The Sentence - IC

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Asuras, May 23, 2015.

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    One Year Ago

    A dark room overlooked an immense stained glass display spread across the floor, it's myriad of glassy colors glowing dimly from the lights beneath it. Two figures stood upon a circular balcony several feet from its surface, looking through the clear glass portions to see another room beneath it. They spoke in hushed tones, despite being the only souls present.

    "She spoke the words? How?" a young woman asked, clearly concerned, "What happened? What did they do?" The similarly-aged man beside her gripped the guardrails tightly, eyeing something obscured beneath the glass floor. He sighed and lifted his gaze.

    "I cannot be sure. I know only the results," he said. The girl inched closer, expecting more.

    "And...?"

    "All of them. Dead. I'm glad you did not hear of the incident. It means I did my job well," the boy smiled.

    "But we do not know if her words... if the translation... was truly...?" she had a hard time finding the words, clearly bewildered by something. "Is she at least aware?"

    "Well aware," he said, "Enough to cry. To apologize for days. I wouldn't be surprised if she is still teary." The young woman looked down at the floor, eyes wrought with worry. "She'll remain here, for the time being. I want to make certain she will not use it carelessly." The boy gave no goodbyes and turned away, disappearing into a staircase downwards.

    Out of earshot, the girl mumbled to herself.

    "We'll see about that."




    Present Day


    Days prior, it was well-known within the Aesil Borough that the princess had already sent several of her champions to "take the Throne". Not to be considered treasonous, most of the population kept quiet about it, careful not to let the information spread too quickly to the other boroughs. Still, Efrida seemed quite content with allowing others to know; eventually someone would come running to fight back. What mattered to her was the simple act of being the first to have a strong presence in the First Borough.

    It carried weight to it.

    And so, standing at the foot of the Aesil Castle throne, the three young champions could only assume that their presence there had something to do with the taking of the Throne. Efrida was not present at the time but her subordinate, the young High Guard Captain Francisca, awaited at the side of her throne, looking all too stern for so young a girl. She shot daggers at the three whenever they looked her way, unfriendly in every sense.

    Eventually the princess arrived, stepping in from a side hallway at the back of the room. Clad in her token green armor, her conviction in welcoming the coming storm seemed all the more clear. Francisca bowed heavily as she stepped in front of her, standing up only once the princess began to speak.

    Her gaze traced across the three champions, critical for two and welcoming for one. Efrida's eyes halted upon Lyssa and her mouth quickly spread into a grin; she was unable to help it.

    "As you should know, I have secured the First Borough, though I have yet to truly sit on Drisbane's throne. I will, in due time, but for now I require assistance in assuring no one is as bold as I," she began, "Already several of my champions have been sent there, but I must be sure. I need more... experienced, champions to remain here, but I also must bolster the throne's defenses. And so I have called upon you, or rather..." Efrida turned to Francisca, "...My Captain has attested to your skills, and notified me."

    Standing tall with her hands on her hips, Efrida rose her voice with an even greater commanding attitude.

    "You are to meet with the other champions in the First Borough and work towards securing it from the enemies of Aesil."





    A strong scent of incense filled the sunlit room. The doors were all open, welcoming in the warm sunlight from a balcony just beside it. Upon the tatami mats, a set of pillows were set out for the two Palace champions to sit. Konyuu Shora was already situated upon one of them, awaiting patiently. Tea was laid out as well, though Konyuu did not touch hers. A young boy sat quietly outside of the room, dressed in drab colors with a tray next to him.

    Clearly expecting the two to take their seats without being asked, Konyuu remained quiet, eyes closed and face serene. For several minutes, the group kept painfully quiet, awaiting two others to arrive. The two in question, Utashou Hokoa and Aosoki Hime, arrived a bit more noisily, the young princess trotting along happily through the hallways loud enough to be heard before she was seen. Planting themselves on their own pillows (Aosoki a bit more messily then her cousin), Konyuu finally opened her eyes and reached for her tea.

    With a smile, Utashou spoke softly and politely to the champions seated before her, "As you may have heard, the Aesil have made quite the move." She closed her eyes and sighed, "Troublesome to say the least, but certainly not the end of the world." As she spoke, Kato found Aosoki's eyes glued to his face, a slight grimace painted over her expression.

    "We would respond in force, but I am unsure of where they have truly gone within the First Borough. We have no one stationed there, after all," Utashou said, hint of malice in her voice. "I have opted to send a smaller team to scout out the area. You two, along with Konyuu, will enter the First Borough at your discretion, search in secret for the majority of Aesil's forces, and report back to me. Understood?"





    Since the Madurn Covenant had perished, the Library of Goetia had become a much more sullen place. With no more new teachings, many of the Librarians had simply left the faction to pursue other interests, and as very few of the Librarians were children in the first place, the Library was left with a measly two caretakers. The immensity of it, and the presence of only two individuals ultimately led to a dreary, lonely, and quiet atmosphere.

    Kaileb, however, utilized its peace and quiet to his advantage, stationing an office within its halls to serve as the new "headquarters" for Goetia. Tucked away amidst countless bookshelves, staircases, and desks, his tiny office was decorated with a rather fancy carpet, a few chairs, and his desk. He embodied simplicity. That, or his office was a mere ruse to the location of his true hideaway.

    Four Goetia champions stood before his desk, called there mere minutes prior by a number of messengers stressing expediency. Kaileb sat behind his rather pristine desk, various items and knick-knacks placed perfectly and purposefully. Seeming almost pleased with his ability to gather individuals before him without having to get up from his seat.

    "Mornin' folks," he greeted as he leaned back, raising his legs up onto his desk, "Glad you could, uh. Participate. I need a favor." Kaileb launched himself forwards and rested his elbows on the desk.

    "You might remember Astra, yea? Pretty girl, worked pretty closely with me? Went missing a few days ago? Turns out a few people caught wind of her in Drisbane, and I'd love for you guys to go and check things out. See if you can't get her to come back, or at least reach out to me," he paused, "If she was actually seen, that is, and the rumors are to be trusted."

    Clanna, one of the champions present, spoke up, "You still don't know why she left? She didn't talk to you or anything?" Kaileb shook his head.

    "I'm about as confused as anyone else," he said, retrieving a map from his desk drawer. "Right here," Kaileb pointed on the map to a spot in the Guardian Borough, "Is where she was supposedly seen. Residential area of the Guardian Borough. Maybe ask around before continuing on with your search. Just... don't piss off any police while you're there."





    "Here, goofs," Mimo stated bluntly, chucking a crumpled-up wad of paper at Halberd, Terren, and Eleena. Halberd fumbled to catch it, while Eleena and Terren caught theirs easily. Warden Mimo quickly slung her musket over her shoulder, letting it rest on her back, and moved towards the door, beckoning her comrades to follow. As they made their way out of her office, she elaborated on the mission, clearly eager to get moving rather than stay cooped up in her office the entire time.

    "We got ourselves a vampire in our midst, apparently," she explained, "Been getting a couple cases now from residents about waking up with bite marks and blood on their necks and shoulders. Gotta' get rid of it." As the other three champions unraveled the paper wads, they were met with a bounty listing a thousand silver coins for the capture of death of the vampire. No small sum of money.

    The neighborhood watchman was apparently impatient enough to throw up a bounty rather than wait for the Guardians he already payed taxes for. More than likely, he was seeking expediency. As the troop exited the Guardian quarters and the sun fell hot and heavy upon them, Mimo blew a long and sharp whistle, replied afterwards by a avian shriek in the distance.

    "I can't imagine it'll be too hard. I've got a sense for these sorts of things," Mimo prodded her chest with a thumb, "We'll head into the neighborhood, scope things out, find em', and get rid of em'." Turning away from the group, she mumbled something quietly to herself.

    "So," she rolled her shoulders, "Whose ready to hunt a vampire?"





    All around the city, flyers had been plastered up on walls, detailing a tournament of sorts, and inviting those who think themselves mighty to participate. Prior to the First Sentence, being a champion was considered a particularly tedious and serious "job", and the parents of champion-children were apt to prevent constant fights from breaking out, even if they were merely for fun. With such parentage gone, it wasn't uncommon to see brawls and the like cropping up all the time in Drisbane. A tournament, while no different, was at least a moderated event. Too many kids were itching to prove themselves, and a sanctioned and "safe" modem to allow it was welcomed by the more mature individuals.

    "Tournament for Drisbane's mighty! Prize money for victors! Come test your strength against each other, or go straight for the gold and go against Aesil's one and only Lizaine! Faction scouters galore! Saturday only! Aesil Borough's Olgre Arena! Be there!"

    A small message was present in fine-print at the very bottom.

    Free meals to all participants.

    The arena itself was simple enough, certainly not as drastic and fancy as the more prized fighting pits of Aesil's land. Large enough to fit a few hundred individuals in seats, and plenty more for standers, it appeared quite busy for those champions who choose to participate. At the bottom floor of the arena, a young boy and girl sat at a desk, painting various individuals hands with a black dot to signify their inclusion in the tournament.

    As the champions approached, they were explained the rules before being handed a meal ticket, then had their hands marked by the paint before being sent further into the arena where many more were gathered. Situated below the crowd's seating area, the participants lobby was dark, though had a eye-level view of the pit itself, empty for the time being.
     
    #1 Asuras, May 23, 2015
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  2. Halberd's greyish-blue eyes narrowed in on the poster, before he screwed it up in his palm, greyish-brown hair covering his eyes as he spoke.

    "Bloody vampires."

    He tightly clenched his fist, dropping the scrunched paper to the floor next to him. Usually, Halberd wasn't so serious - but times like this bought him to a state of tension. Vampires. He didn't even look at the bounty - the sheer fact of knowing that he'd be able to rid the world of another of those things... the fact that he'd be able to...

    *SHRRRRKKK*

    A metallic shriek echoed across the room for a moment as Halberd ran a whetstone across the shining blade of Retribution. Vampries. They fed off the innocent, draining harmless people into shrunken, lifeless bodies... those things were beyond all stages of reform. Halberd's eyes narrowed as his fist clenched at the very thought. They needed to die.

    Pausing for a moment, Halberd slowly sat up again, a more relaxed smile on his face as he wiped his hair's menacing fixture in front of his eyes to the side; he adjusted his cap, slinging Retribution over his shoulder as he stood up. He should loosen up a bit until the fighting came; he knew he wasn't being himself. He didn't want to look like some edgy guy to his fellow champions.

    "Heh, sorry. I guess the whole 'vampires' ordeal gets me a little worked up. Literally hellspawn." Halberd mumbled with his usual light smile, spinning the head of the broad axe over his shoulder.

    "Shouldn't be too hard, though. I hope one of you has something to burn the bastard with when we find it." Halberd said through gritted teeth.

    In a world which was already essentially screwed in many ways, Halberd hated it when people turned to the darker side of life. People who killed the weak, people who stole, people who would go about anything to make themselves stronger than others. People like that, simply needed to be eliminated. No matter how evil or powerful you were, in Halberd's eyes, the blade of justice would be fated to end you.

    Trying to keep Drisbane safe, and trying to fight for those who couldn't was a dirty job. But someone had to do it.

    Halberd chuckled as he slotted throwing knives and Stiletta carefully within his long, black coat. Tough yet discreet iron armour was hidden underneath this, which Halberd liked to be a secret.

    "Ready? Heheheh... more than ever. Let's do this." Halberd said with a mostly confident smile. He enjoyed being given orders like this, especially by this girl; the sheer fact that his actions might save an innocent girl or child's life was a reward within itself.

    With team-mates including a girl who was rumoured to move unbelievably fast, and a man who could apparently drain the very life force of people, Halberd was excited to see if the rumours were true or not. If they were, this hunt would be no problem at all.

    Halberd licked his lips, the blade of his battle axe glinting behind him. No problem at all.
     
    #2 Jakers, May 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  3. Hunger. It was constantly gnawing at her throat, and it took all of Aesil’s discipline to prevent herself from chewing on something, whether it be the blue-gold carpets of the opulent castle’s throne room, or her own tongue. Ah, it hurt, it hurt, it hurt so much, not being able to stuff her mouth full of meat, but she refused to let her basic instincts take over. Not at this moment, not at this place. For she was before an existence that was so much greater than herself, that the hungering girl was willing to suffer in silence to stay in her presence.

    Princess Efrida Aesil, the soon-to-be queen of Drisbane who was constantly followed by a procession of angels, whether visible or invisible. Her green armor, as vibrant and lush as the forest during a summer day, made not a single unfortunate clink as she appeared. It wasn’t the young girl’s appearance that captivated Aesil so much though. It was her deliciously, impossibly clean smell, a natural aroma as refreshing as the spring breeze, completely separate from the damp griminess that marked the Beast of Goetia’s birth. Even though the brunette had almost became accustom to the princess’s physical beauty, it was still her scent that attracted her.

    And, just as how Captain Francisca had taught her, Aesil kneeled, prostrating herself before the heavenly host as she grit her teeth until they chipped, reining in her endless gluttony. It was so tempting, to simply take a bite out of the carpet while her face was inches from the ground, but the beast kept her leash on. Slowly, her body tense as steel, she rose up once more, and did her best not to swoon at Efrida’s smile. It wasn’t meant for her, but at the same time…it was for everyone.

    And her voice as well! So full of confidence and power, raw potential sharpened into a razor-sharp point! Not a single bit of hesitation, as befitting of a woman of her position and stature. Aesil didn’t understand a thing about the First Borough or queenship or enemy factions or whatever else, but if it was for the princess, for the angelic master that took her in, she didn’t mind being used for anything.

    And so, despite only understanding the objectives of the mission, and not the deeper meaning beneath it, Aesil drew a hand over her wretched heart and nodded, her magenta eyes shimmering in contrast to the dark blue of her long cloak.

    “As you wish, my master,” she spoke, only capable of using the words of another to express her loyalty towards unparalleled beauty.

    Her teeth, chipped and fractured, reformed themselves, becoming fangs that could reach even the moon.
     
  4. Eleena
    The girl looked over at her rather... enthusiastic companion. Vampires? Well... It's not like she hated them or liked them? They were just people, like everyone else. Weren't they? ... A rock began to form in her gut. Clearly she wasn't going to convince Halberd of anything. And it's not like she was in the position to question her leader's decisions either. Still... "Yo Himo! I mean, uh, Hey, Sir? ... Madam... Kickass?" Yeah, not very good with eloquence or the like. Eleena always fumbled around when trying to match the rhythm of those who belonged to the palace. She held a quick pause to make sure the warden wouldn't start yelling at her for even talking to her.

    "Not to be an impudent clueless fuzzy-headed newbie, but shouldn't we be glad that people are waking up at all? I mean, it's a living... er... moving creature too, right? That needs food an' everythin'. So rather than kill it... Can't we just like, beat it senseless, and make it pay for its food like everyone else? Symbiotic relationship, ya know? That way if a family's strapped for cash, instead of leading their mother and daughters into prostitution, they can just sell their blood to a hungry vampire? If they haven't killed anyone yet, ain't this just a plain ol' assassination mission, specially since we're doing it with separate pay instead of out of our regular duty? ... Just thinking aloud, I guess?"

    Yeah, she tended to do that a lot. While talking, she had strained to keep her body relative taut and respectfully still, but after she threw caution to the wind and proceeded to rapidly fold and unfold the paper in her gloved hands. Duck! Goose! Monkey! Duck-Monkey! Yeah, she got bored easily so she had a long list of useless hobbies. Asking her to sit still for more than a minute was something one did not do while thinking she would actually follow through with it.


    @Asuras
    @Jakers
    @The_J
     
  5. With the sun out and shining, the subtle glow from his eyes was essentially undetectable to those around Gerald. His eyes swept over the sea of shining lights before he closed his eyes and the physical world revealed itself once more. He walked cautiously, a constant state of awareness for his surroundings, and his vision quickly flitted between one sight for the other; scanning his surroundings for the possibility of danger. Years after cutting his tie with any of the “factions” that acted within this town and he was still constantly watching his back for their own… and other dangers.

    So why had he bothered to leave the confines of his home today without a job in hand? Well, one would have to be blind to have missed the series of flyers and leaflets that had been distributed throughout the city within the past few days. A recruiting drive to draw out potential members for their faction under the guise of a tournament for any of those that had forgone affiliation with one of the major four. Interesting, but not something he personally would have participated in; Gerald enjoyed his anonymity far more than some prize of cash or the like. Still, it would prove to be a good event to watch if only to collect some information.

    It was easy to tell that he drew close to the specified location as his True Sight began to light up with brighter glows that burned so much stronger than those around them. An impressed whistle escaped his lips as he passed by the entrance for participants, the arena’s walls doing nothing to impede his “sight”. Quite a number had gathered within the structure and though their strength differed from individual to individual there wasn’t any outlier he could notice from just a cursory glance. It’d certainly be an interesting day ahead he supposed, wondering if the tournament would take several due to the number of “Champions” that had rose up to the challenge. He turned his eyes away from the gathered sources of light though, and shifted his “sight” to the physical world once more as he began to follow others into the arena’s seating area.

    It wasn’t too hard to find a spot where he could get comfortable, his large blunderbuss had been left at his home after all. In addition, he was dressed in such a manner to blend in more. Simpler clothes that didn't attract as much attention as his normal pair of robes might; a long coat with matching shirt and pants. His longer hair was tied up in a ponytail to keep it out of the way. Unsure of when the fights would actually begin, he reached into his coat and slipped a small novel out. Nothing of real importance it was one of the few stories that had been written since the Sentence had passed. A fanciful tale of adventure and such, it had proved to be an entertaining read so far. Yet not so much that his eyes didn’t rise to survey his surroundings occasionally before they dropped back to the pages.
     
  6. Aaahhh, such nostalgia, if not for the broken down buildings that got partly reclaimed by mother nature and a soothing silence thanks to the lack of population, it was just like in old times! Really though, the young vampire that was carrying herself elegantly through the empty streets with a smile on her face had not expected such a big change. Having slept for over year, even seeing the usually unwelcoming sun was a nice change.

    After all, it looked like her newly attained ghoul servants did tell her the truth about the current circumstances, though no rumours or anything regarding the 'Forbes'. By now, she had expected at least one of her brethren to have created an even bigger foothold in this city. Maybe they all bit the dust? No, that was highly unlikely. Those monkeys that had woken her up were probably the lowest of the low, biological trash polluting the oh so clean air, she really did good by killing the whole bunch of them, with the exception of those two. Maybe they could be useful for something in the coming days, for now she had left them behind in the mansion though. Maybe not the smartest of moves, but she was still a tad drowsy.

    Without any real goal in mind, the exception being visiting each of the other 5 districts, Este's face was suddenly greeted by flying piece of paper dirtying her noble face. Annoyed, she let out a threatening growl to no one in particular. Only a measure of showing that this piece of crap couldn't just fuck with her. About to tear it apart, the Forbes girl held off upon reading some of its content, of course just by chance.

    Tournament for Drisbane's mighty! Prize money for victors! Come test your strength against each other, or go straight for the gold and go against Aesil's one and only Lizaine! Faction scouters galore! Saturday only! Aesil Borough's Olgre Arena! Be there!
    Free meals to all participants.

    "Interesting." Indeed, truly interesting. The grin that formed on her face grew wider and wider, revealing those sweet fangs that had allowed her for a meal just recently. This was just the perfect means for to spend some free time and get into form again, not to mention money was something even the vampire girl would need if she was about to make this entire city hers.

    Thanks to her recent visitors, Este knew the rough locations of each of the major factions, so getting into the Aesil district was just a matter of time.

    There, she just had to follow the gossip and movement of the human trash until-

    *BANG*

    Oh? What was this? Most of the human trash was already keeping their distance from her, thanks to the aura of superiority and nobility she was giving off. But this...little girl? Ran just right into her? Such sweet innocence, reminded her a bit of her old weak self which was...urgh. Sob. Sob. Yeah, Este made a scary face with this little brat having put her into a rather annoyed mood again. Though quickly regaining her temper the vampire kneeled down and gave her a warm smile while trying to comfort the girl by petting her head. "My, my, what do we have here? Shh, Shh, everything is fine." Thank the Devil this small one actually calmed down a bit. Looking around, the few that observed in curiosity quickly averted their gaze. "Are you perhaps lost?" The girl nodded, still a bit sniveling, though answered. "B-Big Brother! I can't find big brother!" Her big brother? He lost his little sister? Humans were truly the biggest kind of trash there is, not even capable of taking care of their own brethren, well, just the more fun for Este, no? And in the end she could always just eat her. The Sentence was truly a blessing, with all those adults gone, any kind of food was fated to be a feast, the younger, the better.

    "Well, I am sure you will find your big brother soon? How about we look together for him? It can be dangerous, such a young, innocent sweet girl like you, all alone on the streets." The girl needed a moment, maybe considering her options? But ultimately she nodded. "Good, you see, a lot of people are on their way to the Olgre Arena, I happen to do just the same, how about it?" Again, another nod, good. Maybe this was turning out to be even more fun than Este initially thought. Letting off of her Este now continued her way, but didn't come far as this piece of shit tugged on her clothes.

    For a moment she was about to turn around furiously and most likely have a face that would make her piss her pants, but being all calm, Este turned around with that sweet motherly smile and asked. "What?" Stretching out her little hand, the girl waited nervously, a small sigh escaped from Este before she grabbed hers. Thankfully the vampire wore gloves. Now, she could finally continue her way.
    A few dozen people, no one Este recognized, were all gathered around, getting in, even with the brat, was no problem at all. Dropping her off at the entrance would have been one option to consider, but the little one was rather intermediated by all those scary people, Este could surely find one or other use for this one. Though, now in the waiting area with the other filth, the girl actually asked. "H-Hey, big sis, W-What's your name?" Didn't the brat listen when Este told the manager her name? God, what a dumb little one. "Esterellia Levanaros Asphodel, and what about you little one?" It was truly a shame that the once noble vampire had fallen so low to hide her proud bloodline in the eyes of the public, but Este didn't plan to get killed on her first day of awakening. The girl though, was baffled. "Esderara? Esrea..." Just...how could you fail so much? Alright, fuck the brother, if he did not recognize her sooner or later, she would end up as dead meat, and not just some simple paralyze, surely, such a sweet and innocent child would make for some great cries? "Just Este, okay?" Replying with a warm smile, the girl nodded. "Este! I am Saya." Hmpf, what a cheap name for a cheap and dumb brat... .
     
  7. Every footstep sent shockwaves of messages into his ears as he walked down the hallway. Walls surrounded him, that much he knew, but he couldn't tell what colour they were, everything had a strange blue tinge to it. Or that's how his mind interpreted whatever the sounds bounced off of. He continued walking, purposefully thumping his heels with every footfall to allow him continuous vision as he made his way along the corridor. Then he noticed an opening up ahead that had a figure sitting inside, a few more steps confirmed that it Konyuu. As he neared, he noticed all the doors to the room were open, even the balcony and smelled the distinct scent of incense.

    Kato stepped into the room and stood behind the pillow to the right of Konyuu, then lowered himself to his knees and settled down onto it, his hands resting casually on his thighs. Occasionally he would lightly tap his thigh, to see what was going on in the room, and noticed a young boy outside in the balcony with what seemed to be a tray. Moments later, as Kato was about to tap his thigh yet again, he heard the distinct stomping and thumping of Aosoki's skipping, causing the darkness that Kato was so used to, to be lit up with blue figures. He saw Aosoki and Utashou enter into the room without turning his head and watched as they walked before the trio and took their seats.

    Then the leader regent of Palace spoke. Kato had indeed heard of Aesil's recent move, a bold statement to the rest of the factions that the princess intended to take back the throne. He couldn't predict how the other factions would respond to Efrida's statement; perhaps the guardians, as chivalrous as they are, would seek to aid her? Then again, they could just as easily try and stop her to rule Drisbane under their martial law. And he had no idea what Goatia might do, he felt uneasy about the group. The name itself sent shivers through him.

    But he was able to predict how Utashou would respond before she even gave the commands. As the leader spoke, Kato saw Aosoki looking at him with a grimace. He cocked his head slightly at her, then turned to Utashou when she gave them their orders. Kato nodded his response to his leader's question, then stood and bowed before the two, his right hand clasped over his left fist.
     
  8. Halberd lowered his head, snorting at his energetic companion. This blue-haired girl had to be the speedy one he'd heard about; there was no doubt about it. Her idea was nice, and Halberd wished it could be that way. However, Halberd hadn't seen a 'nice' vampire yet, and a species that feasted on blood was a danger to the innocent. Vampires, unless they proved they could control themselves, had to die.

    "Heh. I wish the world could work like that. But I'll tell you something." Halberd said slowly, squinting a little as he looked into the distance.

    "When you see the shrivelled up corpse of a civilian, you'll change your mind. Vampires like this one just don't care. They have no control, and they're a threat. What do you do if a pack wolves are roaming around Drisbane? You kill them. Same with killer vampires - they're a threat. Unless a vampire comes up to me and proves otherwise, they're just bloodthirsty beasts. And fucking manipulative ones, and that!" Halberd said with a slight tone of rising anger, which soon died down as he exhaled quietly.

    "This city loses enough people by day as it is. Vampires like the one we're after must be eliminated... you'll see. If vamps prove they control themselves? Then fine, they can share a mug of ale with me or whatever." Halberd said plainly.

    "The vampire we're hunting though? In my ears, justice clearly says to me that it should die."


    Halberd paused after his words, wondering if he was coming across too stone-cold. The truth was, he wanted to be realistic about things. Sometimes what was morally right and what was best for the people were a conflicting issue, but it always had to be what was best for the people.

    "Sorry if I come across as cold or ruthless, kid. I don't mean to be an asshole. I just want to think what's best for all the people out there who are already struggling. What we do in the end is completely up to Warden Mimo, of course." He turned back around, looking at the blue-haired girl. Huh. Blue hair? Weird, Halberd couldn't remember that being a thing. Then again, nothing was normal nowadays.

    "You might know already, but... Hallus Burgundy. Just call me Halberd. The guy with the axe. It's nice to be workin' with different people for a change." Halberd said, displaying a comforting smile despite his previous attitude.

    He had a feeling this squad was fine and capable, especially with a powerful warden alongside then, but nobody was dying today on his watch. Not to the fangs of some God-damned bloodsucker.
     
    #8 Jakers, May 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  9. "Never thought I would sink this low for a meal," a gloomy voice soured by her very existence in Aesil's rather packed Olgre Arena. She had originally considered herself above such senseless violence in her Guardian days. Bashing away at people just for a few coin while others gleamed to their darker sides off their blood did not sit well for her. However, when you chose to leave a well paid job without a actual plan for new income eventually you would find yourself doing what it was you were against... there was a word for such a situation, but at the moment she couldn't recall it. Her muddled mind was brought back into reality as she felt the cold brush of the pen paint a black spot on her hand signifying her entrance after being explained the rules. The rules were simple fight to win, and don't kill your opponent she nodded in acknowledgement as she was handed a meal ticket.

    Of course she had taken to being a bounty hunter so coin wasn't hard to find. It rarely lasted though especially since she only did jobs when she eventual ran out from the last bounty. Maybe that's why she was here even though the sport was of a violent nature to show off to the fractions it was still a safer job then hunting down lowlife scum who would more then willingly kill you to avoid being turned into the Guardian's, or a much darker authority. At the thought of the Guardian's Aurora gave a soft sigh as she waited for her name to be called up to fight.

    Aurora turned at the sound of a woman in red talking sweetly to a rather scared child? Well it was definitely weird sight yet that wasn't what caught her attention. The woman's name... why did it pull a red flag in her head? In fact their was a slight memory about her father that her brain was trying to pull together. However the more she mulled over it the more it seemed to be just a silly notion though now that she observed the woman she was able to pick up on her rather strong aura of nobility. In fact it almost seemed strange that she was even here. She looked very well up kept, and by no means seemed to be starving.

    "Mind if I ask what brings such a noble woman to such a gritty scene," Aurora spoke out to Esterellia her curiosity now piqued by the rather strange appearance in this lowly competition.
     
  10. They were called to him, Kaileb. He was as chirpy and irritating as ever, it ground under her skin like a cancerous itch. Her face remained impassive as she co-operated with his orders. Aye, she knew Astra. Indeed a very pretty girl, worked awfully too closely for Melea's liking. Perhaps he was paying her under the table for particular favours. Melea wasnn't particular vocal about her opinion, but her facial expression and rolling of the eyebrows said it all.
    "Ever thought she might not want to come back, Kaileb? I should imagine many people, if they had the chance, would run from you in a heartbeat.." She spoke in such a disrespectful manner to her leader. However, with as unphased as he was, it was evident that he was used to her kind of behaviour. She smirked subtly to the glance he did so pass her, before waving them out onto their mission. She turned around with what would more so become her 'squad' over the next few days. A hand fell on the lace of her skirts as they left the area, the doors coming to a shut behind her as she walked down the hallway. "I don't suppose the guys at Drisbane would just hand us the information. So we should probably get ready to force it out of them." She smirked when the others pulled her a glance of what she could only tell was a moment of worry. Melea had no mercy, "Don't piss off any police". She huffed. She couldn't make promises anyway.
    Clanna, stood beside Melea as they walked through the hall to the chambers' entrance at the end of the lengthy purple carpet. "Maybe we should just stay low around those parts, Melea... I mean we wouldn't want to-..."
    "Get you killed?" She snapped a glance at Clanna who bit her lip back at an almost seeming threat. "No, you're right.. We don't want that." Yet.. "But if she is in danger, and we have to shed blood, then we will... For our own. I won't allow any of the Drisbane knuckle heads get anywhere near us.. Relax". Although she had little care for anyone but herself, she knew that losing a team member meant putting more workload on herself, and her laziness wouldn't allow that.
    The doors opened and the solid air hit them like a lightning bolt.
     
  11. Terren Keto
    @Asuras @Jakers @Meira
    So... a vampire? That was what they were to hunt now. It was weird, thinking of them as a beast to hunt, not just an enemy to kill, but Terren supposed it was fitting. They were terrifying creatures, stalking their prey at night, innocent humans whose lives they had to end to survive, not caring one bit whether they had a family to keep, a loved one who'd miss them,or a child to take care of. Multiple times, he'd utterly destroyed a vampire who had killed innocent, orphan children, or rent a family apart. Those bastards needed culling, as much as was possible.
    So when Eleena spoke up, asking to spare them, he felt his blood boil, and his eyes began to glow that ghostly aura they had when he was in combat or an emotional state - this one, beginning to look like anger. He agreed with her, she WAS sounding like a fuzzy-headed newbie. Not one of them deserved sparing, no, not ever. If they let them go, they'd hardly learn their lesson and stop, it was in their nature to feast upon human blood. They would never cease their killing spree until death, that was just how it worked.
    Thankfully, Halberd spoke up before he had a chance to become truly angered at this girl who had such ridiculous beliefs, he did not truly want bad blood between him and a team mate. They had never worked together before, but it never payed to be on bad terms with people who were likely to be colleagues, now and in the future.
    "My name's Terren Keto," He introduced himself, his eyes ceasing their eerie glow, "Some people call me wraith, or phantom, though. And I agree with Halberd. We can't just let them go. Even if we beat them up and leave them within an inch of their life, they'll not stop, they'll keep going - that's how vampires operate, simply. Psychopathic, blood-sucking monsters, not even human any more."
    A glowing, white sheen took over Terren's body, and it began to take form. In a few seconds, his armour formed, an ethereal, transparent set that looked like it was of thousands of years ago, decorated with howling faces and shifting forms of ghostly bodies, constantly changing shape and taking form of many different styles one after another, never settling as one set or another. After a moment, this gradually slowed, eventually slowing to a rate of a minute for it to change again, as it would remain doing until dispelled or damaged.
    "Alright Mimo, I'm ready. Let's cut out some vampire hearts."
     
    #11 The_J, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  12. @kingdomkeylight

    "Mind if I ask what brings such a noble woman to such a gritty scene,"

    "...?" What? One of that low human filth actually had enough guts to dare speak to her? And a, in her opinion, dumb question nonetheless. Did The Sentence, as some kind of delayed aftermath, also kill off everyone's brain cells while she was asleep? Looking clearly not amused for a moment Este stared directly into the eyes of the ex-Guardian, on second thought, those eyes were quite beautiful, and that pale skin? Maybe she was a low-born vampire? Yes, that must be it. As if Este would ever admit to such beauty in something like a human body. Her face becoming more friendly again, Este was licking over her lips. "My, what wonderful eyes you have." Was she a competitor too? Maybe she could gauge them out by accident? "And what brings me here? Well..." Looking down at the small one, who clearly did not share Este's opinion about the newcomers beauty, hence hiding behind the vampire noble. "For one, I am taking care of this little one. Apart from that..." She displayed a playful grin, though sure to not reveal her fangs. "I am holed up in my castle all day, I thought, this would be fun for a change, no?"
     
    #12 Skyswimsky, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  13. Shotaro found all the pomp and circumstance that was so enjoyed by most of the Palace's upper eschelon to be more frustrating than refined. To some of them, a tea ceremony was more important than figuring out how to get shit done. On the other hand, he'd rather be out kicking some ass, taking some names, and splitting the bill at one of the few eateries that was around... and not necessarily in that order. Still, he knew what was expected of him and that doing otherwise would not sit well with the Palace Hierarchy.

    Kneeling behind the pillow, Shotaro bent forward until his head touched the ground. A formal bow for a formal event. "Oh goodie, and their own personal monster is here." - thought the heavily-scarred champion as he raised his head and took his seat. If she was here, then something big was going down.If THAT was the case, then why was no one else summoned? Sure, Konyuu was a badass. Sure, he and Kato would be solid backup. But if things were so bad that Konyuu was needed, wouldn't the Palace want to send out more big guns, so to speak?

    Regardless, it was not his place to ask such questions. Annoying? Yes. But better to be annoyed and in power than to be starving and barely scraping by. Just as he was about to take his tea, Utashou began speaking. Immediately, the Aesil and their recent activities were mentioned. Shotaro visibly rolled his eyes in displeasure, but wisely refrained from voicing his annoyance. Of course it was the heavenly blowhards that were causing the issue. Still, better them than Goetia. At least with the Aesil you could usually get the gist of what was going on.

    Taking a sip of the tea as Utashou spoke of sending the trio to the first borough, Shotaro's eye twitched in excitement. FINALLY he would see some real action. A welcome change from visiting the farmers in the palace's districts and handing out little tokens of favor and appreciation. Yeah, it kept morale up... but such things were below a Champion. Kato seemed content to simply do as told, but it raised a few questions in Shotaro's mind. These questions could not wait until it was too late, they had to be asked now.

    "I understand. However-" He sat down his tea before continuing, in case Konyuu took his questions as some sort of affront to their leaders and decided to deck him one. "- will this be a simple sneak-and-scout, in-and-out? Or if we encounter something of particular note, are we to act?" Every muscle in his body was currently tensed. The Palace's mightiest champion was not known for being even-tempered, after all. "If we are discovered, what are we to do?" All sound questions, given the sensitivity of the situation in the first borough.

    Still... asking them was risky, given present company. Should his questions set Konyuu off, Shotaro was tensed and ready to react accordingly. Hopefully they would just be answered with no incident. Either way, Shotaro would know momentarily. Either he'd have an answer and be on his way to the first borough... or be in a scrap with someone far superior to him in terms of strength, skill, and endurance.
     
    #13 Beta, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  14. Natalya had headed to the library and Kaileb's office as soon as she had received the summons. For starters, the message had said to come urgently and Kaileb rarely added that detail unless matters were truly awkward. Secondly, she still owed Kaileb a huge debt for having lifted her from the slums. Arriving she saw Clanna and another, unknown female champion waiting in front of Kaileb's desk. Nodding to them, she moved to stand with them, waiting for whatever was keeping Kaileb from talking.

    Several minutes later, in flounced Melea Raygtor. Natalya regarded her as one does a petulant child, for that was what she seemed. Though her power was considerable, her viciousness and childish refusal to back down had earned her a reputation amongst Goetia. Natalya had often wondered if there was a female equivalent of small man syndrome, since Melea appeared to suffer from it.

    Indeed, it wasn't long after Kaileb started speaking that Melea started hurling her asides. It was well known how much Melea had wanted to lead, but even she had lacked the necessary strength of will to forge ahead into the Madurn Sanctuary. It had taken Kaileb to step forwards and do what no other had dared to do. And for all Melea might seeth, she still lacked the will to walk where he had walked, see what he had seen, and challenge him for the leadership. And Kaileb knew it, hence why he always used the tone that irritated her the most.

    Still...Astra. No-one knew exactly what her abilities were, but she'd been a staunch ally of Kaileb. For her to disappear? Certainly strange. She wondered what might have happened as they left. She seemed too strong to be kidnapped...but to go of her own will without saying goodbye to a close associate? Something was definitely off. She tuned back into the conversation to hear Melea, presumably in a fit of childish pique induced by Kaileb's manner, rant about torturing people in the middle of Guardian territory. Even when Clanna tried to talk some sense into her, she was met with a veiled threat. Melea truly was in a fine she-bitch mood today. Natalya sighed loudly enough to be heard, not wanting to become involved in a useless argument, but unable to contain her disdain for Melea's petty sadism any more.

    "Let's not do anything rash right off the bat, shall we? If it's possible to walk in, get this done and walk out without attracting Guardian attention, that would seem to be the best route."

    Reviewing the map Kaileb had given them, Natalya scrutinised the streets. Even in the Guardian district, there were some too down on their luck to pay the hypocritical tax that the so called 'defenders of the weak' charged. It was enough to sicken her. For all they pretended to be the face of justice, and portrayed themselves as the heroes of the populace, the facts spoke for themselves. People beaten, raped, killed; all ignored because they didn't have the means to afford a tax. Bastards, each and every one of them.

    "I suggest we start looking on these streets. They're the poorest part of the district, and many can't afford the Guardian's tax. That gives us a chance at slipping under the radar, as they're less likely to report us to any wandering Guardians. Besides, the poor always keep an eye on the comings and goings in their area, especially if they feel they might not be safe.

    The other issue is whether we stick together or divide ourselves into smaller groups. Some people may be more willing to talk to a stranger or two than a gang of 4 Goetian champions."
     
    • Love Love x 1
  15. Kanade waited patiently with the others, at fist holding herself rigidly at attention before the empty throne. As they waited for the Princess herself to make her appearance, the young woman's discipline began to relax, and she let her eyes wander, mostly to the other two Champions standing alongside her. She recognized Lyssa as something of a n up-and-comer, or at least someone who was rumored to have the Princess' favor. And the other girl...well, she hadn't heard much about her, beyond that she was a "stray dog" that the faction had taken in. She certainly looked on edge...nervous, perhaps? Kanade wasn't sure what to make up her, but there would be time enough for proper introductions later.

    She knelt along with the others when the Princess arrived, bending knee and bowing her head as is required. Her long multicolored hair piled onto the floor at either side of her. She did not look up or stand until spoken to. So, they were to be going into the First Borough? Interesting. N doubt the other factions would have taken the Princess' actions as an open provocation by now, and it would only be a matter of time before someone else made a move, at least so far as to see what they were doing. She bowed again, though not as deeply, when the orders were given.

    "Of course, your Majesty," she answered her commands. She paused, to see if further orders were not forthcoming, and then continued to speak. "If I may be so bold, what should we do if we were to meet any members of other factions, or other...well...unexpected sorts?" She had the feeling she knew the answer, but still, it might send too risky a message if representatives of Aesil were to openly fight and slay those of another faction, especially given the delicate situation of moving into formerly neutral territory.
     
  16. Lyssa knelt before her princess, falling to one knee as she planted her hammer in front of her. Finally. It was time for Aesil to place the true ruler of the city on its throne. She quickly returned the small smile her childhood playmate gave her before her face returned to stoic neutrality. Internally, Lyssa chided herself for her slight lapse in discipline. Even if she had been friends with the princess during their youth, it was improper of her to have smiled back in public. There were others watching, and judging. Lyssa had no doubt that someone would disapprove of such familiarity. She wasn't sure who yet, but she had already caught word of jealous whisperings within Aesil that she had the princess's favor. Princess Efrida would do no such thing as favor someone unfairly, and Lyssa had no wish for favoritism, but there were those who would not believe it, and that would likely hurt her own status within Aesil.

    Still, that was a concern for after the mission. Rising to her feet alongside the other two with her, Lyssa nodded her assent to her princess's orders.

    "As you command, Princess." Lyssa answered firmly. "Those who oppose Aesil shall die, should you wish it." She said with a hint of steel in her voice before her thoughts turned to the two other champions beside her. Aesil was...ironically named, to say the least. However, it was gratifying to see that even a mere street rat knew which was the truest faction to join. And even her status was of no concern. Aesil accepted all who would swear loyalty to the royal house of Drisbane. She would be a worthy enough ally for the coming fight. As for Kanade, her relation to those of the Palace faction was suspect, but the girl had sworn an oath. She would only bear watching if they ended up facing Palace champions.
     
  17. Galina Raske/Sitara Qadir


    The messenger had caught Sitara entirely off guard, so she had been forced to get ready in a hurry. Yet, for a summons by Kaileb, she made sure that not a single hair was out of place. Both of her katars rested in a sash at her waist, within easy reach, and she wore her cleanest black coat beneath her light armor. After arriving she tried to remain at attention until the others arrived, but eventually, which is to say within a minute, she relaxed her stance and began looking around distractedly, her weight shifting back and forth from one foot to the other. Clanna had been their first, but she had probably been much closer, whereas Sitara had been training. From what she knew of Clanna, she was very likeable. She didn’t know what they were doing yet, but it would be pleasant working with her.

    The tranquility of the library made it very ease for Sitara to get lost in thought as she waited for the other champions to arrive. It was strange to think that the growth of this library had been sustained by the power of the Madurn Covenant for countless years before she was born, and in a single instant everything they had worked towards was wiped away by events wholly beyond their control, along with her own parents. For all their vast and mysterious power, they were helpless in the face of man’s stupidity. A humbling thought, she decided, which was suitable for the mood the empty library inspired in her.

    Considering the sheer volume of books, Sitara was disheartened that she had never possessed the aptitude for magic. Sure, she had a few tricks up her sleeve, but nothing like most of the other champions of Goetia. The thought of being able to do things like cast bolts of arcane energy or conjure up ethereal guardians brought a smile to her face, one which was hidden by the high collar of her coat and not reflected in her featureless eyes. In fact, she thought. If I could only-

    The sound of Kaileb’s voice made her snap to attention, her eyes flickered briefly and she saw that two more champions had arrived while she was drifting off. And that’s why you can’t do magic, she thought sullenly. Movement from Kaileb brought her attention back around to him, and she winced internally. What had he just said? Hopefully it wasn’t important. Sitara hadn’t spent a lot of time in his company, something she wouldn’t mind changing, but she thought Kaileb’s mannerisms were a stark contrast to the formality and grace of the other faction’s heads. Some might even call him awkward, but she thought-

    Now the sound of Clanna’s voice made her snap to attention, why who left? Had she missed something? At least Kaileb was confused too, so it wasn’t just her. The leader of Goetia pulled out a map and explained that somebody had been seen in the Guardian Borough, and that they would be looking for this person, whoever they were. So she hadn’t missed anything important, now she just had to listen to her team and eventually they’d say who she was supposed to find. Another mission accomplished.

    As they left, she tried her best to pay attention. The white-haired girl sounded like she was in charge, but Sitara knew that Kaileb favored Clanna so she was confused. Had she missed something important? Before she got lost in thought, the final champion spoke up. Listening carefully still didn’t tell her who they were tracking, so the thought of splitting up was at best disadvantageous, and at worst suicide for her right now. What have I gotten myself into?
     
    #17 Azathoth, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  18. @Skyswimsky


    "Pretty interesting choice for fun," Aurora responded as she continued to lean against the wall meeting the vampires annoyed look with one of boredom. However strangely the noble woman's opinion seemed to change at the sight of Aurora's eye. It was true that Aurora had received both compliments, and disgust about her eyes, but never had she witness someone change their mood at the sight of them for the better. The woman in red had said she was also their to help the child... why not just give the child over to the manager when she passed the entrance gate? Pretty sure they would have willingly did a announcement for whoever the child belonged to... they were in Aesil after all.

    "Thanks. That's pretty honorable of you to take such a charge," the woman armored in purple responded as she pushed herself lightly off the wall walking over to sit next to where the vampire was currently standing, and her self chosen responsibility of a child. She briefly stared at the entrance to the pit wondering what ludicrous reason kept them waiting for this damn long, but now that she had someone to talk away the time it wasn't to bad. She briefly looked at the scared child giving her a soft motherly smile before speaking up again.

    "So what does the missing sibling look like," she was sure such a elegant woman would have been intelligent enough to have already asked the terrified child what her sibling might look like. That way had she seen them while walking past the crowds she could have spotted them out easier then the child. Only a fool would not think to have that info before walking through such a mass of people. Still with a bored expression easily readable across her eyes she slowly unsheathed her mace twirling it around to keep herself slightly amused as she waited for a response.
     
    #18 kingdomkeylight, May 25, 2015
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  19. @kingdomkeylight

    Listening to the rambling of the armor clad woman, Este mentally sighed, why couldn't her voice be as beautiful as her eyes? That way, she wouldn't mind at all. Regardless, her company was still more pleasant than that lowlife trash that had woken her. Upon hearing those last words though, her eyes sharpened, was she just simply concluding that in her own limited mind? While the vampire girl did say she was taking care of that little girl, she never mentioned anything about searching for her sibling, no?

    About to open her mouth in response, the little girl actually dared to take the initiative, having warmed up a bit towards Aurora in response to her smile. "He is thaaaat tall!" Motioning with her hands Saya stretched herself up as far as she could. "And has black long hair! And is the best brother ever...!" Yeah...great. Because, that was like, very unique. But not like Este expected any different from the small child. "It will be an easy task once the tournament started." With her being the center of attention, all she had to do was call the girl to her once her opponent was defeated and ask the masses, no? Looking down to Saya, Este continued. "And who knows where she would have ended up if we are not THAT fortunate?" She couldn't just straight out say 'not find her brother after all."That aside, interesting choices tend to be more fun than their alternatives, no? And I take you participate too?"
     

  20. With eyes lowered onto her left hand, Efrida rubbed her armored fingers together briefly, as if to scratch them free of dirt. "Should you come across enemies of Aesil attempting to take what is mine, then you shall simply remove them," she said nonchalantly, "from the District or from this world. Whichever conveniences you."

    Taking a step up the wide but short stairs to her throne, she gave a final parting, "I do not doubt you will encounter someone else. Such is why I send you in the first place." The princess gave one last, blank look at Francisca before returning to the halls behind the throne room. As soon as her from disappeared from sight and earshot, Francisca stepped down towards her comrades and lifted her chin, ordering them to rise.

    "Though I suggested you three, I don't expect you to be the stars of this show," the High Guard said roughly, "More than likely you'll be patrolling the outer areas, rather than standing at the feet of the true throne. At the very least, you can not die and make sure no one gets closer to the rest of us." Francisca made for the gaping doors of the room, her steps heavy despite her small size.

    "Let's hurry it up ladies," she called out.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    It certainly seemed safe already when the group had arrived in the First Borough. So safe, in fact, that the place seemed devoid of residents entirely, at least on the streets. Save for the occasional Aesil resident, the place was vacated, likely a result of Efrida's bold decision; few, if any, would likely risk walking the streets when a battle was inevitable.

    Quiet streets normally filled with a variety of non-combative citizens from all the factions had become a ghost town. At the center of the borough rested the Drisbane Citadel, seat of power for the city-state and home to the true throne that Efrida sought. Great staircases led up to its closed doors, and on many of them rested familiar faces; Aesil champions of incredible notoriety already waiting beneath the Citadel.

    And at the very top of the rise, a great being stood gleaming and immobile. One of Efrida's angels, Drakanael, waited silently before the doors of the Citadel, facing outwards with its immense sword resting underneath its outstretched hands. Few of the champions payed any mind to the newcomers, and as they approached, Francisca halted them at the bottom of the stairs before walking up them, speaking to one of the champions briefly.

    Looking down upon the three Aesil young champions, Francisca called out.

    "You three will remain with one another and patrol the outskirts of the borough. Should you find yourself confronted by an enemy, be rid of them and return to me." Stressing the lack of interest in further questions, Francisca continued up the stairs, her back turned to the trio.





    Before Utashou herself could reply, Konyuu spoke up with a contained but clearly fierce tone, "If they are few, then we will eliminate them. Better to take the opportunity of surprise than to allow them to remain in the borough for us to encounter later," she took another sip of tea. Utashou's eyes drooped in worry.

    "Yes, but," she elaborated, "Stealth is stressed here, make no mistake. I would rather us know of their numbers than to notify them we are now watching and preparing." Konyuu expressed her displeasure carefully, averting her eyes to the side. "If there is no further questions, then time is of the essence. Make haste," Utashou advised.

    "Good luck!" Aosoki spoke up cheerfully. Konyuu rose from her seat and gave a bored look to her comrades.

    "Thank you, princess. We will not disappoint," she stated before bowing. "Let us be on our way."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    It seemed empty enough, but Konyuu kept her distance, merely staring at the First Borough border with caution. For a moment she stood there, silent, as if looking for something, then she sat down and closed her eyes. Her unknown ritual lasted for about ten seconds before she stood again.

    "Good. They haven't set up a barrier of any sort," she said. Turning to Kato and Shotaro, she laid out a general strategy. "We will use the interior of the buildings if we can. As I have heard, much of the borough is empty. Citizens have fled for fear of what is to come, thankfully. Otherwise, we must approach slowly and methodically. Keep in cover as much as we can."

    With a quick turn, she jogged up to the border and slowed down, checking down the streets once before entering further. She beckoned for the two to follow.





    Clanna giggled at Natalya's comment. "What? Do we look that scary?" She eyed Melea with a playful smile, "Save maybe Melea, I don't think we necessarily look too Goetian for people to be afraid. Galina here could even pass off as a Palace lady! I wouldn't be surprised if someone mistook us for a Guard-"

    "Oh thank goodness you're here!" someone called out to the four of them. A young man, clearly tired, rushed up to them from the street, seeming quite relieved. "I was half-expecting you all to arrive in a day or two. I'm pleasantly surprised! You Guardians haven't proven to be the quickest bunch out there."

    Clanna rose a finger and opened her mouth, but hesitated, clearly rethinking things. "Yes, yes. We had fewer... Uh. Things to do today so we got here earlier." She smiled poorly. "Uh, our boss though wasn't particularly specific or upfront with us, so we're a bit... unsure of exactly what is going on. You don't happen to know much about the situation, do you?"

    The boy sighed. "Guess I got my hopes up a little too much then. Seems you're not entirely competent," he rubbed his forehead, "I'm the neighborhood watchman. I do hope you at least know what you're up against?"

    Clanna rubbed the back of her head, "Eh..." The watchman sighed again.

    "A vampire yes? Vampire! The target is a vampire. Lucky for you we've got a clue."

    "Yea we're certainly sorry about that," Clanna chuckled.

    "No I mean we actually have a lead. I organized the neighborhood to check their houses and other nearby structures they had access to, and they found nothing. But! We're now pretty sure this vampire is hiding out in that building over there," he said, pointing to a rather dilapidated structure down the street. "It's the only place we haven't checked, but now we're a bit too cautious to go barging in, just in case the filthy bloodsucker is actually there."

    "Wondrous job!" Clanna exclaimed, clapping her hands. The boy looked all too proud of the compliment. "We can take it from here then!" Beckoning for the other three to follow, she headed for said building. Under her breath, she spoke to them.

    "Rumor has it Astra was a vampiress, believe it or not. I wouldn't be surprised now if this vampire the watchman is talking about is Astra herself! This is the neighborhood after all..." With a gentle push, Clanna opened up the doors to the building, and the team entered inside its dark interior.





    Mimo shrugged as they walked. "Well, sure the thing's been careful with its victims. No one's died yet but if we give em' an inch we can't be sure they won't get greedy and use a mile." She glanced over her shoulder to Eleena, "You ever see the result of a greedy vampire? I have. Not here, but in my lifetime yea."

    "I appreciate the empathy missy, it's good to know there are some people in this day that still have the right mindset," she gave a thumbs up, "but it won't be useful when things turn out to be much more cynical than you'd like." Mimo turned to the other to men present. "You two on the other hand..." she gave a critical look, "Well at least you two are useful for the mission." She grinned.

    The team approached the specified neighborhood slowly, taking their time given the sun was still rising in the sky. Clearly Mimo felt no need to hurry, much less to tire themselves for the fight to come. Eventually, after about an hour of walking, the team found themselves where they needed to be; a short street with buildings on either side, relatively quiet and hidden amidst a series of taller buildings and structures.

    Mimo's eyes immediately picked someone out across the ways. "That's him. That's our informant," she said, pointing him out. The boy she was indicating looked at them with a strange expression as they approached, seeming cautious of them.

    "Yo, we're here for the vampire sighting," Mimo stated. The boy looked stunned, shocked. His mouth was open though he struggled to find the right words.

    "Wait, wha- I uh..." Mimo merely waited for him to speak properly, raising an eyebrow. "I just... I just sent some Guardians in. Are you- No are they?" The warden immediately understood the issue and burst into action. She only hoped the rest of them knew what was up as well. Sparing no words, Mimo grabbed her musket and rushed into the building the boy was standing before.





    The sound of a single trumpet being blown above drew the attention of the arena's occupants. At the foot of an outcropping standing tall above the sandy arena pit floor, a single individual stood tall. A boy, clad in an exorbitant number of draperies and golden colors, spoke out to the ground with a surprisingly loud and exciting voice.

    "Ladies and gentlemen! Today's tournament is finally upon us! Many fighters have come to prove their might to us, for glory, money, and to be quite honest for many of them, a simple meal!" The crowd laughed and cheered.

    "Some of them of course are more bold than others! They have opted to test their luck against the one and only Lizbaine of Aesil!" Her name received a number of cheers, and fewer boos; the place was, after all, filled with more than just Aesil members. As the cheers continued, the champion in question stepped forward from behind the announcer, her face prideful.

    "We already have several contestants who wish to go against her and win a hefty sum of twenty gold pieces!"

    The announcer continued for awhile, explaining that the first couple of fights would be those against Lizbaine until she decided to rest for a bit. After that the real tournament would commence. While the more sensible contestants waited, they got a good view of the two fights that transpired against Lizbaine; two men by the name of Kain and Thassius had decided they had a chance at getting the gold, but were summarily crushed by an overwhelmingly more powerful individual. Both were left with grievous but non-fatal injuries, carried out on stretchers

    After the two fights, the Aesil champion expressed her tiredness and retreated back to the audience. The announcer came back again and made a few quips about the recent losers, earning more laughter from the audience. Finally the tournament had begun, and the first two fighters were declared.

    "Esterellia Levanaros Asphodel, phew what an immense name!" the announcer remarked, "versus Aurora Spiere! Contestants, please enter the fighting pit and prepare!"
     
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