The Sentinels: Sleeping Giants

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Oh thank God, it had worked...barely, but it had worked. Ben followed up with something that destroyed the launchers, and as Drake sagged into the wall the gates burst open. "Go...I'll be...right behind you..." he gasped, waving them ahead. Holy magic wasn't the easiest power to wield even when the caster's faith was unshakable. When Drake was far more skeptical than he'd been five years ago, it was a miracle he'd managed it at all, and the effort had left him weak. Though...his curse didn't feel like it was about to kick in. Which was both excellent and concerning at the same time, as the fighting was going to go on for a while...an attack now, before he joined the fray, would have been a better option by far than the one where he froze in place while fighting. Still, he wasn't about to let Lilith, Guido, and the others get themselves killed because he wasn't there to help watch their backs. Hoisting his axe and staff, the alchemist hurried after the others. They were going to get through this, he still could feel that certainty of knowledge running through him.
 

Zemelci

Well-Known Member
It had worked and Ben hadn’t even had a seizure. He counted that amongst a very small list of victories. It was a list that was opposed by a far longer list of losses that was very wide ranging but Ben decided that that didn’t matter right now. As the gates burst open, the army streamed forth and Mark stopped behind to catch his breath, presumably recovering from that neat little bit of holy magic he’d used to save them all from a crossbow bolt. Giving the former holy man a nod, he dashed forwards. He had his sword and shield but he’d still not managed to obtain either a bow and arrow or a set of throwing knives, both of which still deeply disappointed him. Drawing the sword in his right hand, he closed the last couple of metres as an opposition warrior flew towards him. The blow flew towards him, a clumsy blow, and he ducked underneath it, brushing the sword up with his shield and impaling his foe. As more bodies rushed forward, Ben set about the gruesome and tiresome business of whittling down his opponent’s numbers, cautious and wary to ensure he didn’t let himself accidentally get pulled into their ranks. After all, there was a lot left in this fight yet.
 

braetwalda

Well-Known Member
The Fortress
There was a thunderous crash as the two lines of armoured men made contact within the narrow confines of the gatehouse with the battle degenerating into a pushing match as the two opposing shieldwalls met as each side tried to break through the others defences in order to butcher those behind.

It was impossible to tell how long they remained within the stinking, blood drenched crush of men with the defenders still raining down stones and javelins onto their undefended heads turning the gatehouse into an abattoir that echoed with the shrieks and cries of the dead and wounded, all the while accompanied by the clash of steel on wood. It was only the brute strength and determination of the mercenaries, that had been gained through years of experience in fighting such battles that allowed them to drive back the lightly armoured Lamadean's, who were more used to fighting pirates and raiders than mail clad warriors, who once inside wasted little time in butchering all who got in their way.

With the advantage lost and a dangerous enemy within their walls the majority of the remaining Lamadon soldiers fled to the stone keep and its spike filled ditch though some elected to either take refuge within the buildings scattered within the walls or else head for the gates through which they hoped to escape. It was these men that the mercenaries turned their attention to; fighting a series of short and bloody skirmishes as they went from building to building with each group making their final stand with precious few yielding themselves to the unreliable mercy of the mercenaries. Meanwhile the men within the stout, stone keep would remain safe within their walls for the time being, for the task of assaulting that sturdy bastion would fall to others now that the outer walls and harbour full of ships were now within their possession though the day was still far from over.


Drake
Wiping the blade of his axe clean on the shirt of a dead soldier Drake stood within what had once been a training yard, now soaked with the blood of friend and foe alike; the surrounding barracks and armouries now empty of the enemy soldiers that had held their ground and then subsequently died within this place.

He was by himself having lost his companions during the confusion of the battle with him simply following the mass of men that had headed to this place so as to avoid being completely isolated. His muscles ached, his armour was scratched and coated in the blood and grime of battle with his helmet so heavily dented by thrown stone that he'd been forced to remove it or else fight half blind, though thankfully it wasn’t so damaged that a skilled blacksmith wouldn't be able to return to its original shape. For a hefty price of course.

With the battle winding down and with many of the mercenaries now settling themselves down for a much needed rest, Drake found there was no need to hurry and that he could seek out his friends at his own pace, not that he could be careless as there were still some enemy lurking within the fortress who'd no doubt love the opportunity to ambush a lone warrior.

It was as he was turning a corner that Drake would be greeted by the unexpected sight of Arcturus and Lilith sprawled atop of one another within a secluded corner with the petite red head crying out as she writhed beneath the far larger warrior as he embraced her.

Knowing Lilith's predilections this was perhaps to be expected, after all it was well known that she wasn't particularly choosy about her partners and nor was she worried overly concerned about such concepts as modesty and decency. It was only through mere chance that the girl would turn her head at that exact moment that Drake was able to see that her skin was in fact turning blue as Arcturus' hands slowly choked the life out of her, with her efforts to resist him growing weaker by the second.

Ben
A sharp hiss of pain erupted from Guido's lips as Ben pressed the piece of rag against the other man's arm "you know, you can be gentle if you like, I won't tell anyone" he complained, turning his head to glare at the dead Lamadean soldier that had inflicted the wound upon him.

Sat atop the thick stone walls the pair of them had an excellent view of both the fortress and its large stone keep, and the beach on which they'd landed with fresh boats laden with men already landing upon its sands "With any luck we won't be expected to assault the keep with that lot landing" Guido spoke in a conversational tone of voice before taking a mouthful from the wine skin they'd liberated from one of the dead soldiers, using the liquor inside to fight the pain caused by his injuries…or so he said "... maybe we'll get lucky and they'll simply decide to starve them out...ooh wait a minute, now who's that coming?" he said pointing down to one of the ships, and with good reason too by the looks of things, for not only was it a far larger and grander vessel than those around it but a gang plank was currently being positioned so as to allow whoever was aboard to step onto the beach without getting their feet wet, a luxury that hadn’t been afforded to them when they’d arrived.

With nothing better to do they would sit and watch as ornately armoured soldiers; Lamadon naturally, disembarked from the ship to form two neat lines on either side of the gangplank followed by a pair of officers, one of whom looked rather like Skorj though it was hard to tell for certain from this distance. With an excited murmuring coming from those currently lining the walls they would watch as a beautiful woman clad in a long white dress would walk down the gangplank with a retinue of bodyguards and advisers. To the rest of the world she was Stiorra; the woman that would lead the army that would liberate the mainland from the clutches of their enemies but to Ben she was, and always would be Princess Isolla, the one that got away.
 

Zemelci

Well-Known Member
“And if you held more still, I wouldn’t have to be so rough.” Ben grunted out his response to Guido’s hissed complaint, wrapping the bandage tightly round. Making sure he kept the pressure on, he tied it. “There we go, that should stop the bleeding and keep you on your feet for the rest of the fight. Go see a Cleric though when you can as he can help with the healing process.” He ran his hands down the rest of Guido’s arm, using his magic to help heal some of the small nicks and cuts that the man had sustained. He couldn’t spare the magic to heal his whole body but Ben figured it was a worthy cause when it was Guido’s sword arm. “You’re all patched up. Now I guess we get to sit around.” He nestled his back against the hole in the wall in which they found themselves, still proud that his magic had held together enough to ensure an assault on the keep. His back was beginning to give him trouble, especially given that he’d had to use magic a couple of times in dicey situations. Still, at least it gives me the edge on any idiot in a suit of armour. He looked up as Guido mentioned the reinforcement boats and his eyes followed Guido’s hand to the grander vessel. Ben whistled as the soldiers marched off. “Welp, whoever our guest is, they’re pretty…” Ben froze midsentence as he stared at the figure who had just stepped onto the prow of the boat. “No…” Jubilation and anger mixed in his veins as he stared at the figure.

It was… She was… Ben’s gaze tracked the figure as she serenely began to make her way down the gangplank. “Isolla.” The word was breathless and in a hushed, awed tone that mixed happiness with sadness and deep, bitter regret. Ben had forgotten about Guido’s existence in that moment as his mind ran through everything, operating at the speed of light. It meant that his sacrifice had not been in vain. He might have been captured, but the princess had indeed escaped and not only had she escaped, she’d survived. The thought pierced him that Matheld had almost certainly known. She’d known and not told him… He cast his mind back to the letter that Ames had handed Mark… Had Mark known? Had Mark known and not told Ben? Conflict raged in his mind and he stared at Isolla as she stepped off the gangplank. She was his shame, his failure. He had failed in his duty to protect her and though she had survived, he was not sure what right he had to intervene. The prophecy flashed into his mind and he knew that he was supposed to hold some part in it, but, in this moment, he did not feel like it would be a jubilant reunion. Isolla would remember him, Ben was certain of that, but he did not know what her reaction would be to the thought that he was still alive. She had probably presumed him dead and perhaps a good riddance, given her misunderstanding of Ben’s intentions. The pair had been in conflict for most of their time together, although some form of mutual respect had been starting to establish when they had been attacked, though Ben had no idea if that still stood for anything. He had no idea if anything still stood for anything. His gaze remained fixed on Isolla as she started to make her way up the beach. Ben sat there, still dumbstruck. “What do I do?” The words were whispered and Ben remained in his reverie as he stared. Skorj was there as well. He’d told Skorj he was a Sentinel, but Skorj had assumed the wrong Sentinel. Did Isolla know? Had Skorj told Isolla? He would wait. He would wait and see and he would protect Isolla with his life if need be. He might have lost her before but having found her now, especially with her being the subject of the prophecy (he reasoned) to heal him, if not the prophecy to save the world, given that she still had both of her eyes.
 
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Apelatia

Well-Known Member
Selune's first attempt was not half as bad as Illrea had been expecting, despite her shot landing far wide from the driftwood. What he had been concerned about most was that she would end up shooting the floor in front of her, or not shooting at all. What she had achieved was certainly a start, and would give him something to work with. Once he had retrieved the arrow, Illrea returned to Selune's side and held it out to her to take. This done, he smiled broadly. "That was a really good start! Much better than I was expecting actually! I'm sure you'll turn out a fantastic archer in no time at all." Once he had replied to anything else Selune had to say and responded to any questions, Illrea began the tough job of teaching Selune how to use a bow. Starting with how to string the bow and the correct way to place an arrow on the arrow rest, the blue-haired warrior slowly coached her through how to pull the bowstring back correctly, and finished off with a brief explanation of how to aim. By the time a full two hours had passed, Illrea felt that they had done enough for one session, and moved to seat himself on the sand to rest. Stretching out his legs, the young man ran his fingers up and down his own bow, which he had used on a few occasions that day to demonstrate to Selune how she was supposed to hold her bow and the stance to shoot with. It had been a strange experience teaching someone else to use a skill with which he was familiar. It was not a position he had found himself in previously, but he found that he had enjoyed it to an extent.

As he sat beside Selune on the sand, Illrea stirred and shook himself from his daydreams. In a weary voice that betrayed that he was still exhausted from the events of the past week, he voiced his current thoughts. "I think you made some really good progress today, Selune. Practise makes perfect, and now that you've got the knack for how to shoot, you'll only get better." He had been doing his best to use as much encouragement and positivity as he could whilst he taught her. He knew that if Selune felt she was making good progress, she would be less inclined to give up. Thus, the encouragement. To emphasise this, he rubbed her back gently, all the while smiling at her. After the moment had passed, Illrea returned to his former position staring out to sea, but continued speaking. "What do you think Kaella will want us to do now? Surely her plan isn't for us to stay here, is it?" He allowed a small pause, then carried on. "As much as I like it here, I think I'll start to feel useless sitting around and practising my sword-craft and archery all day long... I wonder what she has planned for us, if anything..." Illrea mused, before waiting patiently for Selune's response.
 

braetwalda

Well-Known Member
The Beach
"You...you really think so?" Selune responded in hopeful voice as she took the arrow from Illrea's hand; careful to avoid touching the steel broadhead as she did so. There wasn’t much steel involved in archery which was one of the main attractions in learning the craft, but what little there was could still give her a nasty burn that would hamper any progress she’d hope to make. Maybe once she’d gotten a little better she’d be able to find some Sidhe arrows with glass tips? Though it’d probably draw far too much unwanted attention over why she was collecting them, better to use steel and simply wear a pair of gloves or something.

The hours went by in a blur as Illrea taught her his craft with her fingertips sore and her arms and back aching by the time she was finished. However her current discomfort paled before the feeling of pure joy she’d felt when she'd finally managed to bury an arrow into the piece of driftwood; and not just hitting it but hitting it near its centre too! All in all it had been a very enjoyable lesson with Selune finding herself laughing and smiling far more than she'd done so in a very long time.

With her head gently resting upon his shoulder, Selune stared out to sea with her boyfriend; quietly listening as he talked of her progress whilst gently rubbing her back. As his hands gently moved across Selune’s back Illrea would be able to easily discern the ridges of her scars beneath the fabric of her dress, with the girl initially stiffening at his touch only to relax a few moments later. It wasn't that she disliked him touching her, far from it in fact, but rather that she was unused to such tenderness and was more than a little uncomfortable about those scars and their dark past "I only really want to be able to hunt rabbits" Selune replied with a blush as he once again complemented her; saying how she would become a fine archer in time "...you know, make myself useful...though there are a few Sidhe that I'd more than happily hunt down if given the chance" she continued with her voice momentarily turning into a growl at the thought of those that had not only placed those scars upon her back but the ones within her head. Scars that stopped her from living a normal life and could be painfully ripped open and reduce her to a blubbering wreck even by someone as kind as Illrea, leaving her terrified that he would grow tired of her issues and leave her.

Realising that she was just being silly and that her fears were merely the results of those same issues, Selune snuggled in closer to Illrea as he mused about what Kaella had in store for them “hmm…I don’t know…but I know what I’ve got in store for you” she softly murmured as she leaned up to kiss him.

However her lips had barely brushed his when Kaella’s rasping, whispering voice spoke from behind them “I should have know you’d be cavorting with your who-...woman” she spoke; hastily changing Selune’s description as she did so “…been play archer have we? Well we’ll have be a little more careful as to who we give weapons to in future, won’t we?” the dark haired woman responded with Marie mouthing an apology, unseen over her shoulder.

Along with Marie, Kaella had come with around a dozen Sentinels all of them armed though no weapons were yet to be drawn “Hand over the sword Illrea or I will be forced to take it from you!” Kaella snarled, moving her hand to her own sword as she did so clearly prepared to carry out her threat. Yet despite the fact that his life and perhaps even Selune’s was now in the balance Illrea couldn’t help but feel an irrational jealousy building up within him; the sword was his and the only she’d be getting it would be from out of his cold dead hands!

The Ramparts
“Isolla? Ah so the rumours are true…” Guido spoke as Ben continued to stare down at the woman completely dumbstruck as she made her way up the causeway “…am I to extrapolate from your new found silence that you and the princess Isolla are acquaintances? Or perhaps more so judging from your reaction, my, my you are a dark horse and here was I thinking you were just a run of the mill mercenary…if such a thing exists” Guido continued with a sly smile appearing on his face. The man already seemingly calculating how best to exploit this new found piece of information “Well come along then, she’ll be here soon, so best we get in a position where the pair of you can become reacquainted”
 

Zemelci

Well-Known Member
Ben’s head whipped around to face Guido as the man spoke, saying that he felt that Ben and Isolla were more than just acquaintances, deciding that they should move to a position to ensure a reunion. Ben chuckled grimly, deciding that he had best not overstate his role, especially since the mercenary hadn’t yet fully earnt his trust (plus Mark would probably get mad at him like he had in the tent and there was nothing to gain from overtly explaining his role). “When I said I was a Sentinel back in the recruitment tent, I wasn’t lying. Skorj, however, got the wrong Sentinel. I’m not one of the new breed of Sentinels and I’m frankly outrage that they tarnish our name with such acts of villainy and desecration, and I’m looking forward to meeting their leader so I can rip their guts out!” Ben ended with a snarl, before realising he had been side-tracked from his original point, and thus returned to the matter at hand. “I belong… belonged I guess now, to the original order of Sentinels. The defenders of the Kingdom of Talmah Bui (OOC: If that’s not it, then just fill in with whichever is the right state, I’ve never been entirely sure which one it was we worked for). And Isolla? As the King’s royal daughter, we’re sworn to protect her, we have always been. With the King dead, I guess that technically makes her the Queen, which makes me one of the few left in this world sworn to protect her until the end.” With a sigh, Ben stood up and stretched out his back, conscious of the slight pain that was beginning to grow. “Anyway, I might not be as important to her as you seem to think I am, but that’s no excuse to shirk my duty. I guess I had better go down there and wait for her. I doubt she’ll remember me, but I might as well be around, just in case something does happen.” As Ben set off down the stairs, to take his place at the side of the path that Isolla would be walking up, he hoped he’d been sufficiently blasé about the affair to throw Guido off the scent. After all, it wouldn’t do if it became common knowledge (and if one mercenary knew rumours would swiftly spread) that a common mercenary in the army had in effect been her private bodyguard for over a month, after having captured her to return her home to her father. Ben might wish to take his place at her side, but he decided that he might as well give up on that dream now. The sooner he stopped lying to himself about his place in the world, the better.
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
This wasn't good...his helmet was off out of necessity, shutting off any resistance he had to the curse he was under should it activate, and Drake was tired. He needed to rest, to find somewhere safe, and to recharge before his curse hit...he'd be fighting it on his own willpower this time. It seemed though that the universe had different plans for him, however, as he rounded the corner to see...well...he'd've been stupid to expect that Lilith would change her ways for him after a single night, as much as he might have been hoping for it to be otherwise. Arcturus had always been so against her views towards physical pleasure his involvement was a surprise, but hypocrisy wasn't a new concept to him. He was about to turn and let the two have some space when Lilith turned her head to show that she wasn't enjoying anything...and was in fact being choked. After a split second of shock, Drake dropped his helmet before running and slamming into Arcturus, working to dislodge him from his position atop their companion. Once he managed that he'd pin the man in place, before yelling "What the hell are you doing?! You're one of us, damn you...why were you trying to kill her?" He wanted to kill him for his treachery, but all the same...he'd had enough blood on his hands for one day...and all the same, they were technically working together still...it would look bad for him if he didn't at least get a confession first.
 

Apelatia

Well-Known Member
A feeling of closeness and of warmth settled over Illrea as he sat with Selune on the beach. The moment was just as perfect and wonderful as he had ever experienced. For sure, he was tired, but Selune's joy at her accomplishments of that day and his happiness that she had made as much progress as she had coupled together to give him a feeling of deep satisfaction with his current lot in life. Gone were the creeping, torturous memories of Pentref's invasion, gone was the sadness of Astarot's disappearance and the uncertainty of his role in the present moment. It was just him and his girlfriend, alone together on the beach. This, and more cosy thoughts flitted across his mindscape as he sat massaging her back. The scars he could feel underneath his hands would usually have made him angry, have made him want to jump up and run to permanently damage those who had caused her so much pain and suffering, but instead they made him admire her fortitude and bravery. Not everyone could come through such horrors and still be fighting at the other end, but she had. That, in itself, was cause enough for her to have his respect. So, when she tensed, Illrea whispered, "It's okay." to put her at ease, accompanying this with a broad smile. At Selune's admission that she merely wished to be able to hunt rabbits, Illrea let out a soft peal of laughter, followed by an exclamation of, "You will be a fantastic rabbit hunter if you choose to pursue that as your goal in life!" The sides of his mouth turned upwards into a smile as she added that she would also like to hurt the ones who had tortured her. "I wish only that you are safe and happy in this world, without having to fear them..." Touching her cheek briefly, Illrea's face soon reddened as she hinted at what their next activity together could be. Without an excuse to hand, the young man could only give in as Selune closed in to caress his lips.

Unfortunately for the two of them though, it seemed that their moment of peace and tranquillity was to be short lived, as it was no sooner than Selune had leaned in that a familiar voice spoke from behind them. His body reacting instantaneously to the potential threat, Illrea found himself stood in a defensive crouch, the Dawnstar in one hand and his sword in the other, held out in front of Selune as if to shield her. The blue-haired warrior listened in confusion as Kaella, for it was she, spoke about being more careful about who it was that they gave weapons to in future, before following this up by demanding he hand over the Dawnstar or she would take it from him by force. Shocked by the sudden turn of events, Illrea scowled. "What is the meaning of this, Kaella? Marie?" He fixed the second woman with a stare before turning his attention back to Kaella. Meanwhile, Illrea could feel the voice returning and a feeling of...intense jealousy stirring up inside him. It was so convincing... Why should he hand over the Dawnstar? What right did she have to it? He had found it, so why should he not have the right to keep it?! Still stood in a half crouch with Selune behind him, Illrea chose to try to reason rather than to fight immediately. If it came to it, then so be it, but there might be an opportunity to get somewhere before that outcome materialised... Addressing Kaella, he spoke in a harsh, though laboured tone which betrayed his fatigue, "Selune wants to be of use to you, to all of us, to help the Sentinels in whatever way she can. Even today we have made progress. Why then do you speak to her in such a condescending way? What has she done to deserve this treatment from you?" Illrea paused then, letting his words sink in, before continuing. "Why do you want the sword? What does it mean to you?" Taking a deep breath, his facial expression changed to being accusatory. "You do realise, Kaella, that you're talking to the very person who saved your life less than a day previous? I risked myself to rescue you and get you off that beach, and this is how you treat me?" The young man spat to the side in indignation. "You wouldn't be standing here if it weren't for me, and now you're threatening me? I don't even know what to say..." Illrea trailed off, the jealousy still burning inside him, coupled with a strong will to protect Selune from any harm. If he could resolve this peacefully, he would.
 

braetwalda

Well-Known Member
The Alley
Drake's questions were answered with a fist as Arcturus punched him in the side of the jaw with enough force to knock him off of him; the large northerner pulling himself back onto his feet as he began to rant "she has angered the gods with her blasphemous ways and must die! Or we will be forever doomed" he shouted whilst delivering a kick to Drake's ribs; which considering the amount of armour he wore was somewhat ineffective despite his strength.

It had been during these moments that Lilith; now free of Arcturus' clutches had begun to crawl away; gulping down air into her tortured lungs as she did so. Her escape however was nowhere near fast enough as Arcturus was soon quickly upon her again; this time pinning her place by placing a booted foot on the small of her back "you cannot escape be you unclean harlot! You ***** of Babylon! I will end you and once the gods are smiling on us again they will all thank me!" he raved; his hand drawing a long sharp knife from out of his belt with a murderous glint within eyes filled with madness.


The Courtyard
"I must confess, I did find the idea of you being in league with such blackguards to be highly suspect, not to mention a little disconcerting after spending so long within your esteemed company" Guido responded as the pair of them made their way down from the ramparts; stepping over the corpse of a dead Lamadon soldier as they went "...however I cannot stress enough the value of such a friendship...granted former lover would have been preferable, but if your friendship with Isolla means we never have to get involved in a mess like the one we have just endured then all the better" Guido stated as the pair of them entered a rapidly filling courtyard with news of Stiorra's imminent arrival having obviously spread, meaning that the surviving star men and many of the mercenaries were gathering in order to see the woman to whom they had pledge their lives.

With only a small amount of elbowing Ben and Guido would manage to find themselves a position reasonably close to the front of the crowd as the white clad guards used their spear butts to clear a path for their esteemed guests.

It was in amongst this knot of gaudily attired officers and nobility that Ben would first catch sight of the Princess…or perhaps as he had already surmised Queen Isolla; flanked by Ames and Skorj who seemed to be the only competent soldiers within her entourage.

Resplendent in a long white gown; her long blonde hair styled in a single Lysian braid it was clear that the spoilt and arrogant girl Ben had known had now matured into a beautiful young woman and It was just as she was stepping into the courtyard that sun finally broke through clouds overhead so that it appeared that she was wreathed in gold; an angel ascending to heaven.

With a regal poise that could only be gained through years of training within her father’s court, Isolla smiled as the soldiers gathered around her started chanting her name, much to the apparent distaste of the Lamadon nobility. Unable to hear anything over the chanting voices it would be through pure chance that Isolla would catch sight of Ben with her stopping dead in her tracks when she did so with confusion and disbelief warring over her features as her lips slowly parted to speak.

However whatever it was she had been intending to say never came to pass as one of the nobles spoke to her causing her to reluctantly continue with her journey. The moment had been so brief that only Ames had seemed to notice what had passed between the two of them; the bodyguard slowly shaking his head as he delivered a pointed look in Ben’s direction, a look that very clearly said Don’t.

“Oh well…perhaps another time” Guido spoke with a smile as he clapped Ben’s shoulder in a friendly, if rather unpractised manner “lets see if we can’t find the rest of our merry band, shall we?”

The Beach
“And were it not for your trickery and blackmail I would never have been on that beach to start with! We lost good people on that beach in order to save your friend, but no matter once I have the Dawnstar I will scour this land of Sidhe and Kavori alike!” Kaella snarled in her rasping voice; her eyes a blaze like that of a zealot’s before turning to glare at Selune who was currently cowering behind Illrea’s sword; as much as a result of having such a large piece of steel so close to her body than any fear of Kaella she held “As for her…there is no place for the likes of her within our ranks; a Sidhe cast off…I’m going to take great delight in packing her off to whatever ***** house will take her but first give. Me. The Sword!” with her voice rising to as close to a cry as she could manage Kaella drew her sword and lunged for Illrea with Marie crying in vain for her to stop!

Much as it had done on the beach the previous day, time seemed to slow for Illrea as his mind seemed to enter a state of grace with him effortlessly parrying and countering the woman’s attacks despite her apparent skill with a blade.

Although the bout couldn’t have lasted for more than a few seconds it seemed to last for hours in Illrea’s mind with it coming to a sudden end when Kaella’s sword shattered upon striking the Dawnstar closely followed by her mind.

Shrieking hysterically the woman would drop to her knees; desperately trying to fit the pieces of her broken sword back together, heedless of the cuts to her fingers as she apologised over and over to someone by the name of Ragnar as she did so, not that anyone here answered to such a name.

Were it not for Marie and Kaella’s second in command emerging from out of the group of Sentinels it would have been easy for him to simply kill Kaella where she knelt before him, blubbering over a broken sword “This nonsense has gone on long enough!” the large and heavily muscled second in command bellowed as he strode over to Illrea drawing his sword as he went.

Under the circumstances Illrea would have been forgiven in thinking himself under imminent attack, however this was quickly proven not to be the case as the man dropped to one knee before him “I Logain, hereby swear my fealty to you, my sword is your sword, your enemies are my enemies…you are my Warden” no sooner had the oath been finished that it was repeated by every other Sentinel present save for Marie who was too bust trying to comfort a hysterical Kaella to do anything else.

As crazy as it would seem, Illrea was now the new leader of the Sentinels.
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
The world filled with pain for a moment as Arcturus hit Drake's jaw, slamming him to the ground as stars swam in the sky above him. He grunted as the larger man's boot hit his side, glad that his armor had offered protection. It seemed their companion had gone mad, claiming Lilith was cursing them for being promiscuous, which was ridiculous. The man was beyond reason, and was again in position to kill the woman. Growling, Drake heaved himself to his feet and grabbed his axe, swinging hard at Arcturus' arm holding the weapon before kicking hard at the leg on the ground, hoping to distract and topple the man so that he fell away from Lilith. "Damn you twelve ways, Arcturus. Blind faith in religion is what brought the Sidhe upon us in the first place! Lilith is our friend and comrade-in-arms, and I will not allow you to kill her." The alchemist proceeded to put his axe against Arcturus' neck, regardless of where the man had ended up. "You either cease this folly at once or I will kill you and not feel guilty in the slightest." Mark had no qualms about killing him now, and would swing at the slightest provocation. Still, he felt the idiot deserved one last chance to save himself, so that if Guido asked he could answer with honesty that he'd tried twice to spare his life.
 

Apelatia

Well-Known Member
You really have no idea what it's like... Illrea thought to himself in disgust as he fought off Kaella's blows. The woman really had gone crazy... Being a member of the old order of Sentinels really did seem to have its downsides. Driving its members somewhat mad was a trait he had now witnessed in both Galen and Kaella. Perhaps it was some event from the past that had caused the two of them to become what they had? Either way, Kaella was definitely crazy, and that gave him cause for concern. It made her unpredictable. If he wasn't careful, she might stab him in his sleep one day just to get her hands on the Dawnstar. This and more Illrea thought about as he fought back and forth with the leader of the Sentinels. The fact that he was even able to think as clearly and freely as he could was testament to the extraordinary abilities that the Dawnstar granted him as long as he held it in his hands. From what he could discern from her rather berserk style of attacking him, Kaella was in fact a very skilled swordswoman, and without the Dawnstar to aid him, he would have been hard pressed to hold her attacks back for an overly long period of time, despite his own skill in fighting. As it was though, he was without much doubt the better fighter at present. Having two swords to use was helping in that vein too. He was not used to using two weapons at once during a fight, but doing so allowed him the comfort of parrying with one sword whilst simultaneously attacking with the other. Had he wanted to, he would have pressed his attack to subdue the Sentinel leader, but as it was, he was concerned more about keeping her from harming him. Illrea's blue hair shone in the afternoon sun as he parried one attack and pressed in return, and it was not long before the duel was over. As he moved the Dawnstar into place to effortlessly parry yet another strike from Kaella's heavy blade, he felt a strange impact. Instead of having to tense his arm muscles to maintain the sword's position, the woman's blade shattered on his, and he found himself not having to tense at all. Instinctively, he stepped backwards to avoid the follow-up attack often proceeded by an opponent's losing their weapon, but none came. Instead, Kaella fell to the floor and began to speak rapidly, apologising to someone called Ragnar whilst trying to repair her shattered weapon by placing each fractured piece together.

Despite the Dawnstar's effects on him, Illrea still found himself breathing heavily as he slowly withdrew from the state of reverie it had placed him in. It was then that the man that he recognised as Kaella's second-in-command strode forward, speaking authoritatively as he walked with sword drawn. Anticipating another assault, Illrea wearily drew himself back into a defensive position, hoping that the Dawnstar would once again save him from an unwelcome fate. However, any attack he might have expected never came, as the man instead kneeled down and presented his sword. It was then that the strangest thing happened. Logain, for that was his name, spoke to him, swearing fealty to him and proclaiming him as his Warden. Dumbstruck, Illrea could only watch on as every other warrior gathered before him on the beach did the same. "I don't know what to say..." The young man trailed off wistfully as he stood up properly. It was the dream of most every young child in Pentref to one day rule a vast kingdom or command a great army with which they could vanquish the enemy and return peace to the land. Like everyone else, he had dreamed the same imaginative and unrealistic dream, hoping beyond belief that it might one day come true. Of course, as he had aged, he had grown out of such thoughts. Most did. Never though had he even considered that it might become a reality. "I..." he faltered, unsure how to respond, casting a lost look at Selune, who stood some way off to his side. Once again, he went to open his mouth to speak, but this time nothing came out, as Illrea recalled a memory from some time back. The wise woman had shown him that parchment back in her tent, and here he was, the next step in his destiny being opened up before him.

Letting out a sigh as he resigned himself to his fate, Illrea spoke again, this time in a slightly less subdued voice. "Thank you for your trust, Logain. I accept your oath of fealty." This said, he extended the Dawnstar and placed it on Logain's shoulder as he felt he was supposed to do. Smiling slightly, he sheathed the Dawnstar, and keeping a hold of his own sword, placed his free hand on Logain's shoulder, thus signalling that the man could stand up. This done, he addressed the group of warriors gathered in front of him, still somewhat overawed by the magnitude of what was happening. "I may be inexperienced in your order, but without another goal for me in my life at present, this is the best thing for me. I am honoured that you all saw fit to make me your Warden. I will strive to build on the progress that the Sentinels have made under Kaella's leadership." Placing his free hand on his chest, he bowed his head slightly in a gesture of appreciation to the onlookers. His short speech finished, Illrea frowned at Kaella, who was at that moment being consoled by Marie. He strode over to Selune, and placed his arm around her shoulders, before speaking again, this time to Logain, Marie and the still crazed Kaella. "Selune is not a *****. If I hear you call her that one more time, Kaella, I won't hesitate to act. She is not a Sidhe cast-off, nor is she your underling. She is as much your equal as anyone else here is, despite your being a Sentinel of old. That doesn't give you the right to diminish anyone." Addressing Logain, Illrea spoke quickly. "I want Kaella taken to somewhere safe in the caves. She needs to be guarded at all times, but she is not a prisoner. I don't know her well as either a person or a leader, but I do know that a fearsome band of fighters would not have her as their leader without just reason." Illrea paused then, looking at Selune with an uncertain expression. Allowing her a sad smile, he carried on speaking to those directly near him. "Marie, Logain, Selune, could I speak to the three of you together soon? There are some things I need to understand..." The request made, Illrea waited to see what would happen next. Judging by the way things had gone so far, almost anything could reasonably happen to him without him being shocked.
 

Zemelci

Well-Known Member
(OOC: I feel like it's a bit mean of Arcturus to call Lillith the Catholic Church.)

Ben chuckled as the pair of warriors descended the steps toward Isolla’s path into the keep. “Always looking to capitalise on a situation, eh Guido? I can appreciate that.” The honesty of the other man in his desires in relation to Ben’s relationship with Isolla was refreshing. Honest souls, Ben reckoned, were about as rare as free men in the lands of Talmah Bui these days. They descended the final steps and found a position at the front of the crowd, looking on as Isolla slowly made her way up towards the keep. Ben found his heart beating a little faster as Isolla approached and thoughts ran unbidden through his mind as the various scenarios of what could happen played out. Nothing, however, could have prepared him for the moment that he and Isolla were finally brought face to face once again. In front of him stood the woman he had bled for, the woman he had sacrificed months of his life towards finding, several more months towards protecting, and the past several years mourning. He had bled for her, been captured for her, and was scarred for her. He would carry his dedication to Queen Isolla upon his back for the remainder of his time on this world. Words carried within him flashed, unbidden, into the foreground of his mind.
Wreathed in gold and with single eye watching over her she will stand before you as a friend, she is the one that will deliver the key that will awaken the sleeping giant and save this land from those that have taken it from us. Any doubt, any hesitation that Ben had had within him vanished in that moment. Isolla was the one predicted to save them all, to lead humanity back to its rightful place. Ben felt a surge of hope swell within him, safe in the knowledge that he would one day stand in a world of Isolla’s making, one which he had fought for. Caught up in the feelings of the moment, the flood of happiness and emotion, Ben found himself dumbstruck, unable to reach out to Isolla. He was drowning in a sea of his own emotion and, for the first time in a long while, he felt free. His internal war continued and for a moment he considered stretching out his hand and stepping forward to greet Isolla. As soon as he considered it, however, a nobleman stepped forward and the spell was broken. Isolla was ushered on and Ames, who appeared to be the only one observant enough to have noticed the exchange, shook his head in a clear warning to Ben. So much for that then. As Isolla’s train moved away and the crowd began to disperse, Guido made to move off, talking to Ben. He paused for a couple of seconds before shaking his head and moving off with Guido, muttering “yeah” as he did. His mind whirred with possibilities and he was content to merely follow Guido’s lead for now. One thought burned in his mind and it was swiftly becoming his singular desire: To gain access to Isolla and finally swear fealty and free himself from the debt he had accumulated in failing to do his duty to protect her all those years ago. No question of why or what he was going to do, no second thoughts. The only question that needed answering now: How.
 

braetwalda

Well-Known Member
(OOC: I dunno...seen as Lilith was the name of Adam's first wife and an all round bad girl/Demon, calling her the ***** of Babylon is probably kind of apt)

The Alley
As Drake's axe connected with Arcturus' arm, the man howled in pain as it was all but severed just below the elbow sending a jet of blood shooting down the alley as he stumbled away from Lilith's prone form to collapse against a wall.

With the warriors flesh turning deathly pale the precaution of placing his axe blade against the mortally wounded man’s neck would prove unnecessary as he proceeded to speak in a weak voice “Heathen…you’re as bad as she is…a fornicator and an enemy of the gods…I’ll not rest until I’ve…” the words were cut short as Lilith drove the point of Arcturus’ knife into his throat with a shriek before then plunging it into his body over and over again in a mad frenzy with her showing no sign of stopping by herself.

Once this bout of madness was brought to an end the girl would simply break down and begin sobbing uncontrollably into Drakes armoured chest as the light slowly faded from out of Arcturus’ eyes.

Ben
With Isolla and her entourage of nobles and gaudily attired Lamadon footmen slowly making their way to the besieged keep, no doubt to make demands for those within to surrender, the crowd began to thin as sergeants chivvied their men away in order for them to rest or work depending on who found them.

Guido and Ben meanwhile meandered off in search of Drake, Lilith and Arcturus with the eloquently spoken mercenary quickly getting a lead on Drake’s possible whereabouts; after all he was fairly conspicuous in his armour and there were only so many places he could be in such a relatively small area.

Rounding a corner within what had once been a barracks the pair would come across the scene of Drake holding a sobbing Lilith as they crouched beside an obviously dead Arcturus “What…what happened?” Guido asked the pair in a shocked voice, his skin turning visibly pale as he looked upon his dead friend; clearly upset by his passing “Drake h-how did this happen?”

The Beach
With long shaggy blonde hair and a short beard to match, Logain towered over Illrea as he returned to a standing position “You bested her fair and square…and we’re tired of being the instruments of her madness, her lust for vengeance…its high time that we took a more righteous path” Logain growled in response to Illrea’s thanks before then listening to his instructions pertaining to Kaella “she was a fine leader once, a tactical genius but not anymore she simply lusts for vengeance and power…killing her may actually be a kindness” he grimly admitted causing an anguished sob to escape from Marie as she pulled the blubbering wreck that was Kaella closer to her whilst giving Illrea a pleading look. Logain seemingly oblivious to the blonde’s pain meanwhile continued to speak in his gruff voice “…however I shall do as you command” he finished; snapping his fingers at two of the hooded warriors before instructing them to put her someplace out of the way before then heartily agreeing to Illrea’s suggestion of a meeting “…and do not worry about the others friend, they’ll take your oath” he finished with a smile before turning to leave with the rest of them.

It was as Kaella was being dragged away screaming towards the caves by an armed escort led by Logain that a distraught Marie would drop to her knees before Illrea; clinging to his tunic as she spoke in an anguished voice “please, please don’t take her away from me, I know she has wronged you both but she’s all I have left” the woman pleaded with tears streaming down her pretty face “…I’ll do anything you ask of me, just spare her please!”
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Arcturus went down without much more of a fight, ranting about heathens the whole time as he died. Drake hadn't meant to kill the man, but he'd been so focused on ending Lilith he hadn't moved his arm in time...and speaking of the mercenary woman, she had recovered enough to stab her former ally over and over, beyond caring it seemed. He let her get her frustrations out for a moment, then reached and pulled her away as gentle as possible for a situation like that. She stopped without much fuss and wound up crying into his chest as he held her, feeling awkward as he wanted to be reassuring with his embrace, though his armor meant he couldn't squeeze without hurting her. He stood in this awkward half-hug until Guido and Ben showed up, the leader of their trio shocked and dismayed to see Arcturus dead. Shaking his head at the question, the alchemist responded, "I think he was put under a spell of some kind, as he wasn't himself, Guido...found him trying to kill Lilith, raving about how the gods abandoned everyone purely because she..." he hesitated for a moment, giving the man a significant look. "...she enjoys herself in her leisure time. His old argument, but enough to drive him into a murderous rage. I tried multiple times to get him to see reason, but he wouldn't stop trying to kill her...I didn't mean to take his arm off, I really didn't...it was supposed to be a warning swing, but he was so focused on Lilith, who was trapped under his foot at the time..." He trailed off, bitterness sweeping across his face. "I had to make a choice, and I'm sorry for having made you lose a friend. But either way, one of them wasn't coming out alive the way he was...and I wasn't about to let him kill someone who had done nothing wrong."
 

braetwalda

Well-Known Member
The Alley
"You...You killed my friend because he was..." Guido spoke cutting himself off before he'd even really started with the rage and frustration over the futility of the situation obviously building up within him as he first glared at Drake and Lilith followed by the corpse of his dead friend; his knuckles whitening upon the hilt of his sword "Stay the hell away from me!" he snarled before storming off in a way that said trying to stop him would result in nothing but murder as the man angrily lashed out with his foot at a discarded helmet before then disappearing from sight.

The trio wouldn't see him again that day with Lilith even going so far as to state that he was gone for good in a voice made hoarse by the bruises about her throat and her own self pity with the distant look in her eye saying that those bruises weren't the only wounds she was currently suffering from as a result of Arcturus' attack.

After stripping their fallen comrade's body of his weapons, armour and valuables; a callous but sadly necessary act as they sorely needed the money having spent what little they’d had on getting here, the trio would return to their camp back on the main island with the rest of the mercenaries that had landed this morning; replaced by fresh soldiers from Lamadon's rather eclectic army so as to make sure that the fortress would come into their possession and theirs alone.

Liltih was the next to disappear, fleeing into the maze of tents and shelters that made up the camp the moment the boat had landed leaving Ben and Drake with the task of acquiring the money they would need to not only buy food but to repair and sharpen their weapons, with Drake's helmet proving the most expensive, though considering its main purpose in keeping the alchemists curse at bay they had little choice but to pay what was asked of them.

By the time the sun had started sinking they had returned to the small semi circle of tents that they had claimed the previous afternoon. With the sound of somebody softly singing what sounded like a lullaby from within Drake’s tent it was clear that Lilith at least had returned though there was still no sign of Guido, leading the pair of them to suspect that perhaps Lilith’s theory that he wasn’t coming back was correct.
 

Lord Regal

The West Team
Sheriff
Guido didn't listen to reason, opting for anger over the fact his friend was dead. Drake couldn't blame him if he was being honest...though he'd hoped the 'he was trying to kill Lilith' end would have more weight. The good news was he didn't turn on them, instead exiting after a vague threat. The alchemist spent the bulk of his day after that little episode working alongside Lilith and later Ben to get their affairs in order, uncertain if he wanted to see their supposed leader again that day or not. It would be better if he had time to cool off before coming back...but Mark also wanted assurance that he hadn't ruined the small band he and Ben had joined entirely with his action. He'd do it again in a heartbeat, but that didn't mean he felt good about it. This mental fog lasted all the way up until he heard Lilith singing in their joined tent, her voice soft. The alchemist looked over at his fellow Sentinel, shrugging. "If you're done with me for the day I'll leave you be. I'll go make sure she's alright." Something had been bothering Ben, that much was obvious, but he'd kept quiet about it all day, so Drake wasn't certain if it was something the guy wanted to share. He'd hear him out one way or the other, then go check on Lilith.
 

Apelatia

Well-Known Member
Illrea listened carefully to Logain's piece, inclining his head in response as the accomplished soldier paced away, with a pair of warriors dragging a struggling Kaella with them. The young man watched them depart with a pitiful expression, before turning to Marie. The woman had thrown herself on the ground before him and was currently begging for him to spare Kaella, stating that the crazed woman was all she had left. A compassionate smile spreading across his face, Illrea knelt down and touched the woman's shoulder, before speaking. "I don't plan to do anything to Kaella, Marie. She has wronged us, Selune especially, but..." Here, he glanced back towards the young woman. "I'm not the kind of person who wants to hurt others. I want to give her time to come round, to come to her senses. You can help us achieve that." He moved his grasp on the woman's shoulder to instead gently clasp her left hand. "Marie, I am eternally grateful to you for the way you helped Selune when she first arrived here. I don't want that gratitude to go unsaid or for me to simply forget about it. Consider my act of keeping Kaella under guard instead of hurting her a repayment for that act." He smiled, then returned to his initial standing position. Sheathing the Dawnstar, he turned to Selune, who remained nearby. He hesitated for a moment, then spoke, "Selune, would you like to say anything?"
 

braetwalda

Well-Known Member
The Beach
Finding herself being asked for her opinion, Selune hesitated in obvious confusion and indecision; completely unused to the concept of anyone actually wanting to hear what she had to say about anything, and it was during this intervening silence that Marie would throw her arms about Illrea in a hug "Thank you, thank you I'll make sure she sees sense, She'll tow the line I promise" Marie hurriedly spoke before jumping back onto her feet "I won't forget your kindness Illrea...thank you!" she shouted over her shoulder as she then ran in pursuit of Kaella and her escort leaving Illrea and Selune alone on the beach.

Silently moving to stand before him with that near supernatural grace that she possessed, Selune gazed up at Illrea with a love struck look in her golden eyes as she quietly spoke to him in a stunned voice "No one's ever stood up for me before, let alone fight for me" she said clearly in awe of him with her hesitating slightly before standing up on her tiptoes in order to awkwardly kiss him. Upon discovering that like other many times in her life that her height or rather her lack of it was a bit of an issue Selune would offer the warrior a frustrated look before speaking to him again "Illrea...could you...could you pick me up please? I'd like to kiss you properly" she asked, feeling rather embarrassed about having to make such a request of him, wishing that she was just that little bit taller so that she gaze into his eyes and kiss him whenever she desired rather than having to forever crane her neck in order to show any form of affection towards him.

With their difference in height equalised the girl would passionately kiss the young warrior; her fingers twining into his blue hair as she did so before gently breaking away to speak to him "I'd love to do so much more with you on this beach, but I think we'd better get back to the cave...it would appear you have a warband to run" she quietly whispered with a look in her eye that said that she wouldn't object to him overruling her on this occasion if he so desired.

With the warriors now gone a peaceful calm had descended upon the beach with its waters gently lapping against the shore making it hard to believe that a duel had been fought here only a few moments ago or that there was a war going on with only the dark clouds in the distance threatening to ruin the moment. But for now the clouds were far away and it felt like the young couple had all the time in the world.
 

Zemelci

Well-Known Member
As Mark explained and Guido stormed off, Ben merely shook his head at the situation that they group had found themselves in. It was unsurprising that Arcturus had snapped, the man hadn’t been the most stable at the best of times (and coming down from the high of a battle was definitely not the best of times) so the fact that his anger for Lilith had spilt out into open violence was also unsurprising. That didn’t mean Ben condoned necessarily killing the other man (he certainly felt like it was fairly convenient for Lilith and Mark) but he… understood it. Guido, on the other hand, knew Arcturus better, so his response made sense. Ben wanted to grab Mark there and then and interrogate him on what he knew about Isolla/Stiorra, and then to beat the man senseless. That, however, would do him no good. Lilith had moved to self-pity by now and so Ben just focused on getting the trio back to the boats with Arcturus’ gear, but not before giving the man a semi decent burial, using his earth magic to make a reasonable grave outside the castle they had just stormed before burying him. Once they were back at base, Lilith fled into the camp, leaving Ben and Mark to clear up and sort out what needed to be done. They got Mark’s helmet fixed and their own gear repaired, and the stocked up on provisions. Ben bit his tongue throughout, deciding that it could wait until the evening.

When evening finally came, Ben was definitely ready to call it a day. They didn’t have much in the way of savings left over though it would probably tide them over until at least the next mission. Lilith was singing from her tent and Mark made motions that he was going to go join his female companion for the night. Ben rolled his eyes as Mark decided he would “go check” on Lilith, little doubt in his mind as to where that “checking” would go. Ben stared at Mark for a second, studying the man’s mirage, before he sighed. “I saw Stiorra today. When you were… dealing with Arcturus. She landed on the beach and walked up to the castle, presumably to request their surrender. Now, I’ve made a vow to myself that I’m not going to be angry with you, so I’d like you to answer honestly.” He stopped and took a breath, calming himself. “Did you know Mark? Did you know she was Isolla? Was that what was on the letter that you didn’t want me to see? Because I’m pretty certain Matheld knew all about it, given her obvious bloody interest in sending us here. Did you lie to me Mark? Did you? Why?”