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Silence

Anonymous Me
Mentor
Donovan Blackmoore (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

Keeping the ladders away from the walls had been an all day job. Donovan spent his time racing to and fro on the walls. He occasionally had time to release an arrow. Before another ladder would come to the top. At one point a man was almost ready to climb over the wall and he barely got there in time to stab him and push the rest of them over. The blood on his cheek had dried and he watched with a few of the men till he was sure that the siege on the wall had stopped for the night.

All around the wall was the carnage. With stone walls there wasn't a chance of burning them down, but there was still a chance of disease spreading and he doubted that the king would try to retrieve the bodies. The best would be to pour tar over the edge of the walls on the bodies during the night and in the morning light them on fire. It would stink to high heaven, but they would be able to prevent ladders from raising for several hours and perhaps a day. Arrows could only do so much and as long as he was here to manage the wall he was going to do his best to win this war. Never had the Fortress fallen and he wasn't about to give it up because so many men had piled outside the walls. They couldn't take the wall down. It had never been done before.

Walking past Shade he nodded to her. At least she had kept her end of the deal and remembered who she was with during the fight. There were a surprising number of wounded to care for and Adran already looked to be wore out. "I agree with Shade. You need to eat. I'll do what I can for the men in the meantime." His usual snarky smirk came to his face. "Used to be the healer here till a real doctor arrived."

Donovan started with the men that were most likely to fight tomorrow. One of them had an arrow stuck in his leg. It was deep enough it was better to try and push it through rather than pull it out. Kneeling next to the man he had him roll to his side. Donovan put the foot of the injured leg between his knees to stabilize the leg while he worked on it. "Take your glove off and bite into it." Soon as the man was ready Donovan grabbed the arrow by the shaft and pushed until the tip of the arrow broke through the additional muscle, skin, and the clothing. The little man wiggled the head of the arrow off the end of the shaft and then pulled the wood from the man's leg. "You keep that one and send it through an enemy. They won't pull the arrow out without losing the head in the next man." Gradually a smile came to his face. "I'll get that bandaged up for you." There wouldn't be enough medicine to treat them all and he knew it. So it was all about fast patchwork and that was something that Donovan could do well enough.

Moving along to the next man he knew he would have to push it through again and this time the arrow wasn't worth saving so he broke the shaft off so he wouldn't pull the feathers through the wound. Setting the broken arrow aside he grabbed more bandages and wrapped them around the victim. When Adran returned to his duties Donovan took a break to get something to eat for himself.

It had already been a long day and yet he had a feeling that tomorrow would be longer. Wouldn't be long before the groans of the wounded would blend, but for tonight he didn't get as much sleep as he hoped. Perhaps before dawn he would take the tar or oil to pour over the bodies below. For now he needed his rest before it as his turn to take watch on the wall.
 

Rue

Acting Maniac
Adran Triveron (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

The wounded filled the infirmary to capacity and beyond. The worst off had to be left out in the cold, it was harsh but Adran needed to focus on those he could save. He was worried, his supplies weren't stocked enough to last a long siege and if this was how full the infirmary was after day one, he could only imagine the nightmare of a situation he'd be in from day two onwards. Still he worked tirelessly, tending to every arrow and patching up every wound.

His focus was interrupted by Shade, who had brought him food. He nodded at her. "Thank you, set it down over there and I'll eat it when I find time." It was like he couldn't hear her words to stop and take a rest and he didn't even react to Donovan's words. All he saw were the injuries he had to fix, including the bloodied fingers on Shade. "You're hurt. Give me your hand Shade, this will be an easy fix." He said as he took a cloth, wiping the blood away and began to bandage up her fingers with single-minded determination.
 

ArQane

With blood comes life, with life comes death.
Rufus Andelorn (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)
Rufus watched the men exchange words as the rations were passed around. Though he was brought up to regard their common talk as unimportant and trivial, he gave in to his curiosity and casually honed in on the conversation nearest to him.

"Rough day, ain't it?" One soldier asked another. The other looked up, startled, but returned his attention to his meal and nodded.

"Sure thing. I don't believe we met before?"

"I don't think." The first man sat down. "I'm Dawson, from the Rollon Province."

"Good to meet you. I'm Conrad. I'm at home, sweet home." He flashed a toothy grin. "How's the war been?"

"Rough. Everything here is foreign to me and I thought I'd never appreciate the sun more than I have up to now... I came here with a friend. I don't think he made it."

"Damn."

"How about you?" Dawson inquired, glancing up. The sadness was still lingering in his gaze.

"Eh, it's not too different out here. Same old ice and snow; same old Guardians. We always knew that they would attack, eventually. Mighty greedy, these Guardians. It was all a matter of time."

"Really?"

"For sure." Conrad said forcefully, glancing up. "They bully us all the time. Hell, Ol' Bill came running to the village a fine night and said that he and his hunting party were collecting from their traps when they encountered a female Guardian. A mean one, he says. She threatened to kill them all if they spoke of some sort of attack they were going to do on the capital. Kills the women and children too, she said, but Ol' Bill didn't give in to her. He got back and told the authorities right away. He's still here, if you're wondering. Proudly serving with all of us."

"Well, sorry for you, but my wife and children are safe." Dawson chuckled. "I miss them though. Long journey here, and if I don't make it back..."

"You'll make it."

"But if I don't, I don't know how they will come along."

"You'll make it." Rufus said. Both men turned to the king, half surprised and half in awe. "We will win this war, and our men will not have to face the lingering threat of the Guardians any more." He walked over and slapped the men heartily on the back. "You are doing a great service to the kingdom, and we all shall be rewarded for our contributions. I sense good fortune and prosperity coming to Luina, I know of it."

Both men stammered their gratitude for the king's presence and gracious words, but Rufus turned around with a unusual feeling of uncertainty. For all this time, he never factored the lives of individual men in his equations. Now that he has seen them for himself, he realized that he valued Conrad and Dawson and the rest of the unnamed faces that scattered the battlefield. The ones that died, and the countless more that could follow.

He sighed. There was more to being a king than what his father has taught him-- than what he taught himself. Throwing away countless lives was something his father would have done, and Rufus refused to follow that path.

"Horus." Rufus called. The Commander immediately rushed over. "Send Lord Rollo a message. We need those weapons he mentioned that can bring down walls in a single stroke."

Horus smiled. "Sir, they are already on their way."
 

Rue

Acting Maniac
Adran Triveron (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

Anyone who had spent an extensive amount of time with Adran would know, he looked like a mess. The man who had normally prided himself on keeping clean and in some sort of proper order, now shuffled out of the infirmary a disheveled mess. He'd been treating the wounded well into the night, his eyes had dark circles around them, his clothes were covered in blood, and his face was as pale as a ghost. His vibrantly blond hair had grown glossy and darkened, the light in his eyes had dimmed. This man was in a dark place.

His last patient had bled out, being last in a long line of battle wounded patients was never good, half the Guardians he treated would make it through the night, and less than half of those would be combat ready by then. He looked up at the wall and in that moment he knew, it was just a matter of time.

He tried to shuffle his way back to his room, but the entire world was spinning around him. He stumbled and had to lean against a wall for support. The food that Shade had brought him earlier had barely been touched, and he was feeling the effects of that decision now. The exhaustion, lack of nourishment, the stress, it was all too much for his mind and his body to take. He felt himself start to slip from the wall, and his consciousness faded.
 

Silence

Anonymous Me
Mentor
Donovan Blackmoore (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

With the help of a few men Donovan finished pouring the tar and oil over the bodies of the dead and dying. Dawn would be ugly, but this was war and he didn't recall it every being described as a thing of beauty. His stout figure began to trundle down the stairway that led to the top of the wall. It was a day and he needed some rest before he could get back up for the last watch and the beginning of a new day to be filled with slaughter.

Wiping his forehead with the back of his hand he grimaced at the amount of sweat. It hardly mattered that he could see his breath outside. Working like this could make any man sweat and it was best to get back to the bunks before he started shivering. That was always a danger. A pathetic rumpled mass of human flesh was half propped up by the wall and Donovan knew exactly who it was. Walking over to where Adran lay the little man squatted next to his body and put the inside of his wrist to Adran's head. Nothing like a fever so far. Probably just exhaustion. Shaking his head Donovan nudged the doctor in the shoulder. "Hey!"

When that didn't elicit an immediate response Donovan wrapped one of the doctor's arms around his shoulders and pulled him up as far as he could. Adran's feet still drug on the ground simply because Donovan was too short to get the entire length of the man from the ground. "You really need to learn to think with your head and not that diplomatic brain of yours." Mumbling under his breath he continued with his various other little criticisms. "Doesn't do any of us a might of good if we have a doctor that don't take care of himself. I can't spend all night watching to be sure you don't faint." By the time he had Adran hauled to his own hut Donovan was feeling a bit tired himself. Yet he had half a mind to wake the good doctor. That would happen when he got back.

Donovan returned to the main hall and snuck into the kitchen. "Doctor needs some broth." With an impish grin he filled a bowl with some of the hot liquid and took the steaming bowl back to the doctor's quarters. Carefully he set the bowl aside and took the cloth from the bowl and pitcher. Dumping some water from the pitcher into the bathing bowl he soaked it up and then slapped Adran's face with the cold cloth. It wasn't hard, but enough to get his attention. "Wake up and drink some broth. Can't be running around not taking care of yourself. When you take care of yourself you take care of your men too. They need you tomorrow and if I do I want to know you're ready."
 

Rue

Acting Maniac
Adran Triveron (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

Adran felt the sensation of cold water slap him in the face, causing him to stir. His eyes fluttered open, to a place he didn't recognize immediately, looking around he realize that he was back in his room, with Donovan standing over him. He groaned as he sat up, That's right, I lost consciousness. He thought to himself as he regained his bearings. He did what Donovan told him to do and drank the broth, feeling some energy return to him as the concoction slid down his throat.

He sighed and looked down at the bed, slightly embarrassed about his blunder. "Thank you, Donovan. You're right, I need to take better care of myself. I just wasn't expecting things to be this bad after just one day. If I take a break, I know people are going to die, but I suppose that's the price I pay for not being invincible. I'll get some rest, and shall listen to what my body needs tomorrow."
 

Love2write

Writer of worlds
Shade Biggs (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

Retiring to bed early that night allowed her to have the energy to volunteer for the last watch of the night before dawn. She sat on the wall, a warm blanket over her armor to keep out the cold. A cloth tied over her face helped filter out the smell of the burning bodies. Like most of the men up here, her eyes watered from the fumes, but it was a necessary discomfort that could very well save them from the next siege upon the walls.

"Nice job with the ladders yesterday. Who knew a dwarf like you would be so capable?" She teased Donovan. The tease was more so for the sake of the morale for soldiers around them.
Donovan smirked. "Aye. It's always better to be a dwarf. You see what a fine soldier we make eh?"
"I wouldn't say 'fine'. You can barely see over the wall." Her eyes lifted in a teasing smile behind the cloth over her face. "The ladders are about the only thing you can hit at this point."
It was a slight exaggeration of his lack of stature. However, they were all jokes he'd heard before and Donovan shrugged. "Well I do what I can. If we were on a battlefield you wouldn't be mocking my height. An attack from below is quite effective." Chuckling a little he shook his head and peered out over the land again. Only places he couldn't see over the wall were the corners with the greater height.
"I can imagine. Nothing quite so frightening as having a child attack your legs with a battle axe." That caused a string of chuckles along the fellow watchers on the wall.
Donovan bristled slightly. "I could shorten your legs if you'd like."
Shade chuckled. "And lose my manly stature? No thankyou."
Grumbling a little he started to pace along his length of the wall. There were times when he didn't mind the short jokes and times when they went too far.

Maybe I went a little to far with that one. Shade shrugs and turned back to the wall, looking across at the reddish pink horizon, dulled by the smoke still rising in the air. It wouldn't be long before the king and his men came marching up to the wall again.
 

Ragenaut

Don't get between me and my munchies
The Deserter, Whitewood, Geraldis

The deserter hid deep in the woods, getting himself as far as he can from from the Impregnable Fortress that held those damned Guardians. "No one could take one and hope to live", he thought to himself, "attempting to assault their home, in their land! I signed up to be a Guard, not to march into my own death gleefully!" Suddenly, he heard a noise. A sound of breaking twigs in the distance. Instinctively, he hid himself behind a tree, and looked around his surroundings. He kept hearing noises, the sounds of disturbed wilderness, and of hoofs stomping the earth. Then suddenly, all went quiet, the deserter left with his own panic.

Then, WIZZ, a bolt hit the tree, right near his head. The bolt sent a jolt through his spine, which made him lose his balance, causing him to fall in his rear in the dirt. He looked around, to still see nothing. He then heard three most dreadful sounds. Machinery turning to reload another bolt. The winnie of a horse nearby. And the cackle of a madman.

The deserter could only think of running as the gallop of a mighty steed follow nearby. Still he couldn't see his hunter, either because the hunter was good at blending into the shadows, or if he simply was blinded by mad hysterics and fear. Then suddenly, he felt something hard ram into his thigh, and once again, he fell hard, before the sensation of pain rushed in, to notify the bolt now making its rest deep in his leg.

The pain deafened him to the hunter, and his hideous cackle, but fear once again flooded his mind, when he saw the overpowering steed stand next to him, and eyeing him menacingly. The deserter's next sight was of the hunters boots, as the giant dismounted, and land with a large thud next to him. The deserter's eyes scanned the giant, to next see a fearsome mace on his side, and in his hands, a wicked blade, and a length of dirty rope. And then, now staring eye to eye with the thing he'd wished he could erase from his mind. Ronald Bones is here.

Ronald chuckled at the fearful expression of the horrified deserter. "Ey there, your a fast one! Gave me a fun little chase, eh? That was fun!" Ronald gave the deserter a wide grin, showcasing his misshapen grin, before looking to his knife and rope, then once again looking back at his catch. " Well, now, time ta go back home!" Ronald went to tie up the feet, which the man fervently resisted against. A good tug on the bolt quickly sapped the man's fight however, and after tying the other end to the horse, went to the man's face and leaned close to it, with the knife.

"Hey, Ron, friend? What are you doing, you've already caught me, right? Why don't we go?" The deserter tried speaking clearly, though he's nearing the point of tears. "Yeah, we be goin', friend," Ron responded, "but you's ma catch, ya know." Ronald put his blade point to the deserter's eye. "And I gotta make sure everyone kno's ma catches, right?" Ronald then began to chuckle gleefully one again, as the deserter's bloodcurdling screams filled all the corners of the White Woods of Geraldis.
 
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That Guy

Lost Mine of Phandelver - Ask me for details!
Brandolf and Arnólf, Whitewood, Geraldis

The sun beat down as Brandolf and Arnólf continued training. Arnólf pulled back the bow taught. His arms quivered as he released the string. It snapped forward, propelling the arrow into its target: a straw-filled dummy shaped like a human being. The arrow flew straight into its head. Soon, screams filled the air as Brandolf and Arnólf turned around. "The hell did that scream come from?" Brandolf asked. "We need to go see if anyone is hurt." The two soon headed back to the stables and mounted their horse, riding out to investigate whatever had let out such noises of horror.

After about an hour of riding, they soon came across a horrible sight. A man of fighting age, dressed in tattered clothing. HIs cloak had been ripped and torn in several places, and the lad was covered in blood. "Shit. He's King's Guard, but he looks bad. Let's get him." Brandolf told Arnólf. The two raced ahead on their horse as the man on the other horse sprinted ahead. Arnólf jumped off the horse, racing ahead with his dagger as Brandolf also dismounted and raced towards the man on the horse. He turned to the two men took a swing at Brandolf. Bad idea. You don't mess with my family, and you don't hurt random people, even if they are King's Guard like you, you pathetic bastard, Brandolf thought.He took a swing at the large man as Arnólf ultimately cut the rope in a matter of seconds. Soon the lad was free. Then they saw the letter carved into his head: a B, filled with blood. Arnólf rushed the man over to their horse as Brandolf ran over. The two soon raced away from the scene. The large King's Guard man rode off as well, snarling, "Damn you, Damn you, Damn you!"
 
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ArQane

With blood comes life, with life comes death.
Claius Vondale (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)
Claius had been looking out towards the army beyond the walls. The morning breeze was nice, but chilling. The king has suffered immense losses in the siege upon their fortress yesterday, and it seemed like he was not eager to continue. Claius wanted nothing more to see the enemy forces pack and return to whatever they have done for the last thousand years, but he knew it was too soon to hope for the best. More likely, the soldiers will be up on their feet and charging by noon.

An hour had passed and Claius stood fixated in his position, staring down upon the royal forces. The king had made no attempt for an attack, as if he was more focused on barricading them in. What good will that do? Granted that we get some of our provisions from hunting in the forest, but the supplies we have can last far more than that required to sustain an army of that size. He pondered at the thought. The king could've had a trick up his sleeve, and if he did, was was it?

Claius briskly walked down the stairs and into the common room, where everyone had quietly gathered to eat their morning meals. The mood was dark, despite the minimal losses and outstanding victory the day before. Everyone must've grew weary. They were promised peace and given war. Hope always falls in the hands of the devil. He cleared his throat to attract the attention of his peers.

"The king does not seem to be advancing further."

A low chatter broke from the crowd. This, to them, was excellent news. Every second that the Guardians were not fighting was another second for rest and preparation for the clash that was to follow. In their case, it was a matter of life and death. The greatest issue with small numbers was that their endurance was set on a fuse. Once all the soldiers were worn down, they would eventually be overrun by the seemingly endless swarm of enemy men. Claius, on the other hand, had something else in plan; something equally rewarding.

"The enemy is likely planning something as we speak. Our job now is to shift to the offensive."

His words raised grunts of opposition. Nobody liked the sound of leaving the fortress walls, especially in a time like this. Claius raised his hands for silence.

"Hear me out, Guardians, and then we shall decide on the path to take. The enemy's morale has be destroyed after their recent failure. We must take this to our advantage to prevent lives from being lost from both our family and their kingdom. I am proposing a sabotage mission to disrupt their supply lines. The sooner they realize that they cannot breach the walls, the sooner this war ends. I will need volunteers to form parties that will infiltrate enemy ranks. The King's Guard currently reside in the Whitewood— a territory that we know well. We have hunted there, and it has brought us prosperity and life. We can navigate faster and stealthier than they can see, and our primary targets will be their food, shelter, and..."

Claius's eyes narrowed.

"ending the king's life."
 

Rue

Acting Maniac
Adran Triveron (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

Adran had recovered rather nicely from his collapse last night. He had noticeable bags under his eyes but the color had returned to his face and a bit of his old determination had returned to his eyes. As he listened to Claius, he knew that he wouldn’t be accompanying this mission. He needed to stay behind and continue to treat the wounded, who after disposing of those who didn’t last the night, had dwindled down exponentially. He still needed to talk to someone though, someone who understood the pain he was going through right now. He knew only one person he wanted to talk to. He approached Shade, a bundle of tired nerves. "Greetings Shade, may I speak with you? Preferably someplace private?"

Shade almost jumped up right then and there to volunteer. However, she knew that her face was well known among the guard. If they recognized her, she could jeopardize the mission of the men going. Shade looked over at Adran as he approached her. She nods and follows him out. "What is it?"

He felt relieved at her agreement to come with him. He brought her to his room, it was the only place he knew was secluded enough for the two of them to speak freely. He ran his hands through his hair, the nerves inside him about ready to explode. "How did you make it through that first day? I looked at you after the King's Guard retreated, and there was no emotion. I need to know how to do that. I won’t be able to take care of both myself and the wounded unless I steel my heart."

"It’s not about not feeling any emotion, Adran. It’s about not letting them control you." Shade replied. "As difficult as it was to find against my former comrades, remembering my oaths to the Guardians steeled my nerves, remembering my hate against the King fueled my strength. You two things."

Shade held up her fingers. "One, you need a definitive goal. For me...it was to fight and kill no matter whom I saw. For you it is taking care of the wounded up till the point where you have reached your limit, at which point you must walk away and let someone else do the work...no matter how many are left suffering."

"Two, you need focus. That thing memory or feeling which will help you steel your nerves from turning away from the goal and oath which you made to yourself. For me, it was my new loyalty and hate towards the king, for you...it must be something just as strong."

He chuckled a little at her words. "Well, I certainly have those two things, I just need to learn where my limit is." He paused, debating on whether he should tell her the next piece of information or not. "I lost consciousness last night after pushing my body beyond its limits, Donovan found me and made sure I was well, but I can't let that happen to myself anymore." He sighed as he looked into her eyes. "I just thought I might have a chance to save everyone, and the more I failed, the harder I kept working."

Shade crossed her arms at him with a reprimanding look. "Pushing yourself to that point is idiotic. I warned you before this war started, didn't I? You wouldn't be able to save everyone. You would have to let some die. You must come to terms with that. And remember, you are not the only doctor working here. There are others. You must learn to rely on them."

He winced, the look she gave him hurt more than the headache he had when he woke up from fainting. "I know you did. The difference between listening to you describe it and actually experiencing it... was very different. For the first time in my life, I panicked. Is that how you felt when you first experienced battle?" He looked up at her again after his eyes had been glued to the table, a sheepish look in his eyes.

"The first time I experience a real battle I was young soldier surrounded by veteran soldiers. I knew as long as I did my part, they would do their part and protect me, as I protected them." Shade lowers her arms, her expression softening slightly. "Listen well, my friend. You must learn to put aside your heart as a diplomat and healer and learn to think like a soldier. Only then will you be able to do your part, so that the others may do theirs. It is not easy, but it is necessary."

He knew she was right, he was certain of it, and yet her advice seemed somewhat ludicrous to him. Put aside his heart? That was the one thing he had that set him apart from the other diplomats of the royal court. "What happens if I lose sight of it?" He asked, scared of the result that might happen.

"Lose sight of what?" Shade cocked an eyebrow at him questioningly.

"My heart. To run with your analogy of putting it aside, what happens when I've kept it aside for so long that I can't retrieve it anymore?" He asked, his eyes desperate for an answer, some sort of comfort.

"By putting aside your heart, I mean putting aside your instinctual emotions to save everyone...which will feel a bit like putting aside your heart." Shade looked at him sympathetically, her voice softening a little further. "This war will not last forever. This siege even less time than that. A few weeks at maximum. At which point you can resume your duties as a normal doctor and diplomate." Her eyes looked aside for a moment. "There is always risk with rejecting a key part of yourself for the greater good. I for one rejected being a woman for so long, I'm not certain I will ever get it back. But...that was a sacrifice I was willing to make to reach my goal. Now you must ask yourself, how important is your goal to you? And what is it worth?"

He looked at the table for a while, considering her words, once he felt that he was satisfied with his conclusion, a small smile came to his face. "Thank you, Shade. I'll try my best to come up with an answer for those questions. And for what it’s worth, I think you've done an admirable job finding how to be a woman again. You've certainly caught my interest." He said, not realizing the exact implications of is words.

Shade didn't look all that convinced. "Lies don't suite you well, silver tongue. But I appreciate the attempted compliment none-the-less." She moved towards the door. "If that is all, I must help prepare for the next siege...and decide if I will be joining the mission."

"It's not a lie, Shade." He moved with her, standing next to her and the door. "Do you remember when you first arrived here? You were wearing the clothes of a maiden, and I, for once in my life, was borderline speechless. I thought you were a completely different person, and needless to say, when I found out it was you, I was instantly smitten. I liked seeing that side of you." His face was slightly red as he confessed this, but he wanted to act with his heart at least one more time before he put it aside today.

Shade smirked, then laughed. "Smitten? Never in my life has a man been smitten with me. Plenty of women...naive maidens...dropping me their handkerchiefs in the hope that I would reciprocate." She chuckled at the memories and looked back at Adran. "Do not become too smitten with my supposed womanhood, Adran. I am a soldier, first and foremost. I am not a tender maiden in need of rescuing, nor one who will cry upon your shoulder. I have killed and will kill to defend what I care about. You may find me more man than woman and not many can stomach that."

He ran another nervous hand through his hair. "You misunderstand, Shade. Or perhaps I'm not using the best terms to convey it. I'm smitten with every side of you. The womanhood, the manhood, the mind and the body. I find it all fascinating, enticing, and the more we talk to each other, the more smitten I become. I find myself caring for you a great deal Shade, and even though I respect that you're no tender maiden, I'll care regardless, that's the kind of man I am." He shrugged sheepishly.

Shade frowns slightly, her hand on the door handle. "I appreciate the meaning behind your words, silver tongue...but we have not known one another long enough for you to say with all honesty that you care about every aspect of who I am. I have not even shown you all that I am, nor have you shown me all of you. Such things can only be shown when trust abounds for there are many sides which are the furthest from being enticing." Shade looks at the sky, with a hint of sadness. "Guard your heart, Adran. Set it aside for the duration of this war. There is no guarantee either of us will survive and becoming smitten with anyone is foolhardy, lest your heart be broken."

He took a step back and nodded. "You're right, perhaps it's my bad habit of becoming attached to easily to someone I can relate to. It very rarely rears its ugly head due to how few of those kinds of people there are out there, being an outsider in both worlds for most of my life and all. I apologize if I made you uncomfortable.”

Shade nodded. "Apology accepted. Now, we should return to work. Don't forget what I said about figuring out how important your goal is to you and what it is worth is." She stepped through the door, shoulders back and head high like the soldier she was. "Rest well, silver tongue."

He nodded in appreciation. "You as well, and good luck if you decide to go on the mission." He said as he watched her close the door behind him. And just like that he was alone with his thoughts again, and he had a lot of thinking left to do.
 

Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
Lawrence Huxley (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

Lawrence had helped maintain a watch halfway through the night before heading off for a rest. He, like most others, had learned long ago how to grab sleep whenever it could be afforded. A heavy tread of boots was enough to rouse him from slumber and he sighed as he peered upwards at the ceiling, noting the early hour. Remaining in his cot for the moment, he lay and gave thought, which turning to brooding. He seemed to devote a lot of thoughts to that patch in his immediate eyesight and wondered at the secrets it could tell. Very little, he was assured for he didn't have many to let slip. He was a rather simple individual who liked keeping things exactly that. Simple.

Yet war rarely was so and it oft disturbed the other thing he liked. Routine. He rose from his bunk and got dress before he went through his daily ritual of getting ready for the day ahead which eventually ended in satisfying the growl in his belly. He moved slowly towards the mess, his steps measured and equally paced as he drew his mind to a centre of being. Huxley was often trying to get of his wallowing since he ultimately knew it would lead to nowhere but a bad headache at a most inopportune time. Moving allowed him to collect and organise; another part of his daily ritual.

He sat once he got his share and ate. There was conversation, mostly halfhearted and his brow twitched. Lawrence was sombre for far more practical reasons but this lot was itching over something else. Like a dead pig in the room, something stank. Not one for much social interactions beyond the usual banter between comrades, he dealt with his bowl and had been about to head back out before a noise distracted him from his thoughts. Huxley turned fixing his gaze squarely on the instantly recognisable Claius.

He lent against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest as he listened, his lips drawing to a thin line at the talk of no further advancement. Blue eyes narrowed in thought as others talked amongst themselves in hushed tones, eager to hear whatever it was the man was going to say next. Lawrence doubted there was going to be talk of retreat though the thought was nice to briefly entertain. Gods knew it would save bloodshed on both sides but you didn't stalk a mountain only to traipse back home after pelting its feet.

Huxley stayed true to character, not a chatter or word was uttered from him. Just a rapt attention of one who wanted to know the scope of things to come. Preparation was half the battle. The man spoke and as before the room clamoured yet with disdain drawing a flicker of disappointment in Lawrence. Sometimes it was painful to admit how few were attuned to endurance tests and such votes of ill confidence spoke volumes.

Claius' words, however, were enough to draw a lift of Huxley's chin, a sign his interest was caught. It was not just likely but he suspected highly probable. After all, they had shown they were not going to back down to whatever siege was put before them. They had plenty of bite yet. Something, this lot seemed eager to forget in their low esteem.

He couldn't fault that notion, everything that could be done to weaken the enemy's resolve, the easier their task would be. It was not likely to be an easy task but if they pulled it off, it would do some damage and perhaps save lives in due course.

Lawrence could not help but give a slightly tilt of his head. Aiming for the head of the snake was not tall order either but it carried equal risk. On one hand it could destabilise the army further and cause confusion in what command structure was in place or such a death could rally their forces and achieve exactly the opposite intention. Still, the sabotaging of supplies and accommodation would be enough to make the endeavour worth.

After another clamour amongst his fellows in the Common Room, he cleared his throat and nodded once, "Count me in." He remained leaning against the wall with his arms still folded neatly across his chest ignoring the few looks he earned.
 

Silence

Anonymous Me
Mentor
Donovan Blackmoore (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

The smell of the burning bodies hardly seemed to subside, but it was becoming easier to bear. With time it faded into the background much the same as the screams of the dying in the fray of battle. Since he had taken many of the less pleasant jobs for the morning Donovan caught one lad by the shoulder and smirked. "Aye...You're staying here to watch. I'm eating first." He didn't mind leaving only a few men to watch. The rest of the guardians could respond from the common hall quickly if there was need for it. After last night he doubted that it would be needed. Their enemy was tired and probably dismayed by their inability to breech the walls.

Stepping into the hall Donovan could smell something far better than what was outside at the walls. "Porridge this morning?" Doing his best to peer around one of the other soldiers he choked when the man elbowed him and it caught Donovan in the throat. Glaring up at the man he met his gaze and smirked. "You knew it was me you dirty bastard."

It almost seemed to take the line forever to move. Donovan knew it was mostly due to the fact that his stomach had been growling since dinner last night. There hadn't been enough to eat like usual. Breakfast was typically the one meal that seemed to settle and sit in the guts a bit longer. Grabbing a bowl he wiped it out with his hand just to be sure it wasn't entirely crusted over from the last man. One thing that Donovan did keep was his own spoon. Digging into the pouch that hung from his belt he produced a spoon and dropped it into the dish. Finally he turn came for the serving of porridge and he watched as the tan slop drizzled off the spoon and into his bowl. At least the food covered the bottom of the dish and then up the side a little. Two spoonfuls was the ration he received. It was about the same as everyone else. Nobody around here got special treatment.

Wandering over to one of the long tables Donovan sat down and began to shovel the food into his mouth. The only sound was of wooden spoons scraping the dishes. All fell silent though as Claius walked into the building. It looked like he was going to make announcement. Claius was offering a chance for Guardians to actually get a chance to do some damage to the enemy. Stealing supplies or cutting them off was appealing in more than one way. If they could cut off the enemy's supplies and redirect them to a better cause, such as the fortress it would give them everything that they needed to withstand the siege and it wouldn't take long to starve out the Kings Guard. They were weak and barely trained well enough to defend against the youngsters here in the fortress.

Since there was a chance to do something about the enemy and finally take on the offensive Donovan pushed himself to his feet. "I'll go." So far only Lawrence had offered and they needed men. Donovan wasn't afraid to go and if Claius was going to lead he was positive that it would be done well.

Claius glanced over at Donovan. "Back on your feet already, Donovan? It's a good idea to have someone who is familiar with the enemy lead. How about it?"

"Yes sir!" Donovan gave his response before he had fully processed what was said. Of course he was on his feet again. He was more than ready to...lead? Almost spluttering he opened and closed his mouth a few times before continuing. "Lead sir?"

"You. The men needs directions, and you know the enemy better than the rest of them. Adran has already decided to stay behind, and there no one else here who has had much contact with the Luins."

As much as he would have preferred to let someone else lead he was afraid to suggest that Shade Bigge do the leading. She wasn't one that he would trust for this mission. Even if she swore to become one of them it would be a prime opportunity for her to betray the men on a task such as this. Slowly he nodded. "Aye sir...I could lead." Donovan almost had to gulp to get even the most minute droplet of saliva down his throat. Cautiously he made his way over to where Claius stood. "Do you intend that I should choose my own men, or do I take those that volunteer?"

Claius pats Donovan on his shoulder, looking towards the crowd of Guardians, "Whoever volunteers. Our morality is low enough as it is, so I can't risk dragging anyone into unwanted conflicts. There's boys out there more than ready to end this war... the right way."

"You know my mind sir. It has never been secret what I think. We will do our best to redirect supplies intended for the enemy to the fortress here and then I will see to it that we don't leave survivors to tell tales." This wasn't a diplomatic mission and he was far better equipped to see things done in the manner of war. "Given the first chance to kill the king we will do it."

"Expected from you." Claius breaks into a grin, "Alright. I'm looking forward to it. But be careful; if things get out of control you make your way back to the fortress. I don't want to lose anyone else."

Donovan nodded. "Aye...We could expect at least minimal injury or loss. Such a task is dangerous." Even if they couldn't afford to lose anymore men he knew it was likely that they would.

"We'll let some time for people to volunteer, but I'd like to get your team moving as soon possible. It's best to attack the enemy while they are still dormant. Hopefully, it'll result in their retreat."

Claius was at least wise enough to understand that they needed willing volunteers and it needed to be fast. Donovan took a deep breath before speaking, "Then I will begin to make ready now." Glancing out over the common room he wandered back to his place and grabbed his spoon. Quickly finishing what remained he then took himself to the entrance of the commons before speaking. "Any man willing to fight the enemy face to face join me at the eastern gate. I will be there and I will leave within the hour."
 

Pupper

Well-Known Member
Isolde Bennett
Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis

Morning came quickly, too quickly, and the woman found herself just sitting on the edge of her bed whilst the breeze crept in her room and tickled her face. It sounded like any other day outside, any passerby would be clueless as to the war raging just outside the walls of the Impregnable Fortress. In the game of chess, the Guardians were now waiting but just how long could they wait? Isolde rubbed sleep away from her eyes as she thought about the events that unfolded, she waited patiently at the gate, eager to put her years of training to use but the moment never came. It was a victory to relish but a victory that was only temporary. The woman found herself wondering what the next move would be and who would make it. With a heavy sigh, she pushed herself off of the bed and over to the water basin in her room. Isolde loomed over the basin for a moment before pooling water in her cupped hands and splashing it over her face. A satisfying sigh escaped her lips and she reached for the towel next to the basin blindly, her eyes shut tight to avoid water sneaking in. Isolde brought the towel to her face and patted it dry before getting dressed.

Isolde found her way to the common room where most of the Guardians had assembled for their morning meal. In the crowd, she saw Lawrence, Donovan, Shade and Adran. The woman wasn't as close with Lawrence as she was Donovan or Adran but she had seen him and noted that he was always awake before her, a feat in itself. The woman moved through the crowd, hoping that no one would bother he that morning but given her rank it was inevitable. A few people said their pleasantries which seemed to have made her journey to get breakfast take forever. Once in line, it seemed to have gone by quickly and it wasn't long before Isolde had a bowl full of porridge. She turned to find an available seat but there seemed to be none, she sighed heavily and made her way over to where Lawrence was leaning against the wall. "I hope you don't mind that I join you," she stated and firmly pressed her back against the while she ate her porridge slowly.

The woman ate in silence until Claius made himself visible in the room. He announced his plan and the calm morning quickly disappeared; the game of chess was moving again and this time it would be the Guardians that moved their piece. Claius's plan to sabotage the supply lines was carefully thought out and would have to be executed in a timely fashion to ensure its success. Time was of the essence, which was made even more clear when Donovan stated to meet him in an hour at the eastern gate after having his discussion with Claius. The man beside her had volunteered as well but the group would need more than just the two of them. Isolde finished her porridge and looked to Lawrence with a smile, "I'll see you at the gates then. Thank you for letting me join you."

Isolde returned her dirty bowl and found her way to Claius, she placed a hand on his shoulder in a friendly manner. "I'm going to go too. They'll need strong Guardians out there and I'm sure everyone here will be OK."

"Of course. I told this to Donovan; be careful out there. We never know what to expect, and I would rather be overprepared for whatever is to happen." Isolde smiled somewhat, "I guess I just wanted to say goodbye before I head out.." her voice lingered for a moment. "Is there anything else you want me to do before I go?" Claius thought briefly for a moment, "nothing I can think of. Thanks for your help." Isolde looked at Claius for a long moment before sighing, "of course." she responded, her voice flat as she withdrew her hand from his shoulder and returned to her room to prepare.
 

Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
Lawrence Huxley (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)

His eyes flicked slightly as he recognised Isolde enter and move through the hall and was not surprised when every soldier seemed intent on speaking to her. She was a respected officer even he could find respect for and Lawrence was choosy with whom his repsect and loyalties went to. The room bustled with those eating and catching up and he reached up to pushed his hair back out of his face. He found her joining him then and he nodded to her in silence in his mark of respect and acknowledgement before she spoke.

"Not at all," he replied, there was not exactly much room now for sitting. Not that he minded himself. He preferred standing. It was easier to react standing than it was sitting or lying down places. He rolled his shoulders as he listened, offered and found it somewhat irritating how little others were offering their aid to this offensive.

Blue eyes snapped to rest on Donovan and he almost smiled when he watched the lad's reaction to be offered the lead. It wasn't a surprise the man had offered but he was amused by Claius' decision for the man to take point. But then Lawrence didn't really spend much time in knowing the man. If anything he had kept much to himself till wartime came.

He still had his concerns on the pan to try and kill the king himself even if the opportunity presented itself. It came with complications and much risk. Still, it was a good idea to disrupt the supply lines. He glanced at Isolde when she shifted again and he nodded, "The pleasure was mine. See you at the gates," he acknowledged and watched her move off for a moment. Very few were awake when he was and very few outside of their rooms in the early hours of each morning but he had seen her several times. It spoke volumes of her character, least to him.

Lawrence bounced back off the wall when Donovan spoke and he nodded to the man before he left the common room in his usual struck silence. He collected his gear with a marked pace that offered no rush but yet held a mark of formality and prudence. Gear on and his weapons in good order, he made to leave. Twenty or so minutes later, he had found a spot by the gates to lean against as he waited with a few others. He was so still that some might mistake his stillness for being asleep but that was far from the truth. Lawrence never saw much point in chit chatting, he spoke only when he was required to or when he had something meaningful to say.
 

Ragenaut

Don't get between me and my munchies
Ronald Bones/Richard Kingsman, Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis

Ronald was steaming as his horse entered the stable, furious over what the bastards did. "Mah catch! The bastards stole mah catch!" Ronald jumped off his horse as the attentive stable boy went to tend to Ron's steed. "Evening si-" the boy choked on his words as Ronald throttled the poor lad, before throwing the poor lad into the manure laden ground. He then stomped towards the nearest tent, punching one man in the mouth for the crime of getting to close during his raving fit. The guard in front of the tent tried to stop the giant, but it was all for naught, as Ronald Bones yelled at the top of his lungs in his face. "Those Bastahds wil buhrn for taken. Mah. Catch!!!" Ronald then kicked the stunned man into the tent, where his back collided into the table in the middle. Ronald then barged in, absolutely seething with rage.

The sudden force of a body falling on the table and scattering the wooden troops that Richard had carefully placed brought his gaze upward to be faced with the figure of Ronald. He was a pathetic excuse for humanity and he had a miserable temper. "Your catch is nothing compared to what you can have!" Working his way around the table he glared into Ronald's face. "I have brought you out of that prison to be here and you try my patience every day with your ranting and raving. How am I supposed to justify your worth if you simply destroy more than what you are equal in pay?" Pointing to the map and the scattered pieces he growled. "Forget that catch and you will have dozens, maybe hundreds. We will destroy the wall and we will have the Guardians at our mercy."

Ronald's rage turned to frustration, and he began to weep and whine. "I, I will hurt dem all!" He could barely get a word out, the pathetic creature. " First, dey hurts me, now, dey take mah things! I HATE THEM!" He began to cry deeply, and wretchedly.

It was like caring for a child. The man grimaced as the giant hulking, hideous, beast began to wail. Richard almost grit his teeth as he rested a hand on Ronald's shoulder. "You keep that hate and I will make sure you have a few to play with."

Ron looked up, exhausted and defeated looking. "Really?" His eyes looked directly into Richard's.

"I'm an officer and you are my responsibility. It is my duty to see to it that you are well kept." Richard let his hand drop from Ronald's shoulder. "Now get this mess cleaned up. I am making plans to ensure you get your toys."

Ronald immediately perked up, happy as he can be. He looked down, to see the guard laying there, in pain. "Get dis mess cleaned up, boy!" Ron yelled into his face, before kicking him again, hurting the guard more, as he attempted to picked himself up. "It betta be nice fa Kingsman!" Ronald then jerked him up by his shoulder, before shoving him at the table. "GO!!!" The guard then quickly went to tidying up, as Ron giggled at his domination of the man.

A gradual scowl came to Richard's face as the man thought to have one of the other's do the cleaning. Grabbing the injured man after he had shakily plopped a few of the pieces on the table Richard growled. "Get out of here. Go see a medic." Turning his gaze toward Ronald he sighed. "You clean it up. You're not bloody."
 

Love2write

Writer of worlds
Shade Biggs (Impregnable Fortress)

Donovon would be leading the raid. Isabelle and Lawrence had volunteered as well, but few others had. They would need strong capable men for a run like this. Infiltrating the camp and stealing supplies, possibly killing the King. They would need someone who could navigate the enemy encampment to avoid guard rotations, traps and locate supplies. They would need her...but would they want her? A traitor?

Shade stood on the grass watching the volunteers gather at the gate as she debated whether or not to join the raid group. Those were her former men they would be thieving from. Not more than 10 days ago would she have been with the King's Guard, defending the camp from the very raid group she was debating on joining. If things went bad she would be killing some of her own men, face to face. Something she was willing to do but not looking forward to.

Shade sighed. It would have been easier if she were just ordered to go. She could follow orders with ease. Trying to decide something like this on her own however was far more difficult. If she were in the King's Guard, she wouldn't have hesitated. Any chance to break down that the enemy's moral and defenses was worth voluneteering for. Only problem now was that she didn't exactly consider the King's Guard the enemy. It was the King...and him alone that was the enemy. If she could kill him on this mission, that would make this all worth it.

Shade put on her armor, grabbed her supply pack and raced out to the gate to join the other volunteers. "I would like to volunteer for this mission. If you'll have me." She said to Donovan. "I can provide valuable Intel and insight on the enemy encampment."
 

Pupper

Well-Known Member
Isolde Bennett
Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis - Eastern Gate

Isolde did not spend a lot of time in her room preparing for the mission ahead. She quickly assembled her pack, put on her armor, and holstered her halberd to her back. The woman stopped at the door of her room and turned back to look at its empty shell. She wondered if she would be back here and thought back to the goodbye she had given to Claius. Maybe I should've taken the doctor's advice and said something.. I might die on this mission after all. No, that would've been stupid. With a heavy sigh, Isolde pushed through her bedroom door leaving it behind. She exited the building and made her way over to the Eastern Gate.

When Isolde arrived she noticed that Donovan was already there, with him was the man she saw in the commons earlier, Lawerence, and to her surprise, Shade. The woman commended the ex-King Guard's resolve, the decision she made to join them would have likely not been an easy one to make. Isolde now only worried about her well-being more than anything. The woman approached the two, she nodded politely to Shade and then to Donovan. "Am I late?"
.
A smirk came to Donovan's face. "No." He was pleased that she was coming with. "I said I would be out here and I've been waiting." Isolde grinned, "'I've been waiting' is another way of saying, 'you're late'" she said jokingly.

"Everyone is late." Donovan rolled his eyes. "I was out here within only a few minutes of leaving the commons." It didn't take him long to collect a few things in his bag. He already wore almost everything he needed and being a common soldier he hadn't much to collect if he wanted to go somewhere. "You sure you wanna come with? Could do as much good here training the kids." Isolde grinned at Donovan's comment, "the kids that I've trained would probably stand a better chance out there than you would." The two of them had always shared this type of teasing relationship, "I hope you haven't forgotten who started you off when you first showed up either."

The two of them began to walk away from Shade as they shared in their back and forth banter. "Hah!" Donovan reached out and pushed on her shoulder. "I've still got a better chance at winning the games. You never could play the stone game that well. End on your rump before I've even got close to finishing. Only reason you stand a chance against me in melee is that stupid halberd."

"Well, of course, I wouldn't be good at a game designed for someone of shorter stature!" she laughed gently, "you forget that I train everyone in all weaponry, I just prefer the halberd myself, but then again.. you were never a good student. You didn't listen well." Isolde thought back to when the two of them were younger, constantly bickering and getting themselves into trouble. The memory brought a sense of peace to her mind knowing that she would have a close friend on the mission. "That's because you weren't a teacher. I didn't need to listen to a bossy girl" Donovan interjected, interrupting her thought.

"But I am the teacher amongst the Guardians. Not just for the children... but I mean, I don't have to come if you don't want my expertise." She laughed again. "You are now." Donovan loved to make fun of her early aspirations to be a teacher. "I have half a mind to get you drunk next and roll you down a hill to." Isolde's face contorted into a silly expression at his remark, "Hah! I would like to see you try, Donovan. I hold my drink much better than the lot of them you're used to taking advantage of."

Snickering he straightened up a little. "That's why it would be all the more rewarding. How about when this war is over we make a contest out of it?" Isolde grinned, "Challenge accepted, little man. Now then, since you're in charge of this little escapade... please tell me it isn't just us? You know I'm always up for it but we are sure to die if it's just us." Death was not something that Isolde was afraid of, at some point everyone died and ignoring the simple fact that she could die on this mission would be ignorant. "Haven't you noticed Lawrence over there." Donovan pointed to the taller man and glanced back at Isolde. "Bossy woman."

"Three of us isn't any better... but I guess it will keep things exciting. Do you have a plan formulated?" Donovan almost shifted uneasily when she started to pry. "Oh I think that uh....Well, I uh.....Yeah, I got a plan." Isolde raised an eyebrow at him, "you have no idea, do you?"

"Yes I do!" Donovan glowered at her. "There are four of us because Shade wants to come." It was easier to change the subject for now and he did have a plan though with four people it was likely that it would be difficult to carry out. "You do realize having Shade with us wouldn't be the best of choices, right?" Isolde questioned, "yes, she is a formidable warrior but the King's Guard will know who she is. I don't expect them to be surprised when they see us, either, however..." the woman trailed off for a moment, thinking. Donovan stepped a bit closer to Isolde, he glared at her with his head tilted up. "Yeah, and if she is on our side then she will provide the insight we need to make this successful."

Isolde looked down at him, unphased by his advance. "Someone is warming up to her quite nicely, aren't they?" she teased again, "her insight is precious in these matters and the woman does have my respect but she hasn't be trained like we have, Donovan. I don't want her to get killed. The King's Guard would do terrible things to a traitor." The woman knew what it meant to bring a person along on a mission that would be a valuable asset, she also knew what it meant to bring along a person that you had to watch out for. "Who says I care if she has the same training. She'll be with us." Donovan scowled at Isolde and added hotly. "I'm not warming up to anybody!"

Isolde sighed, Donovan was reacting how he usually. "I won't argue your orders, you are the one leading this expedition. Just remember, if she dies, we die. No one gets left behind." Isolde then scoffed at Donovan's remark, "sure you aren't warming up, Donovan." she said teasingly. "If we have to leave her we will." Donovan stated as he met Isolde's gaze he continued, "We'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen so you can have a clear conscience and I have to return her to the doctor safe and sound."

Donovan's comment burned inside of Isolde's mind, what he was suggesting went against everything that she stood for. His words pushed a memory forth in her head, the memory of when she was a girl and the Guardian died to save her life; the memory of what her parents had told her, that you never leave a fellow Guardian behind. Shade was now a Guardian, she had been branded like all of them had; she was now family and Isolde would be damned to leave a family member behind. Isolde grimaced at Donovan's comment of leaving her, an anger now filling her face. "No, Donovan! We will not leave her. That is not the way of the Guardian and you know that. She is one of us and as the leader, you better be damn prepared to die for her if it comes down to it."

"I will damn it!" Donovan yelled back at her as he stepped back. "You will leave if we come to that." It appeared that Donovan was beginning to smarten up and had taken what she said seriously, however, his comment on leaving the group if need be tickled laughter within but she choked it back with a grin. "You know very well that I won't." The woman sighed, "how much longer until we leave?"

"Are you ready to leave or not?" Donovan glanced at her bag. "Just go stand over there with the rest of them and I'll wait for just a while longer." Isolde shuffled the pack on her back, "Of course!" she responded, a last poke at him as she walked away and joined Lawerence leaning against a wall. She put her back on the ground and leaned against the wall alongside the man, without turning her head she addressed him. "Do you always just sit a part from everyone and observe?"
 

ArQane

With blood comes life, with life comes death.
Eli Vondale (Impregnable Fortress, Geraldis)
Eli hastily slipped on his armor as he walked down the halls. He decided that he was going to accompany the band to sabotage the enemy supplies. Besides, it was his area of expertise-- stealth. Eli couldn't claim to be good friends with Illya-- that was Claius-- but he understood how his cousin felt and knew that Illya was a good person. He felt like he owed it to everyone to play his part in the mission.

Eli found himself at the eastern gate, and nodded and Lawrence and Shade, who have already been standing put at the base. Donovan was nowhere to be seen. He clipped his sheathe on and looked around for the man, but it appeared that he was elsewhere. Eli chuckled. Such a dwarf can be a difficult one to spot, to say the least.

It didn't take Eli much long before finding Donovan shouting and a defiant Isolde. It seemed to be a conversation that he wasn't supposed to intrude on, but Eli didn't take a lifetime's training of stealth to stay forever ignorant of his surroundings. Carefully, he approached the two quarreling figures.

No, Donovan! We will not leave her." Eli made out. This was Isolde, and it didn't take a genius to figure out what was the cause of the argument. Sometimes Donovan forgot that he, too, was not a native born to the Guardian family, and ironically is the most distrusting towards new faces. Perhaps it was his tragic past that few knew about, but it amused Eli nonetheless.

"I will damn it!" Donovan replied. It was quite amusing, seeing Donovan standing up to a towering figure. He did it frequent enough that it wasn't a rare sight, but as an observer Eli always could get a laugh out of it. The rest of the conversation was a blur, and Eli didn't bother staying attentive to it. It wasn't his business, anyways. Once the conversation came to an end, both Donovan and Isolde started walking, presumably, back to the gate. Eli jogged forward towards Donovan.

"Hey, team lead! Mind a chat?"

Donovan turned around abruptly and observed Eli as he approached. "A chat about what?"

Eli looked amused. "You don't chat?"

"No?" Donovan stared quizzically at him. "I don't know what you want to chat about."

"Well it's a healthy habit to get into." Eli said. He watched Isolde's retreating figure. "I see you need some... err... practice with it."

Donovan's eyes narrowed but then he broke out into a grin. "You don't say?"

Eli clasped his hands together. "Haha, yes! That's better Donovan. You need to smile more." Eli chuckled a bit, and then composed himself. "I decided that I'd join. You probably don't remember, but I trained with Illya in the stealth division... Well, if you did remember, I probably didn't play my role well enough, eh?"

"Oh." Donovan said carelessly. "You're right, I don't remember you. Just not quite the memorable type though I imagine that you've now made an impression that will be difficult to change."

"That warms my heart." Eli responded mockingly. "Anyhow, I reckoned you would need eyes and ears, even though you are so conveniently near the enemy. A precaution, really... Maybe one that could've avoided the other incident."

Eli noticed Donovan clenching his fist. Perhaps the mention of Illya's death has set him off. It was quite unusual, to see Donovan sentimental about issues like that. Though, of course, as crude as he was, Donovan still had a heart and feelings.

"A precaution that could have been avoided if we killed the damn hunters." Donovan grunted. Eli smiled. A Donovan-esque response.

"Donovan, we need to make this clear. This is a sabotage mission, not your typical rampant hack and slashes."

"It is and I don't plan on leaving anyone to tell the tale. I will gladly take advice from your expertise and the rest of it isn't for you to decide." Donovan replied. Eli sensed the tension building, and raised his hands in retreat.

"So be it. I'm not here to make enemies, Donovan. I'm trying to save lives..." Eli said. "Do you know what Claius told me the day after you got back?"

"I don't know. Is it something I should know, or would you be breaking confidence?" Donovan said irritably.

"He said, 'I'm never sending anyone out there again.' I disagreed. Almost near slapped him in his face. Caught myself though, because if you ever seen Clay, his axe is at least twice as big as my sword and he probably hits like a horse." Eli said.

Donovan shrugged at this. "And? We're doing what we have to."

Eli thought to himself, realizing how random his interjection was. He had a habit of straying too far from the main point.

"I'm telling you your life matters. To me, at the very least. Whatever I do or say, it's all for good reason." Eli said and, with a grin, he added, "so smile more."

"That's a nice sentimental statement and I'll keep it in mind as such. Fall in."

Eli gestured towards the rendezvous. "Lead away, then. I'll be watching your back."
 

Silence

Anonymous Me
Mentor
Donovan Blackmoore (Impregnable, Fortress)

A blur of man burst through the door and the older grizzled man chuckled. "Now what trouble are you in lad?" Seemed that his adopted son was always busy and he was trying to quickly shove a tea toward him.

Donovan looked over at the man and he sighed. "Claius named me the leader for an important mission. I will be leading a group of volunteers to divert enemy supplies." He had barely gathered his own things and he wanted to be heading to the gate so that he would be there before the others. "You be sure to drink all that tea and take care of yourself. I'll bring back more herbs if I have a chance. Should be extra food to and I'll make sure to get some for you."

Despite the fact that Donovan was rushing out the older man grabbed his walking stick and walked outside behind him. Sipping at his tea he slowly made his way along the path. He watched his adopted son arrive at the gate and then he stood off at a distance to watch Donovan take on position of a leader for the first time. His old heart beat with pride to see the lad finally become something more than a soldier. He knew all along that his boy had it in him. Almost right away a few others had begun to trickle closer to the gate. Curiously he waited to see how his son would handle this for the first time. Mostly he knew Donovan to be a private sort of person and it was likely going to be a difficult job to lead a group.

Naturally only the most controversial person was going to arrive immediately after Lawrence. Donovan met Shade's gaze and he seemingly studied her for a long moment before he said anything. "We'll need your expertise. Proved yourself well enough at the wall, but don't betray my trust." It was a big step to even take her with. However, he couldn't deny her honor when she fought at the wall. For now that was all he could say to her and then Isolde arrived and almost immediately after her Eli came and everyone seemed to want to pick some sort of issue with him. He had finally a group that seemed to be large enough to work with and he looked out over the plain muddy ground to see the old man still standing there. A nearly sheepish expression came to Donovan's face. Setting his things near the wall he walked back toward the place where the grizzled figure waited.

The old man couldn't help smiling a little. No matter appearances the lad had always been a dutiful son if not a bit rambunctious at times. "Every man starts out with difficulty as a leader. You'll learn and don't let them sway your instincts. If you suffer a loss remember that you cannot change what has happened and learn from it. Donovan I always felt badly for what happened to you and yet I'm a selfish old man and I was never more proud to claim you as my son." Since there were others watching and he didn't want to embarrass the lad he only set a hand on Donovan's shoulder. "Lead them well."

"Aye...I'll do my best." Donovan caught the hint that perhaps his difficulty would be talking to those that were part of his group for this mission. It was all for the Guardians and he knew that. He would have to ensure that they knew that as well. Carefully Donovan stepped away when the old man removed his hand from his shoulder. Ignoring any stares of the men and the women he grabbed his small bag of supplies. "Never was one to talk fancy. I'll put it simple as I can in my own words. You all heard what Claius expects of us. I want the best advice from all of you, but I will still have the final say. If it is possible we'll all come home with supplies and the king's head. Right now the enemy is still contemplating their next move. The god of war guide your blades. Should you die may he be gracious and guide your soul." Turning toward the smaller door on the gate he pushed it open and let them file out. For now they would be out of sight and they needed to find the supply wagons first.

Slowly and cautiously the group moved into the woods surrounding the fortress. Donovan glanced toward Eli and Lawrence. "You two begin the scouting." He figured Isolde didn't trust Shade well enough for this mission yet and she would be a prime person to keep behind with the new recruit. "Shade I need you to start telling me about envoy and supply wagons. What about their methods and conduct in battle?" Anytime before nightfall he expected that they would see the wagons of supplies and then they could make their move.
 
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