such things. I respect Capima, of course I do, but it's time for it to get with the times." Sentrius then looked up as another knight came wandering in.

"Ah, another weapons specialist," Sentrius nodded. "It seems the commander is...warming up to him oddly enough. Guess it must be an Urakasian thing, huh?"

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Loki opened his mouth to confirm his identity to the commander, but he quickly continued speaking, not leaving much time to respond in between. In fact, the next statement to leave the man's mouth were rather ironic.

'Of course...Completely mandatory...Dang it...'

At the mention of his academy, Loki decided to offer a simple nod instead of trying to say anything, smiling so as not to offend the commander at all--It's never smart to get on a commander's bad side.

Once he seemed to be finished, Loki nodded, showing his appreciation and understanding. "Thank you, sir. I'm sure the room will suit my needs just fine."

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"These are prisoners of war were talking about, the children of barbarians," Jove replied quietly. "From all over Wild Space and a few Dark Worlders from the colony. And the rest are savages from the Northern provinces and the Fringe. They deserve it. Besides, you cant deroot a culture based on slavery, as much of it was before the Sora System came and... conquered them all."

"Excellent," Commander Malkini said with a smile, "Those two over there discussing the thrilling topic of Jove's backward views on the definition of culture and intelligence are Jove Flynn and Sir Sentrius Tetran." The Command said, pointing to the two Knights sitting on one of the beds.

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Sentriusshook his head, unable to comprehend how Jove could even think that way, so instead of continuing to speak, went to greet the new arrival. "Sentrius Tetran, weapons specialist, Mt. Ravin Academy," Sentrius greeted. "I see you're also a weapons specialist. What kind of training do they teach in Urakas, anyway?"

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Loki nodded in greeting as the other weapons specialist approached him, extending his hand to shake. "Loki. As I'm sure you know, their main focus was on medicines and such...Not to say that that's all they taught, but...yeah. How was Mt. Ravin? I've heard it could be brutal."

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Sentrius walked up and shook Loki's hand, before heading back to sit on his bed before speaking again. "Huh, Medicine, right?" That's why you don't hear too much about many knights other than white or gold coming from there," Sentrius shrugged. "And Mt. Ravin, well all the rumors they have about that place are true. Hell, they're pretty tame compared to what really happens out there. But, with my strong leadership and teamwork, we survived even when the odds were stacked against us."

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"In that case, congratulations. You survived." Loki gave a light smirk as he spoke, but seeing as Sentrius went back to the bed he assumed he wanted to go back to his previous conversation. He was the newcomer, and the late on at that. He wasn't going to interrupt anyone's conversations if he could help it. Looking to the commander, Loki said, "Sir, where are we heading first?"

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While the men had their little discussion, Nai had gone to the bathroom to freshen up a bit. Also to think about the recent events.

The talk about innocents made her wonder why the topic even have to be brought up. They were knights, weren't they? From what she heard, not like they went out slaughtering women and children for fun. Of course they were going to protect them. They couldn't let anyone else do that either. From all those stories she heard, the knights always killed the bad guys and got the glory. That's why she signed up, didn't she? Some of them seemed like they didn't know what they signed up for. But they seemed like nice people anyway. Well maybe except for one but she still needed more time before disliking anyone. Alright, next subject...

Apparently she was third in the chain of command. Knowing that the men, from her observations, had a lot of pride (a little too much for some of them) made her realize that her position had probably upset one or two. Not that it mattered to her. It was the commander who had decided it. Nai knew she probably didn't have the extensive and impressive background all of them possessed but that didn't mean she didn't have the skills to take charge if needed to. Besides, if any of them had a problem with her, they could come talk to her about it. She would gladly set them straight, especially now that they all had to share one room.

One room... That was another thing she was a little hesitant about. It wasn't like she hadn't done it before, in the academy, but it was only with girls. Or at least her room assignment had worked that way. It wasn't that she couldn't trust the guys, it was just... Hm, what was the problem? Nai looked in the mirror, puzzled. Did it really matter? They were teammates anyway. Not like they would even try anything, or so she really hoped. And she could tell they didn't have any weird sleeping habits so far so as long as they stayed where they were supposed to, everything would be fine.

With those matters settled, she exited the bathroom, relieved with her mind at peace. Heading to their room, she noticed a new person.

"Oh hello," Nai said to Loki as she approached, "Sorry if I interrupted but you're a new comrade right? I'm Nai Gareki Tsukumo, but you may call me Nai or Gareki if you wish. I'm one of the battlefield and tactician specialists. Pleasure to meet you."

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His attention turned from the commander to the other knight as she approached him. "Loki. A pleasure to meet you as well, Nai." he said, offering a friendly smile and a light bow of his head. "Yeah, the ship I was on ran a little late today so I just got here. Kinda sad, though. I missed all the introductions."

It was true, Loki did feel a little bad about the situation. It seemed like everyone already knew each other better than they knew him. 'Oh well...' He'd gone through the academy with practically no friends, so he could do this, too, if he had to.

"So you're one of the two blues, eh? Glad to know I'm in good hands."

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Nai bowed, having forgotten to do so when she introduced herself. Her expressive eyes revealed amusement while her face showed an appreciative smile.

"Thank you and I assure you that you could find no better. As for the introductions, well I have to say you're much better off now. They were a little, how should I put this?" Nai paused, putting a hand on her chin, "Bad, maybe? Ah, well no matter now. These introductions should be enough and I bet you that you'll be comfortable with us anyway sooner or later. I hope we can work together with no problems."

She grinned, trying to be as friendly as possible. It would be good to have at least one ally and since she still wasn't sure how the others felt, Nai felt she had at least a chance with Loki.

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Commander Malkini walked past his team and up to the pilots room. A long wide space wit large windows curving from the side of the room, the front, where a large leather pilots chair sat, controls surrounding it, and unto the ceiling, letting the blue light of the hanger fall onto the ship. Malkini put a hand on the end of the pilots chair and pulled it backward. It was fine brown leather, like everything else on the ship. Malkini sighed as he sat down on it and began to activate the ships engines. He doubted the Knights liked him, not that it was important if they liked him or not, it was just better that they did like him. When push came to shove he knew a soldier would save his Commander over a friend. But these weren't soldiers, Malkini reminded himself solemnly. They were Knights. The platform on which their ship sat began to lower, going below the dock bay onto a small passage. Water began to fill on the sides of the passage until the ship was submerged. Malkini pressed forward and the engines began. The ship blasted through the waterway and out onto the ocean floor. Behind them the hanger grew smaller and smaller as their ship raised through the water until it spluttered out onto the surface of the water. The ship began to raise from the blue ocean floor onto the air, Malkini ever in control. The ship raised and raised until it was among the clouds, the few their were. Avana-Nvaro was but a spot behind them now as the ship left the atmosphere. The side of the blue planet could be seen, reflecting the stars light brightly, and beyond it was darkness.

Jove watched from the bedroom window, and turned to his companions with a smile. "Well, we're off the island, I think."

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The young knight smiled sincerely. Nai seemed like a really nice person; maybe he had a chance to make friends after all. "Ah, bad first impressions, eh? Then maybe I was late for a reason." Loki suggested with a grin. "Maybe you can show me around? You know, let me meet the others, show me my room, etcetera. The commander said my room's across from his, but...where is that?"

And if this all worked out, maybe Loki could ask her if she knew a way around the whole "mandatory armour" deal...But for now, he would figure that out himself.

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"One room, six beds," Sentrius explained to Loki. "It's actually not as bad as it could've been. At any rate, welcome aboard soldier. Today, we'll be made heroes and become the stuff of legends." Sentrius then turned and grabbed his bag which was placed along the side of his bed. Drawing from it, the Knight Handbook, Sentrius began reading it.

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Loki turned to Sentrius, rather surprised. "Wait, all of us are sharing the same room?" The commander certainly hadn't made it sound like that. Loki glanced back to Nai, a little unsure of the situation. Was she in the same room too? Wouldn't she be uncomfortable sleeping in the same room as all of the other guys?

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"Oh, do you actually read that?" Nai asked, distracted. She had been about to respond to Loki when Sentrius spoke up and he pulled out his handbook.

"I think I've only glanced at that really, like when they first gave it to me, "Nai continued, looking up as she tried to remember if she had ever actually sat down and read it. Apparently she hadn't. How weird.

"yes, apparently we are," Nai muttered with a grin, "I hoe you won't feel too uncomfortable sharing a room with us. As for showing you around, there isn't much so you can pick it up on your own. You'll be meeting your comrades before bed so I can at least introduce you to them. Apparently you've already met these two and the commander so we're like halfway there."

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"True, true..." Loki mumbled, looking again to Sentrius. He had already met most of the knights--to an extent, at least. But about the rooming, he could easily adjust. It was her he was more concerned about. Gently pulling Nai a little closer, he lowered his voice and said, "I'll be fine sharing a room with everyone, but are you sure you will be?"

'Are there even any other girls on the team?'

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"Thank you for your concern," Nai replied with a grateful smile although there seemed to be a flicker of annoyance in her eyes, "But I'm sure I'll be alright as long as everyone acts right. And if not, well its never too late to teach someone manners. "

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Loki caught the slight look in her eyes, a blush instantly sweeping over his face. "Sorry, sorry...I just don't really know those guys yet...or...you, for that matter..."

'Way to go, Lo...'

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"Y-you never read," Sentrius sputtered at first. "You've never read the handbook? You're joking, right? You have to be. Everybody's read the handbook! Theses are our rules, guidelines, and protocol. They're all in here. Did they not enforce this at Tormaund? How did you even manage to graduate without knowing standard Knight procedures and guidelines?"

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"Its an Academy in an isolated desert village, Sentrius," Jove said as he lay on his side on one of the beds despite the Commander's orders. "The two years there are spent building huts under the sun, then getting some armor for it. They send the illiterate there too, so you can expect half of them are unable to read the handbook."

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Xeroux stood off to one side, a small smile on his face. Apprehension had taken hold of him once they headed down to the ship's docking bay. He wasn't quick to make friends, but he knew he'd eventually come out of his shell. He was the type to observe from afar, find a common ground and then explore it, hoping it would lead to more common ground, and a bond. So far he had come up with a small idea about them all, even the new comer, Loki. He didn't score a 100% on his tactician and strategy test by studying alone. He had a knack for figuring people out, getting to know them by their body language, voice pattern's, and their eyes.

To him Sentrius was the strong ever loyal man. A die hard soldier that would rather die than abandon protocol, believing it was there for a reason, and could not be flawed. Jove was a bit of a downer, but being so important in his kingdom, it could just be stress covering his true personality. He came off as very knowledgeable, though it seemed to cause him more harm than good at the moment. Xeroux figured Jove's bluntness was easily fixed and that he could be the most respectable and polite man when the situation called for it. Nai to him seemed very strong willed, being a tactician herself, he wondered if she possessed many of the same innate abilities he did. To Xeroux, it didn't matter what academy she hailed from, but what type of person she was. To him there was nothing wrong with her, simply because she was from an academy with a poor reputation. He was looking forward to planning with her, and proving Jove wrong about her. Xeroux would be the first to admit, he was intimidated by her, she had an air around her that commanded respect, and he liked that. Loki seemed kind and caring, and concerned about the individual human being or other life form as a separate being, never quick to group one with many. Xeroux could tell he had a quick mind about him, and would be one of the first to cry out at any injustice.

His eyes fell upon their other silent, and most fearsome companion, Kazuki. The Black knight kept to himself, but radiated an air of both physical and mental strength. He was an old soul, wise beyond his years. And yet, he seemed to be carrying a great deal of sorrow and a tinge of anger on his broad shoulders.

Xeroux sighed, looking to the floor and shaking his head. The butterflies were beginning to vanish, but he wasn't ready to come out of his shell just yet.

"You look like a jerk just standing here watching them...at least Kazuki is staring out the window...you're just leaning against a wall...watching...creepy...."

He stepped off the wall, unfolding his arms from his chest. With his best grin he walked up to Loki and Nai with an outstreched hand. Though it was shaking slightly, he fought to keep it out, ready to become a little more outgoing. The only way to change was to push the envelope and do what made him
uncomfortable.


"Hi, my name is, Xeroux Falcus. Pleasure to meet to both...properly this time." He said with a slight chuckle, eyes resting on Nai before looking to Loki.

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"Hey," Loki began, looking to Jove after hearing his comment and giving a light nod of indication, "Some people might take a little offense to that, you know?" He was suddenly embarrassed again, hoping he didn't irritate Nai further by trying to defend her.

Thankfully, someone changed the subject for him. "Properly?" he asked, giving a light grin when he saw how shaky the knight was. "Well, in any case, Loki." Loki took his outstretched hand, giving it a short, firm shake. "Good to meet to you."

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Xeroux grinned, his nerves easing with the firm handshake from Loki, which he returned. "Yes, before I was late to the meeting, so I was unable to introduce myself to the others properly, fortunately, I can make a proper first impression with you!"

He laughed a little, trying to ignore the thoughts he'd wanted to say to Jove. He knew the prince's opinion would be changed in the coming battle once he say how skilled Nai could be. At least, Xeroux felt her to be highly skilled. They all were, he thought. They were going to make a powerful team, a close family if you will, the just needed to see what each other could do.

"Come on, no fighting about each other's schools. We're all standing in the same room, so no one can deny that haven't been through a lot to be here right now. Regardless of how someone's training may have gone, we are still equals, and comrades. So let's put aside what we've heard about one another's academies, because they don't matter anymore. What matters is that we're all here, together. Like it our not, we have to work together and trust one another. If we don't we will most certainly die. I doubt any form of diplomacy skills could save your life in the heat of an intense battle, with your squad mates lying dead around you. Nor will weapon knowledge, or even tactics. We can't do this alone...well maybe Kazuki and other Black Knights could, but even they are invincible. So, what do you say we start over?"

He looked around the room, to each of his fellow knights in turn. "I'm Xeroux Flacus. Tactician and Strategist. I'll do the best to my ability to create both sound battle plans and exit plans should the battle go awry. I promise to also learn all I can about our enemies, giving detailed weapon data to our Red Knights and observation's of their behavior to our Green Knight."

He smiled, waiting for the others to follow suit.

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Loki listened intently to the knight, growing both more surprised and impressed.

'And to think I thought this guy was shy...Heh, far from it, apparently...He knows how to take charge when he has to.'

For all it was worth, the young knight took a step forward to stand beside Xeroux, looking from one knight to the next. "Loki, weapons specialist, especially in dealing with swords. I'll give the best information I can when the situation requires it, and I'll fight to my last breath if I have to ('Not that I think I'll ever really need to...but you never know')."

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"Well, as I've said, I'm Sentrius Tetran, weapons specialist. I've create my own weapons and armor enhancements as well as being the leader of my squadron back in my training days at Mt. Ravin. I look forward to fighting with you all in the glory of battle and in our never ending fight to bring peace to this universe. "

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"I'm Joven Flynn," Jove called from the bed. "I speak languages and know about the exotic and primitive cultures throughout the system and beyond. If we are ever held hostage by barbarians, I'm the one who has the best chance of speaking our way out..."

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"And when words don't work, that's where we come it." He motioned to both Nai and himself. "We consult them," he began, gesturing to Loki and Sentrius. "Then we break free with the help from him." He nodded over his shoulder to Kazuki. "See?" A smile appearing on his face, "We need one another in all situations."


He started for the beds, his gaze focused on the window. Stars seemed to speed past, worlds flew by, their soil walked upon by other Knight teams carrying out their own missions.

"Some day, we'll be able to say we've seem 'em all. Together we'll all explore these worlds. The Sora system will be under our protection, and protect them we will...together. right?"

He cast a smile over his shoulder, his pale eyes resting on each of his new friends. While they didn't know much about one another, he wanted to make sure the all could trust one another. With trust would come new conversations and deep friendships. Together, they'd be the greatest Knight squad the Sora System, no the universe would ever know.


"This is our system....our story."

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Nai sighed. Xeroux certainly had a way with words and his optimism was certainly infectious. To her, he seemed like the guy who loved to make heartwarming speeches and wanted to see complete unity and harmony in the team. Still, if anything bad did befall them, Xeroux seemed like the one that would be the first one up to stand up to it and probably win. He certainly didn't deserve to be second to last in the chain of command. She knew the two would get along just fine and they could probably work successfully as a team.

“I suppose you’re right,” Nai muttered, before glancing at Jove and Sentrius. Normally, she would have just ignored them but today wasn’t one of those days. Her irritation, despite Xeroux’s words, was still apparent in her eyes although she was smiling at the moment. Besides, she wasn’t one to leave things so unfavorably.

“Ah, and Sentrius, I know we’re well past the subject but I felt a need to explain myself in case I offended or confused you. At Tormaund, I was noted for my memorization skills. I need only to glance at a text to memorize it. So the book is entirely up here,” she paused to point at her head, “and here.”

She pointed to where her heart was.

“So please don't sound so shocked. I assure you I have learned it just as well as you, maybe even better since I could recite the whole thing by memory. But that's besides the point."

Nai smiled sheepishly, trying to look as friendly as possible. Then, she turned to Jove.

“I feel I should warn you Jove, as to avoid an argument in the future, to not make such assumptions without facts or experience. I know Tormaund has a poor reputation and not all of its students are up to your standards, but I can say from experience they most of them have more skills and heart than you shall ever posses,” Nai smiled, knowing she probably shouldn’t have said that last part. Still, she was getting a little weary and the rude side of her begged to continue anyway.

“And besides, if Tormaund is such a bad school and its students are of such low quality, how is it that a graduate from there got a higher place in the chain of command than you? If you don’t mind me asking,” Nai continued, a smirk in her eyes, “Besides, if such a knight as yourself that I assume comes from a high quality school loses his bed privileges, what does that say about your school? Surely they must have taught you restraint and how to respect your higher ups, did they not?”

Nai smiled, looking like a child who was just asking innocent questions while her eyes clearly showed the irritation that drove them. Still, she knew that the others could probably tell as well so she decided to end on a good note. She turned to Xeroux and Loki and bowed, grateful to the two.

“Thank you gentlemen and I apologize you had to hear that.”

She bowed to Sentrius and Jove before heading to her bed. Before she sat down though, she had one final thing to say before the others could respond as she expected they would.

“Since we’re saying it again, I’m Nai Gareki Tsukumo. I’m one of your two tactician and battlefield specialists and will do my best to get the information relayed to you as fast and accurately as possible. I hope we can work well together.”

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"Ah, so you've memorized it?" Sentrius asked, sounding slightly less concerned. "So have I, that's great! perhaps one day, we can rehearse the rules together. Y'know systematically make sure everything goes according to protocol during our missions." Sentrius felt more at ease now. She had memorized the rules, that was always good. Maybe she was more qualified to lead than Sentrius originally gave her credit for. Just...not as qualified as him.

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"Right, someday in the distant future," Nai replied, trying to sound enthusiastic, "Besides, I'm pretty sure everything will go right without us having to check up on it..."

Nai layed on her bed, and as an afterthough added in a low voice, "Besides, sometimes protocol is useless..."

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Loki cringed slightly, his gaze shifting between Nai and Sentrius. 'They...They've both memorized it? -Memorized- it?...I...' The knight released a quiet sigh, his shoulders drooping, especially under the weight of the armour he was growing to despise. '...I got bored a few pages in and put it away...'

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Kazuki looking at his commander and the almost cold way he spoke of total war was almost tempted to draw his beloved sword. The man is a monster if he truly believes in total war....and if so he is undeserving of death by blade. I will follow him but if this monster ever orders me to slaughter innocents he'll find a new enemy to deal with. How far have the knights fallen if this philosophy of genocide is spoken of with approval. The thought of genocide made this Phoenix wonder why he joined. As a child he grew up on tales of Knighthood and the honor these armor clad warriors conducted themselves with. He had nourished his soul with ideals of chivalry and hopes of living up to that honor. He had pushed himself beyond all limits to achieve the strength and skill that saw him in the Black Armor of the Knight Elite. He had buried a wife and honored her wishes to keep training. All this and more he had done to become the Knight he was today. And even before the first official mission it was turning to ashes in his hands.

A commander who thought genocide noble, fellow knights who alternated between childish bickering and attempts at being the Knights they were. Although he was willing to forgive his fellow knights for they lacked the experience to grant them wisdom and a seriousness befitting their place in history. But his commander had earned his undying hatred for speaking of genocide in a positive turn. As a one of the few Phoenix still left in the universe and so far the only one still serving in the Knights he could not embrace genocide no matter the effectiveness of it as a tactic. No Knight's sword should ever be stained with the blood of innocents simply to deny a despot his base of power. Killing innocents doesn't end wars, it starts them. He thought with a anger so well hidden any observer would think him merely bored.

For despite the coordinated efforts to destroy his race many had survived, enough to be a serious threat to perhaps a planet or a small system. And as they burned the bodies of their honored dead this last great army of the Phoenix marshaled together. All silver armor and silk capes there anger burned fiercer then the flames of the pyres. The world had showed them they were simply unwilling to tolerate the existence of the Phoenix. For the crime of being a superior race in terms of powers and strength they had started a war desiring to bring the chaos of the universe into the peace and order of the Phoenix. And in return even those Phoenix who had argued starting a war was no better then the savagery of the rest of the universe were hunted down like animals. And so this last great army of the Phoenix people united in their hatred of the horror wrought upon their race marched as one. Knowing they would only be served death no matter their actions the Phoenix as a whole took up arms. Old Men who's legs barely held them up clutched swords they used as Young men, Mothers laying their children onto the pyres let hate breed in the darkness of their empty souls, Young Men bore the horrible burden of their Father's sword and armor. And so the Phoenix were poised to swoop down on the universe that thought them dead ready to show them the true price of genocide. One final charge for a proud warrior people then to go to Mithra's embrace and await the sounding of the final horn that would mark the end of the world.

His forefather had been an scout for Phoenix army, a position he held with honor. Till he had been captured and interrogated. At first he had held out against the hot irons, the whips,even when they broke his legs all he did was spit at his captors.But when dealing with the devil one never takes into account the subtly of a demon. They came to know of his family using a spy to capture his wife and newborn son. And where he did not fear for his own well being the woman he loved and the son he cherished saw him give in. And in return they granted this Phoenix Knight wish,a beheading. A criminal's death amongst the Phoenix Kazuki's forefather had intended it to show his shame. The wife was allowed to live out her life in a prison while the son was raised amongst normal humans in ignorance of what the price of his life had been.

And it was this legacy that saw this Black Knight unwilling to stain his blade with the blood of the innocents. All the time that had passed,all the lessons that had been learned, and nothing had changed. The rest of the universe was more then glad to slaughter their neighbors if it meant the easy way out. No one took time to consider the long term applications of such an brutal policy.

For his part the Black Knight wondered if all the effort was worth it. But after a few moments of thought he eased the muscles in his shoulders deciding against proving his faith with the edge of his sword. His commander was once a respected general and these other knights needed a leader with real combat experience. And although as Black Knight potential he had seen much more combat and missions then the others he knew he was no veteran general. And the mission set before them as their first mission as Knights Elite would require all the skill and cunning a warrior developed over a long career. Despite their status as Knight Elite they were in reality little more then green soldiers. Even Kazuki in his black armor was not much better. He was in the end only 21. Sure he could plan a battle just as well as any, could wield a sword better then just about anyone, knew the ins and outs of starships,could speak almost every known language, could fix a broken bone or with the right equipment perform advanced surgery, despite all that he was only 21. And nothing made up for a lifetime of experience of commanding and fighting. And so this knight would let his commander Besides if this mission went well he would not be forced to choose between duty and honor. And this one time general despite his lack of interest in commanding them and his brutal nay monstrous view on war was the only one that could lead them in this mission. None of them despite their puffed up sense of pride at wearing the armor of the Knight Elite was truly capable of the subtly and skill this mission would require. They were little more then children playing at war. They were all shiny ceremonial armor and swords, some like Kazuki had tasted the bitterness of combat but none of them Black knight included was a true leader.


And so in silence the Black Knight followed the group as it left the tower. Making their way to the elevators they went down to the hanger that resided underwater. A feat of engineering and architecture genius back when it was first built the Black Knight had always wondered why the builders had gone through the trouble of designing and creating it. He had always though it a useless frivolity and a tactical weakness if the Academy ever had to defend itself. A covert team could use this place to infiltrate into the academy and deactivate the meager defenses the school had. And then the opposing army outside the school would have a wide open door into the academy.

But in the end Kazuki thought little of it. After all the loss of one academy was hardly going to slow the Knights down and since the slaughter of his race things had been peaceful enough. And the planet was hardly an open target. But still the Black Knight found the way the Military relied on the fleet to protect the strategically important planets a little wishful. There always should be a good plane B, in this case well fortified and supplied ground side positions.

And this school being a training ground for the backbone of the Military should warrant it special attention in the Knight's mind. After all no computer or military grunt could wage war with as much efficiency as the Knights. Their blend of tactics and physical combat combined with diplomacy and medical knowledge saw them as good force multipliers for ant force.

shoving such thoughts aside however Kazuki files aboard the chosen ship,a small light ship obviously not designed with comfort in mind as the interior proved somewhat cramped. I swear to Mithra this tub had better be fast and maneuver like a hawk or I am transferring to a new unit in the Alpha fleet, my room in the academy had a bigger bathroom then this. He thought in a effort to not look at his commander as he spoke. but nonetheless he made sure to pay attention. If he was to be second in command Kazuki thought he should make sure to take in the important details.

The pep speech finished he simply took in the events. The mingling of the knights, the arrival of the late knight who wore the red armor of a combat expert. And more childish bickering intermingled with attempts at Knightly restraint with even more green boys comparing sizes so to speak. Through it all the Black Knight simply sat in passive observation. But that was nothing new, this Knight Elite preferred silence to forced chit-chat. Most thought him anti-social but he simply found nothing to relate to in any. He was a Phoenix who had buried his wife before joining the knights, he was one of the best but even his fellow Black Knights only knew his silence. He didn't so much as avoid daily socializing as make no attempt to seek it out. After all they were Knights not teenagers hanging out at a favorite spot. They were going to combat and while bonds of friendship helped when the blood flowed and men where dying it was not high on his list of things to do. And his position in the chain of command only encouraged him.For in the military fraternization with lower ranks was strictly forbidden. And while the Knights were less formal in that regard Kazuki knew why the military adopted that policy.


Walking the few steps towards the sleeping quarters he ignored the other knights. This wasn't a battlefield and a commanding officer had the deck so he was under no obligations to watch them like a hawk. Besides they all were Knight Elites capable of looking after themselves and needed no officer hanging over their shoulder 24/7.

Instead the Black Knight strode towards a bed that had his trunk at it's foot, the neat black and gold case held his spare clothes as well as the tools needed to look after his weapons. And what was left over of the metal polish he had bought, perhaps enough for 2 more polishings. Grabbing the needed tools out of his trunk he sat on his bed and went about removing his armor, he didn't plan to wear most of it in the upcoming missio as the weight was simply counter productive to his fast and agile style of swordplay. Called the Royal Guard style it was a unique style hard to learn and even harder to master. A two handed style it required one to be able to wield a sword and a pistol or other one handed firearm at the same time. While hard to master it was perhaps the best blend of swordplay and gunplay. Granting a user both a swordsman strength and a marksman's skill it was widely practiced amongst the Black Knights. And as a style that relied on speed and agility the weight of armor simply had to go. Besides the ancient style armor was simply useless on a modern battlefield were it's weight slowed down charges and the damage protection was nowhere near enough to justify it's weight.

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The ship quieted as the young Knights each got ready to sleep. Jove grabbed a pillow of the bed that had his small leather clothingcase on it, the bed specifically set out for him, and the bed that his Commanding officer, former General Aden Malkini, had forbidden him sleep in. Jove scoped the soft green cloth cover from the bed and placed it in his arms, atop the pillow. Jove sighed as he looked over to his other companions, all of them getting their beds ready. His eyes flickered onto Falcus, placing his blue armor away for the Knight. His name did not tell him much. Xeroux Falcus. A Baon name, which was quite common in the North-East, and then a Lutman last name, which were also quite common as the Lutman spread throughout the North-East during the Matran Imperial period. Two meaningless names. He looked like a Dal, with a bit of Zoraman in him. His heritage would indicate that he and Jove would be the best of friends, but Jove doubted they would be. Xeroux was an internal optimist, Jove had decided, while he was an eternal pessimist. Xeroux believed that the team would always pull through while Jove believed the team would always fail and burn in a miserable and humiliating defeat. And Jove knew he was not a lovable pessimist, he was not a comical Neahian boy who started on a cheap ship and ended as a rich man. No, he was the bitter pessimist. He was the one the team would be better off without. He was a politician, not a soldier. But aren't all politicians soldiers? He though to himself before continuing his gaze.

The next man his eyes landed on was Sentrius Tetran. Jove liked Tetran, more than the rest. He was a Lutman through and through. A soldiers soldier. He was smart, skilled, and obedient to orders. He was what the Knights needed, and perhaps the only real Knight in the group. Still, Tetran's almost lack of concern or opinion worried him. When he told him of the slave trade, an act that would logically disgust any other Lutman in the world, as their people were the heart of the Ulfarian slave trade, he gave a simple, non-judgmental I disagree. And when Jove began to mock the Tormaund Academy, he still reserved the voice of his opinion, defending the Academy based solely on their ability to create Knight Elites, which seemed to be the most information he had on it. While this could be a simple lack of caring or lack of opinion, it could also be that Tetran was hiding himself away. Jove bit his lip. Jove didn't like not knowing people. It made him feel weak.

Jove's stare brought him onto Nai Tsukumo. A Bakish name for a bakish girl, or at least half bakish, Jove really couldn't tell. It didn't matter either way. She was annoying, and her non Bak parent was most likely a barbarian who most likely performed grotesque acts on the headmasters at the Tormaund Academy, who were also barbarians, to get her in so she could train with even more barbarians. Jove shook his head at the girl. She had displayed herself to be easily offended and easy to turn her feelings of being offended into aggression. Still, she was the only girl here, so perhaps she had to act more aggressive that she was to equal herself to the rest. Jove sighed. She was a mystery for now, but he would soon figure her out.

Jove's next examination was Kazuki Shiroyama. Another Bak. Kazuki was a mystery to him, and between Kazuki, Sentrius, and Nai he had a few too many unreadable squad mates. He seemed cold, and unwilling to deal with the childish ways of the squad. Jove glanced for a second at Loki, before turning back to Kazuki. He would be their leader in the actual leaders absence, but he did not seem to want to talk to the others or get to know them, which was not the way of a Commander, though Malkini was the exact same way. The difference between Kazuki and Malkini was that Malkini openly expressed his extreme disdain for the Knights and the situation while Kazuki kept it to himself. Kazuki kept everything to himself, while Malkini couldn't seem to find the kindness in his heart to shut up for more than a minute.

Jove then turned to Loki Dinn. One hundred percent Dal, from his face to his name, was what Jove picked up so far. He was a schoolboy from Urakas, probably grew up poor in the Capima south, the Gold coast or on the prairies. He was slightly awkward, very sincere, and without any darkness in him, which either said only good about him or only bad. Jove watched as Loki glanced over at Nai and then back at his own bag. It was rare to see a man like him in the Knights, but still, it gave Jove some security.

Jove then turned back to his clothing case and grabbed it with a hand. "Well, goodnight to all of you. You need me for anything I'll be in the pilot cabin, on the couch trying to get comfortable." No one replied. Jove turned and walked out of the door and towards the kitchen. As soon as he left the bedroom the warm light left and he was in darkness, the only light coming from the windows and the stars in space. Jove walked on through the kitchen and into the pilots cabin, where he windows were biggest and the starlight was brightest. At the pilots tab sat Malkini, the pale red light of the controls reflect off his face.

"God in heaven," Jove muttered to himself as he approached the cabin. "Commander why are you still piloting? We're well out of the Province by now."

"Yes, we just passed through the Umiton border," Malkini replied. "I wanted to be here up until Orlessa. The autopilot always goes a little off around there when traveling to Usin from the Islands."

"You've been to Usin before?" Jove asked, placing the pillows and cover down onto the left couch.

"Four times, never to where we're going though," Malkini replied. "I went to the Capital three times, twice for ceremonies, and once for business. The fourth time I visited was on a crash landing for fuel there. I say this to all my apprentices, if your stuck on low fuel in western Umano, always go to Usin, no matter what state that world is in."

"...Fascinating," Jove muttered. He now lay under his covers, his eyes reading over a book bound in leather.

"What is that supposed to be?" Malkini asked, looking back at the book.

"Pocketman," Jove replied. "Its one of these drawn books off the Kings Port, its quite good."

"Of course it is, I take it full pages of text are too complex for your mind, correct?" Malkini muttered.

Jove placed the book on his lap and sat up. "Is there a reason you hate me, sir?"

"Your a racist slaving prick, is that not reason enough, Jove?" Malkini replied.

"Slaving is politics, I'm not going to defend that, but facts about different peoples are just that. Facts," Jove said.

"You make mostly negative preconceptions about people based solely on their physical features and where those features say they came from," Malkini said. "Those are not facts."

"I don't say the Northerners are barbarians because they look different then us, though," Jove replied. "I say it because they sacrifice their women and perform disgusting rituals on their children. That's fact."

"Never mind, you are clearly a lost cause, Joven Flynn," Malkini muttered. "You ever been with a girl, Jove?"

"What?" Jove asked, looking up from his book.

"Good lord, boy, you are deaf," Malkini replied. "Have you ever been in a relationship with a girl?"

Jove nodded slowly, "Um, yes, I have."

"Was she a Zoraman, like you?" Malkini asked.

"Some of them were...." Jove replied quietly.

"You ever been in a relationship with a non-Zoraman or Seriman?" Malkini asked.

"Yes, on the Island I was with a Neahian lass, she said she was Neahian but I still think she was a Kingsmen," Jove replied.

"Jove, you are hollow," Malkini replied with a grin.

"Why?" Jove asked.

"You with what you think are Kingsmen, which in the most Zoraman mind is worse than a Northerner," Malini said. "And then you come here and talk badly about all others. Disgusting. Though, I understand it."

"Sir?" Jove asked.

Malkini smiled. "Jove, I love my cultures..."

Jove glanced at Malkini before looking back at his book. "So who else will be on Usin?" Jove asked from behind the leather cover.

"The Major General, three legions, and two Knights from Commander Roka's team," Malkini replied. "The boys in Bao, trying to find a way to keep me on a leash, asked all the new Commander's if they could spare any Knights. Roka spared two."

"So he sent away two of his Knights to help out?" Jove asked. "Who are they?"

"Another weapons expert, god be kind, from Ravin named Ephraim Gauloris," Malkini said. "Which should be no surprise since all they produce there is medics and masters of war. The second is the third boy from Tormaund, Oran Oseal, a white armored science specialist."

"Well, I'm sure Nai and Tetran will be happy to see their old friends once more," Jove muttered, flipping the page of his book.

"There goes Orlessa," Malkini said, dimming the lights on the pilots tab and pushing his chair out. "Goodnight, Jove."

Jove glanced at the man pacing into the kitchen, before looking back into the pages of his book.

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Sentrius was already asleep long before the others, having already set up his bed and and checked his bags. Dreams of grandeur raced around in his head as he slept. Truthfully ,he had no real desire to sleep. He was ready for some action, for their chance to shine in the limelight. and take their rightful place as the next generation of Knights. If only they could've gotten a better ship, a faster ship. That way they'd make it planetside in no time.

Sentrius did have on quick glance over at hi team, before he fell asleep. He liked them well enough, though he could tell they might be in need of some re-reading of the Knight Handbook. Not him, however. Sentrius did know the whole book by memory. And he always followed those rules and protocols to the letter. ...Well, usually. Most of the time. It's not important right now. What's important is, despite him ranking fourth in command, Sentrius felt like it was he who need to make sure his teammates stayed in line.

He can't really say much about Malkini. In truth their commander didn't seem to like them very much. Sure, Malkini wasn't the ideal commander, but he made it to the rank somehow, so they'd have to give him some type of credit. Sentrius hoped that they'd hit planetside soon. He wanted to get to the action as soon as possible. This was their time to become legends. But more importantly, it was his time to become a legend.

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Morning light shun down upon Jove's face, the heat making his lashes twitch. Jove opened one eye slowly, glancing around the room now filled with warm golden light. The brown wood inner walls of the Pilots cabin sparkled in the light, as did the window below the wooden ridge, which showed the bright sun, clouds of gray surrounding the edge open of sky in which the sun shinned. The sunlight was suddenly blocked off through the window by a wall of stone, edges and jags of black and brown whizzing past the window as it did. Jove could feel the light leave the room, and a small air of coldness on his tanned skin. Then the stone flew past, and the sun came back, for a moment only, as a gray cloud quickly blocked it from view. The ship gave a small bump as it continued flying, and the sounds of the air flying past outside became slightly louder. Jove pushed his green covers to the side and sat up straight. He rubbed his eyes quickly and glanced right towards the pilots chair to see who was flying. A small familiar crop of brown hair greeted him from above the leather headrest.

"Good morning, Jove!" The powerful voice of Malkini said, his head never moving from the cabins forward window.

"Commander," Jove replied quietly, collecting his sleeping supplies off the couch. The clouded sun was once again blocked off by a mountain of rock whizzing past the large windows of the cabin. "We're on Usin, I presume?" Jove asked, noticing the suspiciously unspace-like surroundings the ship flew through.

"Yes, its quarter after eleven, right now," Malkini explained. "And its the wetsession right now, so I hope you brought your cloak."

"When does the sun rise and set?" Jove asked, picking up his Pocketman book that fell to the wooden floor during the night. The rock wall flew past once again and the clouds were in view.

"Five and nineteen," Malkini replied. "Why?"

"I just like to know," Jove said. "I've never been to Usin, you see."

"Well, were not in the tourist area, to say the least," Malkini said with a grin as the sunlight disappeared once more. "We're in the stone fields. A massive area of stone grounds and pillars rising high above the earth. Through these pillars runs a swampy river called Mevish. The river starts from the ocean, far, far down into the Highrock area. Further along, past where we will be, the land becomes much wetter, much more just planes of wet grass, you know? That's where the river becomes really deep. But here you can walk through it and it will just go to your hip."

"How close are we to the grasslands?" Jove asked.

"Close, we are literally positioned at the edge of the highrock area. In fact, if you walk forty minutes down the Mevish from where you are, you'll be in the grasslands, so not far at all," Malkini explained as the ship rocked again. They flew down more and more until the rocks dominated the windows views, and the sun or the clods became a rare sight. The ship continued to travel until from the window the wide green river below became clear. On the edge of the river, on the clearing, small camps and outposts were spotted with small campfires, roasting breakfast no doubt, for the silver armored soldiers stationed at them. A pole outside each camp hung proudly the flag of the Knights, and below it the flag of their legion, and below that the flag of their General, Major General Yoff. As they continued down the camps became more and more common. The soldiers all looked at the ship, some waved, some cheered, and some simply gave a glance as it flew by just above the river's still water. The ship eventually landed down onto the a small hill on the edge of the river, opposite of it was a massive opening that led down, red light piercing outward of its entrance. Blocking the entrance's light was a large stone blade. It was held by armored hands of rock, belonging to a massive stone Knight who stood at the edge of a long rock pillar. His rock cape became the rock, and, at the bottom of his cloaked feet stood the entrance to the abandoned underground city that ran beneath the pillars and stone of Highrock.

Malkini exited the ship excitedly, the first thing he saw from across the river being the stone Knight towering over him, the edge of the Knight's helm blocked the sun. Malkini then turned down the river. In the far fogged distance he saw a small light from the edge of a pillar. "That must be the village on the side of the rock..." Malkini muttered. Yoff's men had no doubt already place explosives all along the halls that ran beneath the pillar in which the village sat.

"Greetings!" A voice rang cheerfully. Malkini turned as two Knights, one in red armor, and one in white, approached him and his team...

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Xeroux sighed, unable to sleep. It had been two hours, and still nothing. He tried to let his mind wander, eventually tiring itself out, but nothing worked. He was apprehensive, thoughts of the upcoming battle coming to mind. He knew nothing of the group they were fighting, the fact they were rebels told him two things; 1) they would fight until they got what they wanted, and 2) They would be willing to accept some negotiations. He was busy at work trying to plan an attack. Only if diplomacy failed. It was wise to seek peaceful alternatives to fighting, whenever allowed.

He reached for his satchel, pulling out a sketch pad with graph paper inside. A small picture of his family fell out into his lap. The picture was of his last day at home before leaving for the academy, his father and grandmother had thrown a small party, and gone through the trouble of making him a cake, and buying him the twin swords he carried on his waist. He smiled, tucking the picture back into the sketch pad.

"This can wait...Tomorrow I'll have more information on the troops we have and the number's we're against." He whispered, justifying the need to put the pad away and try to sleep again, happy thoughts on his mind.

A Few minutes passed, and he still couldn't sleep. He looked over to Jove's empty, and bare bed.

"We're a team..."

Without a second thought he grabbed his pillow and blanket taking it out to the hallway where the couch Jove slept on sat. He smiled seeing the open book on Jove's chest.

"A prince reading Poketman? Hm, not so different from anyone else now are ya?" He chuckled, throwing his pillow and blanket down opposite the couch. He found himself able to sleep soundly.

Next thing he knew he was woken by the voices of the Commander and Jove. Neither had seemed to notice that he was there, which meant he was out of the way. He didn't take any mind, just pretended to be asleep as they talked. The smooth landing was the proper que to pretend to wake up.

He sat up slowly, looking out the small window by his head.

"Beautiful day!" He smiled, turning to Jove. "Sleep well?"

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Sentrius yawned as he stepped out of bed, walking out of the room, he'd noticed two of the beds were empty, but he was to tired to notice who. Sentrius walked outside of the teams' room, before noticing Malkini, Jove, and Xeroux awake talking as the ship's hatch began to open. They were there! Finally. Sentrius, quickly hurried and grabbed his bag, and made sure everything was to order before preparing to leave the ship.

"Finally, we'll be with our comrades preparing to fight against the rebel threat!" Sentrius exclaimed. "This is the moment we've all been waiting for! C'mon, Knights, to glory!" Sentrius exclaimed as he marched forward out of the ship. He was greeted by the Knight camp. Hundreds of knights preparing for the same battle as them. And as he stepped out he was greeted by two other knights. Sentrius wide grin quickly turned into a frowned as he saw the knights. "Don't tell me they let Gauloris graduate!" Sentrius shook his head, muttering to himself. "Nowadays it seems like they'll except any loose canon loner."

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"Raven, can you keep it down? Training doesn't start for another hour.." Nai muttered, still tired from yesterday.

The night before the graduation, she didn't get any sleep since she was too excited for the upcoming ceremony. Now, she felt the full force of the exhaustion the day had placed on her. It didn't help that she was up for several hours after she had assumed the others had gone to sleep based on their breathing. The reason she hadn't slept as quickly as she usually did was because something had been bothering her. Her conduct had been unacceptable and she had wondered whether or not to apologize. Finally, she had decided to just act nicer and keep her emotions in check. It was barely enough to settle her conscience.

Now, she rolled over, realizing where she was. She silently prayed no one had heard her, although she saw several beds already empty, and quickly got out of bed. After a quick check to make sure she was ready, she went over to meet the others.

“Good morning,” she greeted Xeroux and Jove, followed by a low bow which was much more formal than yesterday. She didn’t stay much longer, eager to scout out the location, but just long enough to flash an apologetic grin at Jove before leaving the ship.

There, she saw two knights approaching, paying special attention to the one in white. Her face went completely blank for a moment before a smile appeared.

“Ah, good morning!” Nai greeted the two knights cheerfully, making a small bow as she usually did. It was a little bothersome doing it to every time she greeted someone but she was taught that it was a sign of respect and humility. Besides, it seemed like the right thing to do considering she knew one of them.

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The mundane aspect of removing his armor going smoothly he laid each piece with great care in the black and gold trunk set at the foot of his bed. The Black Armor still shone with it's polishing as Kazuki had been careful unlike most who rushed and pushed against each other. For this Phoenix despite the fact he found the armor itself useless could appreciate what it represented. It was the physical embodiment of everything he had striven for, the undeniable proof he was the best of the best. And despite his recent doubts about the nobility of the order and it's leaders the Black Knight would treat this armor with the care and respect it deserved. It was useless as battle gear, it's weight a hindrance to his combat style, and he could care less for it's aesthetic value, but even with that all he still cherished it. If for no other purpose then it was the dream of Melina to don this ebony shaded armor.

The others, his fellow knights the men and woman he would fight next to for the rest of his life went about their business. Some a last socializing and boasting, others a early attempt at sleep. Each of them where part of a greater whole but Kazuki even with the burden of his officership could feel no real connection to them. They were children all of them younger then even his youthful 21 and none of them shared the common experiences that bonded humans together. They were of a different race and culture, the words they spoke held no bearing in his mind. He was a Phoenix, and while he would bear the burden of their lives and faith if ever the commander deemed necessary they were not his friends and would likely never be. Even their movements seemed alien to him used as he was to solitude and intense training.

But perhaps it was for the best, a officer had to remain detached from his troops and vice-versa. If command ever fell to him the Black Knight would have to make choices and decisions that might and would probably lead to their deaths. In the battlefield even a moment spent agonizing over the choice between leadership and friendship could mean the difference between life and death, defeat and victory would one day hang on his shoulders. And a hard heart would be needed, to bond with these fellow knights would mean one day bearing the horrible burden of a friend's death. And after Melina this knight had no inclination to go through anything of the sort. He was a rock, a rock with a code of honor dating back to the Phoenix Empire and faith in a God no longer worshiped by the universe but he was a rock. It was what let him endure the loss of his wife, what gave him the inner strength that saw him earn the Black Armor. A cold and silent man who hid his thoughts and feelings from the world, a man who hid behind his skills and honor.

And so he watched his fellow knights sleep, some looked at him with unspoken questions, some ignored him, others still looked on curiously as he removed his armor. But no matter he watched them then as the last piece of that steel skin that would shape his fate as a Phoenix living in a world that thought his race monsters from a dim past. That last piece of shadow colored steel in it's light catching shine went into the silk lined black and gold trunk.

Then as others feel asleep he left the bedroom heading to the kitchen carrying his weapons and the needed tools and liquids. While a wiser head might have suggested sleep before a mission of this importance the Phoenix for all his hard exterior had no wish to enter his sleeping mind. There dwelt dreams of Melina and nightmares of the day he felt her hand grow still, of the sight of life and hope leaving her eyes, of that last kiss that would forever seal his heart to new pain. Kazuki had no wish to enter that realm in the presence of others, if he was to be their officer they would learn no respect from watching him in nightmare. Besides his weapons needed tending to, Nero Angelo in particularly needed a adjustment of it's Force Fire mechanism.

Laying it on a back counter the black carbon alloy sword was soon the target of tools and Kazuki's efforts. The Force Fire mechanism had been his crowning achievement during his brief apprenticeship to his father. Kazuki's father had been a renowned weapon-smith for a child hood accident left him unfit for combat. And so instead gained glory and honor through the crafting of weapons of legend. And upon his son's 13 birthday knowing Kazuki wished to join the knights taught him how to shape a weapon that was forged of true willpower. Taking Melina's design and his father's training the Black knight at the age of 18 had crafted Nero Angelo or Dark Angel. A unbreakable sword that had the power of the element of fire it was to be a gift for Melina. Working on it in that cramp kitchen on this equally camped ship the Knight had to admit a certain twist of fate was so cruel.

The sword attended to Kazuki moved onto his guns. Trademark they had been scoffed at by his weapon-smith father. Fire and Ice were custom designed to fit his hands alone, every singe curve and angle shaped to serve him. A highly accurate 15 shot semi-auto pistol that fired a superheated round hot enough to burn through almost all known metals. The only downside was the High velocity inferno rounds were also custom made meaning he could only afford to make and carry so many at a time. And there was Fire's polar opposite, Ice. A somewhat accurate, at least as far as Micro SMG's go, 30 round clip micro smg that fired a dense yet soft round with a liquid nitrogen charge that absolutely destroyed any exposed skin it hit. The rounds temperature would snap freeze any organic target it hit causing intense pain and trauma with the off chance of shattering a frozen limb like glass. Again the custom made ammo made carrying extra ammo beyond a few clips far too expensive to be even considered.

But both Nero Angelo and Fire and Ice were reflections of his soul. No store bought junk like most knights or modified versions like the smarter ones.From their birth to their first taste of blood had happened at his hands, they were physical embodiments of his will and honor. For that had been the way of the first the Phoenix Empire and then the Phoenix knights. A knight had to truly know his weapons and to do that he needed to create them. Need to give them shape and form, then to learn their secrets they spoke as use wore calluses into your hands. And then to know the purpose behind any weapon when blood is first spilled by their power and your skill. That more then anything alienated this Phoenix from his comrades.

Kazuki unlike most knights truly knew his weapons of choice. And while he could use any weapon to it's full effectiveness in so far as one could use a weapon they only half knew his weapons were his soul. And Nero Angelo in particular was his soul, for it's creation was for the one person who had owned his. It's light weight meant for a woman's hand, it's prefect balance and molecular sharp edge meant to cater to a woman's agility and speed not a man's brute force and strength.

Sheathing his weapons at his hips now that the needed maintenance was done Kazuki strode from the kitchen after cleaning the counter upon which he had done his maintenance with a rather potent cleaner he had found underneath the sink. Striding the short distance from the Kitchen the Black Knight ignored as a matter of fact the knight called Jove who per orders had not slept in his bed choosing as alternative the Pilot's cabin. Keeping his steps light for the sleeping quarters of the knights was filled with the quiet breathing of those asleep he made his way to his trunk and grabbed a change of clothes and his brush along with a small bulging bag.

Once more tip toeing out the Phoenix strode to the bathroom and proceeding to lock the door changed his clothes and washed his face with cold water. The washing of his hair done more leisurely as he brushed that long silver hair that marked out his Phoenix heritage more then anything. The strands of his hair brushed into a gleaming order Kazuki began to braid it opening the bulging sack at the same time. inside where exactly 172 silver rings each inscribed with varying numbers of Phoenix runes. These rings were woven into the braid of his silver hair spaced in prescribed intervals. For these rings were no simply vanity or adornment. Each of these rings told the story of one of his ancestors life,each rune first of all indicting that at least 10 years had been lived, then telling how those ten years had been lived. Some rings bore up to 12 runes speaking of an ancestor that had lived a long life, others only bore 2 or 3 runes. Together the runes told the story of his bloodline from it's founding to his grandfather's time. For each generation was responsible for crafting a ring that told of their life. But only in death would the son gain his father's ring and as Kazuki's father was very much alive his life story was not in the knight's braid. Kazuki had gained this story of his bloodline while out on a training mission on the edges of the Sora Republic. After the mission was done he had spotted them in a museum among many other Phoenix artifacts, his grandfather had died with his rings and they had been stripped and sold by his killer to this museum apparently. Breaking in late at night he reclaimed these family heirlooms. A unlawful act theft but how can one steal what already belongs to them. Needless to say no one ever thought it was him, even when he took to wearing them after his father told him to keep them.


Kazuki's braid done and the rings of history woven into his hair the Phoenix went back to the sleeping quarters were he folded his previous outfit he had worn under his armor atop his still made bed. Then he opened his trunk and grabbed the pieces of armor he would be wearing. First came the gorget, a steel collar that protected the throat during sword fights. Next came the curiass, the torso armor it had been shaped to fit his body snugly so as not be in the way. And then the armoring of his sword arm, which any civilian found odd.In their minds the sword protected the sword arm so why not armor the off arm. But as any swordsman can tell you from numerous small cuts upon the sword arm no one is aiming for the off arm. Furthermore his combat style required using a gun in his left and the weight of armor on his gun hand would throw off his aim.


Refreshed, weapons tended to, and his partial armor on his body this Phoenix decided a little mediation was in order. For cleaning and adjusting Nero Angelo had disturbed his once calm mind. Always it was thus with his beloved sword. Kazuku could not tend to it with out thoughts and painful memories of his wife coming to the surface. Returning to the kitchen as it was the only room devoid of people at this late hour the Black Knight sat cross legged making sure not to scuff his shin high black leather boots and leather breeches for leather was a bitch to polish scuffs out of.

Breathing in and out slowly he closed his eyes letting his mind wander although no too freely. Focusing his thoughts inwards Kazuki began to calm his inner self. Banishing the painful memories of Melina he instead focused on only the positive. On her azure eyes, a blue so clear and deep he often found himself drowning in them, on her golden hair that had shone brighter then the sun, and most of all the feel of her skin underneath his hand. With such memories he felt the return of his calm mind. He would need that calm, unchecked emotions would only lead to his death once steel was bared.


Feeling a slight jolt as the ship landed Kazuki realized his mediation had taken the whole night and then some. Great late on my first day that will look good on the mission report. A more fortuitous start to my officership I couldn't imagine, actually I can. How about showing up on time. He thought with hidden self anger as he strode out of the kitchen in time to see his fellow knights greet two new comers. Which was not unexpected no doubt they were Major General Yoff's aides welcoming them and showing them were they were to be quartered. Although it was odd a White and Red Knight were doing the job of a grunt.

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The night before, Loki hastily removed his armour, working as efficiently as he could--though it was awkward. He hoped the others didn't notice, but they already seemed to be either gone, asleep, or just apathetic, lost in their own thoughts. The boy released a sigh of relief as he was down to his ordinary clothing, laying himself down in his bed and listening to the sound of the others' steady breathing as he fell asleep.

When morning came, Loki's mouth opened wide in a silent yawn and he stretched his arms far above his head in a quiet stretch, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed afterward. Eying his set of red armour for a moment, Loki instead reached into his pant pocket and pulled out a plain red bandanna, tying it with a subtle grin around his forehead, folding the tip up towards the center of his head. "There." he mumbled, giving a quick nod of satisfaction. The knight then looped a leather strap with a sheath attached from his right shoulder to his opposite hip, carefully sliding his dha blade into its sheath. He soon attached another sheath to his waist, the second sword resting at the ready on his left hip, just where he liked it.

Clasping his hands together and again stretching them above his head, Loki glanced around, a little embarrassed when he realized that nearly everyone--if not everyone--was already awake and gone.

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"Hello!" The white Knight said with a large smile. Malkini glanced at the Knight unamused. "My names Oran Oseal," The White Knight said, outstretching his hand to Malkini's, which Malkini shook quickly. "And this is my partner," Oseal said, stepping to the side slightly to reveal the red Knight beside him, "Ephraim Gauloris." Ephraim gave a small nod at the group. "We've been volunteered here by our Knight Commander, Roka, to aid in any way we can to both General Yoff and to you, Commander," Oseal said with a small nod.

Malkini looked the Knight up and down before turning to his team, then looking back at Oseal with a static face. "Well, I guess I won't look a gift horse in the mouth. Welcome aboard, Oran..."

"Well, after the mission we will report back to Roka on Domanore," Oseal replied. "But thank you anyway. Now, if you don't mind, perhaps you could introduce us to your team? I already know Nai, I studied on Tormaund with her," Oseal said, giving her a small smile. "But the rest are foreign faces."

"Sentrius Tetran, the tall one in red, Jove Flynn, the vulturish one in green, Xeroux Falcus, the boy in blue, then Nai of course, Loki Dinn of Urakas... not wearing his armor, but he's a red non the less, and our black Knights Kazuki Shiroyama," Malkini explained. "Now please, take us to General Yoff."

Oseal gave a wide bow to each of them before raising up and nodding to Malkini. "Aye-aye, Commander," He chirped before walking down the small hill across the river of the large Knight statue. The group followed him down the small stone steps onto the side of the river. The river showed the gray and brown stones beneath it as it flew, and Oseal and the rest had no problem stepping through it. It ran up to their knees, flowing through their pants and even into their boots lightly. They reached the other side where dozens of fires were stationed in the shadow of the statue and the stone wall behind it. Around each were legion soldiers, many out of uniform or out of armor, eating a roast or grains, sleeping, shining armor or sharpening weapons, or simply talking to one another. The shared one common trait, nodding respectfully to the Knights and adding a quiet "Gooday, Sir Knights."

The group reached the base of the Statue's sword, it towered above them and stood wide. "Amazing," Jove said as they passed it by towards the large entrance. Two guards stood at each side of the wide opening, the red light from the underground city reflecting off the back of their bronze helms. They gave small glances as the group passed between them. Inside they were met with stairs of bronze that led down onto a wide hall. A large red furnace stood in its center and dark passages flung in each direction from the hall. Many legionaries and prefects ran from the passages and halls, all of them holding papers and reports. In the center, blocking the light from the red furnace, stood a man in large silver plate armor, it covered almost completely by an orange cloak. To his side stood another armored figure, reading to him a report from another piece of paper. He stopped and put the paper to his side, and the orange cloaked man was silent for a minute.

"General Yoff!" Malkini yelled as the group approached. The cloaked man raised his hand at the interruption and kept it there for several minutes, before lowering it again and whispering something into his companions ear. The other man nodded and walked off with his reports.

"Sorry bout' that," The cloaked man, General Yoff, said slowly, stepping forward and giving the group a smile. "My boys were a bit confused about where to put the explosives. We werent quite sure which tunnel led beneath the village, you see."

Malkini gave a reluctant smile, "Right, lets hope it doesn't come down to that, eh?"

"Oh it will," Yoff replied. "If plan A is in your hands Malkini, it will come down to that."

"Right, well, now that we know your point of view on my history, which you clearly took a glance at, why don't you tell us what we need to know and be on with it," Malkini said.

"Your mission is simple, go down river to the village pillar, climb up, and then scan for hostiles. Kill or capture any you see," Yoff said. "Or, get out if your overwhelmed, and since we believe there to be an army stationed in that village, you most likely will be, and then run back here and give us the okay for our plan. Any questions?"

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Xeroux cleared his throat, knowing it wasn't his place to comment, he still raised his hand. General Yoff hadn't met them yet, and already he was putting them down.

"Excuse me, sir." He started, putting himself between Malkini and General Yoff. "While Commander Malkini may have what some could call a pock marked history, I don't think it wise of you to write myself and my squad mates off just yet."

He smirked, crossing his arms. "Though if you truly don't believe we can stop this from becoming total war, them I'm proud to say 'I'll make you eat those words'."

He fell back in to line with his comrades and their two guests. "You see, as Knight Elites, it is our duty to perform to the best of our ability and to never quit. We will complete this mission, and those explosives you've placed will become nothing more than extra supplies, doomed to rot in a hanger until we finally fail and your tactics are the only option left to take."

His cockiness was starting to show, something he had tried to force down, but it always managed to surface when his integrity was being questioned. He looked over his shoulder before glancing back at General Yoff.

"Team, we have a mission to complete, and a General to prove wrong. I know none of you want to hurt innocent people, so let's do our best, no more than our best to make sure this goes off without a hitch!" He threw his fist into the air, in a sort of team cheer, hoping the others would join in.

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Sentrius shook his head as the two newcomers walked off. "We gotta do something about this team selection process," Sentrius muttered to himself. As they all walked further into the camp, Sentrius looked around in awe. So, this is what it was like to be knight at war. Finally a chance to prove himself on the battlefield. Saluting to General Yoff as Malkini started talking to him, Sentrius noted that it seemed to be common for others to immediately hate Malkini. Though his less than admirable record may have something to do with it, Sentrius couldn't understand how one could become a general and yet, be so despised.

Though, when it came down to who had the best plan of action against the rebels, Sentrius had to agree with general who had the better record, Yoff. The plan was just simple tactics and yet Sentrius believed that was why that plan worked best in their current situation. They were Knight Elites, who had better training than the self-trained rebels, and they could certainly take many of them down before the rebels (with their superior numbers) would overwhelm them Afterward, they'd simply retreat and Yoff would give the order to blow the rest of 'em sky high. Simple, straight to the point plan.

Then someone spoke up. It was Xeroux, who seemed to be...Tearing apart the general's plan? Sentrius couldn't believe his ears. While Sentrius did believe that in some cases, soldiers could have better opinions and ideas then their superior officers, he didn't think you could just walk in on your first day as a Knight and tear down a General's plan and offer up your own as better. Right now they were nobodies, soldiers who could be replaced at any second. Perhaps when the others had gathered some actual field expertise (like Sentrius, who had occasionally took command when his squad was separated from their instructor on Ravin), they could make some key decisions.

So, when Xeroux raised his fist in the air, Sentrius merely turned his attention towards General Yoff, saluting once more, and laughed, "Ahahaha! Hilarious, right? Please forgive that outburst, General. We've been kooked up in that stuffy ship for a while, we're all just anxious to see some action." Looking back towards his comrades, Sentrius sneered, "No more outbursts like that! Do you want to get us all court marshaled?"

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General Yoff crossed his arms and gave an open brow grin at the two Knights. He turned to Commander Malkini, who had a sideways smirk, and then turned back to Xeroux, and then back to Malkini again. "Malkini, promote this man," He said, nodding to Xeroux.

"The Knights don't work like that sir, they are what they are," Malkini replied with a shrug.

"Malkini, I just met a soldier and a Knight. If I were you I'd keep the Knight, if it comes down to one of them needing to be kept." Yoff said, before turning to a bound leather case in his hand. He undid the string holding it and let it open, crusted and bent paper of brown opening inside it, messy ink writing lined on it. "Oseal and Gauloris will show you the path to the village, good luck," Yoff muttered, eying the old report curiously.

"Back to the surface then," Oseal said with a large smile. They went back out the entrance and onto the camp, where the legionaries gave them the same treatment as they entered. They began to walk down the river, past the bundle of camps and onto the small outposts, Oseal giving them a lot of information on the village and the enemies in it.

"We believe there to be at least a few thousand rebels hiding within the village," Oseal explained. "Which is why we have nearly eleven-thousand troops on the ground, nearly three legions. Of course, the reason Yoff wants the explosive plan put in to action is so we don't loose any numbers, no matter how little the losses may be. Like all great General's his number one rule is never swarm the castle, always keep your men. I understand you weren't too fond of that technique, were you General Malkini?"

"Sometimes you have to ram the walls to win a war," Malkini replied solemnly as they walked.

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Sentrius couldn't believe it. not only did General Yoff seem to like Xeroux's plan, he seemed to think that he was better Knight material. And Xeroux had even been to the ceremony. Sentrius had led his training squad to victory countless times in the dangerous terrain of Mt. Ravin. What had this guy, what had any of these guys done to make them more qualified then him? Sentrius shook it off for now. they need to concentrate on the mission at hand. He didn't need this getting to him. After all ,that whole thing was only subjective. So what if one General thinks less of him, when the others (obviously) would hold him in high regard. He was just that good of a Knight.

Listening to Oseal's explanation, Sentrius nodded once more. "The strategy is brilliant, because of it's simplicity, at least to me," Sentrius stated, before muttering almost inaudibly, "Though, of course, Generals, aren't always right about everything."

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As he was introduced to the two knights by General Malkini, Loki couldn't help but grin.

'Mandatory armour, eh, sir? You don't seem to mind so much now.' He even had an excuse ready for when the general questioned him, but he apparently didn't need it anymore. As he was introduced to the two knights and then General Yoff afterward, the young knight only offered light bows of his head in greeting, otherwise simply listening in. He saw no need to add to anything. As Xeroux spoke, Loki continued to listen intently, not finding any fault with either of the plans presented. They both seemed efficient--though he couldn't deny that he liked the sound of his fellow knight's plan better.

Loki raised his fist alongside his squadmate, though it was soon obvious that Sentrius didn't agree. His eyes only narrowed slightly at the sneer they soon received. "We weren't joking." he muttered, glaring lightly at Sentrius for a time before they moved on. Maybe he would talk to Xeroux about it later--Right then, there was work to do.

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If there was one thing Nai had learned in her short life, it was to never expect anything to be exactly as you expected it. Of course, there were times when events such as Xeroux impressing General Yoff still surprised her just a little. Not that Sentrius’ smirk needed any praise either.

Nai herself had said or done nothing. It was a delicate situation and since she had no idea on how the general might react, she stood by and waited. Not that she didn’t agree with Xeroux on being underestimated. It was foolish to judge someone based on a leader or a person that stood out from the rest. Honestly, even though Nai didn’t wasn’t sure on the basis which her teammates were founded on, she knew all of them were strong. Judging other’s power was something Nai was rarely wrong on and it wasn’t because of her carefully cultivated skills of analysis. It was due to Raven’s constant reminder in training.

“Oi, Gareki. Remember to always look at a person’s appearance and listen for their experience in their tone and words. You can always tell who’s been through more by the marks on their hands and the weariness on their face. The tone of their voice will be filled with more wisdom as their battle experience increases and their words will rarely speak for them. But especially look at their eyes. It’s the eyes, Gareki, that can never be trained and thus reveal the true inner strength.”

Reminiscing was something Nai never really liked doing, especially not when a mission was about to start. She quickly rid herself of the memory, reminding herself that such useless memories should be eradicated from her brain somehow, and walked up to Sentrius.

“ Oi, if its any consolation, its good to have a soldier that tries to defend what he believes in to keep order. Its what makes a good knight, not that you aren’t one already,” she said sincerely with a small smile before walking a little ahead of him.

"Hey Oran, don't you think the explosives are a bit much? After all, with our numbers there'll be plenty of gold armor and with the knights' skill, it shouldn't be a problem dealing with the rebels," Nai commented to Oseal as though they were good friends, "After all, we are elite knights aren't we?"

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As he walked with the group,Sentrius still kept to himself. That is until Nai gave him her take on his problem. Sentrius was slightly surprised, as if not expecting to receive inspirational words from someone else. "Erm, why yes. Of course! Fighting for what you believe in is the key to any knights victory and the preservation of justice!" Sentrius agreed, brightening up, slightly. Rubbing the back of his head, Sentrius was about to add an, "Uh, thanks, by the way..." but, Nai had already gone off to talk to Oseal already.

Sentrius' quick feeling of happiness was quickly drowned by another thought he hadn't quite noticed before. He didn't like that other red knight's tone when he told him that the others weren't joking. Sentrius didn't want to have any bad blood within the team, but some members were making it harder than to cooperate than it should be. Namely Xeroux and Loki.

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Oseal turned to Nai and shrugged. "Honestly I think the General a bit of a mad man, ironic since he is one of the most by the book people in the Knights I've met. The thing is we have a lot of explosives on account of a crashed ship. That's why the Legion's are not at their full numbers, the General lost nearly a thousand legionaries in the crash getting here about a week ago. That's when we decided to salvage the ships for parts, and as you know ships get off the ground and give a solid push into space through combustion, usually of air. So, we have one big explosion set in the tunnel, from the crashed ships lift off core, and we rig the roof with small explosives surrounding the pillared area and the flat lands around it, not the surrounding pillars." Oseal stopped for a brief moment, realizing he was ranting on and going off-topic. "I don't know, Nai. Its his plan, not mine," Oseal muttered. "And as for being Knights its true we all are, but I have a feeling your team will have a slightly more militaristic approach to missions then ours, given your Commander."

"Wasn't your Commander a Minor General too, Oseal?" Malkini muttered as they walked.

"Yes, but Roka seems like a very different person than you, sir," Oseal said. "He's very friendly and likes to know his team. The first night on ship we all sang with each other and told jokes. He can play a lute very well. Then he asked us if any of us wanted to help on Usin, to prevent war. I of course said yes, as did my friend here, Ephraim."

"Maybe we should start singing songs on the ship, eh Commander?" Jove muttered. "Can you play a lute well?"

"The first night we leave this hellhole you will sleep on the bathroom floor of the ship, understood Sir Knight?" Malkini replied as they strolled down the Mevish, the pillar becoming closer and closer, on its side a hanging collection of huts and bamboo streets visible.

"...Aye sir," Jove sighed.

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"Commander Malkini, with all due respect, I don't think you should be so hard on Jove. After all, sleeping on the floor is punishment enough and if he sleeps on the bathroom floor, should anyone need to go during the night, it would be rather uncomfortable and difficult for both members, would it not?" Nai said, her voice full of respect while trying to look as humble as possible, "With all due respect, commander."

She turned back to Oseal, knowing that if Malkini decided to gripe to at her as well, his voice would be loud and harsh enough to cut through their conversation.

"Ah and Oseal, don't assume anything about this group," Nai responded with a small laugh, "This lot has already something to prove and you know how that is, don't you? Despite our members and our leader, I can assure you we'll probably be anything but militaristic... or so I think, but eh, you could be right. Seems like we'll see soon enough anyway.."

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Malkini scoffed. "Well too bad for Jove then, he has to have an awkward moment. I wonder how many awkward moments his slaves have had in their services to him, and all the twisted and disgusting things hes had them do."

"Calm down, sir," Jove interjected as they continued on. "Tell me, is any family of yours slaves?"

"Of course not," Malkini spat. "Why in gods name would you say that?"

"Because you were a legion man," Jove replied. "The Legions love peasants so I assumed you were peasantry. My mistake, sir,"

"No food for you this month, Sir Knight," Malkini said. "Nothing but stale loafs and water, anyhow. Just like what your slaves eat. Ironic, eh soldier?"

"Aye sir," Jove muttered.

Oseal turned to Nai and smiled. "This is your squad," He quietly said as they walked on. The pillar came closer and closer, and as they approached the base they could see a small ledge of stairs carved from the rocks edge scaling around the massive natural structure. The rock stairs led to the village, hanging far above them. Malkini led the way and began to carefully move across the ledge stairs , followed by Jove, and then the rest.

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Xeroux fell into step with Sentrius.

"Hey," he started, them remembering their ranks he quickly recovered with, "Oh, uh sir, sorry." He looked down at his armor clad feet. "I apologize for offending you. I never meant to say the general's plan was a bad one, I just didn't think he should be judging us so quickly. C'mon you know as well as I do that we can do this without resorting to killing an entire village. That's all I meant by my outburst. I never meant to undermine a commanding officer, believe me, I know the protocol."

He flashed a smile, extending his hand to his tall, red armored comrade. "No bad blood should be between us, last thing I want is a squad mate that can't stand me. It's bad for morale."

He hoped the apology was enough, and if it wasn't he'd make sure to find someway to make it up to Sentrius.

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Loki listened uncomfortably to the conversation between Jove and Malkini. He had liked the commander well enough, and he didn't really know Jove all that well, but he didn't agree with the punishment Malkini was giving out--especially for something as simple as Jove had done. Casually jogging to catch up to his squadmate, still glad he was relieved of the weight of his armour, he gave Jove's side a light nudge. "Hey, if he actually goes through with that, I'm not feeling all that hungry recently." he offered in a hushed voice.

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#, as written by Nulix
"Thanks, Loki," Jove said to Loki with a warm smile. "You know, I haven't had too many friends in my life who weren't of my... lineage. But I think in this team I might have a few." The group continued on up the ledge path surrounding the pillar of stone. As they went on the under bottom of the villages lowest level became clearer and clearer. Soon the group could see under the first street, and the huts attached to it. Malkini slowed his pace as they approached. The street above them swung slowly in the strong breeze, through the openings in the old bamboo streets the people passed. Their shadows flickered onto Malkini's face as he looked up silently, below his head the hazy wet ground and the river, nearly three-hundred feet away. Malkini raised his arm to his back slowly, and from it he pulled his blade of silver. The handle was bound in leather, gold beneath it shining through, all held in the tight grasp of Malkini's sun-bronzed hand. The blade itself was made of pure silver, engraved on it the smooth outline of a young vulture swooping down. Malkini turned back to the group, who looked ahead at him silently, and then, carefully, he began to move forward once more.

Malkini placed one foot before the next carefully, each step accompanied with the quiet sound of his leather boots hitting the bottom of the hard rock steps. Ahead of Malkini was his blade, always pointed straight, leading them to the village safely. They continued on, Jove collecting his thoughts on the two new companions as they did. Jove first looked onto Ephraim Gauloris. The man had been silent since they arrived, only muttering things to Oseal on rare occasions when the Commander would say something stupid or insult one of them. The man was, for the most part, scary looking, which made his lack of speaking even more disturbing to Jove. He was big, he had a large brow, a large nose, and light eyes. Jove glanced at Gauloris quickly and looked away, uncomfortable with the man. The next new Knight they had encounter had been their tour-guide. Oran Oseal. The boy was skinny, had a slightly exaggerated face, and had no scary features on him, a complete contrast to Gauloris. His bare legs moved past he each as they climbed, and his bare forearms scaled the side of the rock. He was wearing his desert armor, and while it hadn't been exactly hot since they arrived on Usin it had been very humid. Oseal seemed to come from the same blood line as Xeroux, playful and full of hope, not that there was any real reason to be worried about the mission yet, everything had been pretty well thought out. The General knew what he was doing.

They continued up, Malkini's blade in the lead. Soon the village above them was replaced by more rock, the path always going up more and more around the pillars. They continued up the path until a small cave entrance in the rock was visible, and in it was a villager holding a spear. The short man had heavily tanned skin, chestnut eyes with red bulges beneath them, and long black hair falling from his head. He wore a vest of many layers, each with a flower on it, colored in blues, reds, and purples. Below he had on a kilt of cotton, colored a simple dirty white. His spear was made of a bamboo pole with a rock on each of its tips, each chiseled into having a sharp edge. Malkini lowered the tip of his sword as he reached the tip of the cave, causing the group behind him to stop. "Jove, communicate," Malkini whispered as the villager looked at them with interest. Jove silently pushed his way through the group and past Malkini, approaching the villager with caution. "Eh... Hallö," Jove spoke softly.

"Hallö," The villager replied, becoming slightly more relaxed. "Tucaka ma'ndao, ile komen'spa," He spoke. "Jogeana ma'ndao?"

"Whats he saying?" Malkini asked.

"Its swinespeak, with lots of Bako in it," Jove replied, not turning away from the villager.

"Can you speak it?" Malkini asked.

"Of course not," Jove muttered. "But we don't need to communicate. I've got a massive penetrating sword and all he's got is a wood pole."

"Jogeana ma'ndao?" The villager repeated, less patiently than before. Jove slowly took his shield and sword from his back, an act which instantly put the villager in a fighting stance. The villager aimed his spear at Jove, and quickly poked it forward. The spear stuck itself in the wood of Jove's shield, which he quickly pummeled forward, pushing the villager into the stone wall behind him. The wooden spear snapped in two at the action, and the villager, who had been muttering things in his language at a rapid pace, was nailed to the wall by Jove's large blocking device. Jove quickly pushed the shield to the left, causing the villager to tumble off through the side of the cave entrance and down the side of the pillar, his body hitting many jagged rocks as he did, before finally hitting the river with a thump.

"Your not the most humane fellow, are you?" Oseal asked as he stood over the side of the entrance, watching the the water below get muddled with shades of ruby. "Hey," Jove said, placing his weapons back on his back. "Many great heroes have died by hitting jagged rocks, and many more will. For a warrior, and he clearly was one, death by jagged rocks is not a bad way to go."

"Shut up, Jove," Malkini muttered as he led the group on into the cave. The dim light from the entrance became fainter and fainter. "This passage must go straight through the rock..." Oseal said as they continued through the dark blindly. Light soon came back to the cave as they approached the exit, beyond it the village. Malkini paused as he emerged from the exit. Beyond it was the village street of bamboo, several huts attached to it. The villagers near the exit looked at the newcomers with curiosity or fear. They were of the same race as the guard Jove had killed, but they did not look hostile. They were brightly dressed as the guard was but they held no weapons. Instead they held baskets of fruits and berries, of wood and materials. They were not hostile in the least. Malkini glanced up slowly to see several more streets of the village above them. He quickly placed his blade back on his back and took a step forward onto the bamboo street. At his heavy step the street, and the huts attached, swung gently. "We will search the village by walking through the streets. If we see someone who looks as though they do not belong, we will kill them quickly. I highly doubt we will find an army of rebels here, so we should have no problem fighting off one or two enemies. Do not attack unless I do, understood?" Malkini spoke slowly, taking more steps into the village, the group following him carefully...

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"Yeah, thanks," Sentrius nodded at Xeroux. "I just wanted to make sure we don't have any falling out of line with the commanding officers. Could look bad on our records in the future and whatnot. And we'll have to stick together as a team for better or worse." Sentrius then continued along as they headed closer and closer to their destination.

"This is it," Sentrius grinned. "This is our first real mission. Everybody knows proper military procedure when encountering a potential hostile, right?" Sentrius asked, drawing out his plasma blaster from it's holster on his side and his shield from his back. The tension slowly built up as they approached the village, and it slowly caught Sentrius by surprise, when a stranger wielding a wooden spear seemed to pop out of the woodwork.

The man spoke in a strange language, which only Jove seemed to partially understand. The only thing that was obvious about how he spoke was that he was asking a question. What type of question it might be, well no one here knew. The only possible answer Sentrius could think of was, "Who are you and what are you doing herE?"

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, Jove attacked the man and drove him to his death on the side of a cliff. This was their Knight of culture and diplomacy? "That guy could've held valuable information and you just tossed him to his death !?" Sentrius asked angrily, making sure to keep quiet. "Have you not read the handbook at all!?" Sentrius frowned as he waited for an explanation as they continued to march on and enter the village proper.

The actual villagers didn't seem like warriors of any sort. In fact, Malkini had sheathed his weapons, and Sentrius did the same. It seemed they would have to conduct a little investigation of the village. Sentrius wasn't really expecting this turn of events, but he was sure that it would turn out okay. Saluting and nodding as their commander instructed them on what to do, Sentrius started to look around the village for anything suspicious.

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#, as written by Nulix
"He was a guard, Lutman," Jove whispered to Sentrius as they walked through the street behind Malkini. The villager moved into their huts and watched as the group moved through the village. They must of had little to no contact with people beyond the wetlands, let alone from other planets. "Guards make sure enemies don't get past. I attacked first to make sure no alert would be set off in the village or something. Its a type of diplomacy."

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"If you say so," Sentrius said, frowning. "And for the last damn time, stop calling me Lutman." He was starting to tihnk that aside from himself and Nai, none of these knights had respect for proper Knight rules regulation and protocol. I f the guy was a guard, then Jove should've relayed to them that he was a guard instead of killing him on a whim without saying anything. Turning his attention back towards the mission, Sentrius asked Malkini, "Anything out of the ordinary we should be looking for?"

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#, as written by Nulix
"Blonde hair and blue or green eyes, like the rest of the planet," Malkini replied. "This place is full of wetland natives. I doubt they've seen an off worlder in decades. This place really has nothing that any explorers would want, you see. Look for manufactured clothing, anything that looks... different from the rest of the clothing." A child quickly ran out of a hut, her mother quickly running out and collecting her. Malkini could not help but smile at the sight. "Anything not like that little scene. Metal, guns, and swords are definite signs of rebels."

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Sentrius nodded as they continued to march into the village, looking for a sign of...something...Anything? Sentrius began to question if they even were in the right location. A thought he soon echoed out loud. "Sir, not to question you or General Yoff or anything, but...Are you sure we were give the right coordinates?"

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#, as written by Nulix
"Yes," Malkini said, climbing the ladder at the end of the street up to the second level. At the top he paused and glanced at the third street above him. He then turned back to his team. "Oseal, do you know who supplied the information to the General?"

"It was a source from the wetlands sent to the Knight council in Bao, they sent it to the council in Sor, on the Islands," Oseal explained. "Why sir?"

"Because, look at this place," Malkini muttered. "It couldn't hold an army. And if it holds a few rebels the villagers would show signs of worry, of dismay from another force than us. This place is empty."

"So... mission accomplished?" Jove said hopefully.

"Something like that, Jove," Malkini said with a smile. "Oseal, head down now and tell the General of the news."

Oseal gave a quick nod and rushed down the ladder at an astonishing speed. Malkini then turned to his squad. "Congratulations Knights. Your mission to investigate the threat in the village has been completed with mostly peaceful results," He said, glancing at Jove.

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"Hooray," Nai muttered, not sounding entirely convinced.

She had remained quiet as the group made its way to and through the village. Jove's action against the man, which she had assumed had been its sole guard and watch for newcomers, had made her a little ill. Her stoic mask had never broken but her eyes conveyed the queasiness she still felt in her stomach. Her mind was still trying to rid herself of the ghastly sight of seeing the river stained with the same color as her eyes. Death wasn’t new to her, but seeing it executed in that fashion certainly was.

The man had obviously no idea who they were or the reason for being there. In fact, considering the weapon the guy had, he wasn’t even the warrior type. Just some guy who had been assigned to watch in case anything did happen, which considering the weapon again, didn’t really happen that often. Knocking him out would have been a better option. The poor man was basically defenseless against them…

Sentrius had been right, that wasn’t exactly in the handbook. And if Jove had been as great as he had claimed, he wouldn’t have failed to communicate with the man.

As they continued, Nai listened to her companions and watched for anything suspicious. But everything she saw of the peaceful scenery only made her doubt this mission even more. Listening to Malkini and seeing Oseal’s speed, the clues seemed a little unsettling.

“With all due respect this seems rather, pardon if I’m stepping out of bounds, but stupid. This mission seems a little too easy, does it not? After all, we only saw one guard which Jove used, ahem, “diplomacy” on and the village seems rather calm. And as you said Commander Malkini, this village is not suitable place for an army, or even a small group of rebels really. If this had been as General Yoff indicated, surely there would have been more force and the village probably deserted or more on edge. They wouldn’t have sent us this whole way for nothing, right?” Nai finished, not wanting to add Oseal left rather quickly. She knew the boy was fast, but.. Maybe that was just her imagination. Still, the other observations seemed downright suspicious to her.

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Xeroux followed the group from behind, his ears listening to the language being spoken. An easy way to find their rebels would be by hearing a different language or dialect. He'd studied the language back in the academy, and cringed knowing the guard had only asked who they were, and why they were there. A normal question they themselves could be asking any day, if they were placed on patrol duty.

"What's done is done..." he said with a sigh. Malkini's voice broke into his thoughts, their mission was over? He just couldn't believe it. There had to be something here. No one would create such an elaborate lie, what would they have to gain from it? If having countless Knights travel to a distant world is some one's idea of a joke, they needed a better hobby. At least Xeroux thought at first, his mind slowly telling him something was fishy.


"Commander...where are the Knights who've assembled here supposed to be? What worlds?"

Something wasn't right, and he was beginning to think this whole lie was an opportunity to have a group of Knights leave one or more worlds so some one could pursue their personal agenda, with out the risk of Knight interference.

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#, as written by Nulix
Malkini nodded at Nai's words. "You think this was some sort of diversion? That's an ambitious thought. But for what purpose, who would send false information to get three Legions, a Major General, and a squad and a half of Knights sent to a dead end?"

"Commander..." Xeroux said, "Where are the Knights who've assembled here supposed to be? What worlds?"

"Gauloris and Oseal are both part of Commander Roka's squad, and he's on the King's Port last I heard," Malkini said, squinting at Xeroux. "You think this was some sort of distraction, to get an army and a few elites out of the way for some sort of... bigger attack on the Knights?" Malkini paused, before looking at his group with a worried face. "That is ambitious, but not impossible. There are many people and organizations who would like to see the Knights destroyed. But this situation seems... so random."

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"Ah. Yes. Mission completed, I suppose..." Sentrius frowned, sounding slightly defeated. Their first mission and nothing. no great battles against overwhelming odds. No, wait...This was entirely weird, now that he had thought about it. The Knights were an efficient military unit. There was no way Yoff could've been handed information that was just plain...wrong. Xeroux seemed to echo this pint in his question, as did Malkini in his response.

"Well, then if that's true, we need to head back to camp immediately, and I mean right now!" Sentrius exclaimed. "Our comrades in arms might be endangered!"

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#, as written by Nulix
"You have a point, Sir Tetran," Malkini said, "We should hastily return to the camp. Down the ladder, quickly!"

Malkini and the group slid down the wooden ladder and made their way through the first level of the village. Malkini rushed ahead until he reached the cave, which he navigated through as quickly as he could, and reemerged on the other side. The sun had shined through the clouds and reflected off the river, the rest of the lands clear as crystal. Jove approached the ledge and looked down. The body of the villager he killed had rested on a rock, and the blood from the body was all but gone from the flowing water. "It took us nearly a half an hour to get up here, we can't make it back to the camp quickly enough to prevent an attack," Jove muttered.

"Then we get to the camp quickly enough to save an attack from becoming a massacre," Malkini said, jumping over the first four ledges and continuing his rush downward. Malkini hurried his steps down, catching himself from tripping several times. Jove, at the back of the line of Knights, kept track of their progress down. They had been going down for nearly twenty minutes now, and the end was coming into sight, now only a few dozen feet below them. A horn blew through the valley. Malkini slowed his pace at the sound, which was swiftly followed by the loud tatter of drums. In the far off distance along the river the army marched in formation. Malkini squinted his eyes at the sight. "That's them," he muttered slowly. "That's the General and the Legions. They're already on the march over."

"That was fast, wasn't it?" Jove asked. Malkini shook his head, "He knew we might have reported it safe, so as soon as we left he organized the Legions into formation, and the camp was only about fifteen minutes away."

Jove scratched his head. "So... there was no threat?"

Malkini sighed, "I don't know. This could of been a massive distraction of sorts, seeing as the army is fine it probably was. This leaves me very uncertain."

"Well, at least we know there's no Usin world war on the horizon," Jove muttered.

Malkini nodded slowly, "Yes... another world war, a war started by a failed attempt to stop it before it even started, a failed attempt by the Knights... that could destroy the order entirely. But lets not ponder on these things, for now lets just go down and meet the army."

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Xeroux still felt uneasy about the entire ordeal. If the army was planning to mobilize before their group even returned, what was the point of sending them?

"I still have a bitter taste in my mouth concerning this entire thing. Those explosives, they were set in a way to bring the village down, yet there was no access to the village from the tunnels. You'd think the villagers would want, no, have a way to access the pillars their lives rest upon. On top of that, they had on guard at the entrance we went through, so assuming their is, or was some sort of access to the Pillars from the village, there would have been some sort of security for sure."


He stopped, moving out of the way of the others who were still walking. "What if the explosives were planted to be set off just as the Legions were to pass over? I'm not accusing anyone of treason, but I'm not ruling out sabotage."

He mentally retraced his steps from the morning when they were led down into the tunnels where the explosives were being placed. Looking out to the horizon and the path the knight legions were walking, and his skills at tracking, he analyzed the situation.

"We need to get them to stop! If they keep going, heck if we keep going, we'll be right over the explosives! There's no way they were set up to destroy the village, this has to be a trap!"

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#, as written by Ris
Loki hated the new situation and how quickly it had risen. He was glad when the mission was said to be complete--sure, he was looking forward to improving his fighting skills against the rebels, especially after such a big deal was made of them, but he was perfectly satisfied with leaving, too. As they were racing back down to the camp, his heart was racing again in anticipation of the upcoming fight, a fight he was sure was going to be big.

But when they made it back down, there wasn't a fight to be seen. '...Dang it...'

The red knight had nothing to add. He still felt a little uneasy about Jove's actions in dealing with the guard, but right after he had given his squadmate the friendly notion that he had, he didn't want to do anything to contradict it. After all, the guard was dead and there was nothing anyone could do about it, so why bother bringing it up again?

Loki simply stood in silence, his left hand resting on the hilt at his hip as he waited for his team to be given new definite orders and move.

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#, as written by Nulix
The legions continued to march on toward the pillar. Malkini glanced at Xeroux, before turning back to the distant army. "The Major General wouldn't blow himself to pieces... nor would he let it even become a possibility. Still, we should greet them."

Malkini, followed by the rest of the group, made their way down the pillar and along the river towards the approaching army. At the front of the marching soldiers stood the Major General, beside him an adviser once again showing him papers bound in leather.

"General Yoff," Malkini said, bowing the man approaching with his army behind him. "Malkini," The General muttered, not looking away from the papers his adviser held. "My friend Oran Oseal gave me an interesting report. He told me that you scanned the village and saw no hostiles, correct?"

"Aye sir," Malkini replied. "The Knights I command seem to think it may be a diversion, to get you, the legions, and us away from the site of another, more pressing attack, and that there were no rebels. I believe that if there are rebels in the area they are now hiding in the wetlands beyond the Highrock area."

"We'll look into that," The General said, giving a nod to his adviser, who ran off into the crowd of soldiers. "But for now we will just enjoy our victory."

"One more thing, General," Malkini added. "The Knights also fear that... perhaps the rebels plan on setting off the explosives with us nearby."

"Don't worry, Oseal and a squad of my most loyals are taking care of that now. In a few hours there won't be any more explosives to set off," The General explained, before turning to his troops. "Gentlemen, the village has been taken, and all enemies inside have been thrown from the cliffs of the pillar and sent to their deaths, as they deserved. Now, the village is yours. Gentlemen, have a good night." The legions erupted into cheering for the General, and then began to march once again towards the village, moving around the ground of Knights carefully.

"Sir, is this really necessary?" Malkini asked as the army moved.

"Oh please, Malkini, you did the exact same thing with your legions. The ones you lost, if I remember correctly," The General replied.

"I gave my legions barbarian villages, not peaceful folk like these ones," Malkini said. "They had a single pikeman for gods sake, that was their militia."

"Morale must be maintained," Yoff said harshly. "Now, if you'll need me for the rest of the night, I'll be in the village. Good day Sir Knight's." And with that Yoff joined the ends of his army marching towards the pillar.

"Shouldn't we join them? Jove asked uncertainly as the Legions surround the pillar.

"God no, you don't want to see what will happen to that village tonight," Malkini muttered. "We will camp as far away from there as possible. Lets move upriver."

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"So,wait," Sentrius paused. "We're abandoning them? We're running away!?" Sentrius shook his head. "Even if General Yoff is being stubborn, we have a duty to aid them in the case that there will be an ambush." Sentrius had to agree with Yoff more than Malkini in this situation. The troop's morale had to be preserved. And while they The mission had to be completed. And seeing as a possible ambush could hinder that mission severely and they knew about the ambush. They should be the ones to stop the ambush. "Sir, with what we've gathered, we should be able to prevent any possible ambush. It won't take many troops to detonate a bomb, so I'm sure we can take out any rebels who attempt to do so."

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#, as written by Nulix
Malkini turned to Sentrius and shook his head. "I guess you aren't a soldier. We aren't abandoning them, we just aren't going to be near them tonight because they are going to rape and raid that village until they're satisfied, killing half the population in the process no doubt. That's what our good General Yoff meant by raising morale. Soldiers are not complicated. Most are thieves or criminals looking for a way out, or simple peasants needing money, and that's what thieves and peasants do to innocents they label enemies. So lets move. Now."

"Should we stop them?" Jove asked as he followed Malkini down river.

"No force can stop a hungry man," Malkini replied. "And besides, I dont want me or my team being recorded for treason. Now lets move."

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Listening to Malkini's statement, Sentrius nodded slowly. Treason wasn't exactly something Sentrius had in mind when he suggested they aid the general's squad. What bothered him even more is what little they had actually done on this mission. It seemed as if they wouldn't be hailed as heroes in the first mission after all. "So, you're saying we won't get in on any action here at all?" Sentrius asked Malkini. He had been hoping that this day would be the group's first on their path to glory. Unfortunately, it had been shaping up to be quite the opposite.

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With the uncertainty of an imminent attack, Nai listened as the others gave their own conclusions and then finally, the words of the general. Now, after listening to Malkini, it seemed the real threat to the village had been the army itself all along. Nai suddenly felt sick although she had a newfound respect for their commander.

"Some army they are," she muttered bitterly, not bothering to hide her disgust, "Nothing more than a bunch of cowards in uniform.."

The thought of the helpless village made her suddenly feel useless and for all her knowledge of tactics and analysis, she doubted it would help even a tiny bit. To be marked as traitors for even trying wouldn't help either. She looked over at Sentrius as he asked if they would have a chance to do anything. Nai looked at the commander, hoping they would. A distraction wouldn't be too bad at the moment.

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#, as written by Nulix
"That's what all armies are, Nai," Malkini muttered, moving onto a small hill beside the river. "And Sentrius, don't be too eager to find glory. Often times that road will get you killed."

"So what are we going to do, just wait until the armies done?" Jove asked.

"That's right," Malkini said, placing blade and backbag on the ground. "We wait until its all over. Now Jove, come over here and help me pitch these tents. In an hour it'll be dark and I want us ready to camp. Jove nodded and pulled out the expandable rods and quilts from Malkini's bag, the sound of yelling a cheering echoing from the faraway village.

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Sentrius begrudgingly watched Malkini and Jove set up camp. He really, really didn't feel right about this whole situation. Turning around towards the direction of the village, he'd heard the faint noises of conflict. He really wanted to scramble down there and see what the commotion was about, but in the end he decided not to. This wasn't how he had expected this mission to turn out. "So, will we at least try and walk back over there and report back to General Yoff after they're finished with their attack?" Sentrius asked.

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#, as written by Nulix
"What don't you understand about the situation, soldier?" Malkini asked as he placed a large log in the center of some collected brown mudrocks and pebbles from the river. "The village has maybe one-hundred female villagers, and there are eleven-thousand soldiers. We will be here until the General is able to collect himself and send someone over here. You can expect that to take all night and then a good half of tomorrow as well."

"That's cheery," Jove muttered as he lit a small flame jet onto the bottom of the log. The two men, Knight Commander and Knight of culture, set the camp up in no time, with a large tent placed on the highest top of the hill for Malkini, and two smaller ones for the rest of the group. The sun flickered down on the edge of the pillar, the torch light of the soldiers in the village dim in comparison. The sky slowly turned from orange to blue as the night went on. Jove leaned back on the shores of the river and looked up at the fully sky, where, between the rock walls, the stars glittered. He glanced to the side where he saw Malkini walk off towards the village, bare of his armor. Jove thought nothing at the sight and looked back at the sky. The screams had stopped now, either because the troops had finished or because the villagers were all gagged. Jove shook his head. The Knights were not anything like what he had at first thought, and all the excitement he had for the mission beforehand had been replaced with disgust and a need to get off the planet Usin.

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#, as written by Ris
"What?! Are you crazy?!" Loki asked his general indignantly. Throwing his arm back in the direction the army had left, he continued. "We can't just let them...let them...go out and tear that village apart!"

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Xeroux shot Sentrius a glare.

"Make up your mind! Follow protocol or your heart! It can't be both!" He crossed his arms and walked away from the fires, throwing up what little food he'd eaten that morning. Tears stained his cheeks as the cries of women filled the night.

"This isn't what I signed up for...this is not what it means to be a Knight! If we practice these customs we are no different than the barbarians we call our enemies or rebels launching their worlds into Civil war. I'm not Butcher! I'm no Rapist! How can we say 'honor and glory' with such evil practices going on?"


His gauntleted fist connected with the soft earth, sinking into the cool ground. He wanted to draw his swords, and kill every Knight that had laid his hands on an innocent woman. General Yoff had given him a compliment that morning, and it made him sick to think a monster like him liked what the blue eyed knight of tactics had to offer. He would never forgive, nor respect the man ever again. He vowed if he was to ever work under the man, he'd find the most humane way to complete the mission and leave as quickly as possible, or stop him...The thought of treason widened his eyes, he couldn't imagine the repercussions that act would have, nor did he want to think of them.

The screams stopped and the air was filled with an even louder noise, silence. It was almost maddening, but he managed to push it aside, now sitting with his squad, none of them wanting to participate in the "victory" they had "earned".

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#, as written by Nulix
"If it helps, remember the Knights are not the legions, they just control them. We are not them," Jove spoke to Xeroux from over his shoulder. He still sat on the waters edge, the sky above him. "If it helps."

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"Either way...the command and permission not to mention, the idea were a Knight's." He sighed, sitting next to his green armor clad team mate. "But this is war, and that's what happens in war, if you cannot handle it, then you shouldn't be part of it by choice."

He recited the line just as he had read it scribbled in one of his text books during his fist semester at the academy. "Some day, I hope that someone, if not us, will right the wrongs done by people who have to much power. The wrongs committed by those who feel they had no other options. A group that exists for true peace...who knows maybe the Knights could evolve into such a group."

He spoke softly, wanting to make conversation, but at the same time wanting to pretend Jove hadn't heard him. Peace was a silly idea creatures believed in to justify getting out of bed everyday. There could never be true peace, not in this universe, not in any universe.

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"The world cannot function with true peace, Xeroux," Jove said, laying down on his side and closing his eyes. "But I don't blame you for wishing. Good night, soldier."

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"It's true," Sentrius said, nodding in agreement with Jove's first statement. "When you read about the great Knights in the history books, or whenever you read in the papers about the Knight Generals of today, you read their biographies, hear their background. Those men and women were heroes. So, when you think of the Knights, don't think of those lowly foot soldiers, think of them. Someday, we're going to be among their ranks. So, maybe then we can install some new rules and regulations regarding the behavior of our immoral ground troops. Ah, wishful thinking...Anyway, good night everybody!" And Sentrius was soon asleep.

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"Night." Xeroux said looking out into the water they were resting by.


He laid down, using his arm as a pillow, trying to block the events of the night from his mind he drifted in to sleep full of nightmares and visions of innocent blood being spilled on holy ground. His blades the ones responsible.

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#, as written by Ris
While the others may have fallen asleep, Loki wasn't able to. He walked a ways away from the camp they had set up and drove the blade at his back into the soft earth, sitting down beside it and staring up into the sky. 'I should've paid more attention at the academy...Maybe they told us that we were so despicable...'

For a moment he wondered how his father could find him of worth when he was among people such as the soldiers, but then his heart lurched when he remembered that his father used to be a bandit. He reveled in such things, or at least, he used to. Loki sighed. Forget a life of grandeur; this was going to be a rough life.

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#, as written by Nulix
The night crawled on, the clouds of yesterday shifting into the a bright blue. Jove's eyes flickered open slowly, his left eye covered in dirt. Jove picked himself up and wiped his face clean of the grounds natural soil, and then wiped his green tunic off. Jove turned to look at his comrades. Slightly lower on the beach was Xeroux, his head resting on his forearm, his face disturbed yet unaware. Xeroux then glanced up to their campfire. On the side of it was Sentrius, out cold, and beside him knelt Loki, picking at the burnt and twisted log bitterly with a stick. Jove wanted to say something to the boy but decided not too. Instead he looked over to the side of the tents, where their Black Knight Kazuki stood by himself. The Knight hadn't said much about the crimes committed in the village, though it was clear by his expression that he did not approve. Nai was inside their tent, being the only one who actually slept in it. Jove sighed, causing both Loki and Kazuki to glance at him. "I'll find us some breakfast," He said quietly, before heading off toward the river.

Jove past Xeroux, still asleep, and made his way into the small flowing water. He put his feet in the edge and rolled up his sleeves. A few fishes flowed down the stream, wiggling in the dirty water as he did. Jove waited for a minute and then launched his arms into the water, grabbing hold of one and pulling it out. The fish wiggled and flopped in Jove's hands but he made sure not to let the slimy creature go. Jove carefully placed the fish onto the ground beside him and turned back to the river. Another small fish swam near his boot. Jove reached in a grabbed the fish. It flowed through his hands at the attempt and nearly pushed Jove off balance. Slightly annoyed, Jove reached in again, until he felt a firm grasp on the creature. He pulled it out and starred at his prize happily. Suddenly, in the distance, a loud sound went off. A sound like a cave collapsing in fire. The earth began to vibrate slightly and in the distance the village pillar began to shake. The fish fell from Jove's hands as fire emerged from the base the pillar and into the Legion camp. More flames came from the ground around it and the right edge of the pillar cracked. The top of the rock structure leaned to the right, causing the cracked area to fracture more and more. The village fell down, flickering colors of bronze armored men wailing their hands as they fell. The rocks from the pillar flew down into the fire and crushed each section of the Knight camp until finally the village itself flew down onto the area. The rest of the pillar crumbled as a large dust-cloud of brown and black emerged from the area where the pillar and the Legion camp once stood. The dust cleared to reveal a large pile of debris where the pillar once stood, decorated in blood and hundreds of bodies. Jove watched with his mouth open as the area cleared, down the river a head flowed. A man with a large gray beard and sideburns all place in a silver helm. The beard was red. It was the head of Major General Yoff. Jove backed away from the river quickly and rushed up to the campsite.

"What in hell was that?" Malkini yelled, emerging from his tent shirtless, his muscles as scarred and heavy as he was. Malkini looked on in the distance where the pillar had been. Now it was nothing but stone and blood. Malkini shook his head slowly and knelt on the ground, placing his forehead carefully in his fingers. He stayed like that for a second before looking up at his team of Knights once more, all of them now woken and assembled.

"Please tell me none of you set off those explosives," Malkini said slowly...

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#, as written by Ris
"I'm beginning to doubt joining the Knights was ever a good idea." Loki muttered from his spot after hearing the explosions and crumbling landscape. Just then, he hated the soldiers and whoever had set off the explosives that were planted. There was no need--He was still furious about the soldiers who had gone off in the night to the village to pleasure themselves anyway.

Standing up, he said quietly through gritted teeth, "If any one of my squadmates set them off..." He couldn't finish. Turning around, he kicked the dirt, walking out a few paces before stopping again, his left hand tightly gripping the hilt of his sword.

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"Wha? Who?!" Sentrius shouted after jolting awake due to a large sound in the distance. Rubbing his eyes he sat up, gazing at enormous smoke cloud overhead. "No...this can't be happening!" Sentrius cried out, before turning to face MAlkini. "How would any of us do it!? We were asleep! I knew we should've went with them..." Sentrius muttered, shaking his head, as he paced back and forth fora bit before looking at Maqlkini again. "Well, now what, commander? What can we possibly do now?"

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Xeroux looked on in horror and slight relief. Those monsters that had called themselves men were now dead, as was General Yoff. Pain hit him hard, knowing they were part of the same organization...it was bittersweet. He was furious that someone had proven his theory correct, happy he had been right, mad no one listened and that his organization was wounded, but happy the ones who died did, not the villagers, just the legions.


"I told you this was the plan! Nai's old academy buddy was tasked with getting rid of the explosives wasn't he? unless they had been attacked last night, he's the main suspect...though there is no way to know if he was killed in the explosion or by an enemy if we find his body...if we don't..." He clenched his fist. "Then again we look just as guilty...how do we explain why we weren't caught in the explosion..."


He heard Sentrius' comment about being with the group. "We'd be nothing but bodies if we had gone, don't forget that. We can count ourselves lucky for having consciences..."

He started for the cumbled village. "C'mon we have to see if there's anyone alive in there...this is your chance to gain that glamour we all wanted from this mission...for what it's worth..." He said over his shoulder as he took off at a run towards the ruins.

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"Oi, oi! Don't start blaming Oseal with this! I know him and he's a good kid," Nai snapped, not exactly in the mood to be complacent first thing in the morning. All night she had barely been able to sleep, knowing the pain the women must have gone through. Their screams reminded her of her own weakness and vulnerability. Then again, the men of the village must have felt pain too considering they probably had wives, sisters, daughters..

Now, it seemed karma was in full swing.

"Glamour, psh. This is a good possibilty or a bad one," Nai muttered, taking in what Xeroux said, "Should we follow him..?"

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#, as written by Nulix
Malkini shook his head at the situation, behind him two females emerged from his tent, one a blonde Knight of gold, and the other a villager, both stared at the debris in horror. "That rat," Malkini spat, clenching his teeth angrily. "That little rat. That dirty little rat."

Jove looked at Malkini and then heard Xeroux's comment. "You think Oseal's behind this?"

"Oi, oi! Don't start blaming Oseal with this! I know him and he's a good kid," Nai snapped.

"He's a dead man, that's what he is!" Malkini yelled, grabbing a shirt and putting it on angrily. He then reached for his blade, "You all head to the death site and see what you can find. I'm going to the underground city. I'll meet you all soon."

Jove gave a quick nod and began to pursue Xeroux towards the ruins.

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"I meant that we knew that there was something wrong and we could've located and dealt with the explosives before anything happened!" Sentrius explained to Xeroux with a hint of panic in his voice. As soon as Malkini to follow Xeroux and examine the village, Sentrius did so, though he would have evnetually gone to check it out himself, even if he hadn't been commanded to. As he started to rush back to the village, he take a few seconds to stop and wonder how Malkini was able to get two women into his tent without the rest of them noticing. He later shook it off and charged towards the village once more, drawing his shield and plasma blaster out in case he encountered an enemy.

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Xeroux heard Nai's shouts behind him but ignored her, she was a tactician, just like him...they both understood the advantages of explosives and the fact that Oseal was Red Knight, a weapon's expert meant he'd know just how to use them. Perhaps he acted on the impulse they all fought off, the impulse to kill the blood thirsty mongrels. Either way, a fight was in the immediate future.


He heard footsteps behind him, Jove and then Sentrius. He could understand if Nai didn't follow him, he had jumped to conclusions, but even she had to know the possibility existed.

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#, as written by Nulix
Jove took none of the precautions Sentrius did, running toward the ruins in nothing but what he wore the night before. He knew any enemy near the pillar would of died with the Legion, and that whoever set off the explosion in the tunnel would have to come out of the underground cities entrance, where Malkini was headed. Jove shook his head. Oseal seemed like such a nice boy. How wrong he could be.

Meanwhile Malkini reached the entrance of the underground city, where several abandoned camps and ships were placed. One ship was active, however, and was raising itself into the air. It was the only other Elite ship at the camp, Oseals ship. The ship raised and began to fly off into the distance. Malkini gritted his teeth at the sight.

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"This is ridiculous," she muttered and shook her head in disbelief. Well she never really liked Oseal but still, he didn't seem the kind to betray them like this. There were clues every now and then though. And, his speed earlier had been suspicious... Little details like that always bothered her until she got an explanation. Then again, the whole bomb scenario seemed to imply one.

She looked on as the others went as directed and with a small curse, she followed after them. She never could make a final decision until she had all her facts straight. And now seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so.

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As soon as Sentrius caught up with the others, he barked, "You see anything suspicious? Any strange activity?" Looking around, still keeping his shield up, Sentrius looked around the remains of the village. What the troops did disgusted him, but the whole village didn't deserve this. "This is insanity. How could this happen on our first mission?" Sentrius kicked aside a pile of rubble in anger, before returning to scout the area once more.

"I can't believe this!" Sentrius muttered again. "When I find out whoever did this, I'll make sure to have them tried on the harshest courts this side of the Sora System!"

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#, as written by Nulix
Jove shook his head as they approached. The debris had collapsed through the ground into the hall of the ancient city where the explosions were set. Jove sat on a secure rock on the sunk ground. "This is unbelievable," He muttered. "Simply unbelievable. We're done. We'll be blamed for this, I know it."

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#, as written by Ris
"Who cares who's blamed for it?" Loki retorted in response to Jove, his fingers flexing around his sword's hilt, quite obviously aggravated by the situation. "Whoever did this, the damage has been done. This place is in ruins! We had nothing to do with its destruction or the deaths of all those who lost their lives, but maybe we could've done something about it if Malkini had let us follow after that filthy army!"

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"Us? Blamed?" Sentrius asked, his eyes widening under his helmet. "No, no...There's no way we're taking the fall for this!" Sentrius shook his head in disbelief before speaking once more. "I haven't even been promoted to a captain yet! I can't let it all sink here! Let's do a quick scan around the area once more! See if there's any clues we've missed!"

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Xeroux pushed rubbled aside looking for any one who could have survived. Frustration started taking hold of him as every stone, every plank of wood, every blade of grass he moved revealed another body twisted and contorted in death. Many legionaries were killed by their own armor collapsing in the fall, crushing their chests.


"Damn it!" He shouted, his fists connecting with the cracked armor of a legionary who hadn't been wearing anything below his waist, a young girl motionless and naked opposite him. Tears stung his eyes, but he didn't want to look weak...he grabbed a helmet that looked in good condition and put it on over his tear stained face.

He listend closely for the sounds of any life, and rushed off when he heard a small rustle nearby.

"Please don't be just the wind!" He pleaded skidding to a stop and falling to his knees in one graceful motion. He moved the straw roof and found a young girl balled up, tears running down her face. She had been lucky enough to have been on a straw mattress that fell onto nothing but soft earth. It was a miracle, nothing short of it. He reached out his hand, but she scooted away, screaming at the top of her lungs. His mind ventured into why she would have screamed and removed his helmet, revealing his own tears or happiness she was alive and sadness that she was now alone.

"It's okay...I'm nothing like those men from last night...I want to help you..."

She looked at him with fear in her eyes, unable to understand what he was saying. He smiled softly and shook his head, "Sorry...I forgot... J'aguno klydune. I Xeroux, Yre Ja'Ahdou."

She hesitated, slowly reaching her hand out to him. He took it and picked her up. He was over joyed to find her alive, but now had no idea what to do with her.

Walking over to where the others had gathered, he sighed.

"She's the only one I could find..."

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#, as written by Nulix
"Good lord, a survivor," Jove whispered, seeing Xeroux come forward with the girl. "Xeroux, can you speak her language?" Jove asked. Suddenly, two ships began to fly towards them. One was a gold ship with the Knight insignia on the side, the other was their black elite ship. The two ships landed on the river, behind the Knights, the girl, and the ruins. The door of the gold ship swung open, and from it leaped a very angry Commander Malkini. From their black ship a small man in golden armor emerged, following Malkini toward the group.

Malkini glanced at the Knights angrily, before glancing at the girl, and then at the ruins, and then back at the Knights. "I arrived to find Oseal taking off in his ship, going to the King's Port no doubt, to meet back up with Commander Roka. He's going back there to tell him that we are guilty of grouse treason. I devised a plan quickly and decided to loot our good General Yoff of his ship, the gold, because I figured he wouldn't need it anymore. On the ship I found this man, Yoff's pilot," Malkini said, pointing at the man beside him who had come from their ship. "Now, before I go on to tell you my plan explain this girl. How did she survive?"

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Xeroux stepped forward, the young girl tightening her grip on his armor, more the spaces between it where there was soft, flexible fabric.

I found her on top of a straw mattress, it was well away from the rest of the ruble. The only thing to land atop it was, a straw thatched roof. The ground below the mattress was wet and muddy, absorbing the shock of impact, telling me she wasn't very high up...she most likely just fell... when the village collapsed. The resulting shockwave would be enough to knock a mattress and a girl of her size away."


He looked over to Jove, and nodded. "I've dabbled...you could say." He was getting reckless. If he kept this up Malkini would request his test scores.


"It's nothing short of a miracle....But we have other matters to attend to, do we not?" He stepped passed his commander, and on to the ship.

He found a small bedroom and placed the girl on the bed.

"Igar naut tmae." he brushed her hair from her eyes, laying her down. "Try and rest...Jur gora quie."

He turned the lights off in the bedroom, as the girl closed her eyes, to her it would all seem like a bad dream, until she opened her eyes again. At least for now, the shock was postponed.

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"A survivor?" Sentrius asked. "Well, that's great and all...but it doesn't exactly help our situation. We'll have to take her back with us to the academy if we want to get her fixed up...But are number one priority should be finding the monster who did all of this!" Sentrius frowned, before looking around for a second. "Where'd Malkini go anyway?" he asked after a minute. He hadn't noticed where their commander had gone off to.

Minutes later, Sentrius' question was answered. Two ships arrived. Malkini emerging from one of them , followed by a Gold Armored Knight. When Malkini spoke of the bad news to the group, Sentrius heart sank. "What? Treason!? That little bastard's going to set us up as traitors!?" Sentrius couldn't believe it. The night just grew worse and worse for them. A new promising, upcoming knight such as himself shouldn't have treason listed on his record. This does not bode well with Sentrius at all.

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#, as written by Nulix
Malkini watched as Xeroux emerged from the ship. He hated to admit it but it he was almost relieved that something was salvaged from the village. "Good job, Sir Xeroux," Malkini said as he rejoined the group of Knights. "Now, down to business. We are on our own. There is not a single doubt in my mind that Roka will not immediately report what ever wild tale Oseal tells him and get us all arrest. That is why you all will take the black ship to the Kings Port, find Roka, and straighten this whole situation out. I will take the Gold ship-"

"Wait, your not coming with us, Commander?" Jove asked worriedly at the mans plan.

Malkini glanced up at Jove and smiled. "Jove, I graduated from Urakas in the 2226 as a blue Knight. A year later me and my team found an army we were assisting destroyed in Wild Space, a General dead, and our Commander flying through space with no air. We were set up on treason and we had let the enemy win. I took charge that day. I led my men into the dark worlds and made an army. Four months later I returned to wild space with my army and won. I became a General shortly after, and received several real legions of my own."

Malkini glanced back at his Gold ship, "I will do the exact same thing here. The Knights are not popular in Capima and a blunder like this, engulfing a whole planet into a world war. This could hurt us dearly. I will win this war, even if it kills me, or anyone else I see fit to kill. I will go south, I will go to Nilan, Xengii, and Iceveng. I will gather three separate armies, an army of pirates brought in by promises riches on Nilan, an army of Baon's on Xengii brought in by loyalty to their lords, and an army of Nells and Kingsmen on Iceveng, brought in by promises of glory and freedom. I will do this in three months, a month on each world, then, in the fourth month, I will return to Usin and destroy the enemy here."

"But sir," Jove spoke swiftly. "The enemy here was just Oseal. There are no rebels."

"I saw them from the ship," Malkini replied. "Tens of thousands. Marching in the wetlands... Usin will have a war, and this caused it."

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"You heard the commander, we are to move out! We don't have much time. Every minute we waste here is a minute more Oseal has to set us up!"

He dashed back into the ship, looking over his shoulder as he did. "Commander, good luck. Radio if you need anything! We'll clear this mess up and be back in time to settle things here!"


With that he vanished into the Ships interior, waiting for his comrades.

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"Let's go, then!" Sentrius shouted, rushing towards the ship. "I'm not going to be the one getting court marshaled!" With that, Sentrius ran inside the ship, waiting for the others to do the same. Sheathing his weapons, Sentrius scratched his chin, taking a moment to think. Talking aloud to anyone on board who could hear him, Sentrius stated, "Listen, when we go to convince General Roka of our innocence, let me do most of the talking. I most likely have a greater knowledge of Knight customs and law more than any of you. I'm our best chance in getting the truth out to Roka."

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"Most likely? At least talk assuredly," Nai muttered as she entered the ship. Everything seemed to happen so quckly and the sight of the village made her thankful she hadn't had any breakfast yet. It was a wonder how everything had happened in one night, remarkable really. It was a sad, sad scene... And then there was that idiot Oseal. Not that she hadn't really been surprised by that. Of course, she had been a little shocked. Nai guessed she wasn't the only one who was an expert at deceit. The only thing that made her have any chance of hope was the survivor, as bad in shape as she was.

The weapon in her hands, the one she had managed to grab before bolting after her comrades, now seemed like a weight. It hadn't been able to help anyone. No matter how much power, force, or tact she could muster, it never seemed to help anyone. And now, not even her team and again, herself.

"Alright Sentrius, good luck. Although I'm not sure how willing Roka will be to hear you or even believe you...We can provide support if you need it, alright?"

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#, as written by Ris
'Oh, yes, Sentrius,' Loki began in thought, looking at the knight, 'I'm sure you know the most about Knight rules and protocol. You'll certainly get the truth out to him...as well as a lot of kissing up.' The armourless knight sighed, looking away from both his squadmate and the entrance of the ship he was now boarded on. He shouldn't be thinking like that. Even if he didn't agree with the Knights he had to work with, he shouldn't be putting them down, even in his thoughts. But he didn't really know what else to do. He had to blame his stress on someone.

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#, as written by Nulix
Jove gave a sigh as he walked onto the ship, "I guess this means I have my own bed now," He muttered. Outside the massive goldship began to lift, Yoff's pilot at the helm, Malkini standing behind him. The ship raised into the clear morning sky and began to rocket away from site of the Knights first mission, and first defeat.

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The ship came in swiftly, swerving tightly and braking hard to make the landing site, settling with only a slight bump as the brilliant but obviously foolhardy pilot settled the Knight's ship down perfectly. The doors opened and the contingent of Knights scrambled off, one yanking off his helmet to retch against the ship. Several others swayed on their feet, held up by the support of their comrades.

Only three Knights disembarked without any sign of queasiness: the pilot, the commander of the contingent, and Ephraim Gauloris, who marched swiftly off the landing path and waited patiently for his commander.

"Look at my men!" the commander roared in the pilot's face, who looked bored. "If you can't shape up, Roth, I'm going to ship you back to wherever you came from! Do NOT pull a stunt like that again! Do you hear me?"

"Yeah, yeah," the pilot muttered sullenly. "I was just trying to lighten the mood up in there a little... You know, after boarding that pirate ship and finding those women..."

The commander's face softened. "Well, next time crack a joke or something, don't pretend you're crashing the ship. I appreciate your concern for your comrades. If you can learn to get a handle on that energy of yours, you'll make a very good Knight someday, Tera Roth. A very good Knight. Maybe even a General."

Tera Roth's face twisted into a wry grin. "Well, thank you sir."

"Commander!" Ephraim barked suddenly.

The commander turned to face Ephraim. "What is it, Gauloris?"

"Protocol insists we leave the launch pad immediately after take off, sir!" Ephraim said in a curt voice. "From my observations, not one of you has, sir!"

The commander sighed. "My mistake, Ephraim. Thank you for pointing that out." Rolling his eyes, the commander clapped his hands. "All right, men, let's go hit the showers. No drinking tonight, no matter how bad your dreams get, you hear me? You all need to be sharp."

Ephraim spun on his heel, and entered the showers, peeling his armor and stepping through the showers quickly and efficiently. No wasted energy, no wasted time, Ephraim's face and body seemed to be chiseled from rock. He ignored the comments from his comrades, considering them a waste of time, although he did approach the rash Tera Roth after dressing.

"I believe it is my duty to inform you, Roth, that your actions today were a complete breach of protocol," Ephraim said in a grim voice. "I'm going to have to write you up."

Tera Roth's face twisted in disbelief. "The commander said it was all right, or are you deaf?"

"The commander was wrong," Ephraim said, his expression belying nothing. "You broke the Knight law, Roth, and therefore you must be punished."

"Look, just give me a break," Tera Roth said, exasperated. "You go behind the commander's back, and you're liable to get yourself canned."

"If it brings you to justice, so be it," Ephraim said, seeming not the least bit worried. Tera Roth stared at him for a moment, then turned and continued dressing, muttering under his breath about "anal know-it-alls". The next instant, his breath was stolen from him as Ephraim smashed him into the locker.

"That's two breaches of protocol, Roth," Ephraim said, his expression angry. "I'd start packing now."

"YOU are not my senior officer, Gauloris," Tera Roth snarled, pulling away from Ephraim. "You're breaching protocol now by going over the commander's head. So now who should be brought to justice?"

"I am not in the wrong," Ephraim said quietly. "I am never wrong."

Tera Roth shook his head, pulled on the last of his armor, and stalked past Ephraim for the door.

"Gauloris!" came a snap behind him, and Ephraim turned to see the commander glaring at him. "This will be your only warning Gauloris. Pull a stunt like that again and you will get thrown out. Understand? You remember the reason you joined the Knights? It wasn't to nitpick on your comrade-in-arms. It was to bring the people who are breaking the real laws out there to justice. Get your priorities straight."

Ephraim nodded sharply, spun on his heel, and walked out the door.

* * *

Ephraim woke up, sweating. Pulling himself to his feet, he immediately wiped his face off and began pulling on his armor, the dream still vivid in his mind. How he hated to let others get away with crimes. In his mind, Tera Roth and the commander were both at fault, but he was forced to let it go in order to deal with bigger problems. Shaking his head, Ephraim walked out of the bunker to find Commander Roka.

He found him looking unusually grim in the command center.

"Sir!" Ephraim said, snapping to attention.

"At ease," Roka said, saluting Ephraim. "We have a situation. It seems General Roff has been wiped out."

Ephraim didn't have time to be shocked. "By who, sir?"

"From the evidence..." Commander Roka sighed. "Bombs were planted underneath the village they were staying. I'm not sure yet who planted the bombs. Oh, and our scout reports that your team was not with General Roff at the time of the explosion, so you have nothing to be worried about there."

Ephraim nodded. "Could my team have planted the bomb, sir?"

Roka's eyes widened. "Preposterous," he snapped, but his expression was doubtful. Ephraim nodded to himself, and promised himself that if his team was to blame, they would all be brought to justice.

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The Black ship lifted off the ground slowly. Jove sat in the pilots cabin, his hands moving nervously on the ships slick controls. The ship, at Jove's command, blasted forward, flying above the rock pillars and onto the wetlands. Below them an army of tens of thousands marched, flags of red held high. "There are our rebels," Jove muttered to himself. Usin would have its war after all. The black ship flew higher and higher, until above the world above them was no longer blue. Jove's fingers quickly set the coordinates for Roka's location. Oseal had said he was camped in the ocean side city of Tawedon on the planet of Kings Port. Jove pushed the leather seat backward and made his way from the pilots cabin back to the rest of the team, many of who were caring for the girl from the village Xeroux had saved.

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Xeroux stroked the girls hair as she cringed in nightmares, unable to wake herself from the hells she was going through. he couldn't begin to imagine the pain wrenching her soul. The loss of her entire village, the rape of her mother the night before, maybe an older sister...her father killed for trying to protect his family. Maybe a brother or two killed in the fall. The list of horrors would go on, seemingly until every member of the village was accounted for. She must have known them all...

He watched as the ship flew through space, stars lighting up the darkness, like glittering specks of hope. "No matter how dark, the light will always shine though..." he whispered. The girl scooting closer, drawn by the cold the metal armor was giving off. He had forgotten that he could undress into regular clothes, at least for a few hours, the armor just felt natural now, after wearing it for close to two days straight.


He looked up as Jove walked into the room and flashed him a small smile. "Don't worry, she wasn't hurt to bad, just a few scrapes and bruises...She was awake long enough to tell me her name though...in our language, it's Lauren...and she's not as young as she looked either...she's 14."

He looked down to see he pink eyes half open, looking around the room. She rubbed them gently, looking up at Jove, then Xeroux.

"Hi there..." He said, knowing she wouldn't understand him. He didn't want to show Jove just how much he knew, a few simple phrases were enough for a Blue knight. Just enough to develop a strategy with the locals...at least that what he was taught at the academy, but he'd taken it a step further and learned as many different languages as he could. Being a tactician, he felt both paths of Blue and Green Knights were intertwined, diplomacy was an effective strategy in many cases, and should always be the first. The wounds she did have, he was grateful they were small, anything bigger and Jove might wonder how he could have treated them.

"Maybe you can learn more about her? Perhaps teach her our language? Not now obviously..." He thought about it, and the situation they were in leaked back into reality. "Oh, wait...never mind...she'll only be with us for a few hours. Who knows what'll happen..." He looked down into her innocent eyes and felt a lump build in his throat.

"Be right back okay?" He said with a smile as he stood up, walking over to Jove. "Maybe we can talk outside?"

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"Alright," Jove replied, watching the girl as he said it. Jove and Xeroux both walked into the kitchen, where much of the team was assembled. "So, I was wondering how exactly we planned to convince Commander Roka that we are in fact not a bunch of treasonous pigs even though we are the only survivors of Usin and our Commander has abandoned us, stealing a now dead General's ship in the process, and that it is in fact his most cheerful Knight who is the one who single handed destroyed three legions and Yoff and, by some miracle, left us alive to report this to him," Jove muttered, cursing himself for not telling Malkini to leave the Generals personal pilot with them to be used as a witness. "The fact is we don't have a very strong story, and while I'm not saying we have many options, heading towards a team of skilled Knights who may attack us on site, to which we cannot do great harm, because that would be treason, and pleading to them innocence does not seem like a good plan to me. Now, I'm not saying Malkini's plan is wrong, I'm just saying he, in the brief time I've known him, has been wrong about everything. Why should this plan of his be different? Maybe he wants us locked up, he was quick enough to fly off and play general again, leaving us to our own means."

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"On top of that we have a villager." He sighed, folding his arms. "I doubt she'll be treated very kindly." He looked over his shoulder motioning at the tall dark man clad in red armor. "What do you think, should we leave it up to him to do the talking? A Knight of code, he'll do everything by the books, and I'm sure some emotions will fly if one of us does it...maybe not you, given your expertise in diplomacy."

He rubbed his forehead, "What am I saying? They'll question us all, ask us to rat out the one on our team that did it, probably offer some big incentives."

He looked up at Jove, feeling like he was rambling. He was more worried about Lauren than his own livelihood. "Maybe I should take the fall, just to buy you guys some time to work it out of Oseal, if you catch my drift. I doubt I'll be executed on the spot, especially for confessing straight away. Heck you guys could pretend to turn me in..."

He scratched his chin, thinking the plan through. He knew the risks and analyzed the variables, but the thought of more time to prove his team innocent and Lauren safe, made his own life seem worth sacrificing if it came to it. What was one death for the saving of Malkini's, Jove's, Loki's, Nai's, Kazuki's Sentrius, and Lauren's? Killing one to save seven seemed like a good payout. Who know's maybe they'd get Oseal before he was killed, and all eight would be spared.

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"That's a good plan, but you're... important, Xeroux. We cannot allow you to die," Jove muttered. "But we don't have much choice. Roka, from what I heard, is a merciful man. He'd rather let a criminal live than chase him across the worlds till' death, I know that much of him. We will turn you in but in a way that communicates as much as possible that its a stratagem, so that when we get Oseal, and we will get him, Roka will easily believe your innocence was part of a plan."

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"But-," Sentrius started. "As I have stated before, we should leave all of the talking to me. After all, I am (probably) the only one of us whose studied the handbook inside out and knows the law, rules, regulations, and protocols. Convincing a superior officer such as Roka of our innocence is a piece of cake for me." Turning his back to the two, Sentrius' jolly tone changed slightly. "Now, seeing as Malkini has, erm, left us for the time being, I think we should discuss chain of command."

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"I nominate myself as leader of teams," Jove said, raising his hand high. He knew his hand was ambitious, but if Malkini's chain of command was obsolete, why not aim high?

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"Oi, Sentrius, remember you're not the only one who has studied the handbook. You might be the only one obsessed with it, but you certainly aren't the only one who knows it," Nai pointed out with a smirk. She had been standing away from the others, uncertain as to what to do. Her mind going over the recent events yet again. Hearing Sentrius speak, she couldn't help but put her two cents in. Assumptions, assumptions...

Now it seemed time to pick a leader. She glanced at Jove and wasn't sure he was the best choice due to the last couple of days.

"I nominate Xeroux as the leader. He seems like the wisest one here and the one with most level head. Well other than then black knight of course," Nai said with a contemplative look on her face. Her red eyes shone with uncertainty.

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At his two fellow Knight's suggestions, Sentrius merely chuckled politely, though one could also see it as a bit mocking. :Ah, yes two...wonderful suggestions. But let's face the facts here. It's obvious that none of you are capable of running an entire unit of Knights by yourselves." Sentrius turned around to face the others again, stating. "Jove, you just not field leader material. And, Xeroux,you're idealistic, but that's not necessarily a good thing. I mean, we know General Yoff thought you were a pretty good Knight, and...well, look how he turned out, right? And while I could spell out for you why none of you are as qualified as me, in order to make you feel better about yourselves, I won't."

It would've been sort of funny if Sentrius didn't mean every word of it. "It's at times like these when we have to choose the...Knightiest Knight. The one most qualified for the job (i.e, me). With me as your new first in command, we will march through the battle fields as an elite unit." Sentrius seemed quite proud of himself after his small speech. He'd only hope the others would realize the error of their ways and change their votes to him. The only one he really saw qualified, besides himself was Nai. Though, she lost a few points by questioning protocol a bit.

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"We'll clearly your a massive idiot," Jove replied. "We need someone with a grasp of the world. We've all proven ourselves in battle, the nine point fives out of the nine point four shouldn't be the leader of a team. A man who understands the way the world works should be leader. That's me. Now, my politics may conflict with your personal interests, but most of the world thinks as I, and you need someone like me making the big decisions when we are in a situation where we need big decisions made in that fashion. So, I vote for myself."

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Xeroux held his hands up to quiet the others.

"We may be in a tight spot and without the commander, but he did establish a chain of command given his absence. I took it both as a command and a direct order of how things would be run given the absence of Malkini. While we all exhibit our own personal traits, Malkini judged us by first impressions, and until he says otherwise, we're using his chain of command."

He smirked, looking in Sentrius' direction, he'd bit his tongue when the red knight had made his comment about Yoff's praise, but this was to good an opportunity to pass up, and it was well within good taste. "Or do you wish to violate a direct order, Sir Knight?" he raised his eyebrow with a bit of a chuckle before crossing his arms.

This was going to be tricky, but if they could come together as a team, maybe, just maybe they would stand a chance. First their personal differences would need to be settled

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Xeroux held his hands up to quiet the others.

"We may be in a tight spot and without the commander, but he did establish a chain of command given his absence. I took it both as a command and a direct order of how things would be run given the absence of Malkini. While we all exhibit our own personal traits, Malkini judged us by first impressions, and until he says otherwise, we're using his chain of command."

He smirked, looking in Sentrius' direction, he'd bit his tongue when the red knight had made his comment about Yoff's praise, but this was to good an opportunity to pass up, and it was well within good taste. "Or do you wish to violate a direct order, Sir Knight?" he raised his eyebrow with a bit of a chuckle before crossing his arms.

This was going to be tricky, but if they could come together as a team, maybe, just maybe they would stand a chance. First their personal differences would need to be settled

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"What's clear is that you...NONE of you understand the inner goings of the Knights. I do," Sentrius, frowned, his tone getting more seething with each word. "I'm not sure if you know this, but, as you well saw back on previous mission, The Knights don't exactly follow the rules of the rest of the world. We're a unit and we should be led by someone who understands how organizing a unit and keeping it together work. And let's face it Jove, you're not a people person. At least not with most people anyway..."

Sentrius shook his head in disbelief that anyone would disagree with him before speaking again. "Back on Mt. Ravin, we had just about the harshest training out of all the academies. We were sent to survive on our own in grounds more perilous than you can even imagine. And when the going got tough, someone had to take command and gather the group together, as a unit, and keep us all alive. That would be me."

Sentrius then gave an ear to Xeroux's comments before continuing. "If there's anything I think we've learned from this little venture it's that first impressions can often be wrong. After all, I never see our appointed leader doing any...leading. Seems to me, that the rest of us are just annoyances to him. While I respect Malkini and I don't think he deserves most of the flak he receives, I believe he was wrong on this point."

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#, as written by Nulix
"I agree with Sentrius," Jove spoke. "Not about him being leader, but about Malkini being a god awful Commander. But this arguing gets us no where, the point is we, at some point in the future, should decide on a leader, because we may not always have time to decide on things democratically."

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"Considering that at the moment we're doing nothing really, I suppose it would be good to put that matter aside. After all, we need to use the time we have now to calm down because Jove and Sentrius are clearly mad thinking they even have a chance at being leader," Nai muttered, smiling. Sad thing was, it looked pretty sincere with not a hint of the malice and annoyance that was clearly expressed in her eyes which she shut when she smiled. She tried to look as adorable as possible, hands behind her back and a cheery smile, hoping to soften the glares that were probably thrown at her in that moment.

Really, Nai didn't see anyone fit as leader. She only nominated Xeroux because she didn't think Jove or Sentrius could handle it, Loki she was still deciding on, the black knight hadn't given much word, the new guy either, and she thought that was it. Nai wouldn't even recommend herself since she didn't want to be responsible for any of them. Then again, she thought they might need an outside person on the leader thing...

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"Mad?" Sentrius asked, eyebrow raised. He then smiled an asked, "Well, isn't sanity kind of a one trick pony anyway?" Turning around, Sentrius stepped out of the kitchen and into the main quarters. "I'm going to check if we're almost there.It won't take us that long to reach Roka now." Sentrius then walked towards the front of the ship and looked out of it's window, seeing if they were anywhere near their destination.

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Nai frowned, Sentrius' words oh so true to her. Not that the particular man she was thinking of was insane, just a little ill. Violently ill with hints of sanity every now and then...

"Ah, right," Nai muttered, suddenly feeling awkward again, "Well I suppose the matter of the leader will be for another time then... I see we're in the kitchen, well I guess that's good if anyone's hungry. I'm certainly not. I think that girl might be though, after all, we did miss breakfast didn't we? And nothing lifts up the spirits more than a bite of warm food, right?"

She smiled graciously and decided to leave the kitchen in order to find a distraction. She disliked the fact she was on the ship, with them, as she was now. As a knight. With people who were also knights and clearly not the heroes she expected, the heroic ones or the tragic ones. On a ship, possibly one that would be used as evidence of treason against them. Nai sighed and looked up from the floor, the plain look of it helping her think, and saw Sentrius. Of course she would see him. She didn't leave long after him. Probably a subconscious thought.

"Ah, Sentrius," Nai called out, the sad scene of torn comrades making her feel bad suddenly, "I apologize about calling you mad. It was out of turn and uncalled for. I will try to only add positive or helpful remarks from now on. The reason was I just didn't think you could handle it. I'm sorry."

She bowed, hating to apologize so quickly. But really, she thought it was the right thing to do. He always did it..

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"Ah, well that's okay," Sentrius nodded. "We're all bound to make mistakes sometimes." Sentrius then turned around. He could've just left it there, but... "By the way," Sentrius stated. "Back on Ravin, I did lead my team out of several extremely bad spots. Just so you know. I wasn't even elected my training squad's leader, then. The one who were originally chosen for that title were too busy cowering. Luckily, I gathered all in my command and we made it through to graduation."

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"Ah really?" Nai asked, looking interested though her eyes looked a little glazed over as though from boredom, "Sounds like it was pretty risky. I'm rather impressed, considering it was training too. Your teachers must have been rather proud to have a student like you, huh? A real leader is hard to find these days, especially one who knows the handbook so well..."

She smiled, her words mostly sincere although there were subtle hints of sarcasm. Still, she was a little impressed. It made her even contemplate what kind of training the others had gone through as well and what scores they had recieved. The kind of teachers and training, their other fellow colleagues and..

"Did you have lots of friends at Ravin?" Nai suddenly asked, her eyes full of curiousity, "At Tormaund, we did those kind of excercises too except we would bicker like we just had. I never took charge though seeing as anyone who tried would get reprimanded by who was supposed to be the leader but was the one that started the fight in the first place. We eventually learned though. After all, I became good friends with them."

Nai smirked at the last comment, remembering their weaknesses and flaws. It had been easy to get on their good side once she knew how to manipulate them.

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"Ah, yes," Sentrius nodded in agreement. "I believe they took special note of me when they had my final assessment at the academy. I've got a few awards of excellence in my bags too! Being a leader comes naturally to me, you see? And I feel that I am destined for greatness one day. A Knight General...and beyond."

Listening to Nai's other statement, asking if he had friends back on Ravin, Sentrius nodded, slowly, though his smile faded a bit. "I've had some friends there, yes, but...during our missions, there wasn't much room for small talk and making good friends, so I don't have much to talk a bout on the matter. And as for your training squad...Well, you just needed someone to step up, take charge, and not take any crap from an insubordinate soldier. That's how I got to be leader of my training squad, anyway..."

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"I suppose so. But hey, what do you expect from Tormaund right? I'm lucky I even made it out of there," Nai laughed although it sounded a little forced. It was short and brisk, leaving her with a grin and a sad gleam in her eyes. She stared at the ground for a moment, the grin fading quickly, before picking her head up with a smile. She held out her hand, looking expectant.

"Oi, I had an idea! Since we're going to be stuck together for a while, how about we become good friends? I assure you, its not a bad experience really and you can't really violate any protocols by doing so," Nai chuckled, meaning for it to be a joke but she was never really good at making her own, "We probably won't have much time, but eh, I'm sure its not impossible. Of course we'll make good friends with the others, maybe even best ones as well, so what do you say? Do you want to be my friend?"

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"I don't see why not," Sentrius smiled. "Because I've got a feeling that I'm gonna need some before the day is over." Sentrius continued to look out the window. "By, the way...it's not a miracle that you graduated. Some of the best Knights are from Tormaud.

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Nai smiled and dropped her hand, feeling it unecessary to leave it up considering he hadn't seen her gesture. Plus, her arm was getting tired. Her eyes widened as he said that some of the best knights came from Tormaund. Her cheeks suddenly felt warm and her eyes were filled with happiness. It couldn't have been a mistake.

"AH, well that's great. Now I just need to make friends with the rest of them although I probably made Jove mad... again," Nai giggled, actually happy at the thought considering anatgonizing people alleviated her boredom at times, "I guess I'll make it up to him somehow. I think Loki will be easy to convince, and Xeroux too. See? Two more possible friends already..."

Her voice trailed off as she tried to think of a suitable way to respond to his last comment.

"T-thank you," she finally said after a few moments, "That means a lot to me, more than you probably know.."

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#, as written by Ris
As the group bickered on about who would be leader, Loki only got more and more annoyed with some of his squadmates. He didn't want a leader in the first place--He hated leadership. They always thought they were so great, so much better than everyone else, and they expected they suddenly had the power to boss everyone around.

That wasn't how Loki worked. He knew it, his teachers back at the academy knew it, and his fellow Knights were bound to realize it soon.

Another thing he had quickly grown to hate was that Sentrius acted like that despite the fact that he wasn't even elected their leader yet. He seemed like the kissing-up, arrogant, cock little knight who knew he was supposed to be great. Everyone must like him and his oh so charming personality, and Sentrius must be sure that everyone would love trailing after him like sheep after their shepherd. The thoughts made Loki's eyes narrow. It was all too smug, and he didn't feel that Sentrius deserved any of that, no matter how many times he had read the stupid Knight's handbook.

Considering his views on the whole matter, he never participated in the discussion, which was quickly becoming an argument anyway. He leaned against the wall with his arms folded over his chest, his eyes silently flickering over each person as they spoke. While he didn't think of Jove and Xeroux in the same bitter way which he did Sentrius, he didn't want either of them to be the squad's leader. Plainly put, he didn't want -anyone- to be elected their leader. As a squad, he thought that they should work together and fight through it all, not leave every single decision up to one person whom they thought qualified while standing around in a ship's kitchen.

Loki was relieved when the electoral process was finally broken up. Finally, another time without senseless bickering. He was long sick of it. Closing his eyes, he leaned his head back against the wall, resting his eyes and trying to relax himself--It didn't take long. He was calm again in no time, though the irritating thoughts still crossed his mind now and again. After all, he was sure it wasn't over. They would all gather together again and try to force a leader upon themselves at some point or another. It was just a matter of time.

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Jove shut the door of the Captain's room behind him as he stepped in, opposite of their bedrooms. He figured that since the Commander had left angrily, convinced that he had that the willpower and the mental fortitude needed to collect three separate armies on three different worlds and then manage to deliver them all to Usin to save the planet, he wouldn't mind if Jove searched his abandoned room for valuables. Jove saw that the Commander had unpacked nearly nothing, the only belongings taken out of their case being silk bedsheets and cover of red. Jove walked past the sheets and onto the large unopened chest in the corner of the room. Jove tried to open and saw it was locked. He pulled out his blade and quickly chipped the large rusted lock open, falling down from the chest as it did. Jove pushed the chest open and quickly moved through the first layer of shirts, pants, and robes Malkini kept neatly folded on top. Beneath those Jove found various books and logs, which he looked through interestingly. One in particular caught Jove's eye, a massive brown book of leather, carved on its front the words Old Kings Log. Jove opened the old book quickly, its base cracking as he did. "September twenty-first, nineteen ninety," Jove read aloud, his figure following the words on the paper as he did. "I have tracked down the... Phoenix basin...." Jove's words got muddled as he read, and he read on, until the end of the page. Jove closed the book with a smug smile, and quickly threw it onto the bed. "This is my room, and all of Malkini's documents will be mine now," He said in a self satisfied tone. In the corner of his eye he noticed that the space outside had been replaced by blue sky. Jove was then greeted by a loud bump that went throughout the ship. "Thats why I should be flying during descent," He muttered, before making his way toward the Pilots cabin. Jove steered the ship down over the morning waters, ahead of them a small wooden port with sailing ships lined up on it, with a few storehouses and shops and huts right of the docks, to the left there were clear green hills, on one a black ship slightly larger that theirs stood. Jove aimed at the hills and landed the ship down slowly. Jove quickly pushed his chair out and made his way to the kitchen. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived," He said as he past through the kitchen, to all the Knights who had gathered there. Jove quickly opened the door on the side of the ship and slide down onto the hill. The grass was tall and in the wind it blew into his arms violently. Ahead of him, in front of the other ship, stood five other Knights. On a rock sat Oseal, his white cape covering him completely.

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"Well ,it's about time!" Sentrius exclaimed. Walking out of the side door onto the field, Sentrius exclaimed. "Finally, we get to explain our side of the story!" Sentrius smiled, walking outside to the five Knights that greeted them. Giving an angered stare to Oseal as they passed, Sentrius greeted the Knights awaiting before them. "Greetings sirs!" Sentrius said loudly, saluting as he spoke. He then awaited for one of them to address him.

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#, as written by Nulix
"I thought you had all died," Oseal addressed them.

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"Er-what?" Sentrius asked. "Oh, I get it...You mean you thought we died when you detonated the charges!" Turning to look at Genral Roka, Sentrius frowned. "We had set up camp while General Yoff's troops attacked the village," he explained, folding his hands behind his back while pacing back and forth. "You see the good General didn't think we were up to the task and we had to stay behind. As we watched the attack from afar, we all saw a huge explosion coming form the site. We raced there as fast as we could. We only saw one survivor. A young village girl. As we had searched for the bomb, Commander Malkini reported a ship escaping. And guess who it belonged to...?"

Sentrius pointed directly at Oseal. "It had to be Oseal! His escape was too quick! How was he able to escape so fast if he wasn't at the village and he wasn't with us! Where else could he be? Sitting from afar, planning our demise, that's what! So, right now I'd like to have this traitor tried on court for treason, murder and attempted murder. Seeing as he obviously planned to kill us!"

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"I was sent by the General to escort a bomb crew down the tunnels, when they arrived at the explosives I decided that I would return to Roka," Oseal replied. "Hours later during my flight I heard the news. And if Commander Malkini has accusations against me, where is he to say them?"

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"You...er...Well, Commander Malkini told us we would be tried for treason and he left us to gather Knights from other worlds to gather support as he feels something dangerous is stirring up in the horizon. As our Commanding officer ,we have nothing but full confidence in his actions."

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Xeroux folded his arms rolling his eyes, "Great job Sentrius...don't you know to never give all the information out at once? Shouting out we're innocent before Roka even speaks makes us look all the more guilty...Maybe taking matters into my own hands is what needs to happen. I will not see them rot in prison, they are the only ones who can collect evidence to support our story and innocence."


He stepped forward, butterflies in his gut. "Commander..." He began, hands raising slowly into the air. He swallowed and continued. "It was me sir. I set the explosives off with a detonator from our campsite. I dropped it in the fires that were burning through the rubble. My squad had nothing to do with this."


He looked at his team's shocked faces. "You see the night after our mission, General Yoff allowed the legions their spoils of war. Not feeling like partaking, I and my squad camped out by the nearby river. Once everyone had gone to sleep, I went to the explosives and rigged the device. I made sure Oseal and his team were gone before reactivating the devices. Once my squad woke, I felt it was the most opportune time to get the bastards that had raped and killed innocent people. A sort of purging you could say..."

He stopped, looking into Roka's eyes, shocked by his own ability to fabricate such a lie. Though to call it a lie would be in itself a lie. He had thought of the plan while going to sleep and screams of terror filled the air. He had wanted to kill them all so badly, but of course he really hadn't. He could never turn against his own side no matter how much he disagreed with an order.

"So please don't punish them. It's me you want."

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Sentrius was surprised that Xeroix would say such a thing. All he'd said to help them defend themselves and he just going to say this now? After a moment of silence, he merely shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, you heard the traitor. I would ask you guys to let him off easy, seeing as he is one of my squad members and all...But his actions are, quite frankly, appalling." Sentrius turned back and walked towards the rest of the group, shaking his head, saying, "Who would've thought? One of our own squad guilty of this...this treason!"

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"Not just one squad member..." Loki began with a sigh, turning his head, unable to look the others straight-on. "Xeroux wasn't alone. I--...I helped him plan it all out. I just got so..so -angry- at the soldiers, I-I couldn't help myself." Loki's fists clenched until his knuckles turned white and his voice grew darker, his eyes clouding over slightly. "I wanted them to suffer...All of them. They had -no right- to do what they did to the innocents in that village! They ruined everyone's lives!" Suddenly closing his eyes, Loki took a deep breath. The knight then looked over to Xeroux, offering a short, light nod. "So if you don't punish me...don't punish him. I'm just as guilty as he is."

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The old man with a young face glanced from Loki to Xeroux with cloud blue eyes. He had been silent since their arrival and finally, after their confessions, he gave out a sigh. "I am... disappointed," Roka muttered, pulling a blade from his side effortlessly. "Will you stand down for the crimes of murder and treason?"

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Xeroux Gulped, afraid he'd just walked himself and Loki into a quick death without trial.


"Sir." He said, falling to one knee. Please, allow Loki to be imprisoned, as a lesson to others with such intentions as we. I shall take the blade and be punished for our actions on pain of death. He needn't suffer the same end. Having someone to show for the crimes committed helps put others mind's at ease."


He prayed the commander would listen to him, giving Loki a chance to be found innocent, even if he himself never received the luxury.

"That...that is my final wish, sir."

He bowed his head low, waiting for the commander's reply, followed shortly by the cold steel of his blade. Tears built up in his eyes as the thoughts of all the lost opportunities flashed by in his mind. But being Knight meant being valiant, and brave. He'd rather his squad go on living innocent then rot in jail for a crime they did not commit. This was his destiny, he figured, gritting his teeth and accepting the situation, and he was going to fulfill it, even if he didn't want to. Perhaps his creator had a bigger purpose waiting in the after life for him....if there was an afterlife.

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With not a word or change in expression, Nai listened with an apathetic look on her face. Sentrius was obviously failing at defending them. He could give reasoning of why they weren't guilty, find loopholes as to why Oseal was guilty (Although she still wasn't too sure of it herself), or even keep his voice steady. No wonder he wasn't a cultural and diplomacy knight. She would have at least liked to have him present a good case. Maybe he wasn't as good an ally as she had thought.

As two of her squadmates took the blame for the rest, Nai couldn't help but think it wasn't the best choice. It could work in Sentrius' favor, although at the moment she wished he didn't for his stupid remarks, and it couldn't. Now it seemed it didn't work in anyone's.

"Wait," Nai interjected, calm and collected although her eyes conveyed the panic she suddenly felt, "You can't really believe them, can you? I know they admitted to it but how do you know they're not lying about this? We were all upset about this! Word of mouth is never reliable and there aren't even witnesses or anything. Besides, these men aren't capable of doing anything of the sort. From the personalities they have shown, they wouldn't have done anything to hurt the villagers and considering the army was with them at the moment, they couldn't have set off those bombs. Besides, the handbook states there must be a trial isn't that right Sentrius? Oseal, you know who the cuplrit is don't you?"

Nai's hands were shaking, not wanting to see another unfair execution. SHe tried to think of anything else that could help but her mind was suddenly drawing blanks.

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Roka glanced up, at Nai's words, "True, there must be at trial. But at trial can only take place on one of two worlds right now, and that is the Capima Islands and Bao... and we are a bit short of both of those, you see." Roka took a step towards Xeroux, who had gone onto his knees, waiting for his death. Roka outstretched a silver-plated hand. "Get up, Sir Knight tactician," He spoke gently. "I accept your confession but I do not legitimize it. I cannot legitimize it. When I leave this world if all of us cannot think of a more logical reason of how the attack could of gone I will take you two Knights red and blue to Capima, to the city of Sor where you will be tried in front of the Knight council. Then your innocents will be determined. Oseal, what does she mean, you know who did it?"

"I don't," Oseal said, glancing to the side. "I'd suspect Malkini or one of them, maybe not the ones who confessed but... one of them, its quite likely."

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"It's quite a shame that these two knights from are own squad are the culprits in this reprehensible crime," Sentrius spat. "General Roka, I trust that the rest of us will be called on to speak at the trial?"

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Xeroux sighed happily taking Roka's hand, and standing. He bowed low.

"I await my trial. Until then, what is to become of me and my squad mate here?" He gestured to Loki. Not quite ready to give up the act.


Suddenly something came to him, Oseal's suspecting Malkini did not anger him, a memory of that morning came to him. Malkini had emerged from his tent, followed by both a Gold Knight and a village woman. When had they joined him, where was the Gold Knight that had slept in and presumably with, Malkini?
He wasn't ready to suspect his own commander, but he did have a motive for doing it, starting a war on the world, where he'd come with legions of Knights to both avenge those that were slaughtered, and to revel in the glory of saving the world of Usin. It was a perfect motive, and he had to of left the camp site sometime after everyone had gone to sleep...his sudden exit and pushing them to go to Roka instead of escaping and devising a new plan seemed so obvious as a way for himself to escape clean.

Xeroux cursed himself for not seeing it sooner. He clenched his fists, unable to believe his own commander could think so lowly of them as to frame them, kill legionaries and a General all in the name of gaining his lost glory back...it was so twisted. The fact that he was so eager to launch total war also solidified the theory.

His anger only mounted hearing Sentrius's words. He really was so quick to believe they had done it. "When this is all over with, we will need to have some team bonding...maybe putting on the proper armor doesn't seem like such a bad idea now, at least then Sentrius would know what he was dealing with..." He hated having such thoughts about his own team mate, but the man had pushed him over the edge, not even thinking that He and Loki were lying to save not only his butt but the rest of their team's as well. "Oh well, someday he'll understand. 'There's no use getting angry with ignorant people, instead, teach them. Ignorance is often not the fault of the person, but their upbringing, so help them open their mind to new ideas, rather than thinking lowly of them or abandoning them, they are the people that need you most...' Grandmother, I wish you were here, you'd now what to do..." He looked down at his dusty boots, ready to end this whole ordeal

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"You and your teammate will be under the watch of my team leader, Black Knight J. Tailor," Roka explained. Beside him ran up a man in black armor, different then Kazuki's as his was made of leather and cloth. "You are free to wonder the camp while I go into the ship and take care of some personal matters," Roka explained. "Then you and your team will accompany me, Oseal, and Tailor on the mission we were sent to do here. Then we shall return to Capima and you will receive a proper trial."

"How long will you be on your ship, old man?" Jove asked, biting into an apple he had picked up by Oseal. Roka smiled, "Long enough, Sir Knight. Long enough." And with that, Roka turned and began to march towards his ship, his ruby cape cutting through the air as he did.

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"Understood.: He said, saluting the General as he walked back to his ship. The Black Armored Knight stood by his side, vigilant in his duties, and more than qualified to perform guard duty.


"I'm sorry your skills must be wasted on such a thing as guard duty Sir Knight..."

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"Oh I don't know," Tailor said with a smile. "I found so far that the hardest job by far has been guard duty. The rest of the time we've been talking or just sitting around, prime example there." His figure pointed over to Oseal, who continued to rest on the large rock. "He's a good kid, you know. I don't think he'd do something like that to the Legions."

"Hey Tailor," Oseal said, jumping off the rock and making his way over. "You mind if I had a minute with our guarded friends?"

"No problem, Oran," Tailor said, making his way toward a pitched tent. Oseal turned to Xeroux, his face stern. "So... here we are."

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"Yeah, so I suppose we have to wait along with them?" Sentrius asked, disapprovingly. Though the look on his face remained sour, he was actually quite pleased. Everything was sorted out in the end, and the traitors were revealed, though it was quite unfortunate it had to be members of his own team. Of course...there was the off chance that Nai was right and they were lying to save the rest of the team's skin. But, of course, that'd be a stupid thing to do. What self respecting Knight Elite would sacrifice his or her career like that? Certainly not Sentrius.

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Xeroux returned Oseal's look, and folded his arms.

"So we are. Something on your mind?"

He shifted his weight onto his back foot, sizing up the White Knight. Lauren crossed his mind, and the skills Oseal had would come in handy to help her, but that was a matter for another White Knight should Oseal be found guilty.

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"I have a question for you Xeroux, why would you claim to have set the explosives?" Oseal asked. "And are you aware of any... factions that would benefit your personal gain if you had set off the explosives?"

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"I claim it because its true. And as far as doing it for personal gain, you can forget that. If i had a factions motives in mind, and something to gain, why would I turn my self in?"


He felt sweat drip down his back as the midday sun burned overhead. He wasn't going to let his story slip, not until they could be proven 100% innocent. Until then, he was the one who killed the Legions and General Yoff.

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"Of course you wouldnt," Oseal said. "I just you realize you can't take credit for something you didn't do, and a certain faction we both know nothing of will not believe you did something just because you claim you did. I hope you understand that, Xeroux, and the rest of Malkini's team."

Jove watched Oseal talk with great interest. He acted as though they knew something that they did not.

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"I would think the faction, should they be near, would be speaking up right about now, or trying to kill me as we speak. Unless of course, you're close to this faction. You speak as if you do know who they are and what their reasoning was. As a white knight you only show your expertise in medical fields, diplomacy and weapons expertise not to mention an enemies strategy are fields you show now physical rankings in."

He looked over to see Jove's expression, "You seem to feel the same way, don't you, Jove?" He puts his hands by his side. "Look, tell us what you know. It'll be better for everyone if you did. Perhaps, because you give information, you'll be charged with a lesser crime, assuming you are somehow associated with this nameless/unknown faction."

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"Are we ready?" Roka called, interrupting Oseal's response. The Knight Commander made his way toward the group, followed by Tailor. "We will be heading through the grasslands for a dozen minutes or so. Are you all ready and armed?"

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"Ready and armed, sir!" Sentrius saluted. "And might I say it is an honor to serve in your squadron, sir! You're one of the many Knights who has set a great example for me and plenty of other aspiring Knight Elites everywhere."

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Nai sighed, wrapping up her thoughts on the recent events. After Oseal named another suspect, she had thought over what had happened that very morning. Her respect for Malkini had admittedly taken a little damage but she needed facts, not accusations and assumptions to down it any more. She was just relieved Loki and Xeroux still had their heads, thankful the two had tried to save the others but admitting it was a little stupid. Sentrius was getting on her nerves though, considering he had turned his back so quickly on them. If there was one thing Nai hated was people who turned on someone the instant the situation got bad. It was despicable, well to her anyway.

"Ready," Nai chirped with a smile, going for a simple salute instead of her usual bow. With a pat, she made sure her sword was still on her, smiling at its familiar weight and security

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"Yes Sir." Xeroux stated dryly, bowing low to the benevolent General. He didn't know much about Roka, just the vibe he gave, and the look in his eyes were enough to allow the young Knight to trust him. Somewhere inside, he felt Roka accepted his and Loki's story just so they could move on with the mission, he didn't actually believe they did it. From what he was gathering, Oseal said nothing to Roka about them. The most Roka knew before they had arrived was that every one was killed. Perhaps Oseal thought they were with the others, not expecting them to survive.


He looked up to Sentrius. "I'm sorry to betray you sir Knight, and I apologize for any anger I have caused you." He didn't hate the Knight, he was just doing what he felt right, and that was to hate traitors, Xeroux would have done the same thing in the end. Perhaps not against a team mate, but a traitor none the less.

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Loki quietly followed along beside Xeroux, though he didn't copy his fellow knight's actions. He never made eye-contact with any of the others, sometimes pretending he was lost in his thoughts, sometimes really losing his focus as his mind traveled. He wouldn't bow his head or apologize to anyone, not to the commander and especially not to Sentrius. Loki couldn't believe that he actually believed he and Xeroux were guilty. He hadn't really liked Sentrius in the first place, but that was just frustrating, especially with how quickly they turned on him. He could only hope the knight was playing along, though it didn't seem like it.

'You know, I'm surprised they haven't taken our weapons...' Loki silently remarked, his left hand resting on the hilt of his sword. If the commander had really believed they had truly done what they claimed to do, wouldn't they be worried about them being hostile?

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"Save you apologies for the court," Sentrius sneered, shaking his head at Xeroux and Loki. "But, hey, you know what they say...if you do the crime you do the time. And a war crime like you two pulled off will get ya a lot of time. It's sad that you would turn to such drastic measures even in what you felt was an injustice. But now you can only pray that the justice system is more lenient."

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"Come then, don't fall behind," Roka called as they walked. He had placed a brown cloak around his armor, letting only his gold plated hands and collar visable from beneath its weathered cotton. He walked on trough the hills until the sun began to lower towards the hilled horizon. Roka's march did not pause as they continued. "Nearly there, are we?" Jove asked tiredly.

"Nearly, Sir Knight," Roka said with a smile as they continued on. "Why, are you spirits sore?"

"My soles sore more like it," Jove muttered. "Why? Do you have some concoction that raises spirits in your pack?"

"No I do not, but I've found song has a similar effect on the spirit," Roka said as they began to walk down another hill. And then, as if he was confident a song, a song well sung, could in fact raise their spirits, Roka began to sing gently.

"Oh suns that come again for all,
For all see its rising,
Suns can see the triumphs, falls, again.

Oh Sor your holy city shines,
Its heart devalued,
For the men who watch it lie, again.

Far north the god shunned Pahlies march,
Far north your Knights and armies march,
Far north your holy system gains,
All the while we have them... to blame.

Oh march on Legions of the blade,
Your swiftly falling,
With the whole empire as your... weight."


"Poem for a Legion Girl," Tailor whispered as they walked.

"Cleary," Jove replied unamused.

"No, sir Knight, that's the title, Poem for a Legion Girl," Roka explained. "When we marched on Kiris during the war with Neah, they say the Neahians sang it to the troops that marched through the icy capital. The story goes a Neahian villager fell in love with a Legion girl when they took his village. He went on a grand adventure through the icy world, meeting many friends and foes in the process, but always remembering his Legion girl. He came to the city at long last and found that the Neahians were discouraging the war and the Sorillian Legionaries. In response the boy began to sing his poem, and soon the streets joined him. I've taken that song as a personal anthem of sorts."

"Have you ever been to Kiris, Commander?" Jove asked.

Roka glanced down at the question. "Yes, Sir Knight. Indeed I have."

"What about Neah?" Oseal asked, lighting a small brown cigarette as the sky above them became darker and darker.

"No, never Neah," Roka replied. "Lets move on. We're nearly there."

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"So what kind of mission are we heading towards sir?" Sentrius asked. "Heavy combat? Recon? I have studied a bit of special ops myself sir!" Sentrius explained to Roka. "It's just that...well due to the unfortunate circumstances of our last mission...I haven't seen any real action on the field."

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"Consider yourself lucky. Some Commander's have already lost Knights in combat, Sir Tetran," Roka said as they continued on. "It'll be a bit of heavy combat no doubt, but against one single opponent. I hope you are prepared... for anything."

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"oh, I'm prepared all right!" Sentrius nodded. "I've handled millions of situations like these back in Mt. Ravin. Worse, in fact...I remember this one time we were surrounded by swarm of giant cave bats. Had to fend ourselves armed with only our wit and a really big rock."

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"Sir Knight, we are not in a cave, and Master Sogani is not a swarm of bats," Roka said with extreme distaste for Sentrius.

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"Yeah, I know, but I've studied many situations like these before hand," Sentrius assured, though sounding slightly less formal than he had earlier."I know how to handle myself in a combat situation. And with all due respect sir, there were a lot of bats."

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"Sir Knight, this is not a study, and Master Sogani is not a situation," Roka said with extreme distaste for Sentrius.

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Xeroux listened as the Red Knight and General went back and forth, unable to take Sentrius' bragging, he stepped forward.

"Who is this, Master Sogani?" He asked, ready to learn more about the mission they were now a part of.

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"Master Sogani is a woman me and my former team mate Commander Dragoon encountered long ago. She was in the swamps of Bao, calling herself a witch. Dragoon, I, and another went to her in search of information for a mission we were on. We were trying to locate someone, you see. When we got there she gave us a game of riddles, if we passed she would tell us what we needed to know, if not she would eat us, she said. Dragoon in his intellect figured out all the riddles, and at the end she gave us one with no answer, and Dragoon figured that out too. She tried to create a no win scenario, and so we attacked. As we drew our blades she sent fire at us, and at the end of the battle, she escaped, burning half the swamp life as she did. Now, nearly thirty years later, there have been reports that shes living in a house here on the prairie. Shes a phoenix, Sir Knight."

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"Understood, sir!" Sentrius nodded, in the middle of Roka's explanation. "I can almost feel the danger in the air. Let me at 'er! I can take her on all by myself!" Sentrius add, punching his fist in the air as if fighting an invisible enemy. "With me around, she won't know what hit her! And...waitaminute...did you say Phoenix? Really? I thought they had all took their cowardly hides into hiding considering the ass kicking the Knights gave them years ago."

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"Sir Knight, this is not years ago, and Master Sogani is not a coward," Roka said with extreme distaste for Sentrius.

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His eyes looked over his shoulder at their Black Knight. [i] "So is he...though he hasn't come out and said it..."[i]

"I'm afraid I cannot understand the fight we have taken up against the remaining members of the Phoenix tribe...they haven't attacked the Knights in years...I understand this incident goes back many years ago, but remember, it was you and Dragoon that ventured to find her...you could have skipped that whole ordeal if you had searched elsewhere for the information you sought."

He stopped, thinking he was saying to much for an imprisoned man, he really needed to stop contradicting high ranking officers. It may have worked in his favor with Yoff, but Roka was a different man.

"I apologize for speaking out of turn, sir."

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Roka sighed, "Do you know of the old gods? The gods the Helexicon worshiped? There was nothing holy about them, they were men with powers, with all the emotions of men, all the jealousy and rage. Anything that happened, any war, any battle, was determined by the gods, not because one side was good and one evil, but because of the whim of their gods. That is what the Phoenix are, men with power. A fair world cannot exist with them, because for everyone that is peaceful, their sons or daughters may be warlords. A final solution had to have been put into effect. If you are from the North your understanding may be a bit skewed, but if you are from the south... well, lets just say many families ceased to exist under the reign of the Phoenix Knights."

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"I apologize again, sir."

He bowed low. He wasn't really in the mood to continue the conversation, his mother had been a Phoenix, but his father loved her all the same. Though Xeroux was unable to even know his mother, he still missed her and often wondered what she was like and what power she might have had. His father never spoke of her...it was to painful for him and Xeroux never pressed the matter.

"Commander...what if there are Phoenix's in other areas of the universe? I mean ones that are different than the ones we are used too? Phoenix's we cant tell from ordinary people?"

He sighed, rubbing his forehead, the walk must be getting to him he figured. The idea of any other type of Phoenix was silly.

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"In Wild Space, we launched attacks, many of the Prism territories, around five years ago. Communities of Phoenix's had gathered there. I'm not sure if they were... different, I wasn't involved," Roka muttered, his gaze fixed on the ground ahead of him. "Of course, there are tales of Phoenix's living beneath our noses. When you go on adventure to strange and... very untouched places you hear things, names like RetLaw, titles and such, rumors, myths. I don't know if any look different though."

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The prism region sparked his interest.

"Sir, if I'm not Mistaken the "Prism Region" is an area consisting of four planets. Three with the same level of Technology and knowledge of the other worlds, and one final world that is shrouded in mystery and myths. One one continent out of two is up to the same level of Technology as us. The other one is even hazy, some say you can see if from space, but once you descend into the atmosphere, the land mass vanishes...There is a special group of Knights there as well that while not with us, they work with us if necessary."


He paused, "While I haven't heard of the battle fought in the region, I am aware that a Knight academy is in the works there, under the ward of the Guardians of Laurenska that protect the fourth world. I wish to visit there someday, I hear its beautiful."

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"They are not barbarians, true. But us staying there, and least of all starting an academy, is very unlikely," Roka muttered. "At the time being we must move west, into the Dark worlds. If we could find a reason to start a war there and invade we would have our expansion territory picked out perfectly. The north is a lost cause. If we get it we give Ulfire another reason to attack. The west, that's where our future lies. I can guarantee you that."

"Ahead," Oseal said, pointing to an large house of stone on the hill.

"We have arrived," Roka said solemnly.

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"If you ask me all of this Phoenix magic stuff is just a bunch of cheap parlor tricks," Sentrius snorted. "They may have been tough enemies when organized in the past, but now? They're scattered throughout the worlds hiding it out, worried that heaping helping of justice will be dispensed upon them."

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"Sir Knight, this is not a parlor, and the Phoenix are not tricks," Roka said with extreme distaste for Sentrius.

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"It'd be interesting to see what that system produces in the near future...I'm thinking great things, and great people...A new generation of young warriors and diplomats that travel the stars looking to be a part of our systems..."

He couldn't help but smile. The thought of battle with a warrior from a lawless sector, the way it used to be long before long distance space travel...autonomous planets each governing themselves. It all seemed so, Romantic.

Oseal's comment on their arrival changed his mindset from day dreaming to the mission.

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"An organization of heroes with a leader from Wild Space?" Roka chuckled bitterly. "I doubt I'll live to see the day."

"Commander, how should we proceed?" Tailor asked.

Roka gave a smile, "Through the front door, of course."

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"Yeah, I doubt anything of the sort would happen," Sentrius shrugged, drawing out his weapons. "So are we going to hunt this so called 'phoenix' or what?"

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"Anything's a possibility really if you think about it," Nai commented in response to the organization idea. As the conversation she had been listening to, with increasing regret of having Sentrius as an ally, turned to this point, she remembered the tales her caregiver had told her every night. There's a lot possible Gareki. Okay, maybe not everything is but if you think about it, many stories of heroes and similar things had to come from somewhere, right? So why wouldn't some of these fairy tales exist? Maybe some tales are just foreshadowing of what's to come.

"And a group of heroes doesn't sound too far out seeing we have powerful beings such as a pheonix," Nai said with a small smile as she continued to follow the others, "And Sentrius, with all due respect, we're not hunting an animal. She's a person... with lots of power. Is an aggresive display really necessary?"

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"She needs to be taken down," Sentrius stated. "She can use any of her mighty magic tricks to try and get the best of us. But I'm not falling for it. We need to take her out swiftly and efficiently so we can stop her from doing...whatever law-breaking thing she plans on doing! Now, I suggest you all do the same. It always pays to be cautious."

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"Sentrius, I do apologize in advance and I mean no offense but, are you even listening? The Commander has already told you she does not use "tricks" as you have so aptly described her powers and you have no idea what she plans. I agree, it pays to be cautious, but its also advisable to not put on such an aggressive front at first. The best offense is often a good defense," Nai replied, wanting to roll her eyes at him, although she did have one hand on her blade in case she needed to pull it out quickly. Then again, she could use it now and take out one annoying hazard...

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"Well, I'm sure the Commander is just using a technical term for them," Sentrius said. "And what I know is that we are here to apprehend her for a reason. The Commander said she was dangerous, so this is a precaution. If we're able to attack swiftly, we'll be able to put the cuffs on her without a fuss."

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"But if she sees us with our weapons out, wouldn't that tip her off the instant she saw us that we were about to attack? Considering we're going through the front door, I wouldn't say that we're setting up for a sneak attack and if she's as dangerous as the commander tells us, I doubt that even we would be able to do it without a fuss despite the precaution," Nai said, her face completely blank. The mask broke into a small grin as she shrugged, "Then again, that's just my thoughts.."

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"Look, all we have to do is open the door ,charge her, and knock her out quickly and efficiently," Sentrius explained. "If she's that powerful, then that's the best way to do it," Sentrius continued, as if his opinion was the only plausible one.

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"And you don't think that because she's powerful, she wouldn't have something set up in case someone tried to go in and attack her?" Nai asked, thinking of the different outcomes of the plan, "Like a trap or a defense? If she does, the first person that went charging in to attack her would be vulnerable to her attacks since she'll probably be alarmed by the disturbance. It takes time for us to go in and true, she may be caught off guard, but how much time do you think that buys us? Like a few seconds? She probably uses magic as well so melee weapons would be useless should she have an attack or defense spell or type of magic against it..Its not going to be an easy battle as you believe."

Nai huffed, completely forgetting the others were there. Her eyes burned with irritation and her face was made into a pout. If she had not been so wrapped up in proving Sentrius wrong, she might have remembered that commander Roka could have easily advised them on the plan and what exactly they would be doing to Master Sogani. That the argument was completely pointless because commander Roka was there to guide them and instruct them on how to apprehend the pheonix, if that's what they were really there fof. She would have remembered that she was supposed to hold onto her composure so no one could see what she truly felt, and see a glimpse of who she really was. Lying was hard for her when people saw her without her usual, modified self.

Still, she was distracted and Actress fell apart. Even Puppet was having a hard time keeping composure.

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#, as written by Nulix
Commander Roka pushed open the gates of the large fence of broken stone and wood surrounding the castle. The rim of the suns light on the distant horizon flew onto his eyes as he approached the door. Without a change of pace he sent a powerful kick into the wooden doors front and it swung to the side violently, Roka immediately walking through as it did, followed by Tailor. Roka paused as he approached a large staircase, doors surrounding him. "Search the first floor, find her," He whispered. Tailor and Oseal gave an immediate nod and rushed off into separate rooms. Jove decided to stay with Sentrius, Nai, Xeroux, and the rest, who stayed with Roka as the two Knights under his commander searched the floor. They quickly returned and shook their heads no. Roka turned slowly towards the staircase and drew his blade. He made his way up, the wood cracking beneath his armored feet as he did. His view saw over the edge of the staircase as they walked up. The top room had many chairs laid out, a small wooden tea table in the center. One chair face away, onto the window that shinned in orange light. A tip of black hair poked from behind the chair. Roka made his way toward the chairs and paused as the women sitting in the chair stood.

"Hello Sir Roka," The women said slowly, her voice crippled and weary. "I thought I'd never see you again."

"Oh don't worry, they made sure I found you again," Roka replied hesitantly. "And its Commander now, actually."

"Never became a General then?" The women asked.

"No I became one of those, after our Commander died I became a Prefect, then a Minor General, then this," Roka said.

"And what about the smart boy, the one with the strong brow? Sir Dragoon?" The women asked.

"Same story, only he skipped the Prefect stage," Roka replied. "Now... you know why I'm here, don't you Master Sogani?"

The women chuckled bitterly, coughing as she did. "Yes Commander I know, I know."

Roka raised his blade quickly. "It will be quick," He said.

"A moment, give me a moment," Sogani muttered, before turning around. Her eyes were black, the white around them red. Her skin was wrinkled and burned, her hair black as ash. She was old and frail, and her movement reflected that. The woman began to make her way passed the chairs, her hand gently pressing on them for support as she went. She was headed for the stairs until the Black Knight Tailor stepped before her, his arms crossed strong. Sogani chuckled and glanced back at Roka. "Brilliant isn't it? The total destruction of Phoenix's," Sogani chuckled. "All to keep the King of Sora in power."

"Sora has no King, we are a republic, not an empire," Roka replied.

"You an empire but you conquer like one," Sogani spat. "Two brilliant laws. The right to civilize. And the right to destroy abominations. One ensured that all war had a permit, all expansion had a reason. The other to keep an enemy outside of yourself."

Roka squinted his eyes, "What do you mean?"

Sogani smiled. "A civilization only prospers when united. To unite you always have to be in the same group, and to keep the same group you need a separate, another. The phoenix's ceased to be a threat long ago, we are not the Phoenix Knights. Yet you insist we are and that we pay for our ancestors crimes. To keep it separate. Sora versus the Phoenix. Us, together, against them. That's how your Kings keep in power."

"Sora has no King," Roka repeated.

"It has Kings," Sogani replied quietly. "Weapons dealers, the heads of orders, the councilmen, the Knight elders. Its Kings are the ones who report to that grand hall in Sor and tell each other what they want, and then they get it. Sor has kings, all fighting each other for control Roka."

Roka was silent, his head glancing down at her words.

Sogani smiled slowly, her teeth black and brown. "I've always liked you Roka. More than Dragoon. You know nothing of darkness, even now, all these years later when we are both old and near the end, you still light. Your still so pure and innocent."

"Not so innocent," Roka replied. "I've killed more men than you could count, or maybe not more than you could count, but many. I'm a Knight, the world needs us."

"And the world needs us," Sogani said. "Let me go, set me free. I'm old and my life is near an end. There is but one evil I still live to fight, it is gathering in the dark worlds as we speak. Let me free, Roka... let me free."

Roka paused, before looking up at her again, his eyes directly to hers. "Sogani... you know I can't do that."

Sogani's eyes flickered. "I know. But it always paid to hope." Suddenly, her hand stretched forward, pushing itself into the chest of Tailor's black armor. Flames began to leap from her hand throughout the armor, and after a second Tailor was blasted back into Jove, a charred hole straight through his chest.

"Attack!" Roka commanded, charging towards Sogani whose hands spouted flames.

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"Hoo-hah!" Sentrius exclaimed, placing his shield in front of him. "Finally! some action! Take this!" Sentrius shouted, firing several rapid blasts of his plasma blaster at Sogani, all while keeping his shield up. "You want to start burning holes in the Knight Elites! Well not today, lady. Today, you've claimed your last victim!" After a minute or so of firing, Sentrius quickly ducked down and rolled across the floor to another spot, where he began the same strategy of shooting with his plasma blaster and blocking with his shield. Before long, he would've rolled into another spot and used the same strategy.

As full of bravado and selfish as he was, Sentrius did make it as a Knight Elite for a reason.

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#, as written by Nulix
Jove gave a quick run towards Sogani, his shield directing away any flames she sent toward him. He got closed and send it sword out for a jab. He felt her grab the end of the blade out of his hands and send it flying back into his shield, the force pushing him down onto the wooden floor. From behind her Roka leaped, his blade downward. The point of his sword entered her back, and with a final breath, she fell. Roka pulled his blade out and wiped it clean, red blood slowly filled a puddle near his shoes. "In peace, old god," He whispered slowly at the sight.

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"Ah, well that didn't last too long," Sentrius noted, lifting up the facemask on his helmet to wipe away a bit of sweat. "I knew that whole Phoenix nonsense was mostly rumors.So, is this it Commander Roka, or is there more justice to dispense?"

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"This was not nonsense, and Master Sogani was not a rumor," Roka said with extreme hatred for Sentrius.

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"Er, right sir," Sentrius nodded. "I was asking if we had any other purpose on this planet besides this particular mission, sir."

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"This was not a mission, and Master Sogani was not a purpose," Roka said with extreme hatred for Sentrius.

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#, as written by Ris
(Heh, I think it used to be 'extreme distaste')

Loki knew he wasn't needed in the fight--The others had it taken care of. Tailor, on the other hand, was his main concern.

The young knight quickly hurried to his side and knelt down, not touching the black-armoured knight, but rather simply looking over his body. He could not for the life of him imagine how someone could have survived from such a blow, and it certainly didn't seem like Tailor was with them anymore. Stifling a sigh, choking up slightly simply for the loss of life of someone under their care, Loki turned his head back toward Roka. "He's gone, isn't he?"

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Roka stepped over Sogani's body and towards Tailor's. His black cape had fallen over his body. Roka approached him and went down slowly, raising up again with the cape in hand to reveal the face of Tailor, a small line of blood on his clean left cheek. His eyes were shut tight, and his head rested to one side. His chin touched his armor, just below a large hole where fire had been. Roka dropped the cape back down onto the body, and turned to the others. "He is gone to find what we all will one day," Roka said with a small smile. "Oseal, carry him. Our mission on the Kings Port is complete, and your trials, Sir Loki and Sir Xeroux, are next on the list."

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"Hey, Commander..." Sentrius began. "I was wondering...Why did you never become for general? Given all of your accomplishments you would've definitely made it." After a moment of silence, Sentrius added, "And, uh, sir...at the trial. While, their crime is grave indeed, we do have, erm, some eyewitness reports that General Yoff's unit did participate in various war crimes as well. If that mean's anything of course."

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"I was a general," Roka replied. "A minor general, I commanded three legions in my time. One at the beginning, the hundred and eighth, and two at the end, the sixty second and sixty first. Then, like many General's, they decided to promote us, to make way for the Jaksons and young men of the future, you see. I could of been a Major General, like General Yoff, or I could be a Knight Commander, which, despite what some say, is one of the highest and most important positions in the Knights. A general commands an army, but a Commander leads Knights. And a Knights competently commanded can do a lot more than a Legion could ever do. As for the eye witnesses, they won't matter. Its like Sogani said, the most well known law in our history. The guiding principle of our expansion. The Right to Civilize. If we can deem them uncivilized, the Legions can do anything to them. Anything."

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"Ah, I see," Sentrius nodded. "Well, if that's the case, then...I have no further objections." Sentrius paused for another minute before asking. "Though, if I'm reading the rulebook right (which I'm positive I am), then the actions of General Yoff's unit would in fact be a danger to other Knights. Uncolonized worlds are often considered to carry various diseases and contaminants that are considered by extreme health hazards. Code 457 c. states that all contact with aggressive members of uncivilized worlds should only be met by lethal force. Direct contact is not allowed."

Again Sentrius shrugs. "Again, I'm not sure if that will help, but their contact with the natives was, er, direct, and if they were able to complete their mission and carry those contaminants on board the ship with them, then we could risk our peaceful worlds getting infected. In fact...the whole world was filthy...disgusting! By the time they were finished with their raid, they were a walking bio-hazard. Dangerous to themselves and others. And while I'm sure my...former teammates, methods of getting rid of said hazard, were idiotic, dangerous, and of course, treasonous...they were merely trying to aid the rest of humanity. So, if anything, I hope that will move them from the death sentence to life sentence. Or exile."

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#, as written by Nulix
"That's the handbook for the Knights, not the Legion," Roka replied with intense hatred and furry directed toward Sentrius. "Though if you want to say that the fourteenth, seventy-second, and eighty-ninth legions were a bunch of rule breakers who deserved to die thus my fellow Knights murderous rampage was absolutely a'ok, I wish you the best of luck."

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"Ah..no, sir," Sentrius frowned. "I'd rather not." Sentrius was beginning to think that Commander Roka didn't think too kindly of him. Of course....there had to be one odd one out, right? Al lot his commanders thought...No, they knew he was to be the next great Knight General. The leader of his generation. Perhaps Roka was the only one who didn't see it? Oh, well, and General Yoff, but he's not exactly someone with the best opinions, is he?

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#, as written by Nulix
Roka shook his head sadly at the disgusting display of a Knight that Sentrius claimed to be.

"I know a boy on Capima who can help us," Jove spoke at last. "I don't know if he will, but I do know that he can. He's very well set up in the matters of law an' order."

"That sounds like an idea," Roka said with a loving smile toward the green Knight. "Jove's lead may be your best option. When we arrive on Capima, in the city of Sor, seek him out. And try to find the ones guilty, if you wish to defend that your not you'll have to prove someone else is. If you want of me I will speak in your favor."

"But they gave you a confession!" Oseal interrupted.

"Yes, they did," Roka replied. "But I've done much the same to protect a team who may be called treasonous Knights. One to save many is a saying I'm quite familiar with, that the Knights are quite familiar with."

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Xeroux smiled, looking down at his boots. Roka knew exactly what he and Loki had done, and even Sentrius was trying to legitimize the explosion and killing of the Legionaries. He'd have to give the man a hand shake once this was over. He knew the tall Red Knight wasn't someone to hate, just a man who loved to follow rules and knew they were created for a reason, follow the rules and you can guarantee an almost perfectly planned mission, and happy life, but rules never accounted for the variables the universe threw at everyone. That's where friends and team-mates came in. He'd be sure to be there for Sentrius when the rules didn't cover something, and help him see new ways to do things, following your own gut.


"Thank you..." He whispered walking past Sentrius. "You're a real pal...and trust me when I say, all I wanted to do was protect you and the others." He wasn't sure if the man had caught every word he'd spoken, as he continued whispering as he walked past, finishing his sentence a good three or four feet from the Proud Red Knight Elite.

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"Thanks," Sentrius nodded to Xeroux. "It is unfortunate, that you and Loki had to turn to such measures, but I can at least ensure that you two don't die."

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Xeroux walked outside, breathing in the fresh air that surrounded him. It smelled so crisp and fresh, perhaps it was due to the fact that he was potentially a dead man walking. He smirked shaking his head, "Not that I had anything big to live for other than being the best Knight I could...I never found love, never saw the Prism worlds, so there's nothing to miss, and nothing to regret. After all, you can't miss what you've never had. It funny, I always worried about dying on the battlefield, how it would play out. The pain, the tears, the longing to wake from some sick nightmare instead. I wold have never guessed my death would be decided by my own side. Weird how life and destiny work that way..."

He sighed, waiting for the others to emerge from the house of the now dead Phoenix. The rest of the day would be on a trip back to the Capima islands and his trial. He wondered how Lauren was doing, and hopped she didn't wake up until he was back.

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Nai lingered for a few moments, to pray silently for the two fallen warriors and because she didn't want to leave the dwelling just yet. We haven't even been knights for that long and there are already so many dead... Her lips turned downwards into a frown, her red eyes glancing at Xeroux and dwelling on Loki. She knew the two men were innocent but couldn't understand why the two were sacrificing themselves for the others. There was no profit or gain from such a valiant act, and none of them were really friends with the others. A feeling of sadness enevloped her as Nai realized that if the two were sentenced to die or imprisonment, she would lose two valuable allies. Not only that, but she wouldn't get a chance to know the two men better and understand their actions.

With a sigh, Nai slowly left the house, shoulders slumped. The trial was next and the faster they arrived, the sooner the conflict would be resolved. She could only hope the outcome was positive.

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#, as written by Ris
Loki soon made his way outside again, lightly rolling his head across his shoulders as he turned to stand beside Xeroux. He almost felt a connection of sorts with the knight now that both of their lives hung in the balance, but at least Roka seemed sensible--More so than others, at least. The knight commander seemed to already know what they had done, but he wouldn't give it away until the time was right.

The young red knight also felt rather guilty about the whole situation. True, neither he nor Xeroux had done what they claimed to do, but Loki had hardly done any good by stepping forward and offering his confession. Xeroux was the one who saved the team by confessing a lie and sticking to it--Loki was just trying to save him by doing the same.

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#, as written by Nulix
Roka marched down to his camp site where the two black ships stood, around one was the remaining members of Roka's team. Roka squinted as he approached them, the team of Malkini's Knights behind him. Roka was silently for a moment as his Knights looked on at him. He did not want to tell them that their teammate had died, the black Knight among them, the very best. "We will head to the Capima Islands, to the capital city of Sor," Roka spoke slowly. "Tailor will not be joining us. The mission got the best of him."

Roka's Knights gave a nod of understanding, and then entered their ship. Roka turned to Oseal, who stood behind Malkini's Knights. "I will fly our ship to the Capima Islands," Roka said to the group and Oseal. "You will follow me in your ship. Oseal will stay with you all until the make it there, just to make sure Sirs Loki and Xeroux here don't, somehow, escape."

"Aye sir," Oseal said, before hurrying off to get some supplies from his tent. Roka watched him scurry before turning back to the Knights. "Capima will be less than a days travel," He said. "I suggest you get your defense ready on the trip." Without another word Roka turned and made his way onto his ship.

Jove sighed. "Looks like we're going to court, then." He muttered. As he did Oseal came back toward them, a bag slung on his shoulders.

"Ready then?" Oseal asked.

Jove gave a nod and the group boarded their ship. Roka's ship lifted off beside them and made its way into the sky. Jove began the ships engines and it too lifted, following Roka.

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Xeroux wondered into the room with a sigh. Lauren stirred from his bed, her pink eyes scanning the unfamiliar place. She sighed, and he heard her start to cry. She wasn't stupid, she understood what happened fully well, and the pain showed over her entire body. He walked over to her slowly, putting his hand oh her shoulder.

"Don't worry, I'm here..." He said with a sad smile, he maybe there now, but in a few hours, he could be in a prison cell, waiting to die.

"But, I don't even know who you are...my mother, my father, my sister...they're who I need right now...not a Knight in shiny blue armor..." Lauren sobbed in her native tongue.

Xeroux's hand found his lap, his heart sank. She was bitter, and had every right to be. He stood slowly and started walking out the door, he wanted at least one last view of the stars.

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"Ah, so I wonder what's next for us?" Sentrius proclaimed, talking to his remaing squadmates that weren't being tried for treason. "I suppose after we get the whole court case over with, one of us will be assigned temporary squad leader. Most likely the,*ahem*, the team member with the most credentials from his academy days. At any rate, once this all gets settled, I'm sure will be on to fighting enemy armies by the weekend, eh?

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