7th Sea: the Fragments of Theus (Game Thread - Closed, Started)

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Surfan clutched his wounds and as the festivities slowed down so did his walking. He had lost some amount of blood at this point and his cotton shirt was stained with his blood. The knight was trying her best in obtaining a doctor but at the moment there were none. Surfan began to breath deeply, trying to stay awake as a sleepiness began to creep in. Wassif told him of this sleepiness, warning Surfan of the countless people that had been taken away in this slumber. "The last blink" Wassif would call it by as it was often the last blink a person would take before lulling to their death. Surfan fought his hardest not to fall asleep.

The knight stopped and spoke to him. It was desperation but when she was done, her eyes glanced to a nearby tavern. Then it occurred to him. He had never drank before. He was about to die and he never quite had alcohol before. Never in his travels was he ever offered a drink let alone could afford one. Perhaps now was the best time of all places.

"Then we shall have a drink, shall we?" Surfan said in a soft voice. He gave the worried knight a nervous smile. The best smile a man could give at the brink of death.

"Then we shall have a drink, shall we?" the man said with a weak smile. She knew what a dying man looked like- probably better than most. He might make it with medical attention, but that didn't seem to be coming.
She sighed, and returned a strained smile.
"Into the breach, then. Hell, who knows, maybe we'll luck out and find a doctor and some sauce in the same place." she said, attempting to widen her smile. She'd already let one man die needlessly that night. She opened the door, and stepped inside, followed by Surfan.
She approached the barkeep. "We need a doctor or a priest. Failing that, get me a bottle of your strongest whiskey. Hell, get me both if you can."

"We need a doctor or a priest. Failing that, get me a bottle of your strongest whiskey. Hell, get me both if you can." Rose said to the barkeep. It took him a moment to register what was going on. As far as he knew, there weren't any priests or fathers in the tavern, she he spun on his heel and grabbed the first strong drink he could find. "This is gonna hurt" he said, as he uncapped the bottle; ready to do what was needed.

Just as he was about to pour, Diana - the barmaid - interjected saying "There's a Father upstairs with the Vodacce woman. I'll get him." then bolted for the stairs.


___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"So, where did you learn to fight, cause those were some pretty impressive moves back there." Garrett asked, drawing Adrianna from her thoughts.

Without the threat of death looming overhead, she'd returned to the less-confident self and, thereby, run out of things to say. So, when Garrett chose to start the conversation, she was a good deal relieved. "I learned from my father. He's from the Soldano family so I had a very good teacher." she said, happy the conversation was on something simple. A moment passed before she realized she should probably respond with a similar inquiry. "What about you? I think I saw some Soldano techniques while you were fighting..." she said, trailing off because she wasn't sure how to end the sentence.

"I learned from my father. He's from the Soldano family so I had a very good teacher." Adrianna said in response to the question posed by Garrett. A moment had passed before she had a question of her own. "What about you? I think I saw some Soldano techniques while you were fighting..."

"Your father? What a coincidence, I learnt Soldano fighting from my father as well. In one point of his life, he was an officer in the Castille military, but he grew tired of it, and set off to find a quiet corner of the world to live out his days. And in one such corner, was where he met my mother, in Avalon. It was actually through my mother's father that I learnt the Andrews style of swordplay."

"So, what about you Erasmo? Renault? What brings you two to the city?"

Renault shifted about in his chair, trying to disguise his growing sense of unease. He'd already revealed too much, in his opinion, and while they seemed rather accepting of his... profession... he doubted they'd be as friendly if they discovered he was wanted by one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in all of Theus. The Sun Emperor's reach wasn't something Renault could evade forever, and when l'Demont discovered he was still alive he'd stop at nothing to use his influence at court to fix that problem. This was a time to play his cards close to his vest - trusting a stranger, however useful, with this information could have disasterous results for the both of them.

"Ah, well, I'm in Castille because of the war, of course. Plenty of work for a man like myself. Hell, even when the war's over, there's bound to be lots of nobles with more money than decency, right?"

The mercenary's answer gave more reason for Erasmo to distrust the Montaigne man. It wasn't like he had much respect for that particular nation in the first place. On the other hand, the woman - Yvonne - just seemed to be another hedonist; another person that would be consumed by their vices. At least Vodacce and Castille had the Vaticine Church, and with that, nobility. 'Theus regards everyone equally.' He reminded himself before he let more of that poison, whose name was hatred, flood his mind. The cause of those mental ramblings must have been the wine. Yet another poison that brought about the worst in men and woman alike. Nevertheless, Erasmo couldn't deny its pleasant taste - rich sweetness, poisoned nectar that hung on the tongue.

A knock from the door brought the priest back to reality, "Father! There's a man downstairs who may require the last rites!"

"If you would excuse me yet again." He said to the others. Afterwards, the priest-in-training immediately set his wine glass down and bolted down the stairs, simply running past the barmaid without a second thought. And there the injured man stood, red spreading across his white cotton shirt. His red turban almost matched the colour of his blood. Next to him was a woman with reddish hair dressed in simple fare. However, there wasn't enough to take in every single detail! The man was dying! Erasmo quickly introduced himself to the man and to the woman, "I am both a priest and doctor; thought at present, my training only permits me to do so much..." It was a sad truth, but one that needed to be acknowledged, both by the patient and himself.

He turned to the tavern crowd, and with as much authority as he could muster, he shouted, "Clear a table!"

The drunken louts seemed a bit sobered by the sight of blood and did as requested. Erasmo carried the injured man over and laid him on the table, scanning the wounds on his body, ignoring that the man's blood was staining his robes, and praying that the injured man would survive. 'Cuts from a sword, no doubt. Brigands or the foolhardy Swordsman's Guild?' He thought to himself as nervous hands fumbled through the satchel. They fished out carefully folded bandages and tightened them around the various cuts, in an attempt to stop the bleeding. By the end of Erasmo's bandaging frenzy, the man was covered in white, red and pink. The priest-in-training wiped his brow with an almost purple sleeve and looked upon his work. There was clearly more that could be done...

"There is a Francescan shelter nearby; he can get better help there. But I need your help." Was Erasmo's appeal to the woman.

Rosemonde looked, bemused, at the barkeep, who prepared to sterilize Surfan with the whiskey.
"Well, I meant to drink, but that works too." she said with a slight, tight smile. A barmaid mentioned a priest in the inn, and Rose's smile widened. Wandering priests were typically trained as doctors as well. Theus would not present them with a priest in an inn, a strange happening, but not have the priest know any medicine. Surely not.

And indeed, he soon charged down the stairs, looking around wildly. He spotted Rose and Surfan and hurried over. He began to speak rapidly.
"I am both a priest and doctor; thought at present, my training only permits me to do so much..." he said, already beginning to inspect Surfan.
"It is Theus' will. You will not fail." she said with a simple nod. "He would not bring you to us, only to have you fail."

"Clear a table!" the priest shouted, and the drunk patrons obliged. The young priest then turned into a wound-bandaging whirlwind, covering all his major cuts quickly and efficiently, if somewhat shakily. He was a good doctor, even if he was obviously inexperienced. She genuinely had no doubt that Surfan would make it. Maybe with a few more scars, but make it nonetheless.

"There is a Francescan shelter nearby; he can get better help there. But I need your help." the priest said when he was done, turning to Rose. She raised an eyebrow, and smiled.
"He's lost a lot of blood, but there isn't a lot to be done for it besides let him rest. His wounds simply needed proficient dressing, I would think." She stepped closer, and leaned over Surfan. He'd been woozy from bloodloss, but not quite unconscious. "Surfan? How are you feeling? Can you walk?"

"He's lost a lot of blood, but there isn't a lot to be done for it besides let him rest. His wounds simply needed proficient dressing, I would think."

Erasmo sighed and wiped his brow with his sleeve again, only to cover his face. It never ceased to surprise at how people profess their faith in Theus and by association, faith in him - a truly humbling experience. However, soon enough, the curtain of cloth parted and he was there, looking in the woman's eyes again. He couldn't help but notice the scar, it curled slightly as she smiled. Both the smile and the scar spoke of experience; experience in battle and of recovering from an injury.

While the two case were surely not exactly the same, Erasmo chose to trust the woman and their advice. What a fool he must appear to her! Then again, that last statement was the panic talking, or so he told himself.

That was the routine: bandage the injured person up and cart him or her off to the more experienced priests in the shelters. Perhaps for once, he wouldn't have to do that again? The priest-in-training sat himself down, and calmed himself. Erasmo told himself that the worst was over. As long as the man had a drop of blood in his veins, Theus willing, he would survive. That was another thing the priest-in-training told himself. His mind's sanity clearly hinged on beliefs, mantras and the structure they brought.

"You are right." Erasmo said as he tilted his head upwards, "I apologise for being so rash. Though it is comforting to see a faithful person among the crowd. My thanks." With that, there was naught to do but wait...

Entering the tavern was a blur as the blood-loss began to sink in. He was pulled to a table and laid out as a father or a doctor treated his wounds. The man was quick and efficient but was time was nothing but a haze to Surfan at that point. His eyes were fixed above to the wooden ceilings and occasionally to the bar-goers who probably weren't expecting such a spectacle to occur in their time of drunken merriment. Still, Surfan just focused on staying awake at that point. He thought of the fiery sun, the scorching deserts and the flames of his burning home. He blinked trying to forget such a memory but he found out that the painful memory kept him awake.

Surfan felt warmth where there was once coldness. He could feel the embers dance on his skin once more as if he were back in his memory once more. The smoke choked him. The fires burned him. His sister's screams shook him.

Then the woman from earlier leaned over. "Surfan? How are you feeling? Can you walk?"

"I-I've had worse, madam." Surfan mumbled. Mustering his strength, he sat up but immediately felt the pain. He grabbed his chest wound then felt bandages instead of raw flesh. He looked around to see who had helped him and he saw the Father.

"Thank you, sir. I would bow but I do not think my wounds would allow it." Surfan said.

Rosemonde stepped back as Surfan began to sit up. She grinned at him, as he tried to wave away his injuries.
The priest- she caught a sight of black under his blue, so a Deacon, if she remembered correctly- began to apologize for... Something. She simply smiled at him, and shook her head.
"Deacon, he would not have lived if not for you. There is no rashness in caution, and there is no need for apology." she said simply.
Surfan began to thank the man, grateful for the life-saving. A very polite duelist. Delightful.
She turned back to Surfan, and grinned.
"So, how about that drink?" she chuckled dryly. She then sighed. "Actually, I have a fool of a charge to be tracking down. It's getting late." she turned back to the priest, and said, in jest, "Actually, I don't suppose you've seen a Castillan with a ridiculous mustache? Probably in the company of less than reputable folks? You priests have an ear to the ground, I'm told." She smiled her tight smile. If there was one sort Reyes would never go near, it was a priest.

The wait was not long at all, and the man quickly rose and said, "Thank you, sir. I would bow but I do not think my wounds would allow it."

Erasmo had to suppress a sigh as the the man sat up; surely he was little further away from death, however pride could weigh him down with hubris and pull him back to the brink just as swiftly as his recovery. Erasmo stood up and addressed the man who would shrug off such wounds. Nothing but a bit of manly pride, still, if left unchecked, it could grow and spread. If he had said the same to that Benefactine monk many years, well the priest-in-training doubted whether he would have survived... Nevertheless, he tore himself away from such thoughts - what happened, happened, after all. Erasmo dragged himself to a standing position, using the table to push himself up and addressed the man. "Then thank me with a full recovery; rest."

"Deacon, he would not have lived if not for you. There is no rashness in caution, and there is no need for apology... Actually, I don't suppose you've seen a Castillan with a ridiculous mustache?"

She had to the one person who recognised the black under the blue! That's what kept his faith in Theus, the way everything seemed to fit together, if your mind was sharp enough to see it. With that, a smile soon settled onto his face. And then her question hit him: a Castillan with a ridiculous mustache? Did she mean Reyes? Erasmo briefly wondered on how the two could be connected, and the only way of finding out available to him was to simply answer, follow the woman upstairs and watch what would happen. However, the injured man needed someone to watch over him. Naturally, it was Erasmo's duty. Nevertheless, reminded of Theus and the great puzzle that was Théah, he decided to simply stay there and gave an answer.

"There is a person of that description upstairs, the room first on the left. And yes, he is with people one would say are less than reputable folk." He answered, "Is his name Reyes, by any chance?"

~Beatrice~

As Erasmo answered, Beatrice took the time to take the bottle of whiskey that Diana had brought in, and poured herself a rather tall glass, forgoing ice entirely.

"For the festivities, of course, and just a little errand, but that has been taken care of.".

At that, she smiled, taking a small sip before glancing over at Renault and his reply. She couldn't help but notice him shift a little in his seat, possibly out of discomfort. Someone who probably didn't like talking about himself. Or simply didn't like having so much company. She couldn't exactly tell.

"Ah, well, I'm in Castille because of the war, of course. Plenty of work for a man like myself. Hell, even when the war's over, there's bound to be lots of nobles with more money than decency, right?".

Beatrice couldn't help but give him a wry laugh.

"Oh, believe me, in Vodacce, that's a given. I imagine it may not be quite so bad in other regions, but I've been wrong before.", she said blandly.

It was shortly after she said that that there was a knock on the door.

"Father! There's a man downstairs who may require the last rites!".

She had to fight to stay seated, even as Erasmo shoved himself out of his seat and rushed out with a quick, offhand apology. At the moment, there really wasn't anything she could do. Sorte could only do so much, and she wasn't about to perform out in the open, not with the threat of Inquisition right there in the tavern. But, she had a feeling that Erasmo knew what he was doing, and whoever he worked on would either pull through, or would be too far gone for anyone's help.

As she took another long sip of whiskey, she could only hope it was the former.

"Is his name Reyes, by any chance?"
Rosemonde simply stared at the deacon, wide-eyed.
"Theus is toying with his pawns." she sighed, then broke out in a wide grin. "Yes, his name is Reyes. But he's... Relatively safe. Hopefully. None of his companions looked like Inquisitors, I hope?" She sighed again.
"Either way, I will stay here with Surfan. You can return to your drinks, if you'd like, deacon. Ah! Introductions, first, I suppose. Rosemonde Baudin, Knight of the Order of the Rose and Cross, at your service." She bowed once more. "I am in your debt for your help tonight. If me or mine could assist you in any way, I would be more than happy to help."

She finished her sighing and ended with a smile,"...I am in your debt for your help tonight. If me or mine could assist you in any way, I would be more than happy to help."

In an instant, she recognised the name, and stretched that scar once more with a wide grin. It was there, Erasmo was sure of the it, the same of feeling of pieces clicking into place. That was obvious, anyone with faith in Theus would be feeling that way, from any country or any background. However, the mention of drinks brought Erasmo back to reality as he was reminded of those he had left behind. Of course... He had to return to that group, and apologise again for running off. It wasn't that he held anything against them, just the dangers of being with such a collection of nefarious characters were... repulsive.

Speaking of nefarious characters, Rosemonde had asked a curious question about Inquisitors. Was Reye another user of Sorcery? First Beatrice, now Reyes - who was next? Still, Erasmo would reveal nothing that night, as a show of good faith to Rosemonde and as part of his promise to Beatrice. Nevertheless, the night would end, like many others. At least he had that to look forward to. Erasmo hesitantly considered asking Rosemonde something, but her name revealed to him that she was from Montaigne and no matter how pious she was, he simply couldn't let a countrywoman of Montaigne have that information.

However all his face showed was warm kindness as he echoed her bow, "Erasmo Esposito, Deacon of the Francescan Order. Reyes is safe, none appear to be Inquisitors. I only wish that you have a good evening."

With that, the priest-training disappeared up the stairs and returned to the room where Beatrice and company were in - the first room on the left, just as he had remembered and just as he had told Rosemonde. He opened the door meekily, sat down and resumed drinking from his wine glass as though nothing had happened. He took a chance and interrupted whatever conversations were going on between them and tapped his wine glass lightly, "My apologies, it seems that many are in need of my assistance tonight. I must seem like a sneak who always runs off somewhere to do one thing or another. I assume you that assumption is simply the product of happenstance; Theus has been keeping me busy tonight, however that matter has been dealt with."

Erasmo paused and addressed Reyes directly, "Permit me to take a second to notify you of one thing, Signor Reyes: there is a woman by the name of Rosemonde Baudin who has been asking about you downstairs..."

The assassin acted shifty (as was kind of expected, most in his profession were. At least the ones who lived long), while the Priest managed to spark his interest with his "Errand". Such things could he perhaps be Inquisition? Before any chance at asking, the barmaid barged in, reporting a devoted alcoholic who wanted to die in his favorite tavern. Or at least Reyes thought, but what did he truly know?

"Father! There's a man downstairs who may require the last rites!"

Nobody but the priest in training truly reacted, how disappointing. Nobody here valued the human life? Perhaps Beatrice, but in the end she did nothing but lapse into silence. It wasn't too long before the silence was broken, luckily, by Erasmo's return.

"Permit me to take a second to notify you of one thing, Signor Reyes: there is a woman by the name of Rosemonde Baudin who has been asking about you downstairs..."

Reyes raised an eyebrow, getting up from his chair and almost bowling the priest over as he jogged through the door. First an injured person, then Rose. Was she responsible or- no, the barmaid said man. Did she wander in? Questions, pointless when he could see the answer, making a turn off the stairs and looking around. Luckily, very few redheads in Castille. He approached her with a relieved smile,

"Good to see you're alright, Rose."

Reyes soon burst through the door, and looked around. He stopped her quickly, and approached with a wide smile.
"Good to see you're alright, Rose." he said. It'd been a few hours, she realized. It'd seemed like a lot longer.
"I can handle myself." she said, with a shrug and a grin. "I was far more worried about you. Been up to your usual tricks? I heard about some veeeeery int-er-esting mists earlier." She grinned at him, and winked.
"Anyways, this fellow won the competition at San Marcos, but got jumped by some thugs. One of them got him pretty good. So that's why we needed your new deacon friend's help." she explained, gesturing towards Surfan.
She yawned.
"So how about you buy me a drink?" she grinned at him again. "Killing gets me awful thirsty."

Tavern

Time passed quickly in the small tavern. Drinks poured freely - much to the revelers' delight - and the party carried on into the night. As the midnight hour grew closer, the crowds became more excited and louder. Yet, despite the alcohol and general boisterousness of the crowd, the celebration remained remarkably peaceful. My the last hour, all but the most devout Inquisitors had joined in the celebration, letting some not-insignificant forms of heresy slide.

Then, with the rings of all the church bells in the city, it was the new year. Cheers rose from every corner of the trade city, as the celebrations broke out into full force. Inside the Tavern, Adrianna stood; realizing she'd need to get back to the university before long if she wanted to fulfill her role in the wedding.

A moment later, the first of the fireworks went off, casting the city in bright lights and even louder sounds. A second later and another went off; then another and another after that. It all seemed beautiful. However, between the fourth and fifth blasts, the first signs that something was wrong began to appear. People were running through the crowds and away from the docks. Another firework went off and more people began running. Another and most of the crowd had started running.

It was then that the next "firework" went off, crashing into the building opposite the tavern - some government office - collapsing the roof in a flash of light and heat. A glance back at the crowd revealed one of the problems. Many of the "well armed revelers" had cast aside their cloaks and drawn their weapons and now appeared to be taking lives and treasures with impunity. Caught offguard, many of the city guard were already dead or dying and even the admittedly formidable Inquisition were retreating to higher - and safer - ground to marshal their forces.

Glancing down toward the docks, the source of the problems started to become clear. Two Castillian warships were already aflame and a third was under heavy fire from three other ships. A fourth ship had started firing into the city, softening the already weakened defenses. Above all four ships flew black flags adorned with the skull of a cat; the flag of Captain Fernando "El Gato Negro" Lopez.

A moment later, another cannonball crashed into El Paseo Largo, scattering the crowds and obscuring the entire street in dust.

Things quieted down for a time, or at least as quiet as things can be for a New Year's party. Most people had gotten too drunk to cause any real trouble, and even some of the more uptight members of society had decided to cut loose. Bells and fireworks rang out in short order, signaling the start of the new year. On a whim, Renault raised his mug to nobody in particular and took a drink.

Then the first shot rang out.

The ground shuddered in protest as a massive blast rocketed through the Long Walk - one Renault recognized as a cannon's impact. Had some guard out on the pier gotten drunk and made a monumentally stupid error, or was something far more sinister afoot? Rushing to the window with his musket in hand, he nearly caught his breath as he bared witness to a terrible sight - several Castillian warships burning in the harbor, their fires outlining an ominous shape - one of a ship heralding a flag of black.

'Pirates. But why would they attack Altamira? It's one of the busiest and most well-defended harbors in the world...'

Renault shook his head to clear away that distracting thought. The reality of the situation was plain - pirates were attacking. With a flourish, Renault brought the stock of his musket to his front, and with a grunt used it to force the window open. Stepping out onto the slanted roof, Renault took a moment to survey his surroundings, and what he saw wasn't pleasant. The Long Walk was completely clogged with armed pirates, indiscriminately looting and killing.

~Beatrice~

When Erasmo returned, Beatrice couldn't help but perk up. As soon as he sat, he apologized for having slipped away again, prompting her to shake her head.

"There's no problem, so long as you managed to help whoever was in need.", she said, gently patting his shoulder and smiling softly.

As he turned to Reyes, she looked over to the window and smiled as she saw the revelry in the streets. She only turned away to quickly glance at Reyes himself pushing out of his chair to rush to the first floor. With a soft chuckle, she looked back to the window, passing the time by smoking another cigarette and drinking a little over half of the bottle of whiskey.

After near an hour fireworks had started, but some of the bursts sounded off, and it took her a moment to realize why. In the distance, in the direction of the docks, she saw an incoming ship adorned with a cat-skull flag. As soon as she spotted that and realized she heard cannon-fire, she slowly stood and crushed her cigarette in the nearby ashtray, keeping her eyes locked on the scene outside.

"Somethings wrong. Altamira is being assaulted by pirates. I think I know why the crowd was so heavily armed.", she said, keeping her voice calm as she strode to the window.

Then, stepping back, she watched as Renault used his musket stock to force that very window open, and stepped out onto the roof. She poked her head out and frowned.

"What can I do to help?", she asked, looking at him with a grim expression.

Rose understood as soon as she felt the first cannonball hit. The nasty business with Surfan had dulled her desire for wine, and she drank only another glass- with Reyes' money, of course. After that, they'd slipped off to... be alone. They returned an hour or so later, to watch the fireworks with Reyes' new companions.
Then, the pirates attacked. She recognized the flag. El Gato Negro, the black cat. They'd fought off his thugs on a couple of their trips. But to attack Altamira, of all cities?
Make hay while the sun shines. she nodded, thinking. The city was mostly incapacitated with alcohol, and no one had blinked at the number of armed men in the city. She sighed. Really, she was surprised that it didn't happen more often.
One of the others- Reyes hadn't introduced any of them, and she doubt even he remembered their names- forced open the window and climbed out. Rosemonde looked at Reyes.
This I choose to do. She grabbed him, pressed their lips together, and pushed him away. "Meet you at San Marcos, by dawn. Be careful. Be safe. Stay with the others. Help them, if you can."

With that, she hopped out the window, behind one of the women. The man had a musket, and was picking out targets. She nodded at him, and drew her sword.
She leapt down into the fray, landing easily, and immediately put her sword into a pirate's eye. A rapid chain of killing followed, as she fought her way to the docks. A bunch of weak thugs, preying on drunks, were not really much match for a knight.
She fought her way along on wall of buildings, keeping a barrier to her left, trying to avoid being surrounded. Inevitably, she was. She crossed a side street, and the pirates quickly took the oppurtunity to surround her. She could handle- sort of- three sides. Four, not so much.
This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. If it is my death, then I choose to die. Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. This I choose to do.

Reyes was almost having a good time for a bit there, once he'd come back to the group to watch the fireworks. Odd how weapons of war made such nice spectacle. Drinking and companions, all proving to be interesting, as well as Rose at his side. It was near enough to make him forget he was pretty much paying for every second. He learned very quickly his new friends were thirsty, especially Beatrice. Luckily, Rose seemed to be having less; an appreciated oddity, for once.

But, as things tended to, it all went to shit.

The ground shook, as violent as it was sudden. The assassin moved to the window, seemingly startled by the site. Reyes guessed cannon fire, by devastation, which meant something wrong in the harbor. Or, something right for a group of people. Reyes scrambled to his feet, rushing to the window after the witch, but was grabbed by his beloved. A kiss took his words as she gave him orders.

"Meet you at San Marcos, by dawn. Be careful. Be safe. Stay with the others. Help them, if you can."

"I, ah-" and like the wind the warrior was gone. Though the smuggler didn't agree, he'd keep the promise. Mists and an extra set of hands were always useful... He kept silent behind the group, but kept his eyes and mind on the Knight. She worked well through the streets with an ease Reyes had seen a few times before. It wasn't too long before she was cornered, however. Reyes thought about asking for the musket, but that would only alert them to their position. No, this would need a more personal touch.

Reyes always hated one thing about his power; on it's second form it gave him an ability to kill that made most question his magic. It's why he hated using it- aside from the cleanup. He mostly used it to protect himself, when no eyes fell upon him, but tonight was different. He could feel his nails grow into 3 inch claws, sharp as daggers while his teeth turned into sharpened fangs. The mist swirled around him, creating a thick blanket more dense than the one before, and seemed to even cover the smells and sounds around them as it spread, covering practically the entire block.

Reyes closed his eyes, allowing himself to vanish into the mist, showing up directly behind a goon cornering his beloved. He felt the shock move up his legs, and through his body, but ignored it as he lunged forward, swiping quickly. The attack struck the back of the man's neck, messily severing the spinal cord below his skull. He grabbed the man by the shoulders, falling to all fours on top of his slack and motionless body. Reyes put the man's chin up, so he could see his friends die as he bled to death slowly.

He pounced, tackling the next offender and letting a panicked cry for help turn his fellows around. Two claws poked through the back of his neck, letting him choke on his blood. The two blind thugs seemed to look at each other, only to see a short figure stand between them. Reyes stretched out both of his arms, poking through their eyes to their grey matter. No more memories. He strolled back to the one making gurgling noises, stomping his head into the ground, rocks that made pavement. Now crimson.

The group found Reyes next to them, with hands covered in blood as the mist faded swiftly, showing the brutal scene to Rose, and any that followed her progress.

"Did I miss anything?" He deadpanned, looking at the group.

The hours, they passed by with haste in the tavern, despite the occasional drunken argument out on the streets, everything was peaceful; Adrianna and Garrett continued to talk whilst drinking the bottle of rum they had ordered, with Adrianna even offering Garrett an invitation to the wedding. As the midnight hour dawned, the orchestral sound of church bells rang out across the city of Altamira, and thus began the New Year's fireworks.

During the display of lights and wonder, Adrianna soon stood up, saying that she had to leave to make it to the wedding on time. Garrett wished her a safe trip and said he'd be there later. But at precisely that moment, some odd sounds came from the docks, and a few of the fireworks didn't look like the others.

Garrett got out from his chair and looked out of the window, and he could soon see what the problem was; down by the docks, people were running away, and the sound of another firework caused more to flee from the area. He could then see what looked like a cannonball heading for their location.

"Adrianna get down!" Garrett shouted as he went prone on the floor and heard a crashing sound. Seeing that he wasn't dead, Garrett stood up to see where the cannonball had landed, and they were fortunate enough that it had hit a building opposite them, causing the roof to cave in. Looking back down the docks, he could see two Castillian warships on fire, another taking a battering from three other ships, whilst a fourth began firing into the city. Above all the attacking ships, there was a black flag with a cat's skull on it, and that only meant one person.

" El Gato Negro, what a way to crash a party." Garrett said with a quiet voice. He had heard stories of this man, but never encountered him in the flesh. It was then that he looked back towards Adrianna.

"Are you alright Adrianna? You not hurt or anything? Listen, it appears that the city is under attack by pirates, and we've got to find a way out of here. Given the amount of people in the tavern, chances are it's going to be chaotic down there as people either fight the aggressors, or try to escape; so in reality, that leaves us with one option, the rooftops, the higher ground means that we can move more freely."

"There's no problem, so long as you managed to help whoever was in need."

The Sorte Witch's happiness seemed to jump up a few levels as the priest-in-training made his return. Erasmo decided that it was only because the cat could play with the mouse once more, after all, she had been doing that all night. On hearing those words, Erasmo permitted himself a smile - an indirect yes. However, the smile was nearly crushed by as Reye's hastily exited the room, which caused Erasmo to wonder at the connection between the two - again. After that, time when by almost at the speed of the tavern's alcohol supply. The bells of La Trinidad tolled once again and fireworks went off, Erasmo raced to the window, eager to see the spectacle of noise and light and gunpowder. But, the peace wouldn't last.

Firstly, Erasmo turned away from the window as something exploded. Secondly, as he turned back only to watch Renault force the window open with the stock of his musket. Of course, Beatrice was next to him as well, but not for long as she followed Renault out onto the roof. Erasmo could see what was going on from where he was, so he stayed in the tavern room. Chaos had reared its ugly head again. However, it was more than a simple tavern brawl. 'That bastard!' He cursed as the black cat-skull flags came into view. Of course, that was jumping to conclusions, but Erasmo didn't particularly care about that at the moment. .He calmly set his wine glass down and strolled onto the roof. However, he quickly walked back in.

"It seems I will have to leave once again." Erasmo lamented as he moved back and forth.

Black flags meant pirates, and this was a pirate attack! It had suddenly gotten a bit too personal, no wonder the priest-in-training's mood had soured. He sprinted down the stairs and out of the tavern and there he stood alongside the pandemonium. People were killing and being killed in turn - it was despicable. There had to be something he could do... Erasmo turned to face the tall bell tower of La Trinidad. Of course! That was it! He could funnel people into La Universidad de Arciniega, but there was only so much he could do. After all, his robes were soaked with another man's blood, and who would trust a man covered in another's blood? Still, Erasmo had to act fast. He turned back to the tavern once last time and shouted.

"La Universidad de Arciniega! Meet me there! Or assist me with moving the innocents there! Your wish."

With that, the priest-in-training bolted in the direction of the university, imploring others to follow him to safety as he went. It was, for the most part, out of range of the pirate's cannon - that simple fact convinced Erasmo that people would the safe there. Like Goldilocks, he sprinted away from the bears, never looking back. Erasmo couldn't be sure of the number of people that had chosen to follow him. But, Erasmo had chosen quite a roundabout route, just to reach as many people as possible. The irony of the situation didn't escape him either: here he was running to a place he had considered a dead-end a few hours ago. Funny how things worked like that. Regardless, the nobles would certainly be surprised by the appearance of a priest covered in blood with a drove of commoners.

Erasmo had finally arrived at his destination, so he called out a simple order to his flock, "Get In! Get In! Quickly!"

Surfan eventually had the strength to move to a chair with the Father's permission. His wounds still hurt but at least he wasn't losing blood anymore. The merriment continued as planned with the fireworks going off outside. He turned his chair to watch the fireworks break in the night sky and revealing its colors with each explosion. Then one of the explosions came dangerously close and that's when Surfan heard the sounds of looting and killing. He pushed himself off his chair to see pirates outside, clogging the square. He turned his eyes to see where he saw several large ships aflame. Surfan focused back on the pirates close by and went for his blades.

Rosemonde had already left before him but his wounds hindered him. A few steps out the door and his cuts stung him underneath his bandages. The scene was utter chaos as people ran for cover as the pirates continued their onslaught. Surfan knew his chances were better if he did not stay for long considering his condition. As much as he felt obligated to fight off the pirates, he knew he was in no state able to effectively. Surfan looked up and saw the roof relatively safe at the moment but as he looked a charging pirate interrupted his thoughts.

The pirate raised his blade but Surfan quickly shot up his boot into the man's groin. Surfan felt something physically get crushed on impact and it wasn't his foot. The pirate fell over on the ground, crying in pain as Surfan cringed at his dirty attack, the like Paretti would no doubt pull. Surfan didn't want to kill unless he wanted to but Surfan feared that he might have this man into a fate worse than death.

"I'm terribly sorry, sir." Surfan retreated back into the tavern. He looked around for another place and went upstairs. The sounds of the chaos was getting louder, drowning out his frantic steps upstairs. Already he saw a few people up there, contemplating what to do. He spotted a window and climbed through it. He shakily, got on the roof of the tavern. His wound didn't quite allow him for an easy climb. Twice, he nearly lost his grip because of his wound and a stray bullet, striking close to his head although judging by the battle he doubted it was anything but stray.

The priest left, returned and left again, if it wasn't for the announcement of a man dying downstairs Yvonne might have wondered what scandalous goings-on that called on that man's full attention were. It was truly vexing to see that little goody-goody come and go without returning with nothing interesting to add to the conversation, not even (to her dismay) some gossip from the wedding.

The assassin had answered skittishly to Beatrice's question, if they had not thrown him out just for knowing his profession, then they wouldn't throw him out for knowing what his profession detailed. Something about the way he said it rubbed her the wrong way; an assassin could get work anywhere in this climate, so why come all the way from Montaigne to Castille? However, probing him about it would not give her the answerers she wanted.

The conversation continued to lull, but the merriment continued regardless. Yvonne helped herself to the bottle of wine she had ordered and, perhaps another, more like half. After the bells had rung and fireworks shot through the sky, something else had as well: cannon fire!

Yvonne leapt out of her chair towards the window to see what was the source of the unfriendly fire. Pirates? Here? what would they be doing here? Of course something else had piqued her intrigue at the sight of the black and white, cat skulled flag: treasure. She was sure that there might be something of value on those ships. And she hoped she might change the tally to 13-8, slightly more in her favour.

"Yar har." she muttered to herself as dropped a bloodied pin on the floor and dashed over the rooftops to get closer to the ships.

She's half expected what came next: a rising fog, muffled screams, then a scene of carnage.
Rosemonde sighed, and turned back to where she knew Reyes was. She raised her sword to him, and bowed.

The first time, nearly a year and a half ago, had been worse for her. Cornered by Sea Dogs when they attacked Reyes' ship, she'd thought she was done for. Then, a heavy, strange fog came, then simply torrents of blood and screams of painful death. Reyes claimed to hate the animalistic power his magic gave him, but she wasn't so sure. Looking at the corpses, it was difficult to see it as anything other than the work of a gleeful monster.
He hadn't taken kindly to her suggesting this. He pointed out that she did the same thing, only with swords instead of magic. She had to concede that it was a good point, but she somehow couldn't accept his logic.

She shrugged, and turned back forward. None of the pirates who'd see her surrounded by a dozen corpses would come near her. She continued mostly unimpeded towards the docks, having to kill one or two pirates along the way, but they mostly avoided coming anywhere near her.
Captain Lopez, I'm coming for you. May Theus have mercy on you. I won't.

"What can I do to help?"

Renault turned back from his survey of the area to see Beatrice emerge from the window he'd smashed in. Giving the witch another brief appraisal didn't change his initial impression - unarmed except for a single knife, and wielding magic that required a measure of time and privacy to have any effect. She would do best to head to somewhere safer, like the University.

Unfortunately, Renault got the impression she wouldn't do that unless he dragged her kicking and screaming, and he didn't have time for that. She was determined to do something - and he wouldn't stop her. He turned back to the carnage with a sigh. "I'd like to say you should head to safer ground, but I think we both know you won't do that. Just... try not to die." He slung his musket back around his shoulder, seeing no obvious target to shoot. Given half of the pirates carried firearms themselves, he'd likely get one shot before he was greeted with a hail of bullets himself, so he'd have to make it count. It was then a fell mist billowed out into the street, consuming it in a thick fog. Screams of pain could be heard from within - could this be the work of that Crescent mage?

Apparently taking the distraction as an opportunity to strike, a woman began carving her way through the street, her rapier moving with incredible speed. She seemed to be heading towards... the docks?

Now there was an idea...

Something about this entire affair didn't quite add up in Renault's mind. He knew from his contacts that l'Demont had some operation or plot involving Altamira. And, just when the city was weakest, a band of pirates just suddenly gain the courage to strike? These events couldn't be completely unrelated. At the very least, it merited investigation. Taking a running start, Renault jumped from the roof into the city streets, drawing his swords as he landed on a pirate's back. A whirlwind of steel and blood ensued as he forced his way through the billowing mist, following the woman towards the docks, similarly cutting down every man foolish enough to wander into his reach.

He couldn't help a small, cruel smile as a band of pirates turned an ran after cutting down another pair of men. While Renault didn't revel in violence, it was a joy to see such scum put in their place. Casting his vision towards the docks, his smile widened further as visions of furthering his quest unfolded in his mind. 'Now, l'Demont... let's see what plot you've cooked up this time. I rather think I'll have fun ruining it...'

~Beatrice~

Before Renault could answer, Beatrice looked back as Erasmo took to his feet and stepped out into the roof with them, before stepping back in, seemingly unable to decide what to do. Then, he seemed to steel himself before looking at them.

"La Universidad de Arciniega! Meet me there! Or assist me with moving the innocents there! Your wish.".

At that, he promptly bolted in the direction of the University, knowing that was where he was more helpful. She nodded, feeling like that was probably where she was going to be most helpful herself, particularly after Renault's reply.

"I'd like to say you should head to safer ground, but I think we both know you won't do that. Just... try not to die.".

She scoffed. "On the contrary, I'm planning on following Erasmo's lead. Anyway, try not to die yourself. I'd rather not learn you got killed before I could figure out just what you're doing here.", she said with a grim smile.

As he took off himself, she hesitated for just a moment, and glanced down at the streets below. Behind the small spectacles she wore, her eyes widened at the sight of the carnage. The pirates were quickly cutting down anyone putting up any kind of fight, as well as plenty who weren't, in their mad scramble to loot the city. And only a little farther on could she see the remains of Reyes handiwork, his telltale mists clear evidence of who was responsible.

When she stepped inside, she shook her head. Now wasn't the time to focus on the slaughter, and she couldn't help the people already dead. And she couldn't help anyone if she was dead herself.

So, she got to her feet and turned to the table, already formulating a plan. She needed to get to the University, and chances of that with just her stiletto was slim at best. But, thanks to being a heavy drinker, she did have a few other tricks up her sleeve.

Grabbing the table cloth, she tore off a pair of long, thick strips, laid them out, and then dumped the remainder of the whiskey bottle she had been drinking onto them. Once they were nice and soaked, she stuffed them into the two bottles that she had yet to touch.

She reached into her coat then, and pulled out her box of matches with a flourish, striking one and lighting her two new volatile cocktails. Once they were lit, she picked them up carefully and stepped back out onto the roof.

It was then that she balked. Rooftop dashes took athleticism and at least some amount of grace. Stamina, certainly. She had the grace, but not the stamina, and definitely not the athleticism, seeing as she was rather out of shape. Still, the streets weren't an option, so roof-to-roof it was.

Her first leap she took at a run, and she was terrified she wouldn't make it to the next building. But, despite her fears, physique, and the few minor burns she managed to get in the process, she managed to slowly but surely make her way to the University. She just hoped she wouldn't need the molotov's she held, and if she did, that she wouldn't end up using them on herself by accident.

Rose moved on, to the mixed feelings of Reyes. She was fine, but throwing herself into more fire didn't sit well, especially with this happening... Luckily, the assassin had the idea to do likewise, perhaps to aid Rose, perhaps he owned something in the harbor.

"... Like me, shit." Reyes groaned, looking around. He could descend the building, but blood slicked his hands. He could mistform, but that was both noticeable and resulted in a very naked Reyes. Last option; Land on something squishy. Luckily, several pirates could do so. He also noticed some asshole had cut the head off the horse he had hitched, how unfortunate. He liked that horse. He would've named it Buttercup.

Reyes sighed, taking a step back, and a leap forward. He had learned a long while ago what they said of adrenaline was false, the world didn't slow down, it sped up, as did thoughts and actions. Reyes could see the swords clashing, screaming and tired peasants getting caught, the dead being thrown into alleys... And he could see he was about to land on an overweight man with a hammer. His knee caught the man's back, in between the shoulder blades, and all he had to do was ride him down, performing a quick roll at the end of it. He scrambled to his feet, taking a dagger out of its confused owners sheath.

"Oi-!"

"You killed my horse!" He yelled in reply, seeing the man's expression turn bewildered before he attempted to give chase. Reyes lost him quickly, ducking blows from lazier pirates and moving fast. Reyes resisted the urge to create another blanket of mist, keeping his eye on the two as he gained. The dagger he decided to hold in reverse grip, he remembered that much from watching people use Bonita style tricks. He kicked himself for not training in that field, 'Oh, Rose'll protect me! and I have a crew!' Stupid, Reyes. Stupid.

Tavern/Adrianna

"Are you alright Adrianna? You not hurt or anything? Listen, it appears that the city is under attack by pirates, and we've got to find a way out of here. Given the amount of people in the tavern, chances are it's going to be chaotic down there as people either fight the aggressors, or try to escape; so in reality, that leaves us with one option, the rooftops, the higher ground means that we can move more freely."

"I'm fine." she called out from behind him.

By the time Garrett had said this, Adrianna was already well on her way to ready for a fight. She's already torn a long cut in the side of her dress - revealing the trousers underneath - to make it easier to move. She'd drawn her blades and was in the process of pulling out her cloak and mask. Given Garrett was still in the room, she'd need to either find a way to escape for the moment - relatively unlikely - or trust the man. Deciding quickly she said "Mention this to anyone at your own risk" she said, before donning the mask and cape. She quickly broke the window and jumped outside. From there, she made her way to the roof. She was surprised to find herself not alone as a Crescent man stood there as well. He didn't appear to be a pirate so she paid him no heed.

"I need to protect these people." she thought to herself, trying to determine the best course of action. Her appearance as El Vago had it's uses to protect people, she she decided to make use of them. She called out to the crowds of scared people. "Everyone! Head toward La Universidad de Arciniega!" The people who heard her seemed to respond quickly, sending up a cheer and spreading the word. El Vago was always a symbol of hope in dark times - at least for the Castillians.

The Docks

As the loose group made it's way toward the dock, the number of pirates seemed to increase exponentially. By the time El Paseo Largo reached the docks, the street was nearly overrun with pirates looting buildings or piling corpses in the streets.

As the group reached the entrance to the docks, they were set upon by more than two dozen of the pirates, each more eager than the last to take what they wanted. out numbering the group 7 to 1 was more than enough to bring them confidence; even in the face of a knight and magic users.

One of the pirates however stayed back, watching the brewing fight with some interest. He - or perhaps she, it was hard to tell - wasn't like the others. He was covered in bandages which obscured his form. He was dressed more like a crescent merchant than a pirate and he carried two scimitars at his side.

University

The University was a strange combination of panic and calm. People were cowering and trying to make room for more people, while everyone there felt some relief that they were safe from the pirate's assault for at least the time being. For the most part, things seemed to be going well. Those with medical training were helping bandage the worst of the wounds while those without such training did what they could for the less-injured and the already-treated.

Of course, this changed when a woman screamed from the far side of the room. looking in that direction revealed a strange sight. The source of the scream was a woman in a long dress who appeared to be a part of the wedding party. Holding on to her was a Montaigne man dressed in a rather ragged pair of noble wear. Before anyone could reach the pair, the man poured a bottle of a red liquid in his mouth, put a hand over the woman's eyes, and tore a hole in the world - without the use of his hands - which he promptly pulled her through.

~Beatrice~

It took her some time to finally make her way to the University, and not long before she left the tavern, she had heard someone calling out behind her to get to exactly where she was headed. Still, as sensible as the voice behind her was, she didn't pay them any heed, seeing as she was headed to the University already, and she needed to focus on going from roof-to-roof, especially with a molotov in each hand.

When she neared the University building itself, and without incident at that, she had to admit that she felt a little disappointed. It seemed that she didn't need the molotovs after all. But by no means did that mean they were safe to leave just anywhere, and someone else could always use it to fend off a group of pirates.

As Beatrice slid off of the rooftop, she took care not to break either of the bottles in her hands, and she straightened just in time to see a rather unusual spectacle.

A man in nobles clothes that clearly saw better days, taking a swig of what could have been wine, before taking a screaming woman from behind. He covered her eyes, before some sort of portal was torn through reality, and he pulled her through.

She had started to rush over, one hand poised to throw one of her fiery bombs, but she was too late as they were both gone in an instant.

Clenching her teeth, she shook her head before striding towards the guards outside of the University with purpose. She simply handed each molotov to a guard.

"Here. You'll get more use out of these than I can, just take care of where you throw them.", she instructed, before turning and heading straight to where she saw Erasmo.

"Alright, what can I do to help, Erasmo? I'll follow your lead.", she said, nodding once before she waited on his direction.

"Alright, what can I do to help, Erasmo? I'll follow your lead."

Erasmo rubbed his forehead as he turned to face Beatrice. It seemed all of the noise had brought about a headache, but that didn't stop him from concentrating on his work, though the recent incident had shaken him quite a bit. First Sorte, now Porte? Just how many Sorceries would he witness? And many users of those dark arts would he suffer to live? Nevertheless, that was the Inquisition's work. Best to leave the witch-hunting to the witch-hunters, right? The headache wasn't exactly helping him think... Regardless, the priest-in-training dusted himself down - just a futile attempt to make himself look a tad presentable, if a deacon with blood-stained robes could ever look presentable, that is...

"Er... Just scout for those that need medical assistance. It is not much, but will help immensely." Erasmo sighed.

"I'm fine." Adrianna said in hurry from behind Garrett whilst he continued looking out the window to get a grasp of the situation. He could then hear the sounds of some materiel being cut, turning around he saw Adrianna cut a long line up her dress, revealing the trousers underneath, and then drew out her blades. It was then that she was busy pulling something, and soon turned to Garrett.

"Mention this to anyone at your own risk." Adrianna said with seriousness, and soon put on a mask and cape, transforming herself into the famous, or rather infamous depending on your viewpoint, El Vago; at which point Garrett held his hand up in mock surrender.

"Hey, I'm not one for grassing on another person." Garrett said bluntly as Adrianna broke through the window and climbed up outside on the roof. Following suit, Garrett corked the rum bottle and stashed it in his coat and soon joined Adrianna outside.

"Everyone! Head toward La Universidad de Arciniega!" Adrianna, or rather El Vago by this point shouted out to the civilians below, which caused a roar of triumph to emerge from them. Garrett knew that El Vago acted as a symbol of hope for Castillians; he also saw a strange looking man up on the roof with them, but he didn't seem to be a threat at moment.

"Right you are El Vago! If we were to traverse the rooftops, we could make it across to the Universidad in double time." Garrett said as he played along act.

Rosemonde heard sounds of fighting behind her, and shouting from various, hazily familiar voices.
She had found the tempo of the fight, and could barely think of anything except where to plant her blades next. However, it eventually registered that she was nearing the docks. She paused a moment, and hazarded a glance behind her. A few of the tavern crew had followed her, it seemed, including Surfan and... Reyes.
She sighed.
She began to turn towards Reyes, but heard the clomp of a large, unified group. A group of more than two dozen, she decided, as she turned to face them instead.
She thought for a moment.
She couldn't take that many pirates, even on a good day. In addition, these seemed to have a leader, a bandaged man with dual scimitars- probably another Yael fighter. Rose briefly considered that. Two Yael fighters in Altamira on the same day? It couldn't be coincidence. Either way, there was no way she could fight this many, especially not if they had a leader, or even just a trained fighter, with them.
Then, she was out of thinking time. The others didn't seem to be too far behind, but the pirates were closer. She took a deep breath, and plunged back into the fray, slashing and stabbing, a blur of steel and silver. She tried to keep to the edges, sidestepping and dodging and parrying, and hoped the others would get there soon.
If this is to be my death, then I choose to die. she thought grimly. Three, then four fell to the ground, beaten and broken, if not dead. She took a slash to the arm and kept fighting. She narrowly dodged a riposte, then sidestepped a lunge, slashing at the jugular of the perpetrator, scoring a spray of bright red blood. Five, and she was beginning to lose ground. She grimaced, and fought on.

~Beatrice~

Beatrice watched as Erasmo rubbed his forehead, presumably due to a headache, before he replied. She couldn't blame him. He was a man of the cloth, surrounded not only by people he needed to help, but not long before had been surrounded by mage's and a Witch. As it was, she didn't envy him the conflict he had to be going through.

"Er... Just scout for those that need medical assistance. It is not much, but will help immensely.".

She nodded and patted his shoulder as a gesture of support. Then she turned away and started to move away from the University, directing everyone nearby to get to the University, particularly anyone that looked hurt, or wounded, instructing them to see one of the priests.

It wasn't very much, but it was something. After all, Sorte was out of the question. As 'understanding' as Erasmo was, she doubted the other priests would be as forgiving of her using magic out in the open.

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