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A Raid in the Night

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Deep in the Southern Quarter of Weland, the land slowly turns from city to suburb to a rural area. And that rural area is eventually reclaimed by the forest known as Scudders' Woods. The local legend is that the woods that border the most southern farmlands are home to a clan of fierce centaur who give the forest their namesake. There would be periods of peace when the centaur would leave these farmers alone. These moments happened most of the time. There would be no activity at night. 

However, as the seasons changed from autumn to winter, the centaur became restless. Unfortunately, it was often the families of farmers that would come under the cross hairs of their destructive behavior. It was rare that crops would be destroyed, but property would be damaged and farm animals would be let free. One such farm was the Lingxi farm. The Lingxi farm wasn't particularly close to the woods. The family was a large family that rarely, if ever, left their land to travel due to their distrust in outsiders coming in to steal their crops. As the family laid down for the night, the rumors of the Scudder clan coming around, taking people into the night forced two of the Lingxi sons up at night. The sons were old enough to move out on their own, but the Lingxi's lands were vast. There was plenty of room for all of them. 

However, nothing could prepare the two young men for the sight they saw. Coming from the direction of the woods were a small group of young centaur men. It was different when they just heard stories. But now they saw the centaurs and nothing could prepare them for the attack that was coming straight towards them. The elder of the two men was knocked unconscious before the first centaur stepped foot near the home. They yelled at each other, coordinating their attacks on the defenseless family. The panic spread through their compound, but it was not enough. In a few minutes, the silence that settled in on the home of the Lingxi was unsettling to say the least. 

The eldest Lingxi son was found wandering towards the city a few hours later as the sun rose. He bled from a wound on the side of his head. Both of his arms wrapped around his strong body. He knew that the rumors of the centaurs from the woods were circulating around Weland, but this was the first time he had seen it first hand. His sisters, wife, daughter, and two sons were gone. His parents had been killed. The raid on the Lingxi farm was unsettling. 

It was also not the first of its kind by far.

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Ah, Weland. It was nice to see it again. The girl smiled as she walked into the land once more. Her exploits of the last time she was here probably reached the people making it a big hard to trust her. But the demoness had many tricks up her sleeve since the last time she was here. For she had another body to guise herself in. 

Inside Rin was smiling.

She eyed the destruction of the small farm, looking it over silently. Pity, it would have been fun to do it herself, but she shrugged. Weland needed more destruction. More pain. And definitely more heart break. 

The demoness moved along as she wondered what a centuar looked like. She had never seen one in all of her lives. And how did you approach one? Why destroy a farm land?

She sighed. 

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Walking slightly ahead of the demon woman was a man whose looked far more like a common traveler, yet who held a much darker nature deep inside his unassuming appearance. Rodan Allagi was his name, and he was one of the beings who comprised of the triple-headed leadership of the Abbadon Triumvirate, a growing organization based out of the city of Patia. His reasons for being here, and by extension to the rest of his team, including Rin, were multi-pronged. A part of the mission was a desire by Rodan to test the capabilities both of his own officers, but also that of an experimental soldier design he had conceived. Possessing the ability to manipulate and shape organic matter in nearly any way conceivable was a great blessing, especially when one realizes it can be used not only to bring terror to enemies, but also to benefit ones allies. Such was the case with the three minions, two men and a woman, who followed a distance behind the Abbadon officers, carrying with them the expedition's supplies.

Those people had been recruits drawn from the poor and disadvantaged of Patia, offered power and wealth in exchange first for their loyalty, and later for their willful subjection to Rodan's experiments. Subsequently, they had been transformed by Rodan from common humans to the armored mutants they now were. Though humanoid in appearance, each was covered in thick bony plates, reminiscent of a knight's armor in many ways but completely fused with their body. Their faces were likewise protected by bony plates that contained small slits for their eyes, nose and mouth. Wherever the armor had to allow for flexibility, such as at the limb joints, a tough leathery skin showed between the bone plates. Though it was human in color, it took on the texture and toughness of animal hide, providing better protection than bare skin or simple clothing could.

Rodan was quite proud of these creations, though he had yet to see them in anything more than training matches. A real challenge, in the form of a clan of barbarian Centaurs, would be an excellent way to test the effectiveness of these soldiers in combat. Once the expedition returned to Patia, Rodan could use whatever he learned to improve the design, which he hoped one day to propose for larger-scale "production".

Still, this was not the exclusive purpose of this quest, for Rodan also sought to obtain either prisoners or allies for Abbadon. The former could be used by him to further his experiments, while the later would serve to expand the power base of the fledgling organization. The great question was which side of this conflict, the Centaurs or the Farmers, would take on which role? The Centaurs were fierce fighters, and defeating them could perhaps earn their respect and allegiance. Should this come to pass, Abbadon would gain a force of marauders that could be used to intimidate foes and steal wealth and supplies for the Triumvirate's use. But at the same time, the farming family was reasonably wealthy in land, and such land could be useful as a Weland foothold for Abbadon's expansion. If rescued, the family would be indebted to Abbadon, which could be used as leverage to secure use of their land and tribute of their crops and earnings. Perhaps, if things went ideally, the subjection of both parties could be secured.

"Such careless destruction." Rodan mused aloud as he gazed upon the same destroyed building as Rin did, "But potentially useful if we can give those who caused it a sense of direction and purpose."

 

 

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Along side Rodan and the She-Demon strode along with them was the alien Genasi, Sugn consumed by a thick black cloud of Khusu permeating from deep within his core. Tasked with `Taking care` of the Centaurs in Weland to him meant testing out his skills as a Swordsman outside the Mentalscape of Kuudraas, as well as accomplishing the motives of his companions, or in this case colleagues.Their main offensive force being that of a group of commoners, now mutants gathered around them. The ruins of the farm left little to admire, a tasteless act of violence, an act without heart.

"Soo..  That means we are ceasing this land and capturing the beasts right? No ones here, I doubt the owners moving back anytime soon without his family and I mean couldn't we create replicas, considering you have an advanced understanding of biology, you know with what we have here." he chimed in. "But by no means am I wanting to differ us from any needed conflicts."

Slowly he began to wonder to the right side of the building brandishing his Black Blade, The Sword of Kuudraas in case any unwanted creatures still remained scavenging the area. I wonder why the Centaurs took the family..

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"You have a sound strategy, my friend. However, it is not so easy as you might think." Rodan replied to Sugn as they rounded the side of the farmhouse, "I must first have access to the farmers so that I may make the replicas as authentic as possible, to allay suspicion. I then will require hosts, preferably loyal servants of Abbadon, to receive the identities of the farmers. My past attempts to promote the minds of animals to sentience have been... unsuccessful."

He turned his attention away from the structure and toward the woodland visible in the distance. No doubt this was where their queries had gone, though in the vast forest it might be difficult to locate them without first being discovered by the Centaurs. But perhaps the creatures had left a path for them to follow, as a large herd of horsemen surely would have trampled many bushes and saplings as they traversed the woods.

"But while we can assure the loyalty of our own volunteers, it does mean we will sacrifice potential manpower to keep this estate running. Better to leverage the farmers already knowledgeable in their profession, I would say. But we shall see how things develop once we locate them."

 

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That will take hours. People will probably notice by now. And what of the centuars? Do we go after them or let them go?

Rin asked as she watched the other two. It was her second time in Weland and here they were hunting centaurs. She still didn't know the layout of the land but she was hoping this ended better than last time. She looked towards the other two males and sighed. Well, she moved along down the path. 

Hm, not sure which way we should proceed. Should we spilt up and go? I'm not sure how you want to play this out. And we should probably do it before people start to notice. 

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"I suppose you are right miss, and t answer your question I think we should stick together so we don't get singled out in an unfamiliar location." He rested the dull side of his blade on his shoulder, and began toward the forested area in the distance. "Shall we begin?"

Sugn paused for a second Hmmm. He then turned and pointed at a group of their forces he believed to be for scouting purposes. "Would you all mind observing ahead for us in case of enemy attack." He looked toward Rodan, his blank face concealed by his fox mask and the energies that surrounded him. "You don't mind do you? I figured we'd better use our time wisely and do this while the Sun is still up, unless you posses a form of Dark Vision.."

Sugn motioned for their followers  to move ahead. "If it is... I could try an experimental summons I've been thinking of testing out to see if I can conjure a little something up." After their followers had moved a considerable amount ahead of them he began after them still mumbling to himself debating on whether or not he should test out his idea knowing it could draw a large amount of needed energy before a fight.

Sugn, I suggest you wait until you have dealt with these beasts.

 

"Other wise I shall continue on."

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"But of course, I had no intention of lingering here. The farmers will be in the custody of our targets, so there remains nothing here of value to use besides clues as to their whereabouts." Rodan replied, not entirely sure what the other two thought he was waiting for.

However, when Sugn began to order the mutants ahead, Rodan felt a tinge of annoyance that the man saw fit to issue commands first and ask approval second. Perhaps it was to be expected, as many who had joined Abbadon had likely spent much of their life feeling in control of themselves and those around them. But to keep the organization together, respect for the Triumvirate's leaders would have to be enforced.

"I'm afraid that is not your call, Mr. Faux." Rodan stated, addressing Sugn by the name he had identified himself as back in Patia,  before turning toward the mutants, "Soldiers, remain with the group as previously instructed."

He didn't bother to stop their forward progress, as this was not a large enough issue to waste time stopping to sort it out. They could all speak while walking just as well as they could standing.

"While I appreciate your initiative, my friend," Rodan continued back in Sugn's direction, his voice retaining its ever polite tone, "I wish to retain direct control over my experimental units. Furthermore, they are designed for heavy combat, rather than scouting. Though, that does remind me that I should conceive of a scout design when we return home..."

He rubbed his run affectionately as he looked up at the sky, several ideas for scout mutants quickly flowing through his head. Alas, that was a problem for later, as there was a more pressing job to focus on.

"Do keep your summons prepared for use, however."

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“As you wish..” Sugn paused along with them I suppose he leaves me no choice, Kuudraas. Sugn subtly channeled his energies into the palm of his free hand being careful to maintain a level of concentration to avoid any unwanted results. Will you all be able to maintain this for me or are preoccupied with other duties.

 

Do you mock me? Of course not, just asking if a God as yourself would be able to complete a simple task as this. As you wish.. A flash of pain overwhelmed his mind forcing him to whence.

Slowly he took in a deep breath, exhaling as he cleared his mind and returner to his normal pace along side the rest of the group now slightly behind Rodan and Rin.


“I suggest you design a bruiser variant along with the scout variants you may have in mind.” Sugn was surprised their Lead wouldn't have forseen the need of scouts for a mission such as this, especially one located in the forest unbeknownst to them. “I hope to Kuudraas I am able summon a creature suited for the scouting. I've only glanced over the theo..” Enough. Sugns lips sealed shut suddenly, muted by his Patron. Who gave you permission to speak my name. The Energy he gathered in his palm began to pick up in its luminosity gradually with each second. “hmm, we may have a hot one over here..”

Edited by NodeGG
needed to out my thoughts in itallics

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Rin said nothing as she watched the two males. She didn't mind though as she was use to just tagging along and helping with the corruption and all that, or meddling in affairs. 

Lead on then if you have a better idea. 

Rin replied as she walked behind the two. Silent once more she eyed the footsteps, though she always remained watching. Silent though as she didn't need to speak. Not if she didn't need to. And these two seemed like they knew what they were doing. 

But, I'm sure that in the east direction I sense something. Probably a centuar or a human. Either way we can corrupt them with something fun.

She chuckled then. 

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Where not heavy combat soldiers the same thing as bruisers? Perhaps Faux had a different vision of what it meant, Rodan thought. In any case, once he had more time, Rodan planned a vaster array of potential designs to test and use. He might even have done so already, had the Abbadon recruitment meeting and subsequent expeditionary quests not come up when they did. The Mad Mutater may have been many things, but effectiveness with time management was something he wasn't known for. Many years of wandering Terrenus without point or purpose had dulled his ability to think in the lines of deadlines and hurried efficiency. It was something he'd need to relearn quickly, else he risked being overshadowed by his fellows, and he knew it.

While Faux appeared to be in the process of summoning something, Rin made note that she sensed something to the East. This wasn't directly toward the forest, but more toward the edge of the treeline as it faded over a hillside. Perhaps it was a Centaur scout, which could prove useful in locating their hidden camp if captured. If it were a mere human, they could still be useful, perhaps as a much more impromptu scout mutant. Either way, it was worth investigating.

"I agree. Lead us toward this thing." Rodan spoke to Rin.

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Hm, you sure you want to follow me? I don't really know the land, but I could possibly go to the east. Well, I mean what could go wrong? Could find some new people to corrupt and change.

Rin nervously laughed as her feet picked her up and walked down the path. She shoved her hands into her pockets of her stolen officer's coat. She wasn't sure which way to actually go, but east seemed good enough for now. She looked at the other two, not sure what abilities they had. Or what she could really do should she run into the centaurs.

The half breed entered the woods as she remained silent. Rin didn't really talk much when she didn't have to. She hadn't traveled a lot in groups so she didn't know how to act within them. She bit her bottom lip as she almost tripped on the ground. The soil of the ground was much softer than her homeland's own.

How do we capture these centuars and turn them to our side if we find any? And what of the farmers? Should we capture them either? I'm not sure how you want to go about this?

She sighed as she found this a bit confusing to her. She didn't know about these two people. It was her first time hanging around them for more than five minutes. 

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As Faux followed the girl, he couldn't help but notice how she went on about the corruption of those they went across. He was intrigued, wondering by what had made her this way.  Kuudraas, do you believe she could be of any use to the Order? "I do have access to a small airship with storage, so transferring the subjects shouldn't be an issue."

We will have to gain an understanding of this creature first. "Maybe I shall convert them." Faux brushed aside a limb that was in his way as they trekked through the wooded forest accidentally disrupting the connection in his summons. The energy he held in his palm began to fluctuate in its luminosity before transforming into a small cloud of smoke.

What happened? Before him stood no more than two feet a orange mushroom humanoid creature dressed in leather samurai armor, and a backpack. It was wielding a wooden sword, what looked to be a blowgun, and the face of a rookie. "Uhmm," Faux stood staring back perplexed at the creature wondering exactly what had accidentally spawned. "Do you guys see this, or am I hallucinating due to something in this planets atmosphere?"

It's the Summons I prepared for you Sugn, why don't you be appreciative that I provided you with something adora.. -ahem- bearable to look at.. Especially after you disrupted the process. Anyway's meet Dami . Sugn stepped around the creature, disappointed in how his experiment turned out. Not long after the small confused creature began chasing after it's master, it's short legs stumbling over the forests brush. "It's just that I hoped to have summoned a stronger creature from my source book." His patron was silent, going dark once again leaving him alone in this Alien world.

"I.. Uh, guess this is what we have.." Faux chuckled nervously trying to hide the embarrassment felt. "I suppose we will have this guy look ahead for us?" He pointed his finger forward as he issued a mental command for the creature to scout in the direction they were heading 30 ft in advance. The small mushroom creature slipped through the forests occasionally stumbling as it grew accustom to the earth beneath it's feet. "Anyways meet Dami, he should alert us if he spots anything before us.. I hope.."

 

Edited by NodeGG

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"I believe besting them in direct combat is the best way to earn their respect, though there is no guarantee of this. If not, I believe between us, we can intimidate them into submission." Rodan replied to Rin, "As for the farmers, if they still live, we can use our rescue of them as leverage to force them to serve Abbadon as well. But as we know not what to expect for sure in these woods, it is possible we won't achieve an ideal result. I suggest we avoid further discussion on the subject, in case we are being spied upon."

Just then, Sugn summoned the little fungal creature, and subsequently seemed a bit surprised by his own action. Rodan turned to observe, as Faux seemed rather uncertain in his words and suggestion. Dami, as the little being was apparently known, was then sent ahead of the group in the role of scout, for which it would certainly be more suited than the larger, more cumbersome mutants Rodan had brought.

"I hope so as well." Rodan stated at that, "And let us hope he doesn't alert others to our presence first."

He turned back toward Rin.

"About how far away is the person you sensed earlier?"

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It seems a bit far, but we are close. I feel it could be either a farmer or a centuar. But I am not sure. To be honest I've never seen a centuar so I'm not sure what they look like.

Rin said as she stopped then. Her ears picked up a slow movement as it sounded different than a human and she smirked to herself. Moving quietly towards the figure she crouched. She didn't want to alert it to her presence. The half breed crept up to the creature to eye it and tilted her head.

It had a head of a human and legs of a horse. Was this a centuar? She didn't know as she looked back to the others. She waited for a moment to see if it would run before slowly approaching it. 

 

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