The Inglorious

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Neko Archy

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Strange...
Ivy walked out into the hallway and raised a single glowing hand, lighting up the area. "Well, it seems that you were right. Even if he's not summoning the Ancient fiends, this will lead him down that path. I just can't imagine why he'd want to do this.' Her brow furrowed slightly as she thought. Drake had to have some other motive in play, and she didn't have any hints to it yet.

Well, that would come with time.
"Oralia, you can come now. Just stay inside the light and you should be fine. The people in the front are probably dead, so be prepared for that." She sighed slightly. This really wasn't the sort of thing a girl should be going through..
"I'd like to see your airship, Matthew. What's your crew like?"
 

Diana

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Seeing the head of a Shadow Wraith was probably the last thing Oralia had ever wanted to see! She squeezed her eyes shut and had her hands covering her pale face, up until Ivy beckoned her to follow. Reluctantly, Oralia rose to her feet and stepped out in to the hall behind her tutor. She prayed that none of the people were dead, and hoped that they might have escaped! But that sinking feeling in her gut knew better.

Crossing her arms, Oralia stayed very closely behind Ivy and didn't dare move near the edges of the light beam she had illuminating their path. The girl attempted to focus her vision at Ivy's back or down at her feet so she wouldn't catch a glimpse of any wraiths or dead people that might be laying around.
 
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Ando let Thayne go ahead of him and he backed up the rear of the group, being in the less lit part of Ivy's light. The groups' encounter of Wraiths was practically none, save for the grouped hissing that surrounded them. Ando could feel the walls and even the floor was crawling with Wraiths, and then another thing crossed Ando's mind; the bodies of all the other people in the tavern weren't strewn about the floor. This struck Ando as a convenience as well as ominous. No matter though, they needed to get out to the street and into the moonlight and they'd be fine.

The group hurried along and managed to bypass any physical encounters with any more Wraiths. Eventually they broke out into the street and made their way east down the street to the Marina, where all the sea-vessels sat docked and bobbing in the waves. Ando took a moment to stop the group and then he turned to Matthew.

"An airship you say?" Ando thought to himself for a moment. Then looked back to Ivy and Oralia.

"This would help us get to your Royal Academy quickly Ma'dam Ivy. Plus get away from any imediate threats like the Wraiths. I'm sure I don't need to ask but would you agree to riding on Matthew's ship ladies?" Thayne inquired. Suddenly a shadow formed over the group. As they looked up they could see their luck turning for the worst in the form of a large cloud slowly intercepting the moon, dimming it's light and darkening the streets just enough for the Wraiths to begin making their way from the Inn towards the group. Ando stepped forward in a stance that showed he was getting ready to draw his sword. He waited a few more moments for four Wraiths to get within 25 feet of him.

"No time, just go...." Ando took a step forward and in one motion, drew his blade with such power and speed that the shear force of the air cleaved the four Wraiths in half. It was an ancient technique of the Jintari, to be able to draw their sword and kill their opponent from within 25 feet of their possition. After Ando resheathed his blade and confirmed that at least those Wraiths were indeed neutralized, he caught up with the group.
 

Mainstream Hipster

I am what all hipsters fear, what all hipsters are
"My crew? They're a good lot, not too many but loyal to the end." Matthew said as they walked through the inn, the wraiths hissing at them from the darkness, the light from Ivy's hand the only thing keeping them at bay. The bodies that should've been there were gone, no evidence that anyone had ever been inside this building besides them.

As they came outside the building, they were bathed in the moonlight that was present, the moon guarding them from the Shadow Wraiths. As they neared the pier however, a cloud moved in front of the moon, fate throwing a wrench in their escape, the wraiths now coming out from their shadows, intent on taking their lives. As Ando bought them time, Matthew headed towards the direction of his airship, giving a loud whistle, alerting his crew to get the ship ready to go. "This way!" He called to Ivy and Oralia, motioning with his hand to hurry them, daggers out as he kept his eyes open to any wraiths in their way.
 
N

Neko Archy

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Note to self: Carry spellbook more often.

Ivy ran through the darkened town, clamping down on Oralia's hand in her own. Her left hand still put out a fair circle of light, guiding their way and warding away the shadow wraiths.

She followed Matthew's directions, practically dragging the princess along with her. "Matthew, does this sort of thing tend to happen to you?"
 

Diana

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With Ivy running so fast, there would have been no way for Oralia to keep up if the woman hadn't been practically dragging her by the hand. Later she suspected that her arm would be pulled right out of the sockets, but for now Oralia was worried about the shadowy creatures that were lurking dangerously close!

When they reached the outside and a cloud passed in front of the moon, the shadow wraiths loomed outwards. The small light made by Ivy was such a thin barrier, Oralia was sure the demons could reach out and snatch them if they really wanted to. She swallowed a scream as they turned a sharp corner to follow Matthew to his ship.

"Can we- can we... ask questions when we are safe...!"
 

Mainstream Hipster

I am what all hipsters fear, what all hipsters are
Matthew grinned at Ivy at the question, answering, "In one way or another, yes. But I'm not complaining, I thoroughly enjoy the excitement of being chased." As they ran, one of the Shadow wraiths ventured in front of their path. Without slowing, Matthew jumped ahead and did a spinning kick, slashing it's head away from it's body, causing the body to drop.

Continuing to run, the light, while not extending too far, helped to keep the Wraiths away, Matthew only having to kill the occasional one that came a bit too close to them. Seeing Oralia looking so scared, Matthew, after slashing one wraith, came up behind Oralia and whispered into her ear, "You scared?"
 

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Oralia gave a quiet, startled scream to the voice at her ear! She had jumped, tilting forward to throw her arms around Ivy! Realizing it was Matthew, she released the elf mage quick so she could scowl at the man. Oralia had even opened her mouth to yell at him, but had paused with a wide eyed look before ducking behind him as another wraith came leaping their way!

"Where is this ship of yours!"
 
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Volatile

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Dispatching a few more wraiths with ease, Ando doubled back to the rest of the group and caught up with Orelia and Matthew, drawing his sword in an upward slash right between the two, cutting down another wraith.

"No time. Matthew please prep the ship as soon as possible. We're losing what little light we have and fast" Ando rushed up the ship's walkway and stood at the top as the rest of the group piled in. Matthew's crew had already seen the group and had began preparations. Ando looked up at the sky and saw that larger, thicker, and darker clouds covered the rest of the moon.

"Matthew, just focus on getting this thing going. Thayne and I will defend." not a moment later five wraiths appeared in the deck and began gliding towards Ando. Thayne tossed the wrapped head to Ivy and reached back in his belt and grabbed a three foot stick, twisted it and it extended out to a full length spear. The two rushed forward and began dispatching wraith after wraith awaiting for the ship to start up.
 

Diana

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AND SO MATTHEW AND HIS CREW GOT THE SHIP AIRBORN... But not without several wraiths still attached to the sides of the ship and trying to force their way inside! Several of the crew members had pulled out weapons, attempting to send the beasties falling down to their dooms.

Oralia didn't know what to do with herself other than try to hide! But there was a wraith sneaking up behind one of the crew members and he didn't see it! Pulling that staff from her back, Oralia dashed out to take a swing at it, trying to mumble out a light spell to thwart it back... but the spell she tried to cast only fizzled out! She ducked before her head was swiped clean off, but the crew mate she had tried to save didn't fair as lucky! The girl let out a startled scream!
 
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Neko Archy

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A beam of white light shot over Oralia's head and pierced through the wraith behind her, killing it instantly. It fell to the deck of the ship, black blood spilling across the floor.

Ivy thumbed to another page in her spellbook as it floated in front of her.
"Don't mumble right now; we don't need stealth, and you have enough problems with getting spells off already."
 

Mainstream Hipster

I am what all hipsters fear, what all hipsters are
As the air ship creaked as it took off, many Wraiths jumped onto the sides of the ship, digging their claws into the hull and crawling up towards them. However, his crew, while initially spooked, came to their senses and began helping Matthew and co. take care of the Shadow nuisances.

As the ship rose higher and higher, eventually to the point where the wraiths could no longer latch on, the true extent of what had surrounded them became apparent. A sea of shadows moved across the ground, hundreds of Shadow Wraiths making their way to where the airship had been docked, hissing angrily as they manage to fly away, nearing the dark clouds that enabled such monstrosities to even approach them.

With Matthew at the helm, he began shouting orders to those not currently attacking the Wraiths that remained, himself behind the wheel of the ship. He knew this ship better than anyone else, and was its expert pilot. Soon, they were rising through the wall of dark clouds and broke out into the brilliant sun that was trapped behind it. Soon, all the Wraiths who hadn't been vanquished gave out a hiss of pain as their bodies deteriorated before the awesome power that was the sun, the clouds beneath them and no longer providing shelter.

With the Wraiths gone, Matthew set the ship in a hover position, turning to Ando, "Where do we head now?"
 

Diana

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Oralia brought a hand up to shield her eyes from the break of the clouds. It seemed morning had come just in the nick of time. The wraiths were gone and the airship was well up in to the sky where it was safe. With the danger over, she had a rush of relief followed by the loss of adrenaline. Weary exhaustion hit her hard and she stumbled to plop herself down on a crate to sit before she fainted like... like a girl! The last thing she needed was another lecture from Ivy!
 
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After the last of the Shadow Wraiths were vanquished by the flooding sunlight, Ando looked around again to make sure. The ship was still as was the air. It was a welcoming calm for the entire group. Ando glanced at Thayne then pointed towards the back of the ship. Thayne understood instantly and gathered two other armed crew members and began a thorough search of the ship just to be on the safe side. With that being taken care of, Ando began heading towards the helm of the ship, entering as Matthew questioned what the groups’ next course of action might be. Ando glanced over at Ivy, then over at the severed Wraith’s head that was sitting next to some barrels in the helm.

“I believe Miss Ivy has a Royal Academy that might join our cause given we present them with the wraith’s head, a pure sign of Drake’s dark summoning.” Ando walked over to Matthew, glancing out at the sea of clouds that lay before the ship, then turned back to Ivy.

“So how about it? Can you direct us to this Academy of yours?”
 
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Neko Archy

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Ivy sighed as the princess sat down. "..Somebody, get her to a bed." She went to look out over the railing, closing her eyes for a bit to focus. Her spellbook vanished behind her.

She stood there, enjoying the air and the warm morning sun for a bit, before pointing of to one side of the rising sun and opening her eyes.
"That way. I can give you a bearing if you need it. Anything else before I go to sleep?"
 

Mainstream Hipster

I am what all hipsters fear, what all hipsters are
"Nope, that will be it!" Matthew said cheerfully, turning the ship towards the direction that Ivy had pointed to. The sun glared into his eyes, but Matthew merely put on some sunglasses so he could accurately steer the ship towards the right direction. Once he figured he had the right direction, he set the ship to auto-pilot, making sure that the ship would fly in that direction until he made adjustments as necessary.

Once that was taken care of, Matthew stepped away from the helm of the ship, removing the sunglasses and tucking them back into the pocket from whence they came. Turning to Ando, he said, "Well, the ship is on course as we speak, though since I don't know how far away it is, I can't give you an ETA. Until Ivy awakens and tells us how much farther we have to go, I suggest we all get some rest, since it could be a while, and we've all been through a lot today."
 
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Ando glanced out towards the direction Ivy had pointed. He didn’t know much about the academy other than it was nowhere near their current position, so Matthew’s suggestion of rest was well on point. Ando nodded at Matthew, turned to grab the Wraith head then followed one of the crew members out of the helm and towards the living quarters on the ship. On his way out Ando ran into Thayne.

“We’re clear, nothing stayed on board. We made sure to check all the shadows in every nook and cranny. So where are we headed?” Ando turned and nodded his head in the direction Ivy had pointed out to them.

“That way. It’s going to be a long trip, make sure you rest up.” With that Ando turned and continued to follow the crew member escorting him to his temporary room.

*****

Ando sat on his knees on the floor at the foot of the bed facing the door. Two candles flickered at both his sides and his sword lay in front of him unsheathed and next to a wet stone and a small bucket of water. After a few moments Ando began sharpening the sword, making sure every stroke against the stone was smooth and precise. After a few minutes it seemed like the sound of steel scraping across the stone was getting louder and louder, and started to closely resemble the sound of swords clashing on the battlefield. Ando’s hands kept sharpening the blade but his mind wandered off back into distant memories of the battles he fought and the lives he took. He remembered every swing of his blade that would’ve been his last but he always walked away triumphant. Then his thoughts began to dwell on when or if he would ever put the blade away for good and never need it again. He picked the blade up off the stone, rinsed then wiped it clean. The reflection on the blade of a battle hardened man with a hint of longing for peace stared back at Ando. He closed his eyes and realized that if that time were to ever come, Drake and the Ancient Fiends had to die. When his eyes opened, Ando saw his reflection in the sword again, and saw he was now staring into the eyes of just the battle hardened Jintari he has always been.

“There is no time for peace yet…” In a swift and fluid motion, Ando twirled his sword in front of him in a full circle and slammed the blade back into the sheath with such force, the candles blew out. Ando closed his eyes again, and waited for the journey to truly begin.
 

Darkness

I CAN HUG A SHITLOAD OF CATS
A large airship was navigating the skies, and a gigantic palace was looming ahead of it, so big the clouds didn't dare to go near it, maybe it was the magic shield that protected the Academy from any harm. The airship docked, a couple others were there too, already unloaded of crew and cargo. From this one ship came out almost a hundred passengers, students, their families, and whoever didn't have a home.

Among the passengers was Morgan, fixing his hat, and concealing his weapons as best he could inside his poncho, but he couldn't hide the shotgun behind his back, too bad, maybe he could hire himself as security, but he couldn't do much in comparison to the magicians.

The passengers made a line, and Lobo looked out in front of him and behind him, he was looking for a man, he had stolen some jewelry from the wife of some rich folk, the man should've been wiser, but he didn't dare say anything when he was told how much money he was getting. Poor guy, but at least he slept with a 17 year old girl before he died, that wasn't something to be regretting during these times.

He saw his mark behind him, but killing him now was not a good idea. He'd have to do it later, when he was alone. The people passed the line, and those with relatives were transferred to the nicer places, close to their relatives that studied or gave classes in the Academy, everyone else was sent to bigger common rooms, lots of beds, not much space, but at least they had somewhere to sleep, those that didn't have a home anymore. All their weaposn were taken, they wouldn't be needing them inside the Academy, so they said. At least he could keep his ammunition, he wouldn't give the very hard to find bullets a chance to get lost.

They picked their beds, and soon enough he made friends with the dead man, now he still needed a way to get rid of him, maybe he'd have to make friends with a magician, explain his situation, try to look believable, but the guy with the revolver and the foreigner accent and clothes didn't have a lot of charisma on him. Hell with it, he'd figure something out.
 
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Surprisingly the group caught sight of the Academy rather quickly. Much quicker than anticipated. Ando arrived on deck with all the others and looked on past the horizon of clouds to the Academy. Matthew informed the group they had only been traveling for two days and they will be docking within the hour. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
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As the ship got closer Ando looked out to see another large airship leaving the main dock. It left behind a rather large group of people, forming an orderly line with few of their belongings. Most were sent to a large commons area with an impressive array of beds laid about; enough for that group and more to come most likely. Ando surveyed the dock area once more then glanced back at Thayne. <o:p></o:p>
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"Most of these people look like refugees. No homes, and some with no families. I'm willing to bet the Fiends have started mobilizing more minions across the land. Those who survive are desperate for shelter and it seems the Academy is well on delivering that." Thayne nodded in agreement.<o:p></o:p>
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"We don't have much time then do we?" Ando shook his head. The ship finally docked and Ando motioned for Thayne to grab the wrapped head and the two went down the walkway onto the docking platform where they were met by a fully armored guard with what seemed to be a large spear with a magicians' orb at the other end. <o:p></o:p>
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"Carrying weapons is prohibited for guests at the Academy. Calmly and kindly remove them and hand them over to my men then step over to the register line where you will be instructed on where you will be staying next." The guard was quite a large man and his voice had a strong echo to it inside his helmet. The rest of the group came down the walkway and stood behind Ando and Thayne. Ando stepped forward and looked up at the massive man. <o:p></o:p>
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"We aren't refugees. We're here on urgent business and we need to speak with the Council immediately." Ando stood firm but kept his arms loose at his sides so as not to look too threatening. The guard stood firm as well. He stretched out a large finger and practically bent down to speak to Ando directly in his face. <o:p></o:p>
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"We don't DO business here and certainly not for wasting the Councils time. What 'urgent' business could one such as you possibly have for our noble Council anyhow?" Ando turned his head to look back at Ivy. <o:p></o:p>
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"Show him" Ivy came forth grabbing the wrapped head from Thayne and discreetly showed it to the guard, as well as some other credential that proved she was indeed a colleague of the Council. <o:p></o:p>
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"I see...very well then" The guard motioned for two of his men to approach the group. "These two will escort you to the Central Chamber. A Council member will meet with you shortly after. You have one hour to state your business to them, after that I'll be coming to escort you out and onto your ship. Get going"<o:p></o:p>
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The group soon found themselves in a circular room that was magnificent in size and beauty. The two guards stood at both ends of two enormous doors and proceeded to open them. A bright white light nearly blinded the group until a figure emerged and gracefully approached them. She was tall and slender with pale white skin and even whiter hair. Her body seemed to almost float above the ground as she got closer. <o:p></o:p>
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"I am Lady Espelynn, Second Head of the Council." her voice itself was arcane and almost sent vibrations through the groups’ bones. Her large white eyes scanned over each person but stopped at Ivy. <o:p></o:p>
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"Lady Ivy, it's quite good to see you again" Espelynn took a small bow and continued on before Ivy could even respond. Espelynn's eyes gazed at Ando. <o:p></o:p>
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"I've been told you have something to show me. Something of 'urgency'? As I'm sure you've noticed upon entering out great structure, we are quite full on urgent situations. Hundreds of those people have lost homes and families to an unknown evil. The Council is aware of this evil but we cannot prevent it. So we are quite busy on that matter. Now quickly, show me what it is that brings you to our doorstep." Ando turned and grabbed the wrapped head from Ivy and flung it forward, unraveling it and sending the head of the wraith rolling towards lady Espelynn's feet. <o:p></o:p>
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"That's what is killing those people and driving them from their homes. You might recognize it as a Shadow Wraith. One of the countless minions of a greater evil, The Ancient Fiends. A sorcerer by the name of Drake has somehow summoned these Fiends back into our world. When enough people have died, these Fiends will have regained their true strength and reveal themselves to all of Vaan, and destroy everything. What you see out there is just the beginning Lady Espelynn. We've come to ask for your help on stopping this evil."<o:p></o:p>
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Espelynn opened her hand above the wraith head that lay at her feet. It began to glow with a feint aura and rose from the ground to her chest. She examined it thoroughly and then glanced back at the group. <o:p></o:p>
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"I see...come with me then" Lifting both hands towards the group, the same aura that was around the head surrounded them and lifted them slightly into the air. Another blinding white light filled the room and when it was gone, the group stood in dark room with twelve orbs of light surrounding them. Then, one by one, each orb formed into one of the Council members with Espelynn still directly in front of them. <o:p></o:p>
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"You have our full attention. What is it you propose we do that would aid you?" Espelynn called out to the group as if she was speaking directly into each of their heads. <o:p></o:p>
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"We need an army to stage an assault on the castle in Petoria. It has become Drakes' stronghold. If we can stop him, there's a chance we might seal away the Fiends again at the same time" Ando spoke out. A different arcane voice rang out inside the groups' heads. A wiser and elderly males' voice. <o:p></o:p>
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"And suppose you stop him and the Fiends do not become sealed away. What will you do then?"<o:p></o:p>
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"We hunt down the Fiends themselves. With Drake dead they will be severely weakened to the point that they can actually be killed." Ando answered quickly. Another voice rang out. <o:p></o:p>
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"And you are sure you can do this?" Ando looked back at the group and nodded. <o:p></o:p>
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"We are more than capable" <o:p></o:p>
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Espelynn approached and looked over the group once more. "You say you need an army but with all those refugees at our door, we can scarcely provide such a force. This is a matter we will have to discuss. You all are welcome to stay the night and come morning, we will present you our decision." and with a wave of her hand, Espelynn sent the group back into the circular room where a group of guards awaited them, the large guard from the docks was among them. <o:p></o:p>
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"The Council has instructed us to take your weapons and escort you to the commons area. You'll sleep there for the night." Thayne looked at Ando and Ando looked back at the group and nodded his head. The group was then escorted to the commons entrance and they saw a number of beds still up for grabs.<o:p></o:p>
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"In the morning let's meet up at the docks and we'll see how things go from there" Ando then turned and began searching for a spot to rest for the night. <o:p></o:p>