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Aron Krol

Weeks of travel from the outer colonies were finally interrupted by the time they reached Mars. Unfortunately, the pilot cadets weren't even allowed planetside for a quick moment, as the Martian candidates piled onto the ship in short order and they took off once more after resupplying. Worse, there wasn't even much opportunity to socialize for the last few days of the trip, as a good portion of the pilots from Mars were too busy being sick in zero-G for the first time. Not that it wasn't mildly entertaining watching landsiders lose their lunch for several days, but Aron had been hoping to at least interact with someone different for once. There weren't too many outer colony candidates on the transport ship in the first place, and they'd all mostly kept to themselves, Aron himself included. After all, he would have had plenty of time at Doppler to get to know people, and there was still remedial coursework he had to finish up before the arrived, just so he wouldn't embarass himself in the classroom.

Some conversations with off-duty soldiers aboard the ship at least let Aron know what was in store for him during the orientation and onboarding process: yet more military rigamarole. He endured the debriefing and collection of personal effects, but the showers were a welcome surprise. Good bathing facilities were ever a rarity in an outer colonist's life, and even military showers were among the best he ever had, aside from the time he'd spent in the Chenkov facility.

While the speech at least conveyed what they needed to know well enough, the wait had been utterly insane. An hour? Just for that? They could have just handed out data files and saved everyone the damn trouble. Apparently, military efficiency really was an oxymoron. At least the idea of the lance wasn't too foreign to him. Asteroid miners had to endure the same company for months on end before returning to station, and at least here, quarters were separated. So with a sigh, Aron dutifully followed along to the room he was assigned, several teenagers all just...sitting there. No one seemed willing to talk yet, so he supposed he may as well break the damn ice.

"Aron Krol, representing Chenkov Solutions." He said curtly, raising a hand in greeting. At least one of the people in the room with him was definitely an outer colonist, he'd recognized him from the weeks of space travel. The rest were...probably Martians? He didn't know. But if the white-haired girl wasn't some rich moon girl, he'd eat his boot. You didn't see that kind of demeanor out among the proles. Wonderful. Time to start being looked down upon, probably. But he may as well get the rest of his background out. It'd come out eventually, regardless. "Former zero-G miner in the outer colonies. Any of you think they'll actually put us in our mechs today, or just keep jerking us around?"
Renar Hagen

The downside to Fleuri actually playing along and helping him was how well the man was doing so: Renar actually owed him a significant debt at this point for how effective Fleuri was at it. He hadn't been anticipating that Fleuri's word actually had the gathered nobility believing he played such a significant role.

"Our victory that day was thanks to knights like Sir Renar here cutting the bandits down like weeds." And there was his queue. Taking a sip of wine to fortify himself, Renar offered the gathered crowd a winning smile, inclining his head briefly towards Fleuri.

"Sir Fleuri is too kind. Of course, those men were actually a significant threat one wouldn't usually expect of bandits. Veterans from the war, still with good weapons and armor one wouldn't see on a brigand. Dangerous men, all. I must have held the line against several before reinforcements finally came to relieve me. In fact-" Renar started to continue on, before someone else decided to cut in.

"Ah yes, I suppose congratulations are in order. The Iron Roses certainly did do well cleaning up that whole mess. Sir Renar was taking them out like weeds, eh? Quite the feat, though I must say it rather pales in comparison to singlehandly slaying a troll. It was quite a difficult fight, but nothing I couldn't handle."

The goddesses help him, if Renar hadn't known Felix was going to try something like this, he'd be furious. A troll? Singlehandedly? A naked lie. If Felix had managed to do so with what barely passable sword skills he had, the gossip chain would have long been telling the tale. To say nothing of the fact that the idiot wouldn't have had the opportunity to do so, what with the Crown Knights being stationed in the capital and all. Idiot.

"Felix!" Renar raised his cup towards the blonde Crown Knight, his smile not quite reaching his eyes now. "My half-brother, in case any of you are wondering. And evidently, the spinner of quite a yarn." He chortled, reaching over with his free hand to wrap it around his brother's shoulder and bring him in. "A troll? Do tell, brother. And here I thought the Crown Knights were stationed in the capital at all times, to defend our royals? When exactly did this occur, pray tell?"

A slightly smarmy grin crossed Renar's face. Overly friendly to the uninitiated, but to Felix? He'd know the bastard was mocking him. "One would think our esteemed lord father," May he rot in the darkness when it took him. "Would know of this and have told the rest of our family accordingly. He did so when I slew that orc warchief, as you recall. The one that earned myself admission into the Iron Rose?" Widen the smile just a bit. Aggravate him further. Just as planned. Then a thought crossed his mind. Right.

Renar shifted his gaze over towards Fleuri for a moment, inclining his head away from the crowd. Hopefully the man took the hint. His role in this was over, and he was free to leave if he so chose. Or to stay and watch the show. Either was fine by him, but Renar would have no accusations of keeping Fleuri longer than was polite, and thus expanding what he owned to the man.

Dragan Meszaros

Somehow, the state of the world didn't surprise the Death Knight as he strode across the earth with his companions. Without the sun, very little grew. Vegetation could not sustain prey animals, which meant that predators and humans alike suffered. Which led to the quality of blood suffering. An illiterate farmer could have connected these dots. And yet Dragan had once heard some among his peers desire the world in the exact state of eternal night it was in now. Frankly, he hoped those fools had burned when they suffered their final deaths.

Still, it was good to see that humanity survived in some form despite these setbacks. And enough to have organized settlements, at that. Once their mission was complete, there would be much work to do to shepherd what remained of Man to thrive in this new world. Hopefully, his companions would be able to see the need for such, if only to ensure a steady supply of quality blood for the...less charitably inclined vampires.

As Giselle began to approach the settlement, Dragan voluntarily hung back, staying relatively out of sight as he allowed his peer to do the talking. Despite the fact that he was also an adept speaker, the Death Knight's current appearance wasn't quite suited to reassure frightened villagers that they meant no harm. Best to have a softer face represent the group for the moment. Dragan planted the head of his warhammer into the ground before removing his helmet, if only to have a less terrifying visage.
Fiona MacConnell

MENTIONS: Sawyer @Vertigo, Nordrin @Yankee, Isaiah @PrankFox

"Alakazam, Protect!" The hooded man cried out as attacks surged towards his two Pokemon. "Steelix, tank it and then Earthquake!"

"Are ya fucking insane?!" Fiona shot her eyes wide open in horror at the order. Earthquake in the middle of a crowded city? Even with modern construction being rated to take the attack, it was still going to shatter windows and ruin vehicles at the most inopportune of moments. "We're in th' middle of Wyndon, eejit! Yer gonna kill someone!"

"Sure hope it's you!" The man shot back as his Alakazam's Protect barrier rendered it safe but immobile for the moment, even as his Steelix took a Brick Break and an Aqua Tail, followed up by a Body Press from Fiona's Corviknight. Meanwhile, her Mega Salamence howled in fury as his Outrage was repelled by the Protect, sending Felon back into the air. However, the pain of the attacks given to the admin's Steelix seemed to render it blindingly furious, and it disregarded the orders it was given to charge forward, a black aura surging around it as it rammed into Raptor. The Corviknight squawked as she took yet another brutal attack, seemingly on her last legs as she touched down in a Roost.

"Shadow Rush? You little shit, I didn't order-" The Steelix's trainer started angrily before pausing, as if realizing something. "Oh, fuck. Reverse Mode." He glanced around the streets, seeing the last of his grunts managing to get away from the immediate area. "Right, bought enough time, screw this." He murmured quietly before raising his voice once more, recalling his Steelix as he moved closer to his snarling Alakazam.

"Some Gym Leaders you dipshits are! See my hands?" He held his arms out mockingly. "That's right, no briefcase! Should've gone after one of my boys instead! Too late now, though! See ya, suckers!" A flick of his wrist, and a cylindrical object slid out of the man's jacket and into his hand. He pulled the pin on the smoke grenade and hurled it to the ground, surrounding himself and his Pokemon in thick smoke. Through the haze, the admin's voice could be heard one final time. "Bird bitch, I'll be back for MY GOD DAMN PROPERTY soon enough. Alakazam, Teleport!"

"Seriously, I don't know who tae shite ya are, ye fuckin' bampot!" Fiona yelled back as Felon swooped down and began flapping his wings to clear the smoke, revealing empty space where the man and his Alazakam used to be. The Flying leader scowled at the sight, pulling her goggles back up off her eyes. "Dinnae what I was expectin', really." Fiona looked back at her fellow Gym Leaders, sticking her hands in her jacket pockets as she sighed, surveying the damage all around.

"Thanks fer th' backup. An' no, I got nary a damn clue what he was on about wit' me in particular. Last thing I ever stole from someone was..." She trailed off for a moment, murmuring to herself as some sort of clues seemed to piece together in her head. "Since he was usin'...oh. Ohhhhhh." Fiona looked back up, now even more resigned. "Alright, I think I got an inkling of an idea of what's going on here, but only on my end. Why those wankstains decided tae raid this place, I still couldn't tell ya. But otherwise, aw, fuck, this's probably gonna take a meeting wit' everyone an' the Chairman. Really didn't need actual bloody work today."

"Fer th' record, though, I totally did rob his arse, an' he had it comin'." Fiona rallied, grinning proudly even as the owner of the lab emerged from it, a blank expression on her face and a cigarette in her hand as she strode over towards the group.

"Well." Professor Hawthorne blew out a puff of cigarette smoke, looking more tired than anything else. "That could've gone worse. Good job not destroying the entire block, at least. The lot of you, go get your Pokemon to a Center. I'll go call the Chairman's office and report this in. Considering I was robbed, I'll have to be sitting in on this meeting of yours. Oh, and for the record? Even though you all lost my bloody research, you made the correct decision prioritizing that psychopath. Now run along."
Renar Hagen

Finally. His membership in the Iron Rose Knights had at last paid dividends beyond belief. An invitation to a royal ball? This was something he'd never have managed without the order's connections for at least several more years. It seemed Renar's efforts were finally receiving some recognition, especially considering he'd been chosen as part of the delegation. The likely reason due to his own part in the battle, but Renar didn't doubt that his little conversation with Fanilly the previous day kept him in consideration for the moment. That chance encounter in the chapel was proving serendipitous.

He strode proudly into the great hall at the side of his fellow knights, clad in the same sort of official uniform the Knight-Captain was, albeit with less adornments depicting rank. Instead, to complement his blue-and white formal tunic, Renar wore a blue cape with gold trim, his own personal arms woven into the back. He wore his usual arming sword at his hip, along with a dagger. Ah, the benefits of being requested by the princess to bear real arms. Carrying real steel at a royal ball? A luxury.

While his fellows began to disperse among the party and mingle, Renar did the same, walking through the room while trailing his gaze across it. The spider woman was a surprise, but not too large of one. He did raise an eyebrow at Dame Cecilia immediately making a beeline for her, though. Well. Seemed she had a type. Renar wished her luck, really. That was at least entertaining.

Eventually, Renar found himself by the wines, somewhat close to Paladin Tyaethe and the nuisance as he finally laid eyes on his quarry. Blonde hair, about half a decade his senior, a similar swordsman's build to his, and a smug, punchable face all in the uniform of a Crown Knight. It seemed the man noticed him as well, his eyes narrowing in recognition and dislike. Hah. He hadn't changed. Renar picked up his wine goblet and deliberately walked past the man, dropping him a nod and a casual smile that didn't quite meet his eyes.

"Hello, big brother. Lovely evening we're having, isn't it?" Renar murmured aside to his half brother, Sir Felix Brias, letting a brief, taunting smirk slide across his face before he made his way over towards the closest Iron Rose that was familiar to him. Both fortunately and unfortunately for him, it was Sir Fleuri.

"I'll need to borrow you for a good few minutes." He murmured in Fleuri's ear. "Play along for a short while, and I'll be in your debt."

Renar's official uniform, along with the sword at his hip, drew enough attention that he and his companion had a good few interested nobles around them. The fact that he was with the Flower of the North certainly didn't hurt.

"...Yes, yes, of course." Renar smiled brightly at a noble's words after a few minutes of mingling as others began to ask questions about the battle against the Bandit King's forces. "You all wish to hear of the battle. Well, our Flower here mounted a griffin in live combat. But of course, he could tell that tale himself, yes?"

@Crimson Paladin

Dragan Meszaros

They'd lost one of their number already, before even leaving the city. Dragan was no master of Ilena's own brand of magic, but he could tell that even if she by some miracle hadn't faced the final death for a second time, she was at least in no state to continue on with them. Damnably unfortunate.

The skeletal giant was another issue. He could feel that its reanimation still held, merely in suspension without a necromancer to command it. And Dragan knew he didn't have the strength to wrest control over it yet. Even if he had, the logistics of traveling across the land with such a beast would be...difficult. With that in mind, he cut the link between himself and the remainder of the undead horde he controlled, allowing their reanimation to fade and for the shambling bones to crumble back to the dirt.

"This...was not part of the plan." He gestured towards the spot where Ilena had fallen. "Though we must move on." The Death Knight glanced to Luna. "In lack of a better guide, your subordinate's suggestion seems our best course of action for the moment. Thoughts, anyone? Objections?"
Renar Hagen

"Of course. As I said, I only ask to be considered." Renar inclined his head towards the Knight-Captain, finishing his second cup of wine and not pouring himself another. He knew when to stop, on both accounts. No point in pushing too hard. So long as he was remembered and had his foot in the door, it'd create one opportunity or another for himself somewhere down the line.

He followed Fanilly's gaze towards Dame Cecilia. Sun and Moon, was she really almost through the entire cask? May as well have just been drinking straight from the barrel at this point instead of pouring. Renar looked wearily towards Cecilia, his shoulders slumping slightly.

"Perhaps I should escort her back to somewhere she can't get deeper into her cups." Renar sighed as he stood, not looking forward to dragging the drunken louche out of the wine cellar. Frankly, he ought to just dump her into the courtyard and wash his hands of the matter.

"Some unsolicited advice, Captain: should you not wish to end up like that," He gestured towards Cecilia. "Take a free night and try to determine your limits. Have one of your maids, preferably one not inclined to gossip, watch over you and determine exactly how much wine it takes for you to become drunk. It helps immensely at social functions where you'd prefer not to embarass yourself."
Renar Hagen

Well. Renar had been half expecting his attempt at comforting the girl to be in vain. Seemed he was less bad at this than he'd anticipated. That, or Fanilly was just easily influenced. One of these thoughts was more distressing than the other. The thought crossed his mind to bring up a certain...issue he'd been having. But that would be overreaching. Too blatantly greedy. Besides, judging by her demeanor, Fanilly was more likely to take pity on the idiot than anything.

He glanced over to Cecilia for a moment, who was still more focused on getting absolutely sauced than anything. And here he'd thought she wanted to comfort the girl more than he did. Suppose that with someone else here, it was more convenient for the archer to take advantage of all the free alcohol instead. Good thing he wasn't in charge of managing things down here. Pity the poor bastard who'd have to account for the missing wine in the evening. And on that note...

"Speaking of such, you may want to inform whomever is in charge of kitchen inventory of the better part of a cask mysteriously going dry today." Renar said wryly, jerking his head over in Cecilia's direction. "That all said, should an opening ever arise for administration, I'd like to put my name forward. I'm told I've something of a talent for these matters. Understand that this isn't me asking for a favor, of course. Just that I'd simply like to be considered in the running. Test me on this however you wish."
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