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By the time the Dragon Guard was nearing the series of farms on the outskirts of the village, the rogue soldiers had already set fields ablaze and assaulted farmers over the rumors of yellow eyes in the area. One of the farmers gave in once the soldiers slaughtered his livestock, ravaged his wheat, and threatened his family. His arm shaking, he pointed toward Ildan's cottage and the soldiers, thanking him, headed off toward it.

Ildan finally arrived at the cottage as the soldiers approached it en masse. He pulled his mare around the house and stopped before the crowd, staring the soldiers down. He was only a farmer, but the least he could do was keep the promise he made to Ida.

"I'm not sure what any of the farmers told you, but they lied to you to send you away from them." He spoke, his voice trembling as he stood before the well armed men. "There are no yellow eyes here, go home."

The leader of the mob stepped forward and gutted Ildan with a skinning knife. As Ildan keeled over, the soldier shoved him aside and walked into the cottage, dragging Avia out by her robes. Pausing at the doorway, he forced her to stare at Ildan as he writhed on the ground. She tried to reach out for him, calling out his name, but the soldier held her back.

"The eyes are a marking of death, and those who keep the company of yellow eyes have to live with that fact. You killed him, and now we'll kill you."

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Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:54 pm
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Aranida, followed closely by the Dragon Guard, rode swiftly towards Avia's cottage. She shook her head as she saw the carnage wrought by the Jenough, the destruction only making her want to drive the horse to go faster. Her stomach churned as she wondered the atrocities these scum would commit if they cam upon Avia. She briefly wondered where Norman and his troops were, but she could not wait any longer.

She did not falter as she saw Ildan fall to his knees and then collapse to the ground. Aranida was not one to panic, and her mind whirred mechanically as she approached, mentally taking aim while rushing ahead with her horse, urging it faster and faster onward. She fired one pistol at the man who held Avia captive. She then flipped off the horse with acrobatic precision, time seeming to slow as the horse continued running towards the man, and she spun horizontally in the air firing both pistols to either side of herself. She curled and landed in a crouch with a grunt.

Now was not the time for a rallying speech, or a hope to compromise with these monsters who sought to expunge a dear friend whom she had failed to protect time and time again. Now was a time for blood and fire. The troops had already been given their orders earlier; they were to take no prisoners.

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Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:19 pm
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No prisoners... Falst's dread was palpable. Rushing blindly into battle was bad enough, and on top of that, he didn't know if he had it in him to kill. It was easy enough to point and shoot a gun when the target wasn't a living, breathing person. As the Dragon Guard forged their way back to the farm, the recruit's thoughts turned to alternatives. He could cower in the back lines and pray that the battle didn't reach that far. There was always the option of abandoning the guard, though he still wasn't willing to wager his life that Aranida was jesting when she said she'd shoot him.
They said that the calm before the battle was the worst part, and until now, that had made no sense to him. Now his nerves were completely shattered, and the fighting had yet to even begin. Falst held his breath as the farm came into sight. The place was swarming with what he supposed must be the Jenogh. As they drew near, he could make out the form of Ildan conversing with one of the soldiers. He was visibly shaken, though knowing him it was probably for his wife's safety that he was most concerned.
That concern was clearly misplaced, however, as the soldier indiscriminately gutted the farmer before brushing him aside and storming into the cottage. He came back out with a terrified Avia in tow. And that was it. Aranida bolted forward, firing wildly at the imposing Jenogh. One well-placed shot felled the man who had seized Avia, followed by a few more just for good measure.
After one dreadful, lingering moment of stillness, the farmland erupted violently into a war zone. The sounds of gunshots and clashing steel filled the air, piercing the otherwise silent landscape.
Missing from the fray was Falst, who had decided on a course of action as soon as he'd seen the Jenogh soldier stab Ildan. For the time being, he had managed to avoid confrontation by stealthily circling around the battlefield. He made his way to the backyard of the cottage, which was fortunately devoid of Jenogh. Sneaking around the side of the structure, he looked around to make sure the rest of the soldiers were preoccupied. Once he was sure he was clear, he dashed to the front of the cottage and immediately ran into a straggler. The startled Jenogh's reflexes kicked in, and he thrust with his rifle to skewer the enemy on its bayonet. Falst swiftly dodged to the side, then grabbed the barrel and slammed it back into the soldier's abdomen. While his opponent was winded, he then jerked the rifle from his hands and slammed the butt into his temple, rendering him unconscious.
Fortunately, the rest of the Jenogh forces were occupied, leaving the recruit free to tend to a wounded Ildan. He knelt by the fallen farmer, who was still stirring, and offered his hand.
"Can you walk?" He asked anxiously.


Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:35 pm
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Bahaa did as he was told, keeping mostly out of sight whilst the scary adults were talking, it was on the ride back to the farmer's cottage did he finally catch the scary Lady Miss Aranida in action, her accurate shots as she sprang from horseback and to the protection of the woman that hit him back home. It was there that he stopped, far enough from the fight but close enough to see the twisted expressions of the men that wished each other deaths. They were scary. This was far more than the simple scraps he and his friends had. The blood that was erupting from these wounds were not ones that went away with a quick wipe and a blessing. Gnawing away at his heart, Bahaa was frozen with fear.

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Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:09 pm
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As Aranida began her assault on the soldiers of Jenogh, the ferocious thunder of hooves crashing upon the ground cascaded through the fields. Clouds of dust arose from three sides, and as they grew in size, the creators of it did as well. Three waves of the Iron Hand: one from the north, the second from the southeast, and the last from the southwest. The soldiers were not afraid of The Dragon Guard's small numbers, but upon witnessing the arrival of the Iron Hand, they wanted no part in the incident. However, there was simply nothing they could do to save their lives at this moment.

Ripping past the stunned Bahaa, the main blunt of the Iron Hand forces smashed into the soldiers and began tearing the poorly equipped men to shreds. Literally nothing remained of those who were ingested by the main wave. Those who tried to escape were caught by the remaining two, which cleaned up scene with vigor equal to that of the main force.

In the mass confusion following the Iron Hand's arrival, Avia was able to break away from the soldiers and hastened to Ildan's side. Ildan, who could not reach out to receive the support from Falst, pulled away from his cringing so that he could see Avia safe by him. She and Falst pulled him up and carried him over inside the cottage. In a fit of anger, Avia retrieved her bow and fired volleys on arrows upon the crowd. There was not much more she could do for Ildan at this moment but wait for the conflict to subside so they could tend to his wound.


The skirmish itself did not last long. Every single one of the soldiers was routed by the Iron Hand, who lost no troops and suffered from only three with minor wounds from the fight. It was not the skill of the force that proved this, but the sheer lack of preparation on the side of the soldiers who most likely expected no resistance whatsoever. However, the Dragon Guard took a huge hit, losing nearly half of its troops in the chaos and the rest seriously wounded.

"Your men got in the way," Norman told Aranida as he approached her. "If you didn't lose your head and hold your position you would still have an army. Either way, it turns out those soldiers were off duty and Jenogh might use that to defend themselves concerning any actions that took place here. OR, they could take it as an act of aggression and declare war on us. I hope it isn't that, because while I'm ready, you certainly are not."

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Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:56 pm
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The battle had been fierce, and ultimately it ended a lot worse than she had originally intended, however her goal of the mission had been successful. She had kept Avia safe, at least relatively. In the first time that they had met, she had managed to prevent the woman from coming to harm. Had she have been quicker, she would've tried to save Ildan as well, and she sincerely hoped he was alive in the cottage where they had taken refuge throughout the battle.

She polished her pistols against her thighs and then rotated their barrels in a casual manner while Norman droned on about how her men got in the way and her recklessness. She did not contest anything he said, it was all true. Honestly though, she didn't care, not what he or anyone had to say. She did what she had to do to keep Avia from being ripped from the world as her parents were, albeit they were very different circumstances. When magic was still abundant in the world it was known for its uncertain behaviour and mysterious attributes, so when magic took her parents away, there was not much she could do. Blood on the other hand was much more certain, so long as you kept it flowing within you, you would stay among those you loved. Thus, she took it upon herself to make sure that Avia's no longer spilled upon the ground. The woman had already gone through so much in such a short amount of time. Even losing her child.

"I suppose if you don't want me to get in your way, I suggest your men to arrive quicker. I'm not sure about your platoon, but the Dragon Guard beholds swift efficiency to be paramount. I promised that no more harm would come to Avia, I was not about to see her cut down before my eyes, mere days after I had made it." and she marched away towards the cottage to see how Ildan was holding up.

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Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:33 pm
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In the cottage, Avia was busily tending to Ildan's wound. Falst stood silently in the corner, wishing he could do something to help. He had seen his share of knife wounds in the past, but he was no doctor. An unfortunate detail, considering how badly most of the men needed one. Had the Iron Hand not arrived when they did, the Dragon Guard's forces likely would have been decimated.
The recruit decided to give Avia and her husband some space. He stepped out of the cottage and immediately gagged. He was greeted by the signt of bodies scattered across the property. The heat of the day was doing little to stave off the stench that was beginning to rise from the corpses. Most of the Dragon Guard that weren't dead were seriously wounded, though the Iron Hand's forces hadn't been practically untouched. It was horrible.
Out of the corner of his eye, Falst saw Aranida approaching the cottage. Rather than stand at attention and salute, he looked dejectedly at the ground, face contorted in disgust. The commander's reckless behavior had saved Avia and Ildan, but at what cost?


Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:18 pm
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"You aren't here to talk." The man stated bluntly as he rose from the fire and journeyed towards the edge of the mountain top. "What you are here for, is there." pointing deep into the fog below the old man beckoned Tyr to himself with a gesture of his hand as Tyr himself peered over the cliff into nothingness. "May fate returneth you triumphant, whatever course that may be. Your time here is short I suggest you find a way to your objective." as he spoke the fog beneath them gaped open to reveal a valley housing a modest village. Returning to the fire the man spoke not a word more as he returned to his resting spot.

______

The war-camp at this point had grown silent as early night fell over the area. Very few people were out and about and for the most part all most every tent was filled with men playing games around a torch light or simply sleeping. The only notable movement around the area was that of the night garrison and the quick shadows of figures moving silently from tent to tent. "You're out late." a familiar voice spoke out to Sera as it's origin made little time approaching. Lucien stepped forth into the light of a nearby torch as he kept his distance to ensure he wouldn't frighten Sera and or cause her harm. "What makes you roam these ground?"

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Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:30 pm
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Nodding his head, Tyr marched toward the edge of the cliff, peering over in search of something beyond the fog. At any other time he would have hesitated and wondered if this realm was reality and ask if he jumped and died would he truly die; however, he had already resolved to let go of all his inhibitions in search for his own inner peace. This was the wall for him, but he decided to run the risk and approach the cliff. However, as he realized it was not a sheer drop, but there was a path, he breathed a sigh of relief over not having to worry about the repercussions and began down the mountain trail toward the village.
-----------
"No reason. I am just waiting," Sera replied, averting Lucien's grey gaze. Eventually, after giving him the cold shoulder for a bit, she faced him again, still not staring at his eyes. "So... is it true? Are we really that closely related? I just can't believe anyone being on the surface before the exile and related to us in Urbel."

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Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:55 pm
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As Tyr descended via the path that had been shown to him by the elder atop the mountain he came across another odd individual. This man wore a white mask with orange tribal markings on his face and his body was covered in a dark blue robe with a purple mantle over top of it.

"A traveler all the way out here?" he asked himself as his head c*** to one side.

"No, no... No, not a traveler. A destination finder!" his voice was deep and symphonic sounding, yet his mannerisms and his way of speaking were eccentric and off-putting. "You're here to find something, hurry now!" he waved Tyr on further down the path. "You needn't get caught up with the likes of me!" turning about quickly the man continued some kind of business that Tyr was unable to see. Given no choice Tyr continued onwards down the path for some time before he confronted another figure who sat with his back turned to him. Upon coming closer and further inspection it turned out to be the gentlemen from before who upon noticing Tyr coming down the path turned about and hopped up onto his feet. "You've come back already? So soon? You must not know where you're going! Maybe he needs a map? A map? What a terrible idea the path only goes one direction! It goes both up and down fool! But you can't make any turns!" the man seemed to be arguing with himself, it was strange to say the least. Before long the argument came to a sudden end. "Right! Well what brings you around here?" he began to speak but was interrupted by-well.. himself "The damn path only goes one way and he's going down! What do you think brought him the hell around here? Quiet you! I'm trying to start a conversation with the fellow he appears a bit soft in the head!"
starting once again the man introduced himself. "I am Acre, how may I service you?"
_____

"We are... Related via circumstance." Lucien approached Sera carefully as he inspected the young girl's figure. "I was once a normal person, or so I've been told. I remember little of what happened over 170 years ago." turning away from Sera Lucien approached a collection of stones, jumping atop a large flat stone he sat down upon it and continued. "I was picked from a group males to be turned- no adapted to what your ancestors once were. Via old magic and genetic research I was one of the first successful attempts at birthing what the magus called, an archangel. I was 'created' for lack of a better term over the course of 40 years and the research and time needed to even prepare my ascension had taken place over a two hundred year period. My duty was to act as protector to the kingdom, but more importantly the magus. In reality I'm just a genetic fabrication of your ancestors, nothing more." laying back against the surface of the rock Lucien stared blankly into the moon. "Like your ancestors of old I am a being of war, my body is finely tuned for speed and accuracy. I can feel shifts in magical energy and quell the sources, hence why the Neo-Potaks refer to us as antimages. I can see auras surrounding beings that described their state of being, if they are calm, unsure, upset... the air around them glows and pulsates accordingly. My mind is constantly at work drawing plans and ideas for attack and battle, working to understand an opponent's move and predict it before it happens. I am brute, yes... That's the words I believe you would best use to describe me."

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Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:26 am
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Rolling his eyes and scratching the nape of his neck after seeing the man a second time, Tyr returned the man's introduction.

"The name's Tyr, looking for a way down to that village, but I'm not sure what I ran into that sent me back up here."
He just should have jumped down the cliff. He would have at least reached the bottom at this rate. He could not hide his frustration over the road. He should have continued walking, but he was pulled back for one strange reason or another.
"No matter how bizarre you are, I'm not really into talking right now, I just want to get down the path. I was walking straight down but I ended back up here. Not even sure how that's possible if this place is as real as I think it is."
-----------------
"Oh, well... " Sera replied, trying to find words to describe what she wanted to say without being too blunt. "I guess I can restore my faith that Father still had created us first... not that there's anything wrong with you being made after or anything!"
It was an awkward situation for her seeing how in the time frame of one day she nearly lost her life, most likely lost Qalim, was brought to this camp against her will, met a man who could peer within her, discovered Lear's true identity, AND now was waiting for someone who was somehow so important that she could not even safely leave without meeting with him. She did not want Lucien to feel bad about anything, and not just because a man who was born to kill was standing right before her. In a way, she did feel sorry for him, even if he was, as he put it, a brute.

"Even though you're not the first child, or the most... perfect, I don't think Father would put you down like you do yourself. Just because you're made for something doesn't mean you have to do it! I wasn't made to come down here to the surface, I chose to do it, even when Father said I shouldn't."

She stopped herself before she blurted out that she did not want to see any of them hurt. Earlier she argued with Lear that no one on the surface was worth saving, even if there were good people there. If she told Lucien something akin to that, she'd be playing the savior she wanted to be, when she was actually going back home to have them all killed. Maybe it was for the best that he did not know. On the other hand, maybe a lie would help him a bit, even if she was about to turn her back on the surface and allow them all to burn under God's judgment. With his dull grey eyes peering into her stunning yellow ones, she could not hold her tongue.

"You... you're worth something more, and you shouldn't think of yourself that way. I wouldn't, father wouldn't, and you definitely shouldn't. You're important to someone, right? I'm important to Father, you're important to Father... aren't we all... important to him?"

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Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:31 am
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"Oh this place isn't real!" Acre called out as he approached Tyr quickly. "Well the place is real, all of this exists somewhere in the world. But the world here isn't real." He began to circle about Tyr inspecting every inch of his body. "But it doesn't matter really, if you die here your body will die too!" suddenly his voice became grim as he stooped down in front of Tyr. His mask too had become different, it was now clear of any markings except a large grin and a pair of sad looking eyes. "Only those of certainty can move beyond this point though, you must know why you're here, on this path" turning about he pointed downwards to the now clouded village. " So, you must tell me then destination finder, why are you on my path? What do you believe will find you if you ever get to the bottom, and what made you take my path instead of jumping in the first place?"

_____


Lucien stepped down from the rocks and approached Sera, as before he made sure his movements seemed neutral. He kept his distance and moved slowly, but at the same time attempted to be in a somewhat close proximity.

"The way you speak of it, importance. You say that someone has to be fond of me, but this is not the truth. Even those who the captains and commanders call my kin show very little genuine care for one another. I am cared for as a soldier, nothing more. Though it is kind of you to express your concern for how I view myself, you do so with false naivety. You must know your father dislikes all surface dwellers or he would have not sent you, and I'm no exception to this rule. If anything to him I am an abomination, a monstrous facade created to mimic his work." Turning about Lucien motioned for Sera to follow him "Allow me, if you would, to show you a place not far from here."

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Mon Jun 25, 2012 2:20 am
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"Well, I'm on this path because I didn't choose to jump once the clouds opened and showed me there was this path below the cliff. I believe this solitary, endless path was created to test if I could do something without second guessing myself, and I clearly failed." He replied while shrugging.
"If I ever... no... when I get to the bottom, I bet there will be something to test my control over my fears. Whatever it is, as long as I don't revert to my old self like I did with the cliff, I think I'll be fine."
---------
Sera nodded, wondering what Lucien wanted to show her, and willfully followed him. She gripped the tombs tight, attempting to squeeze the fear from her body, but if anything her curiosity about Lucien's background kept most of the fear at bay.

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Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:17 pm
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"What are you trying to prove?" Acre began to back away from Tyr and return to his 'work area' which was cluttered with metal objects and scrolls.
"At first I thought you had a decent grasp on what was going on, you conversed at the bonfire and even took on a new way of understanding... But now? All this talk of fear and unreliability, it sickens me. You've completely missed the point." the wind began to pick up once more as the snow storm began to intensify. Withing seconds Tyr's visibility had been reduced to less than an arms length as Acre continued speaking. "All this self loathing and your tendencies to throw terrific pity parties for yourself, that's what makes you such a waste of time." upon Acre speaking his final words the wind died down, the snow became but a flurry and Acre himself had vanished leaving only his mourning mask and a pile of stone.
_____

After being given permission to lead Lucien headed for the far side of the camp, towards a large hill. Digging his feet into the sand Lucien climbed the hill, looking back over his shoulder every now and then to check on Sera. Taking a moment to 'admire' the stars overhead Lucien waited for Sera to overcome the miniature sand mountain before he showed her the object he was so invested in showing her. Once Sera reached the top she was treated to the sight of an oasis positioned in a crater atop the hill, hidden from all prying eyes. The innards of the crater were completely lined with with a perpetually short grass and a number of palm trees were dotted around a large pond which reflected the sky better than any mirror.

"It's places like these that force me to believe that I'm still, somewhat human. I naturally gravitate towards these hidden beauties, these wonders of nature that remain untouched and uncharted by man." approaching the water Lucien stared deeply into the aquatic conclave for some time before he laid back against a near tree and lowered his head. "Perhaps this is why I cannot bring myself to peer into your eyes. You truly serve as a perfect foil to myself."

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Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:51 am
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"That's not what I meant to say," Tyr replied, scratching his head. "Well, never mind, that's not the point. The point is I need to get to the bottom and if you can't help me I might as well just give in and jump down there anyway."
Tyr turned around and peered down the path to look for any clear spots to land, but turned himself around when he remembered what happened earlier on the path.
"Don't you dare tell me that if I jump I'll end up here again like I did earlier."
------------
Sera's eyes gleamed in awe as viewed the expansive oasis as blue as the sky in Urbel.
"It's so beautiful, just like the sights back home," she muttered, leaning in as she walked forward for a better look. However, as amazing as the sight was, she eventually returned to Lucien, bothered by his search for the untamed in response to his altered existence.

"Lucien, I'm flattered that you think that I'm perfect, but I'm not. Just because I'm a direct child of Father while you're an offshoot doesn't mean anything. Those who were exiled were imperfect and many from Urbel are not like I am, but you seem to treat my people as perfect for no reason."
Sera walked over and knelt down before him. Grabbing his head, she forced him to look at her. She learned many things from Lear, Lucien, and everyone she met on the surface, and it was time for her to give something back.
"There's no reason to not want to look."

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Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:21 am
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