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Rey'na
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Saving Private Rey'na

Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:31 pm

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90th Vhalar, 718

"Mages will all die, sir."

As Rey'na spoke with her weapons in place at her side the three Mantis members in the room watched, each with a different expression. One of them was leading the project to try and convert Rey'na into a mage killer, one was a newer member of the Mantis and the last was a man that Rey'na knew well. He'd slowly fallen for her, helped her out in her time here and even lied to his superiors about her progress. But their expression said a lot about each. Pride in the form of a large smirk was spread across the leaders cheeks, excitement resting on the young boy as he looked at the beautiful spear in the hands of a girl he had heard tales about. In training she had already killed one woman and injured others, her skills with the spear as intimidating as the legs she grew out of her back at random intervals.

But the man that had fallen in love with her stood behind the others with a grim expression. He knew what Rey'na was doing was an act, yet without the emotions behind it there was little reason anyone had not to believe it. If she hadn't told him and threatened him then he would have no idea. Despite his hatred of mages he'd felt bad for Rey'na from day one, how she was treated making his stomach churn. Yet it had only gotten worse. Leaving her to rot in a cell hadn't been enough for the Mantis, torturing her with mental poisons that had left her a broken mess. Then her Spark was torn away. Now, though, she was changing. She had asked for a mask and they had given her one, each man watching her face change just a few trials prior.

She was, in many ways, a new woman.

"You see? With our help look what she has become, what we have turned her in to. Brutal with a spear, powers beyond that of Mortals and a resolve that can never be broken" the leader bragged to the new recruit, seeing the younger boys fascination clear in his features. With a small chuckle the leader took a step forward and stood beside Rey'na. "Show him the legs" he ordered, Rey'na keeping her eyes forward and glancing obediently. Holes already rested in the rough shirt she wore from previous trials she had used her power at the command of the Mantis. It was perhaps what fascinated them most about her, something she had that no other Mantis member did.

Sharp legs grew from her back with two peering over each shoulder and the others coming out under and around her ribs. With a look of confidence the leader kept close to her side with no fear, fully believing that she was working for them now. It almost amused the Mortalborn how easy these Mantis had been to manipulate, a powerful organisation so up their own ass that they didn't ever think Rey would care about what they did to her. Trials upon trials of torture before the final straw, tearing out a part of her soul. Yet here they stood, admiring their 'handiwork' without a second of doubt. But it didn't matter, not for long. Soon enough their trust would be their death, their downfall.

"What...what is she?" the young man asked. Before anyone else could intervene Rey finally spoke on her own. It was often bold of her to do, but she never much liked how the Mantis talked about her as if she was a weapon. Of course, that was exactly what they wanted her to be. But she could talk, she didn't need anyone else to answer her questions. "Child of Lisirra, the Lady of Decay" she said simply, a small but notable smirk spreading across her face. Both the new recruit and the man that loved her looked taken aback for a moment, almost disturbed at her expression. A hollow, sadistic grin - a girl proud of the chaos her mother had brought. Of course, it was much deeper than that. But without her emotions Rey had to admit that her mothers blessing tempted her. The power it offered.

"I am the real Plaguedaughter" she started with that same sinister look in her features. Upstairs she heard a cry, all the men in the room looking to the cell door where a loud shout came from. "Mage!" a man screamed out down the stairs. It was time. Immediately the Leader beside her turned to look at Rey to give orders, but he wasn't quick enough. It seemed the tales of his speed and prowess in a fight were only tales. All four legs stabbed through the man, one in each leg and the others slamming through his arms, shattering his shoulder. As she did her hands gripped her spear, pointing it to the new recruit who had drawn a small knife.

"Open the door" she said to the man that fell for her, watching him run to the gate and start unlocking it before Rey watched the recruit run at her - ready to pounce.



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Re: Saving Private Rey'na

Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:03 pm

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Hollow caramel eyes glued to the back of her target, Maxine slowly slipped the knife off her belt into her hand as she approached. The sandy-haired Mantis Sword was oblivious to the danger headed swiftly his way. He flashed a grin at another one of his Order passing him in the hall, another Sword who failed to notice the glimmer of steel in one mage hunter's grip. Max's mind began to hone in on the task she was about to undertake. It would be a quick end for him. That much she would ensure. It would all take but a trill for her to kill him and take the keys in his pocket. One less man on watch to raise the alarm.

The hallway thinned until it was just the two of them quietly pacing its length. Her steps quickened. Her grip tightened. Eyes pinned to the back of his unturned head, a vision of golden hair tainted by a pool of his own blood flashed through her mind. His blood spilled. Her hand. She pressed her lips into a hard line. Another step and she could reach out and touch him. The moment was now. So much depended on it. Her left hand caught him by the shoulder as they made the corner, pulling him to swivel to face her as she moved in for the kill. His eyes widened as they took her in. That stupid, boyish grin came immediately after she'd finished pressing her lips to his. The knife seemed to have found its way back from whence it had come.

You soft bitch.

She cursed herself internally as she stepped back from the man. The whole soul-sucking fiasco with Rey'na and its team-wide consequences had been messing with her head. More irritating, it played with emotions best left stamped out. She should've been able to crush them in her grasp as she always had to do what needs to be done. Yet here she was. Helping undertake a rescue she was vehemently against at the start, and now apparently incapable of driving her blade home. What the fuck was wrong with her?

"Hello, beautiful," Brett teased with a playful twinkle in his eye. "I thought you'd be back at the old site with Rebekah."
"I told Rebekah I'd catch up," Max explained casually, closing the distance between them again with a smirk. "I told her I had something to do first."
"Or someone?" the Mantis Sword tried, arching a brow down at her as he waited to be shot down sharply. It was a fun game he liked to play. At the end of the trial, he knew she'd come find him to indulge both their needs when it suited her again. He didn't get wounded pride in return this time.

Instead he found himself promptly shoved inside what amounted to little more than a storage closet. The door shut behind him, and Maxine had him backed to the wall in all the ways he liked. "I'm supposed to be on watch." He was saying the words, but his hands were liberating the ashcloak from his shoulders while lips were at his neck. It seemed the pair were about to wholly get lost in each other when Brett felt the slap of metal shackles around one of his wrists. "Max, what are you...?"
"I'll be back," the marked woman replied quickly, leaving her lover shackled to a heavy metal shelf. The confused calling of her name muffled once the door was shut and locked behind her again.

Max paused for a moment in the hall to let out a deep breath. She adjusted her cloak and shook a hand through her hair, tossing up and catching the pilfered keys before starting down the hall. The mage hunter paused at one, now unmanned, exterior door in particular. She glanced over her shoulder, turned the lock, and gave it a push. A rush of cold air and sunlight passed through the opening. She shot a gloved hand out the beckon the outsiders in.

"Yeah, yeah," Max hissed in a rush, peering between the Mantis blacksite's hallway and the world outside. "I'm late. I know. Here." The double-crossing woman tossed the blacksite's master keys toward her fearless leader before turning her back to lead on. "If my timing's right, we're about to run into the patrols again. They're keeping her in the dungeon. The door below is at the end of this hall, the cells are at the very bottom of the stairs. I don't have the keys for her so one of you will have to bust out a magic trick or kill the right guard." The echo of voices and nearing foot steps grew louder as they moved forward. Max drew down the hood of her traitor's cloak and clenched her gloved fists at her side. "Get ready for a fight."

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Re: Saving Private Rey'na

Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:40 pm

Saving Private Rey'na - 90th Vhalar, 718


________________________

Blackwood paced ahead in stiff, focused silence, trailed by the cloaked youngster fidgeting with his digits in the safety of his pockets. Maybe she

“D’you know what they call it? Blacksite, they call it. Black from ash an’ soot from people burned. Black wiv’ smoke billowing. Black cause it’s dark and cold where they’ve prisoners kept. That’s what they says. I heard it meself when I was down in the city and there was this old geezer who looked at me funny and he says ‘what are you looking at me for?’ and I says ‘nothing’ and he says ‘well you be giving the wrong people stink-eye and they’ll burn ya for it’ is what he says, and then I goes ‘who?’ and he goes ‘Ashcloaks’, and I says ‘who are they?’ and now he’s looking at me funnier and he himself’s laughing and his friends are laughin’ and they doan believe I never heard of them before so I asks again and then one of them wiv a big huge scar down his face like he got chopped wiv a cleaver or something, well he goes stand up and says ‘they’s what keep us safe’ and then they all goes ‘aye’ and then I sure left but-”

A horse-drawn cart tottered past, drowning out the steady barrage of word soup for a few blessed trills. They’d headed out a little over fifteen bits ago and Finn had been exercising his jaw ever since.

“-I got curious like and I know you said I had to stay put but, I got out an’...well, I’ve them found before I sure know it but none of it’s black an’ there’s no smoke an’ now I thinks to meself, ‘good t’ing I brang the cloak’, I thinks, ‘cause it sure was cold out then. I looks then t’ see if there’s way in ‘cause I don’t know will it work, will it? ‘Cause the walls and towers an’ all is smooth and now there’s no way up, but there’s guards near every door, or so I think, but then I goes around and I figures there’s a small door where the ladies who do the laundy go up with a cart an’ a barrel’o soap and tubs an’ all an’ they just waggle in, like, it’s nothing. I says waggle because they’re old people with porridge faces and soggy t’ings hanging like, well I doan know, well like big ol’ potato sacks if you know what I means like? Anyway, after they waggle in I dove after ‘em, I don’t mean I jumped on ‘em but what I mean is I followed them an’ sure there’s no guard there an’ I think I might fit in one of the tubs without notice if I keep quiet, but then it turned dark an’ I didn’t see themselves waggle out again so I got back and I meant to tell you but you’d sort of fell on the bed and start snoring. D’you know you snore? Well ye sure do an I take an extra pillow to cover me ears last night cause I thought you might snore again an’ then I sure won’t sleep and now’s the big day so I had t’ make sure I’d sleep and-”

Another trill of blessed, sacred silence as he took a deep breath through his mouth. The hot, dark brew he’d been fed when he’d been rubbing his eyes at the table that morning had fried his brain and made veins tingle. Just a bell ago he’d sat in a corner, knees drawn up to his chest, his eyes heavy from lack of sleep and his mind endlessly dwelling on that singular question. Was Zipper there? Imprisoned at the Blacksite? There was a sort of cadence to it, him to coming to her rescue for once. Except, he sure wasn’t up to it, was he? Besides, she’d never let herself get caught. Not by bloody, zealous amateurs. Not her. Never her. Right?

Then, Sephira had mistakenly brought him a big mug of dark, bitter coffee and he’d gulped it all down. Now he felt like running all the way there, suckerpunching the guards at the main entrance and simply zipping past the dumb cunts, fast as a breeze. There was nothing they could do to stop him. He’d find Zipper, or at least a clue regarding her whereabouts, and no one could stop him.

No one but Blackwood. She nsisted they stick to boring, boring, boring plan which was also a dumb plan because it involved two words that mingled like oil and water, and those words were “Max” and “Trust”. Trust, of all things. For some unfathomable reason, Sephira apparently still held faith in Mad Max, even after all that she’d allegedly done.

He opened his mouth, ready to grace the morning air with another fountain of anecdotal wisdom, then shut it again, caught up with Sephira at her side and arched an eyebrow at her. “Sorry, am I talking too much?”
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Re: Saving Private Rey'na

Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:19 pm

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The coffee had clearly been a bad idea.

Somehow in her mind she had thought it might settle his nerves, and help him focus. The lad was nervous and rightly so. They were both walking into one of the most heavily guarded mage hunter bases in the world. She, a known and hunted mage and Finn was a mischievous Defier with a penchant for talking too much.

The soldier looked down at him worriedly. She shouldn’t even be bringing him on this rescue mission. Rey’na was her responsibility and after what she had seen the Mantis do to her friend, Sephira couldn’t imagine what they might do with a young mage like Finn. But he had been rather insistant. Evidently his sister was also one of their kind, and he had been searching for her ever since they left Rharne, perhaps for longer. So she had let him come.

Actually the Special Assistant was quite sure that Finn would have followed her into the Blacksite anyways. The young Defier seemed to be engaged in a love affair with danger. He found his way into Lightning Knight jail cells and often ran off without telling anyone where he was going or where he had been.

At least in bringing him she could try and keep him safe.

The city of Andaris began to thin out around them as shops and storefronts were replaced with nondescript buildings that didn’t seem to be residences of any kind. This place was known for Mantis activity. They had cordoned off certain corners of the city and used them as bases and sites to imprison those suspected of possessing a Spark.

The acrid scent of ash prickled the Rupturer’s nose. All too quickly her mind was drawn back to the mage burning they had witnessed when they had first set foot in Andaris. Fear burned in her stomach and refused to be silenced. She, a master mage was about to walk into one of the most heavily guarded bases of the Order of the Mantis. She would be crazy not to be a little terrified. As the cart rumbled past and Finn continued to talk incessantly, the soldier remembered why they were there.

Rey’na was in there.

That was all it took. Her resolve hardened and she paused briefly putting a light touch on Finn’s shoulder.

“Steady now. Breathe.” Kneeling down the woman looked the youngster in the eye. She had never had any siblings, but the boy sometimes made her wonder if having a little brother was like this. Maybe he was young and a little daft but they had some eerie similarities between them. He was going into a death trap specifically designed for their kind to find his sister and Sephira was going into that same trap to save her friend.

“Listen to me.” she spoke in a low whisper, her eye snapping to the side to glance toward the structure at the end of the dead end road. Their destination.

“If things go south, you get behind me, you run and you hide.”the woman raised her hand to silence any of his back-talk. “Those are the terms, no negotiating.”

Standing, the soldier and Finn both made their way off the road. Maxine had gone ahead per their plan to clear an entrance and get them inside. Once they were hidden in the shadow of what was presumably and old apartment building Sephira sent a spiraling rivulet of Ether into both of her Sparks. First, channeling Static to cover her magic and then reaching out across Andaris to the place that they had first arrived; the site of the mage burning. A swell of power was drawn into her Rupturing Spark, and it flared with joy as she settled her mind on the image of that square and the scent of ash that had permeated it on that trial. It was perhaps a quarter mile away, close enough for an especially loud Roaring to be heard from here and far enough away to suitably distract the Mantis defending the Blacksite.

With every ounce of her power the Rupturer clawed at the fabric of reality and cast Roar upon that space. An ear splitting booming shriek split the air within that distant square, the sound echoing across the city. Windows nearby the Roaring shattered and people walking past clamped their hands to their ears.

Sephira watched wordlessly as a dozen Mantis soldiers burst from the doors of their base and raced down the street. Blindly passing by she and Finn as they waited beneath the overhang of the adjoining building. The guards at the perimeter had not left their posts, but at least a sizable group had emptied from the Blacksite.

Ceasing the flow of ether, and silencing the Roaring Sephira bolted toward their rendezvous point with Maxine. They dodged along the edge of buildings, climbed walls and slid over a low roof before slipping down to land a few yards from the selected door.

The Blacksite itself was a large building that had once perhaps been some unknown nobles home. But it had been built with security in mind, with sheer smooth walls and squat towers at every corner.

There was abruptly a hoarse creak as the ironclad door opened slowly with a groan. Inside a smug but familiar face was waiting for them. Sephira brushed off the comment on the woman’s tardiness.

“We had to make a stop anyways. Drew off some of the guards, your comrades are chasing my ghost for the moment.”

Sephira pushed into the dark interior of the structure. Her breath caught in her throat as she began to feel something pulling at her Spark and her Ether from somewhere in the building. Her use of Static faltered and she instantly shut off the trickle of ether as whatever was draining her honed in on her location.

“There’s wards...or something here.” Her breathing seemed to struggle for a moment before the soldier managed to gather herself again as she cast her eyes down the hall before slowly drawing Wyvern.

Blades would just have to do.

"Lets get moving."
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Re: Saving Private Rey'na

Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:59 am

Timestamp: Vhalar, 718th Arc

Qit'ria was stationed on her rooftop, awaiting for her cat-spies to return to her with word of any changes of the Mantis members she'd had them follow after the mage burning. It was her daily routine. And soon, it was disrupted, by Sparkles of all cats. He wasn't much of a spy, but a friend nonetheless. And he was carrying a red ribbon and a confused look upon his feline face. He approached and Qit sauntered over to him, rubbing her head against his in affection. She knew he enjoyed it and it helped keep him doing her bidding and coming back to her.

"You said if I was ever given a fish with ribbon around it, to bring it to you. A really nice woman gave it to me. A nice, big, fat fish too. I'm so full, I could just lay in the sun."

Sparkles set the ribbon down and Qit'ria sniffed at it with her echoed bear sense of smell. Mack. Sniffing at the air now, Mack's scent trail shone clearly, for few creatures had a better nose than the bear.

"Thank you, Sparkles. Go rest in sun. I have work now."

The cat mewed, pleased with himself, and sauntered off to his favorite spot on the corner of her roof, the roof she'd claimed when she'd killed the King of Cats. Qit'ria set off, her pure white fur glowing in the sunlight as she followed the scent trail, first back to the market, then along the streets to a meat shop. The trail departed again, heading toward the edges of town.

As she followed the scent, a loud roaring sound opened up nearby, her ears twitching in that direction. It sounded so familiar. She'd heard it twice before. Once at the mage burning, once in a cave on Scalvoris. She didn't know what magic it was, but knew that it was. She continued plodding along, curious as to what Mack had wanted. She arrived at a very boring and bland looking building, just in time to see a boy disappear inside, leaving the heavy metal door open.

Mack's scent led into there.

And so Qit'ria followed, shifting her fur color from white to the black of the panther as she went. When she slipped inside, she was practically invisible in the shadows of the walls. Looking down the hallway, she saw four people. There was some boy who was bouncing like a hummingbird, some tall man. No, woman. She could smell that she was a woman, though she was all stretchy, and didn't look like a woman from behind. Her hips had no curve at all.

Beyond the man-woman, there was Mack, and beyond Mack was a man drawing on a crossbow. Qit'ria dashed forward, not making a sound more than the dullest of pitterpatters on the stone floor. She stayed in the shadows on her approach. The man was loading a bolt now. Qit'ria jumped at the wall on his side, twisting her body in the air. Her feet struck the wall and she jumped off, at eye level with the man now. She called upon the vine on her front ankle, extending it out as she leapt. She landed on the hunched man's shoulder, and instantly dug her claws in to hold on. The vine she wrapped around the man's neck and squeezed. He never had time to scream.

Crossbow dropped and his hands moved up to swat at her, but Qit'ria jumped from his head to his other shoulder and all around him while ever tightening the vines. Soon, the hands stopped moving and the man slumped to the ground. Qit'ria retracted her vines and walked over his dead body toward the group. As she did, she began the quick change back into her Sev'ryn form. She found the change more draining than normal, and she could feel her ether being drained in a specific direction, to deeper within the compound. She just pumped more ether out and finished the change.

Standing before the group was the cat-woman Finn had met previously and the friend of Mack's. She wore a spiked turtle shell mask, a bear skin cloak, feral jewelry and nothing else but a blood lusting smirk. She reached into a small bag and pulled out a spear, nodding at Mack, before turning back to the hallway, gesturing for Mack to lead the way.



















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Re: Saving Private Rey'na

Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:28 pm

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'Why should we help you?'

It had been over an Arc since her last time in a dungeon, Moseke herself putting her there. Going to Desnind had been a plea for help, Lisirra's blessing having plagued her for too long. But the Immortal of Life cared not about her, not at first. Why would she? A daughter of her sworn enemy marched in to her kingdom and begged for her mothers own Mark to be removed. It had looked like an attack or some attempt at tricking Moseke. But the Immortal had changed her mind one day, after Rey had suffered for trials in a dark cell, no light and no contact more than a silent guard bringing her food.

If only she could see Rey'na now.

As screams of pain echoed through the dungeons Rey'na felt an adrenaline inside of her, one she hadn't felt in a long time. There was a rush to killing in the way she did, limbs branching off of her that terrified and amazed. Sharp legs piercing flesh and ripping mortals apart with ease. Losing her emotions had only increased the rush in a way. Without any drawbacks to killing Rey'na had become efficient, no emotions to give away her intentions or cloud her judgement. She had become what Pier and Pre had decided she would be long before her soul had been torn away. She was the Judge, Jury and the Executioner.

Releasing both of her left legs from the man to allow for more movement, Rey turned towards the charging recruit and swiped her spear across his gut. Adamantite tore open his stomach, cutting deep and causing a cry of pain from the new Mantis. It was a shame to see young life wasted, Rey thought. Then again, better his than hers. As the recruit stumbled back Rey pulled out both legs and left the leader to fall to the floor, blood pouring from his arms and legs yet breath still in his body. "You think you're safe you stupid bitch? You think they won't betray you again, all of them, that mages aren't just going to use you for their own?! You're not even one of them anymore!" he spluttered, rolling to his stomach with sharp pain.

Rey'na stopped and glanced back with her cold eyes as both men cried out on the floor. At the door the young boy moved through the cell keys, looking at each small marking to find which was Rey'na's. There was a rapid panic in his movements, as if he feared the Mantis might come down the stairs any moment and see him working with the enemy. As he worked through them Rey'na silently knelt down next to the man, watching as he struggled to move his arms. Perhaps if she had been any less accurate he would have a knife in her neck by now. But the man just kept squirming, wanting to reach forward and choke the life out of her yet unable to muster the strength.

"Don't be afraid of dying, sir. You will be far from alone in whatever torturous cesspit you end up in. I'll see to it that many of your comrades go with you" she whispered, before slamming a leg down through his neck. Gurgling left his throat as his body shook for a moment, gripping on to life with a stubborn determination. But the damage was done, he wouldn't recover from this. Yet something felt weird inside of her to just leave him alive. Not remorse or mercy, but efficiency. With a firm stab down two legs gripped on to the side of his head and slammed in to either side, finishing the job. Now all she had to do was kill the young boy. But they didn't have time to wait.

Once she stood up Rey walked to the boy and used Windsong to go through his skull, wedging it in as he screamed before the final shove left the spear deep in his shattered head. "Come on, we need to go" the boy that had fallen for her said, a man she knew so little of but had done so much for her. It was the closest thing she had felt to love in Seasons, a man willing to throw away everything for her and despite her threats keep coming back to see her and keep her safe. Giving her extra food, even risking a hug with the woman more than once. It had been made clear he cared. Rey'na thought about him as she walked forward to the door, looking in to his eyes as he spoke. "Once we leave, maybe we ca-"

Despite her gaze not leaving his, the man looked down at the two insect legs planted deep in his own gut. A realisation filled him and his gaze looked back up the Mortalborn, tears forming. "W-why? I just wanted to...to protect you. I loved you. What did I d-do?" he pleaded with a struggled pain in his voice. But the cold eyes kept looking forward, not once showing the glimmer of emotion he once saw in the help he gave her. Instead her legs pulled out, hands holding him close for a moment in a small embrace, her lips moving beside his ear.

"No loose ends" she whispered, before the final two legs sunk through his neck. As soon as she pulled them out the girl dropped his body before walking out of the door, shield and spear ready for whatever the Mantis had left to throw at her.



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Max
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Re: Saving Private Rey'na

Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:04 am

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A Rupturing distraction. It wasn't a half bad improvise quite honestly. The Mantis were already keenly aware of the gifted mage fugitive in their midst. At the first sign of the elusive mark they were sure to come running in a sizable number, which meant there'd be fewer at the ready when the infiltrating team of enemies was inevitably discovered. The ex-convict turned to give the Special Assistant an approving nod over her shoulder, her gaze wavering strangely on Finn for a trill before putting her gaze forward. There was something...jumpy about the boy today. She subtly shook her head. For now she'd write it off as young nerves. She could hardly blame him. They were intentionally about to trip a well-conceived trap.

Maxine was preparing to keep pushing on when she heard something behind her shortly after her allies entered the blacksite. Her iron glare disintegrated into concern as she turned suddenly on her heels. Her brow furrowed. Finn appeared to be his same jittery self while the Element grappled to breathe. Max was beside her in an instant, fully prepared to drag Sephira back to the safety of the outside when the episode seemed to end as quickly as it came. She pressed her lips into a line. She had half a mind to walk back on this plan she'd agreed to, throw in the towel, until she came up with something that kept everyone at arm's length from the Mantis and their wards. Maxine looked from Finn to Sephira, expression hardening again as to conceal anything more which laid beneath it.

"Fine," the back-stabbing criminal agreed. "When we get to her...whoever gets to her...remember not to drop your guard. We can't be sure she's still...Rey. We get in. We get out. Under-" Her words cut off when she noticed the black cat zip past her heels. The feral creature seemed to be focused on something behind her, and damn was it moving fast. Max rotated back around in time to discover the crossbow pointed at her all too late. The sneaky bastard had caught her distracted during the welfare check on her allies. Her breath caught in her throat and her adrenalized muscles tensed to move when the cat sprung itself onto the patrolman. Vines, claws all of it was upon the man. Just in time.

The crossbow clattered to the ground and a wide, knowing grin painted the ex-convict's face. She moved forward to meet the Becomer while she made her draining shift to a more familiar form. There truly was no better entrance than this mage's. From her feral accessories to her naked get-up, Qit'ria never disappointed in her anti-social quirkiness. Maxine had abandoned ideas of scolding her some time ago. Social etiquette wasn't her strong suit either, and besides, it wasn't verbal communication that had sealed their unusual friendship anyways. In fact, it was probably the complete lack of it. Well, that and all the violence.

"It's a bad fucking trial to wear an ashcloak," Maxine murmured darkly with a smirk, returning Qit'ria's nod. There was no need for negotiation when it came to asking the Becomer along. Hurling baggage at each other to reach a middle ground wasn't either. Last time they saw each other, Qit had been hurling javelins at every Mantis soldier in sight. It just so happened that, to-trial, Maxine and her allies had use for such a woman. Whatever her beef with the anti-mage faction was, Max figured the opportunity to kill a handful more was enough to score Qit'ria's help in this rescue mission. Truth be told, the ex-convict wasn't willing to help with it herself without her. Her eyes were trained on the door concealing the stairs to the dungeon at the very end of the long hall, when one of the doors ahead on her right swung open.

Shit!

A squad of laughing Mantis Swords piled into the hall, no doubt returning to duty from a short meal when they laid their gazes on the approaching force. Max was already on the ground by then. One of her hands clutched at her ashcloak while she used her other elbow and feet, frantically squirming away from the three mages just paces behind her. Her eyes were wide and a panic had overcome her demeanor in a split trill.

"Mages!" the ex-convict gasped while her fellow mage hunters drew their weapons and stormed forward to cover her escape. "They're here for the girl! Sound the alarm!" More patrolmen rushed through the open door to fill in the ranks with wild, battle-ready expressions. One of the women in the back crouched beside Maxine, a hand hovering over her cloak as though she intended to pull it back to reveal the wound that surely laid beneath. "Forget me!" The woman promptly stood and redirected her focus to the oncoming magical threats.

Someone called for ranks to form up to engage. With disciplined grunts the soldiers advanced as one united front. Only a single Mantis Sword turned and fled from the formation, no doubt the runner whose job it was to dash off and alert the reinforcements waiting elsewhere in the city. He didn't get far. Maxine buried her gladius through his naval, having shot up to her feet before the quick boy could pass her. With a groan he slid off her sword to the ground, and without a word, the treacherous woman set to cutting down those that wore her color from the rear.

word count: 951
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