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Kanami

Angelic Devotion Ch1

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Bandits. Good for nothing scum. Makes the slum-dwellers back home look like honorable men, and that's saying something, since I've known them to be quite the brutes.

Ah well, much as I'd like to end their pitiable existence, I'm not going to risk exposing myself. Certainly not here in the middle of the village. I'm not going to get innocent people involved.

Arias used the commotion caused by this battle to attempt to escape. Unfortunately, it seemed as though he had no choice as the battle raged.

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"Bandits, huh?" Bullet hefted the spear he had stolen from a soldier along the way. "Well, let's give them a good fight!" He threw the spear at the main group, before reaching for his broadsword.

Wait. Broadsword?

Shit.

Edited by Camtech075

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Upon hearing his orders, Shizunai grabbed his sword and his backpack, with very little in it, but enough to help him survive for a few days should he be seperated. He thanked himself that he wore thick robes to protect himself rather than armor, for he found it easier to travel that way. Drawing his katana, he charged out of the fortress and headed to Elrest.

...And there were no wolves. None he could see. It was very quiet. Too quiet. He saw some of the soldiers from the fort as he continued along but saw nothing else...

Until bandits came out behind a building with grins on his faces. Raising his sword, he winked at one of them and did a small dance to get them to charge him.

"Hey. Lookit this retard mask guy. Let's stick 'im boys!"

Well it got more than one of them, he got a good chunk of them, around 5 charging him. As one got close, he kicked him in the knee, snapping the bone before beheading him with a single strike. An axe went towards his head, but he blocked the first blow, kicking off the others, hoping for some backup.

"Bit of help would be nice!" he called out.

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Bullet gave himself only a moment to berate himself about his weapon before going to aid the swordsman with the mask. He punched the bandit from behind, allowing the swordsman to strike. When the bandit fell, Bullet relieved the corpse of its axe.

Well, that takes care of finding a weapon.

Edited by Camtech075

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The running around had quietened down significantly outside the cellars, the panic seemed to have finally died down as the last of the able fighters left the fort and disappeared down the road to Elrest. The fort now only containing less then a hundred able soldiers with the remainder sleeping or too drunk to fight.

Soldier: "Lieutenant Helvorn, the last of the heretics have departed" the soldier whispered to the grim looking man.

Helvorn: "Excellent, everything's going according to plan, how's the prisoner doing?"

Soldier: Bleeding profusely, though he'll live, the healers have finished their work with him and he's been escorted to the cells by a dozen men as we speak.

Helvorn: Good, there's a few things I want to ask our good friend a few things before he gets incinerated by the flames of the abyss.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The metallic door leading to the cells slammed open as a dozen armed men marched in with a groaning man in between them. The man leading the group froze as his eyes settled on the two unbound women who turned to face them just as surprised as they were. "What's the wench doing out of her bonds?" he shouted angrily, "And who the hell is that runt?" he shouted enraged indicating Naomi. Tossing the ragged prisoner aside the men drew their weapons pointing them menacingly at the pair. "Don't know who the hell you are runt but you're not getting out of here alive."

Edited by Kanami

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Arias decided that much as he'd love to avoid letting his identity become known here, he certainly didn't want to watch this village and its citizens become bandit fodder.

Arias began chanting a spell....

The next instant, the nearby bandit realized that he had a new fiery haircut, courtesy of the mage who had slipped behind some trees. Three more bandits received similar hairdos, before Arias was finally discovered.

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The hustle, the bustle this thing called combat was just too much for poor Hubert to involve himself with. Yes, better to just sit back and let the lesser-kin finish themselves off and then take credit for the victory as was befitting his status.

Except, that man over there, setting one of those useless ruffians aflame. With a spell? Why, once this was all over he would have to investigate that disturbance. It wouldn't look good for a rogue mage to be out and about and even worse to run into a fellow spy!

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"Naomi. As soon as the good lord General is dead and I feed that supervisor to the wolves and get back at the desert, I'll be out of your hair and you're free again. Whoops, watch your step there." Climbing the stairs supporting her new bodyguard wasn't exactly easy, but oh, would she love the face on Selvano when they got to his office.

Her mind was racing. The money would certainly hold her over enough till she could find someone else able to fund her project, and she could always find some wealthy nobleman who could feign interest. Anything to get to her ruins. They were rightfully hers after all. Five years scouring that hell of a desert and she couldn't just give up. The others had always said "Oh, there's nothing here Naomi.", or "Stop shoving sand down my throat Naomi." or even "The heat is making me dizzy." but she stood it out. The rumors and textbooks all proved there was something there. She'd stop at nothing, and no one could get in her way. Heck, the only real friends she had had lately were the sand lizards and cacti in the desert. Her colleagues never understood the big picture. It wasn't enough to simply find and study boring old ruins. You had to see what they were like so long ago. Use them. Not just let them sit in some museum collecting dust like they had been for thousands of years.

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"Enough, Naomi, we got ourselves a bit of company. Hey guys, wanna dance?" Beatrice grinned and affectionately stroked the cut on her lip. The place was pretty cramped, which was better for fighting multiple opponents. A nice chokepoint, less room to maneuver, and at best only one could attack at a time. Beatrice quickly unsheathed her sword, held it parallel to the ground and charged. It'd be good to start with a thrusting strike-- not only did this capitalize on her weapon's range, but it would also send the frontrunner falling back, crashing into his friends.

The tip of the sword collided with the soldier's armor, making a huge clanking sound and leaving a dent. Crestia armor was decent at best, so it managed to block the majority of the strike. In reality, it would have been a better strike, if only Beatrice was at one hundred percent.

"Ugh..." The charge clearly was beyond her limits at the moment. Beatrice stumbled back down to the ground, quickly picking herself up in a second. It was clear she wouldn't be trying that trick again anytime soon. "Can you fight Naomi, or do I have to do everything?"

Latching her sword onto her armguard, Beatrice smirked smugly. "Not that I mind..."

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"Hmm?"

Naomi turned around, wiping off her dagger. One had tried to sneak up on them from the staircase below them, obviously hiding to get the jump on the guards. She had cleanly cut his throat, and was currently searching his body for valuables. "Just cleaning up around here. Well let's keep going. We should be able to slip away carefully towards the Commandant's quarters silently since everyone's running around with their heads cut off."

Naomi quickly stepped outside to assess the situation. Plenty of bandits everywhere, apparently fighting some mage. How much did tomes go for these days? No matter, his body would hit the ground soon enough. "This way."

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While Naomi was busy hallucinating about mages and bandits, Beatrice tried to access the situation. There were a good amount of soldiers. In no way could Beatrice take them all on, so she struck at one of the soldiers, making them collide into each other, like weighted metal dominoes. She knocked them about with the intention of disorienting rather than disabling-- there wasn't enough time for the latter. Quickly, she made her way up, assuming Naomi was following her, and slashed at the hanging tarps and threw down everything that wasn't nailed down to buy time. When Beatrice finally made it out of the prison area, she quickly looked for a place to hide, to throw off her scent, even if it was for a little while. She found an open barrel and dove into it, covering it up and looking out a hole. The soldiers ran past, luckily not deciding to look down every single barrel. Just a long string of good luck, Beatrice figured. A long streak of luck just about to run out. She needed to hurry before it did.

When the coast was clear, Beatrice made her way on over to the general's office, following Naomi. She didn't even know if the general was even there. They'd probably find out. The two ascended and zipped through a dizzying amount of corridors and stairs, making Beatrice really question whether or not Naomi knew her way around the place. Finally they had made it up to the top of the stairs. A large wooden door bolted with iron parts and adorned with military awards and decorations stared back down at the two.

"Here, right? Tacky door, just what I'd expect from a hoity-toity pencil pusher like 'im. Now, there's two type of people in this world, Naomi. Those who come through the door, and those who come through the window. Head back 'round, to the window, and I'll bust down the door." Beatrice took a deep breath, leaning against the door. She rubbed her cut again for good luck. Then, with her fingers, she counted down.

Three. The birds outside cooed softly, slowly fluttering away one by one as time went on.

Two. The guards outside were yelling and screaming, attempting to find the two. But up so high, the sounds were mere murmurs.

One. The doors creaked, the window flapped open and close. Beatrice's heart pounded a fierce, regular beat.

Zero. Beatrice slashed at the door and bust down the pieces. She readied her sword and at the top of her voice, told the person inside what exactly was going to happen to him.

"Complaint box is full. I want an advance-- I'll take it off your dead carcass, if you don't mind!"

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"Much obliged, sir...uh...I'll figure out by the end of the battle," said Shizunai, curving his sword around and decapitating another bandit. One of them drew a knife on him and thrusted towards his side. Shizunai dodged the blow somewhat but it cut his robes and the side, avoiding more severe damage the bandit was aiming for. Summoning a portion of his chi, Shizunai turned in one fluid moment and cut the arm of the bandit before piercing his throat. He moved on, heading towards the leader, drawing his scabbard to fend off any blows coming towards him.

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Bullet inclined his head in response to the swordsman's thanks, not in any mood to be talking. He hadn't used an axe in a while. He had already accumulated more than a few cuts and bruises from recklessly blocking attacks with the handle instead of dodging.

Another bandit came at him, sword already swinging. Bullet raised his axe to block, and swore when the blade sliced the weapon in two. He backed away furiously, before picking up a rock. He threw it at the bandit's hand, trying to knock the blade out of his hand. It didn't work, and only served to draw more attention to him.

He ran. It wasn't until then when he saw that several bandits were aflame. He smiled, in spite of his situation. Then an axe missing him by a shade brought him back to his own problem. He ran even faster into the town.

Edited by Camtech075

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"Shall we? Our comrade will want to hear the news of activity," Laterite said.

"We shall," Ivan answered simply. He rose, tossed the random soldier's cap aside, and began to move towards the stables. He soon found their companion tending to his much-beloved wyvern. Ivan didn't really understand Andra's attachment to the thing--it was just an animal, same as any other, more useful than most, but a dumb animal nonetheless. It was a tool, a means to an end, that end being victory in combat; and where that goal was concerned, forming an unnecessary and irrational attachment to one's weapons seemed like a terrible idea. Emotions are great, they make us human, blah blah, but there's no place for them on the battlefield. Ivan wasn't going to voice this opinion anytime soon, though. He didn't mind stirring shit up, actually enjoyed it from time to time, but only if he was stirring it up with people he didn't need or care about.

"Evening. Bad news and good news, good news, something's finally happening around here, bad news, it doesn't sound like it's worth our time. Apparently there's some wolves over in Elrest, and something about spies? The semi-sober half of the garrison and all the other mercs already rushed over to the town, as if it's in so much danger from a couple stray wolves, so we won't be needed there. As for the business about spies, I'd bet money that it was a false alarm raised by some paranoid idiot, then gobbled up by an equally paranoid township. If the people know they're there, they're not good spies anyways, so whatever," Ivan said to Andra.

"Still, not much else to be doing, we could at least pretend to earn our pay. What do you fellows wanna do? Let's get out of this muckpen first though, if we're going to discuss the issue, we could at least do it somewhere that doesn't smell," he said, now addressing both his companions.

The three strode out of the stable and into the yard of the fort, where Ivan immediately became aware of something very suspicious; a small group of armored men hauling a little girl (the same one from earlier today, in fact) across the way, moving as if they intended to exit the fort on the side that faced away from Elrest. She didn't look too happy to be with them, either. Now, that was a kidnapping if Ivan ever saw one. All thoughts of the commotion in town fled from his mind. This looked much more interesting. He was hesitant to get involved in something that didn't concern him, but he had been complaining about the lack of anything to do around here just a while ago. Besides, he did like to stir shit up from time to time.

"Now, that's a kidnapping if I ever saw one. Don't think I can let them get away with that. You guys don't have to back me up here, but I wouldn't mind it if you did, to put it lightly," Ivan said to his friends. He then looked to the armored men and began to walk briskly towards them. "Hey! What're you doing over there? That girl's supposed to be locked up tight, and you soldiers are supposed to be heading towards Elrest!" Ivan shouted at them.

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(Elrest)

As another bandit fell to the blade wielded by Shizunai a war cry went up from the rear. Instantly killing several of the soldier. As the group who had led the charge turned around to see what the commotion was about, the captain who had been dispatched to lead the group fell to the ground. His head split into two. Mercenaries all around them were attaching red pieces of cloth to themselves and attacking anyone without the pieces of cloth. A symbol to those who had rebelled against Talgusta's army. Mercenaries who were infact not working for Crestia at all. "Kill the heretics!" one of the men yelled, shortly followed by a rush of mercenaries charging towards those who had eagerly charged themselves at the supposed bandits.

The bandits leader spat on the ground unimpressed "Took ya goons long enuf" he muttered as he rallied his men against the mercenaries now pincered between the bandits and the rebels.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Talgusta Generals Quarters)

Beatrice looked around the Generals room as she finished threatening whoever was inside..... Only thing was there was no one inside. The room had already been trashed to the point it looked more like a battlefield then the top commanding officers room. It was obvious there had been a struggle, blood splattered against the wall in a fashion that made it look as if someone had been attacked slumped against the wall and then relocated. Even an idiot could tell something wasn't right.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(Kieru/Ivan)

Kieru looked up hopefully as she heard the shouting of someone who seemed to disagree with the way she was being treated. Taking advantage of the surprise on the soldiers face, Kieru quickly pulled her arm away scampering over towards Ivan. "Kieru came back to tell people to run away, cause bad stuff will happen and people go splat and building go boom and really really painful for everyone and lots of people go bye bye" she blurted out, not even sure if she was making any sense. The soldier smirked as Kieru tried to hide herself from view.

Soldier: "You there, stop your yapping and help me get the sister out of here. I didn't think even you mercenaries would stick around this fort after the briefing Lieutenant Helvorn gave earlier. I wouldn't have come back here myself it Celist hadn't tasked me with protecting his messenger." he said indicating Kieru. He paused and then looked around nervously. "Speaking of protecting, I suggest we get the hell out of here, don't want to be caught up in the-"

*BOOM!* XD

Kieru fell flat on the floor as the earth shook beneath her, bits of wood, stone and steel pelted her back as the nearby building exploded in a spectacle of destruction. She looked up briefly groaning, she was too late. What remained of the dining hall was set ablaze and while she couldn't hear the screaming and groaning being emitted from the survivors she could sense them all around her. She screamed loudly herself as a muscular leg fell beside her head, charred and still smoking. It was a strange feeling knowing that she was shouting but not being able to hear herself. Quickly pushing herself away from the leg she looked around frantically to see if there was anyone who would get her out of here. The soldier who had been trying to get her to go with him lay nearby, his head crushed by a large chunk of wood which had most likely served as a pillar only moments ago. She looked around for the other men she'd seen, the man who'd tried to help her earlier, only to find him on the ground nearby as well. It wasn't clear whether he too was dead or if he'd been sensible enough to get down as debri flew through the sky but what she could see of him seemed to look intact. She looked around with a blank expression as another building on the the other side of the fort exploded, most likely the soldiers quarters. "Kieru tried" she whispered to herself quietly.

Edited by Kanami

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Arias, still hidden behind some trees, looked at the situation.

'There's nothing that I can do at this point. If I attack the bandits, I risk getting myself killed, or killing innocent people. Or at the very least, it'll be apparent that I'm really not a mercenary,' he thought to himself. 'I just hope that the soldiers here can hold out for a little while. I need to get back to the fort - Try to get some people to assist the situation here.'

Arias slipped quietly into the forest, and after escaping the fray, began to head back to the fort, posthaste. Although it was 30 minutes getting to town, Arias made it back to the fort in 20.

'Oh... Oh my,' Arias said to himself. 'What in the name of all that is good happened here?' This... This is...

'I need to find a survivor. Someone might know what the heck is happening here.'

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"Oh no...." Shizunai muttered, pausing briefly like a few of the other bandits. Looking behind, he saw the captain dead, his skull split and rebels of the Crestian army charge towards him and his fellow soldiers.

"...Dirty underhanded tricks are only used by those too weak to fight with honor and prevail," he said, sensing movement behind him. He ducked one axe, but got hit in the shoulder by the other, but parried the third, one of the rebels, with his scabbard and stabbed him in the stomach. Trying to ignore the pain in his soldier, he ran on, pursued by the two bandits. A couple more came, but Shizunai hit them over the head with his scabbard and kicked them in the gut should they be directly in front of him. Otherwise, he merely ignored those who weren't, gaining more pursuers in the process. He reached the leader and with great speed, spun around with his sword flashing, cutting towards them to scare them into leaving him alone.

"I challenge you to single combat, no interference. Those who tread the path of evil will find their judgment soon, like you will when I'm done with you."

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Ah, the glorious uncertainly of combat that Hubert had read about had finally showed its ugly, ugly face. Apparently, these were not simple bandits at all, but some sort of... what do they a call it? Religious nut? yes, that was where that term "heretic" was from, yes, Hubert was sure of it. Ah, it was all the more excellent that Hubert hadn't gotten involved in their little lesser civil war yes. Now he could safely sit it out away from this ruckus and try and do that spy thing he was supposed to be doing.

So Hubert spied and... it was boring. Really boring. Unfathomably boring even for his complex mind! He was about to do something about the boring--by sitting around and doing nothing--when he heard something. Something familiar, something comforting, something he hadn't caused as well as he knew! An explosion!? Without him being behind it! Preposterous! Hubert would have to have a few choice words that ended with someone clutching charred flesh once he returned to the fort. Well, if--nah when, none of that sissy non-certain stuff for Hubert! Sure, the situation was obviously difficult between all these dreadful lesser-kin, but Huber could easily just exit the whole area despite being the middle of the pack or sorts.

Hubert turned and face one of those annoying squalor pads the local savages would desecrate things in. Hubert gripped his grandiose fire tome "Bobby" and began channeling the ebb and flow needed to sent a blast of elemental fire at the door of the domicile. "Blowing across the land, the endless nurturer, the endless killer," Hubert traced a triangle in the air as he spoke, "everywhere in everything, burning, eating, devouring without care," Hubert thrust his finger forward and pointed at the door, "living breathing blasting!" The incantation Hubert had no need of saying or any knowledge of saying finished. Flames danced out from Hubert's fingers and impacted on the cheap excuse the savages had for doors and knocked it clear inside.

"Yip yip yip!" Hubert picked up the longer parts of his robe and ran inside, ignorant of the fire the door was slowly causing and of any occupants. Who cares if some savages get burned? All the better! But unfortunately for Hubert, there was no backdoor. Did these brutes have no sense of convenience for him? No, that's why they're the lesser-kin living in such a repulsive place.

"Burn burn burn, set it all ablaze!" Hubert echoed a shorter chant. Nothing happened. "Uh oh."

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Arias looked around at the fort. Well, what was left of it, at least... Certainly Arias enjoyed a good explosion as much as the next mage, but he certainly didn't enjoy seeing innocent people get killed, or at least, not in this brutal manner. He quickly walked around looking at the building remains, but it seemed that everyone there was dead. 'That could have been me,' he muttered to himself, thankful that he was still alive, but not liking the situation in the least.

Just then, he heard a voice nearby. He turned around and saw a small girl whimpering.

'Excuse me, miss,' he said to the young girl, 'But do you know what's happened here? Did you see what happened?'

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"Heretics, huh?" Clearly these were Granford soldiers or priests or something. Bullet doubled back the battlefield, this time avoiding the group still following him. While they were looking for him, he scavenged a sword from a corpse. Payback time.

--- (15 seconds later) ---

Bullet cast his eyes around for the mage he'd spotted earlier, but he was nowhere to be found. How strange. He spun around, slicing a soldier in two before looking for the leader. Spotting him, he smiled. The smile of a hunter who's just spotted his prey.

"Watch me now, boys. I'm about to get revenge for your deaths."

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Of all the things he had suspected, an exploding building, let alone the one he had just exited, was not among those. The fact that he hadn't been hit by debris was lucky - he hadn't even ducked, not prepared for it to occur - but he took that as fortune that few others were given, as dead soldiers and mercenaries alike littered the area, in pieces or in whole. Ivan seemed to be alright - whether he had been hit and was simply unconscious, or had simply taken cover before it happened, he couldn't say. He didn't appear injured, though, which was likely a good thing.

"I think I can explain it," Laterite said smoothly, kneeling in front of the girl. She looked scared, but he couldn't blame her - it seemed to him that the entire world had exploded, at least for the moment. He supposed it was either the work of a powerful mage, or sabotage, more likely the second, because if there were an enemy mage capable of doing that without warning, then they would have all been dead by now. He assumed a fire had been set, just to destroy the building - but the plentiful stores of alcohol had likely been burned, leading to... boom. He was wondering why he was thinking this, instead of explaining, but, ah well, he'd just have to do without this insight. "The building exploded spectacularly, this dandelion unfortunately witnessed it." He shook his head - it was a terrible shame for such a small girl to see such horrible things. "Are you alright, miss?" he asked, not wanting to patronize her - anyone in the fort was here for a reason. As far as he could tell, she could have been a noble's daughter, and someone to be respected, not admonished for being unfortunate to be a child in a military camp.

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"Well, that bites the biggun." Beatrice stroked her cut thoughtfully. More than anything, she was taking in the situation. The general had been brutally slaughtered, or had a really bad papercut. Either way, he wasn't present in the room. Two major things about that detail affected Beatrice. One, her impromptu contract with Miss Naomi. Not that she particular cared about honor and whatnot, but it was nice to tie up loose ends. With no body there was no proof of the kill. Second, just as the missing body excluded her from the credit for Naomi, it completely implicated her as the murder to the guards. It was quite possible the worst situation possible, given the circumstances. So after a moment of deliberation, Beatrice decided to bluff through it all. "Oh, yea, baby! I'm damn good! Killed 'im before I even got through the door! You can thank me la--"

Beatrice was interrupted by a loud, ground-quaking explosion. It was always a bit bothersome when those things happen. Beatrice rushed on over to the window to examine what the heck was going on. Explosions and bursts of fire came out of nowhere. Meteor mages, catapults? Did it even matter? Another explosion rocked the entire place, knocking over bookshelves and throwing Beatrice off her feet.

"Tch, what a pain in the arse," Beatrice quickly picked herself up and looked around at the room. She wouldn't let her visit go to waste. Digging through the piles of bloody books and scattered papers, Beatrice searched for a particular document. Shuffling through the mess with the grace of an enraged boar, Beatrice finally produced what she wanted from the place. Official military documents, denoting the carrier's official status as a member of the Crestian army. Among other things, these papers would grant Beatrice certain immunities and protections common to soldiers in the army. She'd be able to walk alongside then without question. Beatrice wasn't quite sure what she was going to do with them just yet, but it would come in handy, she figured. Using the toppled inkwell and quill, Beatrice signed her own name onto the papers, then stamped it with the general's official stamp.

"Now to get out of this chicken--" Another explosion interrupted Beatrice's one-liners, much to her frustration. Aggressors never did have the proper appreciation for a solidly delivered catchphrase.

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"Nnnnngghh......"

Ivan tried to rise, only to stumble and fall back down, face-first. After uttering a string of garbled curses, he tried again, and this time he succeeded (though only after a considerable amount of wobbling). His ears were still ringing; the lights playing in front of his eyes were only just now beginning to fade away. His first thought was his two friends--a quick check around him determined that they were both alive and well, if not necessarily conscious yet, in Andra's case. Laterite was already up and trying to console the little girl, who had also been lucky enough to survive. Ivan's next order of business was to flex his limbs and feel around his head for blood. After a few seconds, he determined that all of his arms and legs were still attached and his skull was still intact. He'd been pretty damn lucky. On the other hand, getting randomly exploded couldn't really be called lucky, regardless of whether or not you lived through the experience.

"What the fuuuck......maybe that junk about spies wasn't horseshit after all.....hey, how long's it been?" Ivan said, directing his last statement to a nearby man. The guy was a soldier, among the few lucky enough to survive. He was sitting a few feet away, holding a bloody shoulder and looking both pained and pissed off.

"Hell if I know, I just woke up a few minutes ago. No telling how long it's been, coulda been five minutes, coulda been twenty, for all I can tell," the man answered.

"Well shit, feels like it just happened," Ivan commented.

As he continued to gather himself together, some guy came running in from the direction of Elrest. Figured; of course when the soldiers saw the blast, they'd come running back to check it out, and Elrest wasn't that far away. If people were just now getting here, Ivan had probably been out for something like twenty to thirty minutes. This particular random guy, who had the look of a Tolmaen mercenary, came up and tried to address the little girl with questions about what had just happened here.

"Let her be, she's a kid and she's just witnessed something godawful. As for what happened, are you braindead? The fucking fort exploded, what's it look like?" Ivan said to the guy, shaking his head in disbelief at the man's combination of stupidity and complete lack of concern for the child.

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'Yes, you're right,' Arias said. 'I suppose that I've been so worked up lately, getting used to army life and such, that I've forgotten to show a little sympathy. Right now, the top priority is to put out these flames and search for survivors.'

I certainly can't use magic here. Besides the fact that it'd blow my cover for certain, I don't want to risk endangering the lives of those caught in the blast. At least, those who are still alive...

The only problem is that we can't be sure that there aren't still enemies in the fort. That, and we don't know if there are still other bombs to go off.

'Well, I'm going to search for survivors, and to try to figure out the cause of this. I suppose that you could help, although maybe it would be better if you stayed and comforted the girl. I think it's pretty clear that I'm no good with children.'

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Kieru looked at the two men who were talking about something, she thought she'd been addressed by one of them, but didn't know who or how long ago that was. As her hearing finally she started to return, she could make out the groanings of dying bodies all around her. Some had apparently survived. She'd suspected a large number of soldiers to come to investigate but only a handful appeared from the other buildings. Hardly enough considering the amount of soldiers who had been around earlier that day. Looking at Laterite, she shook her head, despite not suffering any injuries. She'd been too late again, she couldn't exactly remember the last time, but she knew she'd tried to warn people about a danger before, only to be caught up in the chaos.

She saw the look of concern in one of their eyes before correcting herself "Kieru's fine, bit dirty, but no blood" she muttered quietly. As the robed man started talking about survivors her mind finally started to function again. "Kieru help too! Kieru's a healer" she said less enthusiastically then usual. Boasting about her healing powers when she'd just let a whole lot of people down by coming back too late wasn't something even she couldn't force herself to do. She quickly looked around for anyone who seemed injured and rushed over, she felt like she was forgetting something important but she was a healer. Nothing could be more important then healing those in need.. could it?

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