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Unread 8th of November, 2009, 13:10
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Occurrence

As night closed around them, all but the most tenacious members of the party drifted into sleep, pleasant or otherwise. Dragon hadn't moved since they had all put down, his trust of the Abyssal amongst them still not where Kindle would like and the Princess still doing chores and foraging. All would be well until a rosy dawn bloomed over the horizon, or at least that was the plan.

Kindle and Feather shifted uneasily. Had the fire gotten brighter? Was it morning already? Sleepy eyes forced themselves and open closed almost immediately. The whole camp was painted in a bright white light, and it wasn't coming from the fire. As Kindle, Feather, and Heso slowly came to their senses, a muffled shriek and thump hastened their recovery.

Dragon, swathed in a heavenly torrent of light, detached his weapon from a figure at his feet and glanced to the edge of the clearing where Mercitual's master nodded, just outside the reach of his anima banner.

By the time the rest had collected themselves, Dragon's anima had dimmed and he and the Princess had created a small pile of four or five bodies by the fire, now burning again. The bodies were nondescript and mortal, but obviously local and likely scouts for The Hunt.

Dragon addressed his peers--some more disturbed than others--with a grim tone. "As you can all see, we had visitors last night-" The commander looked up at the black sky and corrected himself, "or tonight, rather. Our Princess of Fate and Sorrow sealed the fate of the scouts sniffing around our camp as soon as they came into earshot. They were hostile, so we had to resort to violence." He stood up and tossed his spear towards the pile. It caught in the ground, quivering next to what seemed to be the leader of the patrol. Dragon stood up and strode over to the pile.

"It didn't take long to track them down. We found this one inside the camp after we dispatched the others, awfully close to your helpless, unconscious bodies. Things could have gotten hairy fast. I assume these scouts were an advance party looking for us, ergo we should break camp and continue before the real fun starts."

Dragon looked over to Princess, who had returned to the fire once the Dawn's banner had dimmed. "What knowledge have you gathered about our pursuers? Does any of this mean anything to you?"
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Last edited by Eternal; 8th of November, 2009 at 17:49.
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Unread 10th of November, 2009, 17:14
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"An advanced scouting party for...something. Worrisome. By the sounds of their conversation they were searching for us, and they more or less took a direct route from Gem, what's left of it anyway, to our little camp." Princess prods one of the bodies with her foot, sightless eyes stare back at her.

"I'm not ruling out the possibility of a Hunt, but I would have thought mortals in a Wyld Hunt would have waited for their Dragon Blooded masters before engaging the likes of us." I hope I'm wrong. It's too soon for the Prioress to find me.

She begins packing her meager belongings, taking extra care with her bow. "Whoever they are, they knew about us, what we are, where we were. And The Morning Light's," she flicks her head at Dragon, "display is only going to make whatever forces are following this group," she kicks the leader of the band in the ribs, "painfully aware of our location."

"Heso, if you have a fast method of travel for us, now is the time to use it."
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Unread 10th of November, 2009, 20:22
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"Ah, about that. Sorcery is somewhat different from the Charms we are all familiar with. It has different, sometimes greater, power, but it also has... conditions. I'm afraid we're stuck here until the first rays of dawn. I suggest we establish a night watch." Heso spoke frankly, but not without a slight hint of embarrassment at this peculiar failing. After a long pause, he added, "If you wish, I could summon an elemental to protect us tonight."
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Unread 11th of November, 2009, 18:24
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As Heso finishes speaking Princess tilts her head and raises an eyebrow, "You don't actually think we're just staying here do you? There's-" Princess sighs and bites back her tongue.

"Okay, here's what I gathered from them, before they found our camp," she points to the supposed leader, "that one implied they're some sort of scouting party," she moves to two others and removes a few arrows from them, polishing the heads as she speaks, "these two gave me the impression they were looking for us. Not a group of exalts in general, but US in specific." She points a still bloodied arrow at sandy haired man, "and that one let me know that their main force is at most, a few hours away. Which means they probably saw Dragon's banner."

Princess slides the last of the arrows into her quiver and begins stringing Mercitual. "If we stay here, there's going to be a confrontation. Probably against people who are prepared to face us."
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Unread 11th of November, 2009, 19:36
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"So we should stand and fight. Unless you know where the main force of the enemy is, there is no sense in running off into the desert sands. We are blessed with time to prepare for the battle at hand, so I say we use it. After all, there is not a living thing in all of Creation that can defeat four Exalts who are prepared and working in concert. What variety of foe can we expect to face here? A Wyld Hunt?"
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Unread 12th of November, 2009, 04:48
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"What could it be other than a Hunt? Just what type of foe could we possibly have to fight other than a pack of overzealous Dragon Bloods?" Dragon gave the mage an incredulous look. "Well whoever or wherever, I'm always prepared to fight. In fact, I'm itching to fight... those soldiers didn't put up much of a fight either. Since I exalted, I haven't fought anyone who's been equal to me in battle, let alone my soldiers. If they are that close, I say we fight!"

Dragon yanked his spear from the ground and walked behind the small campfire. "I have experience in leading small and large contingents, the Princess has experience in laying an ambush and scouting, and, well we're god's chosen! Let's show whoever thought they could put us down that they chose the wrong targets, shall we?"

The general pounded the ground fiercely with the butt of his spear. A shower of sparks sprayed from the nearby fire.

"Any objections?"
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Unread 12th of November, 2009, 09:38
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"Hey now, there are plenty of things that want us dead. Ex-Gem mercenaries, angry Guildsmen, some insignificant tribe or kingdom we somehow offended, the walking dead, the list goes on" Heso said defensively, "It doesn't necessarily have to be a Hunt."

"Regardless, I agree. We must fight, at least until dawn arrives. Now then, if that's settled, I'm going to go summon an Elemental for us."

With that, Heso walked a little ways away from the camp and began drawing sigils in the cold, dry sand.
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Unread 13th of November, 2009, 17:47
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"They're carrying Jade."

That was from Feather as she and Kindle riffled through the dead soldier's belongings. The dark haired woman held up a round disk, the red Jade glinting in the firelight but still showing the Scarlet Throne of the Imperial Treasury. "I think they call these bits or something." Kindle popped her head up and held up another coin of a different color, but still definitively Jade.

"Actually I think they call these obols. Chopping these into eight pieces makes them bits. But I can't think of anyone else but Realmites carrying them this far south." Feather nodded her agreement and starting emptying the dead soldier's coin purses. She put them all into a single pouch she carried, the two obols, a few silver pieces, and some copper coins. "The Jade's worth alot, but it's dangerous this far south. It attracts spirits from what I hear cause it's a Magical Material."

Kindle stood and looked at Feather, a worried expression on her face. "I'll help you get into your armor." Feather nodded grimly and walked towards where their camel stood. As Kindle walked past she stopped and looked at Princess. "The Pale Ones come out at night, along with a lot of other things that avoid the desert sun. It's too dangerous to leave the firelight, and if we use our inner lights we'll be spotted for sure." She shuffled her feet a bit, obviously nervous, almost terrified. "I...don't have any experience fighting Dragon-Kin but...I'd rather fight them facing forward, than get an arrow in my back while I run. So I say we stay and fight too."

She lowered her head, no longer able to look Weeping Princess in the eye, and moved on to help Feather, who was pulling pieces of armor out of various saddle sacks.
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Unread 13th of November, 2009, 18:15
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"Then it's decided!" Dragon took command swiftly. "We need to set up a defensible outpost, though I must say there isn't much we can do with what we have. Our best bet would be to set up 'camp' slightly away from camp, not too spread out and not too tight together."

The commander turned and strode by the fire. "I left my troops skirmishing outside Gem under the command of our General, so as you know we have only our own firepower and whatever our mage can pull out of the ground. At best we'll be outnumbered, so do whatever it is you do steel your mind for battle."

With that, Dragon picked up his helmet and made for the highest spot near the camp, his white armor all but refusing to hide in the darkness. He stopped abruptly and addressed his comrades before moving too far.

"Oh, and I've never fought beside anyone like myself, so don't disappoint me! I have high expectations what we can do, and what you can do!" He grinned at Feather--for the first time that night--and turned, his cape billowing behind him.
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Unread 13th of November, 2009, 19:42
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"Alright. Okay, so we're fighting," Princess crosses her arms and looks over the group. She yawns and stretches. "If that's what you all want, so be it. Make whatever preparations you feel you need. I'll be back later."

With that Princess steps back out of the dwindling fire light and fades from sight. Moments later she is loping over the sands, heading toward the assumed direction of the opposing camp. Chosen of Creation at each other's throats. The Neverborn hardly have to lift a finger. Ah well, I suppose it can't be help.

Before long, she can hear the distant clanging of armor, ringing over the night desert. Troops in formation. A self-satisfied grin crosses her face. Good, just as obvious as can be, she ducks behind a dune and draws an arrow, now, who wants to die first?
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Unread 23rd of November, 2009, 18:28
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Feather was tracing the inscription on the breastplate when Kindle walked up, the mortal trying to stifle a yawn. She was already dressed in the chain of her armor, the rags of her status replaced by immaculate chain links. Kindle rubbed her back and pulled one of the glass gauntlets from the saddle sack. "You ready for this," she asked as she clasped it over the other woman's wrist.

"Would you think less of me if I said no? C'mon Kindle, Dragon may be a soldier, and you and I know how to fight, but we're not exactly experienced at this kind of thing." Kindle knelt down and started clasping the greaves onto Feather's feet and legs. "I mean we've taken on street gangs alone before, but not Dragon-Blooded. I know we have some...help this time, but even so going toe-to-toe in a stand-up fight with some Dragon-kin who have been doing this for years just isn't smart."

Kindle finished with the armor's leggings and moved on to clasping the locks of the breastplate together. "Feather, the only time I ever hear you complain is when you have a plan. So what is it?" Feather smiled smugly. "Is it that obvious?" Kindle clamped the last piece of the breastplate on and stood in front of Feather. She rose up on the tip of her toes and kissed her on the cheek.

"Yes, but only to me." Feather smiled as Kindle moved to put the rest of the armor on. "Alright so here's the plan..."

As Feather described her plan, Kindle finished putting the last piece of armor on. The other woman was now completely covered in armor except for her head. Kindle fetched the helmet from the last saddle bag and handed it to the other woman. It followed a fairly standard Realm design with a slit for the eyes but with various slits for breathing as well. As Feather put it on she became just another warrior in armor, albeit in an exquisite example of craftsmanship.

Feather marched over to where Heso's tent was set up as Kindle started muttering to herself, eyes half closed and one arm moving rapidly across the other, wrapping invisible straps around it. Feather looked the tent over for a few seconds, nodded and then took one of the poles holding it up (causing the tent to collapse, naturally) and snapped a piece of it off. She looked through it towards the fireplace, then nodded when she noted it was hollow "That should do nicely."

Kindle finished her incantation and suddenly a massive Orichalcum shield almost as big and she was appeared, already strapped to her arm. She moved the arm around, revealing how despite its size it did nothing to impede her movement. "The other side of that dune should do," she commented, pointing to a dune opposite the one Dragon had gone up.

A few minutes later Feather lay halfway buried in sand, mumbling under her breath about it getting into her armor. Kindle handed her the piece of pole, and the other woman slid it into her helmet and clamped her mouth around one end. Smiling worriedly, Kindle continued to bury Feather for long minutes, hiding the armored woman more and more underneath the sand, until finally only the barest tip of the breathing tube remained.

"Be safe Feather. Please," Kindle mumbled, and then moved off a few yards from where her lover was buried. The darkness was small impediment to her now, and she took her shield, still strapped to her arm, and began to bury it under the sand as well. She worked slowly, trying not to cover her arm in too much sand but still hide the shield. Eventually she was satisfied that it was sufficiently hidden, and lay on her shield side, covering the straps on her arm with her body and trying to appear as if she was asleep.

Please work. Please don't let the Terrestrials find Feather. Please Unconquered Sun, guide us now when we need strength and courage.
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Unread 8th of December, 2009, 21:46
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In time Heso returned to the camp, his caste mark glowing and followed by an oversized peacock with purple tail feathers, most of which were on fire. "I have called forth a Garda bird. It has agreed to fight this battle with us, which should even the odds quite-" He interrupted himself, looking around the camp. "What, precisely, happened to my tent?" He said, more than a little annoyed.
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