Expanse: The City Reboot (Dark Fantasy Epic) Main Thread (Open, Started)

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"You're here?"
She was surprised he'd followed her.
"Are you ok?"
She sounded genuinely concerned.
"Why did you come, you could get yourself killed."
And also a little angry but still mostly worried.

imageVergil Crawford - Champion's of The Tempest Tournament Arena - Uegan

Vergil then sat down across from her.

"I'm quite all right Vessel, the guy I was fighting was rather lack lustre. I know the fights will get harder here, this first round is just to sort the good fighters out from the not so good ones." Vergil replied calmly, he then stated the reason for being here, but spoke quietly, lest he attract the guards to Vessel's plan,

"As for why I am here, well I did say I'd help you take down the Champions. I shall keep that promise, besides, I wouldn't want you to get hurt in there. Anyway, this assassination you have planned may turn into a two man job, not that I'm doubting your abilities. The way you handle your opponent was effective. Tell me, where did that arrow come from that hit him in the eye?"

"I'm not trying to gain your gratitude Vessel, I am simply keeping a promise. Besides, I wouldn't really of been needed elsewhere."

Halien Ye'ala - Uegan

"Okay but be aware. These things aren't pleasant at the best of times. If you come with me, be prepared for that." he said the Telnor as he watched the others walk in their separate directions.

The life of a healer was hard. He knew that. Passing on news of deaths to people he didn't know what difficult at first. It used to be harder but over time he'd had to learn how to get better at breaking the news to people and comfort them.

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"I presume it was the box. Where the champion running the tournament would have been. They don't take kindly to healing, surprised they hadn't killed me for it come to think of it.
And I'm sorry for snapping, I appreciate you being here of course I do. I'm just worried about you is all."
Wait she had an idea.
"So that's also how you feel?"
She was clearly becoming more perceptive emotionally.
"I take it you'd rather I'd talked more to you before coming?"

imageVergil Crawford - Champion's of The Tempest Tournament Arena - Uegan

It was before Vergil could respond, that a servant came round serving drinks to the successful combatants.

"Grazie." He thanked the servant as he passed a goblet to Vessel and Vergil.

"Now then, what were we talking about? Of course! That we both share feelings for one another, that we don't want to see the other come to harm, that we're willing to do anything for the other. Is that what your on about? Maybe there is something special between us, something that makes us enjoy each others company."

"You've become more emotionally perceptive over the last few days. That's a good thing. Anyway..." Vergil remarked as he raised his goblet.

"...Cheers."

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Water mostly but not entirely.
"No thanks I won't drink things with C6H13OH in."
The champion offering looked puzzled.
"Looks like you don't need it anyway."
He soon left.
"I think your right. I really like you not romantically but, well I don't know what it's like to have siblings but I think this might be what's its like."

Dean Jastis Vo'ana - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

Together with Mizuki he walked to her room and talked to her about the times she remember with her parents before and after she got kidnapped more than 11 years ago and before they had to keep her a secret. "You know you will have to tell him eventually," he said as they reached the door. "He can't keep going on thinking he is the last of the Ion family."

"I know... I can't keep it hidden. In due time, when I muster the courage I shall tell him. I just... Never thought this would have happened."

"None of us did, a war is brewing. You will most likely need to help."

"I know." She spoke as she grabbed for the door handle.

Jastis put his arms over his chest. "On a lighter note, how is it going with you and my son?"
"It's..." She smiled for the first time in an over an hour. "Going well, we actually are both going to be wearing similar masks at the masquerade."

"Good to hear. Now I will leave you alone to collect your thoughts."

He began to walk away when a man in red and golden colored robes and hood. "Dean," he began. "The Ana'sha family arrived. Well, the Father and Daughter that is. Apparently the older son, daughter and mother couldn't arrive, they had business to attend to."

"I shall meet them in the Main Chamber."

Velen - en route.

After an hour or so they began to reach the edges of Uegan, lucky for them, the entrance to the next district wasn't far from the Guardian's Gate. Snow began to fall down, but it was very light, and the clouds weren't covering most of the sky as the sun stilled was shining through. He kept praying to the gods that Lorel would come out find.

imageVergil Crawford - Champion's of The Tempest Tournament Arena - Uegan

"C6H13OH, more commonly known as ethanol." Vergil thought as he tried to remember the correct name for that formula.

"It is one of the known psychoactive drugs, and one of the oldest recreational drugs in existence. Small doses can lead to a brief sense of euphoria, but higher doses will cause delays to reaction times, impaired vision, and in highly extreme cases, kidney failure, followed by death." He thought again as he listed off side effects.

Vergil then took a brief taste of it. "Horrible, they call this alcohol?" He then cast the goblet aside, and put his focus back to Vessel, and her comment.

"Hmm, you know, I never really thought of it that way. But, its certainly a pleasant thought."

Dean Jastis Vo'ana - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

He went to his room quickly and changed into a more fitting outfit, one worthy of the Dean. Jastis then went back to the Main chamber where he was alone, and then called out for the guards to open up the doors for the Ana'sha. The doors opened and the two stepped in.

They both had striking red eyes, much darker and almost blood looking than anyone else he has seen. Almost reminded him of Yias, who had personally made his clothing. The Father had short black hair and had little to no wrinkles despite being in his near forties, and he wore royal clothing, with long sleeves that nearly covered his hand, almost oriental looking but with a hint of New City look. His daughter was shorter and had light blue hair with some stripes of black on the sides, she wore a dress that had fur around her neck and at the end of her dress which covered her feet, it also had no sleeves until some cuffs around her wrists, and the dress was also a black near the breasts and up to the neck but then white colored near the bottom.

"I am the Dean of the North, Jastis of the Vo'ana family, I welcome to you to my abode." He spoke stretching out his arms.

The Father and Daughter bowed and then stood up. "We thank you. I am Noyis, and this my daughter, Malina of the Ana'sha house. I personally thank you for inviting us to the Masquerade in your honor. I hope peace stays here in the North."

"Thank you for those kind words Lord Ana'sha. I hope the ties between our two families will stay strong for many years to come."

"The feeling is mutual."

"Shall I show you to your rooms that we have prepared?"

"If you wouldn't mind." Noyis spoke and the Dean stepped down from the higher part of the room and went up to them. Jastis looked at the father and then down at the daughter.

"Your Daughter doesn't need to stay with you. She can wonder the Mansion grounds if she wishes to. We can have our helpers pick up your luggage."

"Malina?" Her father asked.

"I would like to do so." She spoke, as he noticed she seemed anxious to leave.

"Go right ahead; just don't leave the Mansion grounds."

With that she bowed to the Dean and ran off.

Lady Fiora ???? - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

It was early afternoon by the time Fiora had returned from the gardens, where she had spent a few hours helping to organise the masquerade ball being held at the Dean's mansion in roughly three days time. She had worn a practical, yet appropriate outfit, considering her location.

Whilst Fiora was walking back to the Main chamber of the Mansion, she had noticed a young girl, aged about sixteen run past her, en route to the gardens.

"I'd be careful if I was you out there." Fiora called to the girl, but she didn't receive a reply from her. She carried on to the main chamber, stopping briefly at her room to drop off some books she was carrying.

Fiora noticed that Jastis was talking to a man, aged roughly in his forties, who wore royal clothing with long sleeves that went down to the hands.

"Ah Jastis, I have seen to the preparations to the gardens for the masquerade ball." She remarked, then looked at the other gentleman briefly.

"Oh, Lord Ana'sha, it is certainly a pleasure to see you again." Fiora spoke as she bowed briefly. "Tell me, was that your daughter Malina I saw running towards the gardens just now?" She then asked him.

Dean Jastis Vo'ana - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

"Good to hear that Fiora." The Dean said welcoming her.

Noyis nodded his head. "Yes it was, young Malina. And it is nice to see you Lady Fiora."

Malina - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

It was her first time in the North, her father and her came to the North five days ago but they had some sightseeing to do and so didn't arrive at the mansion for a while. Compared to being stuck inside Upper District, being able to relax in the North was a welcome change of scenery. Before she left with her father, she had learned of the news.

Of the Ion family betrayal and the killing of Lorel. It was hard for her, but she tried to accept it. His family did betray Upper..? Right? They had been child hood friends and she never once saw a rebellious attitude from him, in fact the opposite, he was quite content with Upper.

imageLorel Ion - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

He could barely sleep, at first he fell asleep instantly but then a sudden urging to stay awake. Lorel sat up in the dark room where some light was illuminating through the drapes. Sweat fell down his face, and then a pounding in his chest. Standing up he took off his shirt and then saw it. The red blood mark was spreading, not enlarging but now there were multiple spots.

"I don't get this... What is this..." As he spoke the pain began to recede. But at the same time he began to feel like something inside was breaking down. He put his clothes back on, even used an ice spell to cool himself down. Maybe a good walk would do him well, one that he wasn't looking for an escape.

Lady Fiora ???? - Dean's Mansion - Tinsal

"Thank you for that, I had almost forgotten that your family was arriving today." Fiora replied with as she bowed again in appreciation. She did notice that most of them were missing, but did not want to question the reasons why. Afterwards, she turned to face the Dean.

"Jastis, I should inform you that I managed to have my 'discussion' as it were with that mercenary, Vergil Crawford. It was difficult to work my way into his mind scape, but I eventually succeed."

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"Well like I said I can't really tell what it's like.
Anyway by the looks of it I need to get gone. I promise I'll stay safe."
Round two, they were getting serious apparently; her opponent was actually armoured, he wielded a great sword and was covered in shields looking like an armadillo.
He was advancing slowly sure but inevitably.
He swings the blade about two meters in length and only just misses the Vessel.
There was a burst of green smoke that rapidly expanded creeping across the battle field.

imageVergil Crawford - Champion's of The Tempest Tournament Arena - Uegan

"As will I Vessel, good luck out there." Vergil replied with in cheerful tone of voice, raising a smile afterwards as he saw her return to the arena for her second fight.

It was then that he was left alone for a bit, till eventually, one of the tournament organizers came up to him, and sat opposite.

"I must say my good man, that was definitely a good performance you gave in your bout earlier. You really played to the crowd."

"Why thank you." Vergil replied with. "You could say I have dabbled a little bit in theatrics, helps to out think your opponent, make sure you get the upper hand. Too many fighters these days think with their blades rather than with their brains, if you catch my drift." He then remarked sarcastically.

"I suppose I understand your point somewhat. People think that just because you have a blade, you should be expected to understand everything about it. They don't realise it take years of skill and practice to master the noble art of swordplay." The organiser replied with a sense of agreement between the two.

"Those blades of yours are rather rare in this part of The City, how did you come to acquire them?" He then asked, curious about Vergil's katanas.

"What these?" Vergil exclaimed as he pulled out his twin katana. "I killed their original owner. He was some shadow Mage, who threatened my employer. We got into a duel, and well, this was my prize." Vergil ended with, then returned the blades to their holders.

"Well, that certainly sounded like it was a decent fight. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to tend to some of the executive Champions. It was good to chat with one of the combatants." The organizer remarked as he left the table, and began to grumble at the prospect.

Dean Jastis Vo'ana - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

"Good, then I can assume he is in the North? If so then your reunion is at hand it appears." Jastis spoke with a smile on his face. "But do you plan on doing now?"

imageLorel Ion - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

Leaving his room he made his way down various steps until he reached the first floor, he heard whispers of the Garden so he decided to visit it. Making his way through to the back and eventually though various outside courtyards he landed himself in the Garden which was separated by fences with vines on them, but not thick ones. It was large, really large. As he moved through it he saw tables where food would be placed, and various other things but it was still not ready as the party wouldn't be tonight.

As he made his way through the Garden he arrived at the other end of it and where it started to go somewhat up hill and that's when he reached it. There was a small roof with pillars on top of the hill. Lorel went under the roof and then put his arms on the railings, and overlooked the waterfront where he could see the Bridges of Trust. From there he could tell that they were quite large and sturdy and he could almost see the outline of many people moving across them.

Malina - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

Hearing of the Garden she was in enthralled to go see it as it was also the location of the party and an overlook of the waterfront. After roughly ten minutes of walking she arrived at the gardens and made her way through and up the hill but as she got up close she noticed someone already there and overlooking the water. Malina noticed the man's clothes looked similar to someone she knew.

Suddenly the man moved away from the railing noticing she was there and turned, she then saw who it was. A boy, the same age as her, he had white hair, and black eyes, and wore a brown jacket with golden cuffs and gold lines around the top neck part. His eyes widened as she did.

"Lorel..? It can't be. Is that you?"

Lady Fiorla De la Croix - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

"The masquerade ball will be the perfect setting and opportunity for our reunion, Jastis. I can't believe it has been 28 years since I last saw him in person. His personality reminds me much of Angello, its a shame that the two will never meet, at least in a physical sense, but I think he would of been happy." Fiora remarked with a sadden expression on her face, as memories of her husband came back.

"From what I could gather of his sixth sense, Shade's Vision as he calls it is progressing rather well, but it hasn't reached potential, perhaps, I can stimulate its evolution."

"Still the ball is a few days away, there is enough time to prepare for it. The waterfront makes for an excellent backdrop to the festivities. It will certainly be a night to remember for many it seems."

"Anyway, I have some invitations to send, good day to you two." Fiora then finished off with a bow, and then made her way back to her room, to begin preparations.

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Someone else, elsewhere
The man in the back alley was massive, easily over 7 feet in height and probably wearing over a tone of armour, lucky for him he had more than muscle to handle it and the item he held in both hands. What exactly it was I couldn't tell you but it looked big and steam powered, sort of live a cannon but not mounted on anything so it probably wasn't that.
Several subordinates were circling him they looked on edge one made the mistake of an opinion.
"Why haven't we attacked yet, 90% of the district must be at our little tournament." That was as far as he got.
"Shut up boy while it's still your choice and before any of you ask we'll attack when and only when."
"I just got the kill confirm from base."
"Then we move out."
The streets were much emptier than usual no one seemed to notice the crowd of champions advancing from a back alley towards the hospital.
One of the champions muttered something under her breath. There was a thundering boom and the clouds burst above their heads. Storms often happened quickly when champion were around.
They'd quickly advanced on the doors. The massive brute was near the head of the pack, the imposing wooden doors looked like it had them stopped but not for long.
Of course breaking the door down only revealed the militia. The **** wasn't one for armies but the people weren't giving it up without a fight.
There was a cannon blast and ear ringing shot followed by a body splitting sound. Several of the militia had fallen to pieces after the cannon the oncoming storm was holding.
"We're in. Find the **** and bring them to me, they don't see the sunrise."

The tournament, main arena (ph of air about 2)
The cloud finally withdrew first from the vessel's opponent, or more accurately what was left, a mix of blood and half melted metal, the armour hadn't done anything beyond making the acid try harder. The screams were still echoing outliving their originator by several minutes.
The sand they'd been fighting on was black where it wasn't red the ornate armour was riddled with holes. At least for him it was over.
The cloud draws back further revealing her, she lying face down in the sand, barely moving and that could just be the wind. The explosion had scattered many people and they streets would no doubt be flooded again soon enough. Those that could still get out would no doubt want out sooner rather than later.
She still lay there, her robes weren't half what they used to be full of holes and her hood might as well just stop bothering.

imageVergil Crawford - Champion's of The Tempest Tournament Arena - Uegan

Vergil heard a large explosion coming from the arena. He quickly went in to see that it had descended into chaos. There were bodies everywhere, and those that had survived, were running for their lives.

Amidst the smoke, ash, sand, and desperate townspeople, he could make out the vague shape of The Vessel lying on the floor. Surprisingly, she wasn't hurt, but looked dazed. Vergil barged his way through the people, reaching her.

Before he picked her up, Vergil used one of his remaining bombs to clear a path through the crowd. He then picked her up, holding her in his arms, and made a mad dash back into what was the winner's tent, part of it had been destroyed in the blast.

The pair escaped into the city streets, crowds were starting to investigate. Vergil slipped his way into one of the side alleys, away from all the noise and commotion. After a few minutes of walking, he came across a inn, its sign read: The Ace of Ales.

Its inside was fairly quiet, there were a few patrons, but they were mostly paying cards to notice the new arrivals. He made his way to the counter, still carrying Vessel. The owner was a tall, slightly pale faced man with dark purple hair, he seemed to have a friendly look on his face.

"Welcome to The Ace of Ales my good sir. What was that explosion just now?" He enquired.
"There was an explosion at the Champions of The Tempest tournament, it caused by an unknown party. In any case, do you have a room available?"
"Yeah, course I do. In fact, a double one has just been cleaned. I'll eh, go and open it for you." The innkeeper remarked, noticing the dazed woman.

Vergil followed the man upstairs, a nervous look on his face as he was making sure that Vessel was still conscious; she was, that seemed to calm him down somewhat.

"Here you go, I'll leave you to it then." The innkeeper remarked as he quietly left the room, a brief smile appearing on his face.

Vergil set Vessel down on the large bed, and found himself a armchair to sit in.

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Her mind had been racing for, well a lot of time shall we say. They cloud should rightly had killed her, luckily she was able to keep alive by using the energy gained from her opponents suffering. She made a note to pray for him (if it was a him that was, there had been a lot of armour before and not much body after). Even so she got some burns that she'd have for a while.
Then there was the drumming. She wanted nothing more than to sleep but there it was. Something about it bored into the back of your skull it kept going and going. Something about it, in the back of her head, why the hell was it even bothering her, she'd heard rain before of course she had. So what made this rain special? Why was it screwing with her like this?
"Storm!"
She was up.
"Clear day, no clouds in the sky. Storm?"
She was up barely moving but it was something right.
Her robes were in tatters, thanks to the acid but she was next to the window soon.
"Planning something. Distraction. **** under attack. Hospital!"
She looked down, seeing the ground it wasn't that far of a fall and the hospital wasn't much of a run. You could see the smoke in the distance.
Ok bit more of a fall than she would have liked but she wouldn't be limping for long.
The ****'s hospital
It was a white wash, even with everyone leaping to the ****'s aid the champions weren't much slowed down.
"Sir we've found her."
"So it was a woman? I owe someone a few Kiel. Anyway."
The oncoming storm kicked down the door not even bothering to use a common.
The **** was calm. She was as of yet unharmed. Her eyes raced. Storm. Early warning. Confident. Whole army. Maybe not so confident.
"Well you **** speak."
She remained silent. Rising blood pressure. Heart attack? Not time. Large weapon. Powerful, explains doors. Execution?
The Oncoming storm throws down the weapon to the genuine surprise of the ****.
"Not for you ****."
He takes a bag from his back.
Opening it reveals, shall we say tools.

imageVergil Crawford - The Ace of Ales - Uegan

Out of the corner of his eye, Vergil could see that Vessel had jumped out of the window, and was limping her way towards a hospital, which had smoke coming out of it. He quickly went up to the window.

"My god Vessel, what are you up to now? Best go after her then Vergil, you did make a promise to her."
"Your right V, I did."

Vergil remarked as he briefly conversed with himself, he then leapt out of the window, and started to pursue Vessel.

"Vessel! Wait up!" Vergil called out to her, unsure if he would relieve a reply.

Lady Fiora De la Croix - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

"There, finished." Fiora remarked as she completed her set of invitations, two of which bore her family crest. She then left her room in the mansion, and made her way to the delivery room. She handed them over to a courier.

"Make sure these are delivered top priority, they are invitations to the masquerade ball in a few days time." Fiora ordered the man, who gave a silent response, and quickly exited the door.

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She turned round still heading on, no way she could stop.
"Good you're here, come on we need to get moving."
There was a mix of determination and panic in her voice. The storm would have been cutting right through her tattered clothes but she couldn't let it get to her.
The hospital wasn't far now. You could see the bodies and the champions were collecting. They were clearly not really opposed.
"Come on we need to get in."
The doors weren't guarded since the champions were probably relying on the distraction.
"We can make it in through the front but there's probably a way in at the sides."
She began moving towards the alley at the sides.
****'s room
The **** visibly reacted seeing the tools but remained silent.
"Ah, I take it you know what these are for then. Or maybe not I'm only guessing but I presume someone like you who never gets their hands dirty isn't going have much experience with torture. Who knows you might pick up a thing or two."
The instruments gleam polished sliver, each a mix of hooks and blades.
"Now let's begin."
The **** tries to remain silent as possibly but it doesn't last long.
Back with the Vessel
There was a scream, coming from an upper window.

imageVergil Crawford - The On the streets - Uegan

Vergil followed Vessel down into a side alley near the hospital, it wasn't long before the pair of them could hear a loud scream coming from an upstairs window.

"What was that?" Vergil shouted.

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"No time."
Climb.
She fell her limp wasn't good enough.
"Vergil do you mind."
"I'm coming with you, you know that right?"
"Vergil the most useful thing you can give me now is time. A lot's about to happen fast and the longer you can keep them off my backs the better."
"But..."
"No buts I'm sorry I need to do this."
And she was in. He helped her in through the window.
She'd left something for him. Hope he knows how to play it.
She was in the corridor was empty when she came in. The must already have cleared it.
The screams kept coming. Tool after tool, each new implement another cry for help.
The door wasn't hard to find, she felt so much fear and anger pull her towards it, like she was falling. And then she hit the ground.
She could see him, the Oncoming storm, at his feet, she couldn't bear to look. The blood flowed fast the **** was barely recognisable.
She drew her sling and loosed a single stone.
"Men, we are under attack."
The Oncoming storm's call reaches out across the hospital.
She'd barely last a minuet if Vergil didn't pull through.
Good thing she trusted him.

imageVergil Crawford - Hospital - Uegan

Vergil helped Vessel up into the hospital, after which she passed him her harp, Vessel then went around the corner, and out of sight.

"Wait, why have you left me this?" Vergil asked sounding confused at why she would leave him this.

"Guess she thinks she ain't coming back, in that case, I guess I'll hold them off for her, and buy her as much time as I can." Vergil thought to himself in a triumphant manner. It was then that Vergil could hear the sound of armour coming ever closer towards him. He managed to attract their attention, and drew them to an open area at the back of the hospital.

Standing before him was a group of ten moderately armoured soldiers, each wielding an assortment of weapons, ranging from swords, maces, and halberds.

"Gentlemen, lets dance." He called out to them, and proceeded to laugh.
"You dare mock the Champions of The Tem..." The leader of the group shouted before a throwing knife was embedded in his heart, causing him to collapse instantly.
"Does that answer your question?"
"GET HIM!" One of the other soldiers ordered in a furious manner, as the two groups clashed.

Vergil launched himself at the first soldier driving his wrist blade into him, and then threw the body at another, causing him to topple almost instantaneously. One of the soldiers wielding a halberd then swung his weapon at Vergil, but he quickly rolled to the side, causing the halberd to become stuck in the body of his dead comrade. He quickly rolled over the spear man, and grabbed the small dagger at his waist, and plunged it into his back.

Vergil then found himself between two long swords, both poised to strike. He carefully sidestepped out of the way, causing the two blades to kill the other. They soon fell. Vergil carefully dodged a swing from oncoming flail. He quickly pulled out his katana, and trapped the flail in mid-swing, and then threw the wielder into another pair of soldiers. Afterwards he quickly dispatched the remaining group of five.

Within a short space of time, Vergil managed to defeat another twenty; using careful manuvers and well placed strikes from both his katanas and wrist blade.

"Well, that's thirty of them down, where are the other twenty?" Vergil pondered as he walked amongst the dead bodies, and panted occasionally from exhaustion. It was then that he could see shadows appearing on the walls above him.

"Crossbows... they have crossbows. Oh... [expletive]. That is really just great, NOT." He questioned to himself sarcastically.

It was then that the crossbows started firing, despite his exhaustion, Vergil managed to dodge the hail of crossbow bolts heading towards him, and made his way to the walls. He picked up a tower shield on the way, and used it to deflect the further hails of crossbow bolts.

Vergil then charged along the wall, knocking over the crossbow men and off the wall.

"Well that wasn't so hard." Vergil remarked, but he saw another group of ten.

"You must be the final wave? Very well then." Vergil called out, as he leapt from the walls, and whipped out the katanas, and engaged the last group.

"Hope this has bought you the time that you need Vessel." Vergil thought as he blocked and parried the blows coming at him.

imageLorel Ion - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

Malina..?

He didn't know how to respond, why was she here? "Malina, what are you doing here?"
She ran up to him and hugged him and then tears ran down her eyes and then she backed away. "What are you doing here? I thought you were dead!"

"What, banished yes, but killed? No. Who told you that?" Lorel asked trying to keep cool, in honestly he did miss Malina, and they were good friends.

Malina wiped some of the tears. "All of us had been told by Amelia, she said you were dead along with your whole family."

Lorel's eye's narrowed. "Of course she did... I should have expected that, if they knew I was alive and she let me live. Her reign of power would be questioned. But Malina what are you doing here?"

"I am here in the north with my father... He will be so happy to see you," She sort of drifted off and he noticed she sniffed as if smelling a strong scent. "...Large amounts of it are around..."

"Large amounts of what?" He asked looking around and trying to smell something himself.

"I am sorry," she yelled and then suddenly rushed at him and before he could react she unbuttoned his jacket and saw what was beneath. The various red marks and the ominous blood that was on top of them that never dried. Her eyes almost looked like they sparkled. "So much of it..."

Lorel pushed Malina back and covered his shirt. "How did you..."

Suddenly she slapped herself. "Sorry... I almost lost control of myself for a second..."

"Malina what..."

"I never told you did I? I am a Vampire..."

Lorel almost thought she was joking. "What?" He yelled out loud but then lowered his voice. "Vampires like in the old stories? They never existed."

Malina collected her thoughts and thought for a second on how to explain it. "Your right, they didn't exist. Until they were created... Back in 5242, during the first major City war, Professor Albon Von, was in a bit of a wreck and his district was going to fall. So in an attempt to secure that, he looked over old stories, and saw Vampires. Being humanoid they seemed to be the easiest to create. Getting volunteers of families of his district, he began to experiment. Knowing full well what the side-effects could be,

"At first he was just going to give them the strength of Vampires but decided to add some other parts to make it more 'authentic' but didn't add things as foolish as: burning in the sun, and such things like that. Also we aren't technically dead like the legends speak of. Our heart beats as normally, so does our blood flow, but our skin was modified to look paler. He used magic... But not any known magic, he literally rewrote their DNA's. But not all of them came out as good as our family, apparently some families while they did gain the strength gained other features that he made sure didn't happen to us, such as burning in the sun and such. We were one of the few lucky ones.

"After he finished... He vanished soon after and to this day is unknown what happened to him or how he gained such magic. Now for hundreds of years we have been in secret but our populations are few. Vampires were forced into existence and we were literally made for war."

Lorel didn't know how to respond, she wasn't human, well not exactly, more of a sub-species
of human rather than a whole new species. "How is this..? I don't even know how to respond."

"I am not surprised... I think you're the first person I have told. But Lorel... I must ask... Why is there blood like that over your chest?"

image

The Vessel was the first to talk.
"I have a feeling they won't be coming."
"You pretty full of yourself for a woman with a glorified farming tool for a weapon and no armour.

Anyway your master lies dying; I made sure her last moments were the most painful as possible.
Luckily for you I've kept her alive to say good bye.
The storm didn't care, turned his back on her. Big mistake.
The Vessel lets the stone loose from her sling. Striking him right in the back of neck.
He falls quickly. Not dead but virtually paralysed.
That done she ran to the ****.

"Oh god what did he do to you?"
"A lot." The ****'s eyes looked towards the tools.
"Oh god!" The vessel was still taking in the bloody mass before her, she almost wished the **** was able to black out from the pain.

"Vessel, I know I've done so things to you no one deserves to be forgiven for and I'm not looking for forgiveness. But I know you wouldn't let me die without knowing who I really was."
"Don't be stupid you aren't going to die."
"It's ok I've accepted it. A little rest would be nice."
"No shut up I'm not letting you die." Wait? She noticed the gleam of sliver among the read.
"Please don't worry; you've done all you could. It's just my time"
"No quite." She picked up the tools. Inspecting them, weird how the torture equipment resembled surgical tools.

There was a groan from the oncoming storm.
"Tell me what he did? Everything."
"Please you don't have to fight it. I've accepted my end."
"Well I sure as FUCK haven't. Now tell me everything he did, every last detail."
"First he broke my legs and arms."
Easily done.

The Vessel picked the hardest thing she could and there was a cracking sound from the champion's leader.
"Next."
It took a while, the Oncoming storm had been right, they'd made the **** feel every kind of pain imaginable. But with each revelation the vessel had more work to do. She'd broken bones, severed arteries several organs had failed. But it was worth it, each new tool she used charged her with energy by repeating the work of the Oncoming Storm that she was able to undo it.

The **** was rapidly healing soon she was pretty much fine.
It sure was a relief the Vessel was able paralyse him, if the Oncoming storm was able to struggle it would only have made thing more difficult.
The Storms eyes were looking up at the Vessel, deep with fear and pain, even managed a few tears. The **** spoke.

"You pulled it off. I thought for sure I was dead. But now I'm safe I think it's only fair we kill him now he's in so much pain and it's not doing me any more good."
Show him mercy? Was she crazy? No she was right.
The scalpel that had also been used to cause more pain than most ever where was finally used to end some. The Vessel gave a decisive slash to his throat. The eyes dilated and the pain faded (well from the one he still had).
The **** tried to get up but couldn't quite manage it.
"You'll be down for a little longer I'm afraid the healing I've done will take a little time to settle."

The Vessel stepped out into the halls.
"Hey Vergil." She pulled him into the room.
The hospital was silent. He was as good as they said.
The **** reached for something on the floor but the Vessel snatched it before she could.
"Not yet, answers first, then you get the broach back."
"Can't say that isn't fair."

imageVergil Crawford - Hospital - Uegan

"I have done as you asked me too. The fifty men that were here, lie broken, battered, and bruised, pretty much, all dead. I don't think the Champions will be a problem... for a time at least." Vergil remarked, telling the Vessel what he did in the struggle.

"Here, I'll think you'll want this back, not a scratch on it." He added as he passed back her harp. Vergil then surveyed the scene.

"Well, it seems we both enjoyed our fun. What in hell happened." Vergil mentioned looking at the bloody corpse. He then turned to see a face he didn't expect.

"Oh, you... What is she doing here?" Vergil asked Vessel whilst pointing at the ****.

"I knew it." He said quietly.

"Oh my god, I can't believe it. I basically acted as a decoy and risked my life, so you could rescue her; a woman that, did things to you that no person should be forgiven for. What reason is there to justify all this?" Vergil asked in shock, waiting patiently for a response.

"This is totally ironic, but I guess if you can't beat them, join them." He then muttered under his breath.

Before either could respond Vergil stated, "This better be good... from the both of you."

image Kalyn Alexander Vaalender - Dean's Mansion - Tinsdal

A long sigh escaped his lips, there was something in the detail of the report he had just received from a contact in the middle district that troubled him greatly, but the exact nature of it refused to make itself clear and had so far managed to elude him. Kalyn Vaalender, known to all as the Dean of the North's right hand man and loyal friend, had decided to leave his office on the ground floor of the mansion and take a short walk to clear his mind of distraction in an effort to work out exactly what was beginning to trouble him. So far it had failed and only further added to the frustration of the problem.

Harold Nehelem had never been what Kalyn would describe as a close friend, but they had shared a passion for life's two great vices (or so his wife would have you believe), drink and women, and when they got together a lot of fun was had. He smiled to himself. He was actually going to miss the old man. His murder, and that of many guests, had come as a great shock to Kalyn. None more so than the fact that he was in charge of security for the Dean's masked ball and feared for a repeat of the incident.

It came to him in a flash. Sera. His long time personal contact of the Red Stain was down in the middle district, but further more she had failed to check in with him about the incident. Was it possible that she had been involved somehow? Kalyn swallowed hard at the implications. The fact that the report identified multiple assailants did little to calm his thoughts.

Kalyn walked into the entrance hall and stopped.

Joanna! If she is involved in this then gods help us all.

A scandal of that magnitude would bring the wrath of the entire north onto the Dean's doorstep.

Telnor- Uegan

"Actually Hailen on second thought I think I will go it alone," Telnor said. "So good luck with whatever you have to do. Maybe you should come visit us in Tinsdal."

Telnor turned away from the group and made his way to where the carriages. Approaching the kiosk he asked, "One carriage to Cryka please."

"Certainly sir. That will be 50 kiel." the attendant said. Signalling to someone leaning against a fence," You, Jihel. Your up. Trip to Cryka. First long trip. Don't mess this up."

"Yes sir," Jihel said. "Come on sir. This way please." Jihel lead the way to his carriage ad Telnor followed. "The trip should just take half a day. So please just take a seat in the back and enjoy yourself," Jihel opened the back of the carriage and Telnor went in and sat down. He closed his eyes as the carriage started to move and soon he was asleep.

Cryka- Telnor- Half a day latter

Telnor yawned as the carriage rolled to a stop. The door opened and Telnor stepped out. Jihel smiled as Telnor handed him the kiel.

"Thank you sir," Jihel stopped Telnor as he walked away. "This came by magic letter a few days ago, for someone matching your description. I was designated as the person who was to give to whoever matched the description, that is why Hal gave me this job," Telnor took the letter with a quizical expresion.

"Um. Thanks. I guess," Telnor handed Jihel an extra ten kiel. "Take care."

Telnor looked at Cryka. It had been so long since he had last been here. Not since the death of his father had he been in the north. It was still as beautiful as when he had left it. Despite being in the north Cryka was situated in a low lying valley so it was warmer than most of the north. Trees were growing everywhere with gardens in front of almost every house. It was a peaceful district because Cryka was home to the best craftsmen in almost the entire city, and who wants to steal from people who might be making their house or other goods in the future.

Cryka was also home to three different major guilds. The Brotherhood of the High Stone, the guild of masons and where stone workers go to become the best stone workers. The Metal Livers, the best blacksmiths gathered there. The third guild is The Healing Crosses, the best doctors in all The City. Hopefuls come from all over in the hope of being accepted into the guild and only twenty make it every year.

Telnor smiled. It felt good to be here, despite his reasons. He made his way to a nearby bench to sit down and read the letter he had received.

image

The **** leapt to her and the Vessels defence. Knowing if she didn't the Vessel would screw it up.
"I know what I did to her was wrong, but I still stand by my actions. Without the broach I wouldn't have been able to do all the good I have done since, I have about 50 personas across the north, all of them dedicated to helping people.
If the champions had succeeded here they would have left hundreds if not thousands worse off. And that's not even considering the suffering they bring out on their own. I am forever grateful that she is able to put her own concerns aside for the greater good.
She deserves condemnation"
"Don't be so sure, if I'd let you die I'd have had to name you and I couldn't let that happen.
Wait I have questions."
"You've earned them ask."
"You knew they were coming, you could have sent the best assassin in the city, aren't you still the husband of the deans best assassin? You could have had the best. "
"The best is what I got."
The Vessel blushed a little at that. She quickly got over it though.
"So what about losses? How heavy?"
"Could be worse, I've been evacuating everyone I could for the past few weeks. Most of those left were here willingly to help defend me. Their sacrifices will be remembered."
"So the champions?"
"Don't worry, they sent their best, there will still be lower ranked pockets around but I can't see them re-building any time soon."
"Good. So your work can continue."
"Well you're the one with the broach guess it's your decision."

imageVergil Crawford - Hospital - Uegan

"You know, if you found another way, you could of still helped people without hurting the Vessel. Instead you had to take the easy way out, hurting someone you knew in the process. Of course, you wouldn't see it like that, you'll say that it was a difficult choice. But I can see my words will have no effect on the matter. You both have made your point perfectly clear." Vergil remarked to the ****, knowing already that his argument was in vain. He then turned to Vessel.

"Besides, if it weren't for me distracting those soldiers, the pair of you would be dead by now. I could of just walked away from this, let you die, but I didn't, do know why, because I care for you Vessel. You are one of the most interesting people I have met in a long time."

"What do I get for buying you the time that you needed to pull this off? Nothing, not even a thank you. I even made sure that your harp wasn't damaged. Cause that is how much I care." Vergil mentioned, pointing out the harp in her hands.

"Your going to let her keep the broach, aren't you Vessel. You know its the right choice, even I can see that. Despite her methods of acquiring it, she has done good with its use." Vergil remarked, realising that he had lost this argument.

"Anyway, we should get going, too much sorrow has been created this day, I would not want to feed this beast of sorrow any longer. That doesn't mean you, the ****." He added, referring to the ****.

image

"I'm sorry."
The Vessel hugs him. Having left her room.
"I'm really sorry. Of course I'm grateful. It's just I'm exhausted from all this, but your right, I shouldn't have treated you like that; you've gone above and beyond and I won't forget it. I want to make it up to you just tell me how." Actually pretty emotional
She picks up her harp, he was right not a scratch. She starts playing, partly to calm herself done but also well.
"You like it? It's your song."
She'd left the **** alone in the room with the broach. The Vessel was sure she'd be ok. She continued speaking to Vergil.
"I can sort of see that what I did last time won't be appropriate but I was thinking, there's a party waiting for me at home, and it won't be half as good if you weren't there."

imageVergil Crawford - Hospital - Uegan

"I know this may seem like I'm going off topic, but do you think the **** will be alright by herself?" Vergil asked showing a small amount of sympathy for the woman. He then went back onto the matter at hand.

"Thank you Vessel for that song, it was beautiful. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything for the moment, I may have an idea or two later though, ...in the mean time, I can give you this." Vergil replied with, a tear almost coming to his eye, but quickly brushed it away. He then gave her a kiss on cheek, which seemed to make her blush afterwards.

"That was for your kindness, and that song."

"As for the party, of course I'll attend. It sounds, fun." Vergil remarked.

"I think I saw a carriage station on the way here. It should only be a short walk, follow me." He added as the pair made their way out of the hospital.

image

"I'm sure she'll be fine." A little dismissive no?
"I'm glad you liked the song. I was for you after all."
Then she kissed him? What?
"Oh thanks," she didn't really know what to say. She really felt for him.
"I'm still." You know what never mind. He deserved it. She kissed back. But only quickly and not for her of course.
Then she felt it, it had taken a while but she was soon overcome. She had to laugh.
"Do you realise what we just did? I mean." She could barely say it.
"That was it, the best the champions had to offer, and we, two people destroyed them. We did it."

imageVergil Crawford - Hospital/On The Streets - Uegan

After several minutes of walking through the hospital corridors, both Vergil and Vessel made outside, and onto the streets, it was at that moment, that the Vessel kissed him. Needless to say, he was touched.

"We didn't just destroy them Vessel, we annihilated them. You know, we make an excellent team." Vergil remarked, then joined in with the laughter.

"How about, we celebrate this moment some where hmm. Say, your place? Or, would prefer some where a little more, private."

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