Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

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Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Masquerade on Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:54 pm

Royal Castle, Ylisstol, Ylisse...

The tone was dire this day in the audience chamber of the royal castle located in the capitol city of Ylisstol. A group of mercenaries had been called together to be briefed on a mission that was to be given to them involving the war between Ylisse and Plegia, with Regna Ferrox serving as allies to Ylisse. The chamber was filled with those very mercenaries with Exalt Lissa seated upon the throne, gazing out upon them all, her long flowing white robes spotless and free of any imperfection, lined with gold with various holy symbols emblazoned on the back. Her blonde hair, once kept up in twin ponytails, now flowed just a bit over her shoulders and down to her upper back. It shone with a luster that used to be unknown to it, for her romps about the country kept it mussed and dirty. Such was her duty to remain the epitome of cleanliness and purity, for it was she now that was the face of the halidom of Ylisse. Drawing in a sharp breath, she arose, glancing down at her stylish white heels--oh how they were so uncomfortable to walk in. Her staff rested against the side of her throne, and she deigned not touch it for now. It had been so long, it wouldn't even feel right. Or perhaps there was another reason...

"Brave and battle-hardened mercenaries, it's my pleasure to welcome you to Ylisstol!" Exalt Lissa exclaimed, opening her arms wide as if to embrace the motley assortment of fighters before her, disgusted at the formality in her voice. There once was a time where she would speak just like the commoners, but that would not do for a proper Exalt. She respected the late Exalt Emmeryn, and loved her, but proper did not suit Lissa. Not at all. More than anyone knew, really. "However, that pleasure is short-lived given our current situation. You have been called here for war; I won't mince words. Lacking in manpower, our nation along with the nation of Regna Ferrox are calling for mercenaries to join our forces, and the pay is something that could not even be dreamed of. Our enemies are Plegia, the nation responsible for not only the death of the late Exalt Emmeryn, but also of my brother, Prince Chrom, valiant and powerful leader of the Shepherds. Those crimes against this halidom cannot go unpunished any longer. As such..." Lissa's voice started to fade. Thoughts of her sister plagued her mind. What would Emmeryn think of Lissa's course of action? I know she wouldn't be proud, but I've gotta do what I must.

Taking note of Exalt Lissa's body language, one of the mercenaries realized how distressed this woman was. The mercenary in question, a powerful sorceress by the name of Riesa, kept her visage a mask of indifference, yet her eyes belied a certain inquisitive splendor. Exalt Lissa wasn't the only one who carried herself with a regal nature, for Riesa looked just as much a leader or perhaps a queen. A thin veil of black cloth shrouded her unbelievably lithe and appealing body, a black cloak surrounding her frame overall. A belt on her waist held odd things like satchels and vials, and there was even a place where a dark tome was held. Her eyes were a stunning violet, a similar hue to the amethyst gem embedded in gold that acted as the centerpiece of a golden chain necklace worn about her neck, said gem resting just above her rather immaculate breasts. Her slender fingers drummed against her side as her sharp eyes never left the Exalt as she spoke, and not a word left her mouth despite plenty of words building up in her throat and held back by her pursed lips like a dam. For now she would mind her mouth. For now.

"I'm...I'm sorry. Please, allow me to tell you specifically of your mission. You are to head north to a militarized zone in Regna Ferrox near the Plegia-Ferroxian border. It is there that the first stage of our assault will begin," Lissa explained, finally managing to regain her composure. Her eyes seemed to brighten a bit, and she smiled revealing her beautiful teeth. "I know you guys can do it; you'll be a wonderful addition to our forces!" she exclaimed, almost cheerily. She hadn't been able to sound so happy in a long while, but she had to let these mercenaries know that she was full of hope, not to mention she missed being her old self. "If any of you have any questions, now's the time to ask them," she chimed, looking at her so-called "employees" with expectant eyes.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Zerifachias on Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:28 pm

Charles Eternal

This was the moment that Kial mentioned would make or break me. Living as a mercenary has taught me many things, but I now realize that there was only one lesson to learn. Allegiances will only allow your sword arm to weaken. To defeat the one more powerful than you, you must release yourself from any allegiance and survive. I've been told countless times, by Kial and other clients, that my survival instinct is my strongest attribute.

Now, to march against the very land that I once called home...the streets that taught me how cruel life can be, and the welcoming hand of one of the most influential families in the world guiding me through my life that lived there. Of course, I would not march against my family, they hold allegiances to no one but themselves. That is not what I worry about.

I worry about the lives of my homeland that must be taken because of me.

"Charles?" the familiar voice of my companion and mentor wakes me from my reverie. I glance ever so slightly to my side, just enough to take in the boyish appearance of Kial. She is a steadfast and strong warrior, a master of the sword of which she carries two. She is decorated in green and white armor, heavy enough to protect her, but light enough not to restrain movement.

"I hope you aren't having regrets," Kial continues, placing a gloved hand on her waist and giving me a small smile. Her gray hair and youthful face are jarring to see together at first, but I have steadily gotten used to her appearance over the past few years of traveling with her. "I did warn you about this, didn't I?"

"You did," I admit, "but I am not having any regrets. Believe me, I'm ready for anything."

"Good. You've improved a little since we left." Kial always seems to enjoy teasing me. I know her well enough to sense at least that much.

I turn back to Exalt Lissa and cross my hand over my chest, which is covered in a heavy armor. Even something like this is hard-pressed to weigh me down. I brush a bit of black hair away from my own hazel eyes and bow to the one who holds greater rank than I. "I and my companion accept this mission, and will do our best to serve you." Out of the corner of my eye, I also see Kial give a very small bow. She doesn't like showing anyone but my older sister respect.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Silver on Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:48 pm

It was a terrible air in the room. And though no one else cared to comment on it, he knew he was not the only one to feel it. The Exalt, clearly uncomfortable with her position, managed to (needlessly) explain their situation. He felt increasingly bad for her. All gilded and little substance; possibly a beautiful and loving girl had walked in her steps once, but now, in the light of properness, she portrayed that which was required of a ruler. She appeared much to young to have to endure a fill of pain, and even if she had a few more years there never was a time when tragedy should be able to be endured easily.

"Poor girl..."

He felt sorry for her. He did not, however, make a move to assuage the tension that surrounded her, nor did he speak of it. Better not to draw attention to himself anyway–a "child" in a position such as this would more likely than not be rejected from aiding the cause. Besides, a "commoner" had little in common with royalty–despite what he had heard about the late Prince Chrom in his travels to Ylisstol, he believed it not his place to attempt the mending of her emotional scars. Even if he had felt the right, he knew her not therefore he could help her not.

So Celin just stood there, doing his best to blend into the group.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Allindur, the Lightfoot on Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:42 pm

Elwood stood in the front of the other mercenaries, only not ahead of the mage-looking woman. She sure seemed regal, and it would no doubt be difficult to lead a party with her in it. The knight towered above the others, two inches over six feet, not so big for male standards, but the huge armour turned those six feet into the height of a giant. The armor, as it's protected, was frozen in a formal military position, listening to the Exalt's briefing and pondering about the curret situation.

"I wonder if this was doing the right thing, forfeiting my rank as a commander and my place among the real army of my country to serve as a sword for hire under Ylisse. It will sure bring me a deeper and more critical position on the war, but I still am not fully sure about being relegated to a mercenary position...and with people I barely even know if are able to follow simple tactical orders...I guess I'll have to make it work with what I have in my disposal."

Elwood threw a quick glance at the little child among them. The knight had a very strange feeling about the kid, but had learned well to not judge someone for the appearance. If Exalt Lissa brought the child, then there should be a very good reason. Elwood spoke up, and from the closed helmet, the voice was distorted into a booming thunder, echoing mighty across the hall.

-I wonder who will be in command of this division one we arrive at the front, Milady, or if we will work as an independent unity.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Kurio on Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:09 pm

During the Exalt's speech Caelia was constantly glancing back at the doorway leading toward the outside of the castle. She felt slightly uneasy as she had never been to the kingdom of Ylisse, much less its capital before. Had the guards actually allowed Florina into the royal court Caelia would have felt much better. She had heard that horses were a delicacy in some areas of the world and with no idea of the cultural and social norms of this kingdom she could not help but feel concerned for Florina.

Only when the Exalt had finished did Caelia realize that she had barely heard a word she said. Something about their prince dying, a war, and marching into her homeland of Plegia. Hopefully that was all she needed to know. If not well she could always get the details from Riesa later. She wouldn't mind that, right? Turning her head to her companion who had been silent the whole time Caelia gave her a light tap on the shoulder.

"Hey Riesa you should say something too. You wouldn't want everyone to think that you're mute, right?" Caelia suggested then turned toward the Exalt, raising her arm up in the air and speaking. Though neither her tone nor posture was one fitting for addressing royalty. "Your Highness? In this campaign you're sending us on, are we to only target their military forces or are we allowed to ruthlessly slaughter civilians as well?"

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Creame on Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:44 pm

Watching Exalt Lissa's own awkward behavior made Etel squirm with uneasiness. It was obvious that she was uncomfortable up there, but what could one expect? She was practically thrown into the throne without a second thought, and most likely without any experience. The young man couldn't help but feel sorry for her... Though, this was the duty of Ylisse's royal house, she should have been prepared for this day. And it wasn't like his homeland of Valm and Ylisse were the best of pals anyway, Etel shouldn't have any compassion for the young, prettied-up girl in front of him.

But he did. Just a little bit of pity.

In any case, none of it mattered. He was nothing more than a sellsword on a wyvern; whether or not the person he was cutting down had families needing money back at home, truth was he was the one needing money, and if ever he met a fellow Valmese or family member on the frontlines, he'd just have to decide what to do from there. Taking a glance around the room, most of the people gathered looked like roughened and experienced mercenaries, while Etel was simply just Etel. With nothing much to say, the young man had simply bowed his head in agreement, eager to get back on the road and reunited with Soire, who was patiently waiting for him outside the castle.

-----

Nichiu, who had been idly twirling her iron bow, wasn't as eager to listen as her "mercenary company". She was hardly a sellsword herself; she had just only decided that she needed a bit of extra money, and that her current lifestyle was becoming incredibly boring. Why not spice up life and make some money in the process? When the laughably-nervous Exhalt had told the group of their location, Ni could feel her tanned skin prickle with excitement. And they were still going to be in Ferox, too! True, it wasn't East Ferox, but it was still Ferox. The sniper had not yet seen the rest of the world, nothing as far than the cities near the plains, and once to the West, where she had watched the two Khans battle. Ah, such a beautiful, enlightening experience to see THE Khan Flavia in action. It was a pity she had lost.

Nichiu made no attempt to hide her doubtful smirk and snort to match. Was the Exalt's cheeriness fake, or was she just always a bubbly idiot? No matter, it was a good thing that she had opened up to questions, as the bow-wielder only had one to ask. She flicked her wrist lazily into the air, letting the attention fall on her. "Yeah, uhh," she pinched the tip of her horns in thought, "When exactly do we get paid? I don't plan to ditch right after I get paid but, uh... Just wondering, you know." At that, Nichiu let her hand fall back to her side. She had no other concerns.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Masquerade on Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:28 pm

"I see I'm going to have some competition," Riesa said smoothly in a whisper to her companion, Caelia. The duo had traveled to Ylisse together from Plegia with the younger pegasus knight having entertained the notion of learning dark magic from her. Riesa merely shook her head at Caelia's question to the Exalt. True be it that they were nothing but a bunch of bloodthirsty sellswords, but that didn't mean they had to act like it. Granted, the extra corpses would provide plenty of valuable specimens for experiments and the like. Well, regardless she proved she wasn't mute. No, no, I can't let on too much in the beginning. Let them all make themselves known first. Only then can I make them dance, the sorceress thought to herself as her violet eyes settled once more upon the Exalt, scrutinizing the young woman intensely.

"As for leadership, it will be up to you to pick a person to act as de facto commander," Lissa was quick to respond. Discussion would help them bring together...or to tear them apart. It would be a test of their rationality and compatibility, both of which would be essential to the group's operation. "I hope that's not a problem," she gave them all a challenging smile. The smile didn't last long when one of the mercenaries asked about killing innocent civilians. It went against everything the halidom stood for, but war was war. "You are not to on a murder spree. Innocents should be spared when possible; you are only to target militarized units or civilian units that have taken up arms for themselves. If anyone tries to harm you, you have a right to end them." She dreaded saying those words because there would surely be innocents taking up arms to defend themselves, but there wasn't much that could be done. The Exalt had a war to win.

Lissa's eyes rested upon the only archer in the chamber. She seemed to be concerned with money. "A small initiate's payment will be made to you now. It won't be substantial by any means, but it should be enough to entice you to stick around. A larger sum will be paid to you upon successful infiltration of Plegia, and the remainder of the total pay will be given to you when the nations of Ylisse and Regna Ferrox successfully occupy the royal castle in Plegia. The treasurer awaits at the entrance hall to hand you your initiate's payment before you leave," Lissa explained. Of course these people wouldn't have anything to do with her vengeance; they just wanted money which was fine by her. As long as they got the job done, that was all that mattered in the end.

"So that's it, is it?" Riesa spoke aloud, flipping her long dark hair while taking a moment to look at the other mercenaries. They were so different and unique. This was bound to be interesting. A sinister smile crept upon her visage, but she acted like that was a normal expression for her. "Looks like we'd better not splurge until we get some things accomplished," she spoke with a snide laugh masqueraded as something much more lighthearted. Here she turned on Caelia. "You'd better follow the Exalt's orders, Caelia. When she says no massacre, she surely means it," she stated sternly, practically glaring down at her companion, for Riesa was taller.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Kurio on Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:50 pm

Caelia almost frowned when the Exalt denied the right to kill civilians, almost. She managed to keep a neutral expression and merely nodded to the Exalt's response to her question. "Thank you, I'll be sure to do just that~" Caelia responded, giving the Exalt a bright smile. A smile that would make people wonder how Caelia could have even asked such a morbid question just a few moments ago.

When Riesa reinforced the note that she wasn't to murder innocents Caelia gave another sweet smile. It was probably just for show as Caelia expected that her companion would benefit from having some more fresh corpses lying around. "It breaks my heart that you don't trust me Riesa." Caelia replied to the much taller woman, "Would I really go against orders and kill innocents?"

For anyone who actually knew Caelia well, the answer was 'yes.' Fortunately Riesa was the only person who fell in that category. As for the rest of the group what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. Besides the Exalt did say as long as the they were armed then it would be okay to kill.

"As far as anyone will know, all civilian deaths will be in the name of 'self-defense.'"

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Silver on Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:25 pm

There was a new tension in the air when the knight spoke. A discomforting feeling encompassed Celin when he felt the man's eyes on him, and this grew further when heard the mage-woman and her companion speak. The mixture of their personalities, as he could already tell, would not make for a fun experience, and the manakete could feel a dread ahead of them. Maybe it would be best for him to back out now? Oh, but that would mean drawing everyone else's attention to himself which would likely lead to an uproar. And besides, when his gaze returned to the obviously distressing Exalt, he knew it would be wrong to not go ahead with the mission.

That did not, however, stop him from shifting uncomfortably and moving just an inch away from the women and the knight. They made him very uncomfortable. He would have to find someone other than them to talk to, they would not make him feel like sticking around. Of that he was certain.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Zerifachias on Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:21 pm

Kial

Charles seemed even more confident when he spoke to the Exalt than when he tried to convince me of his determination. It's almost hilarious, the way he fears and respects me. I am not his friend, that is what Sariska told me. But I couldn't help but feel a connection to the boy. She'd be disappointed, but there was no helping it. People tend to grow attached to one another over a long period of time. Traveling together, fighting together, and being a mentor and adviser to the boy is enough to make our connection strong.

Now, if I could only find him a girlfriend.

Looking around at the group of mercenaries that had been gathered together, I see a fair mix of different styles and abilities. The knight will obviously be part of the vanguard, the forefront of the fighting. He and Charles would take the longest to go down out of all of us, even me. Though in a fair fight, I could beat most of the mercenaries gathered here. I say most, because there is one mercenary that I cannot see through. He appears to be a small child, but I know better. There's something about him, some aura, that makes me feel like he could be very dangerous.

I cross my arms over my chest, scrutinizing the boy, trying to see what his power is. If I were my friend, I would be able to grasp his potential power, at least a little bit. But alas, I do not have that ability. All I can do is wait and see what that power is. One thing I can say for sure though, he's the most dangerous mercenary here. Let's hope he's a predictable one.

"You there, little boy," I chance a call at the child-like mercenary. I see Charles turn his attention from the corner of my eye, and hold my hand up towards him, to prevent him from speaking for now. "Who, or rather, what exactly are you? I'd like to know the status and abilities of anyone who I will be working with. You are the only one here that I cannot understand."

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Silver on Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:17 pm

So much for not being the center of attention. Celin shifted uncomfortably before looking directly at the woman who had addressed him. "I assure you that I am not so green as I appear." he responded after a moment, eyes slitted and cautious. He drifted over to the woman and her companion who appeared like he wanted to say something. If he was going to continue with this group as planned, it would be best for at least one person to not be surprised by his abilities... at least he felt it safest. He reached for a round crystallized sphere of whiteness that laid on his hip and held it out before the woman. "This is my weapon, I am a Manakete."

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Allindur, the Lightfoot on Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:28 pm

Elwood did not trust the mage-looking woman one bit, what brought the question: was the Dark Flyer actually kidding? This could bring all sorts of problems to the group, as senseless slaughtering was unacceptable. The Great Knight shifted the weight, sounding a loud noise as the whole armour shifted along. No more questions, only waiting for the others now, Elwood kept the military stance.

And then it hit.

"This is my weapon, I am a Manakete."

Blood froze up the veins. A Manakete. A dragon. Not a dragon rider, an actual, thinking dragon. Elwood barely realised the armored hand sliding quickly to the hilt of the curved sword, only the surge of safety coming from the sensation. A flash crossed the Knight's mind, blood spilling, red everywhere. The sharp fangs tearing apart Michael, limb to limb. Cold sweat was now running across the Great Knight's face. Of course, on the outside, the only noticeable change was the arm's movement.

"This is not some wyvern under the control of an enemy soldier. This is a thinking, rational being, fighting by your side. You are being irrational."

"It is a dragon. I don't need logic, it's a dragon and it can't be trusted. Where it not in my party I would cut it down this moment, and be damn sure I will if i doesn't quietly abide to command."

"Nothing good can come out of your attitude..."


Elwood took a deep breath and tried hard not to look at the dragon, but took a few paces back, as to have it under line of sight.

-I believe, if revelations are over, we should get going, Exalt Lissa.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Zerifachias on Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:47 am

Kial

A surge of bloodlust and danger made me react quickly, placing a hand on one of my sword hilts while looking around for the source. The knight was holding onto his sword hilt, he was the source of the dangerous aura. He wasn't taking action, only reaching for his sword. I could not read his expression, but I could sense the bloodlust coming from him. If I had to, I would cut him down.

When he backed away, I felt a little more relaxed. He seemed to be in control of himself, but I could still sense that bloodlust emanating from him. This is one character I would have to keep an eye on, to make sure he didn't do anything stupid.

I turned back to the child-like mercenary, now knowing that he probably eclipses all of us in age. I remove my hand from my sword hilt and give a slight bow towards the Manakete. "I have never before seen one of your kind, but I have heard the legends. It is an honor to be in your presence," I say with the utmost respect.

"Master Kial," Charles speaks next to me, his expression confused, "what do you mean? What exactly is a Manakete?"

"Oh, Charles. I forget you are not versed in the legends of this world," I respond, turning to him ever so slightly. I want to keep an eye on this particular Manakete. And the knight as well. As well as Charles. I'm going to need a few more eyes, it seems. Hopefully the Manakete doesn't prove troublesome. "Manaketes are legendary beings that have the power to transform into a mythical beast, a dragon. The stone you see this one carrying is called a Dragonstone. It is what allows him to transform into a dragon."

"A dragon...?" Charles doesn't seem to believe me, but there is nothing I can say to make him. He will believe, soon enough, when the Manakete transforms. It's a damned good thing the Manakete is with the rest of us mercenaries, rather than with Plegian forces. Though I wouldn't mind having a chance to duel a dragon.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Creame on Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:17 am

Etel blinked at the girl in shock. There was no real reason to slaughter any innocent civilians, and her cute visage had made her seem innocent. If she was to be in his unit, the wyvern rider would probably choose to try to stay away from her. Her companion, too, looked darker than some, and Etel wouldn't put it past her to murder someone, perhaps. Maybe he was wrong and the girl was just kidding (though he doubted it), and he was just being childish and judging based on appearances. Like always, Etel decided he should probably lay low for a while. After all, all he needed to keep him going was Soire.

He had been glad all of the questions --minus the one about the civilians-- had been asked; they were all important questions and Etel hadn't felt like speaking up in a group of strangers. Money was definitely an issue, as were leadership roles within the group. Etel silently hoped he wouldn't be elected; he hadn't been a mercenary for more than half a year. A greenhorn like him would probably put all their lives in jeopardy.

When he heard the voice of a child, he was surprised to actually find one -- and a manakete at that! Etel was genuinely shocked; never in his days he thought to meet a manakete. They were so rare! "A Manakete..." the young man said slowly and softly. There was a million things he wanted to ask the faux-child. But what was a dragon that could have well been alive for over a millennia doing enrolled as a mercenary employed by the Exalt? He supposed it was a question for the road; they'd probably have plenty of time to talk after they got out of the palace and started marching towards their destination.

-----

Nichiu made no second thought of the fair-haired girl's remark about murdering civilians; she had simply just thought, "Damn, that's messed up" and laced her fingers together in front of her in thought. The royal treasury! Money! Finally, she might be able to sell off all her sheep, find a nice house in or near a city in East Ferox, and live out her days happily if she did well enough in this war. Of course, this was all for naught if she happened to die, though she didn't count on it. Nobody could best the best sniper in Ferox, that was for sure. Well, except for this big hunk of metal she was standing to the right of. She wasn't sure how any arrows could get in there, but if a helmet was removed, then...

She glanced over at the mountain of a man again and slightly jumped when his hand flew to his sword. Nichiu glanced at the man, then at the newly announced manakete, then back at the man, and frowned. Without another thought about if this man was a real jerk and would cut her down, she flicked his armored forearm, which produced a small metallic 'tang' of sound. "Hey, calm yer loins, Sir Jumpy. It's just a manakete, and a boy, at that." the archer said to him in a low voice. Though she knew manaketes could live for hundreds to thousands of years, it still didn't change that he looked like a child. Nichiu turned back to Exalt Lissa and gave a curt nod. "Yeah, I think we should get going, too. The sooner we get to Ferox, the better."

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Silver on Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:24 am

The sudden spike of negative energy caused Celin to cringe, a slight glow emanating from the stone in his hands. He had expected such a negative response from the tension that filled the knight, but to be faced with such a powerful spike of loathing, nay a desire to murder, was.... overwhelming. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, the glow stopped and the rigidity of his form eased–he opened his eyes, settling a feigned cheerful gaze on the woman. He hoped with all of his might that she would not react in such a manner; if she did he would have to leave. There would be no staying with two people wanting him dead.

Much to his good fortune, her response was positive. And the responses of the other nearby did not seem to change negatively either; mostly wonder or confusion, but nothing intensely negative filled the room. Celin's fake smile lost just a tad of the falsity and there was no doubt in his mind that this slight shift in the air could be felt by everyone. It was a very pleasing reaction to get when the few others he had told in the past had immediately attacked him in an attempt to capture him. "I appreciate your kind sentiments," Celin replied with a small bow of his own, "it is not often that I receive such a positive reaction." His gaze inconspicuously darted over to the knight for but a moment before returning to the swordswoman. "As I'm sure you know, my race is running near extinction."

For the strangest of moments, his glance flew over to the mage and her companion who did not agree with his better judgement. Perhaps such a conversation–made public in front of the Exalt, no less–was better off being held in a different, more private setting. Shifting his glance back to the swordswoman and her companion, he bowed his head slightly and lowered his voice. "But... perhaps this is a conversation better saved for the road."

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Kurio on Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:46 am

The mention of a Manakete within the group piqued Caelia's curiosity. She had heard a few stories, ancient legends really, of these ageless creatures taking up human form with the ability to transform into a fearsome dragon at will. Of course since Caelia had never met a Manekete before she was immediately interested in this boy. There were a lot of things she wanted to know about his race, as those legends were fairly vague. And the fact that the boy suddenly quieted down for some reason just added to her curiosity.

Quietly approaching the boy Caelia tried to make herself as inconspicuous as possible. Before even making a sound Caelia reached out to grab the Manakete, pulling the boy into a close embrace. "Aw, he's such a cutie!" Caelia exclaimed, "You can't possibly be telling me that someone like him can turn into a dragon. He's just too cute!"

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Masquerade on Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:17 pm

Riesa knew all too well why. This Caelia had a dark past and she only sought to steep herself further into the darkness--something Riesa was helping the younger woman with. There was no doubt Caelia would have plans to find a loophole in the Exalt's orders. She was sharp, but not sharper than the sorceress. Taking note of the sudden hostility in the chamber, Riesa continued drumming her fingers against one of her hips, warily eying the others. A manakete was amongst them. It was a good thing everyone's attention was on him, for one of the most frighteningly evil looks flashed upon the sorceress's face, a wicked gleam in her eyes. The look persisted for seconds; it wasn't like anyone was paying her attention--all according to plan. When the manakete responded only to be embraced by Caelia, that was when action needed to be taken. Her steps were quick, precise, purposeful. A dark aura seemed to manifest itself around as she came to a stop behind Caelia, snaking her hand in-between her and the manakete and grasping the woman by the neck...tightly.

"Being called cute isn't exactly something a mercenary would be proud of, Caelia," Riesa spoke in a firm voice, but it was obvious she was getting pleasure from choking Caelia by the look in her eyes, and the subtle upwards twitch of the edges of her mouth--as if they were trying to form a smile. "Perhaps your reveries are better left kept to yourself." She leaned in close so that her mouth was right next to Caelia's right ear. "Release the manakete. Now," she whispered in the most innocently threatening tone a person could ever make.

Exalt Lissa nearly reeled from all of what had taken place. "Please! Settle yourselves!" she pleaded, a hand desperately placed over her heart, but in terms of Riesa, her pleading fell upon deaf ears. These were the people she was entrusting to raid Plegia. She was confident in them, yes, but...they seemed like blood-crazed lunatics, or at least some of them. If Plegia had not done such a great injustice to her family and her halidom, she might actually have some sympathy for them, but no. Not now. Would she revel in fantasies about this particular group of mercenaries laying waste to the Plegian forces? No, of course not. By the looks of it, it would be a task to prevent them from killing each other. There were dangerous people in this group, even if all of them were as hostile as others. The manakete...that wasn't much of a surprise to Exalt Lissa, but the others seemed starstruck by the member of the nearly extinct race. She had already encountered another of the species, a female by the name of Nowi. As such, she didn't feel as much awe seeing another, nor was she surprised by his young appearance. Her focus, of course, were on the great knight, who relented of course, and the regal sorceress who was threatening to suffocate seemingly innocent yet obviously disturbed woman who had asked about the massacring of innocent civilians.

"With all do respect, Your Grace, I will relent when my protege decides to," Riesa spoke as if she would be speaking to an equal, a venomous trace of sarcasm practically trickling over the words "Your Grace."

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Allindur, the Lightfoot on Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:42 pm

That was enough, now this was getting just ridiculous, this is no way to act in front of the Exalt.

-All right, Exalt Lissa, I guess we are already being disrespectful here. If you will excuse us, I believe we should be on our way before someone breaks something.

The voice from the closed helmet ressounded even more powerful, if that was even possible, the voice of a person who spent a life commanding others.

-All right, let's move out, people, we have disrespected the Exalt enough. We will have plenty of time to know each other on the road! Move out!

Elwood only waited the Exalt's permission to actually turn back and go.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Kurio on Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:36 pm

Before anyone else could respond to her suddenly embracing the Manakete Caelia felt an unpleasant aura behind her. She felt a cold hand wrapping around her neck and tightening. She had a good idea who this was, and Riesa's voice coming from behind her confirmed her suspicion. She tried to speak but could only make out a few coughs and choking sounds. Though if she said anything Riesa would most likely tighten her grip even more. When her older companion ordered her to let go of the boy Caelia immediately did as she was told.

Once she had let go of the Manakete Caelia turned her head around a little so that she could at least see Riesa. She stared at her companion with pleading eyes, hoping that she would stop before she actually suffocated. "R-Rie...sa..." she managed to choke out, tears welling in her eyes partially from just being choked.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Silver on Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:16 pm

It took quite a bit of willpower for Celin not to bristle. He had, of course, felt the weird mage's friend curiosity permeate the awe in the room right before she grabbed him. What he had failed to do was keep her away from him. Thankfully, the girl's creepy... make that really creepy... friend set about removing her from him by choking her. Celin just slinked back behind the woman with the swords, feeling, despite hardly knowing her, safest in her presence. Not that he could not defend himself, but perhaps she could keep the strange girl, the sadistic witch, and the murderous knight away from him. She certainly seemed capable.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Zerifachias on Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:15 pm

Kial

It would have been amusing, seeing the Manakete who was probably well over 500 years old, be hugged by the strange girl. I cannot sense the power level of our half-dragon friend here, but I know that the woman who made a poor decision to approach the dragon is not quite as strong as dear Charles here. If we had to, I'm sure the three of us could dominate and destroy the rest of the mercenaries here. I could only hope that we wouldn't have to resort to such drastic measures.

The Manakete definitely felt safer around me. That much was obvious from his actions and the actions of the others around us. No doubt he could take care of himself, but he would be wise to make me his ally before the others do. Not that it would matter, I would protect him at any cost, if the need arose.

Which, truthfully, probably never would. I'd die quicker than he would with whatever is trying to kill him.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Creame on Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:38 am

Awaiting the Exalt's orders to head out, Nichiu watched as the 'messed up' girl hugged the manakete with a small grin. The gesture was kind of cute, even if the girl had said she had wanted to murder people. However, Nichiu's smile was gone as quickly as it came, as the darker, older woman who had been beside the girl had began choking her, and had no intentions to stop until she had let go of the dragonkin. Even as the girl did, her slender fingers had still been around the smaller girl's neck.

The sniper had no qualms against confrontation, but even she had known better than to act up in front of the Exalt, even though Nichiu herself did not hail from Ylisse. Not bothering to see if anyone would jump in, the tanned woman jumped forward herself. "Ay, what do ya think you're doin', ya dim-lit blackpot?" she huffed, placing a hand on the taller, and darker woman's chokehold. "Can't ya see you're fuckin' hurting her? Even if she is your... protoge, show some softness. Besides, it was a teeny snuggle! Let the lass get some color to her face, Gods damned!" Nichiu spat, looking into the eyes of the woman, "Riesa". Her drawhand still lay on Riesa's arm, neither tightening nor loosening its grip.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Masquerade on Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:06 pm

A genuine, almost frighteningly and sinisterly delighted grin grew on Riesa's face as Caelia backed away and pleaded, speaking Riesa's name, or at least doing her best to do so. The sorceress felt her heart race. By the gods it felt so good to have power over this woman who acted like such a damn child but could be so inwardly dark. Something brought Riesa down from her slight high as she realized someone had dared to lay a hand on her. Darkness sparked like electricity at that moment in an attempt to get whatever was gripping her away. Turning to look at how it was, she realized it was the girl who had asked about their pay. It was almost cute that she cared for a complete stranger so much. The expression of dire rage that had enveloped Riesa's wicked visage melted and a sly smile took it's place as she released her grasp on Caelia's neck. "Yes, it would be a shame if I lost protege," Riesa said in a voice as smooth as honey, but possessing that sickly taint of evilness. However, her steeled gaze bore down on Nichiu as if boring into her very soul. "How considerate. Though, commoner, know your place." She did not spit this. Nor did she sound angry. "Should your hand fall upon me again in any way, I'll be sure to claim it as my own from your corpse." Her tone could not have been more normal; she spoke it so matter-of-factly. That might have been more frightening than anything else, even the aura of darkness that surrounded this sorceress.

Lissa sighed. "You haven't disrespected me; I've seen spats among comrades before," she stated. Not everyone in the Shepherds had gotten along completely with no worries at all. But this was a bit extreme. "I just wish you would be more careful about your words and actions towards each other." With that, Lissa took a seat on her throne.

Riesa gave one last smile at Nichiu before turning her back and walking towards the exit of the chamber. "Come, Caelia. We have gold to collect. And try to breathe more, dear, you look a bit blue." That said, she departed knowing that the great knight's patience was wearing thin. He would learn that things would be done on her terms, however. It was in her nature to lead, even though her followers would come to suffer the worst of fates. Regrets collect...but they certainly have no effect on me, she thought to herself and laughed mentally.

The group was able to collect their respective payments of gold from the treasurer as Exalt Lissa had spoken, and with supplies already gathered individually, the recently hired mercenaries were able to make their way to the nation of Regna Ferrox, traveling to a military base near the border of Plegia where their first conflict would take place, not counting surprise attacks or ambushes. The path up to Ferox was relatively clear--occupied by both Ylissian and Feroxian forces. Plegia would not dare attempt direct combat--not yet. They would need to gather more ground first. With this boon, the group successfully made it to their destination...

* * *

Western Ferox, Military Camp W1...

Riesa sat in a tent on her own. It had been only that morning that they had reached the military camp to the west of the Ferox Arena which at this time acted as a main fort and position in terms of war strategy. Khan Basilio, however, was sure that Plegia would never make it to this camp. "Such a proud buffoon, sure of his own strength," Riesa said snidely to herself. She knew the others would be given places to rest in the tents around her, but for now she was truly alone which was of great value for she hadn't had the pleasure of such isolation on the road. Even when she marched with just Caelia, she had found moments to slip away and take a bath in a stream or just meditate in the woodland. No such opportunities presented themselves on the way to Regna Ferox, but now she was granted what she had been desiring all this time.

She recalled the camp being rather large and full of soldiers from Ferox and Ylisse, along with other mercenaries...like herself. The group was allowed to rest for now, but would be called in later for a strategy meeting with none other than Khan Basilio himself who was leading the assault against the Plegian border. They would have time for themselves, for after today, none of them might come back alive. Such was the nature of war.

"Shame I don't plan on going anywhere," Riesa whispered whimsically to herself, her violet eyes listlessly falling upon the opening of her tent. Should she take a walk? How was one supposed to spend this time? Such were the problems with life.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Zerifachias on Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:28 pm

Charles Eternal

Everything happened almost at once, the Manakete, the sorceress and her 'protege,' the Exalt speaking, it was all hard to follow. I could do it, I was able enough, but that doesn't mean it wasn't difficult. The half-dragon seemed to take a liking to Kial, so I guess that was a good thing. But the problem was that there were some mercenaries here who gave off a strange aura. I'm not as skilled as Kial when it comes to that sort of thing, but I think we made some enemies just now. Me being grouped with Kial is almost a certainty. So if she gets into trouble, so will I. And since I'm less skilled than she is, I could become a target for bullying. This little adventure of ours could turn out very wrong, very quickly.

But nothing too drastic, besides the whole thing with the odd sorceress and her bloodthirsty companion, happened then. Now, Kial has me outside of the tent we were given and is brandishing my own sword at me.

"Come and take this from me," she says, smiling her dangerous smile. It's very hard when she gets into one of her playful moods. I'm the one that has to deal with it. Which usually means getting my ass kicked while being at a disadvantage with a person who is much more skilled than I. Not that I'm complaining. "Of course, use whatever means you see fit. I have my swords locked away, naturally, so you can't have those."

"Must you always be so...unfair? And don't we have a meeting soon?" I ask, preparing myself for exercise anyway. She raises an eyebrow at me, as if amused.

"Always assume you are at a disadvantage while fighting an enemy. With me, that sort of thing is extremely easy for you, I'm sure. You could be tired, you could not have a weapon, or there could just be a difference in skill level."

"It's all three of those with you."

"Are you really that tired from walking? Well then, in that case..." Kial stopped for a moment, then swing my sword down and pierced the ground, letting the tip sink in and the whole thing to stop there. She walked around the sword and got into a traditional defensive stance, one that I've never been able to breach. "Touch the sword, and I'll let you have some rest."

With a deep breath, inwardly cursing my fate, I fell into an offensive stance and closed in on my mentor. With every swing of my hand or step of my foot, I should have been gaining ground, but Kial, skilled as she was, kept me from getting within two feet of reaching the sword. When I stepped forward, she pushed me away, forcing us in a circle around the sword. It was like some crazy dancing ring that never seemed to end, and always repeated.

This would likely continue until we had to go to that meeting. I only hoped no one stuck around to watch.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

Post by Allindur, the Lightfoot on Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:17 am

After the disastrous meeting with the Exalt, the trip to camp was heaven. Elwood spent most of the time recollecting the opinions formed about the team. All in all, with all issues and unbalances, one could not deny: it was a mighty powerful team. Should they be able to agree for more than a second, Plegia would have a hell of a problem.

"That Manakete is problem. It is problem and I cannot see a reason why it isn't. It is sure good to have a dragon by our side instead of as our enemy, but I just can't count on it. I will have to spend all my time watching my back because of it. I guess as long as I can get it on the vanguard, right where my eyes can see, there shouldn't be too much of a problem, though I would like better we if had something else instead of it.

As much as I hate to admit it, though, the dragon is not our biggest issue. It's Riesa, no doubt. She is clearly insane, and I realise she is going to fight me for the lead on every opportunity, and I can never trust the leadership of a company to someone like her. She would sooner sacrifice us than risk losing a battle.

Caelia is not that much better. The girl doesn't seem to have the brains or maturity to actually be a problem, and could even be an asset if we can control her, but it seems Riesa has her way too chained down. Also, I worry if that bloodlust was really just a joke.

Of course I can't forget the wyvern rider. He didn't really leave an impression strong enough for me to have an opinion, but he IS a wyvern rider. I'd rather have a pegasus, but I hope Caelia can at least keep an eye on that foul beast.

And then, there are those two fencers. I actually like Charles. The boy is fresh, but I see a glow of promise in the eyes, and his bodyguard sure shows the strenght needed to turn him into a real warrior. She, however, is way too overconfident for my taste. That is dangerous for her and for everyone around.

At least we got Nichiu. A Ferroxian I seem to be able to trust. I only worry she trusts Caelia too much. I need to get to know the sniper better. I am in dire need of a safe port in this company of ours.
"
---------------------------

The camp was all Elwood needed, and after all that time spent between stench and sneaking out for the bath it was good to have some privacy. The Knight assembled a tent in a rather central position, ideal for eventual summons, and set out for the "me" time. It was actually very awkward to have time for oneself, and Elwood usually spent it training or just resting, but now there was a use for it.

The Great Knight traversed the camp atop the equally huge Equus. At first gaze it was hard to imagine a horse that could hold such a titanical weight in steel. Until one saw the seven-feet-on-the-shoulder behemot of a mare. To make matters even worse, Equus was usually covered in equally absurd plate. Funny enough, nobody had seen neither rider nor mount without their suit of armour. The training required to wear such a burden the entire day for weeks must have been excruciating.

The camp sure looked good, and the antecipation of a strategic meeting with the Khan, even if not the best Khan, kept a glimpse of hope for the battle to come into Elwood's heart as the Knight approached the Sniper, intent on engaging in some matter of conversation.

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Re: Fire Emblem: Change of Heart

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