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About Mercakete

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    The Original Mercenary Manakete
  • Birthday November 4

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    Videogames (especially single-player RPG's), reading, writing, drawing, chatting
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    Washington State

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  • Favorite Fire Emblem Game
    Path of Radiance

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  • I fight for...
  1. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    To Hoshi, Daichi only gave a small nod of reciprocation. He wasn't paying Shadrak much attention, but it sounded like he had understood. Yes; that as right... He had been pointed out as one who spoke Kigenese. That noted, the Hikibain's full attention returned to Amon while the man spoke. It seemed that the meeting was adjourned. "I will return later today, then, provided nothing urgent requires my attention," Daichi concluded as he stood, giving a shallow, brief bow to Amon. Immediately afterward, he briskly strode out of the room. His messenger fell in step behind him as the Hikibain continued on his way to the building's entrance. He only stopped briefly at the reception desk to ask for a description of Anna. Once he had it, he relayed it to his subordinate as they exited the building. <"The lookout must let us know if she returns to this building,"> Daichi instructed, <"I also want you to spread the word to a few others and search for her in the south and the west of Arugai, but don't cause a panic. This is nothing alarming; I only wish to find her and speak with her before the day is done, and she is looking for someone, so it is difficult to tell where she is. I will search the north and the east."> After receiving an affirmative from the man, Daichi continued along the way of the coastline while his subordinate turned and began heading south. With their net in the formation process, it would only be a matter of time and patience before something turned up to point them in the right direction.
  2. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    The solution came quickly to Daichi's mind. Eager to get onto his next objective, he spoke just a tiny bit more hurriedly than he had been previously. The Hikibain addressed the group. "If there is nothing more anyone has to say, then, we can conclude this meeting. I will go find Anna and ask her my questions while you work on your own tasks. I will also see if I cannot find Norbert. Hoshi-san," Daichi looked directly at the Kigenese woman. <"if you would like, I would also be willing to teach the men of your group some of our etiquette when I return, so that you can focus on teaching the women.">
  3. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    "He is still missing?" Daichi asked, his face suddenly filled with nothing but concern as his attention snapped right onto Shadrak. Then, he seemed to backpedal a little as contemplation joined the worry on his face. He withdrew his gaze, too, again just looking at the air in front of him as he rested a hand on his chin. "Perhaps...that is to be expected..." Then, he began looking around at the others in the room, looking for tells. "Is this...normal for him? To distance himself for long amounts of time when he is stressed?" Just prior to Shadrak's bit of sharing, Daichi had been taking in the plan while his mind also drifted to other things that were adding to his to-do list. He'd actually just been contemplating warning Ungur that Neviskotia might suffer a demon attack meant to test them at some point soon, just as they had attacked Europa. And, of course, when the best time to talk to him would be. He was undoubtedly busy with other affairs at the moment, and again, having something more substantial than the word of foreigners to support his concerns would be beneficial. There was no telling when this attack would be launched, so sooner might have been better, but if it would just be a waste of time without evidence, then it would actually save them time and credibility to wait until they had a strong case. He hadn't decided on which would be better yet, when the far more personal issue came up.
  4. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    Daichi nodded to Amon. "If you wish to be the one to go with me to meet with Emperor Yamato, then that should be fine." Then, he gave him a somewhat puzzled look, "I did just say that your testimony and the name of the source -- if he is credible -- should be enough, though." The confusion cleared from the Hikibain's expression again, replaced by formality. "I will speak to Anna to gather that information, myself, as I have said. If you believe you can find even more evidence of this 'gate,' however -- such as its exact location for investigation, or parts of it -- then that will only strengthen our claim."
  5. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    Daichi hummed thoughtfully to himself as he contemplated Amon's request. "So, you want me to speak to the emperor directly, on your behalf... If that is the case, then I will need to gather more information first. I cannot ask to meet with Emperor Yamato in person and only tell him a rumor. I will need to bring facts...and one of you." He raised his eyes to Amon again. "This report comes from Ursium, not from Kigen. Everything I have learned has come from the words of others. I can relay information and express my trust, but I am not a witness to the events in Ursium. We must convince the emperor that this is real, and that Kigen must act quickly. We need.... <something heavy to add weight to our claims.> Proof, that cannot be overlooked. Knowing where this information came from, and bringing a witness may be enough." ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Someone was talking... Someone was... No, not one of his sisters... Right... They weren't around. Norbert pushed out of the memory. Nadya was saying something. Nadya... Right. That was what happened... She was take care of himself. That things were going to get harder... The Fallen, right. They had to stick together? She doesn't know. She knew he ran. But she didn't see his weakness. Right; he'd run before, to get space and calm down. She knew he did that. She didn't see the weakness. Good. He was safe... Safe from her, for now, anyway. Don't run. He couldn't say anything either. If he asked for help, she'd know something was wrong. The others would come... But they were coming. They were coming for him. Norbert was rooted in place again, caught between his values pushing him towards Arugai, and his fear, pushing him away from it...from the group. He couldn't say anything, but he couldn't escape on his own, either. Escape... Escape what? Escape the punishment from the others... Escape this force that pushed him away from this and that... What can I do?
  6. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    There were some Common expressions mixed in with Pete's explanation that Daichi didn't quite understand -- what was a "stellar?" -- but he understood what he was trying to say, for the most part. Each time he had pressed, Daichi had come closer to the truth. And now, at least from this Ursian, he was certain he had it. He believed him when he said that what he'd said was about all he knew, and it was nice to hear his prospective on Kigen's previous attempts at garnering aid against the Fallen from its northern neighbors. Amon spoke up again, affirming the Ursian's recommendation to speak with Anna, and clearing up that only some of them actually worked for Professor Weyland. <So, that is what he meant when he said that their leadership situation was "complicated."> It certainly was an unusual setup. He was amazed that they had any sort of organization, what with how loosely-tied to the group some of them sounded. It was a little amusing, but he couldn't focus on that right now. There were much more important things to discuss. From what the Ursian said, he was beginning to wonder about the identity of two Avians at the professor's "estate." That was some sort of building... Wasn't it a house of some kind? He'd only heard the word a couple times; it wasn't one that came up often. Anyway, it sounded like the Ursian was now thinking that this Avian was actually a demon. It didn't seem likely, if he'd been confused for a nobleman. That one of the professor's...girls? A maid was a girl, right? Well, one of his female workers had white hair and wings. Immediately, Daichi's mind went to the White Devil. And this girl disappeared after the attack... Perhaps she had been a spy that the White Devil had planted? It wasn't typical demon tactics, but they'd never tried a sortie to Ursium before, either. But the mercenaries who were hired by the professor... Katsu's regret at taking the job... That the fight took place in Kigen... It wasn't making much sense. Daichi released a long sigh, his brow still furrowed in contemplation. "Thank you...for your honesty." He took a moment to refocus, adjusting his posture and countenance from troubled and studious to stoic again, addressing the entire assembled group. "I have tried asking Professor Weyland, himself, regarding the incident with <The White Devil,> but he denied knowing anything about it. I have trouble trusting people who are too closely connected to him, as a result. Perhaps now that I can meet with someone linked to him, face-to-face, however, I will finally gain some information. You have been very helpful...both to my investigation, and to your own cause." Daichi smiled serenely at them. "I can now recommend your word to Emperor Yamato as though it were my own, since you have proven your sincerity in your wanting to help Kigen. And, I can trust that you will tell the truth, as well as you know it." The Kigenese man frowned again as he sighed, "The professor does not even trust his own messengers with the full message... <What an impediment to trustworthy communications..."> Shaking that mood, he smiled a bit more confidently at the group. "Sa, what is it that you want from me?"
  7. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    It was beginning to get a little confusing. Was this Ursian the spokesman for these hires of the professor, or just had a lot to say? If the former was the case, Daichi would give him more attention, rather than predominantly speaking to Amon. The Hikibain adjusted a little to face Pete more comfortably, just in case. "I mean no disrespect. Ursium must be strong to oppose its neighbor so continually. Howeba, it is also true that for a very long time, Kigen has offered to share our knowledge with you, suggesting that your people divert their efforts to fighting our common enemy, the demons. Ursium and Neviskotia both have continually refused, instead fighting one another. Because the demons were so far away from your homes, you did not see them as a threat, and so you never learned how to fight them. They are no easy foes, nor are they familiar to you. It must have caused your people great pain and fear. I guess this because they cause us great pain and fear, even though we know them so well. I do not think Ursium is weak. I only think that people are even more afraid of things that we do not understand, especially after many are suddenly attacked and killed." Daichi paused a beat, honoring those that died in the Europa attack was well as he could with so many other issues pressing in. Unfortunately, there was no way he could really offer his condolences. All he could do right now was attempt to save those still living. So, he continued. "Thank you for explaining what you meant by 'gates.' I believe I understand, now." The thought of a doorway that could take you anywhere in the hands of the Fallen was absolutely nightmarish. Indeed, this needed to be investigated, and quickly. "But you must understand them if you are to fight them. They do think; you are right. But you also assume too much, with too little experience. You claim to know what the demons wanted based on their actions, and on the circumstances, but you do not understand their minds." Again, Daichi paused a moment, this time mulling over what the Ursian and the southerner had said. His conclusion brought a light, disturbed grimace to his face. "They were...testing you. Gathering the resource of information... They know humans, but they do not know Ursians, and they understand this. They could have only arrived that day, too. It is hard to tell when they arrived in Ursium, and when they decided to scout in order to plan. All we can do is guess...but more accurate guesses come from the informed." His brow furrowed. "If they are building these 'gates' in three, separate locations, then they already know how to make them. Perhaps that is how they passed us without notice, by using smaller 'gates' to warp." He really hoped he was wrong. If he was right, it'd be stupidly easy for them to outmaneuver their foes. Daichi closed his eyes, his voice becoming a shade quieter. "Perhaps I should have addressed this sooner. My apologies..." He opened his eyes again, looking to Pete. "but you are the messengers. As such, you will give me the information I need. I cannot go to the emperor with only what is convenient for you to share. You must tell me where you got your information, or you will not be considered..." Oh, what was that word? <"credible.> to have trustworthy information. Also, I will not relent in my investigation. If you have relevant information, I must hear it, including how Professor Weyland angered the demons. What were those mercenaries hired to do? What did they take from <The White Devil?">
  8. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    "I did not intend to begin discussing 'search areas' so soon," Daichi assured Pete, referring to the Ursian's opening. He'd shifted his gaze to the man when he began speaking, occasionally glancing back at Amon, but his eyes were leveled at the Ursian while he addressed him. Honestly, he may have focused a little more on Amon's concerns had it been left at that, but Pete had unwittingly given him more information pertaining to his own theories and mission. Still, it was no small thing Amon was suggesting...and it was a little confusing, quite honestly, but that was probably just the wording. His eyes returned to Amon. "What you describe makes little sense. In order for a gate to exist, it must be connected to a wall of some kind. What are you trying to describe? How would a door in each country allow armies through?" And now for questions that probably had less to do with language barriers. "How do you 'know' what they are planning to do? Did you speak with one?" He turned his gaze back to Pete. "I was unaware that the professor's establishment in Europa was attacked. Thank you for that information." Daichi then looked at each of the room's occupants as he went on, attempting to convey the seriousness of the situation. "Demons are not humans -- or Abians. They do not think like humans. They do not fight like humans. They do not have human goals." Again, his focus rested on Pete. "If they wanted to spread fear and confusion, they did not need to kill your king or his family, and they know that. They only had to show Ursians that they are not safe from them. Ursians do not know how to fight demons. It must have been a difficult battle for your people to win, if after so long fighting them, we Kigenese still have trouble with them. Choosing targets outside of battle is not how they fight. They choose resources, then attack. Humans and demons do not view the same things as important." Again, he looked to Amon. "What drew the demons to Ursium first, if they plan to attack all three countries at the same time? And not only Ursium, but Professor Weyland's building, whose mercenaries <The White Devil> herself pursued all the way to northern Kigen, and possibly beyond, into Ursium?" He was steadily beginning to figure it out. His eyebrows lowered as some unpleasant potentials began to stir in his head. "Did he take something important to them?" ~~~~~~~~~~~ "Everything's fine," Norbert repeated a bit forcefully. Go away. He wanted to escape. At least a couple more miles. It'd give him time to sort things out. But really, would he go back? Would there ever be enough time? Running away again would draw attention. It was showing weakness again. No. I can't. If he ran, he'd have to keep running. But what difference would that make? He didn't like it; he wanted to pay his debt, not break away like some criminal. That'd be dishonest, even if the group didn't actually need him. Which they didn't. They didn't even want him around. He knew the way they looked at him and talked about him. There were some who didn't mind him as much, but they left him to die before. Why would they care now? They tolerated him because they thought they had to. Well, who needed them anyway? Here, he had the perfect chance to escape all that. No more obligations to work for anyone, no more risking his life for people who probably wished him dead anyway... He could just live in quiet solitude. Well, not solitude, really. There'd be Rizen, of course. He thought of Darcey, Cameron, Valter, and Raquel... Bert reasoned that they were beyond his reach anyway. He couldn't return to Ursium, even if he wanted to, having made such enemies there. The Wrathites would be all over him. He'd have to find some way to communicate with the Kigenese or learn how to be completely independent. That meant maintaining his weapons when he'd normally go to a blacksmith, finding some way to sew, hunting, cooking... It'd be worth it, though. But would it? Something in him was pushing back against this half-figured plan. It felt like...principle. He couldn't just abandon the mission. He couldn't stop fighting the Fallen, and fighting for those he wanted to protect. But he had to survive, too. He had to escape... They'll come for me. The thought struck him with fear, and again, he was pulled into another memory. He was a child again, curled up in the snow, receiving blow after blow, begging for his sisters to stop. Norbert's eyes became distant and a heavy grimace came onto his face, his muscles tensing as the memory played out, replacing his current reality. Stop... Stop hurting me! Quietly, barely a whisper, Norbert mumbled, "Stop..."
  9. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    Before entering, Daichi motioned for his subordinate to wait there, in the hall. The man did so, standing nearly at attention with his back almost against the wall while his superior and those with him entered the meeting room. He was only there to relay emergency communications, after all. He'd hardly be doing his job if other messengers couldn't reach him. Now in the meeting room with the others with the door shutting behind them, Daichi took in his surroundings as he listened to Amon's greeting and apology. Two stood out, but he recalled Eva mentioning that they had Avians with them, and assumed these were they. To Amon, the Hikibain answered grimly, "In this instance, I prefer to bypass idle talk anyway." He took an empty seat at the meeting table, then leveled his serious gaze onto Amon. "Your ally, Professor Weyland of Ursium, hired a group of mercenaries called <Kai's Mercenaries> to perform some sort of task here, in Kigen. These mercenaries were attacked here, in the north, by a prominent demon called <The White Devil> and almost all of them were killed. A survivor of the attack named Katsu told me that they had accepted their job from your Professor Weyland, and he is the one who told me which demon was involved. I only found him after they had left him to die. He is fine, now, and is hunting <The White Devil>, along with performing some other work. I've been investigating the incident, and also following Emperor Yamato's command to consolidate our forces in the north. It is...alarming that she could have traveled so far without any of the Hikibain hearing of it. And now, I hear of a demon attack in Europa, in Ursium, taking place after <The White Devil> was seen on our northern border. Since I found Katsu, I have been extra vigilant, but I have not seen any signs of demon activity in the north. Somehow, the demons were able to pass through Kigen and enter Ursium. Once in Ursium, they would be able to move more easily, since the northerners suspect nothing, and do not know what signs to look for. ... And, evidently, neither do we. But demons have gone to Ursium. Unless it was a rogue group of them -- which I do not find likely -- and they were all killed in Europa -- which, as effective as the Ursians are in fighting Neviskotians, they are uneducated about demons, so I do not find this likely either -- then they are withdrawn, not defeated, and will attack again to strengthen their position. They will continue to grow and to destroy until they are killed, or are strong enough to destroy Ursium and to attack Kigen from both the north and the south. I believe that the attack on <Kai's Mercenaries> and the attack on Europa are connected, and that the demons are attempting this strategy. The Neviskotian ambassador reported that there have not been any demon attacks in Neviskotia, but I hear about an attack on a city in the country that the contractor of <Kai's Mercenaries> is from. And now, you have news for Emperor Yamato himself that is too dire to share in public. You, who are allied with Professor Weyland." Though Daichi maintained an extremely stoic tone and demeanor -- one just shy of serene, really -- he had a dangerous quality about him, too. His probing, yet poised gaze never faltered or veered from Amon, as he searched for any tells the southerner's unconscious had to offer. The dangerous undertone the Hikibain carried increased without compromising his relaxed posture or his controlled air as he concluded, "Tell me what I do not know." ~~~~~~~~~~~ No. was Bert's immediate response to Anna's order to let people know where he was going to be the next time he bolted. Right now, he didn't care that Anna and Nadya had spent the time they had to find him. That was their choice and their problem. Anna was going away now. Fear began to knot Bert's stomach, but he held steady. She might tell someone where to find him. The compulsion to run further away was getting stronger. But no, patience. Patience... If Nadya went with her, especially. Once they were gone, he could flee again, and people wouldn't know where he was again. Maybe he'd keep running this time. If he got far enough away, he could escape. He'd be days ahead of them. And with the search area getting wider and wider, they wouldn't catch him. He could live in the wilderness with Rizen again, and wouldn't have to deal with the group or possible fathers again. Everything would be- Destroyed. A small grimace tugged at a corner of his mouth as he recalled the less-immediate threat. It was why he was a part of this group to begin with: to stop the Fallen. He couldn't abandon that mission...and so, he continued wrestling with that to do. He had to escape, he had to go back, he had to help the group, he had to escape them... His eyes turned to Nadya. What was she planning on doing?
  10. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    Daichi motioned for his subordinate to follow just before walking after Shadrak, himself. When he heard someone coming up more brusquely behind them, he figured it was one of the workers going about his business, but soon, Eva came into his peripheral vision. Seeing as his guide stopped walking when the woman began speaking with them, the Hikibain and his subordinate halted as well. Though he politely turned his attention to Eva, he was certainly in a much more serious mood at the moment, and was only cordial, rather than cheerful. He didn't understand why she asked about what was up, but he gave the ceiling a quick, discreet glance, just in case. Everything appeared normal. With a nod, he gave the woman a simple greeting. "Eba-san." Only after that did he explain his purpose. "I agreed to meet with Amon again today, when we spoke at the docks. We have very important business to discuss." That was about as well as he could answer her question. He also gave Shadrak an expectant look after that. Pleasantries could wait, as far as he was concerned. This discussion couldn't -- not if what he suspected as true. ~~~~~~~~~~ "What's it to you?" he snapped, glaring darkly at Anna as he pulled his legs under him, swiftly transitioning from a simple, seated position to a spring-ready crouch. One of his hands had also snapped to the grip of his mace. The other was ready to steady him or swing out in a fist, though none of these motions were chosen by the man. All of his conscious effort was going into maintaining composure...not that he was doing very well with that. Steadily, he rose to his feet, suddenly aware of, and trying to smooth over, his hostile readiness. He never broke eye contact with Anna, though. He didn't let go of his mace, either, even though he tried to make his arms appear relaxed. It wasn't working very well. Speaking just as much to cover that up as to relay his thoughts, Norbert added, "If everyone tries to run away they'll come this way anyway."
  11. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    Daichi gave the receptionist a nod before turning to face Shadrak more formally, since the younger man was walking up to him. He thought Eva had mentioned his name before... It was rather foreign-sounding, as he recalled. Shya... Shyarou? No, that didn't sound foreign enough. Of course, thoughout this mild speculation, Daichi didn't break his straight face. He decided to just ask the man for a refresher later. There was much more pressing business to attend to right now. He gave Shadrak a shallow, brief bow before greeting him. "Hello. Are you here to take me to the meeting?" ~~~~~~~~~~ Nadya answered first, which was perfectly well and good since the question had been aimed most directly at her. He could only pay so much attention to it, however, given all the other things going on in his head that were vying for his attention, demanding he do this or don't do that. His ability to reason was rather compromised at the moment, and so the turmoil within him wound up coloring what his preoccupation allowed him to hear of Nadya was actually saying. While her words, given what they were, would have normally calmed him down a bit, and he would've appreciated the healer's respect for his space, right now, all he could think was of how dangerous it would be to return to the group. He felt like a wounded beast hiding from opportunistic predators, and about to have his location uncovered. Then, Anna spoke. Even when he was in a more controlled state, his guard was up around her, so right now, he was borderline accusatory, just waiting for something bad to happen. It didn't help that she brought up what was her obvious stake in all of this: she wanted him to do a job. People taking away his freedom and getting him to do their bidding... His head had already been angled downward, but now his shoulders rose, the muscles in his back and shoulders supporting those in his neck, intuitively expecting to be attacked...or to attack, if he had to. For now, though, there was just talk. Speaking of talk, he could tell that there were things he wanted to say, but he couldn't find the words. That, and it didn't feel worth it at the moment. Everything was fine. But what would he say if that was true? He couldn't tell right now. Probably something about going back to the others...but no. He couldn't do that. "Everything's fine."
  12. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    After wrapping up with Amon's mysterious group, Daichi and his entourage had gone directly to the Neviskotian embassy to learn more about the situation on the water. According to Eva and Amon, their ships were unaligned with the respective navies, though they were affiliated with the Ursian inventor, Professor Seth Weyland. Since they suspected that the Neviskotians were being chased by the Ursians -- but didn't know why -- that meant that it had been the easternmost northerners who had chosen to sail to Kigen. So, that was where he intended to start. After some expected time waiting in the lobby, Daichi had managed to meet with Ambassador Alin Ungur. After the usual, though shortened, pleasantries, it was right down to business. First, of course, Daichi asked if he had received word from the Neviskotian naval ship docked in the harbor. He had. The Hikibain then asked why the northerners' war had been brought into Kigenese waters, including a request for the full story. The Neviskotian representative, obviously, could only relay what he had been told, and made sure that was understood before divulging the story as it had been explained to him. According to Ungur's sources, after the attempt to secure Port Urquium failed, and the fleet's flagship was neutralized, the Neviskotian fleet began a fighting retreat south, attempting to sail back to Imperial waters. (It seemed they had succeeded, in Daichi's view, though their retreat had brought them to the waters of the wrong empire.) The Ursian fleet chased them, and has been attempting to surround portions of the fleet by restricting eastward movement and forcing them steadily southward towards Arugai. In short, they were trying to keep themselves out of the Ursians' net, and said "net" had been pushing them unwillingly into the waters of the southern empire. Besides the simple answer to his question, Ungur also mentioned that the naval soldiers' morale was low because there was no telling where their flagship had gone to, and may have even been claimed by the Ursians, which would put the Neviskotians at a huge disadvantage. When he asked about it, Daichi was told that the Ursians likely had some sort of warping device, which they had used to separate the ship from its crew. That was definitely something Daichi was going to ask about later. The next question Daichi had, however, was about the two unaligned ships that had come into port with the Neviskotian and Ursian naval vessels. The question was simple enough, asking what the ambassador knew about them. Ungur didn't know much. He speculated that they were Ursian-commissioned ships, and probably still helping said navy. That was about it, though, as, evidently, he didn't actually have many details regarding what, exactly, took place during the battle that pushed the countries' ships to Kigen. Figuring that was about as much as he'd be able to get on that line of questioning, the Hikibain reverted to one that was much more practiced between the two men. He asked if the man had heard any news regarding demons in Neviskotia. As with every other time, no, there was no news on that front. And so, questions answered, the meeting came to a close. Daichi wasn't done yet, though. His next destination was the Ursian embassy, and this time, he would be meeting with Ambassador Casimir Ospina. The first portion went about the same as it had in the Neviskotian embassy, from the wait time in the lobby to the confirmation that, yes, the ambassador had received word from his countrymen, and to the following question about what was going on. And, of course, Ospina and his fellow Ursians blamed the Neviskotians just as much as the Neviskotians blamed the Ursians...though Ospina was a little more spirited in his storytelling than his counterpart had been. According to him, after repelling a vicious and cruel attack on Urquium and the civilian populace, the Ursians gave chase by necessity in order to inflict as much damage on the Neviskotian imperial fleet as possible to keep them from rallying. The risk of being attacked again if they turned around or dispersed had been too high. As for why the navies were so close to the Kigenese mainland, Ospina suspected -- or rather accused -- the Neviskotians of seeking Kigen's sympathy by playing the victim, with the ultimate goal of getting the Kigenese navy to bolster their forces in case the fighting worsened. That was about enough of that in Daichi's opinion -- sometimes he forgot how much of a headache some northerners could be, no matter how well-intended they were -- and so, he asked about the unaligned ships, just as he had asked the Neviskotian ambassador. Of course, he knew better than to even hint that he had already spoken with Ungur. Not if he wanted a sincere, unedited response from the politician, even if the Ursian managed to stay on topic. As it turned out, Ospina knew about as much as Ungur had, and so could only speculate about the third-party vessels. He guessed that the two were from Urquium specifically, and noted that they had been moving near both fleets all the way to Kigen. He also acknowledged that they might have had something to do with the disappearance of the Neviskotian flagship, the Basilisk, but he didn't have any sure answers. According to Ospina, Ursium's regulars hadn't been behind the ship's disappearance, but it was his best guess that the ones responsible were either a unit of Ursium's special forces -- which was a field he knew virtually nothing about -- or these ships, which had really been involved in that long chase more than they reasonably should have. Next, Daichi asked about the Neviskotian flagship itself. Ospina was adamant that the reports weren't specific, but it was clear that the ship in question was spearheading the attack on Urquium. It was his guess that either aforementioned party -- either an Ursian task force, or a third party -- sunk it. It hadn't been seen since the battle, after all, and it was far too big to hide it anywhere for long. Again, however, he noted that it was only a suspicion, and that he didn't know enough to give any definite answers. So, Daichi again moved on to a much more regular topic: asking if there had been any demon activity in Ursium. Unlike the usual response he got from Ungur, however, Ospina had grim, informative news. There had been a demon attack on Europa. The local garrison and various others had put a swift end to it, however, killing the unusual invaders. Unfortunately, that was about as much as the man knew. That was far and away not enough for Daichi, however, and he politely but firmly encouraged the man to gather as much information on that attack as he could, and then to pass along anything he learned to Daichi himself. According to the Kigenese man, this information was of paramount importance, both to Kigen and to Ursium. Though Ospina agreed, Daichi couldn't help but suspect that that particular issue would be shelved at least until the Neviskotians withdrew from Kigenese waters. Still, there was nothing more he could do about it. So, the Hikibain left the embassy. On his way back to the garrison, Daichi mulled over what he'd learned. A demon attack in Europa... It was very disturbing news. He'd have to inform the emperor for certain, but first he wanted to consult a map to see how deep into Urisum the city was. The further away from Kigen, the more alarming the news would be. The ignorance of the northerners was one thing, but how could a force like that -- however big or small it was -- travel unnoticed by Kigen, which stood between the demons' lands and their northern neighbors? It wasn't just disconcerting because it meant that they had been blind. It was blood-chilling because it meant that they could be flanked at any time. It was a good thing that they were consolidating their forces in the north. If there were demons north of them, they couldn't afford to have their backs turned to those foes...or any others who had managed to quietly reposition themselves... That was when a thought struck him. Amon and his group had something private to convey to Emperor Yamato. If it would cause a panic, like having demon forces poised to strike from all sides, that would certainly make a private meeting prudent. Furthermore, something of that scale would definitely needed to reach the emperor's ears as quickly as possible. Grim concern that this was all connected began to grip at Daichi's heart and mind. If he was less disciplined, he might have gone to the Weyland Enterprises building right then and there. It wouldn't do to follow every impulse, however. No, there were still things to do, even as important as the supposed information would be. There was that map to look at, for one. And, of course, he and his men still needed to eat. Even disregarding more practical preparations, though, a Hikibain in a hurry was something of an alarming sight. No, there was no need to prematurely panic anyone. He'd take this slowly...and only write his report once he had all relevant information. So, they returned to the garrison and had something to eat. Daichi didn't take time to relax or think about family matters, however. Instead, he checked reports that had been left for him by various subordinates, reassigned people here and there, had a look at that map -- which revealed Europa's location to be rather concerning, given how far inland it was -- and then, taking a man with him, made his way to the Weyland Enterprises building. "Hello. I am here for a meeting with Amon," Daichi informed the receptionist after walking into the building. He was closely followed by the fleet-footed soldier he'd brought along, but said soldier only shadowed his superior in silence. Daichi, himself, wore a much more serious, professional air than he had upon his introduction to the group. Still, he wasn't being overly stern -- just businesslike, and a little no-nonsense. ~~~~~~~~~~ Norbert and Rizen were in the same place as they had been in for the last couple hours, the former in a deadlock with himself in his mind. He was still wrestling with the revelation at the docks, and it had rapidly spiraled out of control, though there was nothing a casual observer would notice. As far as anyone was concerned, he was deep in thought, scowling at nothing with unfocused eyes, seated under a tree while his pegasus milled about beside him. She'd noticed the horse and two women's approach long before her rider had, and was looking in their direction curiously, even before their arrival. Their scent had been on the wind. Norbert, however, didn't look up until Nadya spoke to him, flinching a little as he was startled out of his thoughts, though his face didn't shift from its dark glower. A confused collision of memories and internal, heated arguments had sucked him in and held him captive. There was someone arguing within him. It wasn't arguments he could make words out of, but impressions. Impressions he refused to listen to. And then, there were his deep, thrumming emotions, obscuring his thoughts and twisting the pathways of his mind into confusion and obscurity. He'd fought passionately against whatever the voice inside was trying to say. Whatever it was, it was simultaneously calling to him and disgusting him, causing him to vehemently reject it while being unable to ignore it. He was filled with the same fire he felt in battle, but everything was also...closer. Much, much more...frightening. He felt like he was scrambling against some unseen foe, and only narrowly escaping a multitude of its strikes, unable to even attempt to return any. He didn't fear injury or pain, or even death...but this was something else. Time was wasting out here, outside of Arugai. The group was in town, and he was obligated to help them, not only to pay off his debt to Weyland, but because he felt a compulsion to fight, and to protect. The Fallen would come and destroy the lives of all humans and Avians if they weren't stopped. He couldn't turn away from that task, not just cognitively, but because of who he was and what drove him. And yet...those rational thoughts were only clear as flickers which showed up in the turmoil from time to time. A strong need to survive was pressing so strongly against his mind that he couldn't make his body move. Not towards Arugai. Not even to get up, which would be the first step in returning. Rather, his instincts were yelling at him to flee further inland with no one else but Rizen accompanying him. However, rationally, he knew that even if he still tried to face the Fallen, he couldn't beat them alone. He would only doom Rizen and himself. So, his conviction was pushing him to return to the city. These equal, but opposite forces were holding him in place, as a result. Leaving to fight the Fallen alone would mean death. And returning... Here, some had been released from the dark corners of his mind. It was what kept him from the city. It was what had compelled him to live in the wilderness in northeastern Ursium, even if he had assigned valid, more rational reasons to it. Something irrational, but extremely real, was telling him that if he went back to the others, terrible horrors would befall him. That was when the memories began. If he'd been able to make sense of them, he would have been able to locate the incidents in his memory banks as times his sisters had abused him at the orphanage. But right now, the most he could tell was a simple rule that had been fastened in his mind, forged from those incidents: never show your vulnerabilities to your adversaries. Every time he was losing a fight and couldn't take much more- every time he began getting winded- every time he told them to stop, it would rally them. If he showed strength to the end, their afflictions wouldn't last as long or be as bad. And, more importantly, in this way, he learned to stave off his own fear. It was exactly why, now a man grown, he didn't fear whatever punishment he'd endure in whatever fight he faced. But back at the docks...he had shown weakness. He hadn't been able to hold himself together when that confusing flood of emotion overtook him. His faculties had been overwhelmed, and his will, thrown. His emotion had been so strong, it had been like he was drowning (and he knew what that was like; his sisters had nearly drowned him a couple times.) He'd lost rationale, and had to rely on nothing but instinct. Just as a suffocating person instinctually did everything in their power to breathe, he'd done everything in his power to regain his rational thought- to regain his feet- to get out of the vulnerable position he'd been flung into... And people saw that. They saw him out of control- his vulnerable, weakened state. If he'd been in combat, he would have died for certain, his guard had been so thoroughly thrown. They knowing of this vulnerability, his only chance to survive was to flee, according to his irrational but powerful compulsion. He fought against it, but it was too strong. His mind was at war against it, but also against that strange voice he kept shutting out, which bade him to... No, he couldn't even think about it. Thinking about it would legitimize it, the wretched, appalling, disloyal scum. It was a battle on two fronts. His own determination and rational mind was busy shutting out that impression, which was combating his thoughts concerning the man who claimed to be his father. He argued again and again against it, mentally screaming over what it was trying to tell him, filling his thoughts with his family, and feeling his heart shredded with that black thought that he could ever betray them. No. It wasn't who he was. What did that impression want, anyway? He wouldn't listen to it, so he didn't know. He couldn't know. What if it tempted him away from his family? He loved them too deeply to consider abandoning them. Was that it? Some secret desire for that man to truly be his birth father? Norbert rejected it again. Again, he reminded himself that even if the man was his father, he'd effectively abandoned him and his mother twenty years ago. He commanded himself with as much force as he could muster to forget about him. But then, he was in that port town... It was another reason not to return...but wasn't that also selfish? But he couldn't go back. He couldn't. Death and betrayal awaited him there. Going back would be foolish. He had to survive. He was the only one who could or would ever ensure his survival. All others would betray him, given the right circumstances. His own sisters turned against him. He was helpless. He was beat down. He was left to freeze in the snow. He was nearly drowned. He was bruised, broken, cut, lied about, disbelieved, unsheltered, unprotected- Panic gripped him again, subconsciously anticipating these afflictions to befall him at any moment, aspects of his memories blending with what his eyes were taking in. Still, Bert kept his outward appearance completely steady as he fought to regain control over his emotions. Slowly, he forced his eyes to move. They settled on Nadya first. They moved to Anna as she walked up. His glare hardened at the redhead: the one who had indentured him. Threat. No. Stop. Bert's rationale tried to subdue his hyperactive survival instinct. He strained at the task as he fought to keep himself fully under control while also thinking of something to say. No weakness. Speak normally. Like nothing's wrong. Nothing's wrong. He returned his glare to Nadya, his form as stiff and tense as it had been when they arrived. He spoke just as stiffly, not having realized that he'd been holding his breath since he became aware of the women's presence. "What do you want?"
  13. 1. Bantu as a red dragonstone user 2. Kieran (FE9) 3. Reyson (flying healer singer who gets a phys melee attack that damages him and just debuffs his opponent) 4. Nils 5. Elena (she was an option for CYL -- I want her as a playable character in a game) Honorable mentions: Rolf (FE9), Shinon (FE9), Gatrie (FE9), Boyd (FE9), Rhys (FE9), Geoffrey, Kurthnaga, Nasir, Naesala, Sothe, Sain, Kent, Lute, Artur, Ewan, Franz, Forde, Kyle, L'Arachel, Cormag, Erk, Canas, Leila, Tormod, Jill, Haar, Luthier, Python, Forsyth, Fernand, Mycen, Rinea, Rudolf, "Masked Knight" (FE15/Echoes.) I may or may not be forgetting people.
  14. Grats on the thousandth post!

    1. Phoenix


      Oh, the content count? Thanks ^_^

  15. Return of the Emblem Chapter Fifteen: Alliance

    Daichi nodded in response to Amon. "I will see you later, then." The Hikiba member then turned to his men. <"We are leaving now. Let's go."> He was moving past them and deeper into Arugai, even as the men responded with the expected <"Yes, sir!"> They followed after him once he'd taken the lead.