05.09.3013: The Seen & Unseen
Summary: A small search party including a handful of Arboren and an Orelle come across a terrible truth: They Are Here.
Date: 9 May 2013
Related: None
Arboren Tristan Brienne Eilara Lyrienne Hostiles 

Somewhere in the Woods, The Spine
Somewhere in the woods, south of the tree-city of Arborenin.
May 8, 3013

It is midafternoon, though the thick canopies of broad leaves keep the day mostly cool and glowing a soft green. It has been strangely peaceful, perhaps even a bit quiet. There is the occasional twitter of birds and soft rustling of underbrush as an animal skitters past. Tristan and Brienne Arboren, along with a men-at-arms named Ren, have been relegated to an off-beaten path that their missing cousin and his wife might have gone. So far, their tracking and searching have been for naught.

Ren has been on point, pausing to squat down to look over the occasional of soft peat to see if there's anything worthwhile that may guide them to their next direction.

Slightly discouraged, Brie continues her silent trek through the forest. At home here more than anywhere, she can breathe in deep and just appreciate being away from the city. Her steps are virtully silent despite the underbrush beneath her boots. Watching Ren, she nibbles absently on her lower lip, before she follows up by looking for clues or recently traveled areas.

Keeping most of his attention on the surroundings, Tristan glances over at Ren every now and then, but otherwise decides to keep most of his attention on the surroundings. Keeping quiet, as he often does, as he looks around rather carefully.

"Are we sure they didn't decide to run off to Niveus?" Ren grunts as he lifts from his squat, stretching out his back. He reaches up to scratch at his scruffy, salt-and-peppered beard. He glances toward the pair of Arboren nobles, offering them a quick and only slightly apologetic smile. "I'm sure they are okay," he offers the younger knights and their Lady sister. His nostrils flare a bit as if he might smell something in the earthy air.

Breaking the silence, Brie glances over. "See anything yet?" Her words are whispered, cause she knows in the forest, sound travels far and wide and disturbing animals was about the same as shouting. Her attention swaps just as swiftly back to Ren. "We're not really sure of anything, Ren. They may be okay, but we're leaving nothing to chance, we've at least got to know."

Eilara is silent as she can be while they walk through the forest, both with her footsteps and her lack of vocalization. The bird usually found perched on her shoulder occasionally flies ahead of them, but so far nothing seems to be of note. It circles back to settle upon its 'perch' once more. Ren's comment elicits a rather wry smile, though she does not outright laugh. Yet. As they explore, she pauses every so often to examine the trail for obvious signs of recent human activity.

"Can you ever be sure of anything? But I believe if they had ran off there, they would not really have said anything." Tristan's quiet reply comes. "Our job out here is to find out if they are in this area, after all." Another quick look around, before he looks over to his sisters, and then to Ren again. "No sign of anything yet?"

With the breeze comes… what was that? Brie smells the usual smells of the forest, the earthy scents of the soil, the underbrush of leaves that rots beneath the freshly fallen ones, the fresh green leaves still on the trees, the baking of the sun on the bark of the tree. Underneath it all is something new, different. Ominous. Lifting her chin, she breathes in the air and looks towards where the breeze is blowing from. "Tris? Lara? Either of you.. What is that?"

Eilara sniffs the air several times. "Do you all—?" she looks to her siblings, brows arched. She crouches for a moment, lips pursed together solemnly. "I can't tell what it is, but it smells wrong," she whispers, shaking her head gravely.

And in a similar fashion as his sisters, Tristan smells that smell as well. "This feels bad…" Readying his bow and an arrow as he looks to the west. "There's something not right there…" Looking between the others now. "We should go check it out."

Ren must have been distracted by something, for when the three Arboren catch that odd scent on the breeze, he turns from where he was going and stares in the direction the siblings. He breathes in deep, clearing his own nostrils, and when he catches it, his brows launch over his dark eyes. "We should… perhaps check it out, Lord, Ladies?"

"Yes." Immediately Brie agrees. "Let's do it." Keeping her chin in the air, she continues allowing her nose to guide her. "Surely it can't be far." With soft steps, she walks along the forest floor, careful to be as silent as possible, lest they come across something not so friendly. Her hand is on the pommel of her sword at her side, prepared to draw and strike if need be to protect her younger siblings.

Armed with only her bow and raven (and of course the Awakened abilities she has struggled with for years) Eilara hovers behind Brienne as they quietly slip through the foliage in search of the strange smell and, hopefully, their relatives. She moves with her bow at the ready, eyes always searching for sudden movement.

Tristan keeps the bow and arrow ready as he starts moving along the forest with the others, once in a while glancing around at their surroundings now. Expression one of concentration as he glances at Brienne and Eilara every now and then.

"Stay behind," the men-at-arms says, quite protective of his Arboren wards. He draws from his own belt the shortsword. He glances toward the pair of Knights and the Lady sister before he starts to head toward the origin of the smell. It is then that the quiet becomes evident — bird twitters are scattered at the far edges, and it appears that animal life is quite sparse. The breeze continues to carry that strange smell, and it gets stronger as they near the thinning of trees ahead.

While she moves towards the offending odor, which she has her own suspicions about, Brie glances back now and again to make sure nothing is following them. When the order comes from the guard, she straightens with a rather unhappy look. But she listens, mostly… she still follows, but she keeps a small distance between him. Looking back though she passes along the message. "Stay behind." A cocky grin given the younger siblings.

Eilara rolls her eyes at Brienne - she was already behind, so she won't make a point of rushing forward now. But it's clear the words aren't really affecting her behavior. "What do you think happened?" she whispers quietly to Tristan as they continue to tiptoe forward.

"Not sure. Something bad," Tristan replies, shaking his head a little at Brienne's grin, before he moves a little over to the side, so he can get a good look past both the older sister and the armsman. Glancing around, then towards that thinning again.

With a soft laugh, Brie looks back and winks. "I swear none of you ever listened for anything. Even for your own good." The words aren't malicious, just teasing. She's just trying to lighten the moment because she's afraid of what they may find.

As the group of Arboren break through the clearing, it appears — at first — that all is quite normal. That putrid, somewhat sweet smell is potent. It might originate from the wide and long smear of dark, viscous liquid that is drawn across the mossy grasses. There is an awkward shadow that sways across the clearing, and it somehow draws the eye because of its sheer misplacement.

"By the Six," Ren says quietly as his eyes fall on the terrible sight above them.

There, spread across the void, is the dangling body of Lord Sir Rydick Arboren. His arms are spread out, wrists bound by metal cord that is tied around the branches of opposite trees. His lower half is completely absent, scraps of his torso dangling down in dark red vines. He is stripped with a strange sigil carved into the center of his chest that for now is hard to fully discern.

Horrified, Eilara lifts a hand to her mouth to stifle any distressed noises that threaten to escape. She halts in her tracks at first, too scared to even breathe. "No," she whispers finally, shaking her head in furious disbelief. Damn staying behind, she charges forward to investigate after taking a long, steadying breath.

"Just like our older siblings," Tristan remarks a bit lightly, before he pales a bit as he looks up and sees the terrible sight there. "Who… Who would do something like this?" Eyes narrowing a bit as he looks around, as if looking for some kind of clues.

When horror would have taken the place of the teasing smile just moments before, Brie carefully composes her features to a grim neutrality. "STOP Lara, don't mess up the area, we've got to look for clues before everything is trampled over!"

Silence haunts the men-at-arms who stands just in front of the three Arboren. Ren stares up at the dangling body for a long moment before he glances with a grimace toward Lady Sir Brienne. "Sir Brienne is right…" He rolls his shoulders a bit. "We should cut the body down," he says after a heartbeat.

"I'm not messing anything up," Eilara hisses at Brienne - indeed, she is very careful with her steps, and she does not actually -touch- the body or anything around. She just moves in for a closer look. "No," she whispers again, her eyes beginning to brim up with tears - but she blinks them away, or at least tries to.

With a deep breath, Brie forces herself to look up. She closes her eyes, the only show of weakness she affords herself before nodding to the men at arms. "Why?" But the dead body remains silent, of course, concealing all the answers. Shaking her head, she says nothing further to Eilara, only shakes her head at the hissing words, deciding to choose her battles and opt out of this one. Moving forward to where the metal cord is tied around the trees, she looks at the bases of those trees, then lifting her gaze up the branches, looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Muttering something rather quietly, Tristan looks around for a few moments longer, before he nods. "Let us see if there's something down here first, then we'll bring him down." Looking around the area below the body now, crouching down and taking a look. "And where's Lady Trella?" he asks, after a few moments of pause now.

Ren pauses at the question from Tristan, and he grimaces. "I don't know if I wish her alive or dead based on what we are seeing here…" He nods his head in agreement, however, and he starts to stalk off to sweep the ground level of the forest clearing, keeping his eyes averted from the sight of the strung-up lord. There are patches of flattened grass, though it is really hard to tell initially what has caused the obscure divots in the grassy green.

For those who've only known Lyrienne in the last few years, she's nearly unrecognizable. For the Arborenin she grew up with, she's a familiar if long unseen sight in comfortable dun and green leathers with a bow over her shoulder and a cap over her fair hair. She and the Arboren archer with her make little noise as they approach, until Lyrienne's breath catches at the sight. "Oh, no," she sighs, looking pained.

Rarely is Brie caught by surprise, but she'd been studying the tree where the metal cord was tied around. She notices the odd scarring on the trunks, but otherwise safe. Hearing the words, the eldest Arboren sister spins around to see who had come up. Relaxing when she sees who it is, she nods solemnly. "Just trying to look for clues or a trail now to follow."

Eilara turns to watch Lyrienne when she hears the woman approach the clearing, not startled. She offers a faint smile of recognition, but it fades quickly for obvious reasons. With a solemn nod, she turns to continue investigating, crouching and peering at the obscure divots in an attempt to reason through what they might be from.

"Well, as long as there's chance of finding her alive, we need to do what we can," Tristan remarks to Ren, before turning as he hears Lyrienne's words. Offering her a quiet nod, he lets out a bit of a sigh. "Not a good way for anyone to end their days…" he says, a bit quietly.

Ren joins the other head-turning toward the sound of the approach, and he blinks at the sight of the Orelle and her Arboren guard. He inclines his head, though he looks a touch uncertain. "Lady Lyrienne," he says softly as he glances toward the other Arboren siblings before he continues to step cautiously around the clearing. "No, not a good way," he agrees solemnly.

Lyrienne smiles faintly to the others as she joins their group, though her smile fades as well. She knows enough to walk carefully along the perimeter of the clearing, doing her best not to add to the disturbances already left behind. "Well, there doesn't seem to be anything significant the way I came," she offers softly.

As for Brie, she's standing at the base of a tree that has one of the metal cords attached. She's seriously considering climbing it to release the cord if able, but she thinks better of it and looks back towards the others. "Thanks, Lyrienne. It's good to see you again. I'm sorry it's in these conditions." Staunchly she avoids looking at the dangling corpse.

Eilara is not terribly far from where their cousin hangs, probably crouching and combing the ground for clues. She nods to Lyrienne, sadly so, but adds nothing to the conversation just yet. Her expression is a very grim one. "We have to find her," she states resolutely, without an ounce of hesitation.

Moving over towards the other of the trees the cords are attached to, Tristan looks back to Lyrienne for a few moments. "Yes, like Brie said, it's good to see you again. Although it's not the best of circumstances. Looking up the tree a bit carefully now. "Makes sense, what he said…" he mutters to himself.

Ren nods his head gently to Lyrienne's assessment, and he puffs out his cheeks. "The smell brought you here?" He asks, though it is also more like a statement, and he glances toward the former Ward of Arborenin. As he takes a precarious step onto a small hump of grass, it activates a sudden and high-pitched squeal. Ren immediately starts turning away from the noise, but its too late. From out of the canopies of one of the trees is a solid whoosh and a thick barb pierces Ren's chest, cutting through his simple leather armor and poking through the other side. There is a heartbeat pause, just long enough to breathe, and then that is the last that is seen of Ren. His body is yanked toward the treetops violently, disappearing into the shadows of the thick leaves. All that remains where he stood is his fallen sword.

From the southern-most edge of the clearing, a voice belonging to an unseen entity crackles to life, and it speaks in a complete and utter deadpan. "Surrender your weapons."

"The smell," Lyrienne nods to Ren with a flicker of a grimace. "It's distinct-" Her words are cut off with a sharp cry as Ren is yanked away into the canopy and that command to lower weapons comes. Instead of reaching for her bow, though, she steps behind the cover of the nearest tree, closing her eyes and reaching for a different sort of weapon. Beneath her lashes, her eyes glow white, and from behind the tree, her aura lights like the aurora borealis, a shimmering curtain of gold and teal and pale pink. In sharp contrast to those peaceful colors, though, is the crackling ball of lightning that forms between her hands.

Surrender her weapon? Yeah.. No. Drawing it, Brie keeps her back to the tree and holds up her shield, prepared to ward off anything that tries to impale her. Ren… her hands tighten on her sword and her shield. "Get down," she whispers vehemently to her younger siblings.

Readying the bow and arrow as he sees what's happening to Ren, wincing a bit as he aims in the direction of the voices. "Identify yourself!" he calls out, ready to send off the arrow as quickly as he can. Glancing very momentarily over to Brie, then back to where the voices came from.

"Failured to comply will result in immediate termination," that voice says again. There is a flicker of movement just within the treeline, though there is an oddness to it. It is light shadow reflecting off unseen angles and planes. There is a brief silhouette of something bipedal and about the size of an average male humanoid. It takes a few more heartbeats before a pair of somethings finally come into full sight. They are Hostiles — there is no doubt about that. They are absolute duplicates of one another, standing around six feet in height with a somewhat slender physique compared to the documentation of the last Hostile sighting. They are armored from head to toe in plates that just moment ago reflected light in such a way that the Hostiles looked invisible. They both carry a double-headed axe that softly hums with internal grav-systems. "Surrender your weapons," they say in stereo.

Hostiles. Right. That's a thing that- That's what /Cedric/ is supposed to fight. But Lyrienne isn't inclined to surrender her weapons. Especially not since her weapon is her mind. She's rather attached to that. Her hands spin concentric circles, fingers dancing in what might as well be a complicated piano fingering. Except for the end result. As the lightning flares, she turns to fire it at the first Hostile from the cover of the tree with a graceful flick of her wrist.

"Don't do it," Brie murmurs to Tristan. "They'd kill us anyway but without a fighting chance." Not that she really expected him to anyway. As soon as the Hostiles make an appearance, she lifts her sword marginally, making no mistake she would not be dropping her weapon this day. Not intentionally. With a shout, she lifts her sword and goes for a piercing attack on the other, making sure not to get in the way of the magic voodoo stuff she doesn't understand.

"Sir Asher was right…" Tristan says, mostly to himself, before he offers a grin to his sister. "Of course not. Let's see how they can handle going against someone who's actually prepared for a fight…" Quickly taking aim and releasing an arrow, for the same hostile that his sister seems to be going for, before he drops his bow and readies his sword.

<COMBAT> Tristan attacks Hostile2 with Bow - Light wound to Right Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Lyrienne attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Brienne attacks Hostile2 with Sword but Hostile2 DODGES!

The flash from the Awakened draws the attention of the first Hostile. It does not have a chance to avoid the psychometry hit, and it flares out across its breastplate with a crackle of electrified molecules. It raises one of its hands to its chest, feeling where the armor had soaked the attack before it lifts its helmeted head toward where the flash had come. Its eyes start to glow a luminous crimson. It steps forward, starting to close the gap between it and where the Awakened is hiding.

The other Hostile is also advancing, though the whistling arrow lands solidly onto the gauntlet of its right hand. It reaches around to snap the shaft of the offender, and happens to integrate a well-placed sidestep which sends Brienne's sword whizzing past its shoulder. Its hands come together back on the axe handle, preparing to slice the Lady Knight in two.

When Brie fails the attack and it's deflected, she quickly draws back her blade only to go for another plunge towards the Hostile. She holds up her shield to deflect any incoming hits, because the element of surprise is no longer on her side.

Absorbed? Lyrienne was not counting on that. And her own eyes widen when the Hostile starts to move forward with a glow of his own. She ducks for cover once more, breath speeding as she summons another ball of lightning to hopefully slow down the approaching creature.

The first round catches her by surprise - Eilara drops to the ground, bow in hand, face essentially buried in the grass. But her eyes peer upward, watching warily for the first few moments of chaos. Spotting the Hostile that seems to have eyes for Lyrienne, she jumps to her feet as quickly as she can, and immediately attempts to sling an arrow in the Hostile's direction.

As he draws his sword and moves forward, Tristan makes sure to stay out of the way of the blasts from Lyrienne, "Fry them, Lyrienne!" he calls out, before he charges for the one that's trying to make his sister into two half-sisters, so to speak.

<COMBAT> Lyrienne attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - Light wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Hostile2 attacks Brienne with Bludgeon but Brienne DODGES!
<COMBAT> Tristan attacks Hostile2 with Sword - Light wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Eilara attacks Hostile1 with Bow - ARMOR on Left Arm stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Brienne attacks Hostile2 with Sword - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!

The first of the Hostile scouts is staggered a moment by the slam of the psychometry blast against its chest, and a chittering squeal is heard from its vocal slits in some kind of frustration. It continues its advance despite the ping of the arrow against its gauntlet. It is within mere meters of Lyrienne now, and it brings its axe up to prepare for its assault on the Awakened woman.

The second Hostile slams its axe into Brienne's chest, though the armor stops further damage from the scrape of the sharpened edge against the plates. It draws the weapon back, preparing for another swing against the Knight, though the slam of Tristan's sword to its belly might actually cause the attack to breeze past the Lady Knight.

Feeling the axe of the Hostile, Brie shudders with the attack as the axe batters against her armored chest, she stumbles back a few steps, gasping in a breath, already feeling the bruises forming beneath the armor. As her own sword shakes in her hands from the impact of glancing off his armor. Tossing her shield away, she goes for a two handed attack, swinging with both hands with all her strength behind it.

"Really working on it!" Lyrienne shouts back at Tristan, though there's definitely a panicked note in her voice. She is not equipped for close combat, and her next blast is fired as she moves back in search of more cover. And distance.

Well, now Eilara is downright pissed. Gritting her teeth as the Hostiles continue to corner her family, she slings her bow onto her back and holds her hands at her sides. The air around her fingers crackles with electricity, and when enough has gathered she attempts to sling it at the one honing in on Lyrienne.

Once more moving in for an attack, Tristan smiles a little grimly. "Let's get this done, sister," he comments to Brienne, before he tries ducking down a bit to try a lower attack against the Hostile now.

<COMBAT> Eilara attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Brienne attacks Hostile2 with Sword but Hostile2 DODGES!
<COMBAT> Tristan attacks Hostile2 with Sword - Critical wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Lyrienne attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Hostile2 attacks Tristan with Bludgeon and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Venus has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

<COMBAT> Hostile2 has been KO'd!

The first of the Hostiles has turned his advance into a charge just as Lyrienne releases her psychometric blast. Even while she attempts to find another patch of cover, he prepares to bring his axe down against the woman.

If there is a sense of solidarity between Hostiles, it appears the first hardly held that emotion with the second. As the Lord Knight slams his sword once more into the gut of the offending Hostile, it crumbles under the force of the strike. It splits through the armor, cutting open and exposing a expansive sprawl of circuitry and the bubbling of whitish fluid. It collapses, though its eyes only dim instead of extinguishing entirely.

Staggering for cover is not conducive to aiming, and Lyrienne's bolt goes wide as she breaks through the woods in a backwards run. Breathing hard, she summons up another bolt with a serpentine motion of her hands and forearms. Any cover can only serve as an obstacle to the Hostile that follows her, as her aura flares bright and hot with the attack.

Apparently her aim wasn't on target. Eilara hisses through her teeth in frustration as the ball of electricity just misses and unspectacularly falls to the ground. This just isn't her day! Concern takes over her face as the Hostile grows far too close for comfort to his target. After taking a few more steps forward, she follows in hot pursuit as she tries once more.

It's a beaming smile Brie tosses at her younger brother when he manages to finally make contact with the Hostile and bring him down after her own proves useless again. "Well done, Tristan." But there is no time for congratulations, there's another who is closing in on Lyrienne. Just when she would go in for a running attack, she realizes her youngest sister is doing her voodoo thing and she doesn't bother trying to attack.. afraid of getting in between the magic and the recipient. Instead, she glances around for any other Hostiles.

Wrenching free his sword now, Tristan offers a grin to Brienne. "See, I can do more than fancy shooting," he remarks, poking at the fallen Hostile with his boot, before he looks around. "Looks like we might need to join in," he says, after noticing the other Hostile about to attack. Starting to move for where he dropped his bow now.

<COMBAT> Eilara attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - Light wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Lyrienne attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - Light wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Hostile1 attacks Lyrienne with Bludgeon - Serious wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).

Another chittering squeal emerges from the vocal slits of the Hostile's armored mask as it is assaulted both at the front and back by blasts of energy. It turns its head briefly to spy the other Awakened and its red eyes flare up once more. It does not seem to wish to relent on its current target, though its stance does become a bit more defensive as if it senses that danger is falling upon it.

Drawing her bow off her back, Brie hurriedly slips an arrow out of her quiver and nocks it before tilting her head to the side and pulling back the string, aiming towards the Hostile as she looses the arrow.

"Lyr!" Eilara cries out when she sees the hostile attack the former Arboren ward. Thankfully this time, the electricity makes contact, and for a split second she looks pleased. But it fades quickly into grim determination. She prepares another strike, continuing to move closer as leaves noisily crunch underneath her boots.

Lyrienne's blast takes the Hostile in the hand, but it isn't enough to rob the blow of its axe of force. She cries out, stumbling back and tripping down with an arm wrapped tight around her waist. Not good. Cedric is going to be so unhappy. She can't keep her arm there, though. She needs it. When she raises both hands, summoning a ball of plasma the size of her head, there's a spill of blood across her abdomen behind it as she fires point-blank.

Reaching his bow, Tristan gets it out, and readies an arrow rather quickly. Aiming for the hostile as he pulls back the bow's string, he only waits a few brief moments, before he releases it. As soon as that's done, he starts moving for a better place to shoot from, nearer to the Hostile.

<COMBAT> Tristan attacks Hostile1 with Bow - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Lyrienne attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Eilara attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Brienne attacks Hostile1 with Bow - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Hostile1 attacks Lyrienne with Bludgeon and MISSES!

The last of the Hostile intruders brings its axe down on Lyrienne despite the flash of psychometric energy flaring up against the gloss of its armored plates, though the abrupt impale of an arrow through the right space between pauldrons and breastplate causes it to release a squealing scream of pain and it turns its sights on Brienne, starting to disengage from the Awakened to advance on the new bringer of pain.

Apparently lightning doesn't strike twice. Eilara tries, perhaps a bit too hard, and misses again. Perhaps it's because she ducks out of the way of her sister's arrow so it can strike. Turning to glance over her shoulder, she cracks a very faint smile at Brienne and nods in approval. Until the Hostile seems to shift targets. Both eyebrows lift as she prepares for another attempt.

Grounded and bleeding, there's nothing for Lyrienne to do but fire bolt after bolt at the Hostile standing over her. The flash of lightning so close may not harm the invader, but maybe it's enough to pull his blow and spare her more blood and guts. She's rather attached to her blood and guts, after all. Her aura flares, more power drawn from whatever well powers the mysterious power of the Awakened, the shimmering curtain a sharp contrast to the heat of battle and the snap of lightning between her hands.

Despite the bruising from the axe against her armor, Brie appears to be determined to take down the hostile before it can hurt Lyrienne any further. Striking his chest, the arrow penetrates the armor somewhat deeply, but the eldest of the Arboren sisters is already withdrawing another arrow from her quiver, nocking it, aiming it and dispatching it at the Hostile.

Firing off a few more arrows, Tristan nods a little as he sees the enemy going for Brienne instead. Firing off one more arrow, before he once again goes for his sword. After all, someone needs to protect the old woman, right?

It could be described as a strange crabwalk the way the defensive Hostile tries to approach the arrow-flinging Knight, though it is confused by another burst of pain across its upper torso as that blast of lightning strikes directly at the center of its exoskeleton. It does not deter from its approach toward Brienne, but it also looks like it might be trying to flee.

Lyrienne's blast sinks through that damnable armor this time, and the young woman tries to push herself back just a bit along the ground. There's a cry of pain, as something stretches or shifts or tears, but though her body arches, she manages to summon up another eldritch ball of energy, firing it at the retreating Hostile with a press of both hands.

Eilara is determined to hit one of these days. She backs up toward Lyrienne so she can assist in a moment, but while doing so prepares another shot. To say she looks frustrated would be an understatement.

When another arrow glances off the Hostiles armor, Brie does all she can, and that's draw another arrow and aim and release, frustrated she cannot do more damage than she has already.

Having drawn his sword again, Tristan offers a bit of a grin towards Brienne, as he heads forward now. "Try not to shoot me, Brie?" he remarks, with a bit of a grin, as he heads in to try slashing at the hostile. Trying to approach it from such a position that he's got the enemy between the two flinging great balls of energy, so he's not a likely target this time.

<COMBAT> Lyrienne attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Tristan attacks Hostile1 with Sword - Moderate wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Eilara attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - Moderate wound to Left Hand (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Brienne attacks Hostile1 with Bow and MISSES!

Lyrienne isn't ready to give up yet, but her hand motions are losing some of their finesse. Her breath comes fast and shallow now, and though her aura still shines brightly, the color seems to be leeching from her features with each passing moment.

"Bunch of useless wooden sticks," Brie mutters, just tossing the bow aside and drawing her sword one more time, now having gear spread from her shield by a dead Hostile and her bow by this one. Raising it, she'll time and place it to strike opposite her brothers.

If the Hostile appears to be going after Brienne, it starts to swing toward the trees in a hopeful attempt to retreat. Its armor starts to flicker, parts of it activating its reflective cameras in an attempt to activate its camouflage. With the repeated strikes to the chest however, it is just a mottling of a half-visible and half-invisible Hostile.

"Oh no, you don't…" Tristan mutters at the Hostile, moving to swing his sword at it again now. A brief grin is offered to Brie as she joins in as well. "When this is done, perhaps we should find some time for archery practice?" he comments to her.

<COMBAT> Tristan attacks Hostile1 with Sword - Moderate wound to Left Arm (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Lyrienne attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - Serious wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Eilara attacks Hostile1 with Psychometry - ARMOR on Chest stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Brienne attacks Hostile1 with Sword - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> Hostile1 has been KO'd!

Before the Hostile can fully disengage from the assaulting Havenites, Brienne's sword lays that final blow that sends it into a collapse on the forest floor. There is a soft hum that resonates from the knocked out enemy, and like the other, its eyes are merely dim compared to the vibrant red light that had filled that visor previously. Both Hostiles, for lack of a better word, unconscious, the Arboren and sole Orelle are left to decide: kill or capture?

Eilara manages to get another shot in. As the electricity strikes, both eyebrows lift in mild surprise. "Hold on," she whispers to Lyrienne encouragingly. When the Hostile finally goes down, she promptly turns to the wounded woman. "On a scale of one to ten, how are you feeling right now?" she asks hurriedly. For now, she doesn't pay much attention to the Hostiles or what her siblings plan on doing with them. She just watches out the corner of her eye, expression thoughtful.

Lyrienne doesn't look like she's in any position to make decisions about what to do with Hostiles at the moment. As a last blast crackles around the Hostile, she falls back into the mulch of the forest floor, wrapping an arm over the wound to her abdomen and trying to focus on not hurting quite so much. "Green," she answers Eilara's question helpfully, closing her eyes to swallow and try to breathe normally.

The Archer who had accompanied Lyrienne had not been able to do much against the Hostile enemies, but he now looks up from his vantage point toward the trio of Arboren. "My Lord… should I send a communica ahead to Arborenin?"

Lifting her sword, Brienne shouts out another war cry as she plunges her sword into the chest of the Hostile and twists it, for good measure, before pulling it back out. The fire in her eyes is apparent and she looks around until her eyes rest on Ly. "Are you okay?" Looking at the others. "Who can manage first aid?" Looking back to the downed Hostiles, she makes a decision of her own, "If you are all agreeable, we capture. Objections?"

Lowering his sword a bit slowly, Tristan lets out a deep breath. "So, what shall we do with these two?" he asks, looking toward Brienne for a few moments, before he turns to look over in the direction of Eilara and Lyrienne. "How is she?" he asks, before he looks back in the direction of the archer. "Sounds like a good idea to send something ahead." As for the capture, he nods, "Would be good to bring back at least one of them. Do we think we can bring both of them with us? And…" A momentary gesture to the one hanging above.

There is a guttural shriek from the Hostile, and that final strike sends those dim eyes into complete blackness. Its half-activated camouflaged plates go completely visible, signifying the Hostile's complete loss of functionality and becoming nothing more than a dead hulk. The other Hostile though appears to still be merely inactive, having sustained the least amount of wounds.

"That bad, huh?" Eilara cringes, briefly patting Lyrienne's shoulder sympathetically. With the medical training she has had (granted, not much, but enough to know first aid) she rips a strip of fabric from the bottom of her shirt so that she may gingerly bind Lyrienne's wound as best she can. "I've got it," she assures her sister with a solemn nod. "We'll need to get her back to fix it up properly, but she'll be okay." With a glance over her shoulder, she eyes the prone Hostiles on the forest floor. "Capture," she agrees quickly with her older sister.

"There is a Ways not too far from here, my Lord, my Ladies… it would be the fastest way to get the Lady Orelle back to Arborenin," the Archer provides before he focuses on his wrist band, working on sending a communication back to the tree-city.
You paged Cedric with 'Within about 20 IC minutes (you can decide when you integrate it into the RP), Cedric will receive an audio communication from Arborenin that Lyrienne has come back from the search wounded.'

"Supposed to be behind the lines," Lyrienne says with a weak attempt at laughter, wincing as the wound is bound. "You know, where they can't stab. It's faster than giving birth, though," she offers helpfully, fading into a groan. "Capture," she finally chimes in. "But keep them separate. Someone's going to have to tell Ric. I fought the Hostiles before he did."

"Well, one of them seems to have just gone to wherever they go when they die, so capture the other one sounds good." Tristan remarks, before he adds, "We should get Rydick down from up there as well. I'll climb up and cut him down," he offers, before he adds, "Still wonder where Lady Trella is, though…" Starting to move for one of the trees to get up and cut their fallen kinsman down from where he's hanging.

Quickly, Brie sheathes her sword and looks up. "We're taking everyone back." A glance up, then to Ren as well. Tristan, you get the heaviest, I'll… go for the next. This is going to be difficult." By all means.

"Faster? Really? Giving birth sounds terrifying," Eilara murmurs to Lyrienne in a grave and almost horrified tone. The prospect seems to scare her more than the situation they just found themselves in. Swallowing nervously, she gives Tristan a sidelong look. "After we get a closer look at—" her nose wrinkles as she waves toward the incapacitated hostile, " — maybe we'll be able to find her. We have to. We can't let that happen to her too."

Lyrienne lets her eyes drift most of the way closed, waiting while help is summoned. "Was she Awakened?" she asks, keeping an arm wrapped around herself. "That was — I mean. The dream. And Ric and I were talking. And that one came right toward us. What if they've been trying to…assimilate Awakened?"

They all begin to make their journey back to Arborenin with the two Hostiles in tow.

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