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Galahad Caradoc

"And you wonder why I don't like visiting you, cousin..." Galahad sighed, pulling his helmet off as Leonhardt tried to defuse the tensions in the courtyard. Etro knew Galahad certainly loved the man, but Leonhardt's ways never always made sense to Galahad, even when they were younger. Still, even if his words did not satisfy everyone in attendance, they still performed their intended function, which was to break the standoff. Weapons were lowered and conflict was avoided- at least for the time being. Galahad had the sinking suspicion that such a peace wouldn't last for long. On another day, Galahad mightve taken offense at the Viera's words, questioning and accusing his king, but as things stood, tensions were high enough without the party bickering with each other over something as insignificant as words.

Turning back to their motley crew, Galahad took stock of his comrades. Izayoi had offered the Skaelian gunbreaker a position in their party- not sure whose place that was to offer one another positions, but the samurai had a nose for talent at the very least, and an extra blade at their side was another not pointed at then. Arton had taken Neve to begin caring for the wounded, a good head on his shoulders, that one. The two weren't dissimilar in age- in many ways, the swordsman reminded Galahad of his younger brother.

Galahad frowned, he hadn't thought of Gareth in a little while. Earnest steadfast, and unfortunately, dead before his time. Lost in the war with Osprey- a conflict Galahad would sooner forget. Even if he understood the politics of it, he had never particularly cared to participate. War was an old man's game fought and bled for by his sons and daughters. Gareth was unfortunately just another piece lost in a rivalry so old that Galahad couldn't even remember when it started.

Galahad returned to the conversation in time to hear Izayoi bring up the topic of leadership in the party- it was a question that had to be asked sooner or later. Galahad already had a few ideas of people he might've thought suitable, or people who might've thought themselves suitable. How surprised he was then, when Izayoi nominated him to the role of leadership. Galahad raised a surprised eyebrow- though he had the feeling the nomination wasn't because the woman had a change of heart and suddenly liked Edrenians.

Before he could respond, the red mage was quick to interject, standing across from him as though they were about to duel- was that what he wanted? Galahad scoffed- he had no idea what the Red mage's problem was, but he certainly seemed to have some issue the Dragoon at any given opportunity. From before they'd even met the mage had seemingly been intent on otherwise making a fool of him whenever possible. Galahad's eyes returned to Arton as the red mage continued, signaling his favor for the shield warrior.

"If you have a problem with me just say it." Galahad asserted, "I'd rather know now than wake up with your blade in my spine."

Leifur echoed Galahad's thoughts well, the man was a talented fighter but he lacked the experience. A skilled leader was more than just a talented warrior- though it certainly helped. Leadership was a burden more than it was a privilege. Bad things happened, hard decisions had to be made, and the consequences would ultimately fall on who was in charge- whether that was Galahad or someone else. Leifur's support was succinct and simple- he'd support Galahad, so long as he wasn't an idiot. A fair enough stipulation as he'd ever heard. Galahad offered the viera a short, acknowledging nod.

"Arton is reliable and steadfast." Galahad said acknowledgingly, as he approached the swordsman. "I trust him readily in a fight, but I agree, he doesn't have enough experience- yet anyway."

"If everyone here is mostly in agreement, I will take on this burden." Galahad continued, his eyes slowly looking over his new companions for the time being. There was no need for flowery speeches or grand promises of devotion. They were a collection of mercenaries, soldiers and wanderers, they'd make their opinions well known without his input- his only goal would be to point their collective energy in a way that wouldn't kill them all.

"Our experiences and skills are vast and varied, if you'd have suggestions, I would hear them. I have no intentions on running a dictatorship." Galahad's eyes rested on Izayoi and her blade, "I doubt my head would stay on its shoulders for very long if I did."

So long as no one else opposed, it now seemed as though Galahad would be assuming the role of the party's leader. He wasn't as delusional to think that he was assuming control of a military unit, no they were a collection of free men and women. He was a deciding vote more than a platoon leader. Still, there was now weight to his decisions- for better or for worse. Galahad placed a hand on Arton's shoulder, squeezing it affirmingly and sighed tiredly.

"I hope I haven't upset you, I'll be relying on you a lot in these coming days."

The journey had been slower than expected, less efficient, more inconvenient. It was not entirely unexpected that the foliage in the mission zone was too heavy to allow the Warform unimpeded travel. Nor was it entirely unexpected that their ad hoc unit would be interacting with the irregular forces of the Zanovia Reclamation Front. From what the platform could tell, the ZRF had not picked up on the idea that the Envenomed were any more than just another pack of mercenaries- a camouflage that would suit their purposes well. It appeared that such deployments were doomed to be a regular thing for the Echo Platform. Though this was in fact, literally what it had signed up for- discretion was rarely one of it was known for- after all, the Echo - Platform had designed itself for conventional warfare, not the more clandestine activities of the Envenomed. Still, without adaptation, the platform was doomed to be left behind by the times, which could not do. Wars came and went, the Echo Platform stayed, adaptation was merely the tune of the music that played.

In the spirit of adaptation, the Echo - Platform had spent time developing proper fragments with which to carry out its more clandestine tasks. Though it was loathe to separate itself- and by extension the available firepower available to protect its core, this situation was perfect to test its new capabilities. While the crew dismounted from its back, the 'skull' of the Warform had opened, and to the ZRF's horror, had deposited onto the ground a smaller- if still hulking- machine body. The Endoform, was joined by two Microforms hitching a ride on the back of each shoulder as its hands hefted one of the Warforms large 30mm rotary autocannons. While not exactly discreet, it was considerably smaller than the hulking Warform, and the metal plating covering the platform shifted slightly to match the colors of its surroundings, though were still a far cry from true camouflage.

The head of the Endoform turned as one of the Envenomed spoke: Salvator Rasch, a voidhanger and soldier. He would be leading the unit towards the small village their contact was awaiting them within. As the pointman began his approach, one of the Microforms hopped off the Endoform's shoulder to begin trailing after the soldier as both backup, and ready to throw itself up as an expendable shield if necessary. The other Microform quickly advanced as well, hidden behind the underbrush and fallen trees, acting as the the Endoform's eyes and ears further out. Acting in unison, the Endoform nodded as it hunched down as low as it could go. While walking along in such a position would be uncomfortable to say the least for most humanoids, Unztadtlige did not have those same limitations.

"Echo form, advancing." Echo notified the squad as it began pushing up with Rasch, roughly five meters back and an additional five out as it fanned out behind the man.
Galahad Caradoc

"It's just one thing after another it seems." Galahad grumbled darkly. They had arrived in the the courtyard just in time to find Leonhart and his guards being attacked by a group of Valheim soldiers. Galahad's legs had tensed, he was about to leap into the air to aid his cousin when another group of adventurers had arrived- seemingly members of Team Unicorn. Galahad was about to commend them on their quick work when one of them leveled their weapon at Neve, their team healer. His hand clenched around his halberd, taking a step forward to say something.

However, it appeared others were faster than he- within moments Izayoi and another individual were pointing weapons at one another, while Zeidgram had slammed his weapon into the threatening man- undoubtedly worsening the already hair trigger tensions. Things were spiraling out of control and fast, and knowing how short a few of the tempers in the room were, Galahad feared that things were about to turn deadly.

"Enough!" Galahad slammed the butt of his halberd upon a tile on the courtyard, cracking it. His voice boomed through the courtyard, finally taking on the full timbre of his command voice, a far cry from the softer tone he'd been speaking with up until now. Stepping forward slightly, Galahad placed himself in front of their accosted white mage, an arm pushing her behind the bulk of his armor. Notably though, Galahad didn't level his weapon at anyone. The blue armor and Edrenian crest made him look more like a member of Leonhart's personal cohort than it did a passing adventurer.

"Everyone needs to lower their weapons and take a step back." Galahad continued, his voice now returning to its softer tone. "Tensions are high, people may be hurt. But the Gunbreaker is right, we are supposed to be allies right now. There may still be more valheim in the castle, and we can't afford to be pointing weapons inward, when we should be pointing them outwards."

Galahad's helmeted head shifted from the gunbreaker, to the samurai, to the red mage and the blonde. "If your party has wounded, they should he tended to, but not with threats against the life of our healer. That sounds reasonable enough, doesn't it?"
Galahad Caradoc

Galahad sighed as he watched the various personalities clash before him- perhaps he'd spoken too soon, maybe while his own little room seemed to mesh well enough, it wasn't a proper representation of the party as a whole. While Izayoi was living up to her name and taking lives, Arton had not taken particularly well to it. The viera seemed to wish to help the others, while the red mage seemed to wish to leave altogether, seemingly taunting them into following him. Galahad made eye contact with Arton and nodded to the man before the sollan went to follow the gunbreaker. With a short sigh, Galahad figured he'd might as well voice his own opinions as well.

"I'll not leave while people are in danger. Leifur is right, the enemy- and likely their leader are still somewhere within these walls." Galahad sounded off, "Most curious that they decide to attack once Leonhart has decided that he wishes to end the blight- perhaps the Valheim do have something to do with it after all."

Readying his halberd, Galahad rolled his shoulders and went to move with Arton and Leifur, his armor clicking lightly as he moved. Pausing in front of Neve, Galahad placed a light hand on the healer's shoulder. "Its safer in numbers, let us go." He said to her as he picked up his pace to catch up with the other warriors. His eyes caught the prone form of a castle guard, dead at his post. The Valheim soldiers had moved fast- faster than anyone could've reacted. Where did they come from- perhaps they were seeded in the ranks of the adventurers come to take up the call? At the very least most of those with him seemed trustworthy- or at least not visibly in league with Valheim.

A solid hand clapped Arton's shoulder, behind his visored helmet, Galahad nodded at him. "The halls of the castle are narrow, but my halberd can reach past your shoulders. Keep your shield arm steady, and we'll form a wall to protect the others."
Galahad Caradoc

Galahad afforded the others in his room a slight nod as they quickly followed up and dispatched the intruders. They were all strangers, and yet their reactions were fast and effective. Arton had followed him into the fight without a question and their two casters made short work of the rest of their foes once Arton and himself had occupied their attention. From what he could hear out in the hall, it appeared the others, at least in the immediate vicinity were meeting more or less the same success. At the very least their fighting prowess bode well for whatever tasks they may have in the future. There were questions to be had about the security of the castle, but that'd be something up to Leonhart and his guards, not Galahad.

Glancing out of the room towards the three that Neve had knocked out of the room, the appeared to be mostly unconscious, and others were already walking into the hall with them. The red mage poked his head into their room to make comments at his expense. With a shake of his head and a wave of his hand, Galahad more or less dismissed them.

"This isn't my home, level your complaints at the Leonhart." Turning to Arton, Galahad's eyes quickly travelled to their packs of gear and armor, before returning to the broad swordsman. "Now is a good as time as any to get the rest of your armor on."

Galahad himself was currently bereft of his armor, his plates sitting in a neat pile by his bed. Luckily, he was used to putting on his armor by himself at this point, and the armor of the Dragoons was designed to be light enough to be easily donned in a rush. The accents would have to wait, thrown hastily into his waiting pack, but the rest of his armor came on without much difficulty at all. The blue steel of his armor plates shown faintly in the moonlight as he quietly strode out of the room, halberd in hand.

Regarding the three that Neve had thrown against the wall, he prodded one with the butt of his weapon before kicking theirs well out of reach. In the distance, he could hear that one of the Valheim soldiers were already being interrogated.

"It seems our journey is destined to begin early." Galahad mused, kneeling down as he pried the helmet off one of the unconscious Valhiem soldiers. "Nicely done."
Galahad Caradoc

The rest of the dinner went off without much issue, the members of Team Kirin introduced themselves and for the most part agreed to head north to Valheim. The consensus was reached much quicker than Galahad had anticipated, though he supposed he shouldn't have been too surprised. Most of the individuals gathered for the team were among the reserved types, a general agreement of going the same way and not getting in each other's way- about as good as he could have expected from a group of complete strangers. Izayoi brought up the fact that it was likely that one of the groups would likely try to kill another for a better shot at the reward- likely before killing each other as well. She wasn't wrong, men were prone to greed and the presence of world ending terrors would never be stronger than that.

He resigned himself to the dinner, enjoying the tastes and flavors of the lavish banquet, opting to make idle conversation with the warmer personalities of the group. There were quite a few of them, and they had a long journey ahead of them, better to be on good terms with the agreeable ones than to butt heads with the less so.

As the night came, Galahad was relieved when the room assignments were made- he'd be staying with Arbora, Neve and Arton. Neve and Arton were among the easier personalities to get along with, both fairly warm and welcoming. Arbora was a bit more eclectic and matter of fact, but not necessarily in a grating way. Better than trying to sleep in a room with the red mage, who seemed to love hearing himself talk, even as he judged others for doing so- his judgmental gazes were not quite as subtle as he probably liked to believe they were. Galahad decided he'd rather sleep under the stars than share a tent with him.

Galahad enjoyed the warmth of southern Edren, but he was somewhat happy that the group had decided to head back north towards Osprey. As terrible as it sounded, Galahad was most well acquainted with the northern regions of the continent- particularly Osprey. Though, he wondered how Izayoi might react if they passed through Midgar on their way. Galahad was in the middle of packing his belongings as Neve indicated that they might sleep, his oversized halberd leaning against the side of his bed and the wall. A loud noise interrupted them however, the booming echo rumbling through the castle.

Galahad stood up immediately and reached for his halberd, his eyes shooting over to Arton and giving him a knowing nod, even as Neve went to go check the door. As she took a trembling, tumbling step back, Galahad saw the source- a group of strangely armored men bearing firearms. Already he could hear similar retorts of weapons down the hall. But there was no time to worry about the others, already moving forward as the men lifted their firearms.

A rough arm wrenched Neve backwards towards the relative safety of the room, as Galahad propelled himself forward. "Arton! With me!" he barked, his normally soft voice booming through the room even as he launched himself forward into the group with a jump, a cloud of dust left in his wake as his legs launched himself forward with incredible speed. He held his halberd horizontally, seeking to use the long haft of his weapon to knock them all over, instead of charging forward to spear a single one of them- leaving the rest to open fire on his new compatriots. If he could disrupt their firing lines for just a moment, that would be all they needed for Arton and the others to start finishing them off while they were on the ground.
"Well, to be frank, Duncan chimed in, a hand massaging a thoroughly furrowed and stressed brow, "Everything- and everyone is a mess."

Ever since they took off, Duncan's eye-lenses had been scrawling with information and data, to the point that his irises were almost entirely hidden underneath the mountains of data scrolling across his eyes. The medical servers had somehow- miraculously survived their crash, with only enough hiccups to thoroughly bother him. His leg jittered rapidly and uncomfortably, very clearly having not slept at all the night before, instead relying on copious amounts of caffeine and stimulants- that he'd likely not be able to replace anytime soon. Sara and Richard- his assistants, while present at the crew meeting, were currently passed out from exhaustion in a pair of chairs towards the back of the room, getting some much needed rest while the droids took momentary care of the situation up top.

"Most of the crew is suffering from some level of injury, either physical or through stress. A few concussions, but most of the ones with treatable injuries have been treated or are currently being treated." he continued, his eyes watching the bouncing biorhythms of what crew remained. "Don't even get me started on the civilians."

Duncan was in a bit of a tough place- in the military world, casualties were either treatable or not. With few resources and less time, medical work in the military was more about choosing which ones they could save, and reducing the suffering of those he could not. In the civilian world, they were expected to go above and beyond the whole nine yards and attempt to save each and every person that came into their care. As grim as it was to say, Duncan knew he'd likely have to choose who he could save and who he couldn't.

"We're not equipped to handle injuries at this scale." Duncan said grimly, "I don't have the manpower, I don't have the supplies and I don't have enough time. At present, there's just not a enough of anything. We had enough resources to handle our crew needs, but a few dozen additional civilians is going to stretch that supply real thin, real fast."

Duncan passed a very hastily written clipboard with barely legible handwriting towards Zey. The list was categorized into crew and civilians. While most were injured, some had green check marks by their name- hurt, but mostly functional and likely wouldn't receive further medical treatment. Others had treatment briefs written out, and while he didn't mention it out loud to the crew, the Captain could see several civilians with red circles around their names- ones with considerable injuries. It wasn't stated, but the implications were obvious. He couldn't save everyone, and they were going to have to choose some to go without treatment.

"I need blood- and lots of it, among other things. I'll be setting up one of the droids to start collecting soon. Everyone needs to go visit when they have the chance." While not the captain of the ship, from the way Doc Feng spoke, it didn't seem like he was asking.
Galahad Caradoc

Galahad nodded in thanks as he took the Quillback, though falling silent as a mystrel stood to begin berating the King and those that had gathered in the banquet hall. Had they been anyone else, Galahad might've stood up and told them to mind their insolent tongue- but it appeared they were in the presence of a legend. A dark, deadly, cruel legend, but a legend nonetheless. The bane of many an Ederian soldier had appeared in the midst of their banquet hall. The hall was quiet, the silence palpable, tense as a bowstring. Galahad noticed a few of the guards stationed within the feast hall tightened their grips on their weapons. A futile gesture ultimately, Galahad had heard legends of how fast the Limbtaker was- the guards would've been no match.

Still, ever the showman, Leonhart managed to flow into his speech so well that this entire thing might have been rehearsed. Much of what he heard was already much of what Leonhart had told Galahad in private- save for the division of teams and the reward. A sizable sum indeed, at least for an individual or group of individuals. Already Galahad could hear the murmurs. A sum that large could more or less propel any common man into the ranks of nobility through means alone- an excellent motivator if he'd ever heard one. While not as motivated by money himself, the offer was still no small feat. Unfortunately it seemed Leonhart as well didn't exactly know where to start, instead opting to just split the gathered travelers into teams to send off into the world.

Already, those at his table began conversing, introducing themselves and discussing first steps. The man next to him introduced himself as Arton. He looked younger than Galahad, but seemed pleasant enough and had the broad build of a man used to fighting. The next to introduce themselves was the Limbtaker herself, Izayoi- not that she needed much introduction. The woman suggested moving north to Osprey to take on the men of Valheim. Galahad had a feeling that her desire to go north was more of a personal matter than one to potentially restore the Light to Ibros, but she wasn't exactly off in her calculations.

Galahad lifted his head as well, setting aside his drink. "I am Galahad Caradoc of Midgar." He stated simply, omitting his titles from the introduction- just from what he'd garnered from the folk around him, titles mattered little. To himself as well, actions carried a greater weight than lofty words and titles.

"I am inclined to agree with a move towards Osprey." he added, The Blight appearing around the same time as the Valheim is suspicious. The Blight beasts aren't like any of the monsters I've seen before- it is possible that the Valheim could've brought them with them, either through accident or intent. We know scant little about the capabilities or the motivations of the Valheim, it is entirely possible that these beasts are man-made."
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