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  1. #21
    Anakita Snakecharm



    The Charr were too far away. Rushing in and attempting to take the camp would bring the whole fighting force down on them at once, something to be avoided.

    Anakita didn't have to discuss the plan with the others; they knew what she would do. She notched an arrow in her longbow, and approached the roving scouts until she was within range. She stayed, as far as she could, behind rocks and other natural obstacles. They didn't notice her.

    Her job, now, was to "pull" a group of enemies toward them. Given the hostage situation, this was tricky business. The Charr fighters might simply slaughter the prisoners if they were aware of the attack. On the other hand, they could do so even if the guild did a single blitz attack, too; they had counted at least twelve Charr in the camp, likely a few more, so they couldn't occupy all the enemies at once anyway. Better to pick as many of them as possible off, then deal with the rest.

    When she was close enough, Anakita fired an arrow at the group of scouts, then turned and ran. The Charr generally perceived this as a cowardly action, and would pursue the fleeing human... right into the arms of an ambush. They never seemed to learn. Anakita hoped that today, this blind spot would work in her favour yet again.

    She reached the halfway point between the scouts and the guild, and looked back. They had followed her a short distance, but now seemed to be considering letting her go, seeing her as not worth the bother. Letting her go was exactly what Anakita didn't want them to do. She ran back into range and launched two more arrows in succession, aiming to annoy rather than to kill.

    This time, it definitely worked. She felt the stinging cold of a hex, and her legs seemed to stiffen beneath her. The Charr couldn't see Anakita's face; she was smiling. They were doing exactly what she wanted them to do, although they had no idea. A long-range spell from Mara removed the hex, and Anakita sprinted back toward their line at top speed.

    The Charr scouting party charged after her. The guild was waiting.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #22
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Constance

    It was in difficult situations like this where the temper of a group’s mettle was truly tested. The Warrior crouched behind a jagged rock with her compatriots as Anakita made her move. Part of her hated this method of attack. For one, it lacked the straight-forwardness she preferred in life and secondly, it meant that someone had to act as bait. The ends often justified the means, however. This time proved no different.

    She made two counts after Anakita raced past her before leaping out into the path of the approaching Charr. Two Axe Fiends. Nothing she and Eiran couldn’t handle. The two Warriors should be able to keep their respective marks busy enough to keep them from breaking through the line and attacking their rangers and casters. It wouldn’t be quite that simple, though, as the Charr scouting group also had a Wardkeeper and Seeker on their side.

    The trick was to keep her foe between her and the enemy’s arrows. The spells’ effects were being dealt with by Mara – and the rest of the rear-ward team focused their efforts on the Seeker – who had, in turn, been targeting Mara. The group worked as a well-oiled machine. The snarls and clattering of the enemy died down quickly – but then picked up again. The other Charr in camp had heard the commotion and the Guild soon found six more enemies to battle. Hexreapers, Seekers and more metal-bearing heavy-hitters.

    Constance barely caught the first one on his way through their small front line. Everyone had been flat-out running all day – and they were up against rested Charr. It was a good thing Constance wasn’t one for playing the odds. Her axe found its mark regardless of armour, hex or muscle burn. It didn’t really matter how many enemies they faced – they had their task – and she knew none of them would rest until it was completed.

    When the last of the attacking forces were eliminated, Connie immediately began limping up the hill – not waiting for healing of her conditions. She just wanted to get to the top and find Nimue. It wasn’t a long climb to the top, but the scene froze her in her tracks. A Charr Fire Caller stood beside a tent with a ramshackle grate across the front, a wild glint in his eyes. Clearly he was mid-spell – apparently ready to set the tent on fire.

    She wasn’t sure why she had stopped. It wasn’t as though she could talk him out of what he was going to do – but she wouldn’t have the time to reach him before he completed the spell, either. Regardless, Constance charged forward with a yell, hoping to at least throw off his concentration before he could bring down his fire.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  3. #23
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Mara Dayne & Kiara Danae




    It was a roll that Mara excelled at. She was born to be a Monk, to heal and protect others. More so than any of her other skills, these are the ones she often used the most. Whether is was protection from a hex spell or healing from some kind of ailment, this is what Mara did. She never complained, never turned down an opportunity to help even those outside of her guild. She was determined to be there for her guild sisters, all of them when they needed her and when there was a potential of great pain and death, she was driven even more than usual.

    They all knew that Nimue was in poor condition, perhaps even already dead, but that did not stop their dogged determination to get to her. They also knew that she had been changed by the Searing, the loss of family, friends, her fiance, it was more than she wanted to deal with. It wasn’t her first suicide mission, she’d had many, more than they were all likely aware of. Besides her guild family, Nimue had no one and the monk could see why she volunteered for these missions. She had nothing to lose.

    Kiara took a stance across the way from Eiran and pulled the string of her bow taught. At the first sign of Charr, she would let the arrows fly. Ginger stood next to her, a low growl in her throat and muscles tense, waiting for her command to attack. Neither Mara nor Kiara slowed even after all the Charr had fallen, racing up the hill after Constance and they hoped Nimue.
    Peace is a lie
    There is only passion
    Through passion I gain strength
    Through strength I gain power
    Through power I gain victory
    Through victory my chains are broken
    The Force shall set me free

  4. #24
    Anakita Snakecharm



    Kismet Snakeheart



    Anakita too noticed the Fire Caller in mid-cast. She swore under her breath, notched an arrow, and aimed to interrupt. Her arrow struck his left shoulder, not piercing his heart but embedding in the muscle, and he dropped the piece of twisted black iron he used as a focus for his spells.

    The Ranger grinned. He could cast without a focus, of course, but he would be at a disadvantage in concentration as well as bereft of whatever magical effects his personal focus provided. The spell preparation he had just done was also wasted, and he would have to start over.

    This lag time gave Constance a chance to attack, as Anakita had hoped it would, and she moved on to the next target.

    Kismet, meanwhile, had charged ahead too, and she was the first to the tent where the prisoners were being held. The two guards looked at her with surprise. She was a female, so she wasn't supposed to be there, but she was also a Charr. Was she an enemy? They hesitated.

    This hesitation proved lethal. Kismet's stilettos flashed, seeking weak points in armour and flesh. It was over before the guards had the chance to put up more than a token resistance.

    Kismet was no medic. She had no healing spells. Fire was getting thrown around, though, and the tents were at risk of catching ablaze. While yelling for the "Mender"... by which she meant Mara... she grabbed Nimue by the shoulders and started dragging her out of the line of fire.

  5. #25
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Nimue Dominia



    Marek at first wasn’t sure what to make of the commotion outside. It wasn’t until he heard the familiar running of Charr feet along the ground that he realized that something was going on outside. Was it to their favor? He wasn’t sure, and if it wasn’t he had to protect Nimue. But the guards kept them weak barely fed them so that they could not use any of their skills.

    When the female Charr came through the tent, he too was stunned and when she came over toward Nimue, he stood to his feet ready to defend his love.


    “Get away from her!”

    He took a step toward Kismet ready to use whatever strength he had to get her away from Nimue. It wasn’t until she started calling for the mender and saw a human monk run through the tent that Marek paused in his actions. Mara had followed Kismet straight toward the tent and had practically been on the young female’s heels.

    “Oh! Dwayna!” Mara let slip out when she saw Nimue.

    Mara knelt at Nimue’s side and gently brushed her hand against her guild sister’s forehead. She was burning to the touch and the dried blood around her lips frightened her.

    “Please let it not be too late Dwayna.” Mara silently prayed as she began to try and remove as many conditions from Nimue as she could.

    Marek stood back as more humans started to appear, he wasn’t sure what to make of everything going on. Were they saved, was this some elaborate illusion by the Charr? Kiara came up but stood out of the way while Mara did her thing. Marek stood out of the way too, despite his need to be by Nimue’s side.

    When Mara looked ready to collapse, the blue aura that often surrounded her when healing faded. She let out a ragged breath and looked at Nimue.


    “Nimue, please open your eyes. It’s Mara.”

    It took a moment but Nimue finally stirred. When she finally opened her eyes, Kismet was in her line of sight. The mesmer’s brow furrowed and she coughed, grimacing at the remaining pain she felt, but no longer in danger of dying.

    “Mara?” She replied weakly.

    “Why do…you…you look like a Charr.”

    Nimue’s breathing was rather rapid, but Mara had spent all the energy she could. The Mesmer would need a few days for her body to recover the rest of the way, but she’d have to do it back in the safety of the camp.

    “Um…Nimue.” Mara replied softly, drawing Nimue’s attention.

    “That’s Kismet, she helped save you.”

    But the young Charr was quickly forgotten when Nimue remembered hearing Marek’s voice. She went to sit up and almost fell back down; Mara grabbed her and helped her to sit up.

    “Marek!”

    “I’m here my lady.” He replied as he came to her side.

    Now that she could actually find strength to speak and remain conscious the words came out.

    “Please tell me I’m not dreaming. This isn’t an illusion.”

    “You’re not dreaming and it isn't an illusion.” Marek said with a smile.

    It was all that Nimue could do to keep from weeping. Marek wrapped his arms around her and held her. For years they'd been denied this, Nimue thinking Marek dead and Marek wondering if he'd ever see her again.

    "Lyssa be praised." She whispered.

    After several moments, Nimue finally and reluctantly pulled away from Marek long enough to see her guild sisters standing in the tent, her attention going back to the female Charr. She knew that others of her guild had allied with some of the Charr taking a stand against their own, but it was difficult for Nimue to let go what they had done over all to her land, her people and those she loved.

    "I wasn't expecting a rescue, but thank you."

  6. #26
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    Constance Terpein

    A split second after Anakita’s arrow had hit home, Constance’s axe visited itself upon the Charr Fire Caller. He had thrown up an arm to defend himself, but an arm was a poor shield. She took it from him and continued to batter his body until he rose no more. Amidst the battle-induced haze, she had heard the Charr child call for a “Mender”. Was that a good thing? Perhaps, as it meant that whomever needed mending was not yet dead. Her guild had made short work of the remaining foe – she stood alone on the field – apart from the current area of focus.

    She trotted up, axe bloodied past the handle, breathing hard. It was indeed Nimue, though the warrior had trouble recognizing her at first for the injuries the woman had sustained. Despite her need for air, Constance fairly held her breath as Mara worked her skills on their guild sister. The axe-wielder almost made herself pass out doing so and finally took a deep, gasping breath while steadying herself with the point of her weapon pressed into the earth. The gasp quickly turned into a sigh of relief as Nimue shifted and spoke.

    The Mesmer’s first words brought a small smile to her face – her next word, or rather, name – brought the man who stepped forward into sharp focus. Constance scrutinized him, searching his thin face and dirty appearance for anything out of place. Could this really be Nimue’s Marek? The man she’d been dead and dying for all these years? It couldn’t be. Yet, everything suggested that it truly was him – if anyone would know, it would be Nimue, even in the state she was in – and Constance saw nothing but care and love in the man’s eyes.

    Constance looked away when Nimue thanked them for coming. In truth, she was still a little embarrassed at how fervently she had insisted that they needed to go after Nimue. Of course the Mesmer hadn’t expected a rescue – Connie had gone a little maternal, apparently. Yet, Anakita had agreed with her that the note had been suspicious – and obviously, her concerns had been valid. Nimue had nearly died on this little expedition. Her blood boiled as she thought of the commanding officers in Piken, lounging within their walls after having sent a lone woman out to do the work of an entire party.

    But, now was not the time for resentment. They had made it in time. Nimue was safe – and against all odds – had found her love once more. Her friend was still in rough shape, though. The other prisoners were not in grand health either. They were in no shape to be making the trip back to Piken Square – especially with Mara spent. As unsavoury as it was to spend more time in the Charr camp where these people had been imprisoned, it was looking more and more necessary.

    Still avoiding eye contact with most of the guild, Constance bent to move an enemy corpse away from a circle of stones meant to contain a fire. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be a part of this…reunion, it was that she felt as though if she saw even one sisterly glance sent in any which way, she would likely cry. Why did her heart beat so when she suspected Nimue was in danger? How did she run so hard and so long without faltering? How was it that she felt at home even on a burned-out mesa in the middle of a Charr camp? More at home than she had in Yak’s Bend, the place of her birth, at the hearthside of her family?

    Constance gave another corpse the heave-to, out of sight and out of mind, still deep in thought. Was this what Mara and Anakita had been talking about when they spoke of being a family? She hadn’t cared so much for a mission in…a very long time. Her chest ached on her left side and she absently rubbed at it through her armour. This feeling was familiar. It was deeper than simple care, more meaningful than fondness. Constance knew it had to be love – and that scared her. It hurt to love, because the people you loved more often than not died before you were ready. Was she really ready to take this chance? To risk her heart on these people in her guild?

    Her eyes moved to watch the scene in the tent. It struck her that as many years Nimue had spent in torment for love, that they wouldn’t so much be a day in her memory. It was as though she had been rewarded for being faithful to the emotion. She smiled. Surely for Nimue the joy of returning would far outweigh the pain of loss. Constance’s eyes swept the faces of the people around her. She knew, knew, that these people were more dear to her than those who shared her last name. They were her true family – the connection to life she had been searching for all this time – it ended here.

    Was she ready to take the chance? Risk her heart? Constance smiled, knowing that it was already too late to be asking such a thing.

  7. #27
    Anakita Snakecharm



    Anakita couldn't really do anything for Nimue. She had a fairly minor ability to heal herself, as most Rangers did, but no skills that would assist anyone else. She was worried, though, so she sort of... hovered... until she was sure Nimue would be alright.

    Her eyes flicked over to Marek. Was he for real? If so, this was amazing news, perhaps the glue that would restore Nimue's shattered soul. But what were the chances? Was this some kind of scam? If so, he'd be getting an arrow through the heart. And other parts of his anatomy.

    She couldn't even imagine what it had felt like, for Nimue to lose the man she loved for so long.

    Well... actually Anakita could imagine it. When she had made her first journey to the North of Tyria, her group had been running from Destroyers and a malfunctioning Asura Gate had separated her from the rest of the party - including Stefan. She had assumed everyone who had not made it through the Gate was killed.

    For several months, Anakita had suffered silently, not having told anyone how she felt about Stefan... including Stefan himself. She had gotten drunk too often, taken stupid risks with her life, and cried alone when no one could see her. Anakita's pain had only lasted a few months, though, before a mission took her back to Ascalon and she had bumped into Stefan, Alesia, and Orion at the Sardelac Sanitarium. Anakita had been beyond relieved - and before long, had finally begun pursuing a relationship with Stefan.

    Nimue had suffered for years, not a few months. Anakita's heart went out to her. This pain was clearly eating the Mesmer alive day by day. Anakita could only hope that today was the start of a new happiness, for Nimue and her love.

    The Ranger disliked admitting the necessity of camping out for the night. She wanted to be home. She wanted to be with Stefan and her children - whom she missed with a burning ache.

    Well, the burning ache wasn't entirely emotional, if she was frank. Her breasts were swollen with milk and felt hot and painful, telling her that her babies needed to be fed, but her babies were far away tonight. Obviously her body couldn't comprehend that, so she was uncomfortably sore and leaked milk into the cloths that bound her chest beneath her armour.

    Her belly, too, rubbed unpleasantly against the leather. Skin and muscle had stretched with the unnaturally rapid pregnancy, and she hadn't yet lost the baby weight. How would Stefan ever find her body attractive again?

    Even as she absently helped set up the camp, Anakita's thoughts were focused back home. She wanted to kiss her children goodnight. She wanted to sleep beside Stefan, and feel his arms encircle her. More than she cared to admit, she missed them.

    That worried her. Any parent would miss their child... but was she becoming too dependent on Stefan? Anakita wasn't used to people sticking around. If Stefan left, Anakita could do all the necessary practical tasks, but she would feel emotionally bereft. Was that normal? Did other married couples feel that way?

    Anakita couldn't remember her parents' marriage very well, and her grandparents had probably loved each other but never showed a sign of it in front of the children. Rhodri's flitting from woman to woman had been emotionless. How was she supposed to know?

    Was it normal for a wife to love her husband as much as she did? Was it wrong to feel like she needed him? Did that mean she was weak?

    The Ranger sighed, wrapping herself in her cloak, trying to sleep, trying to ignore the ache in her chest, and the one in her heart.

  8. #28
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Nimue had remained quiet through most of the night, partially due to fatigue from her injuries. She would sleep soundly with the healing that Mara had provided. Mara did what she could to comfort and aide the others as well before passing out in the corner of the tent from exhaustion. Her guild sister’s would let her sleep, knowing that she needed the rest and would likely be needed in the next day depending on what the gods threw their way.

    Kiara and Eiran took their respective shifts on guard duty while the others slept so that the more experienced members of their guild could help guide the rescued refugees to the nearest outpost. Nimue had awakened before dawn safely wrapped within Marek’s embrace. She didn’t mind the physical pain so much, not when she’d finally recovered the missing pieces of her soul. She knew the others would be stirring soon, not wanting to give any Charr an advantage to retake the lot of them.

    She looked over at Anakita and the young female Charr, fighting the hatred that had grown over the years. The Mesmer would not say anything however; she knew that many of her guild members had allied with rebellious factions in the Shiver Peaks. Rebellious factions or not, letting go of this kind of anger and hatred would take time. For now, she concentrated on getting out of here and somewhere safe where she could spend quality time with Marek, somewhere they could be alone.

    Not long after, Mara stirred and began checking on the refugees before stopping near where Nimue now sat. Whether Nimue had wanted it or not, Mara had hugged her guild sister before engaging in a quick conversation of how she felt. Unlike many of her guild mates, Mara would not outright ask her what she’d been thinking when she’d taken this assignment. Instead, she thanked Dwayna and went about looking after everyone.

    Soon Kiara and Eiran came in looking a bit tired by rearing to go. Regardless of the fact that Mara was more of a senior member of the guild, they all waited for Anakita. Mara was perfectly capable of handling the lead, and would give insight when needed, but she preferred to let her guild members take the lead so she could concentrate on healing. By the time Anakita was ready to lay out the plan, the others would all be waiting.

  9. #29
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Constance

    Nervous energy always seemed to grab more from her reserves than anything else. She was very glad for the eager youngsters jumping at the chance to take the watches; Constance was asleep faster than she would have liked. When she awoke in the morning, it took awhile to figure out where she was. Her eyes floated around the camp until they came to rest on Nimue in the arms of a man she didn’t yet recognize – and remembered.

    The Warrior lifted herself cleanly into a vertical position, stretching out her back muscles for a moment before getting on with breaking camp. They hadn’t brought provisions for a morning meal, but fortunately the Charr had made such plans. The food was barely palatable by human standards, but Constance did her best. Being a former innkeeper had its benefits.

    Mara’s instant care for others never failed to amaze Constance. The moment she was awake, the Monk began tending to the injured. Anakita was looking a little rough – she could guess as to why – but didn’t comment. Kiara and Eiran looked enthusiastic as always. It struck Constance again how it didn’t seem to matter the place or the circumstance, her guildmates always seemed to act in a predictable manner.

    It felt good having that stability – that sense of ‘always’. She regarded Nimue again. Part of her wanted very dearly to tell the Mesmer that she would be hamstrung if she ran off on something like this again – but that was where she stopped herself. Nimue was not a child. It wasn’t her place to say such a thing, even though she was concerned for her friend. But, perhaps that wasn’t it either. As she thought on it, Constance realized that the threat would likely be unnecessary. One takes a suicide mission because she puts no value on her own life. With Marek back in Nimue’s, Constance had a feeling that the mesmer’s opinion of her own importance would change. Better late than never.

    A tiny smirk was on her lips as she passed two plates of food to Nimue and Marek. Without letting go of the plate, she leaned in a little closer and whispered.

    “Next time, I choose the tavern. Not only is there no ale, the food is the pits.”

  10. #30
    Anakita Snakecharm



    Kismet Curseheart



    Anakita woke to the feeling of a foot prodding her not-so-gently in the back, although to Kismet's credit, she was careful not to do any damage with her claws.

    "Get up! It's breakfast time!" Kismet called out enthusiastically. "It'll be the first good meal we've had since I met you!"

    Then Kismet dashed off, spinning in an excited circle, a movement which showed - rather unusually, for the small Charr - just how young she was. If Anakita had doubted whether she was right to spare Kismet's life, moments like this confirmed it. Even Charr deserved the chance to grow up, and to determine their own fates.

    The Ranger scrambled awkwardly to her feet, still not used to having so much padding around the belly, and walked a short distance away from the camp, where she crouched behind a rock to re-bind her chest and relieve herself. It wasn't really very private - nowhere was in this open terrain - but the others had the good grace not to look.

    Not wanting to use up any of their limited water reserves on mere aesthetics, she washed her face and hands in a relatively clean puddle. It wasn't the first time she'd gone without a proper bath, and she didn't mind staying dirty, but it was another reminder that she wasn't as close to home as she would have liked to be.

    Anakita returned to camp, and accepted a breakfast plate from Kismet. "Just... meat?" she asked, examining the repast.

    Kismet looked confused. "Well, yeah. You guys just eat the other stuff because you can't get enough meat to keep you full, right?"

    "Um... no," Anakita replied, but she was hungry. She didn't bother explaining the human diet, or further criticizing the food, she just tucked in so they could get on their way as soon as possible.

    When they had finished, Anakita got down to business.

    "Nimue, Marek - it's great to have you back! We missed you."

    Then, feeling mildly embarrassed over this moment of sentimentality, she gave a one shoulder shrug and moved on.

    "As you know... the pass still needs to be secured."

    Kismet grinned, showing teeth. "Yay! More action!" Then, to Anakita, she added innocently, "Guess you won't be seeing Stefan for awhile, huh?" Then, when the Charr saw the effect of her words, she added with obvious confusion, "Hey, how come you're crying?"

    "I'm not crying," Anakita replied with annoyance. "I just got some dust in my eye."

    She wasn't crying, she told herself... there weren't tears rolling down her cheeks or anything. Crying over something so trivial would show how weak falling in love had made her. Yes, there was a little moisture in her eyes, but that didn't mean she had reached the level of crying. It was just hormones, anyway, she reminded herself. Having a baby made you crazy for awhile. It didn't mean she wasn't perfectly alright without him, for as long as she needed to be.

    She had left plenty of milk for the babies, and Stefan was more than capable of caring for the family in her absence. So why was Anakita feeling so torn up about being away from them? Why was Stefan's absence like a thorn in her boot? It wasn't as though she wasn't able to take care of herself without a man to protect her! What was wrong with her? When had she gotten so needy?

    Anakita blinked, getting rid of the evidence of her folly. She hoped the others would have the grace to either ignore it, or to blame the post-pregnancy blues.

    "I think we're the guild who is ready to do the job. Are you all with me?"

    It wasn't ideal, so soon after the rescue of one... no, two... of their own. If not their guild, though, then who would?
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 07-16-2011 at 01:08 AM.

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