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Reinfleche

The Golden Age. Act 2: Converging Paths.

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"A shame indeed," Khan agreed with Kaya. "But I do not think poorly of your Knights because there were deserters that attacked here. On the contrary, the Knights and their families here were quite kind, and it is very unfortunate that many fell victim to the treacherous tactics of a ring of barbarians, regardless of the former occupation of their leader. My destination was your capital, Madrigal. We of Dione arrived at different times in your port city, Verio... a much different place from Dione. We do not have such big cities. The Duke was quite welcoming, and the mage woman who introduced herself to us was also fascinating. Magic is not as common in Dione, either, much less such advanced spells! General Gawain's group was first, then Emperor Alexander's, and lastly I was on a group of three ships lead by General Lancelot, which you've unfortunately seen the remains of. All things accounted for, the Emperor should have reached Madrigal by now. I know that you have no ruler, so he was going to speak with your... Commander, I believe the rank is. You came from the south, did you not? We would be heading in opposite directions, I'm afraid."

He smiled at the recognition of his axe. "Ah, you know of the Lionheart? But it has been a Dionetian treasure for years. I hail from Planitia, one of the countries in our Empire, and it has been used by high-ranking members of our military. I was honored when the King bestowed it upon me when I reached a high rank in the Emperor's united army. How is it that Planitian tales have reached here when so seldom our continents have made contact with each other?"

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Kolmar saw someone important.  He also heard several members of his group shoving their collective feet in their mouths.  I don't need to make a bad situation worse.  Instead, he wandered over to one of the houses.  "Yo, everyone okay in there?"

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"And years before then, it belonged to King Peregrine - after which it was stolen away. If it really made its way to Dione, that explains why it was never found." Had the thief fled there and pawned it away almost immediately, and started a new life abroad? It was a disturbing series of events, but it made an uncomfortable amount of sense. Aaron eyed Khan carefully, not quite sure what to make of the man. Could he be trusted? What if his story was all a lie? He had no way of verifying it for sure, and the man could just be covering his tracks. Or perhaps, Aaron realised, he was confused and was overthinking all of this. Fate seemed to enjoy screwing with him.

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Rediscovery

"It is from Titan? Then that must have been a long, long time ago it was taken from one continent to another... I've never hear of such a thing until now. But if it vanished from your lands only to show up in ours, that does indeed seem like the best explanation." Khan glanced at Aaron curiously for a moment. "That axe you have is quite similar, is it not? May I see it? You may examine this one, of course, to be sure that it is the same." He hoisted up the axe once again, then lowered it and extended the handle to him.

Battle-Weary

"Who's there? You can't come here." A wounded middle-aged man drew a sword and shield when Kolmar opened his door, a strange light blocking the path, but he lowered the weapon and the barrier after a moment. "Ah, you don't look like one of them... Sorry, come in. A bit paranoid. Those bastards killed a lot of the people here, but they didn't quite finish me off, and then I blocked the way in." He kicked at a pair of dead raiders close by. "Their leader was once a Knight posted here, but it wasn't long after Thalia became Commander that he was discharged, and for good reason... he was no defender of the people at any point in his career. This place is a small time watch location and a community, and now he's gone and disrupted it. But judging from it having quieted down outside, I take it they've been stopped. Thanks for that. Hmm..." After a moment's pause, he handed Kolmar a small spherical device, and then the shield. "Take these, as thanks. This one's called a Shine Barrier- that's how I stopped anyone from entering after those two. Might come in handy for you some day. As for the shield, well... you should know what do do with that."

Kolmar receives a Shine Barrier and Dracoshield.

Good Fortune

Yarvus rode towards the group after his brief detour to the nearby house, now bearing an unusual-looking buckler. "I'm glad to say there were several people in that home that were unharmed," he informed Velvet, who he'd run into first. "It was a bit further away from the rest of the houses, so they hid from the raiders, and granted me this. It's said to prevent against unfortunate strikes, which would likely have been more useful while those scoundrels were still breathing, but I'll certainly not complain. What a sad fate that the kind people of this place to be attacked so ruthlessly."

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Important things? Right, there was a man speaking to Aaron and Kaya now, apparently another that was trying to keep the outpost safe, and--

Raz squinted her eyes as she made further note of the man's armor. "So he's from Dione too..." She muttered, struggling to get up, the lightning still had left her pretty drained of strength. "Ugh, I'm sorry, can you give me a lift?" Raz was certainly in no mood to take long to stand up, holding her arm up.

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"Thanks.  Leader'll find a good use for all this," Kolmar said, less gruff than usual.  "Stay safe an' all."  He wandered out, in search of another house.  Maybe I'll get more free stuff?

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With Aaron and Telmara bombarding the knight with questions about his axe, Joviana decided to ignore the awkward conversation and turn her attention to Yarvus, who had just arrived with some good news. " Its truly sad that these people were attacked so suddenly. Hopefully they won't face anymore threats for the time-being, but I doubt that there is anything we can do. Oh, right. Velvet, where do we go now? Was this the outpost that you were talking about?"

Edited by Magnificence Incarnate

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So neither side had known the full story? That explained the axe’s appearance rather well. Aaron still wasn’t sure what to make of Khan until he made his offer. “You-Erm, yes.” He blinked, not quite sure if he was hearing that right. “It’s a... replica, allegedly. Easy enough to mistake for the real thing for the uninformed.” Or the delusional. 

He offered up Khan the false article before grasping the real Lionheart with both hands, lip quivering slightly. Since Aaron had learned the truth, he’d never expected to find the real weapon - much less hold it. But it wasn’t his. He had to remember that and keep things in perspective, remaining quiet for a short time. 

“Thank you, Major Khan. I’m glad that the weapon ended up in worthy hands.” Aaron had no claim to it, as much as the knowledge pained him. That aside, the axe was part of the journey, rather than the destination. He could make do. He had to.

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"Unfortunate indeed... surprise attacks can catch even valiant defenders off-guard. Oh, that's a Hoplon Guard, isn't it?" Velvet turned her eyes away from the scroll she was reading. "They're not very common, and quite useful. Speaking of uncommon, their boss had something rare too... an Occult Scroll. They say it unlocks hidden potential. I took the liberty of reading it myself, though I'm not so sure what exactly it's done yet. Maybe I have to finish for it to do very much." She turned towards Joviana, nodding. "It is, but we were late... A small village, even with some guards, was probably not well enough prepared to deal with such a large raid. At least we could help at all."

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"He wants your axe," Telmara laid out, not exactly feeling that sad over their delusional knight's lack of success. She'd suffered plenty, seeing him literally crack some was pretty amusing. No escorting, though... Well, they'd helped them him out, that was good enough for now. Probably. "What's next then, Kaya? I guess we just keep going if we can't help out here further?" Probably... At least the next break would give her time to poke at another type of magic.


Give her a lift? An odd choice of words for just raiding her hand up... Did she want more? Well, no harm in trying. Mikhaila bent over and scooped Raz up into her arms, holding her under her legs and around her back. "Are you comfortable? You're far lighter than I was expecting..."

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Aaron frowned. What Telmara said was... entirely true, really. “Well, yes.” After swinging around a forgery for so long, how could he not want the real thing? But still, after one last look at the weapon, he prepared to offer it back to Khan. “But it isn’t mine, and what I said before is still true. It belongs with a protector.” As much as it pained him to part with the relic, finally knowing where it had ended up was some small amount of closure. He just wished that it didn’t feel like a funeral.

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An Exchange

Khan took the replica axe, examining it with about as much interest as Aaron did the real one. "How intriguing... it is different, yet has a very similar feel to it. Real or not, it is very convincing." But as Aaron handed it towards him and with Telmara's abrupt comment, Khan stared at him for several moments before speaking up, "Tell me, sir, what is your name? I have been proud to wield the Lionheart for the six years I have had it. But we of Dione are a people of tradition, and while it has served me and the people of Planitia well, now that I know the history of it, it seems in ill taste for us to claim a treasure so legendary in Titan that was wrongfully stolen. I would be honored to return it to its original owners, and I am sure the people of the Empire would agree. If you would accept, I would ask in return for this copy of yours. Though it is an imitation, I feel there is much that can be learned from it. Is this agreeable?"

Right Decisions, Wrong Reasons?

Kolmar's dubious motives lead him to one more house, a tear-eyed teenage girl opening the door. She looked around, seeing the aftermath of the combat, before speaking up after a few moments. "Thank you for your help, but... we don't want to talk right now, here... there are fallen who need to be buried. Here... this scroll is for warriors, and we don't want anything more to do with battles. Please, just leave us be." She disappeared and placed the item at the doorstep before shutting it.

Disrupted Peace

Yarvus nodded at both Joviana and Velvet's sentiments. "Such are the horrors of small battles, much less wars. That is why we must achieve our goals and stop Timaeus, so that innocents can avoid paying the price of his actions. Even though we are delayed... is it not best that we continue to Koerm as our current destination? That all this happened is unfortunate, but as much as we may lament this state of affairs, it doesn't seem to alter our course of action."

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Khan's words made Aaron feel a little better about himself. If the real weapon's owner saw merit in its duplicate, perhaps he wasn't so much of a fool to begin with. Or maybe he was. It was difficult to tell.

What truly surprised Aaron however was the offer that followed. His eyes widened as he listened, barely believing his ears. "My name is Aaron Lawson, Major Khan." he responded, frankly baffled by the man's offer. "A-Are you certain about this? I'd be more than happy with this arrangement, if you find my axe useful, but..." Words failed him. This situation was so bizarre that it couldn't possibly be real.

Could it?

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Khan seemed distracted enough by Aaron and axes for Kaya to feel comfortable turning to Telmara and focusing on her for now. "Mmm, yes. I want to ask around, see if there's anyone I can help, but once we've settled that, the only thing we can do is carry on. We cannot raise the dead, and we cannot tarry too long in one place helping people rebuild, as much as I wish we could." She sighed, rubbing a temple with her hand for a brief second before continuing, "This is the sign of what is to come, I'm afraid. There is an evil invading this world, and things like this are just the start. The King of Time, Knights deserting, who knows what else. The world is going to be facing a storm and we cannot patch every leak. But perhaps we can stop the storm..." She probably sounded crazy, talking about their group like they were heroes of a prophecy or something. But perhaps they were. After all, they had her dreams guiding them. Maybe they truly were destined for greatness.

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"Mikha--" When Raz was asking for help, she'd only had thought of being helped to standing position, using Mikhaila's shoulder to lean herself on. Being swept and carried by Mikhaila like a baby was a bit too far from what Raz was asking or prepared to. "N-no-- oh, great..." That was grounds for blushing even for Raz, burying her face between her palms. "Mikhaila, I was going to try walking, I just needed something to hold onto." Raz forced out, slightly muffled by her hands. It's not like she could blame Mikhaila for not being a people person, but in the middle of an outpost and their group? "Let's see Kaya and Aaron... and Telmara. I need to talk to Kaya." And also learn about this armored man, while at it.

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"Well, Velvet did say that we were supposed to rest at the outpost, but you're right, I guess it doesn't change anything. Still, it looks to be a long, difficult journey from here. I hope we don't get into any more battles, honestly. A quiet stay at Veiro would be nice...maybe it would let you get enough time and peace to read that scroll, Velvet. "

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"Oh." That was no fun. He wasn't supposed to just get it when she mentioned that... Telmara sighed to herself and let the man have have fantasies back. It did feel a bit unfair that he'd get his wish just like that... And she was stuck like this. Best not to dwell on it... You'll just make yourself upset. He probably can't even use that thing properly, anyway. Kaya was talking to her that would be better than... This... "An evil invading the world? Really?" From one fate nut to another, she supposed. "I'd like to avoid assumptions for now... All this talk of greater purpose is giving me a headache. Let's just... Just keep looking for what we're looking for. Where were we going, again? Between nearly dying and all of this... Talk, I'm afraid I forgot. Oh, and... I need to talk to you, when you have a moment. If that's alright..."


"Oh... My apologies. I didn't know if you were able to stand properly, yet." Mikhaila let her down onto the ground, none the wiser, but she did take notice of Raz's embarrassment. How interesting... For now, she could be a wallflower in the girl's talks. It was easier to glean information from things when someone else was prying for it. She didn't have the most... Eloquent way, with words. Or much else.

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"Don't worry about it... thank you." At least Mikhaila caught on quickly, leaving Raz to stand on her own, simply leaning on Mikhaila for support. "I'll recover soon, don't you worry." The fatigue was going to go away eventually, but it was just a pain for now. At least it was an excuse to rely on Mikhaila.

Walking with Mikhaila to the small group talking, Raz quickly fixated on the artifact Aaron was holding on in place of his old replica. "That's... the real one." Was he receiving that as a gift? That was unexpected to say the least. Why did he bring it here? This was supposed to... ugh, the Emperor's brilliant campaigns.

"Kaya, how long are we going to remain here? While the group is tired, we still have a long way to go." Raz shifted her glance to the armoured Dionetian at the bat of an eye. "You hail from Planitia?" Raz first asked, she felt like she had more to say, but stopped. "... Why is your emperor using this approach with Titan? He knows our government is shaky as it is, right?" He could very well sweep through the coast if he wished to, and yet...

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"Ah... yes. You're right." Telmara was put off by her words. She was right to be. Kaya probably sounded like a crazy woman, talking about all of this. Her visions were true, but that didn't mean it would show up like she thought. And even if it did, it wasn't something she should just be spouting off about. She'd been taught better than that. Talking about her visions never seemed to lead anywhere good. People just ended up scared of her or thinking... Ugh, stop it Kaya. "We were headed to Koerm. I think it's still a good destination. And yes, of course. You know you can talk to me about anything. What did you want to talk about? If it's something small we can talk now, if not we should be able to talk tonight."

Raz was being supported by Mika, caused by the fatigue Kaya had predicted earlier, but was still as sharp as usual. Her question to Kaya was hardly the focus of her conversation with the group, but Kaya answered quickly anyways. "I wanted to check on the residents here and then head out. We shouldn't tarry here, I don't think. Best to leave these people to recover without having to worry about us for the night."

Edited by scorri

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"Maybe so. It's not so long, and fortunately it's easy enough to decipher. I found something else interesting too," Velvet commented, withdrawing a brilliant yellow tome from her bag and handing it to Joviana. "Do you know what this one is? Someone gave me it in one of the houses... I paid them some of my gold as compensation. Even though they said they wanted to be rid of it, it's too valuable to just take like that, and they can hopefully make use of the money to help in the efforts of rebuilding the village. Anyway, I thought it might interest you, if you recognize it as I did." She smirked a little, unsure of what to expect from Joviana, seeing as light wasn't her preferred discipline.

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"Koerm... Right." Raz was there... With Mikhaila? "Huh... Ah, yes, I suppose I can... I wanted you to teach me about staves. You're the only healer in our group, and I have a wealth of knowledge about magic. As long as it isn't incredibly difficult, I should be able to l-lessen some of that burden, for you..." As much as she took pleasure in setting those that deserved it on fire, taking care of these people was probably more important. She'd grown to like the company of some of them, anyway... Kaya, Raz, Mikhaila, Joviana... She hadn't spoken much to the last one, but she was at least enjoyable to be around. Aaron was... Interesting, for the wrong reasons. But still interesting... "That, and... I... Wouldn't mind some more private time with you..."


Having Raz rest against her was new. She didn't exactly mind, but, hurt or not, Raz was being far too vulnerable, no? "You're a far different person than that last evening," she muttered, keeping the amusement quiet and to herself. There was a rather pressing matter to attend to, anyway... How much Raz knew about the ways of the world. Maybe the impression she'd given on day one had just been a disguise. She'd get told eventually if it was important. Probably...

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New Destiny

Khan smiled, patting Aaron on the shoulder. "Fear not. I believe you have the potential to be someone great with this someday, Sir Aaron Lawson. And I swear I will not waste this new opportunity for me, either." He raised the Lionheart imitation overhead just as he had the real one, chuckling. "I am quite certain with my decision. Let us both go onward with a different outlook, and may you use your nation's treasure to bring honor back to Titan."

Aaron trades the False Lionheart for the Lionheart! He also replaces his old talent, Destiny, with New Destiny.

His hearty disposition became confused with Raz's question. "The Emperor's approach? How do you mean? We did not know of Titan's leadership troubles until we visited here for ourselves. New between continents travels very, very slowly because of how far we are from each other, and the route being unknown. It is almost unheard of from the same people coming directly from Dione to Titan, and then back- even the rare traders who stop here usually visit only in multi-continental journeys. If we had known, this journey would have been quite unusual. The Emperor wanted to speak with your leader in order to continue forming alliances across all of Dominus. After unifying Dione, he visited the other five continents- they are all much closer- then finally here, only to discover that there has not been a proper ruler here for years. That has made our initial objective difficult... but the Emperor decided that, at least, we should begin preliminary discussions with Commander Thalia, since she is acting leader of your capital."

Edited by Reinfleche
sf sucks

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Joviana stared at the tome for a bit, noticing a familiar pattern of design...and then it clicked. She gasped and slowly felt the pattern on the bind of the book, trying to collect her thoughts. "Yes...yes, I've seen this before. But it can't be! How did the villagers get their hands on this? Final Flash...I've only heard stories about it!" she exclaimed, recalling its description. "The user is cloaked in a shining light, and a beam of it is focused on to a target. This would definitely be a handy tome...but is anyone her skilled enough to use it? Perhaps you, Sir Yarvus." 

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"So he didn't know?" Raz tried to gauge Khan's confusion, "And his objective now is to speak with Commander Thalia. ...So the reason you split from him is to spread the word?" That was what Raz expected to hear next, anyways. It was bizarre that the emperor brought so many and then split his men from his security on a peace mission. Titan is rather small, they could overtake it rather easily. I'm sure he knows that, if speaking to Thalia fails. "You're headed to Madrigal next, I take?"

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"Oh? Oh! Yes, of course! I would love to help teach you some healing. It's quite simple, really. At least the basics are, and..." Kaya trailed off as the last bit of Telmara's explanation hit her. She blushed and tried to cough to cover her silence. "Ahem, er, yes. Well, here, take this for now." Kaya handed over her old heal staff to Telmara with a smile. "This one is a bit battered, but it should still do the trick for now. And I know Velvet has one that I bought from her. I just was wanting to use this one all the way before I switched over. She can store so much in that bag of hers."

Telmara probably didn't want to hear her talking about Velvet though. Not after she'd talked about wanting to be alone with Kaya. "And... yeah. Alone time. It'll be good for training. I... Yeah." This was all so awkward. Telmara knew how she felt so strongly and Kaya just... I just have so much on my mind right now. But she understands. She doesn't care. ... Yet. "Maybe once we settle for the night, I can give you a first lesson, ok?"

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