The Lucky Ones,A Superhero/Fantasy RP with an idea (Closed,Running.)

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Josslyn Irma walked through her garden. Night had only come an hour or so before, and she was using this time to cool down and relax after a day of listening to prayers and mediation. Her guard's nearly endless sarcastic comments didn't help, either, and she felt generally dejected and bitter about her whole situation, having to sneak away from her guard just to get some alone time in her garden. She kicked a stone into a pool of standing water and kept walking, the torchlight closer to the entrance fading as she walked deeper into the garden.

As she kept walking, she changes a few things around her. The flowers change and grow, tree branches form an archway, and the ground seems to warm with her steps. She reached a small pool of water and sat by it, legs pulled to her chest. She mulled over the events of the day, thinking of questions asked, ideas shared, and events that transpired. While in no way an oracle, she was respected by the monks, and often was consulted on important matters of the monastery, such as disputes and holidays. This wore on her, and today was one of those days.

She sat there, in the slowly dimming torch and moonlight, until she heard a rustling in the brush. It was like the patter of small feet, a weasel or a rabbit, and Josslyn felt like seeing if this furry creature could offer her any respite. She edged towards the sound, and saw a small white blur move in the brush. She stood and followed it, slowly. She at first said a few reassuring, soft words to the creature. "It's okay, I won't hurt you... I just want to see what you're doing..." After several minutes of trying this, she began cursing and almost screaming at it, attempting to find the illusive vermin that was likely taking home in her garden.

Finally, she did come across it. It was curled in a ball in a clearing between bushes. Josslyn knelt down next to it and poked it's side. The creature was surprisingly cold, and didn't even flinch when she poked it. She held her hand over it and felt no heartbeat, no breath. She slowly moved her hand off of it, a frown now taking place over a once victorious smile.

As she began to stand up, she felt a hand grab at her from behind. It cupped around her mouth, and then a second came from the darkness behind her and grabbed at her slim stomach. She let out a scream, but the hand grabbed her face hard, silencing her cry.

"Girl, we can do this nice, or we can do it hard. Don't scream, don't run, don't fight back, and you'll get away without getting hurt. Run, hide, or scream, and I will hurt you." A deep, dark voice whispered in her ear. The man pulled a string with the hand on her stomach, revealing the weasel to simply be a puppet tied to a string. Josslyn's eyes watered a little, and she made her hands into fists. Creeping vines began to encircle the man's legs, which was supposed to keep him in place. Instead, it merely alerted him to her attempts to fight back. He twirled around with great speed, faster than a man with hands this big should, and pinned her to the ground, hitting the cold dirt hard.

"Girl, I told you, fight back and we have problems. I can't rough you up too much, you're supposed to be left alive, but that doesn't mean I can't hurt you, I just can't leave scars." To prove his point, he twisted her arm hard. Josslyn heard a light snap, as though a joint was put out of place, and a great pain. Her eyes began to water uncontrollably, and she shook her head, indicating that she wouldn't fight. The man let go of her arm, and it popped back to her side. It stung and burned, but it wasn't broken, as far as she could tell. She knew, though, that she wasn't giving up.

She opened her hand to the ground, palm down, and vines started to form around her, supposed to make a cocoon. This, sadly was also noticed, and met with a swift punch to the face. Before she could even feel the pain, Josslyn was out cold.

"So, what brings you here, traveler?", asked the tavern keeper while bringing Jordanas the meal he had looked forward to after a long day on the road. "Apart from the merchants who wish to do some trading in Adorján up north, not many people pass through here anymore. And it is obvious that you are not a merchant", he continued while quietly evaluating the man dressed in rags sitting in front of him.
He had no desire to satisfy the tavern keeper's curiosity. He dropped a few coins from his pouch on the table as a payment for the food, raising his head and looking at the fat, bald man in front of him:
"Here. Now leave me be... I'd like to enjoy my meal in peace."
"... Fine, have it your way", he scoffed, annoyed at the unfriendly attitude of this ragged stranger.
Without paying any more attention to him, Jordanas began devouring the delicious stew in front of him.


After a good night's rest at the inn, he was on the road again. He had been traveling towards north already for a week or so, and for what reason, he didn't know. Maybe it was just his constant need to be on the move; He could never stand being at the same place for too long. All he knew was that he had a "hunch" about north. Maybe there he would find a new dish he hadn't tried yet, or something exciting to keep him entertained for a while.

The "spirits" had been quiet for already a month however; this made him feel uneasy, as they always needed something to be done. He meditated every evening, trying to make contact with the spirit world, but still he received no word from them. While he was happy to have a small vacation from the life of a servant, he could not help but wonder what was going on.

Completely lost in his thoughts, Jordanas had entered the Northern Forest just up the road from the tavern before even realizing it.
'I am here already... I should be able to make it through here and reach the town before sunrise.', he thought, happy at the chance of being able to spend at least a part of the night sleeping in a comfy bed at the local tavern. 'It's a shame that I am running low on coins again... Oh well, there are always plenty of foolish noblemen looking for people who can do their bid-


A loud noise from the surrounding forest alarmed him. This was a not a sound made by the creatures of the forest; they were far too skilled in maneuvering through the woods without making a single sound or leaving a trace. These were outsiders, lurking in the woods. Readying himself for a confrontation, he gathered all his concentration, readied his body and kept standing absolutely still, waiting for the unknown person or a creature to make his first move.
A man stepped forward from the shadows of the trees and from the safety of the forest. He looked like a regular bandit; the kind that is after the unsuspecting merchants passing through in hopes of petty wealth.

"Jordanas Roi", the man said. "You are going to be coming with us."
Five more men appeared from the forest around him, and there were most likely more lurking within the shadows.
"Pitiful thieves. May the spirits grant you rest.", muttered Jordanas and in a blink of an eye he leaped at one of the men surrounding him, grabbing his throat and slamming him into the ground knocking him unconscious in the process. Despite instilling terror in his opponents with such a sudden attack, he was still heavily outnumbered, and he knew he would not be able to keep his concentration up for long. The remaining men charged at him with their batons, throwing a flurry of strikes at him and despite of his desperate efforts to dodge the blows, one of the men managed to hit him straight in the head, making him lose his balance and fall over...

Everything turned slowly black as the blows kept coming and coming...

A crowded market street filled with the bustle of regular day life was where Rafiq currently found himself. He could usually set up a stall here, flog a few furs and then call it a day well spent but, as it just so happened, a tailor of this city had put in quite the order for furs and hides. They'd called for him personally too. He couldn't very well disappoint.

He took a moment to go over the directions he had been given. Past a butcher's, across from an armourer, a few doors down from a house with white roses. They were unworthy of praise, so vague were they, but he had a hunter's instinct to help him along the way and eventually reached his destination, a shop with no name, pushed to the back of the market street by the less fiscally challenged shopkeepers. It was not a large shop, budged between two other small buildings so snugly that they may very well have been joined. He approached the front door and knocked.

And then he knocked again.

And then he tried a third time.

Usually there was some sort of indication that someone had heard the door by now. He tested the lock and, finding that the door was unlocked, decided to poke his head inside. "Oi, anyone in?" Following the all too familiar ring of a bell above the door, all was quiet in the shop. No-one was here, especially not a shopkeeper. He'd walked all the way here and the guy couldn't even have the decency to stay in? Honestly, what sort of tradesmen was he expected to cater to these days? They were all so complacent and disrespectful, leaving when he had business with them... He let himself inside, eager to get off the street.

A few racks of clothing were around the shop, obscuring the path from entrance to counter. There was a pedestal in front of a mirror, a counter, a staircase to an area marked Staff Only, and a long bench situated in front of the window.

Rafiq let out a sigh and sat himself down on the bench, willing to stay for as long as it took his prospective employer to return. At the very least he would be handsomely paid for this endeavour. On top of the fee for his work, he'd get money for keeping the place burglar-free, which was surely worth a good few nights' travel about the continent. He laid down on the bench and shut his eyes for a bit.

Before too long the door opened again, quickly followed by the sound of shoes on the floor. Without the chance to even sit up, the footsteps streaked towards him and a knife was held to his throat. The scruffy bloke holding it had a mixed expression on the visible half of his face, of both anger and relief. Through the scarf drawn over his mouth he uttered, "Found you."

"Didn't know I was lost."

"Real funny. See if you can laugh along with this, funny man: your job's cancelled, if it was even a real one to begin with, and I've got orders to get you to come along with me 'beaten to a fucking pulp if I so choose,'" he recited the quote from memory, "I have to keep you alive, but I'm only a guy. Accidents happen, if you know what I mean, so how about you make this easy on the both of us and come along quietly?"

Rafiq appeared to mull over the idea for a few seconds, "Okay." The man was taken aback somewhat, but Rafiq put up no resistance. Either one of them could have easily killed the other if they had the intention, but neither did.

They left the unnamed 'shop', Rafiq leading with his wrists tied behind his back.

And then the hit came from a hitherto unknown bandit hiding outside. The hunter went down straight away, offering as little resistance as he had when concious, and hit the ground with a thud.

"I honestly expected him to resist..."

Judah had spent a great deal of the night looking for his charge, though he knew in the back of his mind that she would be in her garden. He refused to look for her in there on two grounds. The first being it was an invasion of her quiet happy place, and secondly that if she had become angry enough to slip away from him it was probably a good idea to leave her be for a little while. Oh yes she has such a hard life he thought to himself, waited on and doted after by every monk and villager in the town. Feeling bad for this comment almost immediately afterwards, he looked to the sky. The stars were clear and bring over the mountains. His father used to say that the stars were Loae's way of letting the second world's citizens look down on their descendants, and tell them they were alright. He said that if you ever saw something in the stars, it would have been from your parents, or your grandparents, or your great grandparents. He said that all the way to the second worlders your entire bloodline was descended from would send you messages.

Judah dryly laughed and scoffed at this idea almost directly afterwards. In the years since his family's almost collective death, he had stared at the sky every night, and saw nothing. This meant one of two things. Nobody in his family was good enough for the second world, or they had nothing to say to him. There was also the almost impossible possibility that the second world didn't exist, but Judah dismissed the thought almost immediately. If the second world didn't exist then everything was for nothing but itself, and then what was the point of suffering? This led to questioning about Loae's benevolence and power, which, as all Iyuites knew, was boundless and for all things.

Many a night Judah had stared at the sky at the sky and wondered about these things from the bottom of his charge's tower. While he was distracted two monks arrived, their robes slightly dirtied and torn. Judah stopped them, and asked what business they had with the Scion of the tower. Steam rose from their hands as they pulled something from their robes, revealed to be a token of tribute, in the form of some soup. Judah looked at them somewhat suspiciously, their faces cloaked in the shadow the robe brought. Offerings of soup were not uncommon however, so Judah attributed it to paranoia and escorted them to his charge's room. He rapped on the door once or twice before asking if she was in. Seemingly gone, he shrugged to the monks.
"Not much I can do for you gentlemen." He said resignedly.
"Ey, do you 'ave idea where she might be?" The Soupless monk questioned. Judah looked at him curiously again, his accent being reminiscent of the Reaakan battalion, which he believed was a lower class Daelia accent. Now slightly more alert and cautious, he answered slowly.
"I'm afraid I don't know any other places she might be, maybe you should leave and come back tomorrow" he answered, his hand sidling down to his spears fastening. The "monks" noticed this and threw off their robes, revealing a pair of poor hygiened thugs.

Before Judah could react properly a baton came crashing into the side of his head. As he slipped into unconsciousness, he heard the door to her room be beat down, and he saw a large, ugly face come down and grin at him lopsidedly, before fading away into blackness.
"Sweet dreams, witchboy."

After spending a few uneventful hours on a stone slab in the cell a guard walked up to Redd's cell and smirkingly informed him that he'd be getting a few other 'freaks' to keep him company shortly. Redd's been in this predicament for years now. He was unable to find any way to kill Cyrus or escape but now that these scions are entering the board things might change dramatically. Their chances of escaping the prison are still slim and their chances of staying alive against Cyrus and Marius are even smaller. Redd decided that he wouldn't gamble his life away unless he had a very good chance of taking Cyrus out. The Duke of Nasphor would still be a problem, but Redd had gained a lot of experience evading his enemies. He certainly couldn't stay in Reaak anymore though. But he'd be safe in any of the two other realms, whereas Cyrus would be able to pursue him to the end of the Earth. Redd stood up and started inspecting his cell for weaknesses. He couldn't find any, a few loose rocks, but not of interest since he did not possess any digging tools. Redd looked at the tattoo on his hand, he had tried scratching it off repeatedly, cutting his flesh off, the thing just slowly grew back. It was a reminder that his real prison was much harder to get out of.

Redd still lamented his decision to trade his liberty for a ball and chain even if it got him money, power, women. These things were meaningless to Redd. He thought he missed the luxury he lived in back when he was a Van Nifterick, but that wasn't it. He missed having control over his own life, something that had been stripped away from him ever since he made the fatal mistake of antagonizing the Duke. Above all Redd valued his life however. He was pretty sure there was nothing beyond death and even if there was, only Hell awaited him there as he lived for no one but himself.

By the sounds of it other prisoners were being brought in. They were blindfolded and put in different cells but within talking range, rather inconvenient, but workable. "So it begins."

Garret awoke with the feeling of a vice on his arms and a searing pain in the back of his head. With a pained grunt, he opened his eyes, but saw only the red fabric of a blindfold.

"Oi, I think dis one's comin' to."

"Keep your grip on 'im! I heard he beat up a bunch of lads before he went down."

'Am I... moving? I'm not walking. Ugh, I can't even feel my legs...'

At that thought, he heard a creaking sound, and was tossed to the ground immediately thereafter.

"Oi, Redd, 'ere's the last of the company I promised ya! Now, you freaks play nice, ya hear?"

The voice broke out into a hideous guffaw, and Garret heard another creaking sound behind him, followed by the familiar click of a lock.

'Oh, SHIT.'

His senses returning to him full force, he bolted upright with a small node of panic welling up in his stomach. He tore the blindfold off, and looking around his cell, his fears where realized: he was trapped.

'Don't panic. DON'T PANIC. Take stock and... wait a minute. Freaks? Plural?'

Taking a closer look at his cell block, he saw that he was, in fact, not alone. Five others, all in their own cells, and sitting directly across from his own cell was a man roughly Garret's age, with black hair tied back in a ponytail.

Garret's mouth turned to a smirk. 'Well, this just got interesting.' He turned to the man. "So, what are you in for?"

Redd decided to adopt a slightly humorous stance, after all, making friends with his fellow inmates was the best course.

"Theft, murder and loitering."

"No need to be glib, pal. I'm willing to bet that you're in here for a bullshit reason, same as me." Redd quickly drops the comedic undertones, they don't seem to be appreciated.

"So let me rephrase the question - who'd you piss off?"

"Nobody, I was minding my own business, did some... more or less petty theft, but that was some minor noble. The guys who kidnapped us look like much bigger fry if you ask me." Big fry indeed, Redd says to himself.

"Any idea as to the identity of our esteemed hosts?"

"I was blindfolded when they brought me in here, but I did hear the sound of clashing swords and shields when we arrived. I'm guessing we're in some place that has an active garrison. That would indicate either a high ranking officer of the army or a noble, but no way to be sure."

Garret lets off a laugh at this. "I think I might have a way to find that out, but before that... our guard referred to us as freaks, so I'm going to assume you're a scion too. What's your deal?"

"I'm inhumanely fast to put it simply, it works pretty well with being a thief, present circumstances excluded." Redd lets out a short laugh before readjusting himself.

"Interesting... and I did promise I'd show you mine." Garret rips off a piece of fabric from his robe and bites down on one of his fingers, smearing the resulting blood on it. He holds it to his forehead and takes a deep breath. Redd observes intently. Garret's eyes glow with a gentle blue light, then his demeanor shifts - his gaze half-lidded and unfocused, like he's listening to a particularly boring lecture.

"We're on the deepest level of this prison block. Directly above us are the... 'interrogation' chambers. Above that are the guards' quarters, and the ground floor houses their armory." He doesn't break his trance, he's still looking. "They're keeping a very tight patrol schedule. Just about every path in and out of this place is kept under constant guard." Redd is silently impressed by these feats of clairvoyance, he would certainly like to know more about the limits of such an ability, it could turn out to be a huge problem.

"I sense... 4, no... 5 thousand men. All armed. As to the identity of our hosts..." Redd had to stop himself from starting at that. This isn't going to be a pleasant thing to discover... Garret casts his second sight towards this subject, but seems to recoil as he does so.

"SON OF A FUCKING... We need to escape as soon as physically possible. I don't know who has us locked up, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know."

Garret certainly wasn't lying... "Impressive power you have there, and I agree, if someone was specifically looking for us, we're in trouble." Redd articulated.

"Oi, the rest of ya! Your skins are on the line too! The name's Garret, by the way."

Redd scratched his head in disbelief. "Why yes, it seems I've forgotten my manners. You can call me Redd."

"I'd shake your hand, but well... you know." He sticks his hand out the bars of his cell and waves it around a bit. The guard comes up to their cells rather irritated:

"Shut up! The lot of ya' two! No more chit chatting". After yelling sufficiently loud enough he returns to his patrol rambling curses.

"Not the nicest fellow I'd say." Redd says that with an almost palpable disgust on his face.

"See that? On his belt? A ring of keys."

Redd leaned forward and whispered. "Yeah, I bet I could snatch them if I had the opportunity. I've been following his behavior, he compulsively checks his belt every now and then, if we get them we won't have much time before he realizes it."

Garret closes his eyes and seems to drift off. "About... one minute. Not much at all. We'd make way too much noise if we took them by force, too... and even then, there's a patrol once every 5 minutes. I'm serious, you lazy sods! Sound off! Names and powers!"

Before the last of the imprisoned had been herded into their respective cells, Rafiq had made himself at home. He had been 'lucky' enough to have been brought in near the beginning, so he didn't really need to make a huge struggle to remove his blindfold, instead calmly untying it. In his eyes there was no need to rush just yet.

He managed to catch a glimpse of the final prisoner being brought in, by Tweedledee and Tweedledum no less, and leaned as far up to his door as he could. The prisoner was off down the far end of the cell block from him.

As the two brutes disappeared, leaving only the guards on patrol up and down the block, the new prisoner seemed to start getting along smashingly with another. Although Rafiq couldn't really see either of them he could hear what was being discussed, short of some whispered conspiracy.

"Oi, the rest of ya! Your skins are on the line too!"

Sounds like someone was getting impatient. To be honest Rafiq wasn't exactly looking forward to those 'interrogation chambers' either, nor a meeting with whomever was hosting this impromptu get-together. It was about time to get out of here, and those two already sounded like they were formulating a plan of escape.

"I'm serious, you lazy sods! Sound off! Names and powers!"

"Rafiq Alves. I push things." He couldn't get much further out of his cell door without falling through it.

The world was a deep shade of red and Judah's head was feeling several sizes too big. He was vaguely aware of some people talking, and then somebody shouting. He could feel that his face had been dirtied and his robe torn by the feeling of the wind rushing over his skin. Where he was there was quite a strong draught, which helped Judah figure out he was in some kind of poorly built building, or a well built one not built for comfort. This further removed Judah's hope that this was a really stupid practical joke by the monks. They never did have a good sense of humour, in that it was twisted and warped beyond all non-solitary beings idea of humour.

Groggily, he raised a hand to lift the blindfold and saw blinding, painful light strike his eyes. Angrily he tore off his blindfold, which burst into flames and incinerated next to him. Light was not going to stop him from seeing where the hell he was. So he stared directly into it, eventually becoming accustomed. To an observer this would seem odd, but luckily, Judah saw, the person opposite him was looking down the row.

From the bars he was able to infer this was some kind of prison. He stumbled to his feet while moving to the bars, tripping on nothing a few times on the way. Clinging to the bars for dear life he tried to make out what the people were saying, failing miserably. After a few seconds of this, sobriety hit like a stone to the head when one of the various people talking shouted as loud as possible. Judah heard this man's voice loud and clear, cursing under his breath after a bit of a pained groan.
"Oi, the rest of ya! Your skins are on the line too!"

Though Judah wanted to say something very inflammatory, he collected himself and tried to massage his temples until the pain went away. However, no sooner than he had fell on his arse while leaning against the gate did the same inconsiderate voice yell.
"I'm serious, you lazy sods! Sound off! Names and powers!"

Fuck you I'm a lazy sod, I only just woke up from being smashed in the face.
"Yes, shout, I'm sure that wont annoy the guards or anybody suffering symptoms of being smashed in the head hard enough to black out..." Judah spat caustically at Garret.
"But since you ask so nicely, my name is Judah Eldad, and I can set fire to things I touch. Truly the most useful power among us I'm sure."

Josslyn's vision was blurred, as though someone had smeared grease across her face. She heard voices, mostly unfamiliar, but there was one that had a ring of familiarity to it. Her senses were still stunned, however, and she still couldn't quite make out a word he was saying. One thing she could understand at the moment, though, was that she was very, very angry at the moment. She wanted nothing more than to break the rope around her wrists, beat the first thing she saw to death, and then run back home. She knew, though, that this was something that a man three times her size couldn't do.

She was lead into a room, most likely with the others, and finally was thrown into a cell. She did not impact the ground hard, but it startled her. The only color she could see was a deep red with a few speckles of light and color coming through. It took her a few moments to realize that she had cloth tied around her head. When she removed it, she shut her eyes immediately, the bright light blinding her. When she opened them, she saw that she was behind bars in a gray, stone cell. She sat on the floor, bringing her legs up to her chest. She thought about the events that happened before she arrived here, but then realized that she couldn't remember much. She was in her garden, chased a creature, was grabbed, and then woke up, the sound of a wagon on the road being all she could hear.

Josslyn was jolted out of any daze she was in as someone in another cell screamed that "Their skins were on the line," and she bolted upright. She was going to yell, but heard more talking and waited for it to end before she would speak. Eventually, the man yelled again, this time asking for everyone's name and power. She was shocked that this man already knew that they were Scions. The monks had told her that there would be others like her, but she didn't expect to meet any, let alone meet several in one room. She stayed quiet, though, and waited for others to answer, then spoke up herself as a silence dulled on the cells. She said, in an annoyed and clipped voice, "I am Josslyn Irma, and my power is to change the environment around me." She lowered her head into her knees and waited for anyone else to speak, wanting to do anything but talk at the moment.

"Yes, shout, I'm sure that wont annoy the guards or anybody suffering symptoms of being smashed in the head hard enough to black out... But since you ask so nicely, my name is Judah Eldad, and I can set fire to things I touch. Truly the most useful power among us I'm sure."

Garret balked at this response. He'd had the crap kicked out of him, same as him, and you didn't hear him whining.

"Well, pardon me, princess! I didn't know I'd woken you up! Did you chip a nail, too? You should really get that looked at."

Another man, this one further down the cell block, piped up.

"Rafiq Alves. I push things."

"Care to elaborate, mister Alves?"

Garret then heard yet another voice speak up, this one belonging to a young girl in the cell adjacent to Redd's.

"I am Josslyn Irma, and my power is to change the environment around me."

Garret cracked another smile at that. 'Excellent. If we play this carefully, we might just get out of here with our hides intact.'

"That might come in handy in the not-so-distant future, provided that means what I think it means. My name is Garret Josiah, and I'm a seer: past, present, and future."

Amata walked along the top of a stone wall, holding her arms out eith side and doing her very best to balance on it. Every so often she would slip slightly and nearly fall off only to balance herself out again and stand straight. It was rather amusing to her, this little game she was playing. The best way to keep herself occupied while she waited for something to happen; she didn't want to end up getting bored and fall asleep when danger was about. She'd miss out on helping people! That'd be terrible.

Over time, however, the game slowly became boring. It was only for so long trying to keep your balance would amuse anyone, it was quite a repetitive actvity after all. Eventually Amata let out a bored sigh and let herself fall to one side and land on her back. "Ow!" She went. Maybe it wasn't such a great idea to let herself fall off onto a path. She made a note of not to make the same mistake again.

Staring up at the sky she noticed that it was getting rather late. Yet again she had gone a day without eating, her stomach growling at her for such crimes. She put her hand over it and sighed "I'm sorry." She apologized. "I'm sure we'll find something to eat at some point. Maybe a grateful person we save will feed us! That'd be great..." With that she put her hands behind her head and closed her eyes, preparing herself for sleep. She was sure that tomorrow she'd have something to do, find something to eat, but for now she'd have to wait. It'd pay off eventually!

The night had been calm but Amata still wasn't able to sleep. She was too hungry, her mind was filled with thoughts of glorious food that were not allowing her the sleep she wanted. This wouldn't do. Not at all. Plus she was getting bored. She moved her hands over the hard ground which she had decided to make her bed. Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to just try and sleep her. It was neither comfy or safe. She'd been through worse though, her time high in the mountains was a testament to that. She'd live through whatever came her way.

And, as if by magic, at that moment something did decide to come her way. Amata could hear the light footsteps of someone sneaking along the path. That was kind of them; doing their best not to wake her up. Too bad she was already awake. Alas she thought it'd be nicer to pretend to be asleep, that way the person could feel gratification from their attempted kind deed!

The young girl listened carefully to the person as they came closer, the footsteps getting louder and louder only to stop right next to her head. The person bent down and examined Amata, holding their hand over her mouth to feel her breathing. "Good, still alive..." Amata heard them mutter. How nice of them to think of her. The person picked Amata up and slung her over their shoulders, causing the girl to wonder about their intentions as they carried her off.

It was at this point she decided to stop playing dead, jumping off the person and landing on her feet. "Hi." She said to the dumbfounded man who could have sworn the person he was holding was asleep. "I'm fine look, you can go away no-" The man raised his fists. "Oh." Amata shook her head and smiled at the man. "I don't have anything of value, there's no point in fighting me. You should reconsider your line of work, though, this kind of thing isn't helping anyone!" The man continued to stare at her. "... Fine..." She muttered as she raised her own fists. The man smiled at her, probably thinking that fighting this girl would be easy for him. Well Amata was gonna prove him wrong! She was going to beat him up and make him see the error of his-

The young girl felt a great pain at the back of her head as things began to go dark. She lost her balance and fell to the floor to look up at another man who was behind her, apparently holding a stick which he had used to hit her on the back of the head. Oh. Well at least now she could get some sleep...

Amata sat up straight as soon as she came to, looking around at where she found herself. A jail? Now... That wasn't right was it? Who thought of putting a Knight of the People like her inside of a jail? Probably some bad guys. Silly them. She stood up quickly only to stumble about and end up crashing against the bars, deciding that getting up so fast after being knocked unconcious as she was might not have been a good idea.

The first thing she noticed was other people who, apparently, seemed to be talking. Judging by the fact that she was there Amata assumed that these other people weren't bad, even though they were in a jail. Though they may not have noticed her presence before Amata decided that this was a good time to introduce herself. "Hello!" She said rather loudly. "I'm Amata. Nice to meet you all." They seemed to be talking about powers... Maybe they were like her. Scions. Amata went silent, not really wanting to talk about what she could do. It's not like it upset her or anything; it's just that she didn't like what people thought of it. So she left her introduction at that.

"Hello! I'm Amata. Nice to meet you all!"

Garret craned his neck as far out the bars to his cell door as he was able and identified the speaker as a very young girl, no older than 12. 'Another child. What on earth could these people want with us? It's not like we're conspiring against them. Well, not before now, at least...'

"It's nice to meet you, Amata. Would you care to tell us what you can do? I'll tell you mine, if you hadn't heard before."

Garret slumped back into his cell as he saw Amata retreat back into hers. 'Guess the kid doesn't feel like talking. Not that I can blame her...'

Garret turns to Redd, clearing his voice to get his attention. "I don't get it. What reason would they have to round us up? Hell, two of us can barely tie our own shoes. Whatever their motivation, I can say with near certainty that I wouldn't have been their enemy before today. If we're a threat, why go through the effort of taking us alive and imprisoning us? And if we're not, why bother with us at all? Something here doesn't add up, and I don't like it one bit."

Redd turned back, keeping up his pretense of boredom and disinterest. "What makes you think we were a threat or an enemy to them prior to being kidnapped? People have harmed other people for no justifiable reason since the dawn of time. That's just how humanity is." Redd certainly didn't put much stock in the innate goodness of the universe.

Garret furrowed his brow at this remark. 'He's dodging the question. I'm starting to get sick of this.'

"They hired bounty hunters, well over a dozen in my case, to track us down and then went through the effort of imprisoning us. If we were such a threat to warrant that expense, why not kill us? Somebody wants us caged. Badly. I've got a really bad feeling about this whole affair, and my gut's never wrong."

Redd chuckled at this remark and gestured towards Garret. "Look at yourself. You're hardly an ordinary human being, and neither am I. That's reason enough for most people."

"I told nobody my status as a Scion, bar the head of my monastery, and he never left the place. How'd they find me? And in my experience, people tend to handle 'problems' like us by eliminating them." Garret gestured to the dank cell around him. "Why cage us, when they could have just killed us and been done with it?"

Redd greatly enjoyed this exchange. A sort of cat and mouse play, Redd know he was being suspected, and he didn't care, this was certainly an interesting change from the rather antisocial activities Redd had to complete. A breath of fresh air; A breath of freedom; it was a very strange feeling to have in the middle of a jail. Considering how things we're going, an attempt to escape was imminent. Redd wasn't sure of their chances, but he was willing to try now, something about this rag tag group, or perhaps the fact that they're all scions, made Redd want to assist them instead of giving them a shiv in the back. Redd resolved to offer a thinly veiled piece of information.

"Where are you from?"

"Don't change the subject."

"Answer the question, it's relevant."

"A county on the Iyuo border."

"Well, judging by the architecture, and how there are no prisons of this kind in Iyou, we're in Reeak. Let me tell you a thing or two about Reeak."

Garret slams his fist into the bars to his cell door, his face drawing back into a frustrated sneer. "Don't lecture me. I know damn well how corrupt his place can be."

"Then you know that every noble is ready to cut the throat of his competitor in a moment's notice if they know it will advance their station. They will take any advantage. People like us are valuable in these shadowy wars."

"Hell of a way to hire us. They could have asked nicely."

"Who said they wanted to hire us? Perhaps they want to dissect us." Redd smiled mischievously.

"Again, they could have asked nicely. I'd still have told them to fuck off, but it's the principle of the thing."

"Oh yes, they're very big on principles." Redd chuckled a bit at Garret's joke.

Garret cocked an eyebrow at that remark. 'He definitely knows more than he lets on.'


'Really?' Redd thought to himself. 'We've been using the word "they" since the beginning of the conversation, Garret really wants to pin me to a proverbial wall here. I'll move at my own pace, not his.'

Redd decided to respond in a rather snarky manner. "The lizard people! No, I'm referring to whoever is keeping us captive." said Redd still in a slightly amused state. "If they're the kind that kidnaps people, and if they're Reaak nobles or military, I'm sure that principles are not their strong point. I'm not sure who else could have a prison at their disposal, or so many people training... Perhaps one of the bandit clans? I've heard rumors they've been rather active, but they're usually limited to maim, murder and pillage, this is a bit too subtle for them." The bandits were indeed relevant to this, not simply a wild tangent.

"Hm." Garret leans in a bit and lowers his voice. "I know you know more than you let on. Now, I'm willing to overlook that for the moment, considering our present circumstances, but when we get out of here, I expect an explanation."

He gestures towards the girls. "If not for my sake, then for theirs."

"I wouldn't dream of withholding information from such sweet hearts."

Garret frowned at this coy response. 'Dammit, he's still not talking. Well, I have other ways to find out, but that can wait. For now, we should focus on getting out of here.'

"As long as we understand each other, Redd."

Redd nodded grudgingly, then thought to himself. 'There's just no pleasing some people.'

"I am Josslyn Irma, and my power is to change the environment around me."

Josslyn! what was she doing here? Well that answer was obvious, she had been captured. Hoping that she could hide from their captors as well as she could hide from him was obviously fruitless and foolish of him. Though feeling a sudden injection of fear and worry for Josslyn, he did not want to betray this to her. He picked his words carefully to not be viciously sarcastic, but just enough to mask his concern for her safety. Craning his head through his bars to look at her he adopted a look of annoyance.

"Oh, I see you did not evade capture like you evaded my protective eye, mistress Josslyn" He felt as though he may have put too much venom into mistress but continued. "Surely running away from your personal guard was the most brilliant idea you could have had."

Josslyn clinched her fist, finally recognizing the voice that seemed familiar. She waited for him the finish, her teeth gritting all the while. She stood from her sitting position and moved to the bars, her long dress getting caught around her feet. She grabbed the bars and glared at Judah. Despite her anger, she could only think of questions to ask.

"Oh, you... come to berate me more? And, if you're such a wonderful guard, then how did you get caught? Did you use your mighty spear to gut them, like you always say you would do? And what's this about being able to light things on fire? Why didn't the monks put you in one of those thrones, then?" She was not attempting to hide her contempt, letting the bitterness of her words echo through the cells.

"To answer your questions in order, mistress, berating seems to be the only way to get you to respond, the bastards clubbed me before I could get to my spear. I was not allowed a life of pampering because I only discovered my abilities recently, and hid them to look after you, rather than be forced into uselessness." Judah calmly spat back at Josslyn.

Becoming a target for Josslyn's aggression was not something he had done accidentally, as it allowed for her to have a healthy outlet for it rather than killing herself by trying to keep it down. Judah was glad to see she had not been harmed enough to not be able to reply with appropriate vitriol to his spite.

Josslyn pressed herself against the bars of her cell, ready to scream. She wanted to hit Judah for his words, calling her useless. He was the one that couldn't protect her, after all. If he had been doing his job, She thought, then I wouldn't be here. He wouldn't, either, so he's just some idiot who can't think five minutes into the future in order to see why protecting me is worth it and...She breathed deeply. One, two, three... she continued counting to ten, then continued to speak, her voice no less bitter and resentful.

"Judah, I'm not some little kid that you have to lecture to in order to get to listen. If it wasn't for you I wouldn't even have been out in the first place. It's all your fault that I'm here, so just shut up and get me out of here."

Judah smiled, then tried his best to try and make it look like a smirk. He was slightly amused at the fact that Josslyn seemed to think that he had the ability to get her out of a keep that, by the sound of the seer, was filled with thousands of thugs, likely armed to the teeth. This was even more ridiculous because it meant that, for that many bandits to be in a single place, they'd have to be somewhere deep in bandit country. Perhaps they were even...Judah's blood ran cold. That must be it, they must be there. Right in the heart of the Bandit territories, where the biggest collection of thugs, murderers, rapists and thieves liked to call home.

"Not to alarm anybody, but I think we might be in Vendrad." Judah said in a breathy tone, showing noticeable fear.

Quintus Glaedwine could smell them. As he trudged through the snow he silently hoped this batch would have more on them than the last few he had found. While he needed very little in the way of gold to get by, a few beggar's rags and torn boots just weren't enough, and the familiar pangs of hunger were growing stronger by the day. If he didn't find some items of value soon he would need to find... alternate food sources among the dead.

He had tracked this scent for the better part of a day, and Quint could easily tell that there was a veritable gold mine of corpses ahead of him. He had never before found such an overpowering smell, and it made him more than a little nervous. The stench of decay was one thing, but what he smelled now were fresh corpses, and judging by the strength of the scent he was nearly on top of the them.

"Just over this ridge then, maybe there's a nice little battlefield just for me. I could use some new armor." Having taken to talking to himself shortly after discovering his abilities, this odd habit disturbed Quint more than he cared to admit.

Sure enough, once he reached the top of the ridge he spotted the source of the smell, and at first he could not believe his eyes. This was no battlefield left over from some petty lord's dispute, nor was it a small settlement fallen prey to some plague. No, it was an entire town littered with the recently slain. Quintus did not want to approach, but something pushed him forward, toward the slaughter.

The town was an ordinary-looking one, filled with sprawling, unorganized buildings, winding streets and run-down taverns. Beyond that he could not have said, looking no further than the corpses. They were strewn across the street, in doorways, alleys and inside their own homes. From a single glance one could tell there had been no plague, the ground was stained with red and some of the dead were missing limbs. Spotting what appeared to be a merchant dead at his stall, Quint remembered why he was here and cautiously approached it.

As soon as he reached the merchant he saw the ring, and for a second doubt flashed across his mind. This is wrong. He quickly dispelled the thought and reached for the ring. "It's not like he'll need this" he muttered to himself, putting the ring in his empty coin purse.

That's when he heard the sound. Whirling around, quint saw a muscular man in dented mail standing before him. Bandit, robber, not good. He also saw the mace in the man's hand, and began to unsheathe his claws.

"What took you so long?" the man asked. "I've been waiting here all--"

He was cut off as Quint lunged at him with inhuman speed, sending them both to the ground. Despite his obvious strength, the bandit had not expected the charge and had dropped his mace when it hit him. Quint stabbed his three inch claws into the bandit's chest and saw with great relish that instant of pure dread on his face. It was only for an instant though, as he never saw the club that smashed into the side of his head, turning everything to darkness.


The world didn't so much fade back in as it hit him in the head with a reality hammer. Everything was still black and his head was throbbing, but Quintus could hear voices around him. They were all distorted, so he couldn't make out what they were saying, but the tones didn't sound hostile. He began removing the blindfold from his head (being very thankful that he was not blind) when he did hear a word. "Vendrad". He froze, hoping he had misheard, but no, his hearing had clearly returned to him, and there was no mistaking that word. "Shit" he said to himself, pulling off the blindfold and looking around.

There were people nearby, but they did not seem to have noticed him yet and he wanted to keep it that way, so he silently crawled away from the light and the other cells towards the darkest corner he could find. Only once he was certain nobody was looking did he unsheathe the claws on his right hand and begin slowly dragging them against the wall, searching for cracks. Finding nothing, he crouched down and tried the floor, then the ceiling. Nothing, of course there's nothing, they wouldn't leave such an easy way out. It was then that he remembered the others. Why are they here, and what's my connection to them? For a moment Quint considered that they were other Scions, but quickly decided that was impossible. In all his travels he had never even seen another with the power.

Retracting his claws, Quint slowly walked back to the entrance of his cell and surveyed the people before him. He was taken aback when he saw the children, but quickly realized he must have been right earlier. "So you're all Scions then? Good for you, but unless one of you can melt stone we're all going to die in this hole."

Garret could feel the dread run down his spine as he heard Judah speak. "Vendrad? You'd better not be pulling my leg, Princess."

"Do I look like someone who would joke about Vendrad? Would anybody joke about Vendrad?" He spat back, fear tainting his words.

"Fuck. Well, that's... a complication." Stuck in the poorest, most lawless region in all the world with the bandit clans gunning for their hides. Getting out of the fort is going to be only the first of many huge problems in the not so distant future...

"No shit it's problematic, if they don't have some express purpose for us, they're gonna rape the girls and torture us, and if they do, they're gonna do something worse than that, and then torture and rape us." Judah sounded near the edge of panic, not that Garret could blame him. 'We're dead if we don't get out of here NOW. Time to sack up and start leading.' He stood as straight as he could and spoke with an even voice, attempting to mask his own fear.

"We're Scions. These guys might be bandits, but they didn't get the run of an entire county by being stupid. We have some time, but getting out of here will only be the first challenge."

"Considering we're in the deepest heart of Bandit country, even if we get out of the keep, we're gonna be running for miles. And all the villages have to be avoided, because they'll either sell us out or be another stronghold." He has a point - we won't be able to stop until we leave the county. We can't trust anybody in this shithole. That only leaves one option.

"If at all possible, we'll want to procure some horses, if only to get some distance from this keep. I think I sensed some stables just outside the walls, to the north of the castle. They're probably under heavy guard, though, and I'm not sure we have the muscle to take them."

"Horses won't get us out of the county by nightfall, and if we sleep they'll find us."

"Can you sprout wings, Princess? If not, those are our best ticket out of here."

"There's a reason everybody fears Vendrad Keep, seer, because anybody who has been dragged in here, has never returned. This place has been ruled for decades by the bandit clans and that's never changed."

"Last I checked, Princess, this keep hasn't been around long enough to imprison a group of Scions with nothing to lose."

Seeing Judah get indignant at that remark, Garret decided it would be best to drop the subject to get a feel for everybody's powers. He turned to the girl in the cell next to Judah's. "Josslyn, was it? Care to demonstrate your powers?"

"Not really, and I'd prefer if we talked as little as possible. 'Princess' over there is my guard, I'll talk to him, but I'm telling you now that we're not on talking terms yet."

'Ah, hell. She's got his attitude, too.' Raising his hands to his face in frustration, he continued, "Look, I know this is hard, but a spunky attitude won't get us free of these walls. We're going to need to work together to escape this place, and if we keep each other in the dark that's not gonna happen. I've done my part. Time for you to do yours."

"Oh, so doing your part is just showing some little powers off for everyone? Not planning an escape, just showing off a parlor trick that a few bald freaks on a mountain think make you a god?"

For a brief moment, Garret stood there, in complete silence, his face unreadable, before buckling over in raucous laughter. 'Oh, gods, I remember that feeling. "Oh, woe is me! I'm a freak unto nature, and people expect things of me! Whatever shall I do?" She'll grow out of it, but for now...'

He straightened himself out, wiping the tears from his eyes. "You've got spirit, I'll give you that. Look, you don't have to like me. But if you want to get out, you'll have to work with me. So, show me this parlor trick. I think it's more useful than you assume."

"Fine, then..."

At that, vines started creeping out of the stonework. They were small and sickly and receded quickly, but as Garret looked closer, he saw something very, very...

"...Interesting." The vines, even in this harsh environment, still grew with enough strength to crack stone. Duke Jeenda was right, these things really are the toughest of the weeds.

He turned back to Josslyn, a wolfish grin on his face.

"This is, indeed, more useful than you know."

"Really? Guard boy over there can make things explode, I can make... plants."

Garret, a grin still plastered on his face, retorted, "Plants rule the world, girl. I worked in a castle not all that long ago, and do you know what the duke spent the most of his money on fighting? Not bandits, nor rebels. But on keeping creepvine from choking the roads and crumbling his castle walls."

Garret gestured to the cells around him and continued, "Now, down here, the vines get little water and sunlight, so they seem weak. But out there, your powers could be our ticket through those walls."

"Yeah, I used to spend hours working on a garden, spent hours on it, weeks, even, but what happened when a single bandit got over the walls and found me? Plants did nothing, he just punched me in the head and knocked me out."

"I can see into the fucking future, and they did the same thing to me. Don't let one fluke cloud your judgment. You ARE useful. You just need to apply yourself correctly."

"Oh, I am useful, just not my blasted powers. Want me to find a way to distract them? That's me. The world's been beating up on me for years now, I can take some more running."

Garret shook his head with another chuckle. "Kid, you remind me of myself not all that long ago. But know this - I think we can all get out of here with our hides intact. We just need to be willing to do some dirty work. If you still have doubts, picture this - in the three hundred years Castle Gruddt stood on the Tharblae border, it didn't fall to the enemy. Not once. But collapse it did - not to men, but to a creepvine infestation and a lord that couldn't be bothered to clear it. Now, the vines run so thick that not even grass can grow there. Mother Nature can be one harsh mistress. And you have her at your beck and call."

Grabbing the bars to his cell door and leaning forward, he made a point of looking Josslyn right in the eye. "My visions tell me that the walls around here aren't all that much better. You don't even need to grow the vines all that much - a surge in just the right place will tear a massive hole."

His eyes began to glow with a faint blue light, as though to punctuate his words. "I can tell you where."

"Oh, you can? How about you use that 'future sight' to get us out of here!"

Judah cut in, his voice firm. "There's a difference between sight and action, mistress. The seer has a point."

Garret leaned against his cell door and cast a forlorn look to the cell block's entrance.

"Well, all this postulating won't help if we can't get out of this cell block without alerting the entire damn fort. It won't matter if we break down those walls if their cavalry surrounds us as soon as we do."

Josslyn, frustration painting her words, shouted, "Then why even bother telling me all of -!" At this, the vines in her cell started to bloom, and with a brief glare from Judah, she took a deep breath and counted to ten. "Okay, you're right; maybe... maybe we can use Judah in this? I mean, he's a soldier, he could probably get something and throw it at a guard, explode, take his weapon."

Garret shook his head. "We need to get out quietly. Explosions have a habit of attracting attention."

"One man with a weapon against legions of bandits. GENIUS."

Garret let out a sigh and slumped against his cell door. 'Princess is right. We've got our work cut out for us...'

"So you're all Scions then? Good for you, but unless one of you can melt stone we're all going to die in this hole."

"No such luck, I'm afraid. But I hardly see how that's going to stop us." Quint looked around and found the man who had spoken. He was young and had black hair that stood out against his white monk's robes."Speaking of, what can you do?" The man said.

Quint had seen how people reacted when they learned what he could do (he had been hunted more than once), so he was hesitant to let a complete stranger know of his true ability."I... smell things." He knew it wouldn't satisfy the man, but he had no time to think of anything better. Sure enough, it didn't take the 'monk'? long to ask again.

"There's no need to be coy. Our lives are on the line. What can you REALLY do?"

Quint was starting to get annoyed. "Really, I have a very good nose, and I can hear pretty well too, not that any of it will help of course."

"I'm sensing that there's more to this story. I can smell the gore on you from over here, you know."

"...Well shit." The monk had him there, he stank like a butchered pig.

"There isn't much you can hide from me, so you might as well save me the effort and tell me what got you noticed by our... esteemed hosts."

He was cornered, and there was no point in hiding the truth any longer. "Okay, but remember, you insisted." Quint paused for a moment before continuing, it had been a long time since he had told anyone what he was about to tell this stranger. "I'm kind of... a Wendigo. Not entirely, just... sort of."

"A wendigo? Like, from the legends? Fascinating..."

Fascinating? If he knew what having this power has forced me to... "You could call it that." Quint said, with a slight edge to his voice.

"I could call it plenty of things, including useful. I'm under no delusions that we'll have to do some fighting to get out of here, and having a wolfman will give us the muscle we lack."

The last time he had been called 'wolfman' was by a group of farmers out to slay a 'demon'. They never stood a chance against him. "I'm no wolfman, when I rip out someone's throat I do it with MY teeth, and I don't lose control. I just like to kill." While not entirely true, he hoped this last remark would scare the inquisitive stranger into backing off.

"You're strong, fast, and have the instincts of a predator. As long as you can cut down a few of those thugs, I won't mind all that much whether or not you enjoy it." The monk either couldn't take a hint or just didn't feel very threatened by the ragged, starved man locked in a cage, it was time to change the subject.

"That's fair, but now it's time for me to hear what YOU can do. I don't give up my secrets for nothing."

"You didn't hear earlier? Alright." The monk tore another strip of cloth from his robes and tossed it into Quint's cell. "This demonstration will require some of your blood. One or two drops will suffice."

Quint eyed the other man warily before unsheathing a claw partway and drawing it across his palm. This stranger already knew one of his greatest secrets, what was a few drops of blood compared to that?

"Smear it on that rag and pass it back."

"Alright, but I don't like these games, what are you doing?" It was a long-shot, but Quint hated being kept in the dark.

"Patience, friend. You'll see in short order." Of course, he thought, and did as he was asked, albeit with a hint of irritation.

The monk picked up the rag and pressed it to his forehead. He drew a deep breath and his demeanor changed - he's no longer paying any attention to his surroundings. His eyes glow with a faint blue light, and he speaks in a flat, even tone of voice, as though reading from a book.

"Your name... is Quintus. You grew up in a fishing village in eastern Reaak. You where captured after goring one of your ambushers - good on you, by the way - because they surrounded you and beaned you on the head with a mace. To respect your privacy, I'll go no futher." Quint wouldn't admit it, but he appreciated that.

He slipped out of his trance. "I'm Garret Josiah, and I'm a seer - past, present, and future. Nice to meet you, Quint."

Well that was interesting, but I wonder how far he can really 'see'. "Sounds useful, but I'm not going to ask how we get out of here." Quint assumed that if Garret knew that he wouldn't have wasted his time with the cloth.

"That wouldn't be any fun, would it?

Quint almost grinned. Almost.

"Well, you're lucky I'm here aren't you? I'll make sure you've always got plenty of blood to use."

"Heh. Somber and to the point. I think we'll get along just fine."

Amata didn't pay too much attention to the people as they spoke, focusing too much on whether or not she should really tell them about her. About her power. She wasn't ashamed of it, far from it, it's just she couldn't shake her reservations. She didn't really like going out and telling everyone all about herself, but then again she thought nobody would. That and... Well her power was very useful for getting out of this situation. Did these people not do research into what she could do?

After a while Amata spoke up, ending her odd silence. "I can change my size." She said. "I think... I think I can get us all out of here if I could shrink myself down and..." She looked from side to side. "Well I could shrink myself down and get the keys for the cells." Amata thought about her simple plan some more. "After that I have no idea though... Heheh..." She smiled and rubbed the back of her head casually. "What do you guys think?"

To Amata the idea seemed alright up to how far she had thought it out. It wouldn't be that hard to get the keys of the guard, she could either sneak them off him or just beat him up. Either way worked for her in the end, so long as nobody died. Amata didn't want anyone to die, least of all by her hand or if she could have prevented it. "You guys are probably better at thinking something out then me, I don't usually have to make up complicated plans..." Amata thought it might be possible for her to sneak out on her own if she shrunk small enough so they couldn't see her, but she didn't want to leave any of these people behind. That wasn't something a Knight like her should do at all, she wouldn't want to do that even if she wasn't a Knight. It was cowardly and stupid.

In spite of all the plans people were concocting, Rafiq didn't much feel like talking at length; he couldn't bring any new information to the table, the others were getting a plan together as well as they could be expected to and he was more concerned with looking out for the patrolling guards. But he was listening. He wanted out of here just as much as any of them.

The plans the prisoners came up with were all solid enough, but they all fell over as soon as guards showed up. Despite all of their unique 'circumstances', their chances against a fully armed retinue of guards were slim at best. Still, he had a good feeling about this lot. If anyone could make it out of Vendrad, this lot could.

He looked either way out of his cell for a guard and, after seeing none, propped himself against the bars again, "Getting out of the cells isn't hard. Any of us could do it by burning the doors, or shrinking down through the bars. But they're all just for this first hurdle. It's the 4000 guys between us and the front door that's the problem."

From what the seer had said they were underground by quite a way, and all ways up lead to more and more guards. The armoury was kept from them by the guard's quarters too, limiting their access to conventional weaponry. They hadn't made this easy by any means. "Bastards probably aren't even courteous enough to have sewers to escape out of..."

Garret couldn't help but chuckle a bit at Rafiq's jest. 'Oh, if only it where that simple. But the problem remains - even if we get out of this cell block, we're gonna have five thousand armed guards barreling down on us if we don't do it discreetly.' Slumping against his cell wall, he could feel his head starting to spin. 'Shit, how long has it been since I've slept proper? A couple of days? I'm so tired... a nap couldn't hurt. Hell, we aren't going anywhere.'

Sliding down to sit, he laid his head against the wall to his cell and closed his eyes. Sleep took him almost immediately, the waking world fading from his notice.


He stood in a field of grass, the plains stretching out all around him. In the distance, though, stood a large and imposing castle of dull grey stone. Garret looked around in confusion before gathering himself with a single thought:

'This isn't a dream.'

He knew this sensation well - the same that had warned him that fateful night five years ago. A premonition; a vision of the future bestowed upon a seer in their sleep. The monks had told Garret that this was the definitive proof that he had Loae's favor, that he(it? Garret never could quite understand their theology) was always looking out for him. He had a routine for these events, for they always had something important to tell.

First off, to find when. He centered himself with a deep breath, and that information came in as subtle trickle in the back of his mind - a few hours from the present, at most.

Then, to find why. At that thought, he noticed that a camp had materialized around him, with a couple hundred men garbed in heavy armor running about. An important looking one, with his underlying tunic dyed dark blue, called out with a deep and commanding voice. "Listen up, you louts! We're about to start our mission. Get in formation, on the double! We're gonna have some fun with these filthy bandits."

Wait, bandits? Are they assaulting Vendrad?

At that, the men scrambled into columns, some mounting horses, others stringing bows. "Bring out our pieces! We're gonna get their attention, one way or another."

A couple of men wheeled out some ballistae and started smearing pitch on the bolts. "At my signal. Fire!"

The men operating the ballistae took a torch to the bolts, setting them alight. At their captain's command, they wrenched down on the firing bolt, sending the projectile aloft. It seared through the sky, landing square on one of the keep's watchtowers...


Garret awoke with a start, clutching his chest in a cold sweat and gasping for breath. But for the first time in hours, it was not fear that prompted this reaction - it was excitement. This was EXACTLY what they needed.

Garret stood with a grin and swaggered to his cell door. "Fellow freaks, for the first time since we we've been interred in this hellhole, your illustrious and all-knowing seer bears excellent news."

Outside a mile from Vendrad Keep in the deep forests surrounding it...

A company of highly trained and gifted soldiers are preparing for what any sane man would call a suicide mission. This company however is not made of sane men.

"Do we have everything we need, Lieutenant?"

"Yeah, chief, we hijacked the wagon you wanted, the ballistae is being assembled and every stinking patrol of theirs is rottin'n the ground. It won't be long before those rats find out we sliced up their buddies."

"Excellent work Lieutenant. The Duke will be pleased." The captain theatrically twirled his black mustache before the flames suddenly ignited in his eyes. He instinctively gripped the hilt of his broadsword. "It's time to put the fear of God in these barbarians. That is one of your specialties, of course. Assemble the company."

The lieutenant calmly turn away from the captain started yelling at the top of his lungs. "Listen up, you louts! We're about to start our mission. Get in formation, on the double! We're gonna have some fun with these filthy bandits. Vermaaks, ADVANCE! You all know what you have to do, now get to it!"

The ballistae was attended and pushed by multiple men while the scouts advanced quickly to ensure that patrols would be taken out before they were able to the alert the keep. The wagon that was supposed to supply Vendrad Keep was now filled with a nasty surprise. Gunpowder. As the wagon approached Vendrad Keep and parked in front of the gate for an inspection the raiding party and ballistae were lying in wait.

"Bring out our pieces! We're gonna get their attention, one way or another."

The archers readied themselves while the ballistae was loaded, aimed at a watchtower.

The lieutenant snarled the command that would break loose all hell "At my signal. Fire!"

"Did you hear the reports of our patrols being killed? I swear if it's those tharby bandits again, I'll skin 'em myse---" The bolt of the ballistae smashed past the crenelations and skewered the soldier before he could finish his remark. Meanwhile the raiders inside the wagon quickly stabbed the inspecting soldiers to death and lit fuse to the gunpowder, escaping under the cover of archer fire. In a few seconds the gunpowder exploded with a deafening boom, breaking down the gate and killing all the soldiers that were waiting behind it. Raiding cavalry started pouring in through the breach, with the lieutenant in front. The Vendrad garrison was scared and confused so far, the lieutenant couldn't help but smile fiendishly as he and his men cut down disorganized troops while they scrambled to form a coherent force. The captain would ride slightly behind his troops, periodically riding forward to cut officers down. This confusion would not last long as the garrison, while slow to assemble, would surely slaughter the attackers in a straight up fight. They had to disrupt their defenses for as long as possible. Shock and awe was their only tool.


Redd was passively listening to all the chatter. He wasn't particularly interested in really getting into his role, so he decided to just lean back for a while. 'What side of the fence to be on, I wonder.' Redd pondered this for a moment. 'The winning side of course, ha-ha'. But was being on the other side constitute winning for him at all... His smile faded. No, it really wasn't, survival isn't winning, it's merely not losing.

A distressing sound interrupted Redd's thoughts. The sound of stone being impacted, shortly followed by a resounding explosion. Was this an... accident? Or was someone brazen enough to actually assault Vendrad Keep? Redd quickly got his answered as soldier stormed in.

"They're attacking Vendrad! All men to the gatehouse!" The soldier's words rung true as the sound of clashing metal and death groans could be heard from above. Before exiting the room, the soldier stopped and order two guards. "You two, stay here and watch those freaks. Don't take your eyes off of them. Got it, you gits?"

Before Garret could get out another word, an explosion rocked the keep. 'Crap, it's started. We don't have much time, and we won't get another chance like this!'

"They're attacking Vendrad! All men to the gatehouse! You two, stay here and watch those freaks. Don't take your eyes off of them. Got it, you gits?"

'Looks like Tweedledee and Tweedledum got stuck watching us. Can't say I pity them.' They took up positions patrolling the cell block, making a point to leer at each of them in turn. 'We don't have time for this. I hope Quint likes thinking on his feet...'

"Oi, I have something to tell you two." The larger of the two turned around with a confused look on his face and stumbled over to Garret's cell. "Wha' is it?"

"See that guy? In the cell on the end, opposite mine? He's making a key from some soap he manage to smuggle in."

"Wha? You're lyin'. Ain't no way he got nothin' through."

"Your funeral, pal. That guy's a wolfman, and if you let him out of your sight for even a split second, he could come barreling through that cell door and feast on your guts." Garret made a point of leaning forward and punctuating each word with an increasingly menacing tone, to great effect, as the guard seemed taken aback.

"He's a... he's a what? A wolfman?" Garret could see the fear etched into his face as he spoke those words. "That's right. Now, I could be wrong... but do you really want to take that risk?"

The guard cast an uneasy look towards Quint's cell, then turned back to make eye contact with Garret. "If yer so sure, you can search 'im. Bors, git over here and help me!"

With their weapons drawn, they opened Garret's cell and seized him by the arms and dragged him to Quint's cell. They threw him against the bars and stood to his side, just out of arms reach of the cell door. "Oi, wolfman! Git up here! This lad's gonna see if you've got anything on ya." Garret made a point of looking Quint straight in the eye with a serious expression. 'Come on, Quint. Just play along for now.'

Quint, with a look of apprehension on his face, did as he was told. "Hold still. Uh, Garret, right? Pat him down."

Garret leaned forward and began the patdown. "Quint, get ready. I'm going to trip one into your cell door. Show me what you can do, wolfman." He whispered, so quietly that not even he could hear the words.

"See that guy? In the cell on the end, opposite mine? He's making a key out of some soap he smuggled in."

What is he doing? Quint thought warily. He knew Garret was up to something, but he had no idea what it was, and hated being kept in the dark. He was only able to catch bits and pieces of the conversation thanks to the sounds of battle above, but he was did pick out a few words; wolfman... your guts... search and some other far less interesting ones. Whatever he was trying to do seemed to be working though, as the guards were certainly reacting to his words.

When both guards pulled Garret out of his cell and began dragging him over to Quint, he was unsure if this was part of the plan or something the seer had not... foreseen. "Oi, wolfman!" One of the guards shouted, "Git up here! This lad's gonna see if you've got anything on ya." The look Garret gave him assured him that things were still on track, so he did as he was asked. "Hold still. Uh, Garret right? Pat him down." As Garret leaned forward he whispered something very quietly into Quint's ear, and Quint understood.

Suddenly, Garret fell forward into the cell door, as if somebody had push him. Instinctively, one of the guards (Bors it was), leaped forward to restrain him, and for a single second he was within Quint's reach. It was enough. In an instant, his claws were out and buried in the stomach of the unfortunate guard. Once he was sure his claws were deep enough, Quint clenched his fists and pulled... Blood and gore sprayed Garret, the other guard and Quint as he quite literally pulled Bors' guts out. The guard didn't scream, but weakly clutched at his innards as they poured out, silently opening and closing his mouth with a look of pure confusion on his face. Then he fell. The remaining guard's face had gone completely white, and he was backing away slowly while shaking his head rapidly back and forth. When Quint saw Garret tense, he knew the second guard would not be a problem for much longer, so he dropped Bors' entrails and went for his keys.

The remaining guard stumbled backwards, mumbling incoherently as he did. "He... you..." The look of horror on his face was all too familiar - it was the same look Duke Jeenda had as he was being carted away...

'No. Now isn't the time to think of that.'Garret spun to fully face the remaining guard, who had regained enough of his composure to ready his sword. He lunged at Garret with a howl. "YOU... FUCKIN' FREAKS!" Five years of training have lead up to this moment. Master Shen's three lessons echoed in his mind:

'See where they strike and maneuver to counter.' His prescience tells him... A stab to the stomach. Garret deftly steps to the side, careful to keep his balance. The guard, with his weight thrown into the lunge, cannot adjust course quickly enough.

'Always keep the enemy off balance.' Motion to clamp down on his back foot and slip my arm just below his center of gravity. As he moves forward, he'll catch on it and lose his footing.

'Weapons are the tools of lesser men - prove this.' Off balance, he can't motion to stop me as I slide up his right arm and take his wrist in my hand. With a flourish, the sword comes loose, clattering to the ground.

It's over in the space of a few seconds, but in one fluid motion, the guard lets off a pained howl and crumples to the floor, unarmed and helpless. Garret stomps down on his back, hearing the wind leave him, and picks up the discarded sword. His face expressionless, he plunges it into the guard's neck.

Josslyn hid back in her cage as the two men murdered the guards. Once the two were dead, she moved up to the bars. The men, if they could be considered that, in front of her had managed to slaughter two thugs with their bare hands. The brief silence that fell over the block was soon lifted.

"Okay, now get the rest of us out." She said, a mix of fear and impatience in her voice. She stepped away from the bars, knowing full well that the people on the other side were likely to simply break the bars down.

The thought of having to do this to more people sickened Josslyn. She may have hated people, a lot of people, but she just wanted them to leave her alone, not for them to die. The sheer ferocity that the Garret and Quintus had shown frightened Josslyn, and she responded the only way she could; getting angry.

If they try to hurt me or Judah, I swear I'll kill them... he's my one way out of here and back home, She thought. And I'm not letting them hurt him. I mean, they're stronger than me, but... Her mind turned to having to fight the feral men in front of her, and turned to quickly look at Judah. He seemed to be the one person that wanted to protect anyone else. The fact that it was her might have had something to do with her thoughts on him. Josslyn's hands curled into fists. He still couldn't stop me from getting here... he couldn't even stop himself from getting clubbed and dragged here... She turned back to Garret and Quintus.

"Going to let us out yet?" She asked, her voice dropping a fair bit of the fear from before.

Quint retracted his claws and watched as Garret dispatched the second guard, then he reached through the bars of his cell and took the ring of keys off of Bors' bloody corpse. He unlocked the cell door and walked out into the narrow hallway between cells, feeling the eyes of everyone on him. 'It had to be done,' he thought to himself, wondering who among the other scions would feel the same.

"Going to let us out yet?" One of the girls asked, clearly afraid, but there was anger in her voice as well. Shit, a pacifist? Quint went to her cell first.

"Yes, I am going to let you out, but first you need to understand something girl. Everybody dies at some point or another, and sometimes it becomes necessary to hasten the process a little." He unlocked her cell and began opening it. "That had to be done and you know it, you also know we'll probably have to do a lot more of that if things keep going like this, so you're just going to have to deal with it."

Quint moved on to the other cells, unlocking each of them and releasing people who could very well want him dead right now. 'Everyone's always afraid of me. One fucking "thank you" would be a nice change.' Once everyone was out of their cell (or at least had the option to be), Quint turned toward the dungeon door. "Okay non-people, it's time to leave."

Well, that was rather easy. Judah thought as he watched Garret and Quintus destroy the guards with extreme ease. He wasn't sure how he had felt about that. It was very likely that they had murdered and raped other people but such easy slaughter of human beings seemed slightly ruthless even to him. They probably could have just been subdued non-lethally.

He looked to Josslyn to measure her reaction, and saw a looked of restricted horror on her face. Poor girl had already seen death, but not perpetrated by people that she had no choice but to trust. Judah was finding it hard to disagree with what she must have been feeling in anyway.

Slowly, he made his way to his cell door and put his hand on the lock. Josslyn was demanding freedom, obviously not too threatened by Quintus and Garret to demand her freedom. He began concentrating, trying to explode seal the lock. Before he could finish, Quintus came and unlocked the door. Not wanting the energy of the seal to go to waste, he sealed a pebble and held it firmly in his hand.

He began to move over to Josslyn's cell, which had already been unlocked, and stood next to Josslyn, retrieving Bor's sword from the floor. It was strange to Judah, who had not held a blame for so long, that he felt so at home with it. As he did not feel particularly attached to it however, he put a minor seal on the blade. He proceeded to stand next to Josslyn, and, doing his best to restrain any concern from his voice or face.
"Are you quite alright, mistress?"

'Oh god, blood's everywhere...'

Garret's head was still spinning. The guard had sealed his fate when he attacked instead of surrendering, but that doesn't change the fact that Garret had just killed a man in cold blood. Again.

He staggered against the back wall and took in a deep breath. 'Keep it together, man. For the first time in years, I have more than my own damn hide to worry over. These people need you on your toes. You've killed before, you'll kill again. That's how this shithole of a world works.'

Looking to the gore smeared on the ground, on Quint, on his robes, he couldn't help but wince. 'Doesn't make it any easier, though.'

Garret turned to Quint after he'd gathered himself, who had just finished freeing the rest of the Scions. "Nice work, Quint. I had a hard time believing my prescience until you'd done it. I've never seen anybody move that quickly."

Garret tried to force a smile, though he was pretty sure it came out pained. "Keep fighting like that and we might just get out of here."

Turning to the rest of the group, he continued, "As you heard from that soldier not too long ago, Vendrad is under attack. I don't know who, and to be honest, I don't really care. But this is the only opportunity we've got. The keep's garrison is thoroughly distracted. Josslyn, remember what we discussed?"

As a hunter Rafiq had seen death before, and he didn't doubt that all of them had too, but seeing a man ripped apart was a different thing altogether. It was... an experience, to be sure. Even one of the two, the seer, seemed to be taken aback by what they'd just done, but he certainly made an effort to hide it. Rafiq himself... well, it wasn't the way he would have done it.

The wendigo, by comparison, didn't seem phased. He went right to cracking the remains of a youth's innocence and then breaking them all out of their cells. Not that Rafiq wasn't grateful, but a little restraint regarding present company wouldn't go unwelcome.

As he exited his cell, Quint spoke, "Okay non-people, it's time to leave."

"'Non-people'?" Rafiq questioned, "I don't know how you'd feel about being a non-person, but I'd like to think we're all better people than our captors. Smarter people at the very least." He didn't usually joke about the dead, but these two guards had not done well to earn his favour.

Josslyn stood there, rigid has the half-man that opened her cell walked away. She wanted to hit him or strangle him, but knew better. She stayed in a kind of trance until Judah talked to her, his voice cutting through her delirium as it often did.

"Are you quite alright, mistress?"

She shook her head, looking up at Judag. He looked genuinely concerned, something she'd rarely seen on him.

"Yeah, I'm... fine. I just don't like people dying too much... brings back bad memories." Josslyn said as she stepped behind Judah. She looked back at the two bodies and winched, the gore that now covered the walls starting to give off an odor of iron and bodily fluids. She looked up at Judah and opened her mouth to speak, but looked back at the ground.

"Come on, let's get out of here before more people get hurt..." She clenched her fist, anger growing to the two people who dared call them non-humans after doing that to people. They think they're better than us... I'm not the one who just murdered two people. Judah hasn't even done that... She clung close to him, not quite holding him, but staying close behind him.

"Non-people? I don't know how you'd feel about being a non-person, but I'd like to think we're all better people than our captors. Smarter people at the very least."

Quint glanced at the man who had spoken. "Better? It's possible, but people? No. People can't do what we can do."

He could feel the barely concealed anger and disgust that most of the other scions bore him, it was not something he was unfamiliar with. What surprised him was Josslyn, the 'pacifist' who seemed moments away from trying to rip out his throat with her bare hands. The pure, deep, unmitigated hatred emanating from her both confused and worried him. 'Shit, from the way she's acting you'd think I just killed her family.' The trembling, hate-filled girl didn't scare him in the slightest, but if she decided to act on her anger while they were escaping, things could go very badly very fast.

A dark thought crossed his mind. A single, solitary, unbidden idea, but it did not slip by unnoticed. 'NO. That cannot be how I solve this. That WILL not be how I solve this.' Unnerved by the mere fact that such a thought had occurred to him, Quint quickly turned away from the girl and back to Garret.

"So seer, what's our plan?"

"So, seer, what's our plan?"

"With the keep's garrison distracted, if we keep a low profile, we should be able to make our way to the north wall. Once there, I will find a structural weakness. Josslyn will use her plant-manipulating powers to tear it down. On the other side will be a set of stables. We'll appropriate some horses, with force if need be, and make our hasty retreat."

Garret was certainly hoping force wouldn't be necessary. Has hands where already stained with so much blood.

"Before that, though, we'll need to get out of this building, possibly loot its armory. I don't need any weapons, but does anybody else?"

Judah spoke up. "Do you know if they have any shields or spears?"

"Let me look." Garret leaned against a wall and took in a deep breath. His eyes began glowing, and he spoke. "Yes, they do. A rather large variety, in fact." He turned his attention to Rafiq. His prescience told him he as a hunter, perhaps he needed a bow? "What of you, Rafiq? Do you need a bow? They have some, as well as many arrows, in stock."

"Some arrows would do nicely. The bow is unnecessary."

Garret then turned his attention to any potential oppositon they'd face on the way, both to the armory and out of their cell block. "Around a dozen guards stand in our way, but they have no idea we've escaped, and they're not all together. This shouldn't be too..."

As he finished that sentence, a familiar feeling of dread overtook him. It grew quickly, overwhelming his senses and suffocating his mind. With a start, Garret left his trance, breathing heavily. 'Whatever that is, it's heading this way. We have even less time than I'd thought...' Considering present company, he felt it best to keep this particular detail to himself to prevent a panic, but he made a point of shooting a dirty look at Redd before continuing.

"We should move quickly. This battle won't rage forever."

Garret opened the door to the cell block, revealing a flight of stairs moving upwards. "There's about a half-dozen guards in the next room. Any plans, fellow freaks?"

Redd was still observing the whole situation with renewed interest. The metamorphosis of that man, Quint, into a beastly killing machine was quite the show for Redd. Redd didn't get any particular pleasure from death or violence, but this was the only excitement he could still derive from the world, as everything else faded into bleakness. After downing that guard, Garret immediately plunged his sword into him. Redd as surprised, he didn't think he had it in him, but survival is always the prime instinct.

"Yes, I am going to let you out, but first you need to understand something girl. Everybody dies at some point or another, and sometimes it becomes necessary to hasten the process a little. That had to be done and you know it, you also know we'll probably have to do a lot more of that if things keep going like this, so you're just going to have to deal with it."

'No truer words spoken, Quint! The only difference between us in this regard is that fate has thrust this "hastening of the process" as a profession on me.'

Redd started clapping melodramatically, wearing a large smile on his face. "Bravo, this whole ambiance was getting boring, it really needed a splash of red. Quite the handiwork." Redd smile faded into complete seriousness. "You have my thanks."

Quint nodded simply. 'I think that's the best reaction I could of hoped for.' Redd thought.

"You can thank me with an explanation when we get out of here." Garret replied. 'As expected, I hate to disappoint...' After that comment, Garret continued with a reply that threw Redd off balance. "You're welcome, though. Us freaks need to stick together."

"That's a... nice sentiment" Redd blurted out after becoming coherent again. 'Okay, let's not go all emotional over here. Those are just words. I've seen plenty like them before.' Redd quickly reassessed the situation and started prioritizing his actions.

Redd walked up to the dead guard and searched for any other weapons. No dice.

"Hey, Garret, mind passing me that shortsword? I see you can handle yourself quite well in hand to hand combat, I however am useless without a blade."

He looks at it with a grimace and hands it over. "Take it."

'Really? Just like that...?' Redd didn't let any emotion of surprise surface this time. It was time to get serious. "Thanks, I'll put it to good use. And by that, I mean I'll put it between the ribs of the next guard I see."


Garret started talking about looting the armory while Redd contemplated that shortsword, recalling his techniques with it...

"Around a dozen guards stand in our way, but they have no idea we've escaped, and they're not all together. This shouldn't be too..."

Redd knew something was wrong. And he knew exactly what. Redd had no intention of meeting him, it wasn't healthy. Garret after quickly recovering from using his powers looked directly at Redd. 'You don't know the half of it.'

"We should move quickly. This battle won't rage forever. There's about a half-dozen guards in the next room. Any plans, fellow freaks?"

Redd stepped forward. "Since I owe you one... I can reliably kill them as long as they don't gang up on me. A distraction perhaps and I can slit a few throats before they realize what's going on. With the help of... Quint, was it?" Redd gestured to the 'wolfman'. "We could probably take them on directly, but there's always some risk, even if they are regular soldiers. If anyone has a creative use for their powers, please, enlighten me."

No-one really seemed to have much in the way of ideas about confronting guards with only their powers. Rafiq had wanted to get out of here shedding as little blood as possible, and his power didn't really allow for instant kills when unarmed anyway. But Redd and Quint seemed more than happy to slaughter any other guards that got in their way and, with Garret picking off the rest, it would leave little for Rafiq to clean up. He could perhaps repel some air to trip the guards straight off and give the escapees some easy kills. Would that even work? He'd never really practised that sort of manoeuvre. He furrowed his brow as he thought more deeply.

"I could incapacitate a few," he finally said, "but outright killing them is going to be tough without a weapon. I'll leave that work to you lot."

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