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Robbie Rotten

LotE: Journey to the Valley

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Ivas drank deeply from his mug of rich, brown ale. Normally he was more conservative in his alcohol habits, but fighting a desperate battle against an army of dragon riders only to barely escape a burning city with life and limb intact, well that tended to warrant drinking a bit more than usual. Fortunately, the inn they'd made it to was more than happy to serve first and ask questions never. They weren't more than ten miles outside of Isore, but if the barmaids recognized Exarch Madon Ingeram, they sure didn't show it. The boy realized that it was actually possible that they had never seen him and didn't know him from any other knight in shining armor, which if that were the case, was very fortunate indeed. Ivas surveyed the Exarch and their third companion, the only other person to escape the flames of Isore with them, a mysterious girl named Lily. The normally cheerful traveler had a more serious look on his face, unable to escape the feeling of failure that hung in the air. All around them in the inn, the other patrons were full of worried whispers about the fate of the nearby city's unfortunate fate, as well.

"Well, err..... mister Ex--I mean, uhh, old friend old buddy old pal," Ivas said to Ingeram, not wanting to get the Exarch recognized. "I want to help more if I can, but I just don't know what else we can do. Isore is....."

He took another gulp of his ale.

".....just gone....."

Ivas looked away and out the window, at the towering clouds of smoke that were clearly visible even from this distance.

".....What about you, Lily? Where will you go now?" he continued. "Heck, what were you even doing here in the first place?"

That sounded more harsh than he had meant, but Ivas was genuinely curious. Of all the people..... Lily wasn't from Isore, he wasn't sure why he could tell that, but he felt sure of it. She was a traveler, a foreigner, like him, but he knew nothing at all about her origin or motives.

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Willow Church, a mercenary in the middle of a hunt for a minimum of one person. A famous person as well, which made it almost easy to find them at an inn only ten miles from the city that her prey had led. A foolishly short distance to flee, which led to Willow standing at the door to the inn that the man had last been spotted inside of, reportedly with a few friends along with him from some of the people she had bribed for information. It had emptied her pocket a fair bit to get most of the information, but if she managed to pull this job off, her pocket was going to need a bank. The womans' trench coat was closed, four arms hidden inside of it with revolvers already pulled and fingers rested on the triggers.

With that a metallic right arm and a flesh left arm pushed the door to the inn open, only for the woman to stand in the door way as beady eyes darted among the people inside of the inn. It took a few moments, but the moment her eyes settled on her quarry, and his possible companions, her lips split into a grin, exposed hands lowering to prop themselves on her hips as she cocked her hip out to the side, a cocky action as the woman sauntered over to the man. Clank, clank, clank. The sounds of spurred and buckled boots coming into contact with the floor with each step, shaking spurs and jangling them against their brackets as she made her way over to her objective.

 Only to stop behind him and arch a bemused brow. "Heya sexy, you interested in havin' a good time with a girl like myself?" The words were punctuated with her leaning forward a bit, large scorpion tail swaying behind her impatiently as she winked a bit. C-c-c-click. The sounds of four hammers being pulled back as she grinned at the man before her, the smile of a serpent about to lunge for her prey instead of a prostitute or a horny drunken woman.

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VHbiMVS.pngLily had her arms folded upon the wood of the bar and her head buried inside the crook of her forearms. Her hand gripped a wooden cup still full of well-water, clutching at it like a lifeline, and without this display of vitality someone might’ve mistaken her for dead. It wasn’t a dangerous assumption by any means, because the girl was drifting in and out of a sleep deep enough to be called comatose, shallow enough to be a lethal dive.

The barmaids occasionally looked at the young woman, then to her two companions with bemusement. The question was implicit. “Are you sure she doesn’t need alcohol, and lots of it?”

One of Ivas or Madon must’ve been shaking their head, because the question was never said aloud, and her reverie never broken. Instead, they all went about their business, the waiters handing out beers and their plates of food, and Lily’s face still pressed into her arms. Silence stretched itself between the three like a web, delicate, afraid to be broken. Around them the world carried on living – or at least, fearing for its life. The tavern was a hotbed of mutters, a nest of whispers and gasps. There was talk of Isore, talk of flight, talk of the dragons, and that was all the talk in the tavern and, Lily thought, across the land as far as men and women could see the burning wreckage of the Walled City on the horizon.

There was eat and drink aplenty in this inn at lunchtime, but a sore and conspicuous lack of being merry. Who could be blamed?

That which was once so certain was now made precarious. Livelihoods were touched to the torch, the threat of fire imminent, and war had descended to feed off the same fat of the land that humans and their families, their peaceful communities, sustained themselves upon. Uncertainty bred doubt, and doubt bred fear. And they feared. These people around them feared for their everything as the dragons rose to blot out the sun. Lily, Ivas, and Madon – these three feared for a great deal more than their everything, however. They feared for the whole continent that had been placed on their shoulders. Such was the fate of those who held the fragments.

Lily smiled into her arms as the thought drifted out of the fog of dreams. Someone else on this continent, however, held these fragments and feared nothing. That was the ruthless leader of the invading forces, who had discovered a dragonstone and bent the sleeping old ones to their will. Why couldn’t she have been they?

Because she wished to save the world and they wished to destroy it.

It was a product of the dual natures, good and evil, and the inability of man to escape his own nature.

First were the wyverns which nestled in the distant mountains, exotic but plentiful. These had destroyed Isore. Next the red dragons would awaken which drank magma and bathed in sunfire, then those of the sea and air. Finally, the monstrosities that slumbered beneath the mountains and shook the earth with every breath would be called from their sleep. That was how it went in the original War of the Dragons, she remembered.

This was writ in a gold-backed book kept in the Madon’s pack, a product of a distant ancestor of the former Exarch of Isore who now sat solemnly drinking filthy beer while his city burned a few stones’-throws away. He sat with a deluded young girl with dreams of grandeur and a strangely cheery mercenary who’d been roped into a responsibility about twenty levels above his hypothetical pay grade.

What a trio.

Lily was not in despair, or misery, or resignation. She was simply tired. A woman barely past being a girl – some would say a child still – could be forgiven for exhaustion, for having to act against her nature and struggle as she’d never struggled before. Someone who knew nothing of hardship, burdened with two of the seven keys for pulling Elendaron back from the brink of annihilation? It wasn’t even a joke, but that was only thanks to Ivas and Madon. They were now bound to help her, and with these two supporting her, she had the strength to stand on her feet.

Ivas – she had only seen the man drop into the throne room fresh from a defense of the city. Lily knew little of him: only that he was handy with a sword that she felt strangely drawn towards, and that he had a talent for optimism. A smile was never far from his lips, it seemed, and it was he who broke the morose silence among them first, since it was increasingly clear that the others had no taste for conversation.

“Well, err… Mister Ex-I mean, uhh, old friend old buddy old pal…”

The voice cut through her thoughts and echoed in her mind, though Lily did not lift her head. She let them talk above and across her. The three had taken a booth in a corner close to the windows, the mercenary sitting across from both Lily and Madon, who had their backs to the door, and from here they had plentiful view of the burning city and the riders who occasionally thundered in regiments across the paved road down the hill – reinforcements and army who brought with them the manpower to occupy the ruins of Isore, likely intending to comb through the rubble for the dragonstone.

When the enemy realized that it was missing, and that the Exarch’s name was, too, conspicuously missing from the list of notable casualties, then the flight would begin. Lily had hoped while they fled that they would be able to find refuge as quickly as possible – but for now, she knew only to sleep. The fused dragonstones were tucked beneath her blouse, and they had a few days to breathe.

The girl didn’t know where they were headed. She knew nothing about the world aside from Isore and the Valley, and she knew nothing of the locations of the other stones and so she could not guide them. Perhaps the Exarch had political allies in other cities or nations, perhaps Ivas had an idea of safety, being a soldier of fortune as he was.

Perhaps they were simply fated to let the winds take them. So long as they had the stones, they had power to shape the world where they walked.

“….What about you, Lily? Where will you go now? Heck, what were you even doing here in the first place?”

She lifted her head, blinking rapidly as the afternoon light scorched her sleep-deprived eyes. The three had journeyed into the Isorian depths when the moon had risen and the city was lit by its own fires; they emerged with the sun, out of a nondescript sewer outlet in the middle of the forested hills far outside. When they’d entered the inn, they had the sense of having souls being worn to grits by the dirt and gravel, and perhaps this was why none recognized the usually stately form of the Exarch. His armor was stained and smeared with mud, worn as dull as that of the knights-errant of the road. They were all heavy with dew and dirt.

The sun was now creeping up on noon, and they hadn’t a single moment to sleep to them. Always and forever, they were on the run.

Lily drank down some of her water and blinked the last sleepiness from her eyes, her half-hour nap come to an end. She sat up unsteadily, a red mark left on her forehead from where it’d pressed into her forearm for a long while.

“What was I,” she said, trailing off as Ivas’s question finally came to her. She cleared her throat and tried to begin, sighed, caught herself, hesitated, sighed again and took another drink. “Ivas, you have to promise that you’re our ally. Swear camaraderie, from this moment until death do us part.”

Of course he was an ally. Hopefully, the death part didn’t come so quickly. Lily leaned against the Exarch’s armor with a shuddering sigh, stomach turning from lack of food. She looked down the hill at the road, the beginnings of another cavalry regiment kicking up the dust. “You have to be sworn to us. We’re going to end this war. I don’t know how. I have an idea, but there’s too much to say and – and I don’t know if I can say it.”

“I was in Isore because I needed to be there when it fell. I needed him,” she glanced towards the Exarch. Her voice was shaking, but it was an attempt at determination. “I needed you. And of course I still do, and I will need you two. Please.”

It was enigmatic, but the girl had little else to her name. Once they were safe, far away, she’d spill everything, once she had the breath to talk. Even now, she was breathless, and – this she realized in full at last – desperately hungry.

“U-um. Do you mind if we order some food?” Lily looked over at Ivas, eyes shiny with embarassment. There was no energy left in her body to blush but she realized that she had no money to her name.

It was all lost smoldering beneath a cart just outside of the Palace. Lily shook her head, forcing the memories from her thoughts. It would do no good to think of the librarians now.

And Maxwell! Where was he, she wondered. Had he escaped? Surely – he had to.

She did not notice the approaching scorpion-tailed stranger while she was lost in her thoughts, although she would have had nothing to contribute even if she had - fear, surprise, shock? 

Lily only thought of faraway things…

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“Sorrilth… Did we seriously sleep in again?..”

“You know it cannot be helped. When we are chased for the longest hours of the night… Exhaustion usually always overcomes us. At least this inn was kind enough to let us sleep here… Well, you anyway.”

 

-A telepathic conversation between the dragonborn and someone else that was tied to his soul is how Bolt woke up for the day. He had been traveling either on foot or by flight with the use of his dragon wings ever since he stepped foot onto this strange… Yet interesting planet. Exploring what it had to offer whilst keeping to himself for the most part, observing from the shadows. He’d always listen in on what the people had to gossip about, whether it was smack talking certain groups of people or rumors about brave adventurers out on their own fighting off evil forces. Something was always happening somewhere and it was entertaining to say the least. However, exploring this planet came at some costs.. Now that he was hanging around in this realm for an extended period of time, it was easier to be tracked and hunted down but oddly enough… The dragonborn was refusing to leave and realm hop once again. Something was keeping him here on this planet and instead of fighting against it, he simply went along for the long haul.-

 

-Taking notice that the sun was reaching the highest point of the sky, indicating that the afternoon was pretty much there, Bolt managed to rise out of the bed yawning and stretching as he slipped out and felt the hard wooden flooring underneath his feet. Today, Bolt was dressed in slightly better clothing than he usually steals because the set was actually given to him by the inn owner. Lucky him, huh? An over-sized black t-shirt with a simple dragon design on the front and back adorned the upper part of his body while the lower part had a pair of navy blue jeans and his feet actually had socks for once! Oh how he missed the comfort of footwear. That also didn’t go without saying that he had a nice pair of jet black shoes to wear for once too. The dragonborn was quick to pull those on and tie em’ up for the day.-

 

-So, why exactly was Bolt in this neck of the woods? The dragonborn heard whispers of powerful objects being used to control dragons, some mainly for the purpose of destruction. The being tied to his soul pestered him about checking it out because she wanted to do something about it. He didn’t exactly need to be pestered because he was equally interested and concerned for the well-being of the dragons fallen under control. With their blood running strongly through his veins, Bolt simply couldn’t back away from the situation something had to be done. Though, when they arrived to this area, bounty hunters were already waiting for him as stated previously. The dragonborn hopes he doesn’t run into another group of them again while finding out what exactly is going on.-

 

-With his mind dead set on possibly freeing some dragons, Bolt grabbed his light grey hoodie, which was also given to him, and slid it over his head as his light skinned arms littered in tattoos went into the corresponding sleeves. He also rolled them up to his elbows as that was usually how he liked wearing hoodies. Once Bolt was ready, he pulled open the room door and began walking his six foot five self down the steps. While doing so, he sensed there were other people downstairs already. Many different scents trickled up his nostrils and made it difficult to figure out who was what. The dragonborn stopped at the second to last step, having his right foot on the last step and his left hanging back on the previous step. Emerald hues with dragon slits for pupils carefully scanned over the area to get a feel for the people already there. What grabbed his attention the most was someone with a scorpion tail… That was a new one to him. Now the real question was to whether or not be social. Part of him was shy and fighting with him to simply stay away from everyone however, if he was going to figure out what was going on… He needed to be friendly and social. Taking in a deep breath, Bolt gestured a wave with one of his tattooed arms.- “Afternoon everyone…” -Was all he managed to muster up at that moment, unable to ask about the dragons.-

 

-The dragonborn stepped down to the floor finally and kept his hands inside of his hoodie pockets while he made his way over the counter, sitting down on one of the bar stools with his back to everyone else. After a few more seconds of silence from him, Bolt mustered up more courage to ask his question.- “.... Who here knows of some strange object.. That can control dragons?” -His voice timid, showing signs that he was clueless about the topic, but wanted answers.-

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Jinsoku rode the small dragon into the swirling fray of it's brethren that circled the city like scavenger birds swarming a fresh kill. At the apex of his rise, he found himself useless to act despite his awakened state. He couldn't deliver attacks directly while maintaining control of the drake he rode upon. Before he could act altogether, it would seem that another stray drake haphazardly slammed into his, causing him to knock heads with the dragon and easily casting him into a free fall from some couple hundred feet up. With about fifty feet to spare, as Jinsoku reached a complete state of being incapacitated, a sphere of electricity expanded from within him and stretching roughly ten feet from his body. This protective shell was an innate happening, and would see that he was safe until he had at least regained consciousness.  

---

Fortunately for him, Jinsoku seemed to come to prior to being left behind by the fleeing refugees. Begrudgingly he fled with them, yet only because he was certain the city was lost with no survivors still inside. And those fleeing still needed protection until their destination was met. Once they were truly safe however, Jinsoku would opt to remain awake as to gather any intel he could about their enemy prior to engaging them again. This no doubt lead him to where he could also get some relax without resting. Granted actual sleep aloud him to recover and heal much faster than when he was awake. For the sake of appearance, Jinsoku fetched himself a mug of ale (even if he technically looked too young to drink what with his baby face and all). Sitting near the group with at least one face he recognized from the tavern is Isore, he would simply sit without looking in their direction. He used his enhanced, sensitive hearing courtesy to the spirit his body played host to. Eavesdropping was rude, and usually something he only managed when he felt it was necessary. Just like now. However, he wasn't spying on the enemy, he was spying on potential allies. He wasn't acquainted with anyone, so he expected no level of trust. Though that would not keep him from trying to offer his help. Still, it would be easier if he knew any one of them enough to approach during such a troubling time.

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What, exactly, was a ruler that had lost what they ruled? Madon stared into the depths of his third mug of ale, two empty ones sitting off to his right. The former Exarch was a big man, and what else could even begin to compare to what he had lost? If only he could drink it all away, forget everything and live in blissful ignorance. But he couldn't. He had a purpose still. All that he retained of Isore was Arcane Piercer, lance of the Exarchs, and the crown jewel that had once adorned the city-state's throne. He was here because of the latter. The gem, shaped like a dragon's head, was a key to something far greater, and now fused with its sibling. He looked over toward Lily, who had it in her possession. She had the only thing that had prevented Madon from staying in that throne room and dying with his city. She carried, perhaps, the only hope that Isore had of ever being even partially restored.

"I want to help more if I can, but I just don't know what else we can do. Isore is.... just gone....."

He turned his head towards Ivas. Isore was more than gone, but he couldn't think of a better word to define it.

"Glia. Dodon. The other houses of Nar Oeste. We can speak to them, convince them to fight against this new threat."

These were empty words, delivered without hope. What good would it do, even if they did listen? Isore had been widely regarded as one of Elandaron's best-defended cities, an impregnable bastion that could withstand any tide. And it had been destroyed in less than a day. What chance did even the combined strength of the other houses stand against such power? But there was no other options. They had to try, struggle against a seemingly inexorable fate.

Ivas spoke again, with questions directed at Lily. Madon listened in silence, gently laying his free arm across the shoulders of Lily as she leaned against his armor. It was a gesture of trust, of a sort of intimacy. She carried the hope of Isore and Elandoron both, and both the former Exarch and Ivas would fight to protect her. An odd trio, bound together by a mutual trust, forged in the flames of a dying city. When Lily spoke of ordering food, the Exarch grinned slightly.

"The food's on me. I may no longer have access to my full wealth, but I have enough to get us through to wherever our next destination is, at least."

With that, he set down his mug and bent down towards his pack, digging up a few gold coins and then setting them on the table. When he rose back up, he saw the reflection of a person approaching him in his empty mugs. A woman, with a sizable rack an- was that a scorpion tail? Madon tensed, immediately wary. This couldn't be anything good. He looked up and mouthed 'Get ready' toward Ivas, hoping he would get the message. The woman stopped behind him, asking if he was interested in having a good time. In most other situations, this would have been interpreted by him as a come-on, and he would pegged her as some whore or prostitute. As it was, her grin, combined with the distinctive click of hammers being pulled back on firearms, confirmed that this was an assassination attempt. A poorly planned and brazenly executed one, albeit. 

"If your idea of foreplay is shooting me full of holes, I'm afraid I'll have to pass."

As he finished speaking, he brought up his mug as if to drink the liquid within. Instead, using the woman's reflection in his empty mugs as guidance, he threw the drink over his shoulder, hoping to nail her in the face with the liquid. At this, two of the other patrons in the bar, by their looks ordinary travelers with no relation the group in the corner booth, drew weapons as they stood up. The first leapt forward, and moved his sword to try and press it against the back of the woman's neck. The second simply turned away from the bar and leveled his crossbow at the woman's chest. The man at the bar, asking about objects that could control dragons, would receive no answer to his question as violence suddenly erupted and drew the attention of the inn's patrons.

Edited by EpicRome23

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Ivas was only halfway able to listen to the Exarch as the strange looking scorpion-lady approached them; she made quite a sight of herself in the process of crossing the room, seeming purposefully conspicuous in her movements. To be fair, she stood out so much that it would've been fairly pointless for her to try and be subtle. His eyes moved in turn from her gigantic rack over to her equally impressive stinger-tipped tail. The boy didn't know whether to be aroused or afraid, but those jugs seemed too big to be natural, so he decided definitely on the second one. Edge stirred as he placed a hand on its hilt, and he felt a tidbit of the spirit's ancient knowledge pass into his awareness.

Among women, the scorpion people of the desert evolved unnaturally large breasts in which to store excess fluids during periods of drought. In order to compensate for the ungainly forward weight produced by this adaptation, the females of the species in turn developed the large, thick tail seen in specimens today.

Why, of all things, did Edge think that was the most relevant bit of info to convey right now? Had the forgotten warrior carried a fetish for scorpion women in life? If he had, that sensation was currently overridden by a vague sense of threat, a feeling matching by Ivas's own mind. The woman's language and behavior wasn't directly threatening, but sure enough, the Exarch seemed to take it as such, and in no time at all they had a Mexican standoff on their hands. Ivas burst up from his own seat, nearly knocking his drink over as he hastily drew his blade and held it protectively between he and Lily.

"Whoa whoa whoa, let's stop and talk for a minute! What's going on here!" he demanded, not wanting to have a fight break out in the middle of a crowded inn when they were trying to lay low, but ready to act if violence became necessary.

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The throwing of the liquid wasn't a surprise, and the moment he began to go through the action her head pulled to the side so all that would hit her was a few stray drops, landing on her cheeks and lips. As the crossbowman and the swordsman launched into action she used the reflection of the mugs to her own advantage, wickedly curved stinger whipping out to impale the swordsman through the ribs before lifting him up and planting him between her and the crossbowman. "Now now! Lets not get hasty here. I'll even put my arms up." With that the metal arm right arm and flesh left arm went right up, resting on either side of her head with hands open and palms facing them. After all, she had plenty of weapons already pointed at her target, with one of the four swiveling to point at the man that lept up and removed his sword, and another of the three swiveling to point at the girl, or as best as it could, that seemed to be with them. Push came to shove? She had a minimum of two shots on her main target, and one on each person he seemed to be traveling with.

She wasn't too worried about the crossbowman, however. Even in the event that he fired, he'd hit the person that had rushed up to help along with him. Wait, why was she waiting? The thought crossed her mind with a fair amount of confusion, and was answered with her firing the four guns she had aimed. B-B-B-BANG. Four bullets ripped through the fabric of her trench coat, all four of them aimed for the center of her targets chests. Or, more so for their hearts. With that her hands slid forward, tossing the trench coat open to let the metal right hand and skin left hand that had already been shown to drop down, sliding past her pink button up six limb long sleeve, which was held closed by one button that just barely did its job in keeping her breasts hidden from sight, and down to the holsters that hung at her hips. With that fingers curled around guns as she stepped to the side, moving to slip behind the closest table and toss it up with four revolver holding hands as two revolvers were whipped from their holsters by the free hands. As the table flipped upwards the hand that had been exposed, and lacking a gun, swiveled to the crossbowman and fired, her tail having never let the impaled swordsman move from between them.

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VHbiMVS.pngThis shouldn’t have happened.

This was Lily’s firm belief. Madon and Ivas stood from the table, almost in unison, and crossed their swords protectively before her. She looked at the steel, then up at the figures that cut imposing figures in the noonday shadows. Her eyes took a few precious seconds to catch up with her gaze, and her mind lay still in the half-daze of waking and hunger. The sounds of the bar did not come through to her; the approaching footsteps came to her ears but were not heard, its significance lost on the girl, the clicks and those who asked elsewhere of dragons and the things that would rule them.

The only things significant in her focus were the two other men. Even then, her mind was sluggish as she saw their faces, grimacing and staring at something behind her.

“Whoa whoa whoa, let’s stop and talk – “

Lily began to rise, turning her head to follow the mercenary’s words, but all that was conscious in her tender mind was the crack of gunpowder, and at that moment her eyes were fixed on her reflection in Madon’s waist-plate. That was the last thing she was conscious of – the gently demanding expression of the confused, lips parted with a question and lost eyes looking up towards someone whom she trusted. Behind the veneer of confusion, one might’ve seen alertness, primal terror inspired by the unnatural crack like lightning.

The bang continued, and it did not seem to stop, stretching into infinity. It was a single, uninterrupted rupture of the sound barrier, and every second of it sent the same jolt through her nerves, the same instinctual shock and fear that a man did not deserve to be conscious of. It was something for the animals, something for those with the instincts to deal with the threats – this sense of desperation and action did not belong to the mind of a girl like Lily.

But here she was, paused in the moment, only a single, petulant thought going through her head as her eyes fell closed.

I am not going to die here. This was Sane Lily, Lily with Conviction, Purposeful Lily. I am still needed.

MOVE.

Unfortunately, a man with conviction dies as easily as a man without. The sane and the insane are not treated unequally by God. Lily opened her mouth to cry out the beginning of a scream, her left eye ablaze with its desperate glow, tracing the path of the bullet as it snapped towards her heart. Her body twisted a fraction of an angle, moved a fraction of an inch in a fraction of a second –

The bang faded into silence, and Lily’s body jerked backwards as it took the bullet squarely. Her scream was silenced, and her back slammed into the top of the table with a clatter as the impact shoved her backwards. The table tilted as she went, and she rolled off the edge onto the ground, mugs and cups sliding to smash onto the ground.

When the table righted itself, there she’d lie, eyes closed, in a pool of beer and blood and shards of cheap clay.

Edited by Mag

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-The dragonborn’s question goes unanswered as sudden violence bursts into the scene as those emerald eyes widen in shock and surprise while his body instinctively reacted to the situation by having a pair of dark blue dragon wings with small shining white stars scattered along the scales inside and out appear at his back side. With these wings, Bolt was taken up into the air almost reaching the rafters as he was trying to stay out melee range and the sudden gunfire.-

-Because of the sudden rush of adrenaline speeding through his body, Bolt didn’t realize that he was actually still struck by a bullet that he assumed was for him in the right dragon wing as began to slowly bleed and drip to the floor boards below. The dragonborn hissed a little when he did take notice and was already trying to let his healing factors go to work on the wound. He was ready to return fire but not before he noticed that the girl had taken a hit and fallen into a small pool of alcoholic and her own crimson liquid. All of this happened so suddenly giving Bolt a small mix of emotions, not sure how to feel at all in the heated moment. Part of him feared and was worried for the girl, despite the fact of not even knowing her. While another part of him was furious at the ones that started all of this to begin with.-

-Emerald hues narrowed into a glare full of hatred that was directed towards the two men and scorpion tailed woman who had multiple arms and weapons at her disposal. Bolt’s elemental power was boiling up inside, looking for an exit more so a target… The same thing was happening to his celestial abilities as well. Holding out his right hand off to the side, a giant white star appeared directly under it as it had a large enough hole in the center of it to grasp it, taking the form a giant shuriken of some kind. Without another second wasted, Bolt hurled the star shuriken towards the man wielding a crossbow. Whether or not this impaled the male, the star was still going to explode and cause significant damage once it made contact with something.-

-After it was thrown, Bolt followed this up with building up a large amount of lightning within his body as it was his element of choice at the moment while he set his sights on the freak show of a woman. In a quick motion, the dragonborn’s mouth opened wide and unleashed a straight beam of nothing but blue lightning as it looked similar to a dragon breathing fire. This attack was mainly for the woman as it traveled at immense speed. Would she and the man wielding a crossbow be fast enough to avoid either of Bolt’s attacks?- 
 

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Smoke lifted lazily on the horizon as two cowled figures slowly trudged towards the burning city. But neither were they too mysterious, nor too powerful. One was a boy, the taller of the two, four and ten years old. The other had a tail poking out from his cowl behind him and was relatively younger than the boy. Little electric blue pools of passion regarded the scenery ahead with an unfounded lust, the little boy licked his lips, his blood rushing.

 

“We witness history, Sir Eatsalot.” Judas called out to his little friend. The monkey groaned in return, unamused and rather tired of their long walk. Unhindered by the monkey’s absent enthusiasm, the boy continued talking, “ You see fire, fire is power. It has burnt more cities than one can count, and more and hopes and dreams still. It was here before men were, and it’ll be here long after we’re but skulls and bones”. The boy was fascinated to no end, and the image of a burning world had etched itself deep into his mind. He paused abruptly, closing his eyes, breathing in the stench of ruin and ash.

 

The monkey continued walking, fire didn’t fascinate him, food did, but food was nowhere to be found, not in this pile of dirt! But soon, the boy rushed past him, his cowl falling back, revealing hair curling endlessly upon themselves. The monkey tilted his head, half aware of the boys fanaticism, half curious of what had caught his attention this time. Could it be food?

 

“Come on Sir Eatsalot!” Judas shouted, smirking, as he struggled to pace through the sand, his eyes set upon the inn in the distance. This was going to be fun.

 

The boy’s hands reached to throw the door open only to miss it, thanks to the monkey’s charge in. The monkey tumbled and found himself sitting on the inn floor, just when the screams of bullets were heard. “My, my how kind of them to welcome us with bullets and such.” half smirking, half astounded, all too used to the chaos. His words were followed by a magical shuriken and lightning strike. What an exciting day,

Edited by sheep

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While the drawing of weapons had caused those in the inn that were not involved in the conflict to stop in shocked surprise, the impaling of the swordsman caused panic to spread among them, and they started to rush out of the inn as the gunfire started. The bullet aimed at the heart of the Exarch impacted his armor... only making a small dent before dropping to the ground, though the impact did send him stumbling back a step. If the assassin had bothered to study her target, she might have figured out that the previous Exarch had been killed by a firearm-wielding assassin, and that someone would surely improve the armor to make sure that method did not succeed again. It wasn't the case, of course, that he would be immune to firearms, it would just mean something with more firepower would be necessary to get anywhere. With a slight click, Arcane Piercer was pulled toward Madon's right hand as he put his helm back on with his left.

"Wieklin!"

The crossbowman shouted his friend name's as he saw his friend impaled. The swordsman felt the strength draining from him, as he was moved by the tail to block the crossbowman's shot. Was this how he would die? His life slowly draining as he was used to prevent his friend from aiding his liege? Not if he could help it. With all that remained of his strength, Wieklin swung his sword behind him. If it was enough, he would sever the tail and then fall to the ground. Either way, he wouldn't last much longer.

Unfortunately, the crossbowman would never have the opportunity to make his shot. From above, some sort of magical shuriken was thrown and impaled him in the chest, followed by a bullet from the woman. Before the shuriken exploded and took his life, his last thought was how damned unfair it was that he hadn't even managed to fire a single bolt.

"Lily... Laim.."

Madon looked at the two of them in turn, closing his eyes for a brief moment. One of his close companions, along with one of his loyal soldiers, felled. There had been too much bloodshed already. When he opened his eyes, he glared at the draconic man in the rafters and then the assassin in turn. The latter would die first, the former could wait until afterwards. From his hand, attached to a chain, Arcane Piercer shot forward, aimed above the table to try and take the scorpion-tailed woman in the throat. Whether it impacted or was dodged, Madon would follow after it instead of retrieving it, rushing into the upturned table like a raging bull. Anger had overtaken the Exarch. If the woman didn't escape him, he would drive his armored knee into her chest, pinning her in place. Then, he would bring down his free hand and slam an armored fist into her face, repeating until she was either dead or he was distracted by something else.

Meanwhile, two men slipped out from the fleeing crowd, the first pulling the second by the arm into the nearby bushes. When a relative silence had settled, the second man spoke.

"Severus, sir, why did you do that?"

Severus, formerly the head engineer of Isore's Engineer's Guild, raised an eyebrow.

"Because, Auffle, you would have wasted your life otherwise. The Exarch can handle himself, and we've already lost Wieklin and Laim. As for why I pulled you in here, we need two things: A healer for the girl, and an escape route for all of us. I will search for the first, and I want you to secure the second. Try to get us horses, otherwise the mounted patrols of our enemy will run us down. Oh, and we'll have to decide whether to go north or south. West leads back to Isore, and if you were paying attention, you would have seen the enemy forces coming from the east. South brings us to either Lucer or Owend, who should be at the fortresses bordering Glia and Dodon by now. North... that will probably lead us to the Valley."

"Well, sir... I would say north. There's no guarantee the Glians or Dodonians would be friendly to us."

Severus nodded, and then gestured for Auffle to stay put as he slipped out of the bushes and started jogging toward the last village they had passed. The soldier let out a sigh and blended into the bush as best he could, scanning the area for any horses that he could commandeer. What he would need, 5 or so? Who around here even had that many?

Edited by EpicRome23

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She watched the bullet dent the armor inwards as it hit, and couldn't help but smile as a thought crossed her mind. As the swordsman swung his sword backwards however, Willow couldn't help but look at the man and raise her brow curiously at him. It was a feeble action, and the blade would only be able to nick her tail even in the event of it hitting it. Clank. It did. And so sights turned to the man with the crossbow that she had fir... Jesus fucking christ a shuriken made of something magic looking just hit him. And her head swiveling to find the source was what barely saved her life, as she stepped to the table and flipped it to its side and her tail launched the swordsman from itself and into the path of the lightning bolt, body dropping down as she did to avoid the lightning, and the weapon that her target had aimed for her throat. A lucky day all around it seemed.

The sounds of heavy feet advancing followed that, and there was no question of what the man was intending. Before he could hit the table however the female used her multiple limbs to propel herself forward and towards the floor in front of one of the windows in the wall, and well enough from the man, as beady eyes flicked to where she had been before as the man bowled through the table. Her tail curled towards her back as she launched herself away from the man, keeping him from managing to make contact with it and drag her back to what would likely be a battle of strength. In such a case, her tail would be her only chance, and she doubted she'd win with the massive armored man.

As she reached her landing she spun and tucked her feet underneath of herself, gun wielding hands coming out in front of her chest to five of the six revolvers towards the exarch. The last gun swiveled upwards, pointing towards the aggressing draconic mans eye... Did she shoot him already? Must have been a ricochet from someone. B-B-B-B-B-BANG. The sound of six shots rattling off at once, five of them aimed for one spot over the heart to dent the armor inwards and either rip through it with the force hitting it all at once, or bend the armor out of shape enough that it'd press into the mans skin. The last one was aimed for the flying mans eye, with the intentions of killing him through one of the few weak points most creatures shared.

It was immediately after the shots were fired though that she winked, taking just enough time to speak. "I WAS hoping you'd take me up on that good time. Who can say they had fucked an exarch, and then killed him? Guess I'll settle for shooting his friend." With that her legs propelled her backwards, launching her through the window she had landed herself in front of, letting the woman escape given her expert escape wasn't interrupted and allowing her to run off, or at least hide until the exarch and his allies weren't hunting for her. Then she'd follow them and watch for a moment of weakness.

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As the woman raised her arms above her head with a mocking demeanor, something about her felt even more off. Ivas didn't see it, but the spirit in his sword did, recognizing readily the subtle contours of multiple gun barrels resting hidden beneath the scorpion woman's coat. Edge seized control immediately, acting on self-preservation at the most primal level, and Ivas's arm moved in a blur at the same moment that the four weapons fired. The bullet meant for him was expertly deflected off of the enchanted blade, bouncing up towards the rafters to hit the dragon-man instead, not that Edge paid much attention to what happened to him. Though the spirit saw him, he was not a direct threat, and so its attention remained focused only on the six-armed woman.

There were more split second decisions that had to be made from there, as simply eliminating the threat was not the only consideration in play. Edge had to account for the survival of allies as well. In terms of expendability, the Exarch ranked lowest, followed by Lily, then the Head Engineer and finally the Isorian soldiers. Thus, as Madon charged forward at the woman, Ivas's body threw Edge towards the former regent's back; instead of cutting into him as it would when aimed at an enemy, the steel of the blade mushroomed out into a sheet on the back of the Exarch's armor, then spread itself out into a solid layer all the way around his torso, with the sword's hilt serving as a central point where it was attached to his back. This reinforcement of the armor would turn aside the woman's bullets as she tried to focus Madon down, denying her any damage to his vital points.

Pulling the flipped table up and over them to create makeshift cover, Edge-as-Ivas then knelt down over Lily's bleeding form, the previously jovial boy's eyes now glowing with hollow white light as they examined her injuries with expert precision. Perforated lung..... easily treatable, not immediately fatal, but would be most desirable to acquire a dedicated healer for it. It would remain with her to protect her from further harm until combat was ended, then when there were no more immediate threats, Ivas could retake control. Hopefully the fight did not take long, or else Edge may need to reclaim itself from the Exarch to ensure Lily's survival. For the time being, it keep a hand on her chest to monitor her breathing, the other one holding their table steady as the spirit monitored what was happening on the other side through the orange gemstone in the sword's pommel, where its essence was anchored.

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-The dragonborn watched from the rafters as it seemed like his star shuriken made its mark, however something felt off… A shift in the air. When Bolt was glared up at for a few seconds, he looked a little lost. Did he do something wrong? It’s not like he intended for his lightning to hit the scorpion woman on the first try, so not really his fault she was able to avoid it that easily.-

-Or… Was it something else that he did?...-

-Bolt’s wings kept him within the rafters for just a little longer as he tried to figure out why he got such a nasty look in return for his actions. All he was trying to was fend for himself and thought the ones who drew weapons first were the ones he needed to stay away from and most likely attack. As the dragonborn was lost in his own sea of confusion, he was struck again by yet another bullet that someone had deflected off their sword. This one had nailed him in the right shoulder and caused him to lose control of his wings in that small amount of time. Due to this, Bolt came crashing down near the back of the inn, leaving a large hole in the floor boards being surprised he didn’t just go right through them into a basement or something.-

-Hissing at the pain in his shoulder, Bolt had his left hand begin to glow in a white hue that had several small stars circling on the outside. Using this, the dragonborn raised his hand to the wounded shoulder and began healing himself once more. First, the bullet was pulled out with ease and then was quickly followed up with his flesh being sewed up completely as if there was never a bullet entry to begin with.-

-While the dragonborn sat back and healed himself, those emerald eyes with dragon slits shifted their focus away from the battle and went towards the general direction of where the girl had fallen to a bullet. So many questions was filling his head such as; was she going to live? Where was she even struck at? How much blood has been lost? Should he himself go over there and try to help?...-

-Normally, it wasn’t too common for someone to worry so much about someone they had no connections with, but Bolt was different. He was born with a heart too big for his own good, caring and being protective of people, even if they were a complete stranger. He wanted to go over there and see what he could do to help, but he also didn’t want to get caught in the crossfire. Biting his lower lip the dragonborn remained where he was at and simply threw up a large white barrier, that yet again had a star pattern at the front of it.-

“What a way to start the morning….” -He thought-

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