Hunters of Terra Dolor (Role Playing Section)

ZombieSplitter53

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Eyes Down Low
Part Four


"I don't understand." Mina looked over to him. "What do you mean, too loud?" What is the noise?"

"It's akin to... A vibration... An all-encompassing vibration so loud it's... So hard to think..." He said, struggling.

"Baphomet, are you-" Mags suddenly turned around as she heard banging on the glass behind her. Betty had lifted her hands up to her neck, wrapping them around like she was strangling herself, then she stood completely rigid.

"What's happening?!" Mina gave the sheep woman a panicked look. "Is... i-is she...?"

"I... Don't know..." Mags said as Betty shook her head, repeating the same two actions once more.

Mina practically snarled, and suddenly started to beat her fists against the glass. "Fight it! We're coming for you! Please, just hold on!"

Betty then shook her head faster, holding her hands up horizontally next to her, about three feet or so apart, then pointed at her throat and repeated the same two actions as before.

Mags tilted her head. "Is... Is she...?"

"...trying to tell us something?" Mina pointed to her own neck. "There is something on your neck? Causing all this?"

Putting it together that Betty couldn't hear them either, Mags signed herself. Mags pointed to her neck, tried a struggling, pulling motion, then nodded her head yes.

Betty lowered her eyebrows for a moment, the noise still causing her pain. However, she then nodded, repeating the parallel hand gesture, then she pointed to her forehead. After a moment of that she moved her fingers to the side of her head, hanging them down in front of her eyes.

"Whatever they have on her is messing with her head," Mina surmised. "Possibly controlling her."

"Is there something like that though...?" Mags turnes to face Mina, then back to Betty, nodding.

Betty put her hand on the glass, perking up slightly. The Fly crouched down, lifting her heels off the ground, straightening her arms and putting her fingers into the floor like claws, all the while arcing her back forward.

"Why... Why is that pose familiar... I... I swear I've seen it before..." Maggie scratched her head, racking her brain for the answer.

"The gargoyle rings..." Mina grit her teeth. "They've modified the collars we use to control gargoyles to control people. Thropes specifically, no doubt."

"That's... But how do those ring even work? If only we had Erin..." Mags asked Mina, nodding over at the Thrope.

Suddenly, small shards of the dream came down, shattering on the floor. "Magdalene... The dream is... Breaking...".

Mags pointed up at the cracking ceiling and Betty seemed to panic a little bit. However, she tried to do one more sequence of gestures. The Fly Thrope stood up, putting her hand vertically out just below her ribs, as if she was showing them a height. Betty then placed her hands on the sides of her head, pointing her pointer fingers on each hand up. Finally, Betty looked over at Mina, forming a heart in the middle of her chest with her fingers, then pushing it forward.

"Erin is a victim of this too..." Mina smiled sadly. "And she loves us."

"I... I think she wants us to tell Eliza... She loves her..." Mags chimed in with her own.

"Oh... yeah." Mina looked over to Bephomet. "Is the other one any more stable?"

"Yes... But... Just as loud..." Baphomet replied, the dream crumbling more.

Mags placed a hand on the glass, giving Betty a confident nod, a nod which the Fly quickly reciprocated, a peaceful smile growing on her face.

"Alright, Ms. Havenbrook, let's go..." Magdalene said regretfully, signaling her Nightgaunt Companion to open a way out.

Mina nodded, staying close to Mags, less she be swept away in the dream's destruction.

As they exited the dream back onto the platform, the dream bubble popped, a sudden, loud screeching noise being let out in the orb's final second. However, floating next to them was Erin's orb, equally distorted.

"Finally... At Last... Quiet..." Baphomet huffed, drawing a concerned look from Mags.

"If... If it's too much, I think we might be able to go in by ourselves, just open it up once you notice the dream collapsing." Mags suggested, putting a caring hand on his forearm.

"I... Very well, I trust you, you are experienced here now. I'll monitor you two from here." He grumbled, agreeing cautiously.

Mina nodded. "Best not put you in any more anguish."

"Okay..." Mags took a deep breath, placing a hand on the other dream bubble.

Within, behind the same glass barrier, Erin lay in pain on a ratty, old bed. She looked to be in a small bedroom, no bigger the a closet, with just enough room for her bed, a dresser, and a few dolls. She had her hands over her large ears, her eyes squeezed shut in suffering.

Repeating what she did the last time, Mags gave the glass a hearty knock, the sound reverberating out.

The rabbit woman flinched, then slowly looked up. Seeing Mags and Mina, she quickly got up, stumbling over to the glass but collapsing against it.

Mags lowered herself, pressing her hand against the glass. "Erin? You can't hear us, right!?"

Erin's expression answered it, pointing to her ears and all around her.

Mags nodded, pointing at her neck and making a choking motion to confirm what Betty had told them. Erin weakly nodded. She pulled at her neck, then pointed to her head.

Mags took a second to think, then holding her hand up into the air and made a first. She then pulled it up and down, mimicking a train conductor to let her know about the Railroad's assistance. Erin's eyes widened, and she smiled ever so much, nodding, before grabbing her head in pain again.

Mags cupped her hands around her eyes to make them look bigger, then made a heart with her hands, trying to tell Erin that Betty loves her. A tear rolled down the rabbit Thrope's cheek, and she made her own heart shape.

"Mina... Is there anything you'd like to say?" Mags looked back.

Mina placed her hand on the glass. She brought two fingers together. "Just a little time. Soon. Understand?" Erin slowly nodded.

Finally Mags mimicked Betty's signing from earlier, trying to tell her Eliza loves her too. As she did so, a tear rolled down Mags' face, the situation of her friends affecting her, even with her bond to Methos.

Suddenly, the entire area started to shake violently as the dream began to shatter around them.

As it did, the dream opened up behind them, signaling that it was time to go. As Mags turned, she looked back towards Erin regretfully, sad she had to leave her for now.

Erin waved her hand for her to go. Mina grabbed Mags' hand. "Come on. We don't want to be caught in here."

"Right..." She said, running through the portal and being thrown back out onto the island.

Mina turned and watched as the dream crumbled away. "I take it dreams don't usually end that violently..."

"No... They do crumble, but that one almost exploded..." Mags shook her head. "Their dreams are wildly unstable..."

"They're using gargoyle collars to control them. It's sick..." Mina shook her head. "Please... get us out of hear. I am tired of this nightmare."

"I'm sorry for showing you this Mina... I... I shouldn't have done this... I didn't know how bad it would be..." Mags apologized, everything weighing on her.

Mina placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I'm glad I saw this. It'll motivate us, and... tell us what to expect."

"Mina... What if we have to fight them? Betty and Erin?" The Sheep asked, unsure if she could raise her weapon against them.

"We do what we must..." Mina shook her head. "I am confident we can stop them without hurting them... but whatever happens, it is better then leaving them there."

"You're right... I guess I'm more afraid of them hurting us... Or hurting themselves..." Mags rubbed her shoulder. "I can't help but think, 'what if I was in their position'. If I hurt any one of you, I'd never forgive myself..."

Mina shook her head. "Those kinds of thoughts are poison. We need to be strong for their sake. And I know how strong you can be. I have seen it time and time again.

Magdalene nodded slowly, "Alright, Thank you... Mina..."

Mina nodded. "Come on. We have work to do."

"Baphomet, please take us home..." She looked up at her Nightgaunt, who was slouched over slightly.

"Very well... We must rescue them... We have to stop this monster here..." The Dream Demon spoke, showing a rare but legitimate sadness.

Mina nodded in agreement. "We will. Count on it."
 

ZombieSplitter53

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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
MarineAvenger & ZombieSplitter53
A Few Good Days
Part One


Havenbrook Manor
Nearby Lakeside
Sept. 11th, 3349
4:25 p.m.


Light poured in through the sheltered canopies of the overhead trees, the rays of the warm September sun having been the usual oppressive warmth that came with the summer season. Fall was coming on the heels however, so the cooler weather was not far off as well, but current training ground provided the necessary shelter for one of the students who resided in the cool lake close by.

The second, a recent addition to the Havenbrook garrison was the small Light Elf Yuffie, who currently held two short wooden practice swords in her hands. Three feet in front of her was her tutor, Lyr, who had a staff of light materialized in one hand. “Do not be afraid you will hurt me. No offense, but you still have a ways to go before we make a proper fighter out of you yet.”

“Yeah, well… how come you get to use a real weapon? Just try not to hurt me.” Yuffie rolled her neck, and took a few practice sings at Lyr to try him out.

His staff moved in swift motions, batting away the wooden swords meager attempts to try and strike home. Her master did not retaliate back. “If I don’t hit you, I can’t hurt you. Leaves me at a severe disadvantage, does it not?”

“I suppose. Though you have a knack for turning those around.” She started to swing faster and make bolder moves, content in the knowledge that she didn’t have to defend herself.

Still, wood made contact with the white-yellow hued object, the Ophidian continually backing up to get her to advance on him. For her more bold moves he didn’t even block but slid around her with ease due to his dexterity and easy flow of combat. This only seemed to egg her on, as she started to try feints like he had taught her, and strike for any openings she could find.

Lyr chuckled at her attempts but nodded, as her attempts were still resulting in nothing. “Good, good. Certainly better than last time. However, I would have just one suggestion. And it is critical you remember this next lesson.”

“Y-yeah?” She was starting to sweat quite a bit. “Every… little bit… helps.”

“Be aware of your surroundings. And when your enemy is luring you into a trap.” One of her feints missed again as he jumped over her and Yuffie’s off-balanced footing set her scrambling right into the lake water.

Arale chuckled, swimming close. “He sure got you.”

Yuffie laid on the grass by the lake, breathing heavily. “Sometimes… I think he does this just to mess with us.”

“My whatever do you mean?” Lyr asked, standing over her and leaning on the weapon. “I am merely teaching you what it means to be a Hunter. Taking a dip is… hardly the least of your worries in battle. Now, why don’t we see how your healing magic is coming along, shall we?”

She smiled. “Quite well, actually. Just let me hit you in the head a few times and I’ll demonstrate.”

“I can do you one better.” The Ophidian’s weapon morphed, brandishing a small knife that he glided across the palm of his hand with only a wince. “There we go. A simple cut.”

Yuffie scrambled to her feet. “Jeez, Lyr. I was just joking.” She took his hand and her magic flowed into it, sealing it up as if time was going backwards for it. “Don’t be so reckless, demigod or not.”

“I agree.” Arale sat on the side of the lake. “What would happen if you caused nerve damage. Land dwellers use your touch as much as my people.”

“I… I’ve been mauled by wolves and have eaten mother’s cooking. I even took on an army your people were having trouble with Arale. If a scratch like that did serious damage, I would think the gods were having a jest at my behest.” the teen said with a shake of his head. “Anyways, enough of your soak. I say you are wet enough for some action yourself.”

“Action, right.” The fish woman stood up and walked over. “I'm always up for a little action with you,” she said innocently.

With a nod, he stepped away from Yuffie so she could go sit on a rock in one of the sun’s rays to dry off. Knife twirled into spear of sea folk fashion and he turned to stand ready. “At your mark.”

Arale took a defensive stance, holding her spear tightly. “Shouldn’t we practice more under the water?”

“Ninety-nine percent of our missions won’t involve water Arale. You’d be surprised what can be applied to your style from us ‘land dwellers’.” he mocked jokingly, flourishing his hand as two knives went spinning towards her.

She rapidly twirled her weapon to deflect them. “You're gonna have to do a lot better than that, Lyr,” She mocked back.

“Don’t give me lip just yet.” he ran forwards, weapon flourishing around him as he twirled into an upwards slash followed by a downwards follow up strike.

Arale was barely able to backpedal in time. “How is it you are so good with any weapon?”

“I was the son of a woman who believed strongly in self-preservation. You don’t mess with an ex-slave content with her freedom. Besides, if a man can’t protect those he loves, then what is he?” He pulled back as well but that left Arale at a disadvantage she soon found as he formed a bow and fired an arrow that scattered into seven small missiles.

Arale squeaked in fear and twirled her trident to deflect them. “Don’t try and kill me!”

“I’m not going to kill you, you big fishy baby. But that doesn’t mean I won’t provide you a challenge.” Her teacher chastised, the bow straightening into his spear. Running forwards, he charged at her with unnatural speed.

Arale backpedaled. She still had a hard time fighting on land, and wondered if it would help or hinder her, but Lyr insisted she learn both. She thrust her trident up, trying to catch the spear.

It managed to work, but for only a moment as the weapon grew shorter into a pair of rods. Twirling behind her, he poked her in the back. “Good. But unfortunately your opponent isn’t using real weapons.”

Yuffie scoffed. “Uh, good point. I mean, like… how are we supposed to anticipate and get used to fighting someone with a normal weapon this way?”

“If you climb a thousand steps when it comes time to climb ten, it won’t seem so hard.” the Ophidian spouted with a smirk. “My teacher drilled that in when I was learning.”

Yuffie rolled her eyes. “Yeah, well, did your training involve getting your butt kicked every time? Or did you actually win one or two?”

“We shouldn’t complain, Yuffie,” Arale stated. “It is a improper thing considering he is giving us his time.”

“I’m not complaining!” Yuffie folded her arms. “I am complaining, but it is constructive criticism. You just want to be teacher’s pet.”

“Why would I want Lyr to own me as a common animal?” Arale countered, looking offended.

“It’s an expression, ditz,” Yuffie responded.

“Ditz means low intelligence!” Arale pointed. “You… you are one of an unappealing appearance, you trilobite!”

“Hm… well, this devolved quickly…” Lyr mumbled amusedly, running a hand through his hair. “If you two insist on fighting, do it productively. Since I doubt either of you will give in, training is done early today.”

Yuffie sighed, rubbing her poor muscles. “Good to get a break. What about our progress?”

“I too wish to know how we are doing,” Arale stated. “It is hard to gauge with your superior skills.”

“Well, Yuffie prefers to mouth off and goof around rather than practice her magic when I tell her too, and you Arale can still barely walk around out of water let alone fight out of it. Honestly, I am happy at the progress you have made, but there is still a ways to go before I take you on the missions Destani gives me. I’d suggest sending you two on low-rank Guild missions for mother but I’m afraid if I don’t supervise you you two will kill one another before you even get to start your actual assignment.”

“We wouldn’t do that!” Yuffie insisted.

Arale nodded, placing her hands together. “Though I find Yuffie grating at times, I do appreciate her skills and incredible improvement for one who never fought before.”

Yuffie grinned. “Yeah. And fishy, um… well, let’s be honest, she’d probably kick my butt in a real fight, so I trust her more then myself in battle.”

“I swear, you two fight in almost every other way but when it comes to kissing up to me you two are quite the formidable duo.”

They exchanged a grin. “It is a skill we happy to continue to grow,” Arale said with a laugh.

Yuffie nodded. “So give us credit.”

Shaking his head, Lyr relented. “Fine. I will talk to Mina to see if there is something for you two. I am going to be gone a couple of days anyways.”

“Guess we’ll keep practicing while you’re gone.” Yuffie took a deep breath. “Where you going, anyway?”

“A wedding for a friend of mine.” the young man said with a shrug, putting his hands behind his head and walked with the two girls back the distance to the manor.

“Can we go?” They asked in unison.

Lyr grunted, shaking his head, “I am only allowed to bring one guest guys, and I was planning on going alone. Besides, I am not picking a favorite between you two and making the other mope. You’ll be on a mission anyways.”

Arale sighed. “Very well. I… I hope you enjoy yourself. But you really should look for someone to go with.”

“Yeah.” Yuffie chuckled. “At the very least to go halvsies on a gift.”

“Already got them one.” he noted untroubled. “Besides, no one here knows them, and I don’t exactly have many options even if I did want the company.”

Yuffie shrugged. “Whatever. Gonna take a shower then work on my magic so you’ll get off my back about that.”

As Yuffie headed to the manor, Arale bowed her head. “And I will take what I learned today and ponder on it. Have fun at your wedding party. Perhaps we can have one of our own when you come back.”

“If you two get a good report from mother, I will consider it.” Lyr agreed vaguely, patting her shoulder. “Oh, Kara wants you to drop by. Says she finally has that silk clothing you wanted from Kemar.”
 
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ZombieSplitter53

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A Few Good Days
Part Two


“Oh, joyfulness. I will go see to that now. Thank you, Master Lyr.” She took off in the direction Yuffie had gone with a slight skip in her step.

Relieved of his underlings, Lyr took a slightly different path to reach the manor. This one had no entrance but he looked up at the open window Mina kept so Bishop and Angel could come to and fro as they pleased. Crouching a bit, he jumped up and landed on the sill before dropping to the floor in her office.

Mina was sitting at her desk, and jumped at him coming in. “I really wish you wouldn’t do that! We have a mischievous vampire running around out there that might do the same, and it makes me jumpy. Not to mention the assassin that nearly killed Titania...”

“Mmm… never figured you could be so unhinged.” Leaning back against the window he entered from, Lyr crossed his arms. “You are the one who leaves it open anyways.”

“And maybe I shouldn’t.” She turned back to her desk. “How goes the training of your girlfriends?”

“I wish you would stop with that assumption. I don’t have feelings for any girls aside from my family mother.” Lyr growled grumpily.

“I know.” Mina smiled. “I just like teasing you. Especially when you have two… sorry, three girls with an eye on you.”

“And where is this mysterious third girl coming from?” her adopted son asked with a very skeptical look at her back.

“That new maid… cook… whatever she is. She is still trying to find her place here.” Mina looked back. “At least it looked like she had an eye on you when you first met. Have you seen much of her since then?”

“I… might have. Never spoke to her past showing her around that first time. She unnerves me for some reason.” Scratching his nose, he looked away. “Anyways, I am not here for your teasing. Would you happen to have something easy my helpless students can go on too unimportant for the other Hunters?”

“Nothing is unimportant, but I do have one or two missions that I am having trouble getting anyone to take. Easy, but pay is low.” She smiled back. “I’d say they’re perfect for those two.”

“Good. They’ll be set for when I leave,” Lyr said to himself with a nod.

“Right, the wedding. Who’s it for again?”

“A friend of mine I made a while back. Tyrion.” Rubbing his chin, Lyr took a deep breath. “Apparently it is some big deal for his family since it is to a mayor’s daughter of some small town, so it is going to be a big affair. I don’t know much of Serasam’s smaller folk’s customs much, so it’ll be an interesting experience.”

“I bet you’ll have more fun than you think.” Again, Mina turned to her desk. “Who are you bringing?”

“You too? I am going alone. The only reason I am telling some people is to be courteous. Not so people can ask to come.”

“Weddings can get a little boring,” Mina warned him. “Not like you have to bring a date. What about a friend?”

“Like who? Kara would embarrass me, Eraqus doesn’t seem the wedding type… who does that really leave from my small pool of friends?”

Mina shrugged. “Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Did you remember to get a gift?”

“Yes, I remembered.” He walked away from the window and sat on the edge of her desk. He was about to open his mouth to speak again when the door opened, and he met eyes with the white haired maid carrying Mina’s midday meal.

She nearly dropped the tray when she saw him. “O-oh! Lyr… I-I mean, um… Mr. Havenbrook. G-good day to you.”

“And to you too.” the young man said a slight nod.

She brought the tray over to the desk, gently placing it down. “I hope you like today’s stew. I made it myself.”

“I, um… I-I’m sure I will,” Mina responded with a nervous look, lifting the top off the bowl and looking it over.

Graendal smiled at Lyr. “Have you eaten, Mr. Havenbrook?”

“Yeah, I did.” he lied, standing up and looking to his mother, “Anyways, I leave for the wedding in two days. Make sure Yuffie and Arale actually see to those tasks for me. They like to be… argumentative sometimes.”

Mina gave him a pained face, though it likely had more to do with the sip of the soup she had taken. “You got it,” she coughed out.

“Wedding?” Graendal clasped her hands together. “I love weddings!”

“Seems everyone does…” Lyr noted with a sideways glance at his mother.

Mina slowly started to smile again. Almost evilly. “Did you know he has a plus one and hasn’t used it?”

“Really?!” Graendal stepped forward. “Well, um… m-maybe I can…”

Lyr grit his teeth, glaring,at Mina, “Which I told her I wasn’t using.” He added quite pointedly.

“Graendal, please step out of the room for a moment,” Mina said.

“Um… sure. Okay, right…” The maid bowed her head and walked out, closing the door.

“Lyr…” Mina wagged her finger. “Please come here.” With an exasperated look, he shook his head and sighed, going to his mother. She suddenly grabbed his hands and gave him a desperate look. “Please! Take her with you! I beg you!”

“W-What… where the hell is this coming from?” Lyr asked in total surprise.

She squeezed his hands lightly. “She suuuuuucks! I can’t fire her because she has nowhere to go, but I’d swear she came from a pampered rich family and has never used her hands for labor in her life! So many broken dishes. So much dirt missed. So… many… terrible… lunches… please! Give her something she can do! Like, I don’t know, carry your luggage or something!”

Lyr pulled his hands away. “And you want to dump that wreck on me for my vacation? Why the hell should I?” he said just as frantically.

Mina folded her arms. “Because I have been taking care of those two girls for free. Given them a home out of the blue. You… owe me.”

Lyr sighed in defeat. “Fine…”

Mina blinked. “R-really? You’ll take her?”

“Yes…” he agreed sullenly. “This is going to suck.”

“Graendal!” Mina called out. “Come on back in! Want to go to a wedding with Lyr?”

The maid burst in. “R-really?!”
With a disgruntled sigh, Lyr nodded. “We leave tomorrow, so you better be ready. Dress modestly.”

“I-I will… um, to both. I… don’t have that much to wear anyway.” Graendal walked over and took one of his hands. “Thank you so much. It is quite an honor.”

“Just please… don’t embarrass me.” the young man asked, not looking at her.

“Of course I won’t.” She tilted her head. “How would I embarrass you?”

“By acting as you always do.” Scratching his cheek with a finger, he finally spoke his mind. “You come off as really weird. Not to mention just how much you seem to be obsessed with working here. Normal people don’t act so… fake.”

“Fake? I act…” She lowered her head sadly. “All… all I’ve wanted since I came here is for people to like me. For… you to… like me…”

Scratching his head, Lyr shook his head, “Please go get ready. I’ll… come get you when it is time.”

“Y… y-yes, sir…” She turned and walked out with her head down.

Mina watched her with a frown. “Lyr…”

“Look mother, it is fine for her to want to be accepted by people, and another to want my affection. Unfortunately sometimes you need to remind people that their intentions might be misguided.”

Mina took a deep breath. “Just… try to enjoy yourself, okay? And help her to do the same.”

“Yeah,” Lyr nodded, “I will.” the young man left the room to go get ready. The next day, Lyr knocked on Orochi’s door, putting an arm behind his head. He was wearing a simple pair of trousers and laced up shirt with a brown cloak.

The door slowly opened to reveal the blonde maid. She smiled gently as she stepped out. She tried to follow his instructions, wearing a simple white dress that showed off some but not a lot of cleavage and had a slit down from her left knee. She had on a simple pair of fake pearl earrings and a small amount of makeup.

“You look good.” Lyr said for courtesy, waving his hand for her to follow.

She did so cautiously, as if afraid of upsetting him by being too close. “You look really good yourself… uh, sir.”

“Thanks.” Little else passed between the two as they left the manor and started the travel towards the homestead several miles away. The day was generally very nice. It was a tad cooler than the hot summer day yesterday, which made walking under the shadows of the forest rather bearable. Looking to the side at the quiet made, his gaze went back forwards, “You lied for your position, didn’t you? From what I hear, you’re a pretty lousy maid.”

“Well… n-no, not exactly. I warned Lady Havenbrook I wasn’t sure I would be good at. I just… didn’t expect it to be… nothing…”

“So what did you do before coming here?” he asked suspiciously.

“I was part of a… family of blacksmiths. Yeah. B-but my dad didn’t want me to do any of that. Not a… a woman’s job, you know? Such a jerk.”

“If that’s true, why do you not know how to cook? Or clean? Or anything else a woman should know if she isn’t allowed to work a forge?”

“I… b-because my mother wasn’t good at it… either?” Graendal shook her head. “Plus I have all these holes in my memory. It’s sad, really. Like, really inconvenient, you know?”
 
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ZombieSplitter53

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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
A Few Good Days
Part Three


"Some would say it is rather convenient considering I am trying to learn more about you and you dodge the questions so handedly.” the Ophidian said seriously, shaking his head, “I doubt anything you’ll tell me is true, but if you serve any of our enemies: Tecunte, Alice, or anyone adverse to my mother, I have no qualms with killing a woman.”

Graendal shook a bit. Things were going poorly. Every attempt to get close to him has led in failure. No it has ended in a death threat. “G-good thing I mean you guys no harm whatsoever, huh? Heheh ...heh…”

“I hope so.” The scenery was beginning to look even more familiar, and remembering his mother’s request, he sourly changed the subject. “I was attacked by wolves in this forest. Before I got strong. The father of the man getting married today rescued me.”

“O-oh, really? Funny how… life works out like that, huh? Were you really badly injured? I’m surprised you needed help at all.” She tried for a smile.

“My leg was pretty messed up. None of them are capable of magic so they patched me up the old fashioned way until I was better enough to get home on my own. The family are nice people. The mother and father are well meaning people. Tyrion although a bit of a hot head is an honorable guy. Ophelia is sweet, but sometimes a bit too mischievous in combination. And their youngest is like any other little boy I’ve known. Excitable.”

“Tyrion is the one getting married, right?”

“Yes. To a mayor’s daughter from a town over a fair way. Big deal for farmers.” Putting his arms behind his head, he lamented, “The Havenbrook Guid has associated with royalty, fought giant monsters and even dealt with the gods themselves. We are about the strangest collection of people across all the world. Makes you forget that underneath all the grand adventures and peril there is an entire world beneath our feet whose biggest worries are a harvest, a few wolves and which village girl may be the prettiest. A lot simpler life under all the complexity.”

Graendal smiled sweetly at him. “Sounds to me you envy that simple life.”

“I do and I don’t. It would be a nice thought, but being involved as I am now, going to live a simple life would be all but impossible. Once you reach a certain point, your influence on the world won’t allow you to run away like that. It is a curse of great power I suppose.”

The young looking woman stepped close to him. “One can dream, though? Of escaping the crazy aspects of one’s life, like fights and monsters and… I don’t know, abusive family or something, and just finding a nice plot of land to settle down on.”

“Yeah, I suppose we can dream.” Lyr out a hand on the back of her shoulder to turn her slightly to a forest path she was about to walk past and led her down it. They eventually stepped out of the forest and into the large plot of cleared out land that once was rather quiet but now bustled with activity. The fields were clear of any crops now, and instead large temporary pavilions were set up with long tables strewn under them. Men went to and fro, some hefting large barrels off a cart while the smaller boys carried sacks. Women young and old were collecting into small groups to talk and plan. Some shouted commands at the working men while others gave a spare glance or two. Lyr thought they had been exaggerating when they said an entire town would be in attendance.

When they approached the house, a pair of women were walking towards Lyr and Graendal he noticed, and the faces were quite familiar. The younger of the two was slightly taller than Lyr was with bright blonde hair and freckles across her nose and cheek. She wore a simple wool dress with an apron that was near the same as her mother’s, who was nearly an exact image except with slightly graying hair and no freckles. “So good to see you again Lyr. And I see you brought company.”

“My name is Graendal.” She looked over to Lyr briefly. “I am Lyr’s… handmaiden for the day.”

“Someone sure has been keeping secrets.” Ophelia said with a slight sparkle in her eye. Was it jealousy? “We knew you were a Hunter, but to have your own personal handmaiden? I didn’t know you were such a queen Lyr Havenbrook.”

“You’re just jealous I am prettier than you are.” the Ophidian quipped in return, stepping forward so the two could embrace briefly.

“Well, if she is a handmaiden, then I suppose I have some use for her if you don’t mind Lyr. What are you good at dear?” the mother asked Graendal with a soft smile.

Snapping out of a jealous stare at the teens, Graendal said, “Good at? Well, um… I… can gather… things. A-and… fold clothes? And I can dust if the thing I’m dusting isn’t too… fragile…”

“She can’t do anything really.” Lyr admitted stiffly.

“Nothing? Is that true child?” Ronna asked with a slight perplextion.

“Well, I… I-I can… I-I can…” Graendal’s lip quivered a bit.

Ronna chuckled warmly, stepping close to the light haired girl and comfortingly touched her shoulder. “Come on dear. I can show you the ins and outs. By the wedding tomorrow, you’ll put any other service woman to shame.”

“You… you really think you can help someone as pathetic as me?”

“Girl, if my grandmother could make my mother wash, my mother make me cook and I make my daughter into a woman able to do her chores, I can work any miracle with you. Now come. I might have some clothing more appropriate for work than what you are wearing now. I will also give you a proper dress for tomorrow as well. That simply won’t do. It wouldn’t… be as fun.” The smile she gave Lyr made his spine chill for a moment as she took the girl by the shoulders and led her inside.

Ophelia stepped close to Lyr and leaned in to whisper to him, “A handmaiden who is completely useless Lyr?”

The Ophidian groaned. “My mother pushed her onto me so she could have some headache relief. Wasn’t exactly left much choice.”

“Well, I suppose nothing to be done now that you are here. I feel bad for Graendal though. She’s going to be worked harder than a prime mule on fertile ground. Anyways, TJ and Rodrick are in the barn. You should go say hi. We already have a room prepared for you and your guest. More than a lot of these people are getting. Be lucky you don’t have to camp out in the forest tonight.” Patting him on the back, she ran off into the house, leaving the Hunter to go see his friend.

*****

Later that night, Lyr stretched out his arms, taking his shirt off and placing it on a nearby chair. He was glad he did get the same room he was treated in as the bed was quite comfortable. The prospect of having to share it with Graendal left a sour taste in his mouth, but he had before with Kara so he would suck it up for the night. He would not sleep on the floor because of her. Still, her absence made him curious.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the door to the room opened. In walked Graendal. She was dressed as a farm hand, and looked dead. Her lips were chapped, her hands seemed stuck open, her makeup had run, and she smelled of sweat, soap and other cleaning supplies, and despair. She didn’t even seem to notice her roommate as she limped in, eyeing the bed lake she was a starving woman eying a five course meal.

“You look well.” the shirtless teen noted as she planted her face firmly into the mattress.

“I want to die,” she said in a muffled tone, too tired at the moment to lift her face to talk.

“Oh you poor baby.” Lyr mumbled with a roll of his eyes. He went up behind her, and reached down, slowly rubbing her shoulders.

She jumped a little, a surprising burst of energy for herself. “W-what are you doing?”

“Well, you worked hard today. Besides, you’ll just complain all night and in the morning if you wake up sore.” Lyr told her, his hands working down into her very tight back.

“B-but… but I don’t deserve your touch yet, deserve… someone’s touch, someone… message… b-besides, you… you know…”

“It is nothing, so don’t conflate it too much. Just don’t complain and accept it. Mother complains enough about how embarrassing it is anyways, and I have no patience for her whining either.”

“But you…” She lowered her face and he barely heard, “You actually like her…”

“I’ll stop if you really want to fight against me that much.” Lyr warned pointedly, working down to her sides.

“N-no,you can… keep going. It… it does feel really good…” Lyr nodded, continuing to work down her back and back up to her shoulders and neck, leaving Graendal to her thoughts. She smiled gratefully as her pains started to melt away. Relaxation set in, and she felt herself drifting off. Still, she had enough magic to stay conscious enough to enjoy it. This was it. This is what it was like to be close to him.

Suddenly she felt aware of the touch leaving her. “You should get undressed and get into bed.” She heard Lyr say as he walked around and got in on his side, only wearing his pants still.

She blinked tiredly. She had no concept of how much time had passed. She simply sat up, feeling floaty, and stripped down to a simple pair of black underwear. She looked over at Lyr for a moment before laying back onto the bed, reaching for a blanket. Her sleeping next Lyr might have been the most exciting thing ever had she not fallen asleep almost immediately.

The sleep she had was fairly sound that night, no dreams coming to her, merely restful hours uninterrupted. She was finally stirred from that slumber by a slight shake of her shoulder and the face of Ronna looking down at her.

“Hmm? What… what time is it?” the learning maid asked tiredly.

“About two hours until noon. Now come, up and at ‘em. You have a few chores to do and afterwards you can have a meal in your belly. I spent all night sowing you a dress and I still need a little more time to make it perfect.”

“You… you did that for me?” Graendal sat up. “And you let me sleep in late? But… why?”
 
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ZombieSplitter53

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A Few Good Days
Part Four


“What do you mean why?” The middle aged woman asked, walking over to a window and throwing open the curtains to let light pour in.

Graendal blocked her eyes. “Well… didn’t I do bad by sleeping late. The maids at the manor always make fun of me for it. I… sowing my dress? Did I rip it?”

“Hm? No, I mean a new dress from scratch. After all, I doubt you have one so simple as the wedding will have, and from what I saw of your clothing yesterday, it just simply would put you out there. So I took it upon myself to relieve you of that problem. I think you will enjoy it. But it is not finished, so dress, get to work downstairs and put a smile on your face while you do it. You tend to have a fairly beautiful smile when it seems like you are doing something fulfilling dear.”

Graendal smiled at that. “Th-thank you so much. You are so very kind to me. I… I won’t let you down.” She jumped out of bed, wobbled a bit from a head rush, then quickly got dressed and headed out.

While she was scrubbing dishes in the kitchen, she happened to catch sight of Lyr and another man several years older practicing swordplay out on the lawn. While it obviously wasn’t as serious training as it could have been, the two weren’t relenting on one another.

A finger poked Graendal in the lower back, doing so several times. She slowly turned back to see who it was. “What?”

A young boy looked up at the woman scrubbing dishes with a curious set of big eyes. “Do you know where my sister is? I’m hungry…”

“I don’t know who… are you the groom’s little brother?” she asked, wiping her hands dry.

“I’m hungrrrrry!” The little boy complained, burrowing his face into her stomach. “Give me fooood.” he mumbled into her.

She frowned, annoyed. Little brat. Are all human children like this? “Alright. How about I find something to eat? What are you hungry for?”

“I want some cookies.” the boy said, holding onto her dress tightly and giving her very convincing puppy eyes.

She knelt down in front of him. “But you’ll have to eat a lot of cookies to fill up, and you might get a tummy ache. Why don’t we find you something more solid to eat, and finish it up with cookies?” The boy let out a cute little moan and his eyes got even wider and more watery. Graendal let out a long sigh and stood up, taking his hand. “Very well. Let’s go find you some cookies.”

“Yay!” he bounced a little. “Hey, you are that girl big brother Lyr brought, right?”

“Big bro… um, yes.” She smiled while they walked. “My name is… um, Graendal. Had a brain skip there, heh heh…”

“That’s a weird name.” the ten year old said outright, smiling, “But pretty. Graendal. Graeeen… dal.”

She giggled. Guess he's kinda cute. “What about you? Do you have a pretty name?”

“I’m Roderick. Though boys aren’t supposed to be pretty Graendal. That is just weird.” he giggled in response.


“Oh, right. Han… handsome. It is a handsome name. So, Roderick, where do we find cookies?”

“I’d have to say at the top of the pantry where the little thief can’t reach.” A voice said behind them, Ophelia crossing her arms.

“Drat, caught me…” Roderick grumbled.

“Do you have no shame Rod? Using a stranger for your nefarious schemes? I have half a mind to not give you both breakfast.” the young teen wagged her finger.

“U-us both?!” Graendal placed her hand on her chest. “B-but… I was only following orders, a-and… and he tricked me with his big, cute eyes!”

“So you are the type of woman swayed by any pretty look? Is that how Lyr snatched you up?” the girl asked with a wondering smirk.

Graendal blushed, looking away. “I… h-he didn’t snatch me up. In fact, he… doesn’t really like.”

“Roderick, go to father and tell him what you did. And I will ask him later if you told him, so don’t think you can weasel out of it.” With a dejected groan, he let go of Graendal’s hand and walked off, Ophelia crossing her arms under her ample bosom. “Explain.”

Graendal shrugged. “I’ve liked him since I first met him, but… he doesn’t like me. It is my fault. I tried too hard at first, and annoyed him. Now he is annoyed to be near me. He doesn’t say it… but I can see it in his eyes.”
“And what do you see in my eyes right now?” Ophelia asked with a hard stare.

Graendal looked into her eyes. “Um… irritation?”

“That much is obvious, but not the answer I was looking for. Come on, you can do better than that.”

Graendal stared closer. “Um… hopefulness. Gratitude. Joyfulness for your brother. A bit of pity, probably for me.”

“You… are terrible at reading people.” Ophelia said with a shake of her head, “Know how to cook a decent meal?”

“Of course… I mean, a few dishes… um… n… n-no…”

Ophelia was silent for a few moments, “You have to be the single most useless woman in existence…” the teen walked forwards, and took her arm, leading her back towards the kitchen. For the next hour Graendal was drilled hard in the ways of food preparation and making, raked over the coals ten times harder than the girl’s mother. By the end of it, she was forced to eat her own meal for once, and found that she didn’t want to throw up.

Tired and covered in shmutz, she gave Ophelia a small smile. “You think he’ll… like me now?”

“Huh? No, of course not. I didn’t give you a lesson to a man’s heart, I taught you how to make edible food.” Ophelia pointed out.

“Oh…” Graendal’s shoulders slumped. “Cool. Guess I’ll… go back to washing dishes. Um… thanks…”

“Why do you like him?” Ophelia asked, “If it is just to ride him, that is the wrong reason and I suggest you just stop now if that is your intention.”

“Ride… him? Isn’t that what you hu… what horses are for? Besides, why wouldn’t I like him?” Graendal had a look of wonder in her eyes. “I mean, he’s handsome, and strong, and so magically skilled, and the bravest man in the world! But I sense a kindness inside him too. He can fight and defeat any foe, and… and I bet he would stand up to an Elder God his, or her, self.”

“Well then, your intentions are more innocent than I assumed then.” Ophelia admitted. “Well, you will get one chance tonight to prove yourself to him, and only one. I think you’ll know when it comes.”

Graendal scratched her cheek. “If… if you say so. I’ll keep an eye out for it, I guess.”

Ophelia nodded, getting up to go resume cooking for the rest of the family. By the time Graendal finished her food, Ronna came downstairs, waving to her.

“Yeah?” Graendal frowned. “Oh, the dishes. S-sorry, um… Ophelia was teaching me how to cook. I’ll finish them right away.”

“Forget about the dishes, I can have someone else take care of them. Come upstairs and see the dress.” the older woman said with a very motherly smile of excitement that caused the small creases on her face to grow.

“O-okay.” Graendal was surprised to find herself a bit excited as she hurried to follow the woman.

Entering into the bedroom, she guided the giddy maid to the center of the bedroom and went to collect the garment and held it out. It flowed beautifully, though for Graendal it was more conservative than anything she would ever own. The hem would barely stay off the ground, and it was made loosely so her legs had a great range of movement. There was no slash to reveal anything like her other clothing, and the chest looked like it would nestle her cleavage instead of making them a focal point. The whole thing was very white and had a red sash around the waist. “How does it look?”

“Wow.” The young woman held it up in front of her. “It is so different but… I really like it. I-is it really for me?”

“Yes. Hand made from scratch. I am glad you like it. The wedding tonight is going to be so much fun, and while the colors may not be standard, they suit you beautifully. I suggest wearing sparkly along with it if you brought jewelry, nothing earthy. It would be a shame to make such a piece of work shoddy with gaudy pearls.”

“I-I don’t have anything like that. And I would never want to ruin your work.” Graendal lightly hugged the dress. “Thank you,” she said, a tear rolling down her cheek.

“Now, now. No need for that child.” Ronna’s finger reached out, rubbing the small drop away and kissing the top of her head. Elder Gods did not have parents in the technical sense, and Orochi in all her avarice and cruelty had never had the motherly figure to balance out her negativity. It was lucky she was not Orochi, but Graendal and simple maids did not fret over the gods and their woes.

Graendal sniffled, and nodded. “Alright. Please… I want to help out as much as possible to earn this dress.”

“You’ve done enough deary. For now, go draw yourself a nice hot bath, and make yourself look your prettiest. Only a few more hours now.”

Graendal bowed her head deeper than she had to anyone but her brother, and hurried off to take a bath.
 
Last edited:

ZombieSplitter53

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A Few Good Days
Part Five


Time seemed to twist on at a snail’s pace from that point on as time drew closer and closer for the big event. Graendal’s bath was long and relaxing, with the assistance of Lyr’s massage last night and now the hot water, her muscles that ached from her first true exposure to real work was all but gone. It was a more fulfilling relaxation than her old ways of lazing about. Decadence was luxurious up to a point but centuries of doing nothing showed her the value in a hard’s day work and what happened to come afterwards.

When she managed to pull herself away from the soak finally, it was finally time. Donning her new dress and prettying herself up, she and everyone else began making their way to the forest. In a placed cleared out in preparation, hundreds occupied seats for the wedding of the farm boy and the mayor’s daughter. They were an odd match for sure, but there was not a single person in attendance who did not wish the couple a happy life. Much to Graendal’s surprise, she had a front row seat besides Ophelia and her mother like she was a member of the family herself.

Candles were strung on lines between the branches, illuminating the orange twilight in a glow that was the same as sitting in a room warmed by a hearth. The air was calm and perfectly cool now that the afternoon sun was behind them, and the ceremony began. It was long, and elaborate, and in all honesty extremely boring, but the union of two people was something completely unknown to the maid, and thus had an air of wonder and magic to it.

She found Lyr standing with the procession of men off to the side of the groom, wearing a simple but somewhat elegant Hunter’s uniform that was usually reserved for meetings between guilds or with important representatives. He was not the only one in that type it seemed, as another man in the line wore the state uniform of a Serasem soldier. Eventually, the couple was wedded and kissed, everyone beginning to follow them out of the forest to the main grounds of the farm where the real wedding kicked off.

The party was beyond anything one could imagine a small town could pull off but they did. The tents that were set up the previous night were covered in colorful lights, with poles in the ground alight as twilight fell to night. Food and drink was passed around, enough made to feed the village twice over and no one was really reserved with having their share. There were games for the kids, stories shared between the elderly of their earlier days, and even a sword competition between the men. It was no shock when Lyr and Tyrion were the last two contenders, and out of courtesy the Ophidian gave the win to the groom. That didn’t mean the man didn’t walk away with several bruises.

And then a true spectacle began, one that seemed to be the main event of the night. Several men and women took up instruments and a song began with the soft beat of drums, several women wearing dresses like Orochi coming together and humming a tune, several dispersing to force men to come dance with them, all reluctant but not a single one staying idle after a little persuading from the girl or his mates. Some fiddles and violins joined in, and everyone began dancing happily, those on the sidelines jeering, clapping along or trying to convince others to join into the jolly merriment.

Graendal couldn’t help but notice Lyr wasn’t dancing, and the groom’s sister’s words earlier rang in her head. She made his way over to him and stood next to him, waiting for him to notice her. He was leaning against one of the thick poles of the tent, arms crossed watching the festivities. His gaze lingered over to Graendal. “You clean up good.” he complimented.

“Clean up… implying I’m not usually…” Graendal shook her head, deciding to just take the compliment. “They, um… they all seem to be having fun, huh?”

“Yeah, I suppose.” the Ophidian shrugged simply.

“Almost… makes you want to join them… hmm?”

“Are you trying to say something?” the teen asked with a slight upturn of his mouth.

“Well, I, um… I just… I’d like to try and join the dance, but… I don’t really know one here so… uh…” Graendal cleared her throat. “You… you wanna… dance?”

“Took you long enough to ask Graendal.” Lyr told her sweetly, holding out his hand to her.

Her eyes widened in surprise, and she smiled gratefully, taking his hand. Lyr led the maid out to the green, and he led her through the upbeat song where he held her spin under his arm and the two lock hands and move about wildly without a care. When it ended, the men cleared away for a dance by the women. Now Graendal’s partner was Ophelia, who poked her in the side and stayed close to show her the moves. It involved a lot of hip moving, spinning around and swishing skirts throughout the jig that wasn’t meant to seduce, but merely have expressional fun. That didn’t stop the girls from looking good while they did it though.

The merriment carried on, and soon things settled as the night was becoming late. The children were starting to drop, laying down among mothers or one another at their tables. The music was soft, allowing for a moment of calm after the storm. Lyr held Graendal close to him as they slowly swayed side to side with some various other people. Graendal could have swore she saw Ronna and her husband doing the same.

“This… has been a lovely event,” Graendal said softly. “Thank you for bringing me with, even if it wasn’t your idea.”

“Yeah, you weren’t as much of a pain as I thought you would be. Sorry if I… insulted you beforehand. I didn’t mean to off put your feelings so hard. Just came off as a little weird, you know? We weren’t exactly buddy buddy before this.”

“I-I know. Sorry, I… I know I came on a little strong. I just liked you, and… considering what faced me in terms of other men…” Graendal fell silent for a moment. “Can I… tell you something? Something I didn’t tell your mother?”

“Sure, just… mind if I do one thing real quick?” the Ophidian asked her.

“Y-yeah, sure,” she answered. “Go ahead.”

“Alright.” Lyr looked down at Graendal for a few moments, letting their eyes meet for a split second as he slowly brought his head down to her, meeting their lips a bit hesitantly. Graendal eyes widened in shock, tears welling up. She closed her eyes, and went along with it. His arms moved a bit so he was holding her, leaning a little more into it for a good while before pulling back.

“Why… w-why did you do that?” she asked softly, lightly touching her lips.

“To see what it was like kissing a girl. Moment seemed right to finally try it out.” he said in a vague confirmation she was his first kiss. Lyr offered Graendal a soft smile followed by a chuckle. “So… what were you going to tell me?”

“I…” Graendal hesitated. “It isn’t important. And… it would ruin the moment.” She quickly wiped her eyes.

“Oh, alright.” the teen said with a nod, looking at her for a few moments before reaching up, cupping one of her cheeks, merely holding it comfortingly as they shared a look.

She smiled up at him. “Would you… l-like to see if your second kiss is as nice as your first?”

“Doesn’t sound like too bad of a proposition.” he agreed, bringing her in close against him once more, sharing her affections at the moment.

*****

A Week Later

Mina hesitantly brought the spoon up to her lips and took a sip. Surprised, she took the whole spoonful into her mouth. “This… this is good, Graendal!”

“Th-thank you, Lady Havenbrook.” The maid bowed her head. “I’ve been practicing.”

Mina took another greedy mouthful. “So I’ve been told. The others tell me you have been taking your work very serious and are doing well. What happened so suddenly turn you into the ideal maid.”

Graendal giggled. “You’d be surprised how much one or two really good days will change you. Speaking of my work, I’m covering for Amanda in the showers. I’ll be back to pick up the dishes when I finish cleaning.”

Mina watched as she walked out, curious as to what exactly happened at the wedding to make Mina go from considering whether or not to fire the girl to wondering where else she should be assigned around the house.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Dahlexpert, Frostlich1228, InsaneDarkness, & ZombieSplitter53
To Stop a War
Part One


Tungson, Elluviana
Sept. 12th, 3349
4:00 p.m.


The summer days were drawing to a close as autumn nipped at the southern countries, the coldness that would be winter starting to roll in. Not in Elluviana, however. The jungle country, near the equator, was steamy all year round, and in fact was quite tolerable now. A few months earlier, and sweat would have been the prefered clothing for anyone not used to the heat.

The Havenbrook hunters found themselves in the far north of the country, in the capital of Tungson. Eraqus was leading, fresh off a recent vacation, and already he was wondering if he should have come here instead of his home country. His crew consisted of his enforcer Charter, mage Elma, scout Faith, and specialist Mags. Joining them was Zodiak, whom many would be envious of, with his first mission in such a paradise country. Ironically, there were many other Havenbrook Hunters around, but they were on vacation.

“So, who has experience here in the Thrope country?” Eraqus asked his crew as their carriage neared the embassy.

Charter was sharpening his sword, not paying attention at all. “Huh ou I don’t unfortunately, I only been her a few times so I don’t really know the area?”

“Faith?” Eraqus looked at the duck girl. “You lived one country over, right?”

Faith groggily looked up from within her hood, having fallen asleep on the ride. “Uhh… I-I have nev-ver been h-here…”

“And before you ask me uh… I spent my entire life on a wide open farm in the countryside. I'm not really used to trees being closer than twenty feet apart... “ Mags chimed in, hugging her harp. “I don't even know how you can fit this many trees in one spot…”

The Elf chuckled. “Easy. You give them a nice, warm, open country to prosper.” He sat back and rubbed his chin. “The main thing you have to keep in mind is that this place is run by Thropes, really the only place in the world like that. The people here are… relaxed. Non-confrontational. It is the reason they are relying on a foreign guild like us, despite having to wait for us to go around their southern neighbor. However, I must warn you, do not take their laid back nature for laziness or unintelligence or any other stereotype they suffer from.” He eyed the three humans in the group. “They don’t take kind to visitors insulting them in their own home. So watch what you say, got it?”

“Of course. I’d never be disrespectful, especially to those who refuse to fight.” Zodiak looked up from a book he held in his hand, having picked one from Faith’s giant stack.

“Ou come now Mr Eraqus, I never disrespect anyone.” Elma smiled

Charter looked at his now sharpen sword. “I’ll be good, besides i’m always good.”

Eraqus rolled his eyes at that. “I’d argue with that. But I’m not saying you guys will. I’d give the same speech to other Elves going to Lustania. Not singling anyone out.” His face turned sour. “Besides, we’ll have to practice watching what we say for what comes next…”

“Fairies right? Fairy diplomacy…” Mags muttered, not looking forward to the concept all too much.

The carriage rolled to a stop, and the group was escorted to the embassy. All around, the usually bustling city seemed a bit on the quiet side. It seemed the approaching war had soured many a festive mood. Soldiers stationed everywhere didn’t help with that either. “This country relies on the tourist trade to thrive,” Eraqus stated. “A war here could destroy them overnight.”

“Damn…” Zodiak took a slip of paper and placed it between the pages of his book, closing it with a satisfying sound and putting it away. “I can’t imagine living in fear of what’s to come.”

There were even more soldiers within the embassy, the building built for comfort, with large windows to let in breezes. As they approached one of the doors, Eraqus said, “We’ll be meeting one of the Princes. It is traditional for a member of royalty to greet everyone of his guests in turn.”

Inside the room, everyone waited at the entrance as the pair of Thropes waiting inside walked over. One was an aging dog Thrope with a pleasant but tired look in his eyes. The other was a cat Thrope in fancy, royal dress in his late teens to early twenties. “Good day. It is a pleasure to have you all as our guests,” the latter stated. “I am Prince Julius. This is our Thrope/Faerie Ambassador, Melvin Honda.”

Faith quickly threw her hood over her head and ducked behind Zodiak, too shy to stand out in the open.

“It is a pleasure to meet you both.” Zodiak bowed to each of the Thropes, lightly pushing Faith a little farther away from his body with a free hand in order to do so.

Charter and Elma bowed there head. “It’s a pleasure to meet you both.” The siblings said.

The Prince stopped at each one in turn, bowing and shaking their hands. He stopped in front of Mags, looking confused for a moment. “You, um… you’re… goat? No, sheep! Sheep, right?”

“Uhm… Yes. My name is Magdalene your grace…” The Farmgirl bowed lightly, trying not to fall over. “It's a pleasure to meet you.”

“Please, all of you, be at ease. I do not want everyone tense just because I am a prince.”

Melvin nodded. “Besides, it is not like he is about to be king. He is actually only seventh in line to the throne.”

Julius shot him an annoyed look. “Thanks. So nice of you to mention that.”

“Well, we still want to… be grateful to our hosts.” The Sheep girl pointed out.

“It’s also common courtesy to show respect to royalty.” Charter explained.

Eraqus stepped forward. “Ah, you must be the leader of the group,” Julius stated. “You have an aura of leadership.”

The Elf nodded. “Please, tell us the situation.”

Everyone took a seat, and Melvin folded his hands. “Tell me, everyone. What do you know about Faeries?”

Magdalene blinked, “They… Are Small… and live in the forest… Oh! They can be… Mmm... difficult?”

Faith peeked out of her hood, scared to give her own two cents. “U-um… I-I ’ve read about th-them…”

“What sparce knowledge there is about their societies, I’m sure.” The Prince sighed. “Well, a group lives here in Elluviana, and we got along with them fine until recently. One day, they suddenly came here demanding they get half of the entire country. Whatsmore, they want the center of the country, in a circular area. Surely, you can see how unreasonable that is!”

Elma raised her hand. “Um out of curiosity,these Faeries. Are they monsters or people?”

Melvin smiled. “They act like little monsters, but they are classified as people. Similar… similar to the Ophidians. They are considered a people, even if they reject other races.”

“Ou um...I think I left something back at the manor, I’ll just go back there and get it. As Elma tried to leave Charter grabbed her color, Elma turned her head and looked at her brother. “You knew didn't you?”

“Yes, Elma it’s time you started acting like a hunter A Real hunter. Yes our job is to kill monsters and that’s always good, but we must also fight bandits and people that do horrible things. To day it’s this.” Charter rubbed Elma head. “I have not been a good teacher to you, I taught you about hunting animals and that got you better ar hunting monsters. But I never taught you the other part of out job hunting bad people. This is another lesson, a harsh one but necessary.”

“But I don’t want to kill people, it’s wrong! And I don’t want to get used to killing people!” Elma whined.

Charter looked at the prince.”Will you give us a minute, I’m sorry but I have to talk to my sister.”

“Um… Excuse me, Charter, right?” Magdalene walked up, whispering. “Maybe your Sister has a point? Maybe we should approach this a little less violently?”

“Um sorry sir but, at the moment that’s not possible.” Charter eyes widen realising, realising that not the prince or anyone else knows that the goddess is behind this. “ Um Tell you what well come up with non lethal ways, first Ok.”

“Well, that is what we are hoping for.” Melvin took a deep breath. “Naturally, we don’t want you to fight a war for us, not that you likely could. But we might have another way of handling this.” He reached into a pocket and pulled out a tiny, clear bottle. In it was an orange shard from a mineral, glowing ever so much. “Have any of you had any experience with strange or unusual materials?”

“Events yes, stones not so much. So what is this stone?” Charter said.

“Verbanium… I th-think…” Faith chimed in, still hiding within her hood, trying to keep out of the conversation as much as possible.

“And what is that?” Eraqus asked, taking the bottle and moving to open it.

“Don’t,” Melvin cautioned. “The substance grants feelings of power to those who touch it, but can cause wild mood swing, irritability, and even insanity. Especially after long term exposure. It is extremely rare but considered very dangerous. We destroy any we find.”

“And you think the royal Faeires have some and it is driving them mad?” Charter asked.

Julius shook his head. “If our intelligence is correct, they have a lot of it… and it is driving most of them mad.”

“But… It doesn't actually grant them any extra power? Right?” Mags questioned, looking at the material.

The Prince shook his head. “No, but it makes them feel more powerful. More daring, more brave, more adventurous. More willing to do crazy things, like, say, risk a war for land they don’t need.”

Melvin nodded. “It is our understanding that this small chip is from a stone the size of four faeries."

“But where did they get it?” Eraqus asked. “You said this stuff is rare.”

The ambassador nodded. “That much… that size… it is unheard of. And we have no idea how they got it. But they have it, and it will lead to our mutual destruction… unless…”
 
Last edited:

ZombieSplitter53

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To Stop a War
Part Two


“Um let’s just say there’s some outside help with this, someone found a great deal of these stones and gave it to the Faeires.” Charter trying not to make the prince nervous mentioning the goddess of discord in this, and adding negative emotions to all this.

“I see. The Havenbrook Organization’s knowledge is indeed vast.” Julius stood up. “Please. We ask you to destroy the stone. It is the only way we can hope for any peaceful solution to this.”

“We have to do this without endangering the faeries, they're innocents in this, they probably don't even know what these shards do.” The Dreamer said, looking over at the rest of her team.

“Good Prince, can we have a moment to talk alone?” Eraqus asked. The pair of Thropes nodded, expecting as much, and quickly exited. The Elf looked around at his hunters and said, “Thoughts? Ideas? Concerns?”

“I think we should talk to them first… We helped their brothers and sisters in Neren'Teva, right? If they heard about that, they might be willing to listen to us.” The Sheep suggested, Methos’ bonding helping her confidence to speak her ideas. “If… If it really comes to a fight, I can put them to sleep so we don't have to hurt them.”

“It seems to me we have two choices,” Eraqus responded. “We can either try a stealth approach, destroying the stone without being seen. The problem is, if we are caught, we will have no excuses to give. Or we can do as Mags suggests and talk it through. We might be able to get the stone without a fight. The problem with that is we will have no choice but to fight if they won’t listen. I want to hear everybody's opinion.”

“Well, I think the first thing we need to establish is that nobody here knows where the stone is being hidden. On top of that, we would need people who are specialized in stealth operations to even execute it, whether we know where the stone is or not. So, is anyone here good at being stealthy?” Zodiak looked around at everyone, raising his eyebrows.

“While I'm not trained in it… Like I said, I can put people to sleep from a few meters away if it comes to that, I don't really know the exact limit though.” Mags chimed back in.

“Well, we don’t know how many we’ll be up against, we don’t know the area at all, and we don’t know the stone’s location. I suggest we try the passive route. Maybe even try to convince them to destroy the stone themselves. It’s a much safer plan and I believe everyone here is much better at a frontal assault, if it comes to that,” Zodiak explained.

Eraqus nodded, looking at the Van Dams. “Do you agree with this?”

“While I personally don’t think talking would work, I recommend scouting the area first before we do anything. If they attack the scouting party then we know that talking is useless. However.” Charter looked at Faith” If a Thorpe went there and could fly, overhead then maybe it will work.”

Eraqus nodded. “Alright. We’ll scout for the stone, but trying talking before we do anything drastic. Is that okay with you, Faith?”

“I-I supp-ppose… If-f I can-n b-be of he-help…” Faith shrunk further into her robes at having her name mentioned.

Charter put his hand on Eraqus.”Can we talk for a moment, it’s important and in private?”

Eraqus nodded. “Everyone, ask the guards to show you your rooms. We will rest up before planning everything out.” He waited for them to leave before turning to Charter. “This is about Tecunte, isn’t it?”

“Ou you know about that, I figured I was the only one to know about that? Well that’s good to know this makes things a lot easier, then yea it her doing this. She placed the stones with the Faeries of course for war, and the state there in talking won’t work. That’s why I asked for scouting so before we go in and get killed, we look at the area first.”

Eraqus nodded. “I agree that talking might be useless.” He smiled. But it’ll work as a distraction at the very least. And they said most of the Faeries are affected. Maybe we’ll get lucky with one that isn’t. Either way, we’ll be ready if things go south, my good man.”

“That’s good to hear now my sister is a different thing, I know bringing her here was a bad idea. But I have to get her in actual battle, With that damn vampire and Tecunte. She’s to good of a witch, granted she still needs training, but she has the capability to be a powerful ally her fear of not killing is understandable but it’s closed minded.”

“I have faith in her.” Eraqus gave him a wink. “Come on. Let’s go get a drink and talk about her and strategy.”

*****

Three Days Later
Faerie Capital of Pikushī
Chamber of the Crystal


Faerie Princess Kairi smiled lovingly as she placed her shard back onto the crystal, making it whole once more. The precious gem glowed its faint orange, making her feel warm inside. Since the Havenbrook Hunters had arrived, made their plans, and headed for the Faerie capital, two small skirmishes had occurred between Elluviana and Pikushī forces. There were no casualties yet, but there were many injuries on both sides. War seemed inevitable.

None of that matter to Kairi right now. She was back home with her people’s precious crystal, the mysterious gem delivered to them by an unknown source. Surely, it was the gods recognizing their superiority and wishing to reward them and give them the power to show it. But those greedy Thropes would come for the crystal. Many would. So they needed to expand their territory around their crystal. None would have it. They would burn the world if they had to.

Floating towards, but staying at a distance from the Crystal was a Faerie with long, fire red hair and an elegant dress with winding branches. Flame designs licked up the sides of her sleeves as the roots and branches climbed up from the bottom, signifying her position as leader of the Neren-Tevan Faeries. “So, what have the Biggies said?” The Princess crossed her arms.

Kairi jumped a little, as if she had been caught in some dirty act. She did little to hide the fact that she didn’t trust her half sister. She wasn’t part of the Pikushī royalty. Could she be trusted anymore than the Thropes? “They have refuthed to yield,” she answered after a few moments, turning around. “They think they can actually Thtand againtht uth. Pathetic.”

The Western Princess rolled her eyes, “I doubt they can even put on their own clothes in the morning… We are most assuredly more capable, but if they get enough of their trained monkies together we could actually struggle. It's not something I like to admit, but we won't win a war of attrition either… We are pretty much blockaded…”

Kairi let out a haughty laugh, her pink locks bobbing up and down. “Your kingdom mutht be weak compared to uth, Aine. Tho afraid of the biggieth. Thtill… we could uthe a little of your help. Tho… is your father Thending uth reinforthements or what? Becauthe we can thtart thith war as thoon as they arrive.”

“Kairi… My Father is dead, I thought you were told. I am the leader of my Tribe now.” Aine narrowed her eyes. “Besides, I can't give you much, what I brought is what I have. After that bullshit with the old one, we don't have warriors to spare.”

“No, no, no!” Kairi stomped her foot on the ground childishly. “Your father promithed me more! Much more! You… y-y-you are honor bound to fulfill our deal! I need more tho I can crush the thtupid animalth!”

“My Father is six feet under, my villages are wartorn, that thing tore a swath through my lands. I can't magic troops out of thin air. What troops I do have I need them to protect what land I have left, and even if I brought them here, the Biggies have formed a barricade around us!” The Fiery Haired Faerie argued, gritting her teeth. “We may need to… Yield to them… As of now, you risk the land you already have a claim on.”

“Yield? Yield?!” Kairi flew right into her face. “They’ll take our crythtal! You exthpect me to give it up to them?!”

“While it's quite the jewel, I don't even know if they really care. Besides, you've been acting more crazy than usual lately, I know better than anyone some things aren't to be played around with.” Aine countered, “I'd hate to lose my only other family, let alone our biggest tribe. Besides, isn't the land you have now enough to defend it?”

Kairi grabbed her arm roughly. “I will die before I give up our precious gift from the godth.” She narrowed her eyes. “Or ith that what you want? You… you want uth to be dethtroyed tho you can take it for yourthelf!” She notice a duck sitting in the window. In anger, she tossed a fireball, causing the bird to squawk in fear and fly away.

Aine pulled her arm away, shooting a disgusted look at her. “Do you even hear yourself you fucking idiot? Like I want your big rock! I'm just trying to stop you all from killing yourselves!”

Kairi glared at the woman, her eyes briefly flashing orange. “You don’t… underthtand. Our crythtal is our life. It gives uth power. It gives uth thtrength! We… can not give it up. And the biggieth will take it away. Our thpieth already confirmed they know about it.”

“I'm on your side…” Aine sighed at her Sister. “You said Havenbrook was involved?”

“Thome Hunterth arrived in the thity a few dayth ago, and were then theen heading thouth. In fact, they…”

“Your majesty!” A guard flew into the chamber. Noting Aine, he corrected to, “Majesties. Urgant news!”

The Princess looked back, “What is it? Are the monkies marching?”

“A-actually, they’re here. We spotted them heading towards the capital city a short while ago. When we intercepted them, they… they said they are representatives of the Thropes here for peaceful talks.”

“Peatheful, huh?” Kairi glanced at her sister. “Here to thurrender? Or perhapth a trick?”

“Well, unless they plan to fight the two most powerful Faeries in the land head-on, they won't trick us… We have the advantage, let's hear what they have to say…” Aine offered, looking up towards her sister.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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May 27, 2013
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To Stop a War
Part Three


The six Havenbrook Hunters waited patiently in the throne room, not sure if they would be seen or not. Eraqus patted Faith on the shoulder, the Duck girl doing a good job finding the Crystal. “Right behind the Thrones. Should have expected as much.” He looked down at Mags. “You’re ready if things go south, right?”

Mags nodded. “I'll do all I can. If it does go bad, just focus on the Crystal…”

Eraqus nodded. “We aren’t here to stop the war, kill anyone, or do anything but worry about that crystal. It needs to be destroyed, and then we need to get out of here.” He frowned and scratched his chin. “Bad time to ask this, but can your harp put specific people to sleep. As in… if you try to use it, would it hit us too?”

“Don't worry, I can control it, focus it in one area.” The Sheep answered.

“It might not affect all of them, however.” The Commanding officer turned to Charter. “That’s where we come in. We need to keep the Faeries busy while the others move towards the crystal.”

“And by keep busy you by talking, or fighting them? Because I’m not that good with negotiations.”

“Fighting.” Eraqus smiled down at Charter’s sister. “Don’t worry, though. We will try and limit casualties. No killing unless we have to.”

Elma breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness for that I was hoping to not kill anyone, so hearing that we won’t makes me happy.”

“Yea and I’ll use my shield more just to try and not kill them.”

Eraqus turned to their newest member. “Zodiak, your job will be to head into the crystal chamber with Mags and Elma and keep them safe. If what we know about this mineral is true, we’ll need a combination of soundwaves from Mags’ harp and Elma’s magic to completely destroy it, but I am sure guards will flood the room at any sign of danger. Up for some protection duty?”

“Yes, sir. I am prepared to take on even Gods themselves in order to protect those two. You have my word. No harm will come to them.” Zodiak looked into Eraqus’ eyes, determined and ready.

“Alright buddy calm down, we’re all laid back here You don’t have to call Eraqus sir or anything like that.” Charter said.

Zodiak quickly switched to glare at Charter. “Are you undermining my politeness and respect? Is my respect for my teammates making you uncomfortable?”

Eraqus held up his hands. “Calm yourselves. Let’s not start fighting among ourselves. Zodiak is free to be as he is. He’ll lighten up when he gets to know us. Kinda like Faith did, right?” He smiled at the Duck girl.

“W-well, Zodiak st-still calls me M-Miss Faith, so…” Faith argued, continuing to hide in her hoodie and contradicting Eraqus’ previous statement.

“It’s true. It’s just my mannerism, so don’t judge me for it.” Zodiak readjusted his gloves, making sure they fit on his hands just right for when the fighting would begin.

Eraqus nodded. “Now Faith, while Charter and I fight off any guards, I need you to watch over that door to the Crystal chamber. Your wind magic is perfect for making sure not a single one come even close to getting in from here.”

“U-um… Jay t-taught me how t-to s-summon a Win-nd Wall… I-I can use tha-at…” Faith shifted uncomfortably in place, as she was once again the center of attention.

Learning not to keep her there, Eraqus quickly turned to Mags. “Of course, that’s if the negotiations don’t work. Please don’t think we won’t try our best to solve this without drawing our weapons, okay?”

Zodiak held up a hand. “If I may interject… If memory serves, insanity was a side effect of exposure to the crystal. While I am perfectly okay with peaceful negotiation, I just can’t shake the fact that there’s a much higher chance that negotiation is impossible. So, I guess what I’m saying is, ‘Prepare for the worst’.”

“But hope for the best.” Eraqus smiled. “Don’t worry. Both options are fully considered.”

It was then that the pair of princesses stepped out of the back chamber and floated forward. “I am Princeth Kairi, and thith is my thithter from Neren’Teva, Aine. And you thix should be on your kneeth. Do you not know common courtethy towardth royalty?”

Zodiak, reluctantly, got on one knee, holding a hand to his chest. He felt severe deja vu in this situation, as the two before him reminded him of his own Tsar that he once was forced to serve. He gritted his teeth, repressing those memories.

Aine smiled with superiority, “A Biggie with respect, I think we found a Golden Hind… Well, are you all going to follow suit?”

Eraqus motioned for the others to do so. “Your majesties, we implore you to listen to what we have to say. We understand that you have a crystal of great power here in the capital.”

Kairi scoffed. “Thee? They are here for it? What did I tell you, thithter?”

“Now hold on now, yes we are here for the crystal. But were not looking for a fight, we believe that the crystal gives the people near it , A crazy effect and alture there ego. We just want to get it away from you is all.” Charter explained.

“He’s right we don’t want to fight you, that’s the last thing we want to do.” Elma said hoping the princess will listen.

Aine blinked. “Are you a retard? You came all this way to ask us to give it over? For nothing? All using some baseless story about it making people crazy? Do you even have any proof?”

“Surely, you have noticed a change in your people,” Eraqus responded. “Hostility. Mood swings. Spurts of anger. You two might have noticed it in yourselves! I mean… suddenly wanting to go to war for land you don’t need? It’s crazy to…”

“Don’t call me crazy!” Kairi screeched. “You thound like that cat printhe! I am not crazy, and you will not take our preciouth crythtal!”

“But it’s pure Verbanium!” Eraqus shouted, pleaded. “It’s killing your people, both from its effects and leading you to war!”

“Not to mention, you don’t have the manpower for total war. Please think of your people, any ruler will put there people first and not want them all to die in a pointless war. Besides, if your neighbors keep you blocked I doubt you will be able to keep hunting for food and get fresh water. Your resources will deplete before you can even go half way in a war.” Charter explained, he once using that tactic on large bandit tribes back home.

Zodiak held up his hand. “If you will not listen to them, at least listen to me. The precious resource you house here in this capital is slowly making you all insane and mad. We are only here because we want to protect you from your own values. Your resource is destructive to both you and others. We don’t side with the Thropes. We side with everyone. We want to protect everyone, even you, from this terrible resource that’s wreaking havoc on you and your people.” Zodiak paused, gathering his next words. “I used to be a knight, sworn to protect my Tsar. And while I am no longer a knight, I still hold my rights from when I was one. I ask that you protect everyone. It is not worth it to keep this crystal here when the consequences outweigh the benefits.” Zodiak bowed to the two Faeries. “I ask to any semblance of sanity left within you two, or even sympathy, that you dispose of this harmful resource. Please...”

“You have to listen to him.” Mags pleaded. “We helped you in Neren’Teva, we dealt with the evil there. Princess Aine, you know we have the best interests of everyone at at heart!”

Aine looked off to the side. “While you didn't actually do much, our Guardian did all the work. Your people did die to protect ours… And… My half-sister has seemed a little more unstable than usual lately…”

Kairi started to laugh. Slowly, softly at first, then louder and louder until it sounded almost maniacal. “That’s… not a good sign,” Eraqus muttered.

“Don’t be a fool!” Kairi shouted at Aine. “Like you tend to be! Like alwayth! How dare you even suspect their ramblingth to be the truth. How much of a thtupid, ignorant dunderhead can you be, idiot girl! They are lying!”

Aine placed a hand on her chest. “I'm the idiot!? Please! You're always up to some stupid thing, I should be at home caring for my people, but I have to travel all the way over here because every time I leave, I catch you eating glue and crayons!”

“How dare you, you… you… I hate you!” Kairi pumped her fists up and down in frustration. “Guardth! Take her away! Lock her up! I never want to see her ugly fathe again!”

“B-but your majesty! She is your sister, and another prin…”

“Arretht him to!” Kairi screamed. “Arretht any who fail to lithen!”

In a low voice, Eraqus whispered, “Get ready to move, everyone.”

Charter put his hand on his sword. ”To any guard around us, I will give you a moment to think. Put your country first, take your leader and leave now. Or listen to the madwoman, and more than likely she will order you to attack us, if you value your lives and your fellow man leave and go home.”

“Brother why must you be so blunt, can’t you put things more kindly?”

The Neren'Tevan Princess blinked at her sister, “Ugly… Did you just call me Ugly!? Fine! If you want to go to war with my people over a stupid rock, I'll just have to vaporize it so you stop acting like a nutjob!”

Guards quickly started rushing in. Some were in different uniforms indicating different sides and they start squaring off. “Mags, now,” Eraqus said. “Knock out as many as you can.”

“Right!” Maggie pulled out her harp, focusing her magic around Kairi and her guard as she played, putting all her effort into concentrating.

Zodiak took a defensive stance, ready to protect Maggie from any incoming foes.

Wind roared within the room and Faith started to levitate, her hood completely off her head. “If you mess with her, you fucking mess with me! Back off!” Faith roared, casting a wall around Maggie to protect her from everything until she was ready.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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To Stop a War
Part Four


As Faerie after Faerie dropped to the ground, Eraqus sprang into action. He started connecting solid punches against the Faeries until they turned swords on him. Despite their small size, they were nearly as strong as a human, and speedy to boot. “Everyone into action. Mags, Elma, Zodiak, the crystal! Charter, Faith, your positions!”

The Farmgirl quickly nodded, running towards the crystal before two guards blocked her path. Mags closed her eyes, swinging her harp and quickly batting them out of the air and to the ground as she continued forward. “I'm sorry!”

As she closed in on the Crystal, she played her frequency, trying to break it before the Faeries woke up.

Zodiak, trailing close behind, pinned the Faeries to the floor with his shortbow by their clothing, making sure that if they did wake up, they couldn’t come back for a second round.

A wall quickly formed behind Zodiak, Faith virtually locking them in the crystal room. Faith let out another roar, the wind in the room increasing in speed. She unsheathed her blade, clashing hers into multiple Faerie blades and pushed them backwards into the walls of the room. “This could’ve been solved peacefully! Why must you fight back?!”

“Well we tried talking anyway.” Charter moved forward to the guards using his shield, as a weapons hitting it against one of their heads . Charter finally pulled out his sword and coated it with blue liquid, and slashed his sword water came out of it pushing the guards back. “Damn it stand down you morons, we don’t want to kill you.”

Elma on the other hand was having trouble, thanks to her brother training her she knew how to at least dodge swords and melee weapons. Until one of them hurt Elma behind her leg, bringing her to her knee. She quickly make a small ice wall behind her to protect herself. “Um I could use some help here.”

Zodiak ran forwards, pinning the Faerie with his shoulder into the ice wall. “Sorry…” Zodiak loaded three arrows into his shortbow, firing them all in different directions. They bounced around, occasionally disarming the opposing Faeries or pinning them into the floors and walls.

Eraqus had by now abandoned his sword, realizing he couldn’t really fight with it and not kill the faeries half the time. Instead, one fireball after another shot from his hands, strong enough to hurt the flying enemies but not enough to kill them.

Meanwhile, several of Aine’s guards clashed with Kairi’s. The two princesses’ magic was strong enough to resist the effects of Mags’ slumber attack, and they were busy clashing swords. “Thtupid, ugly whore! I’ll cut you down mythelf!”

Aine flew forward, her hands and hair glowing with powerful energy. “You can't stand up to me! Stop this Kairi!”

“You’re jealous!” Kairi screamed. “Mother always loved you more! So you expected to get to stay here! But you couldn’t because of your foreign father! You want my land! You want my power! You want my crystal!”

Elma looked at the two sisters arguing over the crystal, Elma used her ice magic to launch herself at the two grabbing the crystal. “Guy I got it, I got the crystal.”

“Good!” Eraqus yelled from the other room. “Quick! Mags, play the notes we went over while Elma pours her magic into it!”

“Already done!” Madalene yelled as she played. “Just do it Elma!”

Elma just looked at the crystal, not putting her magic into the crystal. Instead she started to laugh softly at first and then started to laugh like a maniac.

“Ou this is not good, Eraqus we may want to fall back.”

“Ou the power, I can feel it. The power coursing through my veins, I feel like I can conquer you all.” Elma formed an ice spike and threw it at Zodiak.

An arrow pierced the ice spike, splitting it in two. The arrow continued until it made impact with the crystal. “Back away from the crystal, Elma.” Zodiak loaded another arrow. “Don’t make me shoot you. I swore I would protect you, even if I have to protect you from yourself.”

“You shoot her and I will kill you boy.” Charter shouted. “Elma just listen to me it’s your brother you don’t want to do this, your sweet and nice and a good person.”

“But it’s so boring! I mean I have so much power I can do whatever I want like this.” Elma had two balls of fire in each hand and threw them at the guards, burning the two guards alive. “Wow that, that felt great killing isn't as bad as I thought.”

“Elma!” Charter shouted. “Come back to your senses.”

“Faith, drop the wall!” Eraqus shouted.

Faith, at hearing a command sent her way, calmed down from her rage and focused on control. “Got it.” The wall disappeared, but the strength of the wind didn’t waver. The air around the doorway was exceptionally strong, preparing for any Faeries that would try to follow after Eraqus.

Eraqus was in the room in flash. He rolled and grabbed the gem, pouring his magic into it. He immediately realized why they wanted to use ice magic and not fire as incredible pain flowed into his body, the gem’s natural affinity having an adverse effect. “Mags! Knock Elma out, now!”

“Get away from my crystal, you Elf filth.” Elma used her ice magic and made small shards of it sending them into Eraqus leg.

“Elma enough.” Charted poured some yellow liquid on his shield. “Mags stay behind me alright, new guy I need you to knock out my sister alright.”

“I’m going to need a definition for ‘knock out’. I can attack a pressure point or just pin her to the wall. Your choice, but you have to pick quickly, before anyone else gets hurt.” Zodiak loaded his shortbow, ready to put it back on his back if Charter picked the former.

“D-do… whatever hurts her… the least,” Eraqus ordered, his legs bleeding, his whole arm glowing orange as the crystal grew unstable.

“Well, I mean… Either one won’t really ‘hurt’ her, per se… But one involves me actually being next to her and the other I can do from here. So, you have to pick one. I’ve never been good at deciding between two equally good options…” Zodiak seemingly was trying to prolong his attack, talking until he was given an answer.

“Look I have an idea, when you get close to Elma just go after her pressure points leave the rest to me. Mags I’m going to need you to keep Elma off balance alright?” Charter put his shield up and started to run to his sister.”

“Fools you think you can defeat me? Thanks to that Elf fool I feel my power growing. “ Elma used her fire magic and fired at her brother firing a constant flame. But the fire seemed to not affect the shield. “What!”

“Thank you Erin, so much. Never had to use this enchantment before thank the gods it worked.”

“No fair, that’s cheating using enchantments.” Elma stopped using her fire and started to use her ice magic. The shield still held strong but was starting to lose its strength.

Zodiak came up from behind, seemingly out of nowhere, and swept Elma’s legs. On her descent to the ground, Zodiak attacked her pressure points, forcing her into an unconscious state. The resulting stance he was left with was as if he were dipping her during a formal dance. He gently laid her on the ground to run around Charter towards Eraqus to provide any help that he could.

Around him, six Faeries swooped in and slashed at Eraqus. They cut at him, he couldn’t move, and his arm looked like it might explode. He was helpless.

Zodiak loaded and fired three arrows. Three of them hit three of the Faeries’ swords and proceeded to deflect into the other three Faeries’ swords, completely disarming them all as he continued to run towards Eraqus. “Attacking someone who’s completely helpless? Where’s your honor?!”

Eraqus shed tears of pain as he hoarsely yelled. “M-Mags… y-your song…!”

Mags looked away from the grisly sight of her teammate, playing her song once again before the guards went after her. Everything was falling apart. Elma was down. Eraqus was down. Charter was busy with the soldiers and Zodiak couldn’t protect both Eraqus and Mags at the same time.

Before the soldiers could get a killing blow on the Sheep Thrope, however, the gem finally reached its limit. The combination of magic and the resonance sound of Mags’ harp overloaded it, and it exploded, disintegrating into nothing before a single piece hit the ground. All around, nearly all of Kairi’s soldiers started to collapse to the ground. Kairi herself fell down, hunched over as she vomited out a vile, orange bile. Not all of them were down, but enough that Aine’s soldiers could take charge.

The Havenbrook Hunters were now under her mercy with no one else to rival her forces.

The Princess however was quickly at her sister's side, looking up at the state of the battle. “Guards! Round up the remaining soldiers! Whoever’s left, take care of the Havenbrook Hunters, treat their wounds as best you can.”

Faith, who was still floating throughout the entire battle, her gloves and boots glowing green with power, slowly descended to the ground, closing her eyes and covering her head with her hood.

Zodiak, now given the chance to look at himself, was covered in small cuts and scrapes that he never noticed until his adrenaline had disappeared.

Magdalene in the meantime took a number of deep breaths, few of them had gone for her, yet her use of her sleep spell on so many left her exhausted. However she suddenly fell, pain filling her side as she realized that the guards had indeed gotten close enough for a strike before the stone had shattered. Her side had been cut open, fresh blood dying her wool red and causing it to clump together.

The soldiers were quick to carry out the orders of the princess. Several worked hard to get Mags’ bleeding under control, not daring to move her until her wound was at least somewhat sealed. Eraqus had to be moved right away, however. He was bleeding badly, he had been made to be a bit lighter, and he was suffering from magic poisoning. The soldiers flew over to Eraqus and Elma to check on them.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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May 27, 2013
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
To Stop a War
Part Five


“Move light weights. “Charter moved the guards out of the way. And went to her sister, he pulled a position out of his pouch and poured it into her mouth.” Come on sis wake up, I know your hurt right now but please open your eyes.

Elma eyes widen and she looked around. “Charter, What happen?

“You touched the crystal and well.” Charter looked at the two guards that were burned alive.

Elma eyes widen,and tears started to go down her face.”I--I didn't mean, it I never meant to.”

“I know you weren’t yourself sis, it happen.” Charter helped Elma up and looked at Eraqus.” Look just help with the healing alright.”

Elma nodded her head and went to Eraqus

Zodiak sighed, laying down on the ground. When soldiers went to try to get him to move, he merely put a hand up to signify that he was okay and he would move in a moment. He moved his hands to his head, looking towards the ceiling before closing his eyes. “Fuck…” he breathed.

“Aine?” Kairi slowly looked up from the floor. “What happened? I… I’m sorry? I didn’t… mean it…”

Aine ran a hand through her sister’s pink hair. “Apology accepted, dummy… It's good to have you back.”


*****

Slowly opening her eyes, the Faerie Princess Kaire gazed around her room. Had she passed out? What had happened? The crystal... was destroyed. But then what? She couldn't remember.

Floating next to her was her half-sister, obviously concerned. "Kairi? You're awake..."

"Aine? What... what happened?"

"You passed out after the stone was destroyed. We took the Hunters to the healers to be patched up. Thankfully there were only two casualties... All the others are just injured, nothing life threatening." The Red-Headed Princess recapped.

"Aine, I... what I thaid before..."

"Hey dummy... I know you didn't mean it... But, I accept your apology anyway." Aine smiled cockily at her, holding her hand.

Kairi squeezed it tightly. "No, let me... let me apologize. Becauthe... becauthe I meant it at the time. I don't know why I thaid thuch horrible thingth, but... you're thmart, and pretty, and you detherve the larger kingdom much more then I do."

"Oh shut up you goof... You had your head full of that stupid rock." Aine countered casually. "Besides, one little slip up doesn't mean your unworthy. You're still leagues better than all the other idiots."

Kairi stood up. "Well... now we mutht think of the appropriate punishment for those biggieth." Noting the look she was given, she quickly said, "I'm jutht kidding."

"Are you sure you're okay to move?" Aine asked her.

Kaire nodded. "My head jutht hurtth a little. Speaking of the biggieth, are they all alive?"

"They are. Although that Elf looked like he was going to fall apart at any moment." Aine answered, looking over at the door as she placed her arm under her sister's.

"Should we go check on him. I mean... h-he did destroy our treasure, and... and no one told him to interfere."

"That treasure was driving you all nutzo, remember?" Aine gave a contained shrug.

"Yeah... I gueth..." Kairi sighed. "Come. Let uth make sure he wth at leatht alive."

Aine helped her sister out of the room and off towards the healers, quickly locating the Hunters, laying with Faerie healers at their sides meticulously working on their wounds.

"P-princess Kairi!" One of the healers fluttered over, giving Kairi a nervous look.

"She's fine now, how are our guards?" Aine asked first and foremost.

"They are recovering. Only a few have permanent damage, and there were only two casualties."

"That's good... At least..." Aine sighed, "Let us see the Elf."

The healer hesitated. "I'm... n-not sure if you want to..."

Aine floated silently for a moment. "Is... Is it that bad?"

"I, um... if you'll pardon me saying so... I believe it best that you see him alone, Princess Aine."

She let out a deep sigh. "Right... Well, you heard her Kairi, it's probably best if you stay out here..."

Kairi nodded. "I will... go work on theting up a meeting with the biggieth."

"You... Do that..." Aine looked back for a moment before lowering her head. "Let's get this over with..."

They made their way to where the hunters were being treated. Eraqus was separated from the others. He was awake, but he had an empty look in his eyes. His skin was a shade paler then normal. Much of the left side of his face was bandaged up. The most obvious change, though, was the fact that his left arm was completely removed.

"Fuck..." The Princess shook her head slowly. "I need a fucking drink..."

Aine floated forward, levitating over him. "Is he... Conscious?"

"He is," Eraqus said hoarsely. "It is hard to sleep when your whole body feels like it is boiling..."

"I..." He could see her coarse nature failing. "Thank you... For helping us... I wish you didn't have to pay a price like that to break a goddamn rock... But... There it is..."

"There it is..." His eyes slowly shifted towards her. "I am surprised to hear that from you. Faerie are not the kind to show compassion to others," he stated coldly. "I'm just glad your sister isn't here. She would probably laugh at my weakness..."

"I don't see that... Look, I'm not the kind of person to overlook someone giving a limb for us... Honestly, I'm probably more kind than most of my kind, and I'm still a bitch." She explained, crossing her arms. "You could've let my sister run into the Biggies and kill herself, but you didn't, you gave a lot to stop it too..."

"And I haven't forgotten what you all did in Neren'Teva for me..." Aine added. "So... Thank you, genuinely... You saved my Sister's life..."


Eraqus stared into her eyes, as if judging her sincerity, before smiling softly. "Your welcome. This is... a part of the job. I guess I'm lucky it took this long. Magic poisoning is the worse part." She frowned again. "They're not sure if I'll recover. 50/50. Gotta love Faerie honesty. Though I might have liked to have been lied to."

Aine ran a hand through her hair, "Fuck..."

"How did you even get magic poisoning?" The Princess asked, more confused than anything having been busy keeping her Sister at bay.

"Um..." Eraqus closed his eyes, trying to recall what happened himself. "Elma... our mage, she was... was supposed to fill the gem with her magic. Her ice element would have overloaded but neutralized the magic in the stupid rock so the vibrations from the harp could cause it to simply crumble."

The Elf took a deep breath. "I underestimated what might happen if Elma touched it. So with her being corrupted, I had to take her place. But I am not mage. I could only transfer my fire magic through direct contact, and it overloaded the thing. Opposite element, opposite effect. Poisonous magic was flowing back into my arm like water spilling out of an overfilled cup. The thing exploding took out my hand... they said they had to remove my arm, completely corrupted with the crystals magic, to have any hope of surviving..."

"The element in the crystal was a potent form of light magic," the healer explained, floating over. "Almost potent enough to be classified as Celestial. Elf bodies are not built for that element, so his internal flow of magic is treating it the similar to a poison, or how a body might react to the transfusion of the wrong blood type."

"Dammit... You should've let me do it... I'm a celestial mage..." Aine shook her head, "Kairi was my sister, If someone had to almost die, it should've been me..."

Eraqus chuckled softly. "You were a little too busy for me to ask. Besides, you're a ruler. Better a grunt like me do the dangerous stuff."

She looked back and forth slowly. "Should I... Let your friends know...? In case..."

"No, he quickly answered. "Please... they have enough to worry about."

"What about your Head Hunter...?" She suggested.

"I'll send her a message myself."

The Healer flew back. "Princess Kairi says they have established contact with the Thropes for peace talks. The Thropes said they will contact Fairaven. They are better equipped to treat an Elf then we are."

"Okay... You stay alive you useless biggie." Aine winked, smirking. "You've fought bigger... Much bigger, you won't let this put you in the ground."

Eraqus nodded, and closed his eyes, trying to get some actual sleep.
 

Black0ut

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[REDACTED], Washington
Black0ut & ExoGrim Present:
Going About Things the Wrong Way

Laying on her back, Titania smiled merrily. She had two pupils, even if one of them would have to kill her later on. She wouldn't tell Kva that, as the Vampire would probably kill Andy off. Closing her eyes, she leaned her head back.

A light coughing could be heard in the distance as Varadis exited the manor. He needed a place to think for a bit... someplace quiet. since there was no place in the old manor, he seeked peace in the nearby forest.

Titania paid no heed to the coughing as she had hidden herself in the foliage and was relaxing.

Something else could be heard as well, though distant. Two voices, seeming to argue over something. One sounded very gruff while the other sounded very calm and collected.

Titania's ear twitched as she used her enhanced hearing to make out what the men were saying.

"It's just a small slave brat..." The gruff sounding voice remarked. "Stop acting like we're about to go to war."

"I'd be more inclined to believe that if she hadn't gone and hid herself inside a guildhouse." The calmer voice countered. "and it seems like you've forgotten the fact that she's the one responsible for single handedly killing everyone in our guild. Did that part slip your mind?"

"I'm still calling bullshit on that..." The gruff voice replied. "Their no way a small brat like sixty would have been able to kill an entire manor of hunters by herself."

"I guess we'll find out when we capture her... if you're patient enough to let her live that is."

Suddenly a sword appeared at the man's neck. "Targeting someone in our guild, eh? I'd advise against it. We don't take kindly to outsiders trying to take our members..." Titania growled, her other hand holding her longsword.

"A little defensive, don'tcha think?" the rather large man replied.

The other man, a shorter looking Elf with glasses, sighed. "Don't encourage her. Last thing I need is your blood in the dirt."

"And whoever is aiming to kill me... I'll slice your friend's head off, and drive my other sword into your other buddy's chest before you can do anything." Titania growled, her longsword slightly cutting into the Elven man's chest.

"Could it..." The Elf muttered as he examined the woman in front of him. "No, Sixty had a much smaller frame than you do. And I doubt those are fox ears."

"Damn... was really hoping it was her." The burly man remarked. "Would've made this much more interesting."

"Unless you want to die to my blades," Titania growled, as she moved her blade closer to the man's throat, drawing a line of blood, "You'll first tell your hidden member to come out, then you'll explain what the hell you're trying to do."

"Ralph! Ellingar!" A young, fair maiden exclaimed as she approached the conflict. "Please don't hurt them! I'll do anything you ask!"

"Tell me why you're here to abduct a member of my guild. And I'll consider releasing these men, provided you leave and never come back, lest I kill you without hesitation." Titania stated, her voice ice.

"We... we merely want to talk to her." The innocent looking girl stated in panic. "We wanted to know why she did what she did."

"And what would that be?" Titania asked, her swords held steady but threatening to kill both men if they moved.

"She...she killed everyone." The young woman said, trying her best not to cry. "When we got back from our mission... the guildhouse was filled with blood and corpses. It was horrible. Everyone we knew, everyone we cared about..." Unable to contain her emotions any longer, the woman fell to her knees in tears.

"Now do you see our predicament?" The Elven man, Ellingar, asked Titania solemnly.

"So... instead of seeking a rational explanation, you blamed it on someone whose body you couldn't find. You already said you got back from a mission, so I doubt your claims already. Tell me the fucking truth or I'll kill all of you." Titania growled, her blades' tips already stained with blood.

"Please, just let them go... I'm begging you." the woman stated through her tears, looking up to see that the Wolf Thrope was not letting go. "Please don't hurt them."

"I won't promise that. However..." Titania quickly replied, as she reappeared behind the girl, as both men fell, her pommel strikes knocking them out cold. "That will do. Now, I will give you twelve hours to leave this area. I catch you here again, I won't just knock you guys out." Titania smiled coldly, a predatory grin that spoke of vicious intentions. "Understand?"

"Stop!" The girl screamed as a sudden pulse of energy sent Titania flying. She rushed over to there side, trying her best to not panic. "Everything's going to be fine. We'll find our answers... I know we will."

A blurred fist punched the woman, sending her flying back a few feet. "Don't... fucking... do... that... again." Titania breathed out, struggling to control her rage as the beast within tried to come out.

"I said stop!" The girl continued as another wave of magic forced Titania to collapse to her knees. "I won't let you hurt anyone again!"

"So... killing me is the answer? When your men were discussing on taking a member of my guild, my family? They are all I have and each is unreplaceable as the last. I know each person by name, and their face. I have saved villages and towns from monsters and ancient evils, and nearly died in some of those processes. So..." Titania looked directly into the woman's eyes, "Who is the real monster here?"

"And what of my guild? My family?" The maiden countered through her tears. "The one responsible for all of their deaths is hiding behind your walls. You call me a monster when all I want is answers... and the first thing you do to us is threaten to kill us. They're all I have left and you just wanted to throw them out like they were unwanted."

"Don't fucking look for a scapegoat. You already said that you were away when it happened, so the fact you're blaming her is bullshit. As for your friends? Did I kill them? Did I actually plan to end their lives? If I did, do you think they would still be alive, still breathing? You are targeting someone in my guild. If you wanted fucking answers, why not ask our Guild Leader, instead of planning to kidnap her?! Huh?! Tell me how that's puts you in the right!" Titania roared, her anger blurring her body.

"Enou-!" Before the girl could finish what she was going to say, Ellingar hugged her from behind.

Not long after, she closed her eyes and collapsed. The Elf did what he could to soften her landing as he looked up at the Wolf. "If you wish to know the truth, then all I ask is that you calm yourself. I have no reason to fight... or do I intend to continue this one."

Taking a deep breath, Titania stood and sheathed her blade. "Alright. Tell me then. Why are you plotting to interrogate and/or kidnap that girl for answers to what happened to your guild?"

"First off, I should clarify." Ellingar started. "Isabel was not with us the day of the massacre. When Ralph and I returned from our mission, the only remaining life was a single slave trying his best to clean up the blood and bodies. When we questioned him, he had told us that Sixty, the leader of a previous rebellion, had gone berserk. He said that he was one of the only two survivors. When we questioned him further, he pointed towards a closet... where we found Isabel. Her dress was still soaked with blood and the fear still plastered on her face. we took them to a medical ward... where the slave was given new ownership and Isabel had woken up many moon later. However, she had no memory of the events that she witnessed... so all we had was the word of a tormented slave to go by. This is why we wish to speak with her, so that we may know what truly happened."

"Alright. I suppose that can make sense, although I doubt she's capable of killing A-rank hunters, as she is still a member, you'll have to ask her, with me and a friend of mine watching, your questions. In return, you get answers as long as I deem it to be within the realms of respect. So no crazy outbursts from your friend, and your best behavior. Anything less than that, I kick you out of the Manor, and I'll give you five days to clear a three-mile radius of the Manor. Do we have an agreement?" Titania asked, her face still angry especially at hearing what they did with the slave.

"You have yourself a deal." The Elf confirmed.

Titania went over to the burly man and lifted him up onto her shoulders. "Good. Follow me and keep her under control. If not, I'll hit her until she's unconscious." Titania replied gruffly, not even breaking a sweat with the man she was carrying.

Ellingar picked up the now unconscious Isabel and followed Titania to the manor.

"As a warning, the meeting place will be in the training grounds, as it's the easiest place to make sure it's safe. Fair enough?" Titania asked.

"Whatever you deem necessary, I will abide by." The Elf replied.

"Alright." Titania murmured as they reached the training ground. "Stay here. I'll be back with Terra and my friend." She said, disappearing from sight.
 

Black0ut

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[REDACTED], Washington
Going About Things the Wrong Way, cont.

After a few minutes had passed, she returned with a girl slung over her shoulder, and a crippled Light Elf. "I assume you want to talk to her yes?"

Terra slept on Titania's shoulder, unaware that she had been taken from the infirmary. Ellingar inspected the young girl briefly, seeming to squint even with his glasses on. "Yes, I do believe is Sixty. Does she go by a different name here?"

"Terra. And do not use her slave name again." Jay replied coldly, his staff glowing ominously.

Titania glanced at her companion for a moment before turning her attention back to Ellingar. "Some people here are former slaves, so I'd caution on throwing such former names out in public. It will not help if you draw too much ire from them."

"No need to worry..." The Elf reassured Jay. "I wasn't a fan of our guild leader or his methods to begin with. I do not intend to continue using the name that the man forged onto her."

Terra's eyes slowly opened as she yawned. "Where am I?" The fox Thrope asked lazily.

"Hey, Terra." Jay said sweetly, a slight frown on his face. "I need you to do me a huge favor... I need you to answer some questions and not run away. If you feel like it's too much, we can go into town and I can buy that dress that you wanted."

Titania raised a figure to her lips, signaling that the rest of them should be quiet.

Terra yawned once more. "Okay... what did you want to ask?"

"That's... the problem. I'm not the one asking you the question. Three people from... your past are. But they can't do anything here, unless they want to die in seconds. So you're safe, okay?" Jay explained, trying to keep Terra calm.

Titania gently set the Fox Thrope down and casually rested her hand on her hilt. "Ask your questions."

"Terra?" The Elf cleared his throat. "Do you... recognize me?"

"E-Ellingar?" The former slave murmured, a tear streaking her face. "You-You're alive?"

"Yes, but, from what I've seen, I am one of few." Ellingar looked at the ground. "So, I must know... was it you who killed the others from my Guild. And, if so, what did he do to cause you to lose control like that?"

Terra led back her tears, but only long enough to give her answer. "He... he killed father... I couldn't hold it back anymore. I'm sorry."

Ellingar sighed as the young Thrope collapsed in tears. "I... was afraid of that..."

"You have your answer. Now leave." Jay growled, glaring at the Elf as he held Terra in his arms.

"And now... you have your answer. What will you do now?" Titania asked, her voice calm but her hand resting on her sword twitching in nervousness.

"I set things right." The Elven man answered. "I've worked for a terrible man and now I have a way to redeem myself. If you are okay with it, I'd like to talk to your guild master about getting the three of us settled in as hunters. Yes, Ralph is hot-headed, Isabel is unstable at times and I, myself, lack a very important sense... but I'm sure we will be helpful."

Titania eased herself, her grip relaxing. "I'll allow it. But currently, she's too busy managing reports from the Guild. I'd recommend staying in the lodgings of the nearby town. Should you get too low on money to stay in the town, I'll loan you some gold coins so you can stay additional nights. Fair enough?"

"Fair enough." Ellingar nodded his head. "We will see each other soon then?"

"As soon as she's done with reports and filing things, I'll contact you... so, maybe." Titania replied, sighing as she frowned. "I... apologize. I should have approached you first without attacking you. My animalistic side takes control sometimes and makes it hard for me to react to things properly..."

"No worries... we all have troubles with something or another." Ellingar bowed in front of the Wolf Thrope. "Though, if you don't mind, could I get your name, madam?"

"Titania." The Thrope said, offering a hand.

Ellingar took the offered hand and shook it firmly. "Ellingar."

"Well, I hope to have far more pleasurable dealings with you, Ellingar." Titania smiled, her look one of happiness and satisfaction.

"That is my hope as well..." The Elven man remarked as he picked up Isabel. "Umm... you mind helping me take Ralph here back to town? He's a bit much to add to my load as of right now."

"Oh... right." Titania replied, forgetting how strong she was. Lifting the heavier man with ease, she began walking in the direction of the town.

"Oh, one more thing..." Ellingar remembered as they walked to town. "If you see Isabel by herself at all, could you do me a favor and help her find either me or Ralph? She gets lost easily and has been known to think she's in one town... when she's in another."

"I suppose I can do that... but that fairly uncommon for people to be like that. Did being alone when the slaughter happened damage her?" Titania asked, as the man she was carrying moved his leg off her shoulder in his sleep.

"Ummm, no." Ellingar chuckled nervously. "She suffered a rather harsh landing on her head when she was young, so her memory isn't the best."

"Ah. Well, I suppose that I'll keep an eye out for her then... Why did you decide to trek over to the guild? Wouldn't it be better if you sent a letter to our guild leader in advance, so she could greet you herself?"

"Well, you see, I can't write... as my vision is too poor to see the ink." The Elven Monk replied. "So this was the only way to see Terra without any... negative words coming out of Ralph."

"I se- Godsdammit! Stop squirming in your sleep, you bastard!" Titania complained as the aforementioned man tried to roll over much to the Thrope's chagrin. "Remind me to make it his tab when or if you need my gold..."

Ellingar chuckled in amusement. "Ralph was never one for staying still."

"I will be done with this man... by hopefully putting him in a bed. And maybe kicking his leg somewhat gently." Titania grumbled lightheartedly, shifting her weight to put the large man back in his original spot.

The Elf chuckled some more as they started to see the town in the distance.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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May 27, 2013
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
Dahlexpert, Frostlich1228, InsaneDarkness, & ZombieSplitter53
Moping Up
Part One


Tungson, Elluviana
Sept. 13th, 3349
9:00 p.m.


Due to them preventing a war, the HavenBrook hunters stayed at a Embassy were the people were celebrating the victory of the hunters for saving their nation from total war. The served them with food, alcohol and some companionship, for those that wanted it. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, all but Elma who went to her room and wanted to just go to be. Charter saw Elma leaving and decided to follow her and knock on her door.

“Elma it’s Charter are you alright?” Charter could hear small whimpering in the room. “Elma I’m coming in.” Charter opened the door to see Elma hand buried in her face crying. Charter put his sword to the side as well as his sword and sat next to Elma, Charter put his hand on her shoulder. “Elma it wasn’t your fault, you were not in control of yourself it was the crystal it made you lose control of reason.”

“But I still killed them, I killed two guards in cold blood it was me I have their blood on my hands.”

“Elma for the last time it wasn’t you, you were possess that gem was controlling your mind.” Charter put his arm around Elma. “Look I know you’re depressed right now, but Elma you can’t be to sad over something that you couldn’t control.”

“But I was meant to destroy the crystal, I was supposed to destroy it. I want to go home, I should have never followed you here.”

“You’re not going home Elma, you chose to come here because you wanted to be around me more. But now you made friends. Look I know you feel low right now, You feel depressed ashamed and many other things. But you can’t lose it yet.”

“Thanks but I think I would still want to go home.”

“Elma come on, you failed it happens you were not prepared to be taken over you were caught off guard. You just have to dust yourself off pick yourself up and move on.” Charter hugged his little sister and stood up. “Come on for now let’s back to the others, I’m sure there worried.”

Elma stood up and followed Charter back to the others.

As they made their way back to the embassy, they could hear some commotion coming from outside of the large doors on the other side of the room. Suddenly, it flew open, two fairy guards floating in and taking positions beside the door as Aine made her way through regally.

One of the guards cleared her throat, reciting. “Welcome Princess Aine. Leader of the Neren'Teva Fairies. Defender of the grove. The Phoenix Fire Queen.”

“Thank you.” The Red Headed princess smiled at her guard. “The ‘Ambassadors’ aren't here, are they?”

The guards led her to the group that was still on their feet. With Mags and Eraqus down for the count, that left Zodiak, Faith, and the Van Dam siblings.

“It's good to see you all again.” The Faerie Princess said pleasantly.

The Van dam siblings bowed their heads. “It’s good to see you two your highness, in a more calm state of mind.”

“Yes… But It's not over yet…” Aine replied ominously, looking at the Duck and the Martial Artist. “Are you two doing good too?”

“I-I suppose…” Faith flipped her hood over her head.

Zodiak bowed to the Princess, placing a hand on Faith’s head, forcing her into a slight bow. “Don’t mind her disrespect, your Majesty. She gets shy very easily.”

“You can save the your Majesty stuff, that's for those idiots on the Throne and his flunkies.” Aine waved off. “You've all actually earned the right to speak to me normally.”

“Understood. Apologies.” Zodiak took a deeper bow.

“You've really got a stick up there, don't you…” She muttered, shrugging. “Anyway, I need to talk to you all… It's important.”

“Realy? So what’s the problem, do you have an invading force coming or something?” Charter asked.

“No, but… It could lead to something like that possibly…” Aine sighed deeply. “It seems that not all of the Crystal was destroyed. Some remote Faerie camps still have fragments. We don't don't know if they are from the original crystal or… New… but we still can't leave them alone.”

Elma eyes widened. “Um are the fragments just as dangerous as the hole one?”

“Not to you. But they still pose a significant threat to us Faeries. They're still about as big as our legs.”

“So I won’t lose my mind if I touch them like I did last time?”

Aine shook her head, “No, brief exposure with these small ones shouldn't cause that… Speaking of… How are… You doing…?”

“I’m not doing so great, I’m sorry for killing your guards. I-I didn't mean it.”

“Well… They weren't my guards, but I understand… Still, I'm more pissed at the Thropes for sending you without any kind of protection, or you know… Sending you at all, like cowards.”

“Don’t worry about it, besides they didn't want the nation to go to war. It was for the best that we come in.” Charter explained.

“But they could've done it themselves. Instead they sent you, cause they think you're expendable.” Aine pointed out.

“Ou if only you knew, who was really behind this.” Charter said under his breath.” Look regardless, were here to help so mind telling us were this camp of Thropes is?”

“Faeries.” Aine corrected. “They are near the edge of the border. Past the blockade that trapped the rest of us in. That's why we were separated from them.”

“Well that’s not good, don’t want them pouring into the other land. And with them having these crystale in fragments they could spread it all over. Well best we better get a move on this then.” Charter looked at Elma. “Your coming to.”

“What!? But..But.”

“No but’s Elma, you need learn about battle it’s a lesson I have been avoiding with you for awhile now because I still saw you as a little girl, never again. Your needed Elma your ice magic can neutralize the crystals, plus you won’t be alone in this. You have me and the others, we have your back in this alright.” Charter put his hand on Elma shoulder. “Your a great Mage Elma that’s why Mina sent you with us, have some confidence in your abilities.”

Elma kept her head down. “Fine I’ll go, not like I have a choice.”

“Please. You're not your brother’s slave. Go if you want, honestly after that shitshow before, I'd understand.” The Faerie held her hand forward.

“Princess.” One of the guards flew in. “We’re in position around the settlement. We believe all the shards are there. Now is the best time to move if we are doing this… y-your highness.”

“All of them?” She raised an eyebrow, then looked over at the group. “Well, it's now or never. Make up your minds. Your brother will get over it if you don't go, you're your own person.

“I.. I..”

Charter put his hand on Elma head.” Elma I get it your nervous, before this you only fought monsters, and even then the first time that happen you ran like a scared kid.”

Elma kept her head down, remembering that embarrassing moment.

Charter rolled his eyes and lifted Elma head.” Look your scared and you're afraid of losing yourself again, but believe me when I tell you that I know you're stronger than this. Your not used to this world because all you knew is home and it’s wall and protection, but now your out of the city's protection and see the world for the danger that it is. But you chose to come out her, to be around me because to you you still want to be like your brothers. Proud honored and two great people, but your not us or dad or even mom, your your own person Elma and have to do things your own way. So if you want to stay then go ahead, I would never think less of you.”

Elma started to shake a little. “I’ll go if only to improve myself.”

“That’s my sister, I knew you would make the right decision.” Charter looked at the princess. “There you have it she’s coming.

“Alright. All of you, please get your gear and meet me outside. Then we march to the village.” The Princess nodded, taking her leave with her guards in tow.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Moping Up
Part Two


The group arrived at midday the next day, and the Faeries were not happy to see them. Perhaps they were aware of the soldiers watching from the treelines. Perhaps they didn’t like the sight of ‘biggies’. Or maybe, based on the glares, they didn’t like the Princess herself arriving. They certainly had an air of arrogance and pompousness that was high, even for Faeries, as the watched Aine carefully.

Approaching carefully, Aine spoke up to them all. “All of you! Give up your shards and surrender! The Main Crystal has been destroyed and Kairi has put out search for the remaining shards. They are causing madness in you and we need to destroy them, your Princess demands it!”

“If the main crystal is destroyed, we need to protect ours even more carefully!” one of the villagers yelled.

“This is a trick from the foreign Princess and her biggies!” shouted another. “She wants them for herself!”

“She will never take them from us. Our precious shards… they are ours!”

“Good Lord… Here we go again…” Zodiak mumbled, getting irritated with the corruption of the crystals.

Five particularly strong looking Faeries floated forward, each with a shard around their necks. Two women, three men, all simply dripping with an aura of corrupt magical power. “You want them? Come and take them?!” The man in the center shouted.

Aine had a worrisome look on her face as she gazed at them. “What did they do to themselves…? That's not just the crystal…”

The one who had spoke before laughed. “Our goddess infused our crystals with her own divine magic. Now no one can stop us!” They all charged forward. Aine might not have wanted a fight, by they did.

Charter lunged forward slamming his sword into the shield of one of the Faerie warriors. Charter then used his shield as a weapon by thrusting it into the Faerie gut, once the faerie was on the ground Charter kicked the side of his head.”Please your all hooked up on a bluff, just stay down.”

The Faerie suddenly shot off the ground and slammed into Charter’s stomach, knocking the wind out of him. “You think that’s all I can take?” He laughed, and started flying around Charter, faster and faster until a funnel of wind form, quickly starting to suck out the breathable air.

Charter didn't panic however put instead lunged forward out of the wind to catch his breath, once the Faerie flew to Charter, he switched to his dagger and thrust it into the leg of the Faerie.” Alright i’m done messing with you, snap out of it your life isn't worth taking.”

The Faerie grit his teeth. “You think that’ll work on me? I can fly, idiot!” He swirled the wind under Charter and blasted him into the air. Then back down hard. Then up again, then down again. After the third time, Charter felt like a brick wall had fallen on him. The Faerie floated over his head proudly, readying his small but deadly sword for a final blow.

Charter put his shield up blocking the blow and punched the Faerie off of him, and thrusted his dagger into the arm of the Faerie he then gutted his waist and into one of his wings, once the dagger was in the air Charter slid the dagger half way through not wanting to clip him entirely.” Now for the last time stay down, before I decide to be serious and kill you!” Charter bashed the man with his shield.

The Faerie coughed up a mouthful of blood. “Stupid… human. Greedy human.” Realizing something was missing, he noticed his shard had fallen off and was a few feet away. He slowly crawled towards it. “N-no… must… get… lovely…”

Charter stepped on the Faerie hand. “This is sad, you will feel better once this is all over.” Charter slammed his knee into the Faerie head knocking him out. “Ugh poor fool.”

“I’ve already learned that words won’t help you ignorant Faeries, so… I guess I will have to force you to kneel.” Faith stared at her opponent, wind gathering at her fingertips.

The Faerie she faced laughed loudly and heartily. “Force me to kneel, huh?” She formed a pair of fireballs. “I’ll blow your knees off, child!” she yelled, throwing them.

Before the fireballs could get close, they evaporated into thin air, Faith’s wind magic suffocating the fire from any oxygen. “Is that the best you’ve got?” Faith grinned.

The Faerie grit her teeth angrily. She starting thrusting her hands forward at an incredible speed. Dozens of fireballs flew at the duck girl, a storm of fire.

Faith glared at the Faerie, crossing her arm over her body as her green gems on her apparel started to glow. “Back off.” She then swung her hand forwards, seemingly causing a shockwave from an explosion right in front of the Faerie girl, wiping out all of the fireballs and forcing the Faerie backwards.

The smaller woman slammed into a wall. Screaming in anger, she flew towards Faith, not wanting to fight at a distance anymore. A pair of daggers in hand, she surrounded herself in a swirl of fire. “I’ll kill you, bird!”

Faith jumped over the Faerie, her clothes nearly catching on fire. Using the Faeries own momentum against her, she pushed wind with the Faerie’s fail of an approach, making the fire brighter and hotter and stronger and making the Faerie’s movement much faster.

The woman slammed into a tree, the tree itself catching on fire. The Faerie had incredible power, but couldn’t hit with an attack. The shard around her neck glowed, and she seemed to get madder and madder. With a war cry, she charged once more. Fire shot out of her hands in all directions. She would hit Faith, even if she had to hit everything else around her.

A wall of wind appeared in front of Faith, blocking her from any incoming flames. “Please, don’t do this. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Die!” the Faerie yelled without hearing or caring, too far gone as she hit the wall. She was pushing through, pumping more and more of her energy to keep her flames from blowing out. The crystal glowed more and more.

Faith transformed into her Duck state, flapping her wings as fast as she could to keep ahead of the Faerie, while also hoping to slowly dissipate the fire following behind her. As she approached a bucket of water lying nearby, she quickly descended to grab the handle, then blasted herself upwards with her wind magic so as to not become roast duck.

“You’re dead now!” The Faerie scream madly, closing in.

Quickly, Faith did a downwards dive, catching the Faerie in the bucket while the momentum kept the water in the bucket and the Faerie at the back of it. As they neared the ground, Faith dropped the bucket and landed nearby to see what remained of the Faerie and her outrageous anger.

A few moments later, the bucket exploded, water turning to steam in an instant. The Faerie stepped forward, panting heavily. The fire built around her, only to slowly dissipate. “You..” she panted out. “I’m… gonna… you’re gonna… d-die..” She reached Faith, weakly swinging her dagger and missing before collapsing, out cold from exhaustion.

Faith nudged the Faerie girl with her bill, before grabbing the crystal from around her neck and tossing it away from both of them, covering it in a wind wall so no other Faeries could touch it. She knew firsthand what its side effects were now.

Elma unlike the others didn't charge in, but instead stayed in the background looking at the battle. Wondering what she could do to help, or to run away and hide. She wanted to help put had no idea how to. “Typical human coward,” one of the Fairies said. She suddenly felt a chilling cold as the Faerie flew behind her, freezing her feet to the ground. “Letting your friends die? I will make you join in.”

“Hay!” Elma used her fire magic to melt the ice around her.” I don’t want to hurt you, please leave me alone.”

“Hmph.” The Faerie rolled his neck. “Guess what? I want to hurt you, stupid, ugly human!” He started sending ice shards at her as he charged in, lance in hand.

Elma used her fire to melt the ice shards. And saw the Faerie coming at her but didn't panic, instead Elma doged the lance and sweeped the man's leg. “Leave me alone, I don’t want to kill again please just surrender.”

The Faerie easily dodged and laughed. “The coward wants me to surrender! How funny!” He started flying around the girl at incredible speed. Every few seconds, she could feel him slice or stab into her with his small but sharp lance.

“Ah, stop please stop go away.” Elma this being her first time getting hit with a weapon started to panic,but tried to calm herself and made a ice cocoon around her, looking more like a sphere gave Elma time to think.

“So you know ice magic too? I wonder who’s is stronger!” The Faerie start pumping all his magic into the sphere. It started to get colder and colder, as well as thicker and small. “Dies in an icy tomb!”

However something started to come out of Elma ice sphere, The Faerie didn't care but kept trying to freeze Elma but instead weapons of ice started to come out of the sphere, cutting the Faerie all over his body Elma finally broke the sphere and looked at the Faerie. She looked happy.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Moping Up
Part Three


The Faerie floated a few feet from the ground, blood dripping to the group. “What are… you smiling… about?”

“I’m done, my brother is right I’m not him or my other brother Adam, or my father and mother. I’m done being scared of my magic and seeing it as a curse, so i’m going to try to make my brother proud and be myself. Now don’t get me wrong I am scared of you, but my brother and everyone else need me plus i’m sure my brother would freak out and kill you if I die.”

The Faerie glared at her. He suddenly tried to shoot a spear of ice into her heart.

Elma quickly made a small ice shield around her chest, She held a orb of light in her other hand, and threw it at the Faerie. When the orb went off the orb exploded blinding the Faerie, once blinded Elma had two orbs in her hand one of ice and fire she concentrated on the orbs and made two familiars with it one of a ice wolf and the other a flaming Elk. The Faerie charged her blindly, enraged. The flaming Elk charged the man ramming it’s flaming horns into the man defending it’s master, the flames burned the Faerie shirt and leaving him on the ground. “Go wolf pin him down.” The ice wolf charged the blind man and bit into his arms, and started to drag him across the ground.

It was only a matter of moments before the pain and blood loss knocked this one out. With that, another shard was in their hands.

“I know this isn’t going to end with talking. So, prepare yourself.” Zodiak stared at the Faerie, taking a defensive stance.

The Faerie was bald and scarred, being much more muscular than the average Faerie too as he cracked his neck. “I'll crush you like a bug…”

The Faerie ripped a boulder quickly from the ground, launching it his way and pulling out a longsword, flying behind it to make his opening.

Zodiak vaulted onto the boulder, ran across it and jumped off feet-first so as to crush the Faerie. “How ironic,” he noted, “I do believe that the insect, in this case, is you.”

The Faerie quickly dodged to the side with incredible speed. Controlling the earth with his magic, he directed the stone away and to the side, turning his own attack back towards Zodiak as he sent it forward, creating stone spikes all over the outside of the ball.

Zodiak rolled towards the Faerie’s backside, using the Faerie’s body as protection.

He growled, frustrated he slammed the ball directly into the ground under it, having given up on it. The Faerie then quickly covered himself in stone armor, strangely not hampering his overall speed that much as he rush Zodiak straight up.

Zodiak rushed forwards, disarming the Faerie from his weapon and palming him in the gut, then throwing a chop at his neck. “Stay down,” Zodiak growled. That could’ve been really bad.

The stone armor took the brunt of the damage, however. As soon as Zodiak turned to rejoin the others, the Faerie zoomed up, slamming shoulder first into Zodiak’s back. “No one has ever defeated my stone armor technique!”

Zodiak didn’t even flinch or even move, his body absorbing the Faerie’s momentum entirely. “Alright, then I’ll be the first.” Zodiak grabbed the Faerie’s body, forcing him downwards onto his knee, hoping that Faeries’ genitals were in the same place as humans’.

The Faerie collapsed to the ground, his armor falling off. “You… fight… dirty… human…”

“Well, I usually hold my honor. It was time that I didn’t hold everyone back, for once.” Zodiak glared down at the Faerie’s beaten figure, picking up the gem and putting it in his pocket.

Floating before the Faerie Princess, the last Faerie held out her arms, dark, chaos magic forming in her palms. “I’ve always wanted to beat down a princess. I wonder… would you like to be buried or cremated?”

“Please. You might as well be dust already…” Aine formed a searing white ball of flaming celestial magic, bolts of power sparking off of it.

“Bring it on, you good for nothing bitch!” The enemy Faerie charged forward, fists sparking with violet, violent energy.

Aine threw the ball at an arc, the orb whirling and spinning wildly as it flew on a collision course towards her. Her opponent literally punched the orb away, seemingly a brawler enhancing her fists with her magic. She narrowed in on the Princess, crying out as she swung with deceptive speed.

“Punch this away you brute!” Aine screamed, holding her arms out and her hands open as she gathered energy, forming a star shape with her body. Suddenly, a white hot beam erupted from in front of her, barreling towards her opponent. “Galactic Cannon!”

With a loud gasp, the woman held out her hands, an aura of chaos magic forming in her palms. The contact of the two magics cause a massive explosion. When the smoke cleared, the enemy Faerie was still floating, but panting heavily. Her outstretched hands were scorched and smoking. “Is that… a-all you’ve… got?”

The Princess just laughed, holding her hands together with a claw gesture a quickly growing ball of white, spiking energy forming. “Not even close… I'm excited… Finally I'm somewhere I can test this… I'd lose that Crystal if I were you…”

“Bring… it on… bitch!” The opponent charged her own magic, sending out a massive orb of chaos magic that seemed to grow and spark as it neared the princess.

However the energy ball kept growing bigger and bigger, by the time the opposing chaos orb reached it, it was almost the size of a carriage and still growing, easily counteracting the chaos magic with nothing more than a poof. “L-Last… Chance…”

The woman was wide eyed in fear. “O-okay!” She quickly took off the shard, clearly never having faced someone stronger than her. “You win. D-don’t kill me!”

“I- I can't stop it now!” Aine laughed, a hint of manicness in her voice as she quickly directed it upwards. As it reached the size of a small building, it hurdled up into the sky, flying incredibly far away and it fell to the ground. After a moment, a enormous explosion of Light and Fire erupted behind her enemy, It's size hard to believe as a wave of air bowled everyone over. It took whole seconds for the blast to expire, but the result took the words out of everyone’s mouth. Before them was a crater that had swallowed the village at the edge of it, and an entire city sized chunk of land behind that, still smoldering with heat.

Aine chuckled more, falling on her face, just barely able to keep herself conscious. “That… That was… Great…”

The villagers, all frightened of the Princess’ terrible strength, gathered the injured and stayed a distance away.

Elma looked at the crater, and looked disgusted. But gathered the five Crystal shards and puped them full of her ice magic, this time Elma did not lose control of herself . Elma kept filling the crystal with her ice magic until they were destroyed.

Aine struggled to float up, but when she did, she floated over to the remaining villagers. “We'll take you back to the capital with us. Understand?”

They all nodded rapidly, clearly terrified of her raw power as they were escorted away by the Royal Guards. The Princess cracked her neck, looking back at the Hunters. “Well… Good job today, looks like you all can finally go home…”

Elma marched to the princess giving a look that Charter never seen form her. “What the hell is wrong with you moron, do you have any idea how many people your could have killed with that recklessness!”

Aine gave her a surprised look but nothing else. “Don't worry, I was always planning to aim it past her. It's a hell of an intimidation tactic.”

“I don’t care what it was, they were not right in the head like you were when we helped you. But we didn't blow up your home or leave a massive crater, the point is using chaos magic like you did was going overboard!”

“It was more of a forward camp than a village… The point is it worked, try not to fuss so much over the details, okay?” The Princess brushed her off.

“Why you little.”

Charter grabbed Elma arm. “Elma let it go, there are certain fight you can’t win let it go.” Elma growled and went back to the others.

“I have to agree with the others on the excessiveness of your actions, your Majesty, but I cannot deny the results,” Zodiak stated matter-of-factly. “So, with no casualties, I have no objections.”

“Then let's get out of here. Your Sheep friend should be much better by now.” Aine pointed out, smiling to herself.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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MarineAvenger & ZombieSplitter53
Sweet Homecoming


Havenbrook Manor
Sept. 15th, 3349
11:12 p.m.


It was a cool evening as Mina sat in her office, all her work for the day done. For now, she was worriedly looking over the medical report of one of her oldest friends. Eraqus had returned home alive but not whole, and his loss was devastating to her. She placed the papers down, and not for the first time she wondered if she had the will for this kind of job.

There was a knock on her door, one which likely signaled her work was not yet done despite the hour.

She let out a long sigh and shook her head. Standing up, she rubbed her brow as she made her way to the door and opened it. "Yeah?"

When the door opened, a small bundle of flowers was held under her nose. "See. I told you I wouldn't forget this time." A familiar deep and somber voice said that could only belong to one man.

"Janne?!" Mina quickly pushed the flowers to the side to look at his beautiful, burnt face. "You... y-you're home!"

The white haired man 'looked' down at the plants, "Are they not the right kind?"

"They're perfect," Mina said with a laugh. "But you're the real gift, stupid. Why didn't you send word that you were coming back?"

"Because then you would have known." Her fiance said, his hand slowly rubbing the top of her head.

"Always full of surprises." Mina took the flowers and stepped into the room. "So what brings you home? Didn't expect you back for another three months."

"I finished my bulk of missions relatively fast, so I wished to spend the extra time with my wife to be." He came up behind her, hands rubbing her stiff shoulders. "That, and a more important mission came up too here in our home country."

"Oh, yeah?" Mina grinned. "Which was the more important reason for you to come home?"

"Neither obviously. It is for a third reason." His hand reached down, rubbing her rounded stomach.

Mina leaned back against him. "How long will you be sticking around?"

"For a couple of weeks. Give me time with you. Much needed time." He kissed the back of her head, sighing.

Mina closed her eyes, basking in the much needed happiness of having him back. It was a full minute before she broke the silence before saying, "So tell me about this job of yours."

"Are you sure? You tend to stick your cute little nose into exciting things."

"Not ones I like to most of the time." Mina sighed and turned to face him. "Please. I could use a distraction. Things aren't great back home."

"Well the ten knightly orders of Terra Dolor are assembling for a grand council at their tower headquarters here in the country. They are holding the first tourney in a couple decades to find new prospective members. And for a little fun."

"A tournament, huh?" Mina rubbed her chin. "And it's an open one? All comers?"

Janne nodded, letting out another, more pronounced sigh. "Your working up ideas again aren't you?"

"Oh, yeah." Mina grinned. "When is this tourney?"

"I have half a mind not to tell you."

Mina pressed against him and pouted. He couldn't see it ut he could hear it in her voice. "Pleeeeeease tell me."

Janne shook his head. The fact the woman was so cute like this was half the reason he fell in love. "One month."

"A month?!" Mina stepped away and stomped her foot. "Damn it!"

Janne chuckled in amusement. "Oh don't get even more pouty." Her fiance said with a smirk, pinching her cheek very lightly as he went and sat in her office chair.

Mina rubbed her cheek. "Well, it isn't fair. It sounded like something I'd have fun in, but of course I'll be seven months pregnant." She pointed at Janne. "This better be the best child ever."

"I feel insulted on our baby's behalf you'd think it wouldn't be." He leaned his cheek onto his fist lazily. "Though we still have a glaring,issue you seem to be avoiding regarding the child and our marriage."

Mina leaned against the desk. "And what would that be?"

"Who is taking whose last name?" Janne said pointed,

Mina blinked. "What? Oh, I, uh... always assumed... you were taking mine..."

"Well I mean, Carth has some semblance of significance. And usually the wife takes the husbands name."

"Yeah, but Havenbrook has family significance. And it is significant to the Organization."

"A bit of re-branding never hurt anyone." He replied with a smug grin. "Change my mind otherwise."

"No, you won't." Mina leaned forward. "If it makes you feel better... I'll hyphenate as Mina Carth-Havenbrook."

"And the baby?" He asked with a raised eyebrow.

Mina folded her arms. "How about... if it's a boy, Havenbrook. If it's a girl, Carth."

"I press for a hyphen with them as well." He leaned even closer.

"Alright." Mina leaned forward herself. "Though Carth-Havenrook flows a lot better then Havenbrook-Carth, don't you think?"

"I suppose." He gave her a soft kiss, touching her cheek with one hand.

Mina smiled sweetly. "I love you, Janne."

"I love you too. Let's go turn in for the night. I want to hold you. It has been too long since we've embraced. Maybe I will feel the baby move."

Mina nodded. "Oh, he kicks a lot. Or she. Not sure." She laughed and stood up. "A feisty one is the point."

"Going to have too much of his mother in em then."

"I don't know." Mina walked into her room. "You're pretty feisty yourself. Bet it'll be a boy just like his dad. A handful..."

"Nah it'll be a girl like her mother. Stubborn and prideful." He followed her into the room, begging to get ready for bed with her by taking off his coat and hanging it up.

Mina slipped off her out clothes. She caught sight of herself in the mirror, and quickly looked away. She had never given much thought about her appearance until her belly started to bulge. "Need help changing?"

"Unfortunately no." Janne looked back. "Are you alright?"

Mina placed her hand on her belly. "I'm fat," she said bluntly.

"Yes. Yes you are." Janne said, rubbing her bare stomach as he pulled her to,the bed. "Is that supposed to be a problem?"

Mina laughed softly, laying down with him. "Guess not if it isn't for you."

"I don't see you for your largeness. I see you for that bundle of electrical impulses in your large lump." He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close against him like they used to do when they snuggled together when they were kids.

Mina closed her eyes and sighed sadly. "I... know your work is important, but... I miss you so terribly when you are away."

"I miss you too. But just remember... No matter how far I go or for however long, you'll always be in my heart. You have ever since we were scared kids in that alleyway,"

"We?" Mina chuckled, laying down with him. "I was a scared kid. You were brave. You're always brave."

"But there was a lot I could have done better. Gone with you when I had the chance." His hand moved along her scarred back. "Been your first man instead of some... Power drunk reptile." He said with a bit of levity.

Mina shook her head. "You showed me what a real man was like." She chuckled again. "When we finally got the courage to give it a try. And I have never forgot how I couldn't think of being with anyone else in those moments. You're the only man for me, so don't get yourself killed out there. I know how dangerous your work can be."

"If you were really so worried, you'd never permit me off manor grounds." Janne smiled. "Goodnight my love."

Mina kissed him gently. "Goodnight."
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
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May 27, 2013
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Frostlich1228 & ZombieSplitter53
Unlikely Teacher


Havenbrook Manor
Sept. 16th, 3349
10:14 p.m.


It was later at night when Kva made her way into the library, not too many people around, not enough to bother her at least.

After a few minutes of searching, she found a large, hard back tome filled with various swordfighting techniques and flipped through it, sitting down in a nearby chair. After a few minutes, she felt a presence. Something was directly behind her.

"Whoever you are... You really shouldn't sneak up on me..." Kva said, still looking at her book. "These are dangerous times for the guild. Tell me who you are...?"

"Esmeralda," the Light Elf answered. "I wasn't sneaking up on you. I was being nosey about your book."

"You're the bookkeeper, right..." Kva sighed lightly. "It's a book on Sword and fencing techniques. Dueling, Group combat, etcetera..."

"I may be skilled already, but keeping up to date on newer techniques helps you plan accordingly." The Dhampire explained.

"Yeah? But isn't that like trying to learn too many instruments at once? I mean, if you already know piano and percussion... is there really that much room left for the piccolo?"

"Is someone trying to kill you with your piccolo? Probably not. You need to have an idea about how weapons work and how they're being used to succeed in a fight. You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your weapon, then learn theirs, then how to exploit those weaknesses all the while mitigating yours." The Fencer Explained.

"Is someone trying to kill you with your piccolo? Probably not. You need to have an idea about how weapons work and how they're being used to succeed in a fight. You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your weapon, then learn theirs, then how to exploit those weaknesses all the while mitigating yours." The Fencer Explained.

"Like... The Combat sticks? No, they're extremely different weapons. Although, I suppose the principle of using them as an extension of your arm would hold true." Kva considered, putting the book down.

"Yeah, totally!" Es stepped back and held up her arms in a fighting stance. "It's, like, I don't even have to think about my weapons when I fight. Well... not fight. Train. But train really hard!"

"Well, that's a good start. Like I alluded to earlier, most fights come down to knowledge just as much a strength, speed, or dexterity." Kva finally turned her head to look at her.

Es had a big smile on her face. "Well, I'm pretty fast and flexible, but not super strong." She floated up into the air. "I can do this, though. Pretty cool, huh?"

Kva rolled her eyes slightly under her helmet. "In a real fight, unless you could move quickly like that, you'll be extremely vulnerable."

"I guess you have a point." Esmeralda lowered herself back to the ground. "I'm Esmeralda, by the way. Nice to meet you in person, Ms. Kva."

"Looks like you've heard of me. Did my name get spread around after that bloodbath in the medical room?" Kva asked, a lot of attention having been on her since that day.

"No... I mean yes, I know about that. Obviously. But I know everyone's name here, and you've been here a while." Es tilted her head. "Though Ive never been able to figure out the getup. I mean... why not take it off and relax a bit?"

"I'm a priest of Taydar. This Helm may only leave my head in the face of death." Kva replied sternly. "As for the armor... I'm used to it, it's comfortable."

Es looked her up and down. "Doesn't... look that comfortable..."

"You're not a warrior. This Leather, it's like a second skin to me." The Elf stated, standing up.

Es scratched her head. "I guess I just don't get it. I guess I'm the opposite, not a warrior and more comfortable naked then in armor. Um... was that weird to say? It was probably weird..."

Kva chuckled softly, her relationship with Titania having lightened her up some. "I could always try to train you... It's been a long time since I've taken up an apprentice. It could be enjoyable."

"Really?" We thought about it, then nodded. "I could use a few pointers."

"Very well. Can I see your weapons?" The Death Priest asked simply.

"Yup!" Es zipped away. She was back a moment later with her weapons. They were maintained as well as an amateur knew how to care for them. They were of Stormrend design naturally, and at least ten years old by the look of them.

"They could certainly use an upgrade, other than that, they're in good condition." Kva looked them over carefully. "You really don't use these much, do you?"

The Light Elf giggled. "What do they say? I'm a lover, not a fighter." She put on a cute war face. "But that doesn't mean I won't defend the innocent and protect the weak if need be."

Kva just let out a short, but strangely girly laugh. "You're adorable..."

"I am? Well... I'll take that compliment." Es took the tonfa and got into a fighting stance. "So I've heard you kick a lot of butt. Do it every day, in fact. So what is the best advice you can give a girl who, uh... mostly fights on the defense?"

"Stop being scared. The point of defence is to not just defend, but open up your opponent for a counter attack. No fight can be won by only defending. You must press your advantage, or die." Kva answered seriously.

Es flinched a bit. "But... how do you stop being scared when facing something... scary?"

"Well, I could tell you my solution. Just stop fearing death." She answered, shrugging, "However, I imagine you want a more realistic answer. My advice then is that any opponent can be beaten, with enough skill, strategy, or simple luck. However, fear can be a helpful thing as well, telling you when you may be mismatched and need to retreat. In truth, many warriors are afraid, deep within them, and they all have their own ways of counteracting this. You just need to find yours."

"So... running and defending isn't always the solution because fear can rob you of victory... but fear isn't always bad... because sometimes it helps you know that you should defend and run. Is that it?"

"Yes essentially. Knowing how and learn to recognize which is which comes from experience. " She nodded affirmatively.

Esmeralda raised her arms again. "And what would I do to defeat you?"

"Train. A lot. But that's the plan isn't it?" The Death Priest turned her back on Esmeralda as she spoke.

Esmeralda nodded. "Well... how about after you're done with your book?"

"Really? Why? You have some reshelving to do?" The Fencer asked simply.

"Well... I hate to interrupt someone reading a good book, but if you're ready now, I'll go get changed." Es rushed off to her room in the back. "I'll be there really quick!"

"This is going to be a long day... Isn't it...?" Kva shook her head slowly, leaning up against the frame of the library door, waiting for her.
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
Staff member
May 27, 2013
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
Unlikely Teacher
Part Two


Es returned a few minutes later. She had bright pink and yellow work out clothes that left less to the imagination then most would be willing to wear and made her look like the least stealthy ninja ever. She wore a small satchel on her waist and her weapons were already in had. "Ready ready, teacher."

"Is that your outfit? I thought I said we were training, not preforming a circus act." Kva shook her head. "At least now I see why you prefer to be 'naked'. I'd imagine no one could stand to wear that all the time."

Es pouted like a sad puppy. "I don't... h-has any armor or anything, so I thought... exercise..." She quickly turned and ran back towards her room. "I'll be right back!"

Kva raised an eyebrow, standing up straight.

When Esmeralda returned, she was wearing a very old set of leather armor, a set of Lustanian armor that was at least ten years old. "M-my brother bought this for me a while back. Is... this okay?"

"That's fine. It may be old but it will do for practice." Kva nodded once after she examined the armor from afar.

Es was instantly happy again. "Well, come on!" She stepped out and waved for the Dhampir to follow. "Let's hurry!"

"We can walk. We aren't in a rush you know..." The Shadowy woman followed behind at slightly faster than walking based.

"That's true. I'm just excited!" Es clapped her hands together. "I haven't had a teacher in a long time. Not since I left home."

"And who was your teacher then...? Your brother?" Kva pressed curiously.

"Yup!" Es turned and walked backwards. "He was really strict though. Like... super hard on me. I thought he hated training me, but he seemed so disappointed when we stopped with me moving away."

"Just because he was hard on you doesn't mean he hated doing it. When it comes to fighting, one mistake can kill you... So the best way to teach an apprentice is usually to put on a harsher persona. Especially because a battle can be won or lost due to a single soldier disobeying orders."

"Well, I follow instructions very well," Esmeralda assured her, stepping into the inside training area. "So which persona are you going to have. Heard you're already always hard, but you seem pretty easy going now. Maybe you're just happy right now..."

"Honestly. If you don't work well with a strict training regiment then you probably won't improve. We may need to find a way that works, so I will test you first." The Dark Elven Woman answered, continuing to follow behind Esmeralda.

"Alrighty then." Es turned to face Kva, swinging her tonfa few times and giggling. "What's the test?"

"You're going to fight me." She replied casually as she continued walking.

"Um... okay." Esmeralda twirled her weapons around. Bring it on I guess. I'm tougher then I look though."

"We'll see." Kva picked up a wooden rapier from a nearby shelf, taking her traditional stance. "Please, don't hold back."

Es bowed deeply. She waited a few moments to make sure Kva was ready, then used a burst of wind to charge forward and take a swing.

Kva hopped up, allowing the wind to push her back as she blocked Esmeralda's Tonfa with her forearm, taking a strike at her side with her wooden blade.

Es blocked but just barely. Kva's strength threw her off and she stumbled back a bit.

Seeing this, Kva pushed the hilt of her training weapon forward, trying to connect it with her gut.

Esmeralda yelped, and pushed herself out of harm's way with a burst of wind. She reached into her satchel and threw a smoke bomb down, disappearing in a puff of smoke.

Kva coughed lightly, trying to listen for any sounds as she sharpened her reflexes. A few moments later, she felt it. Someone directly above her charging light magic. Her hair standing up from the opposing type of Magic, Kva quickly somersaulted away and out of the smoke.

A blast of magic hit the spot where she had just been standing, Esmeralda landing a moment later. "Darn it! I thought I had her..."

"What are you doing?" Kva exclaimed, readying her practice weapon. "Light Magic like that could seriously injure a Dark Elf like me."

"Oh... I-I'm sorry." Es lowered her arms. "I-I was just acting on instinct... I didn't want to hurt you..."

"You wouldn't have hurt me, but you would've put anyone else in danger. Not even considering that using magic against my wooden sword is hardly honorable." Kva said, making a point to the excitable girl.

Esmeralda lowered her head. "Guess I've failed the test, huh?"

"It wasn't exactly a test you could fail... However... What this tells me is your brother had the right idea, you lack discipline. You are much too reckless when fighting if you are so easily caught up in battle." Kva explained sternly, crossing her arms.

The Light Elf nodded. "You can teach me discipline, right?"

'I can. But it won't be easy. I'll push you to your limits." She answered honestly.

Esmeralda flipped her tonfa around. "Push me past my limits. I wanna be able to actually fight. Um... please."

"Alright, follow me outside." Kva nodded as she walked past her to the courtyard.

Esmeralda followed closely. "Can I make a request, though? I need you to avoid hitting my stomach. I don't want to hurt the baby."

Kva blinked a number of times in quick succession. "You have a baby...? And you didn't mention this, before our fight?"

"It, uh... slipped my mind..." Esmeralda it her lip. "Sorry."

"Slipped your mind? How much of an airhead are you..." Kva just seemed baffled.

Es stuck out her tongue and knocked on her head. "A big one. But you can still teach me the basics, right?"

"As long as you don't suddenly forget how to breathe." Kva took another jab at her in jest.

Esmeralda laughed at that. "I think I can handle that." She smiled widely. "Hey Kva?"

She rolled her eyes over to look at her. "Yes...?"

"Thanks a lot," Es answered. "You're really cool."

Kva seemed surprised, so surprised she had to hide a smile. "I'm... Cool...? T-Thank you..."
 

ZombieSplitter53

Game Master
Staff member
May 27, 2013
5,951
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
MarineAvenger & ZombieSplitter53
The Perfect Couple
Part One


Havenbrook Manor
The Bar
Sept. 18th
12:46 p.m.


It was the middle of the day on a somewhat chilly September day, and the only ones at the Havenbrook Guildhouse in the bar would be those that wanted a game of cards, those that could really hold their drinks, and those trying to drown their problems in a bottle of beer.

Eraqus was none of those, because he was trying to drown his problems in a bottle of strong, Bevland whisky. His face had healed as best it could after his experience but the left side still showed obvious scar. Some new wounds adorned his face as her found it quite difficult to shave with his non-dominant hand, and he was at the point that he didn’t care anymore, a day or two’s stubble growing in. He had a tired, pessimistic look to his eyes. At least the color had returned to his tan skin, the worst of the magic poisoning behind him. Still, he looked like he wished it had taken him as he took another drink.

There was a commotion from outside the bar doors, which suddenly came open and one of the low rank hunters came in a hurry. He looked over Eraqus with some reluctance but approached and leaned down. “U-Um sir, we… have a problem.”

“And what do you expect me…” Eraqus started. He wanted to finish the sentence. So much of him wanted to become ‘that guy’ after his injury. He was fighting it though. That didn’t stop him from taking another drink, though. “What’s the problem?”

“W-Well, since you have taken obvious… ahem, time off training us, someone’s been coming around and harrassing us. She just saunters up, demands a challenge and starts throwing us around like ragdolls. Sometimes literally sir. And she’s doing it now too.” He gestured behind him with his thumb, “Like right now, in the training yard.”

“You guys can’t take care of one hot shot Hunter? Gods…” The Elf slammed down his glass. Shockingly, it did not shatter. “Come on,” he said, stumbling a bit, but able to walk straight after a minute of walking towards the training yard.

Forcing open the doors to the outside, the afternoon light blinded the elf’s eyes for a brief moment after being in the darkness of the bar for so long. When his eyesight cleared, he saw that quite a crowd had gathered, keeping a rather wide perimeter from the commotion in the center. There was a woman in the center of an attacking force of three, all of which approached her from different directions. She waited for a long moment and literally slipped under the sword stroke of the person behind her, pushing him away with a light shove. She forced the point of another’s spear into the ground and used her elbow to smack him away and placed her hand on the ground, long skirts swishing as a barefoot came up and sent the third man careening towards Eraqus, landing and sliding to a stop right in front of him.

“Well that was certainly underwhelming…” the young woman finally spoke, wiping some hair over her ear and putting a fist on a thin hip, side glancing at the two staring at her. It was no hot shot, and it certainly was no hunter either. It was Wilhelmina’s attendant of all people, Kara.

“Tch… the Ophidian,” Eraqus muttered a bit louder then he meant to. He stepped over the fallen man and towards the victorious woman. “Hey! Are you causing trouble?”

“Maybe, but that would imply any of these chumps could make me break a sweat. What are you teaching them old man?” The golden haired vixen asked, turning to face him. She was wearing what appeared to be the cloth top of a belly dancer’s outfit and long skirts divided at the legs and hung precariously at the waist.

“Old man, huh?” Eraqus leaned down and picked up one of the swords. “Do you think just because you’re Lyr’s dancing girl that you can do whatever you want around here?”

“Excuse me?” There were more than one discomforted step further back from the woman. “I see what this is… someone gets his butt kicked and is jealous that maybe someone stronger…” She put her finger against her chin, “Younger,” Circling it in the air to -from her perspective- mark out his face, “And honestly much prettier could do your job just as well, if not better?”

“I’m a S-Rank Hunter here, lady. Fifty years of experience.” The tipsy Elf lifted the sword awkwardly. He was not right handed. “You think you can beat me? Lyr’s little aid and… well, what you do for him behind closed doors is your business, I’m sure.”

That made Kara smirk, “Well then,” she began sauntering forward, which made the man who came to get Eraqus run away to join the others. “You think that you can take me on? You must be crazy.”

He pointed the sword dead at her chest. “Stand down… bitch. I am not in the mood, and I will not hold back.”

“Oh please. There ain’t a single thing you’ve done to phase me yet,” Reaching out, she pushed the weapon away, “But… if you want to have a go, I just gotta let you know…” She leaned in, patting his shoulder to whisper, “I fuck your boss. Not Lyr.”

“You… what?” Eraqus asked with wide eyes.

“She’s quite a lay. Have fun with that mental image.” Taking him by the collar of his shirt, she used her strength to whisk him off his feet and throw him onto the training ground as easily as throwing a sack of vegetables. “So get off of my back with that Lyr bullshit.”

The man simply stared up for a moment, instantly sobered up. She was lying… right? Of course she was… wasn’t she? He grit his teeth, suddenly jumping up and swinging at her. She defended. His movement was surprisingly fast and efficient considering his condition. Had he been in top form, she might have had some trouble. But he was tired, fighting with the wrong hand, and likely worst of all, fighting out of anger.

“Come on, that the best you got?” Kara taunted, kicking him back with a light jab from her foot. “Man, you really are a poser. Why does she keep you around again? I would doubt it would be for eye candy but knowing her fiance… well…”

As they fought, murmurs and whispers could be heard around them, and they were mostly negative. Unfortunately for Eraqus, they were mostly about him. He was a mess. He was losing. He was a cripple. Why did she keep him around? Each comment was a dagger to his pride, and his fighting got sloppier and sloppier until it felt like she was fighting a C-Rank.

“Well, this has been as disappointing as I thought it would be. Maybe I’ll put you out of your misery.” she mewled out in a sultry tone, knocking away his sword. Her lips glowed a brilliant blue color and she leaned forward, kissing the tip of his nose. The next moment, it was like a force slammed Eraqus in the face and threw him even farther back than she had thrown, almost to the treeline several yards away.

The Hunters gasped. Some of them even laughed and cheered for Kara. The humiliated Elf slowly climbed to his feet and glared at Kara, but there was more grief and hopelessness in his eyes then anger. He didn’t say anything, simply walking back towards the Manor with his head hung in shame.

A hand reached out, grabbing the back of his jacket. “Uh ba ba… not done with you yet.” Spinning him around, her arm hung around his shoulder, causing him to hunch a little due to her being shorter. “That was pretty pathetic, right guys?” she asked the ground around them.

Many of them, even those who had known Eraqus for a long time, nodded and muttered agreements. “Just getting off on humiliating others,” Eraqus said weakly. “And to think, Lyr was starting to make me look at Ophidians differently…”

“Oh, quit the bellyaching will you? What gets me off is petite blonde girls, and unfortunately there is a severe lack of those in the crowd.” Her arm slipped away from Eraqus, and she scanned the crowd. Noted every face who nodded and muttered. “Well, I made quick work of this guy. Beat him around like it was nothing! However, this guy is your superior.” A bluish aura surrounded Kara, causing her hair to blow a bit behind her. She got a crazy look in her eyes with a large smile and cracked her knuckles, speaking in a deep, menacing voice in a way that made the Ophidian tower over the hunters oppressively. “Now, would those of you who mocked him please step forward so I can beat the crap out of you two times harder for laughing at your captain?” der for laughing at your captain!”

Many of the men and woman cried out, most backing away while a couple made a run for it. “Oh, so some of you have some back bone do you. I’ll take you all on, right here right now.” She growled evilly, letting out a maniacal laugh. Hesitating but confident in numbers, nice C-Ranks and a B-Rank charged her.

Kara snickered, her fists glowing an extra bright blue color. She punched, a large blue fist flying out and knocking away half the hunters onto their butts while the other first took care of the other half. The laughing continued as they all scurried away. “Mwahhaha! Yes, run! Run and never forget the time you laughed at Eraqus the Elf and…!” She looked to the side noticing that the man was no longer there. Blinking rapidly, she did a quick 180 to see him almost into the manor. She sped over, firmly placing herself in the path if the man, “Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Where the hell are you going?”

He gave her a dead-eye stare. “To finish my drink, tell Lady Havenbrook I’m leaving, then find a nice, sharp knife.”

Kara’s eye twitched and she slammed her forehead into the man’s chest to knock him on his rear, then proceeded to lightly stomp the top of his head with her bare foot. “Stupid stupid stupid stupid.”

“Stop, stop!” He yelled, trying to cover his head. “Are you crazy?”

“Only on certain days. I did not just go through the trouble of showing you up and then redeeming your honor for you to scurry away to drink and die on me. That would look horrible on my record!”
 
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