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Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

"Breach! To the breach!"

The invaders had nearly overwhelmed the militia on the western wall. But before they could secure a foothold the reserve section of mercenaries surged into the fight. Mors, his red eye blazing in the afternoon sun, backhanded a sword cut across one man's throat, stabbed another in the jugular, then joined two comrades to bull rush the enemy captain off the ramparts. As the man fell screaming to his death the attack disintegrated into a rout.

"Reform! Reform to the rear."

The mercenaries hurriedly pulled back as fresh militia poured in, filling gaps and tending to the wounded. As they reformed water carriers moved among them, dishing out a drink with a bucket and ladle. Mors drank deep before passing the ladle to his fellow merc, Jacen.

"How many does that make for you today, five?" Jacen asked as the bucket moved beyond them.

Mors grunted. "They pay us to kill, not count," he said. They had enough to worry about, with the city under siege and surrounded. And the Interlopers at night... Mors put that thought out of his head. One fight at a time.

"Ah, you're about as fun as a broken leg," Jacen snorted. "Come on, keep score, I've got money on how many people you kill." Then he fell silent as the captain of the city guard called for Mors to fall out.

The mercenary signaled to his own section leader before sheathing his blade and pushing through ranks to get to the captain's pavilion. The man looked like he hadn't shaved or slept in five days, which made sense given that was how long Ektaran had been under siege. They were outnumbered eight to one, and would soon have to cut rations. To say nothing of the unholy terrors that wreaked havoc at night.

But Mors respected the man. The captain's armor was stained with blood, just as Mors' was, and he always looked him straight in his red eye, which not everyone did. Mors gave him a curt nod as he approached, the closest he had ever come to saluting anyone outside his own mercenary force.

"I need you to get my daughter Yua out of the northern quarter," the captain said without preamble. "I'll pay you extra beyond your contract. Get her out and bring her here and put her in the keep."

Mors said nothing but sighed internally. Moving back and forth between the northern quarter meant dodging rocks from catapults. And trying to avoid more assaults; the invaders had massed more troops there. Also, there was no way he could get her back here before nightfall. Which meant dealing with the Interlopers.

"I'll pay you forty silver crowns," the captain said. A small fortune for about a day's work, however risky. "Will you do it?" The man paused, rubbing his scraggly beard and when he spoke again his voice cracked just a little. "Can you do it?"

Mors nodded. "Sure," he replied, his expression neutral. Although he wasn't sure at all.
Yua (played by Mellute)

"Miss, you shouldn't be here."

A young mercenary bleeding from a small wound on his should sits with Captain Banewurt's young daughter upon a stone fence along the perimeter of his impressive gardens. The gardens bleed into the boundary of the forest saturated with weeks of seasonal rainfall and the quiet hum of the life residing within drastically contrasts the noise of combat not far from the manor.

"Nor should you be a mercenary, or here with me in the first place..."

This earns her a laugh and is immediately smothered by a hiss of pain through his clenched teeth at the basic disinfectant on his wound. If his unmarred face didn't give it away, his yelp of pain surely gave away his youth. She places a bandage on the wound and he hops off the fence.

"Maybe I should kidnap you and demand ransom."

She doesn't laugh in response as she is not fond of such flirtation attention. Noticing his joke hit a sour note he briefly looks to the ground and sees a long venomous spider perched upon his boot. He curses and goes to fling it off violently. The creature lands upon Yua's lap.

"Don't move! I'll kill it for you."

He reaches for the spider on her left thigh but she smacks his hand away. She hops off the fence and the spider hurriedly crawls up her torso not even fazing her in the slightest. She is about to speak when she catches movement in her peripherals, she ducks to avoid attack. The young mercenary grunts as his blade held close to his neck blocks the attacker's dagger.

Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

"Think she might be pretty?" Jacen asked as he helped Mors pack some gear behind the battle lines. The mercenary section had been pulled back, as the enemy seemed to be regrouping and unlikely to attempt another assault before nightfall.

Mors just grunted and shrugged, prompting a chuckle from his comrade. "Forgot you only sleep with those you pay for," Jacen said, shaking his head.

Mors shouldered his pack. "I don't come back, you can keep my saddle," he said.

"You don't come back, I'm taking all your gear, jackass,' Jacen snorted. He clapped a hand on his fellow merc's shoulder. "Good hunting."

"Good hunting," replied Mors. He turned and nodded briefly at some of his other comrades, then strode off towards the northern section of the city, swords still sheathed but shield at the ready. Every few moments he paused to glance at the sky. One never knew when their catapults might start again.

It was two hours to sunset when he arrived at a guard checkpoint just outside the northern quarter. "I'm Mors," he said, although from the way the guards shrank back from his red eye they probably recognized him. "I'm here for Yua, Captain Banewurt's daughter."

Before the guards could answer they heard the sounds not too distant. Screams, punctuated by steel on steel. Mors cursed and drew the longer of his blades, rushing past the guards in the direction of the fighting. The invaders had broken through.
Yua (played by Mellute)

The invader felt to the ground like a sack of potatoes having been rightly stabbed between his ribs and up into his heart by a stinger blade grasped in Yua's pale fist. She yanked back her blade and stepped back meeting the young mercenary's incredulous expression.

"How - how did they get through so quickly?"

Yua stowed her dagger and glanced here and there. Her father had mentioned that so long as she stayed back from the commotion she would be safe until escorted to safety... as if there was such a thing as safety. At least not in the permanent sense. The Mercenary she came to know as "Fenili" grasper her forearm and ushered her out of the gardens. She hesitated a moment.

"It's not safe here, Yua. You have to come with me!"

He insists but she shakes her head.

"No, I was instructed to wait to be escorted by a mercenary other than you... I'll be okay here."

Just as those words leave her mouth blood drips down Fenili's lower jaw with his mouth agape in horror, a blade hovering over his tongue pulls back dropping the boy to his knees then collapsing on the grass. She covers her mouth in a gasp and all of her brave words of being safe where she was dashed from her mind, Escape replaced it.
Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

Mors dragged his blade clear of the invader's armpit, blood splattering across his armor. The man collapsed to the ground in a quivering heap as the mercenary backed up into a ready position, scanning the alley quickly for more foes. Around him five invaders lay dead, dying or wounded--- but so did the two guards who had dashed after him to help.

One invader, a boy with blond hair and a spear haft through his thigh, whimpered as he tried to crawl away. Mors strode over to him and pulled him up by his hair from behind, arching his face up. "Mercy...." he managed to gasp out before the mercenary plunged his sword into his jugular.

Then he turned to the two guards. One was obviously dead, his sightless eyes fixed on the sky. The other was trying to staunch the flow of blood from a nasty hip wound and stand at the same time. "Help, you've got to get me a healer," he groaned as he rolled to one side.

Mors let out a breath but said nothing at first. The alley remained empty but he could hear sounds of fighting all around them. He had to get to Yua-- assuming she was still alive--before he ran into more invaders than he could handle. He knelt, pried open his waterskin, and gave the wounded guardsman a drink.

'Where's Yua?" he asked as the man took several grateful gulps. Hopefully the guard had some idea. Or he, and the captain's daughter, could be sunk.

"Right through the street ahead, and then bear right on the first corner" the guard said, wincing in pain as Mors took the waterskin back. "You'll see the gardens of Banewurt's house. Should be a healer nearby. Help me up..." But the mercenary was already moving in the direction he had pointed.

"Wait!' the stricken man yelled. "Help me up! They'll kill me..."

Mors spared him one quick look back. He did feel the slightest twinge of regret. But the man was not part of his mercenary company. And the captain had paid him well to find Yua.

"Sorry," he said. "You're not the job." Then he turned and dashed down the street, blade in hand, shutting the guard's pleas out of his mind.
Yua (played by Mellute)

Tears away from the scene as fast as she is capable, stones upturning and clattering noisily along the footpath. She can hear the attacker not far behind her , heavy boots stomping closer and closer. Nestled along the left side of the gardens are a three 100 meter glass greenhouse buildings. Between each one is room for a cart to move freely and she darts down the furthest left side. She stupidly looks over her shoulder to see the man bolting after her with his blade ready for her.

"Rraghh!" She grabs for a set of clay pots and chucks them at the man as she rounds the greenhouse rear. The saplings and dirt inconvenience him briefly but there is no where for her to hide when one can see right through the buildings. Taking off once more she gets about 25 meters away from him along the opposite side of the building. She can see past the manor towards the other part of the city where there is fighting commotion. They weren't suppose to be able to get through, and without her father's instructions she was at a loss for what to do.

After a few more moments it occurs to her that the sound of the boots have stopped. She isn't being chased---! A bolt sinks into her left shoulder and the force of it knocks Yua to the ground clutching the the bolt trembling in her shoulder. Her cry of pain would be unmistakably female. Pulling her knees under her she attempts to stand up and run but bright light and black spots fill her vision after a blow to the back of her head.

She flips over deliriously to see her attacker. Her hits her again this time blooding her right cheek and nose. She can't even reach for her blade as it is pinned painfully under her weight. This is not how she expected to die.
Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

Mors barreled his opponent up against a wall, shield-to-shield, so close he could smell the garlic on the man's breath. The invader was spitting curses, but these turned into an agonized groan as the mercenary slipped his blade under guard and found the man's midsection.

He dragged his blade free as the foe crumpled, turning just in time to parry a well-timed blow. The fighting had spilled all over Banewurt's house and its grounds. The only good could be said was that neither side had a clear advantage here yet.

Mors' new opponent fought with skill, forcing him back step by step towards some sort of greenhouse. He heard a female cry-- his brain registering for just one split second that could be Yua-- before he blocked yet another swift thrust with his shield. Two more blows pushed him back even further, blundering him backwards against an invader standing over an injured woman.

For a moment time froze. Mors , his opponent, the man standing over the woman. Then the mercenary swayed left. His foe attacked with a lightning thrust-- that sped past the mercenary and into his own comrade's torso. Mors hacked his own blade down with snarl, lopping off his opponent's arm at the elbow.

"Yua?" he rasped at the woman as their enemies collapsed in agony around them. Shem's balls, she might be hurt bad. Mors could just make out a bolt in her shoulder. The fighting had ebbed away from them, leaving the pair in a strange, temporary oasis of peace.
Yua (played by Mellute)

There is a brief moment of eerie calm, but it is drowned out by the hammering of Yua's heart in her ringing ears and the desperate pumping of adrenaline into her bloodstream. The victorious and wild grin on the attackers's face makes her grit her teeth in rage. She will tilt her head to the side, making eye contact with the man gazing at her from a short distance. However, she isn't looking at him... but rather a black mass of wriggling creatures darting forward to attack.

Ambushing him, a yellow three inch spider with beady red eyes flexes her front legs before sinking surgically sharp fangs into his jaw. The man howls in agony, slapping his face hard enough to rattle his skull but the graceful yellow creature scurries away as reinforcements crawl up his large frame, biting any and all exposed skin. Slapping and struggling he grows sluggish from the onslaught eventually giving Yua an opening to free her pinned arm.

She sits up from the torso and rakes her stinger blade across his throat. Eyes bugging out he drops his blade into the mass of spiders eager to get their taste of human flesh and he collapses on top of Yua.

"Aargh!" She grunts as it knocks her dagger from her hand leaving her sprawled out under the bleeding out corpse her precious spiders are feasting upon. Her fingers dig into the dirt just a mere cementers from the hilt of the blade, not quite reaching it.
Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

Mors had seen a lot in his life. The worst that humans-- and non-humans-- could do to each other. He had seen some magic, too. There were the underground interlopers in this war. And two years ago he had seen a squad get fireballed.

But nothing quite prepared him for an army of spiders overrunning a man. He gasped and backed away, his sword at the ready. It occurred to him that if those spiders attacked him his blade would be nearly useless. Too damn many of the critters to stab.

He turned back to the woman, who incredibly seemed oblivious to the danger. "If you're Yua, we have go," he urged. Fortunately the fighting had ebbed away from them, but that could change soon too. And those spiders....

The mercenary hurriedly used his mouth to undo his shield strap, then hiked the shield onto his shoulder so he could have a free hand. Any moment now those spiders could feast on both them. But he forced himself to take a step towards her. "Come on!" he said, stretching his arm out to her. "Get away from them...."
Yua (played by Mellute)

Yua sees the mercenary approach fearfully of the spiders' intimidating numbers, and reaches just a bit farther to clasp his offered hand. Her fingers lock onto his palm and she uses all her strength to pull her small frame our from underneath the corpse being feasted upon. She grits her teeth and after a few moments is finally on her feet again, definitely worse for wear. She takes the back of her hand and wipes at her bloody face.

"Thanks, my father must have sent you. I expected you earlier but it seems things have become..." she gestures about her to describe the wave of chaos that had crashed upon the grounds of her father's property. Unfazed by the eight-legged creatures she reaches down into the mass of them and retrieves her dagger, keeping it close on hand. A few small ones naturally crawl up her arm and enjoy her warmth. However, when they reach the bolt in her shoulder she winces in pain, gripping the wound and slumping over slightly. One would she the tiny spider start to bite the injury, their small fangs plunging into her skin over and over, and the bleeding begin to stop and even a bit of relieve wash over her pale face. She''' look to Mors and ask.

"Can you take this out first...?"
Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

Mors was on the verge of saying something but couldn't find the words. Shem's balls, could she befriend the damn things? Were they healing her? Beasts of all sorts could be controlled, but an army of spiders?

It took him a few heartbeats to recover his composure. He quickly assessed their surroundings. The fighting had flowed away from the house, hopefully giving them some moments of respite. When she asked about her wound the mercenary's mind snapped back into focus. This was a problem that had to be dealt with, right here right now.

Pulling the bolt out might tear her up badly, but the wound also needed cleaning, lest it fester. Mors gave Yua a curt nod before yanking the missile out without warning, his arm supporting her in case she needed it.

"Tell me you're the one controlling these spiders," he said. He had this vague fear the strain of the siege was beginning to tell, and he was seeing things. It hadn't occurred to him that this ability might be useful.
Yua (played by Mellute)

Yua cries out in the pain as the bolt wrenches from her wound at the swiftness of Mors' movement. Slumping against him her forehead drips with the beads of perspiration. She looks up at him a moment, contemplating his words and then under her dark lashes flicks her gaze to the spiders now scurrying away from the corpse they made an easy meal of. The one with beady red eyes that had bitten her now crawlings up her pale neck and into the jungle of black hair.

"Not quite, controlling them...." she looks bac k at him in thought, as this was often a question she revisted in her mind. "Perhaps they respond to my will. They understand me, they listen to all my little secrets..." she loses herself a moment as her voice tapers off, snapping back to attention she stands back up on her own and grasps her arm.

"It shouldn't get infected..." She says and then nods her head. "Thank you for your help already. I can see why my father sent you. And...uhh what now?"
Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

Mors didn't like that answer. He didn't mind mages and clerics who commanded vast powers-- so long as they were on his side. But Yua not having complete control over an army of spiders that nevertheless swarmed all over her worried him. He grimaced a bit at the spider that snuck into her tangle of hair and briefly panicked at the thought of more of the critters climbing all over him. But then he shrugged that off . He had a job to do.

"Right then," the mercenary said, taking a deep breath and regrouping internally. He managed to give her a wry grin despite everything. "Just don't get mad at me, okay? Don't want them biting me." He'd have a talk about her little secrets another time.

"We need to get to the central keep, back close to your father," Mors continued, again taking stock of their surroundings. The invaders had been beaten back, but no one was rallying the scattered and shattered defenders who had survived. It would take some time to get back, and it would be dark soon.

"If we double back down there, can we find a route to the keep?" the mercenary asked, pointing with his sword toward an empty alleyway. Yua would know this city better than him. The Interlopers preferred bigger thoroughfares, so if possible they needed to avoid the main streets.
Yua (played by Mellute)

Yua dusts off her pants a bit as dirt caked onto the fabric from the blood and rolling on the ground. Scraping at her palms she glances up at Mors with a grin to match his own.

"Helping me out is a good start to staying off their dinner plate." She laughs and then realises she had yet to catch his name. Of course he knew hers from her father but in the chaos formalities were skipped. "Oh, and what did you say your name was?" She looks then toward the direction of his sword and nods. That is an alley where women and children often frequented. The dark stones are worn smooth from small carts and commerce as the alley curves around the city toward more sensitive areas such as the temple and the academies for children. She would briefly mention the type of path this is and confirm that it is likely to be unoccupied.

Keeping close to her escort's side she would point to the various building making remarks as needed. She noticed the sun setting and the level of light drooping along the walls of the stone and clay brick buildings. As everyone already knew, the true danger appears at night.
Mors (played by Ihavenostaff)

"My name's Mors," he said, surprised she didn't know him from his red eye. Nothing to do with ego, just that he was somewhat notorious and he assumed the captain had mentioned who he was. He shrugged it off. The brief introduction over, Mors wiped the blood off his blade with a rag, then led Yua down the path she indicated.

He didn't lead her far. The sun would set soon and there could be other bands of invaders who hadn't been defeated. Best they lay low for now, and tend to Yua's wound. Mors forced open a door to his left and with a quick glance back at his charge entered, his sword in guard position and his shield raised. The chamber appeared to be a classroom of some sort.

"..Help.." a soft voice called out. A boy and girl huddled in one corner, bent over a badly wounded woman. The girl, who seemed the elder, called out again.

"You're on our side, right?" she said hesitantly. "Please help my mum. She's been hurt."

Mors sighed inwardly and looked back at Yua. Neither of these children were the job.
Yua (played by Mellute)

Following behind Mors, Yua took note of her surroundings, the damaged stone walls from the assault of blades, baskets of flowers and barrels knocked over with soil littering the usually impressive stone footpaths. Someone, not her, would certainly have to resweep the area to standards. She shook her head.

She took a small step back as her guardian forced upon the door of her childhood academy. She clutched her dagger tightly and swiftly entered darting her gaze throughout the premises for any lingering invaders. The small voice calling for help snapper her eyes to the unfortunate three in the corner, spiders already slowly trickling in minding their own business.

"Ah...shit..." Yua says in surprise but she looks out the nearest window knowing that in the fading sunlight wandering around in search of a doctor would be extremely dangerous. moving across the room to the woman on the floor with Tarah and Joni, failing to hide their sniffling and tears. She could see that Mrs. Halberd was critically injured from a deep gash to lower abdomen, likely to die without intervention.

"W-we don't want her to die!" Whimpered the boy and clutched Yua's leather sleeve. She meets Mors look and cusses softly again.

"We can't move her, but if we find a doctor one might be able to arrive in time....there should be a few assisting the injured soldiers..."

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