Elysian Fields: The Fall of Thanatos [S] - Elysian Fields

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Alexshire

Alexshire is a city-state straddling the River Cora. It is made up of the City of Alexandria, a couple of hamlets, and 300 square miles of farmland. The rich district (known as New Alexandria) houses some 5,000 of the city's wealthiest merchants and officials, and was built around Elysia's main portal.
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The Fall of Thanatos [S] Aiden, Kiel, Maaike Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Jericho Icon

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 02:09 PM

Jericho was about mad enough to spit feathers, but he was also bored half out of his mind. He'd always imagined stake-outs to be glorious and nerve-wracking and interesting, but from his lean-to under the shade of a hearty chiolen tree at the very edge of Conrad Thanatos's land (just close enough to scan the residents' thoughts, but not close enough to ping on Thanatos's own radar, if all went to plan), Jeri was plagued by the buzz of bees, and had stained the sleeve of his once-crisp once-white shirt with green sap within the first five minutes of leaning, and had confirmed a fact he had long suspected: the life of a magistrate was boring. Tacking "chief" on to the "magistrate" hadn't made Thanatos's life any more interesting. Even his thoughts were boring, focused on names of people and places that had no relevance to Jericho.

Ugh. Why was it so hard to find people willing to lay down their lives for him? If not for that, Jeri would have been out to replace Ninian's stupid, soft-hearted self seven minutes into this stupid stake-out instead of brushing chiolen petals off his shoulders and out of his hair with the kind of frustration better suited to men who didn't spend a small fortune looking spiffed and polished.

Thanatos's guards were no less boring, though they were (slightly) dumber than Ninian. Jeri figured that, all things considered, all this effort was probably worth the — well, effort. Besides, he'd spent too many years training his guard dog just the way he liked it (for the most part, and when Ninian wasn't butting his nose into business that wasn't his and making Jeri feel bad about stuff he wasn't supposed to feel bad about, like how it was his fault Rusty was dead and not the stupid furry worm thing that ate him). He wasn't about to spend even more years training someone new when Nin was (probably) still alive and kicking somewhere. (He'd better be kicking. Jericho didn't want to find out his bodyguard had gone willingly. See aforementioned "too much effort to replace".) But who the hell went off to rescue a cousin from trappers or poachers or slavers or whatever the Hel the Therians called them, only to get captured himself? (See also: aforementioned "stupid".)

So here was Jericho, staked out under one of many chiolen trees with naught but the buzz of bees and the boring thoughts of boring people (who may or may not have Ninian chained up in a cage somewhere on this sunny estate, if all his sources were to be believed — and this could go either way, to be honest, because Jericho didn't exactly surround himself with trustworthy people) for company, discovering that, no matter how much he hated dealing with Mister Pendergast The Snooty Gem Miner Who Happened to Have Something Jeri wanted, that would still be far preferable to this boring farce of a boring stake-out.

And if that bird didn't quit twittering in his ear, Jericho was going to blow it up with the power of his mind, he swore to Xanth.
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#2 User is offline   Aiden Icon

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 09:58 AM

Six days and two hours since Sammy's kidnapping.

For two harrowing days, the clan spread through all directions in the forest, even beseeching for help from a nymph's demense. When they finally caught up with the Apalos at the Sunset Foothills, they were discriminately forced away by the local anyeli village. By the time the clan regrouped, the Apalos had already blasted his way through the portal with Sammy. The Sullivans' scouts reported no activities at the Marina Docks, nor in any of the Underground Caverns. Exhausted of energy and with dwindling sources, they finally found their lead at Marius's warehouse: Thanatos' Villa.

The magistrate should have kept his crud separate from where he slept.

It was a kick in the gut to be in New Alexandria again. At every turn, Aiden was reminded of the street vendors he used to know, paths in his patrol, and festivities they celebrated. With a bounty still on his and Maaike's heads though, he also knew that his Guard "friends" would attack at first sight. Aiden was carefully discreet to the point of paranoia...tilting his face toward the shadows, altering his voice, looking over his shoulder, picking convoluted routes, and staying in the crowds when necessary. Even when it was hot in the day, he kept sleeves long to cover the tattoos on is arm. He was frustrated to be in a city that he was willing to risk his life for, yet have the same people condemn him to exile. Maaike was equally impatient and even angrier. She vented that they weren't acting fast enough. Aiden argued about the way she'd killed the spy, and that they couldn't possibly attack Thanatos immediately. Sometimes they stopped talking altogether. Fatigue and impatience were a dangerous mix, and if the elder Sullivans hadn't talked sense, some of the clanmembers would have stormed the villa immediately. But they didn't. They waited, and soon, other clans offered assistance, therians scouted the estate, and Aiden and Maaike got in touch with old friends.

Aiden had been hesitant to ask for help from Winston and Mikael, who were the only two guardsmen he could trust, and he thankfully wasn't wrong. They offered their homes as safehouses for the following days, and last night, the team hovered around Winston's kitchen table to discuss the best strategy to invade the villa. Winston had grown more authoritative during Aiden's absence, and had an abundance of guidance for dealing with other Peteulanus. Kiel had a handful of Peteulanus advice as well, though it was mixed within the rutilus' usual chatter. As the Guard Tower's investigative analyst, Winston wasn't much of a fighter, but when Aiden suggested that the 'vari stay behind, the usually shy guardsman had argued adamantly against the idea. Winston wouldn't be a match against the Grand Magistrate, but as the group's sole Peteulanus, he could at least be a nuisance to Thanatos. As Kiel waved his arms and audibly worried about his "brain not being quiet enough", the ever-stoic Zeph merely rolled his eyes. Zeph had curtly voiced his skepticism toward stampeding a Red Warden's house, but he'd follow Kiel no matter what.

Even tucked in the wealthiest section of the housing district, Thanatos' estate was prominent. Chiolen trees lined the perimeter of the magistrate's territory and left space only for the pathway to the villa. Planted closely and in full bloom, the tall trees were an effective wall that provided privacy to the magistrate's villa, yet maintained an illusion of openness toward the neighborhood. The wings of the villa beckoned visitors toward the entrance, and a mythril azani rested regally atop the fountain in front of the main doors. During his previous visit, Aiden had been impressed by the grand architecture and embellishments---the place was large enough to house multiple families. Now, he was simply disgusted with how the villa had been built upon the extortion and suffering of slaves.

As he stepped out of view from the pathway, Aiden watched as others in the team went into position. Quickening his pace, Aiden joined his brother at the last house before Thanatos' estate. When he'd called Nathan a few days ago, Aiden only intended to tell his brother what was happening. If he failed this mission, at least someone in their family would hear his last greeting. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the brother), Nathan and his crew were already in Espur for a trading venture, and could readily hop portals into Alexshire. Aiden wished that Nathan hadn't insisted on joining the mission, but honestly, he appreciated the help and was even more grateful to see his brother again. He just prayed to Xanth that everyone would get out of this villa unscathed.

“Someone's waiting among the trees.”

Warily, Aiden followed his brother's line of vision...and immediately scowled. Jericho was a 'pet, but Aiden didn't regret the thoughts that immediately materialized at the sight of the asshole. While extremely useful in Acantha, the 'vari was also extremely selfish and unsympathetic even as half the vanguard fell sick. He'd tolerated the 'vari until the vlareon threatened to throw Maaike off the ship. Misha was perhaps Jericho's only redeeming quality. Signalling for the others to stay put, Aiden muted his thoughts and tilted his face to see the 'vari more clearly. The man didn't seem the type to rub elbows with authority, so why the Hel was he here?
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#3 User is offline   Maaike Icon

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 10:44 AM

OOC: WOW Joy <3

Maaike was ready to murder someone (else) by the end of the first day of waiting. No matter how often her grandparents and her mom repeated their whole spiel about logic and "it's not delaying, it's making sure we don't die in the process", she still couldn't help but pace and growl and grimace and whine and fret about what those vlareons were doing to her baby boy while she stood around planning. It got so bad that Ellery threatened to sit on her, and then Bree literally did sit on her -- with help from her still-lame brother when Maaike's bucking and growling threatened to put claw marks in them they'd never heal from -- until Maaike pretty much passed out from exhaustion and a tsunami of pre-emptive grief.

It didn't help that Aiden had taken offence to her killing the spy like she hadn't done them all a huge favour. Maaike had been in no mood to deal with his conscience so whatever guilt and fondness normally made her back off or back down when they got into a fight just wasn't there. Too many of their planning sessions had devolved into an argument about should-have and would-have-if-you-hadn't, and Maaike was in no shape to hold back the angry, hateful, fearful tears.

It did give her a vindictiveness that led to her suggesting they tear up Thanatos's supply chain with the same sort of viciousness that a lyxeon tears up its prey. She wanted to do it herself — anything to just get her out of these stupid "safe" houses and doing something instead of sitting around talking — but Kiel offered up his buddies at the League of Protectors and that was that. Part of her knew it was unfair, but it made her hate Kiel all the more for being more useful than she was right now, despite the idiotic blather and the graceless flailing that made up 90% of his personality. (It didn't help when her glares bounced right off his stupid oblivious head, and even less when they were returned ten-fold by his ape of a boyfriend.)

In the end, sabotaging Thanatos's supply of wolfsbane was more useful than the revenge she'd originally intended: the League took out a cartful of the stuff headed right for Thanatos's own villa, so he at least wouldn't be able to decimate the rescue/attack squad the way his spy had back in the Territories. Thanatos had more tricks up his sleeve than that, no doubt, but wolfsbane had been their biggest concern and the main reason they'd sought help outside the clans. Normal Maaike would have been gleeful that her plan had succeeded even if someone else carried out. Angry Maaike just got angrier that she hadn't been able to do it herself.

And then the vlareons held her back from the recon. They said things like "we can't afford for you to run off and attack at the first sign of trouble" and "we can't trust you to keep your head on straight right now". All Maaike heard was "we're not letting you go after your son" and wished she could sink her wolf's fangs into something soft and chewy until blood soaked her fur. So when Aiden's brother pointed out the tall, lithe shape of an all-too-familiar figure waiting on the edges of enemy territory as if he hadn't a care in the world, Maaike had had enough. She squirmed and ripped out of Bree and Ellery's grasp and threw herself at the vlareon before they could make a sound of protest.
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#4 User is offline   Jericho Icon

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Posted 08 February 2015 - 12:50 PM

There was a reason Jericho spent his hard-earned money paying someone to follow him around and watch his back, and it wasn't only because Jericho hated to get his hands dirty or bloody or smeared in snot like that one time Rusty tried threatening someone bigger and badder only to have the bear of a man completely shatter and break down in disgusting tears and sob his pleas and excuses all over Jericho's shoes.

With all his attention concentrated on the most boring thoughts of the most boring people to ever bore, looking for mention of Ninian's stupidity and where a Therian might end up if they were moronic enough to try rescuing a cousin (sister? brother? niece fifteen times removed?) only to get captured themselves, Jericho was completely unaware of his surroundings or the people who might sneak up on him. He was too accustomed to having bodies at his back to keep his own stab-free, too used to relying on Ninian and Rusty — damn that idiot for getting himself suffocated in his sleep by a caterpillar of all things — keeping his physical self safe so his consciousness could wander.

The first thing Jericho thought when his face smashed brutally into the tree bark was, Ow. The second thing was, Holy ow, as if that would conjure Xanth up right on the spot. The third was, This is what I get for relying on people, and the fourth was, What the censored.

The fifth thing he thought came out of his mouth in a hot stream of outrage masquerading as indignation because his lips were twisted at a funny angle. “What under Hel do you think you're doing?” He didn't even consider who his captor might be until it was far too late to realise he could be in serious trouble.
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#5 User is offline   Aiden Icon

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 08:27 AM

Dismayed as he heard shouts and the thunk-thunk-thunk of 'vari skull on chiolen tree, Aiden tilted his eyes toward the clouds. You are so cruel. All those days hiding in Winston's house, waiting as others did the work, and anticipating both the best and worst...Maaike had been raring to attack anybody related to Thanatos, and Jericho's face was the carrot on the stick. Honestly, Aiden would have loved to clobber decency into the 'pet as well, but there was unfortunately a time and place.

Jericho had been lurking too suspiciously to be Thanatos' man, but if Jericho was indeed with the magistrate, then the clan would need to improvise. Running forward, it wasn't difficult to shove Jericho and Maaike apart, though Aiden kept them raised in case Maaike tried to attack him instead. Hissing with caution, Aiden couldn't hide the frustration in his tone as he looked from Jericho to Maaike and to the villa. “Should we just knock on the magistrate's front door? We've made enough noise anyway.” Jerking his focus toward the 'vari, Aiden reached to drag Jericho away from the villa. “Come with us. Please.” A lone person might have blended with the trees, but they were too noticeable now.

The mission was already underway, and they couldn't spare a moment of it. “Thanatos has our people and we're getting them back. Are you with him or not?” If the 'vari lied, they'd put him down and get on with saving the hostages. In his human form, Aiden could only rely on watching Jericho's face and body language for the liar's tells, but that's why he'd led them to Rowley. The boy was already in the clan's favorite form, and the tawny wolf bared its fangs.
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#6 User is offline   Jericho Icon

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:19 AM

Jericho scowled through the haze of pain, scrunching up his face and glaring bright-eyed and indignant. His sunglasses were gone, cracking in half at the first impact of his face on bark and then falling clean away at the second, leaving him bare-faced and bleeding from somewhere. He prodded at his forehead with his thumb even as he maintained his glare at the lunatic who'd attacked him, and then even more at the pair when he recognised their faces and realised who they were.

“You,” he hissed, and tried to back up a step to put some distance between himself and the wild-eyed woman pressing against her pal as if she was just chomping at the bit to chomp him to bits. Jeri might have been nervous if he thought she really wanted to get past her friend, but she was holding back pushing just hard enough to look like a vicious killer, but not enough to actually burst by the other Therian's arm...

Jericho wondered if she was rabid. She'd survived the Red Mist, but who knew what kind of diseases or fleas she was carrying. He tried backing up a step to avoid any infection (was lunacy contagious?), only to find himself shepherded away from the tree-line by a brute and her guard dog.

“Get your hands off

Jeri pulled up short at the first snarl of teeth in his direction. The wolf was just about large enough for its drooling fangs to be far too close to a certain body part that Jericho was quite fond of, and Jericho found himself stuck between the rock of Aiden and Maaike's bodies and the sharp place of the wolf's teeth.

He rolled his eyes (a habit he couldn't seem to break and that was at least sixty percent the reason he wore sunglasses, to hide his frustration at the stupidity of his clients) and sighed. “Do I look like one of his cronies to you?” The wolf's mouth gaped a little bit and it panted a sound that came far too close to a human laugh for Jericho's comfort. “Don't answer that,” he tacked on when he caught a glimpse of himself. He supposed, really, the shirt and trousers and vest under his jacket sort of did make him look like one of Thanatos's cronies.

Jericho could tell, even without tapping into their minds, that neither Aiden nor Maaike nor the wolf had the patience to spend any time on him. Jeri was a heartbeat away from getting his skull caved in or his hands bitten off, and he didn't have the patience to ramble his way out of it. He started talking.

“They've got Ninian.” At the wolf's blank frown, he clarified, “My bodyguard. The only one left since the other one got suffocated by a caterpillar.” He aimed a very pointed glare over his shoulder at Maaike and Aiden, who he still had his back to because he was fairly confident they wouldn't stab him in it. (Aiden had come off as something of a goody-two-shoes while they were in Acantha. Maaike was less trustworthy, especially frothing at the mouth like she almost was now, but he'd still rather put his back to humans than a wolf, any day even if they were the same species underneath the facade. And he supposed they might not "stab" him in the back so much as tear out his kidneys, but it was all the same thing in the end.)

When all three of them looked sceptical, Jericho rolled his eyes hard enough to twist his head off his neck and sighed explosively. “Do you have any idea how hard it is to find someone who can be trusted to step in front of a knife for you, while not having much of an opinion of what you're doing?” Jericho knew how hard it was because he'd spent years looking before he found Nin and Rusty, and even they had eventually gained the confidence to question him on practically everything. "Are you sure you want those berries for breakfast. Do I look like a maid. I'm here to protect you from backstabbers, not splinters."

“I n” Jericho caught himself before the slip and almost bit off his tongue in an effort to keep the word "need" back in his throat. “I want him back.” Who did Thanatos think he was, anyway? “Ninian's mine.”
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#7 User is offline   Maaike Icon

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Posted 13 February 2015 - 09:30 AM

“Are you freaking kidding me?” Maaike stomped her foot for good measure, then tacked on, “Don't you answer that,” because Jeri struck her as the type to get payback and her little snort of "oh yeah" when he'd asked if he looked one of Thanatos's goons seemed like the sort of thing that would ping on his "must get revenge" radar.

She threw up her hands and stomped away, only to stomp back with her fingers in her hair, pulling tight enough to give her a bald patch if she wasn't careful. Thankfully, growing up in the forest meant that even her stomping was quieter than a city girl's stomping would be, but they still couldn't afford all this delay.

One look at Rowley's wolfy eyebrows was enough to stop her in her tracks and make her whirl back to point an accusatory finger in Jericho's face. (It was kind of creepy sometimes how expressive wolf faces could be, especially when there was a human brain behind them.) “Since when do you give a flying f—”

Rowley barked once, sharp and short and quiet, sounding so much like a dog that — hopefully — Thanatos's guards would think nothing of it. His villa was edging onto the farmlands that swept west out of the city and into the shire, so what was a bit of barking here and there?

Maaike huffed and scowled but bit back the rest of her question. It didn't matter why Jericho wanted Ninian back. It only mattered that he did, and they could really use a telepath on their side to defend against whatever Thanatos threw at them.

“I don't trust you as far as I can throw you.” She paused and considered, watching Jericho's face. It was weird being able to see his eyes. His face looked softer but those pale blue eyes were way more disturbing when they weren't hidden behind dark glass. “Actually, I don't trust you as far as he can throw you.” She jerked a thumb over her shoulder at Aiden to prove a point and to remind Jericho that he might have all that mental crap going for him, but Aiden could twist him up into a pretzel in no time flat.

Not that Aiden actually would turn Jericho into a pretzel. He was still such a soft touch, really. Maaike was pretty sure she'd killed whatever might have grown out of their shared adventures when she killed that spy. Better to focus on Sammy, on saving her little boy and putting an end to Thanatos once and for all. They couldn't afford to let him live anymore. She didn't want to have to spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder.

She hadn't told Aiden, of course. How did you tell such an upstanding guy that this "rescue mission" was as much about assassinating the vlareon as it was saving her boy? Aiden wouldn't understand, but Thanatos hadn't left them with much of a choice. It was either end him, or have him or his goons chasing them to the ends of Elysia. Maaike wouldn't be able to watch Aiden's back and protect Sammy, and it wasn't like Aiden would stick around after this, anyway. Not now.

“Fine.” She exhaled sharply enough it sounded like a wolf's chuff. “Start talking.” Because surely, surely, Jericho had gained some intel they could use while he was propping up that tree.
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#8 User is offline   Aiden Icon

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 09:41 AM

Anxious about the change of plans, Aiden clenched and un-clenched his fists as he stared down at the morally questionable 'vari. He remembered Ninian---scruffy-haired and slender in comparison to the now-deceased Rusty. Ninian had been the smarter bodyguard, though not very much since he was still working for Jericho. Aiden could believe that Ninian had been captured for being a therian. What he couldn't believe was that Jericho cared enough to come alone to save the bodyguard. Aiden couldn't hide the doubt from his expression, nor could he hide the slight frown as Jericho whined about the difficulties of finding people to take the hit for him. It was too bad Rusty's suffocation had been an inconvenience. It was too bad Ninian got himself caught. If what Jericho said was true though, then at least the 'vari was loyal enough to fight for his employees. Aiden could work with that.

Aiden wished that Winston were here to verify the facts, but their sole peteulanus was at another corner of the villa, probably wondering what was taking so long for the signal to pass. They couldn't afford to waste time, and they needed more telepaths.

So as Maaike made a sharp sigh of displeasure, Aiden stepped toward Jericho's side so they could see eye-to-eye. “Tell us all you know, and we'll help you get to Ninian.” Aiden said while tilting his chin toward Nathan and Maaike. “Will you help free the other captives?” Aiden felt the need to establish this, though any decent person would rescue everyone anyway. He also purposely omitted who had been captured by Thanatos---Jericho didn't need to know.

Their scouts had only been able to see the aerial view of the building as well as activity near the windows. Winston unfortunately didn't have the range to look inside the building, though he knew part of the floor-plan from prior social occasions. As Jericho started sharing the intel, Aiden glanced toward the antsy team. They only needed what was important. “Where are they holding the captives? What types of guards are in the villa? Give us the best route. Is Thanatos inside?” Aiden's jaw clenched involuntarily as he thought of the two-faced son-of-a-kelpie. The magistrate was so highly-esteemed, yet rotten to the core. If they had time, Aiden would grab all the evidence of Thanatos' evil that was in the building. Knock the 'Pet off that fake pedestal. Part of Aiden hoped that Thanatos was in the villa though. The magistrate had hurt too many people, had attacked the Sullivans, and had sent spies and killers after him and Maaike. Thanatos had too many allies in the Guard for a fair trial...and their animosity needed to end for good. No more of Thanatos' slave trade. No more targets on the Sullivans' backs. His family would be safer. Maaike and Sammy would be safer. It was too personal to not be vengeance though, and if they put down Thanatos permanently, like Aiden intended to, he'd become a true fugitive. He was ready.
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#9 User is offline   Jericho Icon

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 09:12 AM

Jericho wished he was still wearing his glasses so he could hide the glint of triumph in his eyes. He settled for burying it by coughing into his fist instead, and then set about making himself useful because Aiden Roy might be too much of a goody-two-shoes to kill him for getting in their way, but Maaike Sullivan was a wildcard and the wolf just looked hungry.

“I suppose a mutual back-scratching would not go amiss.” He feigned a friendly smile, then sneered and kicked at the wolf when it snuffled too close to his ankle. It snarled and bit the air next to his calf, close enough that Jericho jumped — lesson learned.

“There are surprisingly few guards, really. I expect Thanatos thinks he'll see trouble coming.” Jeri tapped a knuckle to his temple and clucked his tongue to indicate exactly how Thanatos might detect such trouble. “In the past three hours—” And Xanth were those long, boring hours. “— he has yanked at least thirty percent of his regular patrollers to deal with some incompetence or other. It would seem that an incoming shipment has been misplaced.” Something twinged in the back of Jeri's skull and he made an "aha!" face. Since it would not be hidden behind glasses, he turned the gesture into an overly dramatic flair by clicking his fingers, too. “I don't suppose that was your doing?” He hadn't caught wind of what, exactly, the shipment contained, but if Aiden and Maaike were interested in sabotaging it, then clearly it was something either Thanatos needed or they needed gone. Jericho couldn't imagine what it might be, but it didn't really matter if they'd successfully kept the shipment at bay.

“I've heard little from any captives.” That worried him, actually. It either meant that Thanatos kept his "slaves" elsewhere—unlikely, if this lot were here. Aiden and Maaike didn't strike Jericho as the type to not do their homework— or they were drugged to the eyeballs to keep them quiet. “Which makes sense, really. I wouldn't want a bunch of prisoners screaming in my head all night long, either. And yes,” he added as a sort-of afterthought, “Thanatos himself is in residence, though his shields are up apparently constantly, exhausting as that might be, and too strong for me to even nudge at his mind without being detected.”
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#10 User is offline   Maaike Icon

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 09:21 AM

Maaike regretted allying with Jericho almost as soon as he started talking in that smarmy "it's not personal" way of his, but he did at least give them a few useful tidbits: the sabotage had successfully distracted Thanatos, or his men, at least; the captives must be drugged if Jericho couldn't hear them — because otherwise, that meant Marius's intel was all lies, and Maaike couldn't bear to go down that road — which they had expected, really, but also meant that getting them out would be trickier; and Thanatos was constantly sapping his own energy by keeping up his shields like he was paranoid.

“So all we need to do is keep him "active" until he drains himself dry.”

She barely even acknowledged Jericho's question about if they were responsible for the sabotage. He didn't deserve answers from them, and it was moot now anyway, already done. Besides, technically Maaike and Aiden had been nowhere near the wagons when they and their drivers and guards "mysteriously vanished".

“All right, so here's the plan.” Maaike glanced at Aiden with eyebrows arched, checking in with him with more than a little sarcasm since he and her clan had been tying her hands rather than letting her chase after Sammy. She sneered at Jericho, then, and told him in no uncertain terms that he would, “Go after Thanatos with everything you've got. Make him come looking for you. Tax his shields, get him paranoid. We'll deal with the guards when he sends them out, and once he's exhausted enough, we'll go after him.” And maybe somewhere in all that, he'd learn the location of the captives, too.
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#11 User is offline   Aiden Icon

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 06:53 AM

With the wolfsbane trade cut off from New Alexandria and Marius' warehouse ambushed, Thanatos was definitely feeling uneasily. Aiden smiled with grim satisfaction as he heard that the magistrate was pulling his guards close. The therians would have a denser defence to break through, but they had the numbers to pull it off. The part about the 'quiet' captives made Aiden hesitate, but it could just mean that the prisoners were tied down by sleep charms. There had to be something valuable and difficult to move within the villa, otherwise Thanatos would have abandoned it when he expected an attack. Or perhaps the magistrate was confident in his power, and in that case...Aiden nodded in agreement as Maaike proposed to exhaust the 'vari.

Jericho had visibly relaxed with inherent smugness as he fell into his element, but he was also frowning with distaste. However, Maaike's plan seemed solid and made better use of Jericho than they'd originally planned to do with Winston. Winston didn't have enough clout to face Thanatos head-on, but Jericho might. Eyes sharp, Aiden tilted his head in question. “Can you do that? We have another Peteulanus on the other side too, and he'll help with the minors.” Glancing at their impatient crew, Aiden straightened his shoulders as he prepared to resume their assault. In his vision's periphery, Aiden noticed Eilisa fidget and pluck at her sleeves. Waving to catch her attention, Aiden made a downward motion, after which the girl slowly melded into her bluebird form. She'd fly to Winston as soon as they were ready. Members of Nathan's crew readied themselves with attention, and Nathan cracked his knuckles. Rowley trotted forward to blend himself into the chiolen and brush.

One question remained unanswered though, and Aiden wondered if the 'vari had ignored it intentionally. “We are all going into the villa, and we are saving all of the captives. Agreed?” Jericho had arrived only to save Ninian, but they needed him to help with more than that. If Jericho was a true businessman, then he wouldn't leave until the job was fulfilled.
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#12 User is offline   Jericho Icon

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Posted 26 February 2015 - 12:40 PM

Jericho pulled a face that spoke volumes what he thought about their insistence on saving all the captives, but nodded his head, albeit with some reluctance, anyway. He wasn't above ditching this little band of misfits if it suited his own situation better, but the reason he'd stayed for so long on Thanatos's periphery was because he didn't have the prowess or the telepathic strength to go up against him and all his minions. He'd sooner wait and watch for an opportunity to get Ninian out with the least amount of bloodshed possible (especially his own). If one hadn't been upcoming, he might have considered hiring someone to get Nin out. Most likely, he would have had to abandon Ninian to his own stupidity and find another bodyguard, after all. Aiden and Maaike's appearance was quite timely, really.

Even so, he muttered, “I suppose,” to show just how disgruntled he was with this plan. Pitting him against Thanatos wasn't going to work on a face to face basis, though. He didn't trust this rabble to watch his back the way he trusted Rusty and Nin. He needed someplace quiet and out of the way where he could set his back to something solid that wouldn't stab him in it, and where he wouldn't have people tripping over him. Thanatos might direct his guards to find him, and might even have an idea of where he was physically (though, with any luck, Jericho's telepathic bombardment would distract the magistrate too much for him to get a proper fix or take the time to speak to his men), but if Jeri did this right, the fighting would all be over before it reached him.

There was a chiolen a couple of trees over that had a trunk thick enough to guard his back for him, surrounded by plenty of greens tall enough to obscure sight of him if he was sitting down. That would do nicely.

But first: “I've so far detected only one other Peteulanus, somewhere on the other side of the villa, and he's not very good. Tell your man to deal with him and then come help me with Thanatos.” Jeri was a strong telepath, but Thanatos was stronger. He'd need all the help he could get.
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#13 User is offline   Aiden Icon

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Posted 01 March 2015 - 08:13 AM

He'd take Xanth's blessings when he could, but Aiden wondered if it was too fortunate for the villa to have only only 'Pet sentry. But then again, Thanatos seemed to be the type of vlareon who was jealous with his power. Watching as Jericho settled in a safe hiding spot, Aiden murmured in accord. “We'll take care of it. Let us know when you get a better idea about the prisoners.” Remembering the slippery feel of the aurumus' sleep spell in the Delta, Aiden grimaced. He'd hate to meet someone similar in the villa. “Keep an eye out for Aurumuses too.” Turning away, Aiden returend to his post beside Nathan. Mouthing 'COM' as he walked, Aiden caught the device from his brother and quickly typed instructions to Winston. Meanwhile, a grey wolf---Ronan---slinked behind a cluster of shrubs near Jericho's tree, and a flutter of wings followed Eilisa's departure as she sped toward the other side of the villa. She'd survey the land one last time and relay the view to Winston.

In the minutes that followed, Aiden kept an eye on the villa for signs of movement, tense with apprehension. He glanced toward Maaike, whose shoulders were braced with resolve to save her son. Her family surrounded her, shifting restlessly as shouts and crashes resounded from the other side of the villa. Nathan's COM made a light 'ping'. Winston was on his way to Jericho.

One of the crew's gunners stepped forward, her wings furling shut as she extended her hands toward the villa. Water sloshed and swirled unnaturally above the fountain, and once it froze into a ball the size of the azani's head, it flew forward to shatter one of the windows. Windows opened and shouts resounded as Thanatos' guards searched for the the culprit. The guards who dared peek out of the windows were quickly punctured by Sullivan arrows.
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#14 User is offline   Kiel Icon

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Posted 03 March 2015 - 12:45 PM

OOC: Russ gave me permission a while ago to GM Zeph a little bit. Also, I'm hoping to get Maaike up next, but don't wait for me. I don't want to hold us up.

Like, married life was treating Kiel about as well as he'd expected: no different than, like, unmarried life had been. Kiel totally still woke up with his face smooshed into Zeph's armpit, and Zeph still told him frequently to, like, "Focus, dammit."

It was so totally awesome, man.

One of the Protectors, who Kiel had totally tried to befriend until he realised the Anyeli was a total, like, censored, had made some catty remark about Kiel needing to check in with "his better half" before he committed to helping Maaike and Aiden's rescue mission )which was, like, totally awesome and a major operation so kudos to them for having the balls to go up against this Thanatos dude, for sers). Kiel had just grinned and agreed because, like, how was that any different than before they got married, anyway?

It was okay, though. That guy got sent on the milk run, A.K.A. "Mission: Sabotage Thanatos's Stuff" so he'd see who was laughing when, like, Kiel came back a hero and he totally didn't get any of the glory.

Not that, like, all this waiting around was glorious or anything. Pretty much the opposite, actually. Maaike and Aiden so owed him for this. Like, did they have any idea what he'd had to do to con — er, convince — Zeph into helping them with this thing? "But I really wanna save some peeps" apparently didn't pass muster these days unless it was attached to some serious wheedling. And canoodling. And promises of food he would have already totally cooked anyway, but Zeph didn't need to know that.

“Ugh,” Kiel told the bush he was hiding behind. Like, “I hate waiting.” Someone further down the line of bushes snorted as if Kiel was either, like, joking or his inherent patience was totally and painfully obvious. Kiel wished he could make his hubby scowl on command 'cause, like, Zeph's glares were so totally killer and way awesomer than Kiel's were, but the big hairy fuzzball wasn't even listening, too fixated on watching Thanatos's goons circle the villa watching for patterns and, like, timings and stuff. You know, the way Kiel should have been — and totally was, dude, like, it wasn't his fault that watching guards walk slow circles around a villa was boring him to death. Like, those guys were so in for it when Kiel keeled over of boredom and Zeph went on a rampage because his hubby would totally want to avenge him.

Like, totally, man.

“You'd totally avenge me if I died of boredom, right? Dude? Dude?” Kiel even waggled his eyebrows down the line, past the disgruntled faces of Therians and Protectors alike, but his hubby just grunted like he wasn't even paying attention. Like, seriously, that was the same grunt he got if Kiel asked if Zeph wanted pasta or tuna sandwiches for lunch. Duuuuuude.”

Someone shushed him. Kiel shushed them right back, but, like, went back to surveying their target because he was totally a professional and all that, and also because Zeph glanced his way just long enough to give him the terrifying glare of d00m. Even so, Kiel grumbled to the bush in front of him, deciding it was his new best friend and might even be in the running for new husband if Zeph didn't kill him for threatening divorce just because, like, at least the bush listened.

Two minutes later, Kiel was just about ready to fling himself through the prickly bush and get this party started out of sheer inability to sit still any longer when a little bird fluttered down onto Winston's shoulder and tweeted right into Kiel's ear like he could speak in Peck or something.

“Well? Well? Well?” Kiel bobbed on his haunches, not enough to, like, give away their position or presence with, like rustling bushes or the peek of his hat over the top of the greenery, but enough that the Therian next to him clamped clawed fingers around his forearm tight enough to prickle a warning into his skin. Kiel pouted at the dude, caught a glimpse of Zeph's glare at the Therian's claws (and totally spared a grin for his overprotective hubby because, like, dude: hubby, even though they'd been married long enough that the novelty should have totally worn off already, but it was still totally hot to have someone who could easily rip his throat out jerk their hand away because someone bigger and badder and now totally an honourary Taskel was glaring at him), and shrugged slightly in a "what can you do" kind of apology that wasn't any kind of apology at all.

Winston finally stopped staring into bird-Eilisa's eyes long enough to relay what she'd told him. “There's one Pet besides Thanatos himself. I'm to deal with him, then help with Thanatos. Apparently Aiden's snagged an extra telepath for our side? He's stronger than me, anyway, so I'm providing back-up, basically.”

That would have pissed Kiel off but, like, Winston didn't seem bothered. Relieved, actually, like he'd been scared he couldn't hold up against Thanatos alone and was glad to shoulder the burden off on to some other dude.

“Are there any, like, gold-eyed snots walking around, dude, because, like, I don't wanna go to sleep when I'm not sleepy, you know?”

Winston smirked as if he couldn't help himself, but shook his head. “Not that we've seen so far, but Aiden said to keep an eye out anyway.” He glanced up and down the line of sneakers sneakily sneaking behind the bushes and creepily creeping on the villa, nodding at the inquisitive jerk of one of the Therians' heads. (Like, seriously, dude, there were so many Sullivans here Kiel figured they must have reproduced on the way in. Like bunnies. Or cheefles.)

“So we go on, like, three, right? Like, on three or three and then go?” Zeph glanced at him, eyebrows totally furrowed in that secret way that looked like a scowl to everyone else but totally translated as "get on with it". Kiel shrugged and decided, “On three, then.” He waited 'til the others had shuffled into a good starting pose, then counted down and stage-whispered, “Go!”
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#15 User is offline   Maaike Icon

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 09:03 AM

Waiting on the sidelines while the clan's archers took out the bulk of the early responders and Kiel and Winston's team infiltrated the rear gardens (supposedly) was sheer torture. She didn't trust Kiel not to screw up, and she didn't trust that hulking lunatic of his to prioritise the captives if Kiel got hurt, and she didn't trust Winston as far as she could throw him (which wasn't far, all things considered, because all Dracovari seemed to win the genetic lottery in terms of height). Anyone who could let Aiden be hunted and villainised was worth a kick up the ass and possibly even a blade in the kidney, as far as she was concerned, and she was having a hard time just accepting Aiden's 'no seriously he wants to help' knowing how Winston had just stood by and watched the last time Aiden needed his help. She got that whole thing about redemption and making amends, and she appreciated the telepathic assistance, but his inaction was almost as bad as if he'd helped beat Aiden up and left him to bleed out in a back alley.

And don't even get her started on Jericho. That particular vlareon looked like he was taking a freaking nap, Xanth damn him. She was so very tempted to kick him in the nuts to double-check, even though the tiny furrow between his eyebrows suggested he was less napping and more concentrating. No wonder he wore sunglasses all the time. He looked constipated when he concentrated.

And then, finally, the archers stopped loosing their arrows, and Maaike was off like a shot across the front lawn before anyone could tell her to go. She was at the front door before she encountered resistance, the door refusing to open and then jerking wide to drag her halfway in with it. Maaike darted her head to one side just quick enough to duck a fist that slammed into the little circular window and shattered sparkling pieces of glass through her hair. Maaike snapped out her foot and bent the vlareon's knee backwards, following up with an uppercut when the goon shrieked and collapsed in over his leg. She left him dangling by his bleeding wrist from the door, his heavy body swinging it wide open so the rest of the rescue party could flood in behind her.

“Sammy!” Maaike was frantic as she searched through the villa for her baby boy, careless as she chased from one room to the next. One of Thanatos's minions tried to grab her from behind, but her senses were on hyper-alert and she snapped her fingers around his wrist to haul him over her shoulder, and stomped her boot into his face until he went limp. Another rushed her from the front, Anyeli wings spraying black feathers behind her as they scraped the narrow doorway on either side, long black hair flying behind her and morphing into a cloud of shadows at the tips. Maaike hunkered in low and took the Skotados out at the knees, flinging her backwards over Maaike's shoulder so she landed on her head. Maaike didn't stick around to see if that snap was the woman's neck breaking.

“Mama!”

Every muscle tensed, every nerve tingling as her ears strained to catch the cry again, to pinpoint Sammy's direction, her nose tipped up to scent the air. She whirled on her heel and darted the other way when she heard Sammy's voice again, rushing headlong through another door into the villa's open courtyard where a fountain sprayed up through a griffin's mouth beneath the shade of even more chiolen trees. Maaike lunged forward, head on a pivot as she scanned the courtyard for her baby — but then she slammed into an invisible wall and realised she couldn't move.
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#16 User is offline   Jericho Icon

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Posted 07 March 2015 - 09:36 AM

They were doing pretty well, all things considered — at first. Thanatos was a wily vlareon, and definitely more than Jericho could thwart alone, but with his goons distracted by the fighting and Winston taking out the other telepath, Jeri had a pretty good handle on things.

Until Maaike snapped, or something, and chased off right into Thanatos's kumo-like waiting arms. Jeri barely had a moment to realise she was responding to a child's cry that didn't exist, that Thanatos was playing them both like fiddles alongside each other. The slimy vlareon wasn't strong enough while tangling with the spiky tentacles Jericho had sent twisting into his mind to manage more than that one word, but it was enough for Maaike to lose all sense and race right into a trap. Before he knew it, Jericho was turfed from Thanatos's mind like the vlareon had been toying with him, and "woke up" blinking at a wolf.

He jerked, bolting the back of his head against chiolen bark before realising the wolf was one of the Therians left behind to watch his back. Or, well, his front, really, since he still had his back pressed up against the tree trunk, but it was the same difference.

“That stupid woman is in trouble. Where's your telepath friend. I need his help.”

The wolf's head tipped, twisting on its shoulders until it was looking at him sideways like it could understand him better if he was upside down. Jericho didn't have time to explain himself. He merely twitched his fingers and his eyebrows in a crystal-clear gesture of "Well?" until the wolf got the hint and chuffed in the direction of the "rearguard" (who even named these things? This wasn't an army, for Xanth's sake) where he could still hear fighting. Jericho jerked his head in a vague "thanks" before pulling himself to his feet and brushing grass from the seat of his trousers. “The things I do for my bodyguards.”

The wolf chuffed again before tipping off into the villa. Possibly to help that stupid woman, possibly to go and eat a baby. Jericho didn't know and didn't particularly care. He needed to go find a telepath so he could boost Jericho's own "signal" and team up against that slimy vlareon before said slimy vlareon one-upped them all.
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#17 User is offline   Aiden Icon

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Posted 08 March 2015 - 08:35 AM

Intently watching the villa's doors and windows, Aiden counted five guards that fell under the clan's whizzing arrows---not nearly enough, and they were smart enough to retreat back into the building. The guards would reappear on the balconies and alcoves soon enough, which was why they needed to get into the villa as soon as possible. Habitually glancing toward Maaike, Aiden lurched after her when he saw her go for the door, trusting that the clansmen would either watch their backs or follow. Leaping over the fallen door-guard, his eyes widened with worry when he saw his increasing distance from Maaike. He respected her love for Sammy, but the impatience was making her reckless. Side-stepping an overhand sword swing, Aiden pulled the 'vari's arm as it passed and jabbed the back of the man's neck. Leaving the stunned 'vari to the literal wolves, Aiden ran down the hallway in pursuit of Maaike. As a door swung open to reveal three guards, Aiden deflected a blow with his arm brace before slamming the man's head into the edge of the doorframe, ignoring the nasty crack that sounded. Catching the mercenary's axe as it fell, Aiden left it in the chest of the second guard. Aiden was sure he'd receive the painful end of the third man's broadsword---until an arrow suddenly sprouted out of the assailant's eye. Tapping two fingers to his forehand in a salute of thanks at Murphy, Aiden looked ahead just as the red of Maaike's hair flew behind a corner.

He was always a few meters behind in their frenzied chase. There were guards behind some of the doors that Maaike opened, and she was leaving the crew to deal with the guards' hostility. Coming face-to-face with a skotados at an intersection, he couldn't react in time before ice-cold shadows punched into his gut and wormed toward his throat. Grabbing the whip-like shadow, he pulled its owner into a kick, and as the goon hunched forward in pain, Aiden tore out the man's carotid with clawed hands.

Borrowing his leopard's nose, he eventually found Maaike standing a few meters away from him down a windowed hallway. She'd paused a few meters away from him, and his brows furrowed in confusion as Maaike pivoted in various directions. She was hearing things that he couldn't, and she darted into the garden before he could reach her.

Alarm shot through his veins and locked his muscles as he saw Maaike freeze unnaturally. A familiar slippery feel glazed over his brain (but it was still in his skull, wasn't it?). Heart pounding with dismay, Aiden could see the son-of-a-hydra's head gloating beyond the griffin statue, and four other guards were scattered in the room. The 'Pet's face was shiny with sweat, and forehead veins bulged with strain. Aiden had thought the Jericho-Winston team-up would have been enough to completely disable Thanatos, but they'd greatly underestimated the magistrate. Sluggishly lunging forward, Aiden intently shook Maaike by the shoulders. “Maaike!” As the nearest thug jabbed at them with a spear, Aiden turned his back to Maaike. He deflected the weapon too early, and the cut on his palm jolted him back to alertness. Closing the space between himself and the spearman, he kicked the man's knee outward before delivering two uppercuts.
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#18 User is offline   Maaike Icon

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 10:39 AM

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID, STUPID.

The moment Maaike slammed into the invisible wall, Maaike knew she'd been an idiot. It was such an obvious trap in hindsight. Jericho and Winston were supposed to have taken out the minion telepath and distracted Thanatos, but she should have known better than to think a slave-smuggling ring would make things easy. She'd assumed Thanatos was desperate at this point, that she and Aiden had put so many thorns in his side that he'd gotten sloppy.

Such a stupid mistake to walk into a trap this obvious.

“Is he even here?” Maaike's voice was thready. She wanted to blame it on the fact that she could barely move, her muscles seized by signals from a brain that wasn't her own. Mostly, though, it was terror and despair because she'd raced in here with barely a thought to anyone but her son. She'd dragged her whole clan, and their allies, into a war and then run off by herself. Stupid stupid stupid.

Thanatos's mouth split. She could barely see him, his silhouette melting into a swirl of shadows that surrounded him like a cloak. The Skotadi was out of sight, probably on the roof somewhere, just close enough to mask Thanatos's physical presence from the clan. The shadow cloak hid most of his face, too, so that his eyes were two pale dots of blue and his grin was a grotesque twist.

She couldn't call it a smirk or a smile. It was almost a grimace, actually, as if he was in pain and struggling to focus, but still determined to have the last laugh. At least Maaike knew now that Jericho wasn't slacking on his end of the deal. There was still far too much glee in Thanatos's expression, though.

“Do you want to know why I take such pleasure in trading dogs? Aside from the money, of course.” His voice was insidious, more in her head than in her ears. Maaike whimpered and tried to turn, to twist her head to see what all the noise was, to check if that really had been Aiden calling her name.

Thanatos was looking a bit wild-eyed, which gave Maaike at least some hope that Jericho and Winston's mental attacks were taking their toll, but it was going to be too little too late. She couldn't scream a warning, the muscles in her neck tightening until she could barely swallow.

Thanatos took her twitching efforts to get free as some sort of sign that, sure, yes, she desperately wanted to know why he was a sick vlareon. His eyes were vacant, flicking back and forth as if he wasn't watching the courtyard but something in his mind. He lifted a hand and pinched his fingers together. “You make for such good little puppets.”

Maaike's limbs twitched again, but not of her own volition this time. She struggled uselessly as her body twisted and flopped and turned. Her eyes widened in a warning that wouldn't reach her throat when she saw Aiden, distracted by his own little fight so he wouldn't see her coming, wouldn't realise she wasn't herself anymore.

Maaike's fingers curled into claws and she lashed out at Aiden's back.
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#19 User is offline   Aiden Icon

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 11:02 AM

As Aiden's hits connected, the spearman stumbled back in a daze, nose bleeding and weight collapsing over the broken leg. Ignoring the spearman's pained scream, Aiden pounced forward with claws stretched toward the man's jugular. No time for please or mercy. Thanatos was a blur of shadows, which meant that the skotadi was nearby but hopefully occupied with the concealment. He couldn't see his fourth opponent, but he could see a Zanaryan beyond the chiolens and a 'vari gaining proximity. With warm liquid still coating his left arm, Aiden shoved the dead spearman toward the charging 'vari, and the body temporarily pinned the goon to the ground. In the chaos of fighting their attackers, Aiden focus had been to protect himself and Maaike until reinforcements arrived. He'd assumed that Maaike was completely paralyzed, so her attack had come from a total blind spot. When her claws gouged and dragged down his shoulder-blade, Aiden's head snapped back with a howl. Hot pain shot down the cut and intensified over the already-tender skin where an apali had burnt him nearly a week ago. Staggering as he turned, Aiden's eyes widened with disbelief as he saw his own blood on Maaike's hands. His lungs felt ice-cold. Not again. Not again.

The sickening sensation of spiderlegs crawled over his mind, and Thanatos' voice sounded close in Aiden's skull. “Don't you hate betrayals?” It was ridiculously easy for Thanatos to flip the memory card of Renna and Droy. The female guardsman was nowhere near the villa, yet her image (or was it Maaike's?) blurred before Aiden's eyes, fangs bared, going for his throat, tearing into his arms. He had to evade her, or he would bleed out on the streets again. Was he still even in the courtyard? “Aiden Roy, you never learn.” As Maaike clumsily lurched toward him, Aiden instinctively grabbed her extended arm, threw her in a half-circle, and sent her tumbling as far away from him and the 'vari. “But don't tell me you're surprised,” laughed the voice of scorn, “of course she'd sell you for her son.”

Mind reeling with panic, Aiden picked up the fallen spear and glanced warily between his closest assailants. As the 'vari lunged, Aiden jabbed with his borrowed spear and advanced aggressively until his opponent rolled back into a defensive position. Recognizing the man's retreat, Aiden cautiously angled his weapon toward Maaike and glanced at her distrustfully. The gash on his back stung with every movement. He'd been a fool to let her backstab him. “Kill her. She'd do the same to you.” Vision red, the spear shook in Aiden's hands as he gripped it tightly. In a few steps, he could impale her while she was still---NO. He trusted her. Loved her. During that instant of doubt, he saw Maaike's body twitch on the ground. Struggling, battling internally, teeth bared in defiance at an invisible opponent.

Suddenly, a new voice urgently invaded Aiden's mind, and he fought back until he recognized the voice. “Thanatos can't puppeteer the both of you, so he's playing mind games. Don't fall for it!” The cobwebs disintegrated immediately. Thanatos had given up on battling four minds at once, but now the son-of-a-hydra was focused entirely on manipulating Maaike again. That had to stop. Snarling fiercely at the magistrate, Aiden threw the spear to the ground and turned his attention to the nearest thug. Freeze the rutilus. Thanatos wouldn't expect it, and even if he did, he wouldn't be able to protect the rutilus without either releasing Maaike or leaving an opening for Jericho. Leaping forward, Aiden's body shortened into a leopard as he felt Winston leave his mind. With a roar that rumbled through the courtyard, the leopard pounced over the distracted rutilus. Their enemy was heavily armored, and Aiden bit and clawed in search for weak-points until a column of earth sent him rolling a few meters away. As he regained footing and shook off the pain, the leopard tried running again. However, he was forced to retreat from a barrage of rocks and pillars from the Zanaryan's offensive. As spikes protruded from the ground in alarming succession, the leopard leapt away. He growled and paced as he stalked his target. The rutilus had discarded his helmet and was involuntarily kneeling in submission. Abruptly, the leopard pushed off the ground and ran toward the 'vari in sudden frenzy. He wouldn't get a better chance than this.

((Let me know if you want me to edit. >///<))
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#20 User is offline   Kiel Icon

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 04:15 PM

Okay. So, like, Kiel was pretty sure he'd totally underestimated their opponents (like, again) but no way was he ever gonna admit that to Zeph 'cause the dude was already kinda pissy with him for dragging him into the middle of someone else's fight (like, again) in the first place.

So far, they'd managed to take out the guards are the rear of the villa without much trouble. Like, as far as Kiel could say "without much trouble" 'cause, like, he seemed to attract Trouble like it was a bee and he was a flower dripping with delightful nectar. Or, like, maybe a wasp. Lampyridae? Something, like, crazy drawn to sugary stuff, anyway. Like, bees weren't all that bad, really, so it was probably more like a—

“Focus, dammit.” Zeph brushed Kiel's arm as he swept by, weapons unnerringly finding their targets like... Well, Kiel was just gonna go with that whole bee-nectar simile again 'cause his brain was, like, totally occupado with, like, stabbing people. Or, well, his katana was the one stabbing people, but, like, you know.

“Focus. Right. I can do that.”

He totally couldn't do that, though, especially when they rounded a corner of the villa and laced under the verdanda into the courtyard to find a leopard going at it with, like, half of Alexshire, and Maaike getting very calmly to her feet with bloody hands and a scarily vacant expression on her face.

“Like, woah, dude!” Kiel managed to hiss it quietly to keep their element of surprise, but it didn't last for long and that was totally not his fault, okay? Like, he lost track of Zeph in the semi-coordinated rush to take out that pesky Zanaryan, squealing as he dodged bullets made out of rock and zig-zagged between the jolting impact of heavy boulders. “This is not what I agreed to, okay?!” Kiel was doing a bang-up job of distracting the Zanaryan, at least. Like, Zeph would totally rip out his kidneys and feed them to Deri later for putting his neck on the chopping block, but it was totally worth it if it gave the others enough wiggle room to creep up on the Zanaryan and—

“Yahoo!” The Zanaryan gurgled, scowling down at the knife protruding through his spine and out of his chest like he wasn't sure what it even was or how it got there. Like, Kiel could sympathise. He'd gotten stabbed right through the thigh once and, like, dude, it was so weird seeing the blade come out the other end, all red and dripping and gooey.

Kiel wrinkled his nose at the Zanaryan as the dude keeled over under a flop of leather wings, then turned to the leopard he was kind of assuming was Aiden ('cause, like, all the Sullivans seemed to prefer canines and he didn't even know what Aiden's bro wore when he was furry) and yelled, “Gerrim, dude, go!”

Like, now they just had to figure out how to get to Thanatos but, like, dude, where under Hel was that guy?
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