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LotE: The Revival (Day 2)

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Owend frowned in response to all the judging stares leveled at her.

"Okay, you clambakes, what's your brilliant answer to the origin of this heir then, huh? Mine is the best explanation so far, with the facts as they are! And Amber, what do you know about the logistics of time travel? This mystery heir isn't afraid of messing things up, as they've already displayed. Either they're willing to risk erasing themselves from existence, or that's just simply not how time travel works!"

Madon gave a deep, weary sigh, before shifting his gaze between Owend and Amber.

"This is a question I would like to know the answer to, yes. But baseless speculation is getting us nowhere, both literally and metaphorically. Let us continue on our way, the answer will come to us in time."

Owend grumbled for a moment, before taking the reins of her pegasus in hand and rising into the air once more. Madon and Wymp turned their horses back toward the road and resumed their traveling pace.

The group, after some time, caught sight of a commotion ahead. Wymp turned toward Madon. The Exarch responded with a nod, and then gestured for everyone to slow down. He looked up towards the Grey Knight above, wondering if they could clearly make out whatever was going on further down the road.

 

Edited by EpicRome23

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The commotion on the road that the group had seen involved three bandits and a man who was dressed in, what you could say, clothes that were completely out of place. Cargo pants, t-shirt and a jacket with the words "Caterpillar" for the company of the same name going down the right sleeve, and not to mention a baseball cap with that logo. His eyes were blocked by a pair of sunglasses, and had both a backpack and duffel bag with him.
 



One thing after another... and I can't just seem to catch a break... just trying to get to the nearest town and of course these three blockheads have to harass me.

"Hey! Quit your daydreaming and pay attention!" one of them shouted at me, pointing his axe towards me.

"Look man, I don't care who you are-" I tried to explain again.

"You should. We own these roads. If you're passing by here, you need to pay a toll. And the toll is everything in those bags of yours, or your life."

Rude. "Look, for the last time... I don't care. I'm not paying a damn toll. Let me be on my way or it will end badly."

"You're right, it will end badly. Because this is your last chance. Pay up. Now."

I sighed. I didn't want it to come to this. "Alright... fine." I dropped my duffel bag to the ground and took off my backpack... and took a deep breath. The moment had to be right... and... I tossed it at this so-called bandit in front of me, catching him off guard and knocking him to the ground from the unexpected weight. The bandit on his left charged me with an overhead swing of his axe, I sidestepped it and in one swift stroke drew my machete and razed him right across the throat, killing him. I grabbed his axe and used it to block the swing of the third bandit, and with a twist of motion I had the axe in my hand swinging around and nailing him in the back. Two down, one to go. The first had heaved the bag off him and was getting up, a quick kick to the upper chest had him flat on his back again, and my boot was now to his neck. "I guess I am paying your toll with life... your lives." With a twist of my ankle and a sickening crunch... that made three dead bandits. I let out a sigh and looked around... great... a group of witnesses in the distance. Maybe I can explain this was all self defense?

Edited by NuclearCommando

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"... He looks pretty skilled, Madon."

Madon nodded in agreement.

"Indeed he does. But what he is doing, traipsing around without armor? He certainly doesn't look an archer or a mage, and even our archers wear more armor than... whatever he's wearing."

Owend descended on her pegasus so as to smirk down at her liege.

"Hey, you tin-plated meathead, does he really need armor with those kinds of moves? But anyways... there's a village about, hmm, half a mile down the side road? It's infested with more of those thieving monkeys. I think that might technically be in Glian territory, but regardless, we're the only ones I can see nearby."

Madon considered Owend news for a moment, then looked to the rest of the group with a slight grin.

"Well, I suppose this an opportunity for all us to fight together, and we might not have another one for a good while. Consider this a training exercise. Let's see if this fellow is interested in purging a bandit infestation, and then we'll get to business."

With that, Madon spurred his horse forward and approached Mason. He stared at Mason for a few moments like he was some sort of oddity, then shook off the thought and spoke.

"Hail, traveler! We couldn't help but notice your... swift dispatching of those bandits. So, if I may be so bold to ask, would you be interested in helping us take down the bandits overtaking the nearby village? And, ah, before I forget... you may call me Madon. What is your name, traveler?"

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Now that I had gotten a closer look at the group... they looked like a group fresh out of one of those renaissance festivals... and was that a flying horse? God... now I've seen everything. I sheathed my machete as the one who called himself Madon spoke to me, requesting my help and my name.
"Well Madon... I'll have to apologize, but names can be a very powerful... and very dangerous... node of information. And with bad things that have happened to me not too long ago, you'll have to make do with my nickname... I go by Deadeye. I hope that'll suffice for now. Now... bandits overtaking a village?" I returned my backpack to my shoulders and hoisted my duffel bag. "Yeah sure... I was making my way there when I got... sidetracked. If there's more of those idiots there then having someone watch my back would be much appreciated. Now... I couldn't help but notice... flying horses? I've never seen anything like that before where I'm from. If the saying was "when horses fly" instead of "when pigs fly" I'd be finding myself a very rich man right now." I extended my hand out towards Madon for a handshake. "Anyways... glad to see a friendly face out here Madon."

Edited by NuclearCommando

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Madon grasped Mason's extended hand and shook it, his grip firm and having something oddly regal about it.

"And the same to you, Deadeye. I am... a man with many enemies, suffice to say. Encountering someone that's not out for my blood is a pleasant surprise, frankly."

Moments later, Owend landed near Madon and Mason. She turned to the latter with a curious expression, while her pegasus was unperturbed and started sniffing around Mason's backpack, trying to sense an apple or anything else tasty. Owend looked down at her pegasus for a moment.

"Nodite! Quit poking around people's stuff!"

She returned her attention to Mason.

"Sorry about her, she's always searching for food like she's starving, no matter how well I feed her. Anyways, did I hear correctly that you're not familiar with pegasi? If so, then you're a hoot, handsome! You really must not be from around here then, Glia has a whole army mounted on these 'winged horses'!"

Madon cleared his throat meaningfully, causing Owend to move away slightly with a sheepish expression.

"We tend to take these kinds of things for granted. This must all be very weird from the perspective of one unfamiliar with the, ah, quirks of Erasmia and its nations, like you are. But at any rate... unless you have further business with those three bandits you killed, let us continue on our way to the village. I'm sure the villagers will be very eager to see relief coming, and justice dispensed."

As he finished speaking, Madon turned his horse down the side road leading to the village Owend had said was plagued with bandits. Wymp and Owend were not long in following, and the seven Grey Knights continued to follow in the skies above. As they neared the village, Madon silently gestured out orders, which Owend relayed to the Grey Knights. Six of them split into two groups of three, each group moving to the entrances/exits of the village to the left and right of the one the group faced. A classic flanking pincer maneuver. The last Grey Knight hung back with Madon and the others. The central and largest group would charge into the thick of the battle once the Grey Knights had been engaged... and as sounds of alarm and weapons clashing echoed around the area, breaking the veil off odd silence that had settled around the village, Madon turned to the others and signaled for them to charge. He led the way with Arcane Piercer couched and at the ready... though it was admittedly less impressive than it might have otherwise been, with Madon not in his full splendor and Arcane Piercer disguised as a regular steel lance.

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So... pegasi... the horses of myths... are real? Either I'm somehow on a really bad trip or... I honestly don't know. Just gotta play it by ear for now. Though with... Nodite? Interesting name... Nodite sniffing my bag, I let out a chuckle. "Well... if he's hungry... he's not going to find anything in there to eat... anything nutritious and safe to eat anyways."

Madon dropped an interesting name in his following conversation: Erasmia. Either that's what they call Europe, and I should be safe from extradition... or something seriously messed up happened and I'm far, far, far away from home. No matter, now was not the time... if what they say is true people are going to need their help... my help as well I guess. "We get this done... maybe we can talk a little more."


Soon we had approached the village. I stashed my gear in a nearby bush for safe keeping, and advanced with the others.
"Madon... I just want to be clear before I go charging in there: I'm not used to fighting people with axes or swords... but I'm still decent in hand to hand... let me make my own moves, for I'm pretty sure my training and tactics are much different than what you follow... and are less likely to get me killed." I had drew my machete... normally not my primary but desperate times call for desperate measures... and because nobody has hearing protection... joy.

I had split off from the main group and hopped a fence behind some buildings. All my training, running out into the open would get me killed. Instead, I skulked through the shadows and around the boxes behind those buildings... ambushing a few bandits with swift and lethal strikes.

After slaying a couple, had the gall to ambush me... but quick thinking and situational awareness meant his initial swing missed with my dodge and I dueled him with my machete. Compared to the other dullards I had slain this one had some smarts. The clang of steel against steel echoed through the air... until the bandit suddenly had an arrow sticking out of his neck and slumped to the ground.

With the bandit dead, I quickly glanced around to check for more... and saw the lady with the red and black hair, holding her bow.
"Are... are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine miss. I probably could've handled it... but thank you... thank God you didn't hit me."
"That's why... I waited for a clear shot..."
"So a deadeye like me then... good to have you around then."
"Umm... thank you... there's more bandits nearby..." She made her way down some buildings back towards the center of the village.
Agreeing with her, I decided to head down another one and stopped near the exit to the main roads, observing the battle going on and planning my next move.

Edited by NuclearCommando

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The group of Grey Knights that had struck at the right flank of the village were doing well for themselves. Though they had a multitude of bandits before them, they were efficiently dispatching the ones immediately attacking them before moving on to the next. However, the left flank... wasn't doing nearly as well. A group of five bowmen had forced them down to the ground, sacrificing their advantage of flight and mobility, and forcing them into a slogging battle on the ground.

Madon was quick to notice this, and pointed toward the left flank while looking toward Owend. He barked out his orders a moment later.

"Owend! Kill those archers and relieve the left flank!"

Owend looked over at the left flank, before flashing Madon a thumbs and coming into a diving attack at the bowmen. Two of them turned and tried to shoot at Nodite's wings... but the buckler-like shield on Owend's arm glowed, and the arrows were deflected away from that most vulnerable area of the pegasus. The Grey Knight that had been following Madon joined the attack after she had determined the bowmen were sufficiently distracted by Owend. This left Madon and Wymp looking toward the village center.

At the hill that rose up in the center of the village... a man whose excess of furs and general getup marked him as the bandit leader argued with a masked, black robed man. Two men in heavy red armor stood flanking them, pointedly ignoring the argument and simply watching the chaos in the village. To Madon's perspective, they... weren't holding any weapons? He frowned and turned to Wymp.

"Wymp. On top of the hill, in front of the town hall. You see those men, don't you?"

Wymp nodded after a moment.

"I do, my liege. They're just... watching, are they not?"

"Indeed. But I think we both know... that these are no villagers. It only stands to reason that they're the ones behind this bandit infestation. Therefore... you and I will take out their bodyguards. Once's that done, we'll take out the bandit leader and that robed fellow. Hopefully, the others will have cleaned up the remaining bandits by then."

Wymp looked up toward the men on the hill again, then nodded and readied his crossbow. He spurred his horse after Madon as the Exarch leveled Arcane Piercer and charged up the hill toward the armored man on the left. Wymp turned and aimed his crossbow at the one on the right, slowing his horse as he did so.

The armored man on the left revealed the weapon Madon couldn't make out earlier, a tome bound in black leather and some purple, arcane rune etched onto its cover. An armored mage, then. As Madon approached, he spoke an incantation. As he finished, spectral faces formed in the air, and then converged on the Exarch.

Spoiler

 

Spoiler

Cultist Baron 1: Attack missed.

However, Madon simply grinned, slashing Arcane Piercer through the air and causing the magic arrayed against him to dissipate harmlessly. The armored mage had no time to react as the Exarch pointed his arm toward him, sending his lance flying through the air attached to a chain, and piercing through the armor on his torso. Madon retracted the chain, and the mage let out a growl of pain. It was a painful blow he had received, but not a debilitating one.

Spoiler

Madon Attack #1. Delivered 20 damage.

Madon: 60/60 HP remaining

Cultist Baron 1: 30/50 HP remaining

However, before the armored mage could prepare another attack or tend to his wound, Madon's grin widened... and he spun his lance around and through the air a few times, before he sent it shooting forward once again. This time, Arcane Piercer penetrated the mage's armor in the center of his chest, piercing his heart, with the head of the spear visibly sticking out the back of his armor. His tome fell from his rapidly weakening grasp as Madon retracted his lance once more. The armored mage fell to his knees, then face-first, forward onto the ground... lifeless and unmoving.

Spoiler

 

Spoiler

Madon Attack #2. CRITICAL HIT! Delivered 60 damage.

Madon: 60/60 HP remaining

Cultist Baron 1: Overkilled.

The fall of his counterpart did not deter the second armored mage from launching his own spell at Wymp, though the bandit leader and the robed man were brought to shocked silence as they witnessed the death of the first armored mage. Spectral faces manifested and converged on Wymp...

Spoiler

Cultist Baron 2: Attack missed.

Wymp quickly moved his horse away from the converging magic, dodging its effects entirely. Then, he raised his crossbow, and unloaded the three bolts loaded into it... the first struck, sinking into the armored mage's left side.

Spoiler

Wymp Attack #1. Delivered 18 damage.

Wymp: 45/45 HP remaining

Cultist Baron 2: 32/50 remaining

The second struck, sinking into the armored mage's right side...

Spoiler

Wymp Attack #2. Delivered 18 damage.

Wymp: 45/45 HP remaining

Cultist Baron 2: 14/50 remaining

And then the third struck, biting into the armored mage's throat. The poor bastard seemed to try and sputter out some last words, or maybe a last desperate spell, but soon simply fell forward onto the ground, facing the same fate as his compatriot that had faced Madon. The Exarch and his guard converged at the edge of the hill, facing toward the duo in the center who were finally starting to recover from their shock, and ready their weapons. But, unfortunately, Wymp was distracted at the moment, with having to reload his bolts and ready the crossbow to fire again.

Spoiler

Wymp Attack #3. Delivered 18 damage.

Wymp: 45/45 HP remaining

Cultist Baron 2: 0/50 HP remaining. Ded, any questions?

 

Edited by EpicRome23

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I took a glace around and saw that the only enemies around were the four on the hilltop. Madon and his aid took on the two in armor, so I began a run around the hill to flank the one in the fur coat. It took a lot to ignore my training of blindly running into the open... but seeing as how the enemies didn't have firearms here, I didn't really need to worry about getting eviscerated by machine gun fire, now did I? My approach was swift and silent, but even I'm not a complete ghost in daylight. The one in the furs turned towards me. I stopped my approach near him, waiting for him to make the first move so I could counter that nasty axe of his... and he did.
By... talking?
"Fools, the lot of you, thinking you can take me on! Once we're done with you all, we'll burn this village to the ground! And afterwards..."
He was just... rambling on? What the heck? Did he have a death wish? No matter, I took this opportunity to slash at him with my machete... and my swing hit it's mark, a slice diagonally down his chest... and he seemed to be legitimately caught off guard by what I just did.
"What the fuck did you just do? I was talking!"
Since he seemed to have no intention of swinging that axe at me yet, I took advantage of his stupidity and struck him again.
"What is wrong with you you asshole!? You're supposed to listen to my-"
Idiot. I swung again... but I seemed to have pissed him off, he managed to bring his axe around and struck my machete, knocking it out of my hands and me to the ground from the stagger. Damn... I didn't want to do this...
"You're worse than scum, interrupting a bandit leader like you just did. Now you shall pay with-"
He failed to realize I was far from harmless. I had taken advantage of his stupidity once again to unzip my jacket, and in one swift motion I pulled out my backup weapon from it's shoulder holster... a two tone silver and black weapon with beautiful rosewood grips, the sound of it's slide being racked, and followed by what could best be described as the sound of thunder.
My aimed shot with my M1911 hit true. It took the wounds I inflicted on that bandit leader and blew them open from the impact with a small burst of blood. The aftermath had him crumple to the ground without fanfare... no doubt about it: he was dead. At least he was spared from his ears ringing from the report of the gunshot.

Edited by NuclearCommando

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The thundering shot seemed to halt the entire battle in its tracks, with the Grey Knights and the bandits alike turning to look toward the central hill of the village. Madon muttered something beneath his breath at the ringing in his ears, while Wymp fumbled with the bundle of bolts he was loading and dropped it onto the ground. He grumbled as he dismounted to retrieve it. The masked man in the dark robes seemed unperturbed, however. He silently opened his tome, extending his hand toward Madon before he began to speak.

Spoiler

 

"Warrior. Is your oddly-dressed friend there aware of the Lincium Conventions? Specifically the rule defining the action of attacking someone in the midst of speaking as a war crime? Because although that bandit leader was an uppity pawn, the Conventions still did apply to him."

Madon raised his eyebrow at the civil tone of the man before him, but he still responded levelly.

"I would speculate that he is not. He's really not from around here, as far as I can tell. Now... are you finished speaking? We are enemies in the midst of battle, after all."

"Ah. Certainly, certainly, I'm just about done. So, come on, hit me with your most powerful blow... Exarch."

Madon was taking aback at this man knowing who he was. Then again, his hood had fallen off in the midst of the battle, revealing his face. He readied Arcane Piercer, and charged. The lance bit into the robed man's left shoulder, and he let out a grunt of pain as Madon extricated his lance to prepare for another blow. The robed man spoke an incantation, and dark energy burst forth from the tome he held. But his target was not the Exarch. The robed man's arm moved swiftly to the side. A purple orb manifested in the air above Mason, and black and red tendrils formed below it, sticking all throughout Mason's body and trying to drain the life from him. Soon, the tendrils retreated into the orb, which then swiftly returned to the robed man and infused him with the stolen life force, healing the wound he had sustained from Madon. The Exarch swore there was a wicked grin beneath the mask as the robed man spoke again.

Spoiler

latest?cb=20140914084923

"An excellent blow. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to entertain you further. We've gotten the subjects we've needed out of this village, so you can do with the remaining villagers and those expendable bandits as you will. The Dragon Master will live again, regardless of your actions. Until next time, Exarch!"

With that, the robed man threw a handful of red dust into the air, and disappeared in a flash of light. Madon shook his head and moved forward toward the town hall, dismounting and carefully opening the door. The few terrified survivors within slowly approached the Exarch, with trepidation but also relief that help had arrived for them.

Wymp, meanwhile, rode over to check on Mason and his condition.

Edited by EpicRome23

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Lincium Conventions? Really? That's a 'law?' in this war? I call bull... if you're in a battle and you just casually chat with the enemy in front of you and they have a gun to your head, you deserve to get shot. I hopped to my feet and aimed my pistol at this obviously senile idiot when I saw the purple orb above me. What the hell? Instinct told me to jump to the side, but it was all for naught. Whatever that orb was, it shot out tendrils at me that pierced through my skin, unleashing pain I've never once experienced in my life before. I screamed in pain, and fell limp after they retracted, no longer having the strength to stand.

What the hell was that?
 


The gunshot report had Amber focusing on the people on the hill. Figuring she could make herself useful there... and curiosity getting the better of her as to what that was, she made her way towards the hill, blasting a nearby bandit in the process. From what she gathered, the new guy to their group took out the bandit leader all by himself, if that thunderclap was to be believed. Did he have some hidden magic within him?

... the screams of pain and falling limp from the tendrils immediately told her otherwise... he had absolutely no resistance to magic... or the mage was just that powerful. Either way... an ally was down. She broke into a sprint and pushed past Wymp's horse. "Out of the way!" She closed her eyes and focused her rapier on Mason... her view of him in the ether showed wounds all over his body, no doubt from the tendrils... but his life force was weak. She needed to rectify that... now.

In less than a minute but what felt like ten... her work was done. She undid most of the damage, though he'd still need to take time to recover naturally.

Mason groaned and sat up, rubbing his head. "Ok... what the hell just happened? First there were tendrils... then I was unable to move... and now I feel refreshed. None of that is normal. Seriously, what the hell happened?"

Edited by NuclearCommando

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Wymp was miffed at Amber pushing him out of the way as she rushed toward Mason. He had already been in position, ready to draw a vulnerary from his belt and use it! However... he did have to admit that Amber was more suited dealing to wounds borne of magic. Still, his expression was indignant... though he made sure that this wasn't seen by Amber or Mason. As Mason asked what was going on, Wymp turned toward him with a neutral expression.

"Deadeye, right? Both things that you mentioned are the result of magic. Or sorcery, or the arcane arts, however you would like to refer to it as. Judging by your reaction... it must not be a thing wherever you're from, then?"

As Wymp's question lingered in the air, Madon had coaxed the small group of survivors in the town hall out into the open. Owend and the Grey Knights were currently binding the surviving bandits, who had all thrown down their weapons and surrendered upon seeing the death of the bandit leader, and the withdrawal of the mysterious cultist. Madon turned toward the villagers as Owend and her Knights began leading the subdued bandits up the village's central hill.

"That robed fellow... he mentioned something about subjects. Was the whole population of the village gathered in the town hall?"

An older man, obviously the village elder, nodded.

"Well, most of us. The bandits grabbed those who still remained in their houses when they first attacked. They were dragged to the robed man you encountered. After a bit, some other mages arrived and teleported away with them. They also subdued those brave fools who charged out of the town hall to try and save their friends and neighbors... they were taken away as well. After that, the rest of the town hall was ignored, and the bandits ran amok, looting the village until you arrived."

The Exarch nodded, then looked toward Owend and the Grey Knights as they brought the subdued bandits before him. Owend looked up toward Madon, awaiting orders. There was a question lingering in her expression, of what her liege might do with the power given to judge those who stood bound before him. The Exarch deliberated for a time, before finally nodding and turning his attention to the bandits.

"By proper law, you would be tried by the high courts of Glia, the greater owner of this village and the lands surrounding it. But as occupied with a war as they are, they would likely not want to be bothered with such... trivialities. And as Exarch of Isore, I would say that I have the authority to arbitrate a decision in regards to your crimes. And so... I leave your fate in the hands of these villagers, whose livelihoods, homes, and sense of security you destroyed on this day, in collusion with a cult that captured their friends and neighbors. This is not a kindness I do for you. Pray to whatever gods you may hold that your souls shall be shown mercy, and that they have not forsaken you. Because these villagers certainly will not show such kindness as they might."

With that, the Exarch went away from the bandits and villagers alike, making his way down the hill and back into the wider part of the burning, deathly silent village.

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"Magic... as in..." Mason shook his head. "I don't want to answer that question... because right now I'm still processing everything." Glancing around, the surroundings reflecting off his sunglasses, and then looked back at Wymp and Amber. "I... see the battle is already over? Did it really end that quickly?"

Amber nodded. "After you killed their leader... they all just surrendered."
Even behind the sunglasses the look of surprise was clear on Mason's face. "They just... surrendered? Just like that? Just as soon as I killed him?"
"Yep... right at that crack of thunder."
After a second, Mason let out a little chuckle. "That is so incredibly stupid. They still had a fighting chance."
"You're telling me. Bandits are idiots... though I can think of some other people who make questionable decisions too..." Amber smirked.
"Hopefully they're not people that you know personally." Mason picked up his handgun he dropped and slid it back into his holster, and glanced around for the ejected cartridge, picking it up too. "Can't leave spent brass lying around here... can I?" He then stumbled to his feet.
"Easy..." Amber steadied Mason. "The magic I worked on you healed you... but you still had your energy drained. It's going to take some time for that to naturally come back."
"Worked your magic... you mean that literally or figuratively? Actually... don't answer that... not yet anyways." He sighed and started stumbling down the hill himself, spotting Madon. "Now what Madon? What's the gameplan?" he called out.
 

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Madon looked up and turned his gaze toward Mason.

"The gameplan? We'll be heading back to The Valley. You're welcome to come along, or go your own way, as you so please."

He then turned his gaze over to Amber.

"You... hmm. You haven't met the rest of my companions yet, have you? The rest of them remained in The Valley when I left, I didn't take the time to gather them together for this excursion. I think you'd like that boy and his pet monkey, he was getting on my case about ditching my armor before we arrived at The Valley, said it made me stand out too much."

Wymp called over as he began making his own way down the hill.

"His name is Judas. Just... in case you forgot."

"Yes, thank you, Wymp. The other three... Jinsoku and Bolt swore oaths to me after Wieklin and Laim were killed. Not Isorian natives, they probably stand out more than Wymp does. There's also Lily, who... I don't quite know how to describe. Stumbled right into my throne room and fainted in my arms, the first time we met. She went missing after we arrived at The Valley, and if nothing else, I'd like to find her to ensure that the shards of the Dragon Emblem that she held are safe."

With all of that said, the Exarch turned and began to make his way out of the village. Wymp moved in close beside, while Owend and the Grey Knights took to the air above.

Edited by EpicRome23

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"With no debriefing in the immediate future... I don't see any problems coming along, just give me a minute. I don't want to leave my stuff behind." Mason started walking off towards the bushes he hid his bags in, stumbling on occasion. Amber stayed behind
Amber let out a little laugh. "You know, maybe I would like that Judas. Anyone with common sense to want to ditch a beacon sounds alright in my book. But a girl just fainting into your arms? Not to call me paranoid but that sounds a little... you know what, nevermind. I'm going to go grab Shadow and keep an eye on Deadeye. Those wounds of his... they were pretty bad if you can't tell by him stumbling. I've never seen anyone with absolutely no resistance whatsoever." Without another word, she turned and made way to her horse.
 



"So... umm... Deadeye?"
"Hmm? What is it... I don't think I ever got your name."
"Umm... my name is Eve... I'm sorry we weren't introduced earlier..."
"Hey, it's fine. We never really had the time to talk. Now is the time... what did you want to ask?"
"You... created thunder... how did you do it?"
"That... well..." He pulled out his 1911. "It was this little thing... my ears should still be ringing... I guess Amber fixed that up too."
"That little thing... made that much noise?" Eve looked shocked.
"Yeah... gunpowder is a hell of a thing."
"Gun... powder?"
"Umm... yeah... not something you have here, do you? Ah, here they are." Mason tried to pull the bags out of the bushes... but to no avail. "Damn... I guess I'm weaker than I thought... great, I got all my personal effects in these bags."
"Umm... I can help with that..." Eve started reaching for the bags.
"Eve, those bags easily weigh up to-" His jaw slightly dropped when Eve effortlessly hoisted them up. "How... what... how... you know what? I'd rather not know."
Amber rode up next to the duo. "Are you two done? We need to catch up with the others."
"Yeah... we're done."
"Just so you know, Shadow can't carry all three of us plus your baggage."
"It's alright... Amber... I'll walk." She started walking in the general direction the rest of the group went.
"With your injuries, you should probably ride with me anyways Deadeye." Amber offered him her hand.
Mason hesitated and then took it, struggling to get onto the horse. "Thanks... I feel bad for making Eve carry my stuff."
"You're hurt, and it looks like Eve has got it handled. And hey, I doubt she'll run off, but I can stop her if she tries to."
"I mean... I'm more worried about chivalry..."
"Well, I guess chivalry isn't dead." She spurred the horse next to Eve as the three made their way to the group.

Edited by NuclearCommando

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Something about the way Amber spoke of her paranoia in regards to Lily fainting into his arms brought disquiet into the Exarch's mind. In the heightened tension of the siege, where he was just coming off of the rush of battle... he hadn't questioned it. Not for a second. He had put such volume of trust in a total stranger that he had allowed her to stay by his side and bear the dragon-head gem of Isore: shard of the Dragon Emblem and part of his birthright. Was Lily truly a frail girl caught in a harrowing situation, the hands of Fate having guided her to Madon? Or was she part of a grander scheme, one carefully crafted to bring Lily into the trust of the Exarch, where she would then strike when he was most vulnerable?

He had no answers. So, in silence, he mounted his horse and moved to the head of the group, Wymp moving to his side and Owend flying to the side and above. The Grey Knights took wing above and ahead to act as scouts and extend their line of sight once more. For a moment, Madon couldn't help but chuckle. Stealing some of Glia's finest in a single night... he could only wonder how Olivia would react. But no, at the moment, another, blue-haired girl weighed far more heavily on his mind. He turned toward Wymp as the group began to pick up pace on the road toward The Valley.

"Wymp. What do you think of Lily? If we find her... do you trust her enough to have her rejoin us?"

Wymp was taken aback at the sudden line of questioning. His thoughts so far had mostly consisted of judging the circumstances of her arrival as her being guided to Isore by God, and that Madon's trust in her was enough for him. But if Madon himself was asking about such a thing... he wracked his brain for a bit before responding.

"I... I suppose I trusted her based on my trust in you. In searching for her, I fully admit I had more concern for assuring the safety of the crown jewel of Isore. Or, I suppose, the shard of the Dragon Emblem. So if we find her? I will defer to your judgement. But I wonder if we might not be safest by simply securing the Dragon Emblem shard and leaving her to whatever God may have in store for her."

Madon raised an eyebrow towards Wymp.

"I must admit, I wasn't anticipating that you would suggest such a... pragmatic solution. I feel Amber might be in favor of that one as well. And well... after considering all the circumstances of that day in burning Isore... I find myself inclined to such a thing as well. Perhaps she is genuine. Perhaps she is truly so frail that she collapsed so easily when we first met. But yet, I cannot shake away the possibility of a well laid-out plot, of which getting her close to me was a pivotal part."

He shook his head for a moment.

"I cannot afford such trust. Isore's greatest hope for revival is through me and the connections I have forged with the other nations of Erasmia. This cannot be achieved if I am dead, and how could I be so naive as to let a blade quite possibly intent for my heart lurk in the hand of one I have taken unto my side?"

Edited by EpicRome23

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