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Brotherhood Beyond Blood | Pt 1 |
Maerec and Caelum’s First Encounter
Memory




Interaction: @Dao Ma
Time: Morning, Location: Solenne
Mood: Unstoppable by The Score
Current Event: Fields of Fire




Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
- Aldrith the Bonebreaker.


“Six on one? Not fair!” 9-year-old Caelum shouted after being pushed to the cold stone in one of the slum alleys of Solenne. He dusted himself off and got up to meet the young boyish street thugs, each standing 3 to 4 heads taller than himself.

“Life ain’t fair, kiddo.” A tall, blonde-haired boy spoke above the rest. He indeed appeared to be the one leading this misfortunate band of rats. Caelum had already taken two square knuckle licks to the jaw and a kick to his abdomen while he was down, and each time he tried to stand back up in defiance against these cowardly kids. Deep down, there was a small titch of fear that they may decide to go overboard if he continued to show them that he would not submit. But, he could not help himself, “all of you are cowards.” Caelum said underneath his breath, just loud enough for the blonde-haired boy to hear it.

“What did you say!” The blonde-haired boy’s hair began to stand on the back of his neck and forearms. He was charged and was not about to let a 9-year-old Caelum insult him in front of his gangly miscreants. Instead of submitting, Caelum repeated himself in all its foolishness, “I said…YOU ARE ALL COWA-” Caelum could not finish before a right hook connected with his face. One moment he was gazing into the eyes of his bully, the next, he was spitting up blood folded on the ground. Caelum rolled over to see the silhouette of a boot about to stomp down, but then out of nowhere, a shape of a body came charging forward, pulling the boot with it.

Maerec, only twelve years old by now, had been roaming the streets, twirling the long stick he had been known to carry around. It was an extension of himself. It was his sword of Solenne, or at least in the boy’s mind. However, it had helped on plenty of occasions against the hoodlums that had nothing better to do than to pick fights with the smaller and weaker boys. When he was passing an alley, he heard some unsettling sounds. A familiar voice yelled out, and Marec knew that voice was up to no good.

They had gotten into several scuffles before. The blonde boy might as well have been his foil at this point. Maerec knew he couldn’t just pass by now. Stopping at the entrance of the alley, he’d gone unnoticed. All six of the boys seemed to be circling something. It allowed Maerec to sneak forward.

Another boy! He heard the boy cry out in defiance, and Maerec’s heart reached out for him. He was a strong soul. And it was at that moment, Maerec sprung into action. Without a second thought, as he saw the older blonde begin to bring down his foot, Maerec shot off with a speed he barely recognized. Shoulders down, he speared into the side of the blonde boy, sending him and himself tumbling across the ground. “There we are! Two against six has much better odds.” Maerec called out, rolling away and onto his feet. As he stood, he reached out for his stick, but it had scattered off too far away, and a boy had placed his foot upon it, effectively taking it out of the fight.

“Well, well, look who it is. The never-be-knight Maerec!” the blonde boy spat as he stood and checked himself. “I’ll show you not to interfere in my business.” He raised a hand and pointed at Maerec. “Get him!” Instantly, two boys began to inch forward towards Maerec. “Him too.” Eyes had turned back to Caelum, and another couple of boys started to circle.

Maerec shuffled his way to stand before Caelum and briefly glanced back at him before training his eyes on the boys circling them. “Can you fight?” He asked the crumpled boy.

Caelum looked up to see a hero stand before him. More than rats and monsters were hanging out in the alleys of Solenne. Caelum got up onto his two feet and responded as he wiped his blood-stained lips, “I can try.” Caelum was not going to lie; his experience in fighting was limited, at best, within the boundaries of playful scraps and wrestling with the other monastery boys.

Two boys came charging Caelum, and another two went after Maerec. As the two approached Caelum, he ducked a straight punch and threw a punch to one of the attacking kid’s ribs. It was a never celebrated victory because as Caelum connected with the older boy’s rib, the other boy hit him square in the jaw. Once again, a strike rattled Caelum’s consciousness with flashing lights as he fell 90 degrees to the ground below. Maerec had been holding his own against the two who attacked him, but once Caelum was down, one boy disengaged to attack Maerec while the other boy continued to attack Caelum by kicking him repeatedly.

“Give up!” Another shot from the attacking boy’s boots crunched against Caelum’s hip. The force behind the kick peeled Caelum over onto his back, “Do you give up?” The ugly boy asked. Caelum spoke below his breath to entice the nasty boy to lean down to hear his answer, “What did you say?” The ugly boy asked. Caelum muttered again; the ugly boy got onto one knee and leaned toward Caelum’s mouth to hear his submission.

Crack.

Caelum had been hiding a stone in his left hand after being sent to the ground. He scooped it up before having been peeled over by the ugly boy’s kick. The rock ripped across the ugly boy’s temple. He dropped right next to where Caelum was lying, out cold. Caelum rotated to his chest to push himself up and join Maerec; about halfway up, another boy came sundering in with a shin kick to Caelum’s stomach. Air burst from Caelum’s lung. He began gasping, trying to find air.

It was one thing to fight just a few by yourself; it was another having to keep an eye on your partner as well. Being attacked by two of the six boys kept Maerec preoccupied, and he couldn’t come to Caelum’s aid as the poor boy crumpled to the ground.

Maerec had easily dodged out of the way of sloppily thrown fists. A duck down allowed him to force an uppercut, clipping one of the boys on the tip of his chin. As the boy stumbled backward from Maerec, another moved forward to fill his place. The fight turned into three on one at that point. It became a barrage of punches and kicks, and Maerec was forced to raise his arms to protect his head. He was pushed back and took a few steps to keep his footing. Caelum was up now, but Maerec could tell it was just barely. If they could knock down another boy or two, maybe they would have a chance…

Caelum was assaulted with a nasty kick and so was Maerec from behind. He blocked a kick to his side with his arm, but with only half as much strength. It caught him off balance, and Maerec came tumbling down. Two of the three instantly took the opportunity to jump onto Maerec, pinning down his arms and attempting to pin down his legs, while that third stepped in to make clear kicks to his side.

Maerec thrashed, refusing for his legs to be restrained, and managed a nice kick to the chest on one of the boys. He sent the boy flying onto his back, then attempted to rip his arms away. With the boy using his knee to put weight on Maerec’s chest, it was difficult to determine when the next kick would come.

“Just give up. You’re pathetic–Both of you.” The blonde-haired boy sneered, stepping forward to shove one of his own out of the way so he could land a few kicks on Maerec. “You’re not so special, so stop acting like it!” The other boys moved out of the way, giving the blonde clear shots.

With each kick, Maerec was sure that his ribs would break. But he couldn’t give up. It just wasn’t in him to give up because it hurt. He turned and curled, grabbing hold of the blonde’s planted food while using one of his arms to guard his head. He held on as tightly as he could, which made the blonde stop kicking to try and pull Maerec off. There it was! An opening! Maerec reached out and grabbed hold of the blonde boy, pulling his arm with a forceful jerk and sending him off balance. He came tumbling on top of Maerec, and Maerec quickly rolled to top the other. Fists flew down, trying to get in as many punches as he could before the other boys pulled Maerec off.

He was thrown back onto the ground, and all boys staggered to stand in a final standoff. Maerec reached for Caelum, trying to help him before the others could launch their next attack. “I have an idea,” He whispered to Caelum. “Get behind the big one and crouch down.”

Caelum took Maerec’s hand. A final stand, without hesitation, Caelum listened to his new “friend,” a concept he never had until today…someone willing to sacrifice their own self-preservation for Caelum’s. When the boys approached, Caelum dove behind the big one and got on all fours. Maerec sprung into action, pushing the big kid back. The big kid tripped over Caelum tumbling head first to the ground and hitting his skull on a medium-sized loose rock. The luck of the Pentad was with them…but only for a single breath as the others showed how superiority in numbers outweighed their cleverness. Before Caelum and Maerec could turn the tides of battle, one boy jumped on Caelum and subdued him. The other two pinned Maerec and the big bleeding kid got up and took turns beating Caelum and Maerec into pulps.

“Hey! Stop that!” A woman’s high-pitched voice snapped in the air, and in an instant, all of the boys stopped. Then a deeper, commanding voice followed, “All of you stay where you are!” A man dressed in a knight’s tunic boomed his voice down the alleyway. The antagonizing boys felt fear split their hearts, and before any of them said something, they all broke into different directions leaving Caelum and Maerec to swell up in their spit.

The man came running down the alley to inspect Caelum and Maerec; before he arrived, Caelum, stretched out on the cold stone path, asked with shallow breaths breaking each word, “Di….d….we….w….win?”

Maerec’s chest heaved up and down as he gasped for breath. Surely if the two adults had seen them a moment later, the two would have been more than just a mess on the ground. Hearing Caelum, Maerec let out a pained chuckle. He raised a hand as if to try and pat Caelum where he could, only to have his hand fall short. “Well… we didn’t lose..!” he winced in pain, but the grin on his face didn’t falter. With a loud groan, Maerec forced himself to roll so that he could face his companion.

“I say… we won.. Did you… did you see his face? When he fell?” Another chuckle escaped him, and he curled to keep his suffering sides in place. “He’ll think twice.. Before messin’ with us again…” Another force, and Maerec propped himself up enough to reach around himself. When his hand came back, he produced a small coin pouch. “This is yours… right?”

Caelum smiled as he let his clenched fingers roll out to Maerec as if to acknowledge his gesture of friendship. He wanted to laugh, but only a smile could cross his badly bruised face. As Maerec presented a small coin pouch, he rolled his head to the side to meet Maerec’s eyes, “Yes…I guess…you…ar…e…right. We did win.” The knight’s shadow cast over the two beaten kids who struggled to find comedy in their tragedy, “Are you two ok?” Caelum looked at Maerec and then tilted his head back without moving any other limb to meet the knight’s face, “He said we won.” Caelum pointed to Maerec. The knight’s look of concern transformed into a grin, “It looks like it, can you two manage on your own, or do you need me to help you both to the healer?”

The smile on Caelum’s face was all that Maerec needed to feel like a job well done. When the knight came to their aid, he looked up at the man, only to turn his gaze back to Calum at his comment. He laughed until the pain forced him to lay back for a moment longer, then pushed himself up again.

“I can manage.” He said finally, slowly picking himself up off of the ground. “I think help to the healer is a good idea for you, though.” He accepted the knight’s offer for stability as he carefully grabbed Maerec’s arm when he began to waver. Again, Maerec reached out for Caelum to help him up. “I am Maerec. What’s your name?”

Caelum took his new friend’s hand, and with no strength of his own, he was raised to his feet by Maerec. Caelum felt every bone in his body crack and stretch; thank Pentad for being young.

“Caelum.” He took a few shallow breaths, “Thank you for saving me, if it were not for you, I’d be dead.” The knight lowered his head to squeeze between the two boys, “Dead?” Caelum looked at the knight, “Yeah, there were six of them and only me…until Maerec showed up, then we had a real chance until you showed up.” The knight took a step back, “Until I showed up?” Caelum rolled his eyes, “Yeah, we had them right where we wanted them…until you shouted.” A deaf silence followed, then all three broke out into laughter until Caelum’s laughter transitioned into wheezing.

When the laughter calmed, the knight questioned Maerec, “Well, you two took on six, huh? I can admire that, and Maerec, you stepped into a business that wasn’t your own; what possessed you to risk yourself like that for a stranger?”

Maerec was glad Caelum seemed to have a similar sense of humor. Or was it that he believed what was said? Regardless, Maerec felt as if he’d just found a long-lost brother on the streets of Solenne. His thoughts were interrupted by the knight looking at him expectantly for an answer. “Why not? He was in trouble. How could I just walk by and turn a blind eye? You wouldn’t have done that. No knight would do such a thing!” Maerec would have puffed out his chest if he had been in better shape. It was known around the area that Maerec was open about his dreams. As silly as everyone believed it to be. Maerec continued to dream and live by his standard. Many laughed and rolled their eyes at him, but it didn’t falter his determination. “I could never turn against someone that needed help.”

The knight was impressed, “No knight would do such a thing? Do you consider yourself a knight?”

“Yes!” Maerec almost hopped a little in how sure he was in his response. He winced a little and seemed to humble himself after realizing exactly how he responded. “Well… not yet. But I will be someday.” It was a dream that had stuck with him since he was old enough to stand. His mother and father, though immigrants, told all kinds of stories of the knights that protected Solenne. He grew up on them. And somehow, he’d gotten the idea that one day, he too would become a knight. Everyone around told him it wasn’t in his birth that he’d never become a knight. He wasn’t born to be a knight. The words were shaken off just as easily as dried mud on the bottom of a shoe. He’d always been a stubborn child, believing in standing up for what was right. The best knights' stories upheld a chivalrous code, and that was something Maerec was drawn to. It was the ideal man and the perfect picture of someone to aspire to be. And it was the best way to give back to his parents, who suffered constant prejudice from their neighbors. A Drudguzean born could become a great knight. If anything, Maerec would will it into destiny.

“I will be the greatest knight of Solenne.”

“Aha! My boy, so you shall!” The knight encouragingly slapped his hand on Maerec’s shoulder, “I believe it if you do; I mean, look at what you did today!” The knight saw the boy was not of noble descent, but it did not stop the knight from having an idea, “Say, if you are serious, then you would be wise to try out for the Circuit.” Caelum asked, “What is the Circuit?” The knight leaned in between both boys, “The Circuit is where all the knights of Solenne hold an open competition between boys all across the land to see who will become their next squire.” The knight uprighted himself, “And you, Maerec, should be there.” The knight dug into a small pouch at his belt, pulling out a coin; he flipped it to Maerec, and Maerec snatched it from the air. The knight spoke, “Take that to Sir Dufort; he will know who you are.” The knight closed with, “Good day to both of you.” Before returning to the busy street.

“Wow!” Caelum turned to Maerec with his jaw slightly dropped, except this time it wasn’t because kids had broken it open; he was merely shocked to watch a knight offer a chance to a young kid to become a knight, “What are you going to do?” Caelum asked excitedly; this was Maerec’s dream, which fired from his lips not just a minute before.

“Whooaaah…” Maerec awed at the same time as Caelum as he looked over the coin. Excitement bubbled in him, and had he been in better shape; he would have been jumping and hollering. His eyes were bright, and his expression couldn’t be happier. What was he going to do? “Well.. firstly, I will train. I can’t make a fool of myself there now, can I?” He glared at Caelum before wrapping an arm around the boy’s shoulders. “Will you be there to watch me at the circuit?!” He jarred the boy but eased up, remembering that he probably hurt quite a bit more than Maerec at the moment.

Maerec let Caelum go and started to lead the way to the healer. “My new brother, I’d love for you to be there!” Though they had just met, Maerec couldn’t help but believe this wouldn’t be the only time they would encounter each other. “Are you from Solenne? We could train together… Since… you may need a little help, to not get so beat up next time.” He teased, snickering a little as he tossed the coin up and snatched it out of the air.

Did he call Caelum his new brother? His heart pounded; he found a true friend outside the monastery. Caelum nodded to Maerec’s invitation, “Let’s!” He followed up next to Maerec, “No, I am not from here; I live at the monastery outside of Solenne; they send me to get stuff, and that coin in the pouch is to buy food at the market.”

The two reached the main street and stopped after noticing the other head in the opposite direction. Caelum walked a few steps back, “What do you say we meet here at this time, on this day, every week?”






Earthshatter:
Aldrith the Bonebreaker of Nazaire
(Memory)




Time: Morning, Location: Unconquered Son Barracks outside of Nazaire
Mood: ”Rise Up” by Daniel Farrant & Nick Kingsley
Current Event: Defense of Relouse




Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I keep you, strengthen you and help you; you will be upheld with Dami’s right hand and embraced by Ipte’s left, I call to thee for you to see my creation is important to me. You are important, rise, and seek Pentad’s light.

Book of Flourishing, 10:19


Crack

Caelum’s body lurched back as a sharp pain cut through his rib cage. On his knees, coughing, Caelum could not catch his breath. His armor was bent and cracked where his rib was protected, did a rib break? Caelum questioned as he labored for air. A sense of fear crept in, what could he do against such skill and power?

“Get up!” Aldrith commanded, sending another Force punch across Caelum’s helmet. The power at which the second Force punch came was significantly less potent than the first; it was just enough to rock Caelum’s bells out of order as he fell to the ground like a lump sack of bricks. No longer was he trying to catch his breath; he was now focused more on holding his head above the darkening peripheral creep.

“I said get up!” Aldrith roared intensely once more as he picked Caelum up by the head using his Force. Caelum could feel Adlrith’s grip tighten across his skull like a vice to a block of wood. If the hold had been any less, Caelum was convinced that blood would have run out of his nose, ears, and eyes, but the grip was so tight that nothing could escape.

“If this is all you have to offer, then you are worth less alive than dead to the Brotherhood, a strain on fucking resources!” Aldrith with his other hand, used another Force punch to hit Caelum in the gut; again, he lessened the power since his last strike at Caelum’s head. Caelum’s cough returned as spit and bile came up only to drip down from the corners of his mouth.

“You disgust me; I will do us all a favor and kill you before Oraphe condemns us all for giving you a chance at life.” Aldrith reared back once more, and as he sent it forward, it ceased in mid-stride. Caelum prayed underneath his breath, and as he did so, he found all of the painful stimulation he was experiencing to subside. A momentary peace, a piercing truth that the flesh never overcame his faith. There was something in Aldrith’s last statement, the words of not living up to his Creator’s love…it was untrue, he knew it, and Caelum sought those words in spirit to remind him that they were untrue. This faith countered the effects of his commander’s grip; devotion to Oraphe emboldened Caelum to retaliate and to share the power of what was amplifying in his gut. A profound sensation of energy surged from Caelum as his left hand instinctively twisted open with his palm facing up while still suspended by his throat in mid-air; his left hand was what had been applying Caelum’s Force to Aldrith’s reared hand, which was to perform another Force punch.

“YOU ARE USELESS TO THE FAITH AT LEAST DIE WITH DIGNITY!” Aldrith’s roar resonated in Caelum in a way that only gave him more motivation to train everything left on his commander. Caelum looked at the earth below Aldrith and sent a Force strike to Adlrith’s knee with his right hand, which caused Aldrith to drop him from mid-air. On Caelum’s way down, he used his left hand, gripping Adlrith’s rear hand, to Force punch the earth directly underneath Aldrith. The earth shattered below Aldrith’s feet as Caelum landed with one knee up and one knee down. Aldrith had nothing to grab that would save him from falling into a deep pit of defeat.




Camp Relouse:
Wake Up Call
(Present Day)




Location: Camp of Relouse
Mood: Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me (Better Run) by Benji Heard
Current Event: Defense of Relouse




Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

Prayer shared with Caelum by Maris


If it was not the smoke and flames that woke Caelum, it was the cries and screams of Parrench en route to their graves. Caelum’s eyes loosened from a locked slumber. Then as if a jolt of lightning splintered down his spine, he sprung up from a soldier wailing outside the tent. His throat tickled slightly as smoke crept into the tent he was in. Quickly, Caelum began to check himself to see if he had adequately healed from his previous wounds sustained in combat with Thorunn, I’m good, he thought.

Caelum rotated his body to hang his legs off the bed and press his feet to the ground. He saw his equipment and others laid out on the table across the tent. Surprisingly, Caelum felt renewed, strong…enough. He got up and used his Force magic to begin equipping his armor, strapping it, and giving it a little less weight to his body. Once everything was in order, Caelum emerged from the tent when a Parrence priest was running from Eskandr filth.

Caelum twisted his body to meet the unwitting Eskandr, who did not anticipate a forearm to come shooting out of the tent entrance. Caelum successfully clotheslined the Eskandr with his forearm. The Eskandr felt as if he were hit by a crashing wave to the chest, the top half of his body whipped back, and the back of his skull struck the mud.

Caelum looked down at the Eskandr whose spirit was knocked clean from his body, “I can’t kill you while you are down, fool, get up!” Caelum’s teacher, Aldrith of Nazaire’s voice almost echoed in Caelum’s words. He used his Force to raise him toward Caelum’s chest, a part of a Caelum thought to deliver his cold steel into the heart of this savage, but his devotion to his Creator spoke not too. Instead, the faithful paladin gripped the Eskandr while untying one of the taut ropes that kept the tent secure. He used the rope to tie the backhands of the Eskandr while the savage remained suspended 6 inches off the ground.

Caelum dropped the Eskandr as retreating Parrench approached, “Stop!” Caelum shouted. The retreating Parrench fell even if their legs wanted to hop, “Why are you retreating?” The soldiers were terrified; words were scarce in their minds and hearts to explain their horrors. Yet, by the grace of Oraphe, one found her truth to share, “Sir, the lines are broken, and just this way is a warrior wielding the very breath of dragons at the edges of her scythe!” Another soldier shouted, “She is DEATH ITSELF!” Caelum felt the hairs on the back of his neck and forearms begin to stand, her.

Caelum pointed to the tied-up Eskandr, “Take this one with you; he may be of use to Arcel and the Queen.” The soldiers nodded, grabbed the Eskandr, and bolted. Caelum pressed in the direction from where the soldiers retreated to greet the Pyro Pixie, Thorunn Silverhair.




Boss Fight (Round 2):
Camille, Gerard, and Caelum v. Thorunn Silverhair, the Pyro Pixie
(Present Day)







Interactions: @Pirouette, @pantothenic, @Force and Fury
Location: Camp of Relouse
Mood: Facing Fears by Ivan Torrent
Current Event: Defense of Relouse




Find mercy toward those who try to strike you, those who wish harm upon you beneath their breath, those who do not know you, and those who cannot see you. Show mercy, and may love be seeded in them to one day grow up like a tree bathing in light, shading and protecting as you once did for thee.

Book of Lazaire, 9:55


Caelum heard Throunn’s wrath as he gained ground from the infirmary to her position. The sound of her scythe thrashing was concretely embedded in Caelum’s memory. He had now encountered this witch twice and to his dismay, she did not take long to recover from their last battle. Upon arriving to the scene of Thorunn Silverhair, Caelum saw a small knight lunge at her clashing steel to steel. The fast thinking system of Caelum’s mind wanted to move in and reinforce the knight’s effort, but the slower thinking system of Caelum’s mind knew to scan the field before attacking blindly. Emerging from the flames adjacent from Caelum was a red-robed Priest. Caelum recognized the wardrobe, a Rezaindian, an ally. Caelum looked over to the Priest, who too met his gaze with a look that silently affirmed they were here to fight this witch together.

Breaking their gaze of affirmation was the eruption of a firewall that Thorunn raged forward at the Parrench knight who disengaged and defended valiantly despite her size. Caelum immediately saw Thorunn’s attention on the Parrench knight as an opportunity to attack her from behind with the Priest. He raised his blade, slashing down; a slicing Force cut through the air, spitting up mud on its way to the witch’s ribs. The Priest followed by reaching into the depths of Thorunn’s flames; he manipulated the flames to twist into blazing serpent heads, and each head tried to strike Thorunn’s frame simultaneously. But…damn…was she good. Throunn’s effortless display of skill showcased a dance performance that evaded Caelum’s slicing Force by sidestepping and absorbing Gerard’s serpents in unison.

“That was pathetic,” she spat, reusing words familiar to her. “Your magic teachers should be ashamed of you.” Then, she picked a target and made a snake of her own, as she sent the flaming serpentine, Gerard having expertise in the art of fire, whipped the serpent-like tornado back at her. Thorunn would need to defend. Caelum tried seizing the moment by sending another slicing Force to push her back with a lightning bolt from above where he anticipated her to be pushed, but the first attack did not budge her. Therefore, the lightning bolt hit earth and not Silver hair.

"You sneaky little prick," she hissed, shaking her head at the clever combo attack. "My turn!" Drawing from the residual heat in the air, she reached for the priest's and knight's heads with twin fists of Force, to squish them like overripe fruits.

Deja vu. Aldirth liked to punch Caelum with Force too. Caelum prepared to defend as he did against his teacher years ago, but to his fortune Thorunn’s force was interrupted by a golden aura shielding Caelum’s body. Caelum turned to the smaller Parrench knight and saw her focused on him. She shined bright as Oraphe, and Caelum could only thank her in spirit. Her strength and gesture of protection would not go to waste.


Caelum lunged behind Camille’s gift and swung his sword while charging the atoms in the air his blade cut through. Electricity sparked in his cut’s wake . Caelum knew Thorunn would most likely not bite his blade with her own. She would dance as she always did, and when she did, Caelum would leave a gift when drawing back. As anticipated she side stepped. Caelum drew back but as he did there were several snap crackle and pops of lightning splintering in explosions around Thorunn. Her defensive arm was numbed by Caelum’s trick. “Bastard!” Before she could counter, Caelum peeled back to a defensive position and Gerard stepped in to take the witch down.

Gerard raised flaming swords to Thorunn immediately after Caelum’s attack. She had no breathing room, somehow she pounded the priest a Force shove that made him miss and leapt backwards to secure space. The yells of Parrench were beginning were soften as more found their feet back to the fortified city. He sensed they were not winning and the Parrench resolve was broken outside the city walls. If his senses were accurate, it meant that this battle was nearing an end. Camille, Gerard, and Caelum could not afford to be surrounded by Eskandr and still fighting Thorunn.

Everyone felt that it was now or never, even Thorunn, she summoned immense strength to raise medical tools, splintered wooden beams, flaming sheets, and discarded weapons, then in one motion, all of the items came flying at the three Parrench loyalists. Gerard burned everything away, Caelum dodged and parried while take some glances off his armor, but Camille took a wooden beam to the chest of her protective aura. Thorunn slightly staggered Camille and with grace Camille reacted swiftly by thrusting her greatsword into the ground to stop Thorunn’s Force from peeling her back. Camille spun nimbly turning lost momentum into gained momentum and used it to ram Thorunn down with her shoulder.

The girl charged her, like a wild animal, like The Nashorn! Thorunn stood her ground, raised her arms, and drew everything that she could from the charge, filling herself with Force. It wasn't quite enough. The more petite woman hit her nonetheless, though barely moving. Thorunn stumbled back, cursing and bruised in the midsection. Caelum watched Thorunn wince slightly from the smaller knight’s attack. He remembered that was precisely where Rodric had burned her in their last encounter on the beach. Gerard sent several fireballs from all sides to exploit the opening created by the petite knight, Camille. To all of their dismay, fighting fire with fire was not in their favor, Thorunn brushed away Gerard’s assault and returned with arcane lances that nearly sent Gerard to Echeran if it were not for this more miniature knight’s vigor and profound instinct to protect her allies.

Impressive, Caelum thought. Camille’s size truly did not reveal anything about her. She was persistent in showing that her small size packed an immense punch. It was clear to Caelum that without her, Gerard and himself would have lost this fight meeting their fate like Oleric and Magnus.

The three continued to press their attack on Silverhair. It was not enough; as soon as Thorunn caught a breather, she reminded them why she had a strut of confidence about her all the time. Thorunn raised everything but the roof and kitchen sink a second time, sending it all at the three. In the same breath, she hurtled forward in a blur, Gerard was first. She tackled and grabbed him with an inhuman howl, grabbed his ankles, and flung him to the ground thrice until he lay broken. Caelum tried to defend Gerard, and Thorunn was happy to take care of him too, but the girl made the mistake of getting between her and her prey. "Your gods are weak before the power of Father, Mother, Sister, and Brother!"She screamed."I shall send you to Visitor!" This time, the youth's golden aura was not enough. Thorunn ripped her from the ground and repeated her attack, slamming her victim into the ground again and again. She tossed the girl away when she was done. "Now," she growled, a wicked, evil look in her eyes, "it's your turn, handsome." She fixed her gaze upon the one remaining member of the group.

Thorunn's enemies lay defeated. They were around her but not surrounding her anymore. She was safe. They were on death's doorstep. Brother was supreme on the battlefield, not these weak Parrench gods with their names stolen from the yasoi. She began drawing again to finish off the final one. Her people were racing forward now. The soft Greenlanders were covering their gates as they retreated inside. There was just this knight to...kill.


Caelum stood one to one as each of his allies fell on the battlefield. Once again, she was too quick, too powerful, but Caelum knew not of giving up. Instead of feeling hopeless, he searched for an answer. He took a deep breath as she slowly advanced. Her confidence was ever present in each stride, and in Caelum’s peripheral, he saw that his side was no longer on the field. It was only Eskandr scum flooding.

Oraphe revealed in Caelum as he searched in his mind’s eye of Thorunn’s true identity. It clicked as he replayed her actions, her moves, and her attitude. He listened to all three battles he engaged her in and it finally sank at this moment as a peaceful feeling draped over his body. She was a terrified little girl. Her incessant need to keep everything at bay. She became easily frustrated whenever things did not go her way. She lacked patience and focus and treated everything as if it were a game when events fell her way but erupted in terror and tantrums when events did not. Thorunn was still that little girl, immature but armed with more power.

Caelum felt something different in himself as he now pierced the veil of her overcompensating persona. Caelum’s perception flipped; what wounds did she hide so profound that life became meaningless enough to slay without discretion? Caelum’s deep love for Oraphe bridged across to this hurt child who approached with a bloodlust in her eyes. It was clear, today he could not kill her, he needed only to show her mercy and save his allies before the Eskandr completely overran them all.

First, Caelum wanted to reach her soul, to give her more to think about than simply adding another number to her kill list; in clear Eskandr language, he spoke in her tongue, something familiar to listen to, something closer to home, “I understand you Silverhair! The resentment toward those who are different and who appear threatening. You are scared, and I do not blame you. Your anger must keep your fear at arm’s distance. It must be difficult to have the Eskandr world looking toward you for strength and deep down…you only feel fear. Who would you be if you were not terrorizing those you felt threatened your security? Who would you be if you were not fighting with anger to keep your fear at a distance as you have shown so clearly to do on the battlefield against all of us as your enemies? Who would you be if you felt loved...” Caelum paused to let the words seed.

“When we first met…when you killed my friend on the hills of Vitroux…I thought you took pleasure in destroying life, but now I see…it is not the destruction of life you seek…it is love…the love from your people, affirmation that you are enough, that you are stronger than you are, that you are…special…if not special enough to be loved…then feared, a mistaken belief Silverhair.” Thorunn was quiet, but her approach slowed down. Caelum did not know if he had reached any part of her. The pace at which she slowed however gave him time to set the trap, while he spoke to her, he focused his Force on the earth 30 strides in front of her.

“Know Thorunn, make no mistake…you are loved…and find it in your soul to forgive what I must do next.” Thorunn confusingly took her next step…she made no mistake; she would kill him today. Caelum threw his gauntlet down onto the earth-shattering ground where Thorunn stood.

All at once, the ground fell away beneath her. Thorunn's eyes went down, and she shrieked as her body followed them. All rational thought evaporated. It had been the knight. It had been an attack to buy him time so that he could collect his gravely wounded comrades. She did not know this or care. She saw only darkness closing around her: a tiny space where she was trapped. She was trapped and couldn't get out! Thorunn wailed and screeched, tears coursing from her eyes. She pounded at the earth with fists of flesh and bone and Force alike. There was light above. She needed to go to it. There was light! She'd be safe and free or... or maybe not! What was out there? Who would hurt her!? She cried out and battered he ground until there was a great crater around her. She collapsed to her knees in the middle of it. There was nobody here who could do her any harm. She was Thorunn Silverhair, First among the Æresvaktr and surely Queen of Hegelich after this. She breathed. She breathed some more, glaring at any who dared look at her. Tears evaporated from her cheeks and she stood, composing herself. The knight was gone, though, along with the other two. She scowled, spat, and joined the advance of her countrymen.
@Prisk

Thank you!

Essentially. Think of it as mild PTSD, he isn't debilitated when in this state, but definitely blending what he has experienced in the field with what he is experiencing in the present.
Ok fought off the bug! Got the post up! Thank you for your patience, looking forward to getting boots on the ground running.
V I C “BLOODHOUND” G R I N Z UDF: Cetra East Command 6:00am @Prisk





“Your leash is off.” A voice in the void spoke.

“But your tail is ours.” Another voice bounced off the walls of Vic’s mind.

Visual flashes of horrific monsters torn asunder by his own hands streamed through Vic's cortex. Vic had not known rest since he turned into an Aeon. He had not known peace, and he began to lose sight of who he was and what he had become. Another visual flash ripped across his mind as he ripped apart a Stigma by manipulating his Aeon’s powers in memory. Then there was the scent of blood. The smell of blood was constant in Vic’s sensory experience, his Aeon never stopped, like a dog using its nose to understand everything around itself. His Aeon identified if someone was scared, frustrated, happy, horny, and everything in between…simply by smelling their blood that carried hormones.

A curse…

Vic never did see what happened to him to be anything much more than that…a god-forsaken curse…

A reminder that he did not need to die to be cast into Hell, similar to Dante, but without Virgil to guide…


Fwop Fwop Fwop Fwop

The rotary blades of the chopper tranced Vic to sleep. Until now, his eyelids rolling up like ancient scrolls, each bloodshot with pupils black as the tip of a quill pen dipped in ink. His head rested against the thin pad of a seat at the edge closest to a chopper door. He was geared up, shipped out, and on his way to meet the new team he was assigned to. A new direction for his handler - to be a part of a team - and the U.D.F. The radio chattered on, “ETA 5 minutes.” The pilot reported over communications as a small sway occurred and the helicopter’s pitch dropped.

One last safety check. Vic checked his weapon’s safety, and gear straps, and then pulled out a small syringe of blood. Darting himself in the thigh, his eyes began to look as if they had more rest, and the color returned from black to green. The fresh blood coursed through him like adrenaline to a human being, but without the jittery side effects. The helicopter touched down shaking Vic slightly. Vic slid the door open and hopped out. Standing directly in front of him was General Benjamin Regardie. Vic sized him up and with no salute he looked at the General,“Benji.” Vic’s eyes twisting the historical knots of time in the space between him and the General, “Grinz.” The two are in a deadlock of memories, not egos. Fate would have it that on Vic’s first assignment with the UDF, he was tasked with protecting a valuable asset, a young officer traveling to one of the Stigma zones, that young officer was Benjamin Regardie. He would have been killed too if Vic had not saved his life by manipulating the blood of a few dying soldiers and stopping the arterial bleeding of the officer’s leg and hip. Vic got him back on the bird and not shortly after was that young officer climbing ranks with battle stories to prove his gumption.

“You look like shit Grinz.” Benji said. Vic nodded and responded,“I feel like it too.” Benji stretched out his hand and the two respectfully shook.“I take it you were briefed on the way here by your handler?” Vic nodded again. “Good because you are late to the briefing, get in the jeep, and when you get to the bird, follow the orders of Emilia “Garuda” Lange and do your job.” Vic nodded, “Glad to see you are letting the misfits run loose together.” Benjamin retorted, “This fucking carnival was not my decision, don’t give me a reason to shut it down or I will!” Vic nodded for a third time, “Benji.” Vic saluted and walked passed Benjamin Regardie. Right behind him was a jeep with a soldier inside waiting for Vic to hop in. The jeep drove off toward the gunship that had been boarded by the team, outside was a young attractive Aeon standing at the ready, it appeared she was checking to see if anyone else was intending to add to their numbers. The jeep’s brakes were pressed about 10 yards out and rolled into about 7 yards short of the gunship. Vic departed and shuffled to the gunship door, “Are you Emilia Lange?”
Boss Fight:
Caelum’s Revenge Against Thorunn Silverhair
(Present Day)





Location: Beaches of Relouse
Mood: Dive Bomb by End of Silence
Current Event: Defense of Relouse






“But I will sing of thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: to Oraphe my friend, Dami my judge, Ipte my flame, Echeran my blade, Chune my wisdom, and Pentad my refuge in the day of my struggle. ”
The Book of Lazaire, 41:83


Caelum pushed his steed to the edge of his limitations,“Magnus! Give me what you can boy!” Caelum’s horse snorted loudly as he picked up a little more speed. Magnus was a large black Freisian with deep brown eyes that had the power to both wet a man’s pants and cradle his soul in protection, the outcome only determined by how well one knew Magnus and Magnus them. Closing distance on the beach from Cap Redame, Caelum began to scan the shores of Relouse. The difficulty of a battle like this one was discerning friend from foe, because in the midst of chaos and the middle of a battle across multiple engagements, war-torn wardrobes were not always distinctly different. Thankfully, Eskandr and Parrench features were not at all closely related. Gaining orientation of the battlefield as it echoed of clashing steel, crashing waves, and cries of war, Caelum spotted a familiar face, a face that boiled his blood hotter than if the Parrench sun were present.

His heart stirred with madness, is that her? Caelum said under his breath. He had no doubt that the Eskandr filth parading around the shores with a burning scythe like a twisted banshee was the same woman he saw kill his brother, Oleric. Caelum pressed his weight forward, whispering to himself, “you are mine.” Her backside faced Caelum, she focused on a wall that crumbled before her might, and not missing a beat she set her sights on an unconscious floating knight.

“So close!” Caelum pressed his heels tighter to Magnus to get him to pick up speed. The Eskandr was closing distance with the unconscious knight and another who was attempting to aid him out of the water. Caelum recognized it was Asier, a flash of Oleric slipped streamed through Caelum’s mind, he would not have a second companion-in-arms die by this terror. He was close enough now to try and distract the woman, Caelum using his Force, threw the sounds of his horse to the left side of her shoulder as if approaching from that side while dashing on her right.

Unfortunately to Caelum’s surprise, she was not fooled,“Soo, oNe cOMes to pLaY!?” Her eagerness and awareness combined a charismatic motion of whirling and thrusting her arms out to generate a shockwave. There was nowhere to run, Caelum, might have underestimated her abilities and it may have cost him everything. Gripping the reigns tightly to see his decision through, he left it in Oraphe’s hands and rode to meet the shockwave in faith alone.

An awe-inspiring destructive force cracked the air as if it were struck by a hammer. Thirty square yards around her were reduced to a lifeless crater gouged from the land. Further out, Parrench and Eskandr alike lay flattened. Caelum should have been among them if not for the timely intervention of a powerful Force barrier sent by Queen Eleanor herself. Caelum believed he’d most likely find Echeran on the other end of the shockwave, but instead, he came out unscathed…a sign, he thought. Now, to not waste it. His eyes narrowed focusing on cutting her head clear off. She turned, “Oh? yOu SUrvIvEd mY liTTle wElcOMe?” She twirled her sword jauntily. “Gotta say, I’m slightly impressed.” She narrowed her eyes and waited, drawing further energy, “Ti, ni, otte, syv, seks…”

Caelum was already charging to her surprise, “Such bravery from such a little insect… even if a rather handsome one.” He was too fast for her. She had no time to channel and use her energy. Her eyes widened and with inhuman grace, she slipped to the side. Caelum’s blade nearly missed by an inch or two, and her eyes followed it almost the entire way as if in slow motion. Strands of sliced hair slough away and her eyes go from those strands to the rider now wheeling about once more. “Die!” she growls, and the intake of energy is truly magnificent in a terrifying way. Nearby soldiers with the Gift collapse to their knees, throwing up and clutching at the sides of their heads. A roiling wall of explosive force thunders after Caelum.

She is strong, and wild, Caelum thought. He spotted debris in front of him and used Gift of Force to throw it in the wall’s path, holding the debris to act as a shield, he leaped through the flames with Magnus in stride and sent a lightning bolt straight at her. The Eskandr had to be quick to react, catching the electricity on her sword as a rod and draining all of the energy from it. One could see the charge spark between the tendrils of her hair as if they were filled with an immense amount of static electricity.“You really are a fun one,” she snarled,“huh?” Caelum and Magnus not once lost momentum, his blade once again swiping for her throat to shave her head from her body, "let's get her this time boy!".

A mistake or perhaps fate. Caelum was deflected with power that rendered him and Magnus sprawling to the ground. She missed no opportunity to follow up with an arcane lance to the left pauldron, melting it off. Her mission was not yet completed, she had every intention of making this Caelum’s moment of death. Gripping him and Magnus alike in great invisible fists of force, she ripped Magnus into two messy pieces while Caelum watched. Emotionally Caelum split in two, his physical body albeit still intact began to feel as if it too were about to be torn down the center. Everything was sensitive and his central nervous system was overwhelmed with intensity. Love was what this woman knew nothing of…and she worked to destroy it. Oleric, his best friend flashed before Caelum's face as the sounds of Magnus' meat dropped into a pile before him. A tear slipped down Caelum's cheek as he witnessed the horse who had been assigned him to since his first assignment fall to the same monster who killed his friend. If not by Caelum’s hands, she would see death by the Pentad.

She placed her attention back on Caelum after tearing Magnus in two, he could feel that her intention was to do the same to him. Then as luck would have it, she staggered from a Force shove to her back, and then a lightning bolt demanded she quick draw to make sure she wasn’t roasted alive. Dieudonne and Mathieos both had finally caught up to enter the fight, yet, Caelum was being suffocated by the Eskandr’s power, his life draining before them, and no strength to warn them to retreat…she was too strong.

There was no waiting, she simply slammed Caelum into the ground from great height, and fired the energy back at the Dieudonne and Mathieos sending them like ragdolls off their horses.

“Now for you, stubborn, pretty, stupid knight.” She rushed up to the dazed and battered Caelum of Oraphe to deliver the coup de grace.

It was almost casual the way she came up to deliver it, but once again, Caelum was aided by a knight he did not recognize. But, the timely approach gave Caelum breath to try and stand. Before he could, the friendly knight had already been batted away and the Eskandr demon ruthlessly plowed Caelum into the ground. He felt a growing pain in his midsection, and then…

Out of nowhere, an arcane lance of extreme power took the Eskandr by surprise across the side and she howled in pain, dropping to all fours. Rodric of Lindermetz, the Laughing Knight, waltzed up beside her.“Silly girl,” he taunted, “so busy playing with her food.”

Caelum could not believe it, Oraphe’s Will, was truly the only explanation for him still breathing. He could hear her moaning in pain, the first of this entire battle, but she was able to boost herself away, crudely sealing up the wound, but before her were five identical versions of the Laughing Knight surrounding her. “You bastard!” she screamed, pummeling them all with a powerful kinetic shockwave of the sort that had lain dozens of soldiers low earlier. The five Rodrics were unmoved. They laughed at her. They laughed, but they refused to press the attack.

The Eskandr staggered a couple of steps back, still clutching at her side and tried to heal herself once more. She was unschooled as yet in the blood magic magic and terribly inefficient. She felt Rodric pulling back, but she was mightier than him and she pulled damaged flesh back into place, healing severed nerves and arteries.“You’re mine!” She snarled.“You’re dead, Drudgunzean scum!”

The wall of flame that the Æresvaktr sent after him was terrifying, containing as it did all of her rage, pain, and vengeance, but the knight was not there when it hit. He was everywhere else, though, mocking her, teasing her, sticking out his tongue grabbing his crotch, silently laughing. She launched attack after attack at him, but none hit.

While Rodric’s illusion kept her distracted, he tossed Caelum onto his horse. Once secured, the illusion dissipated, and the knights were gone. The Eskandr threatened, taunted, and howled, but Rodric had already completed his objective. When she turned to finish Caelum, he too was not where she left him, only a note, in Drudgunzean. It read only a single word:“weak”.

Rodric and Caelum were far away before the Eskandr noticed. For Rodric, it was taxing to maintain his illusions: both essence and arcane, and half-carrying a rather big lad like Sir Caelum, but this was something that he found himself feeling strongly about: a rarity for the slippery Linderman with his unhurried and mercenary nature.

“You did good work there,” he said in accented Parrench.“Keeping that bitch occupied as long as you did. She’d have taken my head off if she’d caught me.” He released Caelum some ways from the thick of the fighting.“Unfortunately, I’m not much of a healer, but you look…intact. Need me to fetch one or can you manage yourself?”

Caelum met Rodric’s gaze, found the strength to raise his arm with the better shoulder to palm Rodric’s pauldron, “Thank you friend, I will manage from here, you’ve done more than enough for me…I will not forget, may Oraphe keep you, and may we see each other again.” The two nodded and went their separate directions. Caelum wanted to get back into the fight, but he knew it’d be foolish. He was useless in his current state. He would need to head infirmary to get him back up to 100% before re-joining the effort, but he could rest slightly, knowing the Eskandr he fought was also going to take time off to lick her own wounds. Her power was obvious after today, and every second she was not on the battlefield at full capacity, a Parrench life is saved.


@Prisk

We are good! Unfortunately, right after having followed up on my last OOC check-in, I got smacked by a virus/bug of some sort. Did not test + for COVID, but I was decommissioned Sunday-Wednesday. I am catching up on all of my obligations, including this, thank you for the friendly nudge.
Ok! Finally! Pushed time to catch up - did not realize how quickly everyone would drop posts as soon as this hit the floor running, sweet job! I will try to figure out where it makes sense to insert my character if it is not too late. My apologies for the delay.

Update: I Saw my character's portrait was taken off, please let me know if this indicates that I am too late to the party, or just my lack of activity and that I am still good to post (I'll accept the consequences if it is the former).

Still here for it!


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