• Closed • [Warrick] An Eventful Visit

Vivian goes to visit her cousins but stuff happens.

20th of Cylus 716

The seven Duchies of Central Rynmere and their respective baronies, cities, towns, villages, and landmarks each overseen by a Duke of one of the seven noble families and ultimately controlled by the King of Rynmere.
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Vivian Shiryu
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20th of Cylus, 716

Vivian groaned as she rolled out of bed to sit up, disturbing Pakse as she did so. The dog lifted her head to look at Vivian for a moment before giving a big yawn and laying her head down on the noble-woman's knees. "Good morning to you too." she muttered quietly, reaching down to sleepily pet the dogs head. After a moment, Vivian felt sufficiently awake to get out of bed and get dressed, Pakse going back to sleep on the bed behind her.

Once she was dressed, Vivian fed herself and her dog before going back outside to check on the animals her mother had seen fit to saddle her with. While she appreciated the painted mare she had decided to name Speckle, the rest were a nuisance she wasn't sure how to deal with. Starring at the animals for a moment as they ate grass and drank from the water trough she had managed to figure out how to set up after much trial and error, Vivian sighed and considered her options.

After a moment groaned and ran a hand through her hair. "How on earth did I forget..." she muttered before she ran back inside to pick up her pen and begin to compose a letter to her cousins. Vivian wasn't very close to Lazuli or Lei'lira emotionally, but she liked them decently enough and they were close enough, geographically, that it made sense for her to visit her cousins. In addition, the twins had this strange fascination with peasant life and while Vivian didn't understand why anyone of noble birth would choose to grub in the dirt like commoners, they could probably tell her what she could do with the animals she didn't want.

After a few minutes, she had her letter decently composed and stood up, walking over to the light to give it another read. "Dear Lazuli and Lei'lira," it read, "I heard you had managed to get your farm set up. I congratulate you on achieving your desire, and while I cannot profess to share in your enthusiasm for such work, I do hope you succeed in your efforts. In truth, I have recently left our ancestral home myself and have likewise taken up residence in our ancestors home region. However, my mother has seen fit to send along some items I have neither the inclination or knowledge to make proper use of. If it is convenient, I would like to visit you at your new home and ask your advice on these matters, as they fall rather into your area of expertise than mine, as my talents and skills lie in the realm of combat rather than that of farm animals and the care thereof. If my visit is acceptable, please send me a date when it would be best for me to visit, as I remember being told, shouted at by a servant in my youth upon running through his garden, that certain things only grow at certain times and I would hate to interrupt you at a crucial moment."

Running her eyes down the letter to check it for misspellings, Vivian was momentarily distracted by the feeling of a tongue rubbing against her hand. Looking down, Vivian smiled at Pakse and patted her on the head. "Yes, you'll come with me." she said, laughing slightly as she took the letter back to her table and added the finale to it.

"Yours truly,
Vivian Regina Warrik.

P.S. Pakse would very much like to see you again as well. I think she's hoping you'll give her more treats when no one's looking. I don't think she's realized that mother won't be watching anymore."

Smiling as she pet the dog again, Vivian sealed the letter and took it outside as the post carrier rode up. He didn't have anything for her that day, but he took the letter and said he knew where the twins were at when she asked. After watching him ride away, Vivian turned to look at her home just in time to see Pakse and Speckle sniffing at each other. "Yes, you two had better learn to get along." she said, smiling as she walked up to her dog and her horse, patting them both as they got to know each other.
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Lazuli
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[Warrick] An Eventful Visit

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The postman rode up on his horse, wearing a wide, goofy grin that Lazuli found infectious and by the time he drew up alongside her horse, she too was smiling, "a letter from your cousin," he announced, and sure enough the letter had been sealed with the Warrick mark.
"She looks well?" Lazuli inquired.
"As beautiful as she ever was," the young man beamed, causing Lazuli to roll her eyes playfully, the boy had always had such a crush on Vivian at school, so she wasn't surprised little had changed since then.
"Thank you for the letter."
"Anything for me to take back?"
Lazuli glanced up at the man momentarily before she finished scanning the text, "oh I don't want to put you out," she said softly, trying not to look half as amused as she felt at Vivian calling their old family cottage 'new'.
"No trouble at all, I only live down the lane from Vivian and I have to go that way to get back to town as I've forgotten one of the packages for your neighbour," the postman admitted.
"Could you please inform Vivian on the way there that we are free for a visit today?"
"My pleasure, Lazuli!" The man grinned and Lazuli found herself smiling again, even if she did feel a little guilty that she couldn't remember his name.

Without pause or farewell the postman was on his way and Lazuli turned her mount back towards the farm in order to make sure nothing looked too out of place for their cousin's visit. She coaxed Asher into a light canter and crossed the edge of the field swiftly to go into the house and check that they had something to offer in the way of refreshments.
Vivian had been raised by Jared's sister Wren, who always seemed so proper and ladylike, and though the woman had each time come across as kind, if not somewhat strict, Lazuli was more often than not left feeling as if the rest of the family disapproved with their lifestyle and wondered why Jared hadn't raised his girls to be ladies like the rest of them, even Lazuli struggled to remember if she had ever owned a dress. All the same, a visit from Vivian would be well received, and Lazuli was hoping they might be able to talk about everything that had happened since their school days had ended five or six arcs ago.
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Vivian Shiryu
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[Warrick] An Eventful Visit

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Vivian had spent the early morning attempting to puzzle out the mysteries of the equipment her mother had given her, figuring if the twins couldn't advise her, then she could always sell or rent them out. Surely someone could use them better than she could, after all. Thus it was that when the post rider hailed her, she was to be found looking confusedly at a feed trough, wondering what she needed a second water container for. Looking up, she took his message that her cousins could take her visit today and smiled happily. "Thank you kindly, my good man." she said, her tone a little warmer than usual due to her good mood, which caused the post rider to smile happily as he rode off. For a moment, Vivian looked after him, trying to figure out why he was vaguely familiar.

Shrugging it off, she turned back into her house and grabbed her saddle, taking it over to Speckle and fastening it around the mare's chest. Going back into the house, she grabbed the rest of her tack and attached it to the saddle, making sure it was all tight enough while Speckle stared reproachfully at her from over the bit. Running back into the house, she fastened her rapier around her waist, put on her gauntlets and grabbed her bow, quiver, and shield before she shut the door of her house and climbed on to Speckle's back. "Come on, Pakse." she said, whistling at her dog, who raised her head and followed Vivian from the yard, having watched all of this with that curious head tilt that dogs did.

As they set on down the road, Vivian found herself glad of her riding lessons and the fact that Pakse was a rather obedient pooch, as she had to keep calling the dog back from chasing down things on the side of the road, something which might have spooked a less docile mount. However, as Vivian began to suspect that she was nearing the twins home, a trio of three extremely unkempt looking men, all rather large and violent looking, stepped in front of her. "'Old it right there, girly. We'll be 'avin' that 'orse and anythin' else yeh got." the one in the lead said. One of them, more moronic looking than the rest, snickered. "I think we'll be 'avin' a bit of 'er, too." he said, bringing a leer from the other two as Pakse retreated, whining with her tail between her legs.

Vivian, however, just sniffed and looked down at the three men in derision. "I suppose it is the lot of such base creatures as yourselves to be as crude as you are pathetic." she said as she began to dismount her horse, dragging an arrow surreptitiously out of her quiver and grabbing her bow as she did so. It took a moment for the bandits to process her insult, but when the one who had been crudest stepped forward with a shout, Vivian had already put arrow to string and drawn the bow as she raised it. Sadly, her shot was far from a killing wound, instead sinking into the mans leg. But for all that, her short bow was exceptionally well crafted and the arrow it fired sunk up to the feathers in the brigands thigh as the other two started to charge her.

Dropping her bow as they charged at her yelling swearwords, an act which cause Speckle to retreat into the trees where Pakse had taken shelter, Vivian drew her rapier, a weapon as exquisitely crafted as her bow and far sturdier. The axes the brigands wielded were of poor quality and she blocked the first downswung axe before stepping back out of the other weapons range. Then the fight truly begun, her blade dancing around the heavier, slower axes wielded by her opposition. But while Vivian's rapier was of the finest quality, her skill was still that of a novice, and two opponents, even ones such as these, required all of it to hold at bay. She was undaunted though and fought without retreating, determined to find an opening.
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Lazuli
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[Warrick] An Eventful Visit

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The morning seemed to race by, Lazuli busied herself with this task or that, cleaning at first, watering the soybeans, brushing Asher, and refilling the water trough. It was only when she ran out of things to do that Lazuli turned her thoughts to Vivian and how long it had been since word had been sent. Perhaps today wasn't the best day for a visit, she tried to rationalise, maybe that was why Vivian had sent a letter, did she expect one in reply? Lazuli blinked out of the stupor she had slipped into and realised she was twisting her hands together, a sign of worry where the young woman was concerned, something others usually picked up on before she did. No matter what Lazuli did after that she couldn't help but feel something wasn't right, and a trip to her younger cousin's farm, even if frowned upon without prior notice, would quiet that unsettled feeling that sat in the pit of her stomach like a pile of rocks.
Asher was saddled and ready to go within minutes, Lazuli's crossbow strapped to her back, a handful of bolts stowed securely for the ride. She passed Lei'lira on her way to the gate and brought her horse to a sudden stop, "Lira, Vivian sent a letter this morning, said she would be visiting and I asked the postman to send back word, maybe he didn't get to see her after all, but something just doesn't feel right. I'm taking the east road," she informed her sister, they both knew it was the shortest route to Vivian's homestead, but also the road less travelled and thus considered more dangerous. A long pause followed her words, Lazuli didn't want to admit it but she was worried about going alone, instead she added, "If I'm not back soon...," and met her sister's gaze before leaving without another word.
Her heel found Asher's side and the animal sped up, causing Lazuli to crouch low and hold on tightly to the reins. At the fork in the road she was forced to stop again when she noticed the postman headed down from the north road and the village of Warrick towards her. Lazuli waved him over, cheeks flushed, hair windswept, and eyes not knowing where to look.
"Lazuli," he smiled, "two more houses and I've finished for the day."
"Yes, oh... Good," the young woman said in a hurry, "did you see Vivian?"
The postman looked as if he had slipped into a dream at the mention of her cousin's name, "yes, she seemed pleased to hear back so soon, you haven't seen her?"
"No," Lazuli frowned, "did she say if she would be headed this way?"
"I can't rightly remember," the young man admitted, "she looked as if she had every intention."
"Thank you!" The woman breathed and turned Asher sharply with a firm tug of the reins. The horse spun on the spot and her feet found his sides again to urge him on towards the east road, at which the postman looked somewhat alarmed, going as far to raise his hand in an attempt to stop her, too late it would seem.

As Lazuli rode she fumbled with her crossbow and plucked one of the bolts from its stack, threading it into the narrow bed of the weapon before fighting to pull the string back and fix it over the bronze nut so that it would lock and stay in place. The grass on the verge of the road grew long and thick, dense enough, Lazuli thought, to hide a body in if one so please. She spurred Asher on and just round the bend noticed a man lying on the edge of the road. The sight caused her heart to pound in her chest like a drum, thudding so hard she could hear the wild hum, the horripilation of her flesh putting her senses on high alert as Asher stopped and stupidly, she climbed down from the horse, something Jared would have scolded her for; what if the animal bolted, or she was set upon, he would have argued.
Lazuli approached the man cautiously only to discover that his shirt and hands were bloody where he had held them over a gash in his side, deep enough to kill him. There were no signs of anyone else, but a few faint footprints left on the edge of the road that seemed to turn in circles, offering no real clues as to the direction the attacker might have fled in. Lazuli crouched down beside the man and as she reached over him to take up his dagger, cold hands grabbed at her neck and side. Due to fright, the woman's reaction was completely reactive, almost explosive, and as she knocked the man's nose with the back of her closed fist and jumped backwards to put space between them, Asher threw his head up and flinched.
"H-help me," the man uttered, "water."
Lazuli clutched at her shirt and sucked in a shaky breath, racing to her horse in order to fetch the drinking vessel, "have you... Have you seen a girl, dark of hair and fair of skin?" She asked as she offered the man water.
The stranger raised his hands to reach for the source and coughed, "bitch attacked me on the road, and my comrades."
Lazuli drew back, keeping the water just out of reach, "comrades?"
"My two fri---" the man's words were halted by is thirst and a gurgled groan as if he were suffocating on his own blood.

Lazuli got to her feet and exchanged water for weapon. There was no way, she thought, that Vivian would attack three men while travelling alone. Her eyes went over the man again, he was untidy, smelly, and looked as if he hadn't bathed in a long time. Bandit her instincts told her, a man not fit to meet his end pain free. Lazuli felt her finger slide over the trigger of her crossbow, as if her actions were not her own, and as the contraption released and the bolt shot forwards, she watched the life drain from the wounded man's face before her gaze fell to the bolt in his chest and the blood that welled up, no doubt pooling in his lungs. She had never killed anyone before, animals, yes, but not of his kin or make. Though her heart threatened to leave her body taking chest through way of exit, her hands were surprisingly steady, even while every hair on her body currently stood on end. She snatched up the dagger, ripped the bolt from the man's breast and returned to her horse, determined to find Vivian, dead or alive.
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Vivian Shiryu
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Things weren't going very well. Not that they were going especially badly, but she wasn't making any progress towards her intended goal of killing these miserable cretins. Granted, she had managed to keep them from getting any closer to their intended goal of killing her, but Vivian felt that was barely an achievement considering the circumstances. She rather felt like that was the least she could expect of her performance in the situation.

Growling under her breath, Vivian started to push her attack and the renewed aggression resulted in a change in how the fight was proceeding as the bandits were driven back step by step. However, after only a moment of this, the two bandits pressed their own offensive and drove her back several steps. But instead of continuing their attack, the two turned tail and ran into the woods, making remarkable time. Vivian started to pursue on foot, but they clearly were the faster and knew the woods better than she did. For a moment, she considered simply finishing the wounded bandit and moving on, informing the military about the bandits when she got the chance.

After a only a seconds thought on this matter, Vivian shook her head and picked her bow up off the ground, running over her her horse and grabbing it's reigns before she mounted. She would not flee from base rabble such as this. Whistling to Pakse so that the dog would follow her, Vivian rode Speckle into the woods, chasing the brigands down. Unfortunately, with their head start she wasn't able to catch them right away. It was several minutes before she heard the sounds of ragged breathing ahead of her. Taking another arrow from her quiver, Vivian fitted it to her bow and drew it, letting an arrow fly into the woods. The dull thunk of the arrow hitting wood told she had missed, and she nudged Speckle deeper into the forest.

Another minute passed and now she could see the brutes, who had likewise noticed her. Drawing a third arrow, she quickly fitted it to her bow and fired, one of the bandits screaming in pain as the arrow pierced his shoulder. Jumping down from the horse, Vivian drew her rapier but had to use her other arm block an axe swing from the second bandit. Wincing as the axe blade fell, Vivian braced for the feeling of the blade cutting into her arm through her leather gauntlet. But she had forgotten her shield. There was a curse from the bandit as the axe caught in her shield, and Vivian stared at it in surprise for a moment.

However, she was brought back to reality by a sharp pain in her chin as the bandit hit her in the jaw. Reeling back from the blow, Vivian backed into Speckle, causing the horse to back away into the forest a bit and cost Vivian her balance. Recovering in time to dodge another blow from the axe, which the bandit had yanked from her shield when he punched, Vivian was unable to dodge a backhanded blow from the man that nearly sent her sprawling. Growling at this turn of events, Vivian took a step back and brought her rapier up ready and lunged at the man, the blade drawing a deep cut across his chest as she sliced him with it.

Howling in pain and rage, the bandit attacked her again, this time a wild frenzy of swinging that Vivian had to keep retreating from in order not to get hit. But at the end of the rush, the man overextended himself and went sprawling into the dirt at Vivian's feet. Taking advantage of the brigand's mistake, Vivian quickly thrust her rapier into the right side of his back, aiming for his black heart. While the thrust didn't immediately fell him, she heard a rasping gurgle that made her thing she had pierced his lung.

Drawing the blade out of the vile being at her feet, Vivian watched coldly as he tried to rise, but choked on his blood and collapsed, trying desperately to breath through his apparently now blood filled lung. "Hmph. This is what happens to men who become animals and prey on their betters. I'd tell you to beg for mercy, but I believe it's too late for that. Perhaps when you reach the afterlife you'll understand where you belong." she said to the dying brigand, her cold words holding no pity or remorse for the man in front of her.

When the man finally lay still, Vivian turned her attention to his companion, who had now pulled the arrow from his shoulder and picked up his axe. Walking towards him, she stepped on the man she had felled, only to have him surge under her feet and knock her off balance, sending her falling into the dirt. Before she regained her footing, the fatally wounded brigand was on her, his hands around her throat as he tried to take her to the afterlife with him, having feigned death in hopes of her presenting him with this chance. "Fucking arrogant bitch!" he snarled, spitting blood onto her face as she spoke.
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Lei'lira stared at her mother's flute for a long moment before she picked it up. Memories swirled around her mind; happy memories of learning how to play the instrument under her mother's careful guidance, and listening to her play at night after a long day's work on the farm. Memories that were now a double edged sword, having the power to hurt as well as make Lei'lira smile as she remembered them. It was her flute now. A forgotten relic left behind by a woman she had thought she knew.

She brushed her fingers over the holes lightly, before putting the mouthpiece to her lips. After a moment, she blew into the flute. A harsh sound emerged, making Lei'lira cringe. She tried again, but this time she blew lightly. The sound was much better. Nodding to herself, Lei'lira noted the difference. Blowing lightly into the flute was better. It produced a far better, if softer sound than the harsh, loud blast that resulted in blowing too hard. Control of her breath was clearly important while playing the flute. She would have to remember that.

Lei'lira ran through the scales three times, practicing the notes she had learned as a child carefully as a warm up. Then she began to play
The Mariner’s Way Song. It was a flexible song that could be either a sad song, or a lively one depending on the way the melody was played. Her mood was a melancholy one, so she played the slower version of the song.

The long, slow notes of the melody were very familiar to Lei'lira. Even so, she made several mistakes as she played, making her cringe inwardly each time the sound that came from the flute was different than the one she'd meant to produce. Each time she made a mistake, she paused, and positioned her fingers over the holes in the correct way to play the note in question. Then she would start over from the beginning of the song.

She had just finished playing the song all the way through without error one time when she decided that she had delayed her work long enough. Lei'lira set the flute back in its place. Then she headed outside to check on the animals. But all thought of work fled her mind the moment she saw her sister riding Asher with her crossbow strapped to her back. Her eyes widened with concern, and she stopped to wait for her twin to approach.

Apparently, their cousin Vivian had sent a letter saying she was coming for a visit. Lazuli didn't feel right about something, and as a result was riding out to see if she could find their cousin. Lei'lira nodded pensively. She had long since come to trust Lazuli's feelings. If she felt that something was wrong, then it probably was.

Lazuli's parting words filled Lei'lira with dread. "If I'm not back soon," indeed. She knew that her sister expected her to go for help if she wasn't back "soon." But Lei'lira had no intention of waiting that long. Chores could wait. If there was trouble, Lei'lira wasn't about to let her sister face it alone any more than Lazuli would if she was the one expecting trouble.

So Lei'lira ran back to the barn, pausing only when she reached the door so she wouldn't spook the animals. She grabbed her tack, and saddled Darkwind as quickly as she could manage. The stallion could be tempermental at times as most stallions could, but of the two horses she had, he was the one who was less likely to get skittish if there was trouble. As soon as she was ready, she set off after her twin.

As quickly as Lei'lira had gotten ready, Lazuli was faster. She saw no sign of her twin as she rode along the east road. It didn't help that she had no real idea of what she was doing. She knew how to care for a horse properly. But riding? That was another thing altogether. All she could do was cling to the reins desperately, and hope that she didn't fall. Even at a leisurely walk, Darkwind's every step threatened to unbalance her, and cause her to tumble out of the saddle.

Before long, she found a man laying on the side of the road. Darkwind came to an abrupt stop, throwing her off balance as he threw up his head, ears back, and snorted sharply at the scent of blood that filled the air. Her heart thudded in her chest, and her breath seized as she fought to regain her balance, and failed. She fell from the saddle heavily, hitting the ground with an audible thud. Her buttocks ached from the impact with the ground, but that didn't stop her from scrambling to her feet, and approaching the man warily.

He was clearly dead. If the bloody gash in his side hadn't killed him, then the wound in his chest that looked like it had been made by the bolt of a cross bow likely had. A quick search failed to produce the bolt in question, but Lei'lira had been on enough hunting trips with her mother to know what the wound caused by a cross bow bolt looked like. No one else was around, so Lei'lira had no way of knowing who had killed the man, or why. But there was a look about the man that screamed bandit. Had Vivian been attacked by bandits on her way to see them? Was this man one of those bandits?

Lazuli! The thought of her sister being attacked by bandits as well sent terror coursing through her system. Lei'lira forced herself to approach Darkwind slowly, speaking softly with a calm that she didn't feel. The scent of blood had the stallion spooked. Any abrupt movement would likely send him into a panic, causing him to bolt. And Lei'lira didn't have the time to chase him down if that happened.

Fortunately, Darkwind responded gradually to Lei'lira's soothing voice, and gentle hands. When he was as calm as he was likely to get with the scent of blood in the air, Lei'lira mounted him. She nudged him in the sides gently, and used the reins in an attempt to turn him in the direction she wanted to go.

After the third attempt, her efforts paid off. Eager to escape the scent of blood, the stallion moved away at a brisk pace. A trail of blood led further east, and it was this that Lei'lira followed. Before long, the sounds of a struggle drew Lei'lira's attention. Knowing that she would never be able to control Darkwind in a fight, she dismounted, and tied the stallion to a tree far enough from the side of the road that he wouldn't be immediately visible to anyone traveling down it. Then she headed towards the sounds of a struggle at a run.

She didn't have to go far before she saw a man trying to strangle her cousin. He was badly injured, perhaps even fatally so. But he still had the strength left to attack. Lei'lira's heart skipped a beat in sheer terror. She had no weapon with which to defend herself or her cousin, and even if she did, she would have no idea how to use it. But watching helplessly while the bandit killed her cousin wasn't an option she was willing to accept. So she looked around for a dead branch, or a rock...anything she could use as a weapon.

Lei'lira found a good sized rock that was roughly the size of her palm. She scooped it up, feeling slightly better now that she had a "weapon" of sorts. She watched the fight, searching desperately for an opening. As soon as she thought she could hit the bandit without risking hitting Vivian with the rock instead, she would throw it at the bandit in the hopes of distracting him.
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Lazuli
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For a few long seconds the woman couldn't hear anything but the pounding of her own heart, thudding in her ears, senses flooded with adrenalin, numbed to the world around her; though reality, ever present, stood awaiting her return, like a shadow, revealed only by the sun. She blinked out of her fit of madness and caught her breath, holding tightly to the leather strap across her chest that kept her crossbow close at hand. Lazuli closed her eyes and felt a familiar heat well up under the lids, tears threatening, only to be forgotten soon after.
The painful cry of a man saw her eyes snap open and the young woman looked all around, trying to decide where the faint sound had come from. It seemed Asher had heard it to, ears turned back on themselves, causing the girl to turn on the saddle in the direction of the woods. With a short, sharp tug of the reins she brought the house around and bid he go forwards in order to investigate. When the animal did not respond quickly enough, the heel off her boot found his side and together they crossed the open field towards the tree line.
At the edge of the woods she slowed Asher to a stop and looked through the trees from atop the horse's back, searching for any sign of tracks or disturbances to the vegetation that might point her in the right direction. It was another muffled noise that drew her eye, and quickly Lazuli got down from her horse, tied the leather reins to a branch and headed towards the noise, not in a direct line, but rather, as if to flank whatever or whoever it was she now moved towards.
Before long the trio were in sight and Lazuli found herself pinned behind a tree, trying to gather her courage and stop the gasp that longed to escape at the sight of her cousin on the forest floor; was she dead? Slowly and carefully Lazuli readied her weapon, trying to remain unseen, she threaded a bolt into place and locked the drawstring before lining up a shot, not at the man on top of her cousin but the one that stood back with weapon freshly drawn. She closed her eyes, put doubt to bed, squinted at her target and fired.
The man's painful howl saw the birds’ race from their treetop roosts and take flight, the wild flapping of wings echoing all around them. Though she had been aiming as high as the man’s neck, the distance of the shot had seen the bolt pierce the bandit's thigh near the groin, leaving him on his knees and distracting his partner in crime long enough for Lazuli to drop her crossbow and close the distance between where she stood and her cousin's attacker.
With dagger at the ready she moved to lunge, but was thrown off her attack by the appearance of her sister, who took up a rock from the forest floor and heaved it at the man, resulting in a miss, though she had done well to win his attention, giving Lazuli opportunity to strike. Her approach was announced by the breaking of twigs and dried vegetation underfoot and her attack earned the man little more than a scratch to his jaw, where she had gone for the jugular, only to miss as he had turned to whack her in the stomach and sent Lazuli backwards into the trunk of a tree.
She tripped over the exposed root system and made an attempt to put distance between them again on hands and knees, only to feel the stranger's large bear-mitt clutch at her ankle and halt her escape. Like a frightened animal she turned to strike again, lashing out at the man with her newly acquired dagger, relieved to find that Vivian was very much alive, somewhat breathless, but still of this earth, "Lira!" She screamed, as she noticed the second man stalk towards her sister, not sure if she was more afraid for her own life or that of twin’s.
word count: 691
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Vivian Shiryu
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[Warrick] An Eventful Visit

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Vivian was still trying to pry the dying man's fingers from her throat, trying desperately to breath around her attackers hold on her throat, when the situation changed rather drastically. A cry of pain from where the last bandit was momentarily distracted her attacker just before a rock very nearly clobbered the man in the head. Finally managing to pry the dying man's fingers from her throat, Vivian took a deep, ragged breath just as the man was knocked from on top of her by, she assumed, the same person who had thrown the rock.

Rolling over, Vivian took several more deep breaths, coughing as she did so, the air that now filled her oxygen-starved body sweeter than anything she had tasted in recent memory. The feeling of near suffocation was one that was dreadfully familiar to her, but in this case, familiarity did not lead to adjustment. Grabbing her rapier, Vivian manged to drag herself to her knees, finally able to take stock of the situation as it now stood. Her first look around told her who her rescuers were and Vivian had never been so glad to see her cousins. Seeing Lazuli's crossbow off to the side, and a bolt in the last brigands thigh, Vivian assumed it had been Lazuli that had dealt the man another injury and, she now realized her earlier assumption had been wrong, Lei'lira who had thrown the rock, while Lazuli knocked the man off of her.

All good, as far as that went, but now Lazuli was being attacked by the dying brigand while the still ambulatory one was making his way towards Lira. Coughing again, Vivian turned towards Lazuli, who was a bit closer and thrust her rapier, the thin blade sliding into the man's ribs, seeking his heart. She didn't stop to look if that finished him off, but turned towards Lira and the last brigand, grabbing Lei'lira's rock and standing up as she did so. Drawing back, she heaved the rock at the man who was slowly stalking towards her unarmed cousin. Another cough threw off her aim, but the rock still hit the man in his side and he turned towards Vivian. "Come on, you walking pile of worm bait. Let's see if you're as pathetic as your companions." she snarled.

Seeing Vivian and, Vivian hoped, Lazuli ready to take him on, the brigand cursed and started running towards Lei'lira. "Coward!" Vivian snapped, charging after him. The bandit may have had a head start, but he was badly injured and Vivian was able to catch up to him in short order. Wheeling around the face her at the last moment, the bandit swung his axe in a wide arc that just barely missed Vivian's head, but managed to knock her rapier out of her hands. Scowling at the loss of her weapon, Vivian blocked the man's second strike with her shield before lashing out with a kick to the man's injured leg. The brigand howled in agony and fell to the ground, where Vivian followed up with a stomp to the thug's face before she jumped over him to get her rapier.
word count: 540
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Lei'lira
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[Warrick] An Eventful Visit

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A chilling cry filled the air, sending an icy fear rushing through Lei'lira's heart. The fear in her sister's voice terrified her even more than the situation they were in. Lei'lira looked up wildly, to see what had threatened her twin. A bandit was clutching Lazuli's ankle. He was badly injured, maybe even dying. But to Lei'lira's panic stricken mind, he was more than strong enough to kill Lazuli.

Lei'lira had to help...but how? She had no weapon. And even if she did, it wouldn't matter. She knew just enough to realize that any weapon in her hands would be of more help to the bandits than to her. They could take it from her easily, and have yet another weapon to use against them. She looked frantically for another rock. Her previous attempt to hit a bandit with a rock failed, but it still distracted him, allowing Vivian to deal with him. Would another attempt have better success?

It didn't matter. Lei'lira couldn't find any more rocks. Fortunately, Vivian managed to kill the bandit that was attacking Lazuli. Relief rushed through Lei'lira, making her feel weak in the knees. Then their cousin turned, and threw a rock at Lei'lira. No...at the bandit rushing towards her. How had she missed him? Everything seemed to be happening too quickly for Lei'lira to process. The terror she had felt for her twin returned in full force, this time for herself.

The rock connected with the bandit, injuring him. Vivian challenged him. Lei'lira watched these things with the numb clarity of realization that if the bandit didn't take her cousin's challenge, she would probably die. When the bandit rushed towards her, Lei'lira braced herself for the bite of his weapon. But it never came. Vivian caught up with him, and attacked, drawing his attention. She lost her weapon in the process, but his attention was focused on her now. Fear for her cousin overpowered her fear for herself, and goaded Lei'lira into action. She lashed out at the man with the intent of distracting him long enough for Vivian to get her weapon. If her kick connected, so much the better.

It did. Her foot connected with the bandit's knee at the same moment as her cousin kicked his injured leg. The bandit collapsed. Lei'lira watched her cousin retrieve her weapon. Movement in the corner of her eye caught her attention, and she saw the man spitting blood and teeth, but struggling to rise. Lei'lira didn't know if he was still a threat or not. His injuries were severe, but she had already seen a man who should have been dying attack her twin. Who knew what this one was capable of?

Lei'lira wasn't taking any chances. Without thought, she stomped on the knee she had kicked mere moments before as hard as she could. She felt something give, and the bandit screamed in agony. But he still managed to grab her leg before she could jump back. Lei'lira cried out in fear. She tried to pull her leg free, but despite his injuries, he had a strong grip. And with one leg pinned, she was unable to kick him with the other. If she shifted her weight to the leg he had grabbed, he might be able to throw her off balance.
word count: 579
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Lazuli
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[Warrick] An Eventful Visit

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Vivian’s courage inspired another wave of adrenaline to flood Lazuli’s form, giving her the strength to kick out from under the bandit that had died with her ankle still bound in his vice-like grip. Instead of running towards the danger, however, she fled from it, racing back into the trees where she had stowed her crossbow and bolts. Thin finger fumbled with the weapon in order to fix another bolt in place and Lazuli returned to the scene just as her twin looked to be in the same trouble Lazuli had been moments before.
With weapon raised, Lazuli cast her gaze in the direction Vivian had moved in order to snatch up her own weapon before eyeing up a shot. It was risky and from this distance there was a real chance of inflicting pain on not only the bandit, but Lei’Lira too. Sure of her shot and taking pause long enough to be certain that their surroundings would not throw off her aim, Lazuli yelled for her sister to get down before she pulled the trigger of the crossbow and fired the bolt. The kick from the weapon threw her slightly off balance, but the shot was good and dug into the attacker’s flesh, piercing his chest on the left side.
He let go of Lei’Lira and wheezed as if his lung had been punctured, falling back against the earth to clutch at the bed of dried leaves around him, determined to stay alive. Vivian looked intent on killing the man but Lazuli raised a hand to stop her, “Wait,” she told her cousin before taking hold of the end of the bolt protruding from the man’s side, “who sent you?”
The bandit laughed out a painful sound and spat, “You’ll all pay for this!”
Lazuli pushed the bolt deeper and the bandit caught his breath sharply, “I won’t ask again,” the girl hissed.

The man drew breath, opened his mouth to speak and flopped back against the earth, blinking up at the dappled light that shone through the trees. He raised his hand skyward with the two end fingers of his hand folded down and then fell limp. Lazuli crouched down and flipped open the leather pockets on his belt in search of something that might offer them some clues and then sat back on the ground, pointing a relieved look at her sister, “Are you all right?” He gaze darted between the two women.
word count: 416
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