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Koragnier [OPEN]

Each year, every firstborn child is sent to the Armasseum to train for Koragnier, the battle between gods and demons, and each year only a fraction survive the process. Life is idyllic in Valaheim, home of the gods, but for the Firstborn, only blood and tears await. That is their fate and this is their story.......

Tags: action, apocalypse, battle, dark, drama, epic, fantasy, war

Character Approval: Yes

Player Level: Intermediate

New Players: Open

Creator: enkerzed

Created: 04-28-2015, 02:03 PM


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  1. Characters in this post:
    Rael squealed.

    Yes, squealed.

    "Yikees!" It wasn't that he didn't expect the Ascendant to retaliate, of course he did. He just didn't think she'd be able to block off so many in such a short time.

    Still, he thought, this was good.

    He brought his group to the left side of Ilia and instructed another group to go around the other side. And, getting the point, there were others who were joining from the north side and from the south.

    "Good, distractions fulfilled!" he hissed to himself excitedly. "Now, attackers." He searched around and saw a girl with the hair of flames - he recognized her as the one who started the first attack. He tried to catch her eyes and nodded once, hoping she would understand his signal.

    Then, searching again, he repeated the subtle nod to Ingrid. They have to be quick and deadly. The diversion created an opening - a small one, admittedly - but an opening nonetheless.

  2. Characters in this post:
    (yay, the rp's still alive)

    With her legs pumping, lungs heaving and heart beating like a battle drum, Ingrid was all caught up in the rush. The Firstborn spilled past the Ascendant like a school of fish and even as they were picked off one by one, they did not stop, not for a moment. It was a perfect pandemonium.

    Ingrid was turning around for another pass when she spotted Rael in the press and in that instantaneous moment where their eyes met, she recognized the signal to attack.

    "All right, let's do this!" she shouted as she made a sudden beeline for Ilia with axe raised in both hands. "CHAAAAAAARGE!"

    Seeing the Firstborn attacking from all directions at once, Ilia lifted her wings and prepared to fly, but as soon as she tried to take off, she noticed that her feet were stuck to the ground.

    "You're not going anywhere," Kieran said with his hand raised, a frosty mist emanating from his palm.

    With her strength, it would have taken little more than a strong pull for Ilia to break free from the ice, but there was no time. The first of the Firstborn, Ingrid, had closed in and their weapons met in a ringing clash of steel upon steel.

    "Impressive," Ilia remarked.

    Ingrid answered with a wolfish grin as she ducked down, just as Nikia let loose an arrow from directly behind. At such a close range, it was all Ilia could do to move her head aside to dodge it, but in that time, the other Firstborn were now practically on top of her.

    Immobilized and set upon from every angle, Ilia felt a strange sense of deja vu as though she had experienced such an attack before. It's happening again, she thought as her vision blurred and the world took on a hazy edge.

    Throughout the obscurity, Ilia could have sworn that the faces of the Firstborn around her were different. Even her sword and gauntlets seemed unfamiliar, yet not.

    "Students, this is the crucial moment," she heard herself saying, as though from a distance. "Now you will either overwhelm with numbers or be crushed under your own weight."

    With a sweeping horizontal swing, Ilia caught Ingrid and several others with the flat of her blade, knocking them back into the people behind and bowling them down like pegs, including Nikia.

    "It all depends on the first one to land a strike," Ilia continued as she whipped around for a second swing, coming face to face with one of the Firstborn.

    Is that... me? Ilia thought with astonishment, seeing a girl with red hair.

  3. Characters in this post:
    Lathen waited for the others to charge at her and once they did and she waited for Illa to talk she ran up behind her and raised her sword and struck the small gap in her armor that was in the back hoping it would make Illa move and the other would strike as well.

    She fell down to the ground because of her jump, but she thought to her self she had to roll when hitting the ground so that she would not break anything. Once hitting the ground she rolled forward so that she was a safe distance away in case Illa was going to strike at her.

    "Don't stand there attack her." She yelled to the few that where doing nothing at all.

    She stuck her blade in the ground and pulled it out quickly to clean all the blood off and then charged at Illa again when the others did and had hoped her move helped in some way.

    She looked over at Illa and waited for another perfect spot to attack which she assumed would be on her leg above where the ice stopped so thats what she did. She attacked right above where the ice stopped.

  4. Characters in this post:
    In Ilia's perspective, she had knocked away the red haired girl and successfully defended herself against the attack, even as the blood poured out of the wound in her back.

    Her mind didn't even register the pain, or the fact that the girl had escaped unharmed to land a second strike, as it did not happen in the vision or hallucination or whatever it was that currently possessed Ilia's senses.

    In the Ascendant's distracted state, Ingrid had enough time to scramble back to her feet and make a second charge, swinging her axe with full strength, but the blood froze in her veins when Ilia said, "That was a good effort, but you have all failed."

    Ingrid braced herself for a counterattack as she had no time to check her strike, but when the blade of her axe bit into the Ascendant's shoulder without eliciting so much as a reaction, she began to suspect that something was amiss.

    Noticing this as well, Nikia called out, "Everyone, wait! Just stop for a moment!"

    Ignoring her, one of the Firstborn continued charging ahead and was about to strike the Ascendant with his warhammer when Ingrid smashed her arm guard into his face.

    "She said stop you fool, are you deaf or something?" she said.

    At last, Ilia came to her senses and the pain of her wounds came flooding in all at once. With a grunt, she staggered to the ground, using her sword as a cane for support.

    "What... what just happened?" she whispered before looking around and remembering where she was.

    "Miss Ilia, are you all right?" Nikia asked, rushing forward to help.

    Waving the girl away, Ilia rose up to her feet and tried to play off the utter strangeness of what had just happened. So I wasn't fighting myself after all, she thought as she looked at Lathen before saying, "I'm fine, it's just my wounds. That was well executed, all of you."

    Closing her eyes, Ilia dismissed the pain in her leg as she broke free from the ice with a single tug.

    "But the battle is not over until your opponent lies dead."

    "No, that will be quite enough for now," Grigor said as he approached, stepping through the crowd and standing beside Ilia to address everyone. "I would say you all performed admirably for your first attempt were it not for Miss Strong's lenience throughout the entire battle."

    "Excuse me?" Ilia replied, looking down at the head instructor with indignation.

    "Bear with me please," he whispered before continuing. "For now, you may all retire to the mess hall for lunch and then return here for training with the other instructors. Remember to turn in your equipment at the armory, including damaged ones."

    I don't have to worry about that, Kieran thought as he walked away smiling, satisfied with his efforts throughout the battle. They wouldn't have even gotten close to landing a single strike without me.

    "Sir, what about the casualties?" Nikia asked.

    "Let Rexmar handle it, now go and eat. Your meals will be served by the time you're all assembled at the tables."

    With that, the Firstborn departed from the field and brief as the battle was, many of them felt a sense of triumph, despite contributing nothing or very little at all. Only those in the thick of the fighting saw what had happened towards the end.

    As Nikia walked towards the gate, Ingrid caught up with her and said, "Hey, did you see what happened?"

    Nikia nodded her head. "Yeah, it was like she was somewhere else altogether. I wonder what's up with that."


    "I was NOT being lenient," Ilia said when the Firstborn had left.

    "You were, whether you realize it or not, but that's not the issue," Grigor replied. "Rexmar, you missed one."

    The revivalist heaved a sigh as he spread his arms expansively towards the bodies littering the field and replied, "I'm sorry, but is there some reason why I'm doing all this ALONE? Is this punishment for something?"

    "Yes, now stay quiet and get back to work."

    As Rexmar continued moving from one corpse to another, grumbling all the while, Ilia cleared her throat loudly and said, "So what is the issue?"

    "Do not play dumb with me, Ilia, you know of what I speak."

    "I... that's the thing, I don't know what happened. It scared me to be honest."

    Grigor hummed thoughtfully as he stroked his beard, contemplating how much to reveal of what he knew. "Whatever it is," he said. "You should know that you are not the only one."

    "What...? Is this from the blood?" Ilia asked.

    "I can't say, you should rest now and get those wounds looked at."

    Ilia seized Grigor's shoulder, taking care to not accidentally crush his bones into powder, but still strong enough to convey her urgency. "Tell me, please."

    "Let. Go," the head instructor replied tersely.

    Relinquishing her hold, Ilia stepped back and was about to apologize, but Grigor abruptly turned around and walked away without another word, leaving Ilia troubled and confused.

    "He's an asshole, right?" Rexmar remarked.

    "Yeah... he hasn't changed one bit."

  5. Characters in this post:
    Everyone were beaming and congratulating each other, slapping backs and excitedly reliving their so called "victory". Some were recounting on the event that happened added with what Rael noticed was, not-so-mild exaggerations to the ones who were just revived and had missed the whole show. There were some who had came out to him and punched him on the shoulder in congratulations and cheers. And true to his form, Rael punched back good naturedly and cheered in return.

    "Good one, man!"

    "Brilliant! Simply brilliant!"

    "See you at lunch, eh?"

    He had given empty promises of meeting them all for lunch and said his goodbyes with an airy wave. But, the moment he was out of the crowd, Rael was seething.

    Truth was, he was absolutely pissed.

    Stopping only to random greetings thrown his way, Rael returned to his room. Closing the door behind him, he let himself fall to the floor as he leaned against the door. He closed his eyes, the fresh memory of the battle playing in his mind. His mind froze at the scene of the guerrilla assault executed by the attackers.

    He remembered how he felt looking up at them in awe with every swing of their respective weapon. His blood boiled at the sight, his feelings overwhelmed. He had never felt that way before. And yet, standing there, unable to join them, he felt completely - powerless.

    I need to be stronger.

  6. Characters in this post:
    Sitting at one of the tables in the mess hall, Ingrid tore into her meal like a ravenous beast, hardly chewing the grilled steak and boiled vegetables at all, and washed it down by draining her whole tankard of water in a single draught.

    Nikia's eyes went wide with disbelief as she had just finished cutting off a bite sized piece of her steak. Both their meals had arrived at the same time, how was this possible?

    Belching happily, Ingrid patted her stomach, then looked down when she felt a slight dampness on her shirt.

    "Oh yeah, I forgot about that," she said, stretching out the bottom of her shirt to see how much blood it had absorbed from when her throat had been slit open. "I ought to go change before asking out mister cute and smart."

    "You are not serious," Nikia replied.

    "I am. Where I come from, you like somebody, you go for them, no dawdling. So that boy is mine, you hear me?"

    "I..." Nikia sighed with exasperation. "I hear you."

    Ingrid gave a dirty laugh as she clapped Nikia on the back. "Thanks, friend!"

    How did we become friends anyway? the revivalist thought as she grunted, nearly spitting out a half-chewed piece of steak.

    "Say, where is he anyway?"

    Where was he indeed? Nikia had seen Rael being mobbed by admirers earlier, congratulating him on the genius of his tactics. She had expected to see the boy with a crowd around his table, but there was no such scenario in the mess hall.

    Truth be told, Nikia could also respect his quick thinking. He had singlehandedly turned an undisciplined rabble into an effective unit and helped to win the battle, however dubious its conclusion was. If he wasn't such an obvious philanderer, Nikia felt that she might even be able to admire him too.

    "Ah well, I'm sure he'll turn up later," Ingrid said, then pointing at Lathen. "But hey, there's that girl who got to the Ascendant before me. I'm going to go talk to her, enjoy your lunch."

    "All r-"

    Ingrid clapped Nikia on the back again before leaving, making her cough out chunks of potatoes this time.

    Approaching Lathen, Ingrid waved her hand as she said, "Hey sister, you were pretty fierce back there. Almost as much as myself I must say. My name is Ingrid, what's yours?"

  7. Characters in this post:
    Lathen watched as everyone left and watched as a few people left the mess hall to go whatever they pleased. She looked up when she heard a familiar voice which she wasn't excpecting seeing as how she was sitting away from everyone in hope that no one would bother her. She looked up at Ingrid and gave a polite smile.

    "The name is Lathen, and thanks I think." She said

    She picked at her food before taking a bite of her steak. she motioned her head towards the chair across from hers so that Ingrid would sit down.

    "So I here you are looking for your special boy to ask out."

    She laughed never understanding why people ever wanted to been together, even with her parents she never understood it. she did however assume that one day she would try the whole relationship think she was just not sure when.

    "I just wanted to say good luck with him, I am pretty sure more then half the girls want him already and not just for his looks, but they think with him they will be able to survive longer and make it to the finle rounds.

  8. Characters in this post:
    Nikia put her hand to her chest trying to ease the pain of coughing up so many chunks of food. First her bite of steak, then the potatoes. That girl was going to kill her eventually. And what did she mean by friend. This whole time she had been with the girl there was no way they had become friends.

    Looking back on all the events though, reviving her two or three times, the fact that they were almost inseparable since and then there was the battle. Ingrid may be a crazy brutish girl, but she had to admit they did work really well as a team together.

    She watched as her friend walked over to the red head abrasive as usual with her speech. Rolling her eyes, she finished her food quickly before Ingrid could come back and make her choke on it again. Thats all she needed was to die and be revived by someone else.

    Just then her mind wandered back to the battle, her dish halfway finished as she got up, no longer hungry for the food. She started to walk down the hallway towards her room, outside the mess hall so that she could think. What happened back there? Why did Miss Ilia look so distant when she was fighting. There was no way that she was well enough to fight during that fight. It was almost as if she were fighting something or someone else.... She started to worry about her instructor. The battle seemed to have taken its toll though there was no way that it had simulated anything close to a battle against demons. And although they had won the battle because of the tactics of that love sick tactician, they really shouldn't have won. The battle had seemed in some way a bit of a set back as if unintentionally Miss Ilia had held back her strength. Though many had fallen, it was still not as many as would have fallen in the actual battle. Nor was it the amount of people that Miss Ilia could have killed had she been trying to battle at full strength. If only she could help the woman somehow.

    As she looked around, Nikia noticed that she had stopped just before one of the doors and slid down the wall to sit on the floor while she was trapped in thought. Her body started to ache from the use of all that magic during the battle. She would have to get stronger if she were going to fight the way that she needed to against real demons in a real battle.

    A sigh of relief came to her as she looked up. A thought popped into her head. If I fight the way i fought today and get stronger for the actual battles, I will be able to dodge and revive people during actual battles too. I didn't do half bad for my first fight. So why am I so worried? Theres nothing to be worried about.

    With that, Nikia got up and walked back towards the mess hall to join Ingrid and the red head she would no doubt be hounding about how she was able to fight "on par" with her.

  9. Characters in this post:
    Hunger finally got the better of him as he could hear the sound of his stomach rumbling. Food definitely sounded good at that time. He checked the time and decided he could probably manage a quick bite before the start of their second training.

    Stepping into the mess hall, Rael could hear whispers erupting at his arrival. Eyes twinkling in recognition and hands waving him over. Raising a hand in an apologetic salute, he scanned the room for a specific pair of blue eyes.

    Catching sight of Nikia, he strode towards her with a loopsided grin on his face. "Hello there, ma vie," he whispered, looking straight into her eyes. "You didn't think I've forgotten about you, have you?"

    Noticing the others sitting at the table, his grin grew wider. "Ah, my warriors!" And without waiting for an invitation, he sat on the chair beside Ingrid and helped himself to the serving of cold porridge with the grace of a farmer. He recited his prayers before his meal and spooned the porridge with careful care. "Mama always said never to spill and waste for it might be these very grains that will pull you from your deciding step towards paradise." There was a wistful tone in his voice which he covered with an easygoing laugh a moment later. "She's an old blood who clings to traditions and spouts the sayings of our ancestors before Valaheim. Lovely woman, really."

    A thought struck him a moment later as he eyed the redhead and the blonde. "Hey, do either of you lovely ladies care to spar with me for today's training?"

  10. Characters in this post:
    Lathen was never one to have attention drawn to her or even around her so to have 3 people around her actully talking and or listening to her was not her favorite thing. She looked over as Nikia came over and then as Rael.

    "Sure I will spare with you today seeing as how Ingrid is to busy trying to get the boy of her dreams, what time?" She questioned and then looked over at Nikia who she had not really been introduced to yet.

    "Nikia, good job out there today." Lathen could tell by how Nikia was acting she was insecure about her fighting so she figured that if people wanted her to be nice she might as well start with compliments.

    She finished her food and looked around at the three at the table wandering why any of them now had a sudden interest in her and how many of them were actually planning on just using her. She had to admit attention did kind of feel nice seeing as how she was not use to it. growing up in a large town you were not really known unless you were famous which Lathen was not and she did not have any friends so she did not really getting what having attention ment, but figured it was something like what was going on right now.

  11. Characters in this post:
    Nikia almost flinched as the male walked up to her. She wasn't expecting him to come around them. Not with all his fans around trying to get him to sit with them. So when the man walked over and got close to her face, looking her dead in the eyes and whispering a sweet sultry greeting to her, her breath paused for a second.

    Her eyes looked over to Ingrid as if trying to say that she doesn't know why he was saying what he said. Luckily, he looked over the other two at the table and sat down, putting on a good show about how everyone was his warriors.

    She let out a sigh and shook her head as he started to pray before he ate his food. He turned his attention to the other two sitting at the table and asked them to spar with him. As if on cue another sigh came creeping out of her. If they were going to spar, she was going to have to be there just in case Ingrid got a little out of hand and killed the poor guy. He really didn't know what he was getting himself in to.

    Nokia must have been lost in her thoughts because the red head had just spoken to her and it almost didn't register what she had said.

    "Oh uh... Thank you. It was nothing. You really are an amazing fighter yourself and you pick up on the key attack points pretty quickly, like where to strike the armor. I'm very impressed." Nikia moved her hair out from in front of her face as a stray strand decided it wanted to move there. Then she sat down next to the girl. "I guess you already know my name and yours is Lathen right? Its nice to meet you. I look forward to fighting by your side during this."

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    Laughing heartily, Ingrid hooked an arm around Rael's neck and pulled him close as she said, "Oh, I was thinking we could spar in another way, if you know what I mean."

    Looking at Nikia, Ingrid waggled her eyebrows then pressed her lips to Rael's cheek in a smacking kiss. It's you he's interested in, silly girl, Ingrid thought. But I'll be the one to claim him.

    Despite knowing that her feelings were merely light-hearted infatuation, Ingrid still felt a flash of jealousy towards Nikia, though she was quick to laugh it off as she let go of the boy while saying, "Either way, I'll be happy to take you up on your offer. You really helped us out today."

    Laughing some more, Ingrid stood up as she grabbed someone else's mug and raised it in cheer.

    "A toast to our genius commander here!"

    The response from the crowd was loud and vigorous.

    When Ingrid sat back down, it was with a dumb expression on her face that she turned to the boy and asked, "Hey, what is your name anyway?"

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    Rael took notes of the names being thrown around between the group. So, the ginger was Lathen and his vie was Nikia? That's a nice name.

    "It's Rael Bartel, Miss Ingrid," he said smiling, his face bearing a tinge of red either from the toast she made for him or the smack on the cheek he received. Probably a bit of both. "That is your name, is it not? I'm pretty sure I overheard some guys sitting over there mentioning it a few times." He shrugged towards a group three tables away from them who was leering their was way. "They're actually a pretty nice bunch once you start talking to them."

    He was on his second dish - the steak which he devoured in less than a minute, and the green beans which he left untouched. Rael regarded his plate for a moment, thinking that his mother would definitely disapprove of his eating habits before forking one of the beans and forcing it down his throat. As he was about to take in a second one, a wave of inspiration hit him.

    "You know," he began, already pushing the beans with his fork. "Based on your individual strengths that I have seen so far..." he continued, now putting in some gravy into his plate which he smeared into a blot. "I could come up with at least 26 battle formations for you guys as a team."

    Don't play with your food, Rael! He could almost hear his mother's scorn as clearly as if she was next to him.

    His eyes were distracted, already entering his own mind. He started mumbling quietly in a language familiar only to him as he organized his beans on the plate. Almost abruptly, his hand halted in midair. He blinked twice, brows furrowing. "But, for any of this to work..." Blink. "We need the Elementalist."

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    Rael Bartel, Ingrid repeated in her mind over and over as she looked at the boy's face with naked attraction, becoming lost in his blue eyes. She barely listened to a single word he said as she drank in the sight of him, but as soon as he mentioned the elementalist, Ingrid's eyebrows knitted together in disapproval.

    "I don't like that one," she said. "He almost ruined our plan. Crazy bastard might have died before we got to him and then what would we have done? It's like he actually thought he could take on the Ascendant alone, or at least he really, really wanted to. I wonder why."


    Kieran ate his lunch in a hallway outside the mess hall, contemplating the battle earlier. As pleased as he was with his contributions to it, he could not fathom how he, an elementalist, was bested by a brutish ogre of a knight.

    Of course as an Ascendant, she had certain advantages over the common riffraff, but to overcome magic with sheer strength was nonsensical. All she did was smack the ground and swing her sword around like an ape.

    Magic can defeat anything. If it is met with failure, the fault lies with the user of it, Kieran thought, recalling the lessons from his master. As much as he hated that evil, old man, his words often held much truth.

    Concluding that his mistake had been underestimating the Ascendant, Kieran resolved to not repeat it. After all, he did not expect her to be able to dodge his most potent attack and he certainly was not using his full power from the start. It was simply something to be taken into account in the future.

    Much to his surprise, as he devised ways of defeating the Ascendant without giving her a chance to retaliate, Ilia came walking down the hallway with a curious expression when she saw Kieran sitting outside the mess hall.

    "Why aren't you in there?" the woman asked.

    Yet another loud cheer erupted from the mess hall and Kieran gestured towards the doorway in reply. "To get away from all that."

    "I see... well, carry on then."

    Walking past, Ilia entered the mess hall and greeted the Firstborn with a smile as she said, "Hello everyone. Are you all enjoying your meals?"

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    Lathen had some what zoned out due to everyone coming over. She looked over at her new sparing partner. "may you should spare with your new girlfriend." She smirked as she got up form the table saying good by e to everyone and finding her way out into the practice ring near the battle field. She walked up to the targets and pulled out the knives she had put in her belt and in her boots.

    She started throwing them at the targets. The first two she missed, but after that she didn't miss again. She flashed back to her childhood where she was practicing with her bow and arrow with one of her old so called friends named Aiden. Little did he know she had a crush on him and one day he made a bet that if she could make a bulls-eye he would kiss her. He meant it as a joke, but she took it very serious.

    One day while practicing she made a bulls-eye she ran to Aidne's house to tell him the news, but once she had gotten there he was gone. His house was completely empty. She ran home to tell her parents and she expected them to be surprised, but they were not because they knew they were leaving. From that day forward she always practiced hoping one day he would return and she would get a kiss from the one boy she liked.

    She came back to reality and realized she had started to think back to her childhood which was not good. She hated thinking about stuff like that. It made her mad that her mind would play something so mean so she threw her knife as hard as she could causing it to go half way through the target. She sighed walking up tp the target and grabbed the knife she had thrown earlier trying to dig out the other one.

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    Nikia pondered what her friend had said. Real really wanted the elementals to join them in the fight next time. He thought that this team could be the key to taking down the ascendant the next time they had to fight. He wasn't far off. Two fighters, a resurectionist, an elementalist and his brain could be the key but it was kind of dangerous and they would have to look at all the possible outcomes.

    The elementals was too focused on himself. She had resurrected him enough to know that he was reckless as if he could take on anyone with just his elements. He hadn't even come into the battle with a weapon. Was he that cocky that he thought he was invincible? Or did he just think he couldn't die because someone like her was there to bring him back to life if he did in fact die. Either way it sickened her.

    From the look of it her friend was completely absorbed in Rael's eyes as well. It was like a drug to her, intoxicating. She shook her head and sighed as she was about to say something about it, but Lathen got up as if she had zoned out from what everyone was saying.

    This kind of disheartened Nikia since she had just been trying to make friendly conversation. As Lathen left, she felt as though she should follow and maybe practice herself since the girl was bound to be going that way, but thats when the Ascendant had entered the Food hall. She smiled and swiftly walked towards the woman.

    "How are you, Miss Ilia? You had me kind of worried." She said smiling at the woman as if she were her long lost sister or something since the two of them had seemed to connect before the battle.

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    "I'm fine, thank you, Nikia," Ilia replied as she placed a hand over her heart and bowed her head in acknowledgement. "I saw you during the battle. Your arrow would have taken out my eye had I not dodged in time."

    Ingrid grinned as she gave Nikia a thumbs up, recalling the moment they were both putting pressure on the Ascendant with their attacks.

    "And I am impressed with you all today," Ilia continued. "You demonstrated the ability to read your opponent and co-ordinate your attacks. I can see you all came prepared for... this day."

    Ilia saw Lathen leave the mess hall and briefly considered stopping her until she decided to press on instead. She did not want to be like the collectors, who were more than willing to rule with an iron fist. No, the Firstborn could have the run of the place if they liked.

    "But, you are far from ready to face a demon. Once you've finished eating, return to the field for training with the other instructors. In place of the collectors, who will only be guarding the gates from now on, I will be your supervisor as well as mentor. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at anytime. My room is just over there, behind the podium."

    And with that, the Ascendant departed. Ingrid clapped Rael on the back and got up as she said, "Come on, let's go see what you're made of."


    Mikkel had not left the field since the battle ended. He was not hungry and he had no desire to talk to anyone else. When the revivalist instructor asked him why he was still outside, he did not respond and when those who were brought back to life passed by, they ignored him and he ignored them. All he could think about were his parents and what they were going to do now.

    His father lost a hand trying to rescue him and his mother had tried to bribe the collectors with everything she owned when they arrived, but they could not be bought.

    The simple fact of the matter was that Mikkel was entirely on his own now. No one was going to help or rescue him and the feeling of being alone was so crushingly heavy, he felt completely paralyzed. Even during the battle, he did little more than milling about in the rear.

    When the instructors arrived to setup some training equipment, Mikkel wandered off towards a copse of trees, sitting with his back against a wizened oak as he stared up at the dusky sky.

    I can almost forget what this place is, he thought as he closed his eyes.

    Not long afterwards, he heard a distant thock, like something being thrown into wood. Following the sound with his eyes, he saw a red haired girl throwing knives at a target and he stood up to watch.

    "Not so bad, eh," a voice from above said, startling Mikkel into a jolt as he looked up at a man sitting on an oak branch, roguish in his mail and brigandine, and looking for all the world like a hawk with his hooked nose and sharp eyes. "Not so bad looking either. Might wanna try getting a piece of that before I do."

    "W-when did you get up there?" Mikkel stammered nervously.

    "When you were taking your little nap of course. I was going to wake you up, but you looked like such a sleeping baby, I just couldn't."

    Jumping down and landing in a rattle of chain links, the collector straightened up and loosened his sword from its sheathe as he continued, "I was sent to get you back. Heard you were acting a bit strange, so... you wanna do this the easy way or the really easy way?"

    How did you know I was here? Mikkel wanted to ask, but thought better of it as he simply nodded in response. The last time he asked, the collectors who were taking him away from home only laughed at him. There were no answers then, so why should it be any different now?

    "Yeah, I don't know what that's supposed to mean," the collector said as he pushed his sword back into its scabbard. "But I'll assume you won't be dumb enough to cause any trouble."

    Leading Mikkel away from the trees, they passed by the red haired girl until the collector suddenly stopped and said, "Now riddle me this, why are there targets and weapons setup here for human sized opponents when you're meant to be fighting your first demon at the end of the month?"

    "I... I don't know," Mikkel replied, looking towards Lathen as she held her throwing knives.

    "What about you, red? You got to be aware that crap's not even going to tickle one of those big fuckers, so what's the game here?"

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    Lathen looked over at the collector with a glare on her fer face and over at the man guy standing next to him."I don't see how it is any of your business so why don't you go stick your nose in someone else business." She replied happy with her self seeing as how she didn't care what the collector thought."While your at it why don't you leave sleeping beauty alone... I think he was enjoying his free time alone away from everyone else which last time I checked wasn't against any rule anywhere."

    She waited knowing the collector would have something else to add. She never broke contact with him and threw her knife hitting spot on in the middle of the target without even looking."Your right I think theses are too easy for me." She smirked walking away from him and to the bigger targets and started throwing her knives.

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    For a moment, the collector's sword hand twitched with the urge to kill the defiant girl where she stood, but the man's flash of anger quickly turned to amusement and his mouth curved into a blade-like sneer.

    "I like that attitude of yours, girly," he said. "You'll make a fine recruit."

    Chuckling ominously, he shoved Mikkel forward and continued, "Now get sparring. Since you two decided to show up early, I'll tell the instructors to let you leave sooner than everyone else."

    "But collectors have no authority here," Mikkel replied without thinking.

    Drawing his sword, the collector whipped the boy on the back with the flat of his blade and kicked him in the rear, sending him sprawling with a yelp.

    "Did you feel that? That was authority, now shut up and get training... you'll need it."

    When the collector left, Mikkel picked himself off the ground and tried to ignore the stinging pain in his back. "I don't know why I said that," he muttered, leaning his hands on his knees. Looking up at Lathen, he added, "I actually don't know the first thing about fighting... I shouldn't even be here at all."

    But I couldn't escape my fate after all, he thought bitterly, wishing he had never been born a Firstborn.

    Tears began to well up in his eyes as he said, "I just want to go home."

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    Lathen watched as this all happened and knew he was in physical pain weather he cared to admit it or not. She was surprised however to find tears rolling down his face. She was never good at emotions,but thought she should help him. After all he didn't deserve how he was being treated by the so called authority.

    She walked over to him laying her hand on his shoulder. "Hey its alright I know how you fell, but hey I am a pretty good fighter if I may say so my self so I can train you and teach you all my tricks." She offered him a smile.

    "I am Lathen by the way and, and you are?" She questioned actually wanting to get to know this guy. There was something about him that was familiar, but she could not put her finger on it, but she would stop until she figured it out.

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    Nikia smiled as she watched Ilia congratulate everyone. The praise the woman gave her only made that beautiful smile grow ever so slightly. She quickly moved back towards Ingrid as she thought about what they were going to do when they trained with the instructors, but decided not to interrupt her friends time with the one she wanted to get with, Rael.

    Ingrid turned to Rael and wanted to spar with him, which made her even more certain that she didn't want to intrude. Her smile slowly faded into a more serious look as she started towards the training grounds. It was about that time to get out of there anyways and start up her own training. She quickly headed to the training ground wondering if the other First born were hot on her trail or if she was the only one actually headed there right now.

    As she got to the training grounds, she saw Lathen throwing knives with two other males right next to her. She recognized one of them as Mikkel, the boy whose father got his hands chopped off on the bridge. To tell the truth, she felt sorry for Mikkel. He didn't want to be there. He honestly did not want to get involved with the ascendants. Unfortunately, he didn't have a choice. One day he was going to realize this.The other man was another collector. Maybe he was helping them train, but from the look of things, Lathen didn't need any help at all.

    To train, she was going to need some weapons, preferably a bow and quiver of arrows. Weapons would be inside the armory, so she headed inside. As soon as she got to the armory, she looked for the bows and quivers of arrows, managing to find and grab them quickly. She then proceeded back outside to the training grounds.

    As soon as she got to a target, she started firing without hesitation. It was as though she were actually in a battle, making every movement as precise as it needed to be and swift as though the non moving target were an actual enemy. It was one of the larger targets, she she had grabbed the sharper tipped arrows to see how deep they would penetrate it. Hopefully this shooting would be good enough to kill a demon. Hopefully if she put all her energy into this one thing, she would be able to succeed in a way that benefit her and everyone she hoped to protect. This was the thought process running through her head. It was as if nothing else around her mattered but hitting that target, because if that target was a real demon, she would do anything in her power to protect everyone else around her. Even if that meant killing it. If anything, being a first born would make her stronger, so the arrows should go right through the target. Her mind was so focused on her shooting, she would probably be unable to think of anything else. Maybe thats why she didn't know how to plan counterstrikes and attack formations like Rael, but at least she could help next time they had to do a full out sparring match with an ascendant.

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    "Mikkel," the boy said as he wiped his eyes, ashamed of his tears. "My name is Mikkel."

    Drawing strength from saying his name, he could feel the stabbing pain of sorrow in the pit of his heart ebbing away and he sniffed until he could breathe easily again.

    Looking up at Lathen, he was amazed to find that his pride had actually been stung by her offer to help, but he appreciated it all the same. Any drop of kindness would have been better than nothing at all, especially here in the Armasseum.

    "I think I would like that," he said. "But it's really like I said, I've never even been in a fight before. How do you even start learning?"

    Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a girl approaching with a bow and arrow, taking shots at a target as soon as she was in position. Such surety of movement doubtless came from a lifetime of training, something that perhaps everyone but Mikkel possessed.

    At the thought of being the weakest link among the Firstborn, he felt a stir of resentment against his parents. As much as he loved them, he had been left woefully unequipped for his fate, which he actually once believed that he could avoid.

    No, Mikkel realized. They were the ones who believed they could keep me safe.

    Somewhere in the back of his mind, he had always known that was impossible. The collectors always found the Firstborn, no matter where or how they hid in the world. The question was: how did they do it?

    So deep was he in thought that he did not notice other people approaching. Led by a handful of instructors, the Firstborn were filing out of the gate and into the training area.

    At the front was the person who first spoke to Mikkel before entering the Armasseum, a blonde haired girl with an axe who was currently chattering to a boy with dark hair. When she saw the other girl with the bow, she waved her arm, shouting a greeting which broke Mikkel out of his reverie.

    As both their eyes met, the girl stopped waving then said a word to the black haired boy before approaching.

    "Hey you," she said. "You're that guy whose da got his hand chopped on the bridge, eh. Tough thing that, but it had to be done." Looking at Lathen, Ingrid continued, "Don't bother with this one, sister, he's a weakling for sure."

    "D-don't call me that," Mikkel retaliated with a glare, for all that he thought of himself as such.

    "Well it's true isn't it? You said as much yourself that you're afraid to die, right?"

    When Mikkel looked away with his teeth clenched, Ingrid grinned triumphantly and said, "See? Weakling. Come on, Lathen, you'd be better off with us."

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    Rael walked with Ingrid towards the training ground, enjoying her company. She was a woman of many words and wasn't shy to shout them out to the crowd. Her brash attitude and open friendliness not unlike his own amused him.

    But what fascinated him most was her unwavering confidence and guts. That girl had balls. It almost made him wonder quietly just what could make this girl finally break.

    Reaching the training ground, his eyes were quick to catch onto the sight of his favorite Revivalist. Ingrid made a shout out in greeting to her friend and Rael took the extra seconds of her shifted attention to admire the view.

    Nikia was... something else. From what he had seen, she was kind - almost to a fault. She had a calm soft aura around her - unlike anyone he had ever met before. He hadn't yet taken the time to properly get to know her. But from the first time his rejuvenated heart pulsated again in his chest, he knew the trapped organ fighting to break free from inside his healed ribcage now beat for a different name. And from that moment, he was adamant to keep her close.

    It was a moment after that Ingrid said something to him before pulling him towards a couple standing nearby. It took him a second to place them. "Oh, hello there," he smiled. Hearing Ingrid's exchange with the other male, Rael regarded him silently.

    Following their conversation, he couldn't help but be reminded of his own parents. On the last day before he was brought here, they spent their final night together sleeping outdoors under the stars. His father argued that they should spend their final night with him inside the warmth and security of their own four walls, but his mother stubbornly insisted that she never wanted him to ever look at the vast starlit sky without the memory of his family hunched together inside her hand knit wool blanket. The blanket had his brother's name stitched on it and Rael knew that her mother's inspiration was actually the final parting gift she had initially planned on giving to her firstborn son whom before she had never even would have shown an ounce of affection for.

    And with that, Rael's eyes couldn't help but soften towards the indignant boy. "He does seem weak," he finally commented, a calculating eyebrow raised as the gears of his brain turned and twisted. Not a moment later, his face broke into a giddy smile as a formation clicked. "More room for improvements then!"

    He grabbed the boy's hand and shook it vigorously before nodding enthusiastically. "You're just it. Welcome to the team!"

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    All of the Firstborn started filing out of the building onto the training ground. They were all finally here to practice their fighting skills. Ingrid was of course stealing the show and leading the pack with Rael at her side. She yelled out to her in greeting and Nikia nodded her head back in response before spinning and shooting the arrow again, hitting her mark on the head of the target.

    To tell the truth just shooting at the target was starting to be boring, but she couldn't help it. It seemed she had an audience for a little bit too. She could feel his stare piercing right through her as if mesmerized by her movements. After the feeling left her, she turned to look at Rael who was now staring at Mikkel. His black hair glistened with the gleam of sunlight shining down on her. She could see his oversized ego through every inch of his frame and the very way he carried himself. Though her feelings told her differently, she scoffed at the very thought of him having feelings for her. Ingrid could have him. He could be all hers..... Or at least thats what she was telling herself.

    Watching him, she couldn't help but move towards them. Her bow getting slung across her back as she walked towards them, the quiver on her hip, arrows filling it. She made it just in time as Rael decided to jump in at Mikkel's defense by taking his hand and saying that he needed to be part of the team now. Room for improvement would make it so that they could train him in the way that would help the team. She shrugged her shoulders at the thought.

    "Hey Ingrid.... You know Rael has a point. Even if he is weak, we could always train him in the area we need help in with our team and he could help protect your man right now so we could keep his mind working. He is a very good strategist. Don't count him out just yet." Nikia winked at Mikkel to see if he could cheer up, her hands on her hips as she talked to them.

    "What do you say? Besides, we still need someone to go and talk to the elementalist and try to see if he will join the group to make Rael's dream team a reality. He might just be the perfect person for that."

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    Seeing everyone side with Mikkel, Ingrid grew frustrated and paced restlessly around as she said with her axe pointed at the boy, "This is what will happen, we will spend all our time babysitting him until the day we fight our first demon, and then he will die because he will be too busy shitting himself to run or fight, and no one would find enough pieces of him to put back together."

    Throwing her axe down on the ground, Ingrid turned towards everyone else and finished off by saying, "Hack him up here with my axe and save us all the trouble, or be fools. There is no way anyone can turn that into a warrior in only a year and you will only waste time trying."

    For a while, Mikkel could only rock back and forth on his heels as though each of Ingrid's words had struck like a physical blow. He could vividly envision the image she had described and for a moment, Mikkel felt like a dead man already, but then he saw Ingrid turning her back on him and all his dread evaporated into resentment.

    Don't you walk away from me, he thought as he said, timidly at first, "My name... is Mikkel."

    Ingrid ignored him as she walked on.


    When the girl halted in her tracks, Mikkel drove on with all the anger he could muster, "Gods, what the hell is your problem! I know I'm weak, but you don't have to be such a gods damned, flaming bitch about it!"

    Turning around, Ingrid's face darkened like the coming storm as she advanced menacingly towards Mikkel and replied, "What did you say to me?"

    Though still angry, the boy's sense of self-preservation forced him to back away a few steps, but even so he remained defiant as he shouted, "I said you are a bitch, a gods damned, flaming one!"

    Grabbing Mikkel by the front of his shirt, Ingrid came almost nose to nose with him as she stared him down. Mikkel squeezed his eyes shut and steeled himself in anticipation of a blow to the face or the gut, but it never came. Instead, Ingrid only breathed heavily for a moment then let him go as she said, "Good."

    Mikkel blinked in confusion. "What?"

    "Yeah, what are we all standing around for?" Ingrid said as she picked up her axe, grinning cheerfully as ever. "Let's get training already."

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    Lathen stood in shock seeing how Ingrid talked to him, but understood when she said good it was her way of trying to make him stronger or so she had hoped it was. She stood back and watched as everyone started to train and looked to see everyone's skills and their weaknesses if there was a pattern to where they mess up all the time or at least frequently. To her training was not just about being strong or being able to fight it was also about how well you can get to know you opponent in a few short seconds.

    Lathen knew that she would not be killing any of them really soon, but she wanted to start to figure them out now so that she would have more time and hopefully give her a advantage when it came to the real thing. She watched as people spared and some people threw swords or shot bows. For the most part from what she saw everyone was really goo, but she did fond weaknesses in some people who left there sides unprotected or they didn't keep there eye on the target and got distracted by something else that was not important.

    After watching everyone for a few more moments she went and picked a bow with arrows and started shooting at the same target she was throwing her knives at earlier. The bow was not her best, but she was still fairly good at it. After shooting 10 arrows she had 7 make it in the bulls eye and the rest just out side of it. She walked over and retrieved her arrows and starting shooting again. she repeated this a few more times.

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    "So, all that stuff you said... you didn't mean it?" Mikkel asked hopefully.

    "Oh, I meant every word," Ingrid bluntly replied.


    Staring at his feet, Mikkel suddenly became crestfallen to know what Ingrid genuinely thought of him, but he was jolted into awareness when she clapped a hand on his shoulder and said in an utterly serious tone, "But I want you to prove me wrong, understand?"

    One moment Mikkel was feeling like less than dirt, the next it was as though the sun was rising from his heart. This Ingrid girl was playing him like a damn fiddle! And he wasn't quite sure how to deal with that, so he settled with a nod.

    "Good man," Ingrid said with a grin as she ruffled Mikkel's hair then returned to join Rael's side.

    Fixing his hair with an annoyed expression, Mikkel turned to look for Lathen, who had wandered off to the archery range. Not wanting to bother her, he approached and stopped at a certain distance to watch.

    When she collected her arrows for the third time and returned to her spot, Mikkel decided to step in and asked her, "Hey, is that offer still on the table?"

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    He saw stars.

    Bright yellow stars, glittering in the periphery of his vision.

    "Man, are you okay?"

    Was he?
    Wait - why wouldn't he be?

    "You took quite a hit there."

    Yes, that happened.

    For the past half an hour Rael had spent his sweet time observing everyone. From the way they held their weapons, to every curve of their limbs as they released each arrow and swung their flail.

    And, finally, he started training. His first choice of trial ; A punching bag stuffed with hay.

    At first, everything seemed easy enough. He saw some guys hitting it and it swung easily to the other side. Surely, he could do that?

    I mean, really, how was he to know that the bag was going to swing back and slam him right in the face with multiplied vengeance?

    Everyone was looking at him awkwardly, not knowing what to say after his humiliating accident. So, he did was he does best.

    Putting on his natural charm at full force, he pulled out his clumsy, loop-sided for display. "Anyone wants to apply for a personal coaching job?"

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    Lathen turned around to see Mikkel and smiled. "Now what offer would that be?" She questioned waiting for him to get all shy and say never mind. She stood and shot more arrows at her target until she heard everyone quiet down and she looked at the person laying on the ground and couldn't help, but let out a slight chuckle. "seems to me someone needs a trainer." she stated under her breath.

    She stood there curious as to who was going to take him on and waited for someone to step forward and agree to help and as others started to go back to there training she assumed no one was going to help him. She grabbed a arrow and shot it at the bag next to his head to get his attention she nodded to him and motioned for him to come over. She figured if she was going to help Mikkel why not him as well.

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    For a moment, Ingrid felt embarrassed for Rael as she watched him lose to a stationary opponent. There was simply no way to surpass such a dazzling example of failure, but then again it was no worse than any other rookie mistake ever committed.

    So he was more skilled with strategems than actual combat, some men were like that and it did not make Ingrid lose any amount of respect for him. Since he was trying though, he might as well learned how to do it right. Performing a basic strike that is.

    "You're over-committing on your attack," Ingrid said as she held her hand towards Rael to help pick him up. "It makes you unbalanced and weak to a counter, and you should always expect a counter... although, I don't think that's something to worry about when fighting a demon."

    Looking around, Ingrid was unsure how helpful it was to be shooting arrows at a target range or practicing strikes on a training dummy. This was simple foot soldier level basic training.

    Asides from the combat session with the Ascendant, which the head instructor promised to be a regular occurrence, there was not much to help prepare the Firstborn for a battle with the supposedly gargantuan demons.

    "Don't you think it's strange to be doing this sort of training?" Ingrid asked as she fiddled with her axe. "I mean, this is the sort of thing you do when trying to become a guardsman."


    more later

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