Resistance Homefront

Posts pertaining to the Governor and other public works. Moderator will pass on to the next gov.

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Mairead Harker
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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by Mairead Harker » Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:20 am

Part 2 of ?

Meanwhile at Old Market - Urgent Care

Colleen had settled in with her patient and was doing all facets of the job as she waited on the others.

“You think they will take …” The words trailed off as another wave of pain overtook the laboring mother.

“Take what, Lia?” The midwife rested her hands on either side of the woman’s heavy belly.

“My baby!” she snapped.

“No one is takin’ that bairn unless it’s a staffer ta make sure vitals ‘n’ all are good.” Before Lia could raise objections Collie held up one hand and spoke in that brook no nonsense tone that was often used on her children. “First, yer goin’ ta work on gettin’ that child out o’ yer body. Once that’s done, health checks will be done. When yer both clear, we’ll get ta Riverview Clinic in Dragon’s Gate.”

“But I live here!” Anger rumbled in her voice.

“Movin’ ya there puts ya out o’ Old Market ‘n’ away from the Blackguard. It’d be a cold day in hell afore Maranya Valkonan allows anyone ta separate an unwillin’ mother from her babe.”

“Who is that?”

“Anya’s Chief o’ Staff at Riverview. She’ll see yer both safe until things calm down.”

When the young people arrived, they were directed to the shelter and surgery level of the Urgent Care center where Colleen was tending a tired and grumbling young woman. "Breathe, lass, it's not called labor fer nothin'. It's hard work." Collie mopped the woman's forehead with a damp cloth.

Maggie went into the labor room and left her bag before washing up. "This is a new adventure! I hope it's a good one!"

Doran held back a moment, taking Sylva's hands in his and leaning forward to gently touch his forehead to hers. "Thank you for coming." With a warm smile, he released her hands and moved to follow Maggie into the labor room. The anxiety and stress rolling off of her hit him like a sledgehammer, but he shook it off and went to stand behind her. "Hi," he said to the mother-to-be. "I'm Doran. Don't worry, we're here to help."

"I'm Lia." She huffed and puffed like a steam engine. "I'm just glad to not be alone for this."

Sylva was a little confused by Doran but gave him a smile. "Uh huh. I'll just..be out here.." Playing guard duty like a wanna be pro. She watched him go after Maggie and for a moment her shoulders slumped. Idle hands rubbed on her hips and shoved down into her pockets soon after.

"Sylva?" Collie called after her. "There's a small kitchen in the staff area around the corner. Can ya make tea?"

"You're not alone." As he spoke, Doran used his empathic gifts to gently touch Lia's frazzled psyche; in his mind, he pictured a cool, soothing mist that eased away outward concerns.

Sylva nearly jumped out of her own skin. "Y-Yes ma'am!" She'd go off to the kitchen area to make tea. Not just one cup, mind you. It was more like several!

Collie was in the catcher's position to check on how things were progressing. "Won't be much longer, I'm thinkin'."

Meanwhile, Maggie had given Lia a soft blanket to snuggle with as Doran worked his magic to calm her. "The baby is ..." Maggie's brows furrowed in consternation, "trying to sing?"

Collie smiled gently as Sylva busied herself with the tea that would be needed as a refresher once the young one put in an appearance.

"Yes, she is." Though his eyes were closed, Doran smiled as he replied to Maggie, then he looked down at Lia. "You have a name picked out?"

Lia shook her head. "No, not yet. I thought, maybe, I should meet ... her" he had said she, "first."

"That works. Her name will pop into your head when you hold her, I'm sure."

Sylva may have made more than needed but at least if someone was really thirsty, they were covered. To keep the cups warm, she turned the saucers over each cup until they were needed. It was at least something to do to feel a little useful.

Lia went back to doing the pant, puff, and blow thing Colleen had taught her. "She was right." Her attention focused on Doran for the moment. "It is very hard work."

One hand wrapped around Lia's wrist, Colleen was noting the time as she took the younger woman's pulse. Gathering up the sheet near her patient's legs, Colleen has freshly washed hands at the ready. "Well, whatever names she wants, she's ready ta meet the world." Lia's baby arrived, wide eyed and breathing, but not wailing.

Feeling a wash of relief and outpouring love, Doran reeled where he stood for a moment before looking at the babe in Collie's arms. "So small.... so adorable."

Colleen didn't swat the little one as some might have done. She gave the little one a once over to examine her general condition, swaddled her, and carefully placed her in her mother's arms. "Indeed... tiny, but very aware." She gave Doran a warm smile. "Once they get acquainted fer a bit, I'll need ya ta reassure Mum that I'm not abscondin' wit' that wee treasure."

Maggie had been unusually quiet as she took the whole thing in. "A whole new person... and we helped her get here!"

"That we did." He looked down at the infant in Lia's arms. "We'll give you two a moment." Then he stepped away, joining Collie and Maggie, and spoke in low tones. "She was definitely worried about the Blackguard, about them taking the child. Even now, though she hides it, that fear is there. Does she have reason to be?"

Leaving mother and child alone for a while, Collie and Maggie were heading to the staff area for that tea. With Lia out of earshot, Collie said quietly, "I doubt Harris would condone stealing an infant, but ... there are stories going around about at least one child that he manhandled. It's not him I'm concerned about so much as the Blackguard. Hired mercenaries have been known to go rogue from their employers."

Hearing people coming Sylva silently turned over the saucers and placed them under the cups before picking them up to hand them up as whoever came close could grab one. Her brows dipped faintly as she listened but didn't nose in.

"Thank ya, Sylva!" She took one of the teacups and stirred in some sugar. A glance to her watch reminded her that it was now after the posted curfew. "We might have trouble getting out o' here wit'out the Blackguard noticin'."

Maggie also took a cup of tea. "We need a plan, don't we?" She looked between the others.

Collie chuckled. "A chopper on the roof is a no go. They'd see it fer sure!"

She was out of the loop in this but the question just kinda slipped out, "Why would they come after her and her child? Is that normal for these Blackguards to do?"

"It's not normal for troopers to be running about Old Market like they own it, but they are." Maggie scowled like an angry old lady. She had that get off my lawn face going.

Sylva’s head tilted as she watched what is likely to be the face Maggie will wear when she is much older. "So they would do it just to cause trouble?"

"The whole thing is to cause trouble!" Maggie muttered.

"Harris' support has given them the slightest semblance of legitimacy, and villains like that will take advantage of such opportunities," Doran added.

"Unfortunately, those that don't know better are also lending credence to those actions." Collie sighed as she shook her head. While many have stepped up, more need to."

"Hmm." Sylva’s arms folded as she tilted her head. "Can't we just use the portal that got us here? Someone can go on ahead while someone else guides her with others support." Then again, that probably wasn't where they wanted to go.

"I can open one, yes, but not all of us can go at once." The weight of her years seemed to have fallen on Collie's shoulders all at time. "Sylva ... do ya know Riverview Clinic in Dragon's Gate at all?"

She blinked to Collie. "I know where it is." She nodded a few times. Made her nervous but she knew about it! "I think I have only been in a few times though and just inside the door to drop stuff off."

"I haven't seen ya in action in a fight, lass, but I know ya have a good head on yer shoulders. Will ya be alright seein' mother 'n' child through a direct portal? I can let Anya know ta have someone waitin' on all o' ya." Collie finished off her tea. "If the Blackguard shows up, we can make sure yer all through safely."

"Definitely," said Doran.

"I can fight but, yes, I can do that...But..is she in any condition to move? Do I need to carry them?" The details were meant to give Sylva an idea of what she was to do. She may already be planning.
"Lia came through fine." She turned to Maggie. "There's a snack in the fridge can ya take it in fer Lia, please?" As Maggie took the snack and drink to the new mother, Colleen continued, "We can put 'em in a wheelchair if need be."

"If need be, but I think Lia's strong enough to r-" Then he cut himself off, glancing away from the others.

She had a good idea where Doran's thoughts were headed. "Her instincts will likely ta be ta protect her daughter 'n' if runnin' is what it takes, she'll do it."

Her lips thinned a bit. She wasn't sure the stress and how drained Lia was, so she would trust them on this. "I don't know about a wheelchair," Sylva replied softly after a moment. "Wheels can get caught and it might create enough so to be noticed." She craned her head to the side. She was thinking something but was struggling with the idea or even speaking it aloud. Yeahhh. Just gunna stick with whatever they came up with.

"What would you suggest?" Doran's tone was supportive.

"Huh? Oh.." She gave Doran a faint smile. "I ..it sounds stupid. Don't worry about me. Whatever you guys got, I will support best I can!"

When Maggie returned from settling Lia with her snack. She was rubbing her temples and frowning. "I think we have another problem. I felt a strong wave hit me like a wall in a Magic Duel."

A curious look went from Sylva to Maggie.

"I feel it too." Doran added.

Mutterings came from Collie in her native Irish. "Doran, could ya ask one of the nurses ta help Lia get showered and inta some clean clothes, please?" She turned to Sylva. "There's a linen closet in there, ta the right. " She gestured toward the staff sleeping area. "Would ya gather up some clean sheets and a couple blankets, please?" She cleared her throat. "Maggie, go keep a watch on Lia's young one while we get things kitted up."

Maggie opened her mouth to add something, but she'd seen this before, it was time for raiding a kitchen and broom closets for something usable. One of the nurses had given the baby a bath and dressed her in a onesie. Maggie started wrapping the child up to ward off the cold.

Without a word, Doran turned and headed for the nurses' station to get help in readying Lia, and then went in search of some clean clothes for the young mother.

"O-oh. Yes, ma'am." She shook her head and went off to find what Collie requested. A couple of thick blankets and some sheets were gathered in arm and she'd report back to Collie with her bulk.

"Never unarmed," Collie murmured. When Sylva returned Collie grinned. "We're goin' ta make a sturdy sling and keep that little one warm 'n' against 'er mum. That'll keep Lia's hands free if she needs 'em." Collie began to show Sylva how to fold the sheets to double layer the sling. Just see 'em safe. Stay wit' 'er 'r get ta Stardreamer 'n' tell Ebon what's goin on. Either is good."

Lia gave Doran a grateful smile when she saw him with the nurse. "Thank you." A concerned look appeared when she saw Maggie wrapping up the baby. "It's cold out, isn't it?"

"Umm.." With Maggie and Doran gone, she murmured to Collie, "If we can drape her with a blanket, I can use an illusion to make her look like a haunt. Surely they would leave her alone if they think he a ghost, right? Just enough time to get her to the portal." Like she said, it sounded stupid and she didn't want her friends to hear it. "Once I get her to the clinic I will go tell Mister Ebon so he can come help if needed." Better safe than sorry.

"Not as bad as it was last week, but yeah, it's cold." Having looked away while Lia got dressed, he now turned back and handed her a warm overcoat that would cover both her and the baby held close.

"That idea could work very well. Making her look spectral." Collie nodded. "We need ta use what we can."

Lia tugged on the overcoat, but didn't button it, yet. "Any idea how we're getting out of here?" A look to the nearest clock produced a frightened expression and a momentary frown. "I decided to call her Johara. It means one who is treasured."

Sylva nodded slowly but kind of was taken by surprise when Collie..agreed. "I am armed," so she knew. She just..rarely told people.

Maggie tugged on her parka and put her bag in the staff room to be reclaimed later. "I'm going upstairs to see if there's a patrol going by."

"Something I have told my children, Sylva, I will share with you. You are never unarmed if you keep your wits about you. Even kitchen tools can be used as weapons if need be." The words of crones were often wise.

She gave a lopsided grin. That was so true and Sylva quickly agreed with a nod. The grin faded as she looked over when she heard Maggie. "With Doran, right?" Less a question than she meant it to be.

Maggie said, "Just going to watch from the windows first."

"That's a lovely name." Nodding to Maggie, he looked over his shoulder into the staff room, then back to Lia. "Syla will guide you both out to the portal and through, back to the Observatory in Dragon's Gate, and then down to Riverview Clinic. You'll be safe there, until you can return to your home." When the girl looked stricken, he rested a comforting hand on her shoulder. "You will return home."

Lia smiled. "I hope so. Be safe is more important right now." She cast an adoring gaze on her newborn. "For her."

Maggie rarely used it, but fairy sight could be useful. The brand she'd been cursed or blessed with allowed her to see magical signatures. Her eyes closed and a pale shimmer of silver glowed as Maggie's armor activated. She swore under her breath as she realized why that magic had hit her so hard and felt so familiar. Muttering, Maggie said, "What did you do?" She was almost running when she rejoined the others. "We need out, now. I'll explain later!"

Sylva blinked over to Maggie. That was a pretty alarming statement. She looked up to Collie before picking up the sling to bring to Lia. That way Collie could be free to do things needed.

The portal was just outside the building. With Sylva's help, Lia and baby were doubly wrapped up snug and warm!

"Doran, I'm going to raise a fog to help hide them long enough to get them to it. " It wasn't just any fog Maggie was going to use, she was already muttering in Irish as she called a dragon smoke. The weatherman might not have predicted it, but a thick fog rose in the West Side of Old Market. She had uttered the words a hundred times in magical duels, this time ... there were no rules. "Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha." She kept repeating the ancient Irish as the fog thickened.

Hmm. That could help if she needed to pull up the illusion spell. Mwahahaha. That was tucked in her pocket though and she looked to Lia, a soft smile given. "Hi! I'm Sylva. Don't worry, k? We will make sure you two get there safe!"

Collie was helping get Lia bundled up. "Are we all ready?"

Lia smiled to Sylva. "I'll try not to!" She headed to the ground floor.

Sylva’s lips pursed as she followed after Lia, doing her best to make sure Lia didn't see such.

"Hurry. There's a patrol coming." Doran warned.

(( "Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha" translates to "Serpent's breath, charm of death and life, thy omen of making." It's a version of the Charm of Making from Excalibur.))
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by Mairead Harker » Mon Mar 09, 2020 1:08 am

((Just to clarify, Tass had already given permission for the temporary disruption of the portal near the Emergency Center.))

Maggie was already outside. She couldn't alter the magic Tass had laid down, but her own was active where his portal opened near the Emergency Center. Anyone coming out of that passage would be disoriented, it would buy time or encourage a retreat, and that was what they needed.

The patrol had passed the center, but how long before the next one was a crap shoot. "How many can ya feel, Doran?" Collie asked quietly as they walked out of the building.

"It's... difficult to sense anything. There's too much magic in the air, I'm sorry. There's enough to be a problem, though." He did indeed look apologetic as he glanced back to Sylva and Lia, who held baby Johara close to her. "Stay here with Collie. If she says get back inside, do it. I'll go out into the street a bit and see what I can sense. If I whistle, make for the portal, quick as you can." Getting a bit of distance from the portal would help.

Doran gave Maggie a wink as he passed, stepping out from the circle of light cast by the street lamp. He peered down the lane in the direction the patrol had gone, then looked the other way. As he looked, he reached out with his mind, seeking the unseen. Lips creased in a frown as he still couldn't pick up anything, not even the fading presence of the previous patrol. Either the magic in the air was still interfering... or the Blackguard had found a way to shield themselves.

Collie waited just outside the Urgent Care's door with the others inside as she waited for the signal from Doran.

As Maggie waited for Doran's answer ... something changed. Crouching near Tass's portal, the teen could hear garbled voices echoing as if people were preparing to come through. She used something Jacen taught her to cause a horrific stink to hang near that exit of that portal. It smelled of death and the horrors of Tartarus. More are coming and I hear armor clanks. We need to get them out now!

Taking a deep breath, he gave one last look both ways, then turned and whistled, soft but enough to be heard, before starting back towards the Urgent Care Clinic.

And then, as Doran passed back under the streetlight, a harsh voice called out. "Hey!" Spinning around, Doran swore under his breath as he spied a lone Blackguard, weapon drawn and a radio or similar device held up. "Need backup at Urgent Care!"

Collie held the door as Sylva used her talents to make Lia and Johara appear to be a shade. It was just a few steps between that door and escape for mother and child. "Go quickly, don't look back." Looking back had been the downfall of many. "We'll find ya at Ebon's place." Collie gave Sylva's shoulder a reassuring squeeze and turned to cover the rear as the young woman and her two charges made for the Center's portal.

Lia and baby Johara went through quickly with Sylva as their guardian. On the other end at Riverview, Maranya Valkonan had someone waiting to take charge of the new mother and her babe. That part of her mission completed, transport was ready for Sylva to get to Stardreamer Manor.

Breaking into a run, Doran headed for the clinic, but as he drew closer, he sensed malice ahead, and pointed to Tass' portal. "Maggie, look out! They're coming!" Then there was a sharp noise behind him, and he felt a wet pain in his leg, a leg that suddenly failed to support him.

"No, no, no," Maggie spat the words out. She didn't have time to be concerned why the Blackguard would just shoot someone for a curfew violation, it made no sense! Her armor was already active and her best friend had been shot! "Son of a ..." A few words were uttered in some ancient language and a blade appeared in her hands. "This is too much." Instinct had taken over as Maggie went to Doran's aid.

As he hit the street, falling on his injured leg, agony shot through Doran's body and he cried out. Turning back towards the guard who had shot him, and who now loomed over him with gun pointed at the approaching Maggie, the young man unleashed all of that pain and rage in an overwhelming torrent. Despite whatever protections their armor had against spells and physical weapons, that empathic assault was too much. The Blackguard simply crumpled to the ground.

Colleen put herself between the young people and the Blackguard. Two had doubled back after hearing the call for back up. Three managed to get through the mix of fog and stench before a solid wall rose at the end of Tass's portal. It was hard to say if it been the Old Man's way of protecting Maggie as he promised or if something inside the young one had snapped. That pathway was blocked for the time being.

"Gran, Doran needs help!" Her own healing abilities were equivalent to a bit past first aid. Maggie had never removed a bullet before. One wrong move and it could mean Doran's death or permanent injury.

Colleen dropped back to attend to the young man as Maggie stepped forward. Using her trusty bodice dagger, the elder cut the fabric of Doran's pants.

Winter's Twilight had become a shadow in Maggie's hand as it went through the armor of one of the Blackguard. Coming to the aid of his brethren, one was behind Maggie and shoved a knee in her back. Maggie landed hard on her right arm, the snapping of bone echoed in the quiet street.

Knife in hand, Doran cut a large piece of the fallen Blackguard's cloak, and then a longer strip. He folded the piece into a makeshift pad and pressed it hard against the wound in his leg, then held it while Collie wrapped the strip around his thigh, tight enough to compress the artery without completely cutting off bloodflow. "Heh... you must have... done this before." Looking past her, he narrowed his eyes. "Go help Maggie. I'll be there in a moment."
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by PrlUnicorn » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:29 pm

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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by PrlUnicorn » Mon Mar 09, 2020 3:30 pm

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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by Strawberry » Tue Mar 10, 2020 12:49 pm

Monday

Pandaemonium in the streets of Old Market, rogue Blackguard running rampant through the district clashed with Resistance forces seemingly on every other block. It was why the mousy figure avoided the district entirely that morning with the Resistance Homefront as their final destination. Somewhere between Dockside and Old Temple, the former Squire of Old Market had donned her Mad Mask of Many Faces and left her face behind in favor of something less… well, her. She traded loud violet locks for a muted shade of ashy brown, her eyes muddying to much the same color. Her curves thinned out and her features hardened. In the end, the next face to offer aid to the Governor was either a pretty boy or maybe a handsome girl, it was hard to say. Bringing with her two stoic mercenary sorts in nondescript gear, the trio made an invaluable offer.

“So,” she began once she had the audience needed to make her pitch. “Heard ya got a heckuva problem out there in the Market district. I got just the solution for ya. These guys… real merc sorts, ya know. But they’ve been trained by the best and they’re real effective. Call themselves the Deadmen. They’re used ta gettin’ paid by the finger, if ya know what I mean, but they’re lookin’ for a fresh job and I think you could use ‘em. Willin’ to cut the Guv a good deal on ‘em too. You know, for the greater good and all that.”

Dizzy’s Deadmen had been withheld from any skirmishes or patrols and were thus unrecognizable as former Blackguard. But why were they being offered to the Resistance now?

Well, as Harris had told her, "Causing the problem hasn't turned out to be particularly lucrative, so let's see how much we can make helping to solve it instead. Better than nothing, yanno?"

All of it came down to the money after all.

It just made sense.
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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by Cristoval » Tue Mar 10, 2020 2:11 pm

Cristoval had been a soldier himself, once upon a time, a militant cleric fighting in a war that stretched across his country for years. He knew how to maintain and shoot a rifle and a pistol, all of the skills of a combat medic of his time, and a number of holy invocations for binding and blinding enemies and slaying the undead.

But he was not a soldier anymore, nor was he the same class of soldier as the well-regimented, armed, and armored professional mercenaries of the Blackguard. He knew from experience just what soldiers were capable of, and imagined the Blackguard could do the same more quickly and efficiently than any other military he had encountered. The first time he had seen their blockades around Old Market, he had simply turned away, until Collie had generously offered him a way around -- a portal from the Observatory in Dragon's Gate to the West Side Medical Center in Old Market, a way to bypass the highest concentration of soldiers.

For the last three weeks he had been availing himself of the hospital portal, at least three days a week, taking with him nothing more than his holy symbol and his usual bag of supplies, patched canvas with a faded medical symbol on the flap.

First he checked with the doctors in West Side about illnesses in the district, what kind of injuries they were encountering the most and where they were coming from, and anyone they knew of receiving in-home hospice care. Then he made his rounds, taking his usual route of brothels, trap houses, and shelters where people were less likely to seek or receive care, before chasing down any leads he'd picked up at the hospital, including those at the end of their lives choosing to die in their own homes or unable to make it to the hospital. Finally, he turned to the shrine to the Flickering Flame he had established in the district some months ago, a nook in the eave of a building where he lit a few candles and made offerings to an image of his goddess, and where others could draw upon her blessing for health and clarity.

Conner went with him when he could, but even when the man was too busy to manage it, the priest was never truly alone -- the Blackguard made sure of that. He was usually followed via one of the strange dark portals near the medical center, to check that he wasn't ferrying messages to the burgeoning resistance in the district, and to remind him that they were watching. He tried to give them the same mild but pleasant regard that he gave to most people he encountered, but their ire had been much worse since the attack.

His visits yesterday and today had both been interrupted by a Blackguard patrol instructing him -- at gun point -- to sit on the ground, and emptying his bag on the street to sift through the contents, pocketing anything that struck them as valuable or interesting. They let him sit on the ground while they checked their comms and gear to take up more of his time, and loomed uncomfortably close for long stretches and stared, daring him to give them an excuse, but they did not touch him beyond "helping" him get on the ground.

They never told him to get up, which was easy to take for another power play. He simply waited for them to stop training their guns on him and resume their route, giving them time to gain distance (and lose interest) with a silent recitation of the first three lines of the Bright Creed. Then he moved on his hands and knees to retrieve (most of) his belongings, not pushing back to his feet again until the bag was completely packed.

It was only his second time doing this, but it was beginning to feel like a routine, or that it would soon become one. He dusted off his clothes and peered down the road at the retreating backs of the three Blackguard soldiers on patrol, and sighed to himself when he realized the shrine was in the same direction. He peered into his canteen (recently emptied on the cobblestones to "check for enemy messages"), and was debating a detour to a nearby public spigot to top it off, when noises carrying on the air stopped him in his tracks.

Jeering. The start of a shouting match. A loud splatter -- immediately followed by four bursts of gunfire, and screaming.

Cristoval froze up. His heart was thudding in his ears, his tongue felt thick and dry in his mouth, and his mind raced with the memories of all that he had survived and the fight or flight that had seen him through the other side. But the screams had devolved into different noises, wailing and authoritative shouting, and the priest was already painting a picture of what had gone down by the time he forced his feet into motion. He moved around the corner with his hands in the air, clutching the pendant of his goddess in one, showing himself to the soldiers swiveling guns his way: "I am a priest! Don't shoot!"

A crowd of a dozen people was dispersing down the street, away from a body with several bullet wounds in the torso, a young dwarvish man with a short beard and a backpack crammed with paint cans and paint-filled water bottles and balloons. Two of the paint bombs had burst open on the cobblestones, but one had evidently impacted one of the soldiers, coating his armor in iridescent orange paint and splattering the other two. They turned their weapons back to the uncertain crowd, seeing no threat from the priest they'd already humiliated, and he continued forward to kneel by the body, holy symbol dangling from his fingers.

"Leave the body to the priests," he heard the sergeant saying. "We don't want to be here when the crowd comes back."

"Yeah, they might bring stink bombs next," one of them snickered.

"Fuck you, man," said the third, her armor the most coated in paint of the three, but a sharp noise from the sergeant had them falling into line, resuming their patrol route at a somewhat faster pace.

Cristoval had begun his Petition of Mercy in the midst of the soldiers' banter, eyes shut, one hand laid flat on the young dwarf's bloody chest while the other clutched the pendant desperately. Goddess of the Flickering Flame, I kneel before you with a man who was taken by the darkness, but his spirit still lingers. Rekindle it, O Goddess. Mend his broken body, and be the beacon of mercy that lights the way back; be the hope of his spirit before it strays.

Three waves of warm light trickled from the pendant of the Flickering Flame and flowed out from his hand, sinking into the body and flaring brightly around the wounds. As the light faded, the wounds scarred over and the blood stopped oozing out, and the young man suck in a deep breath and coughed violently. Cristoval placed a hand on his shoulder and murmured, "Easy... easy, now..." He was alive, but still pale and shaky.

"Sergeant!" A voice rang out from the patrol, less than half a block away. Evidently they hadn't been expecting their victim to return to the land of the living. They were turning around, jogging a few steps before breaking into a run.

"Are you with--?" the dwarf began to ask Cristoval, panicked eyes ticking in the direction of the approaching patrol, but the priest shook his head faintly. There was no time for verbal thanks, only a grateful look from the young man, and then he was forcing his weakened body into a rapid sprint, spilling spray paint cans out of his open backpack. There was only ten feet between them and a nearby alley, and he made it into the narrow passage and out of sight before the Blackguard soldiers could line up a shot.

The mercenary with the painted armor was the first to close the distance, scowling at him as she swung the butt of her carbine at him. "You son of a bitch!" His nose crunched with a stream of blood, and no sooner had his back hit the pavement than she was landing her first kick in his ribs.

He could hear the clatter of boots and tactical armor around him as a barrage of blows landed, kicking and stomping and clubbing away at his torso, and dazing him with the sharp cuff of a composite bracer across the head. Underneath it all was a solitary bead of comfort and warmth, a tiny bastion among all the pain. The only sense he had of the beating's duration was the same way he'd measured it in his time as a prisoner: by how far he had gotten through reciting the Bright Creed in his head.

By his estimate, it was not much more than thirty seconds before the painted soldier cocked her gun and demanded, "Step the fuck back! I'm gonna light this hippie up!"

"Easy, Trooper." That sounded like the Sergeant, who left the other Trooper to continue working over Cristoval at his own pace, circling him before a vicious kick and spitting on his face. "Put your gun down. You want riots? Executing holy men in the street is how you get riots."

"Sergeant, we can't let them do this to us--!"

"We're not going to. Trooper, turn him over."

Another sharp kick rolled Cristoval onto his back with an involuntary groan. His eyes cracked open, and the Sergeant's face swam into his vision, looming over him as he grabbed him by the shirt to hold him up.

"Lucky we ran into you, priest. There's been plenty of sin in Old Market, so we're going to worship. And I know just the place."

The Sergeant tipped his head back and slammed it into Cristoval's, and his world went black.

* * * * *

When he came to, it was to water from a canteen, splashing his face from above. In the moment, the irony of it struck him as funny, and he began a chuckle that quickly died in a wince from the throbbing pain in his ribs.

A Trooper's cuff across his face for his seeming petulance added to his growing list of aches and injuries.

"Here we are... Home, sweet home," the Sergeant half-sang, passing in front of Cristoval's bleary vision. They were at a familiar stretch of brick wall, one with a little nook that sheltered seven candles, a gilded ceramic statue of a goddess, and a warded offering box. "I've seen you coming and going from your little church, and I said to myself... Shouldn't we come pay our respects?"

He nodded to one of the Troopers, who took the butt of his rifle and smashed into the statue and candles, clubbing at the shrine until he'd shattered them all. Cristoval tried to turn away, but the Trooper behind him kicked him in the back, knocking him over sideways before dragging him back up to his knees. "Look at it."

The other Trooper tried picking up the offering box, but yelped and leapt back, clutching his hand. "Fucking... that fucker burned me!" he protested, and rounded on Cristoval to slam the butt of his weapon into his chest.

"Let me see your-- That's just an illusion, Trooper. Nothing's burned. Give that here." The Sergeant accepted the box from his wary trooper, tossing the thing to him like a hot potato. He winced through the protective prayer that was telling him that his skin was burning, but he powered through the pain long enough to dig his knife into the tiny padlock, prying it open and cracking the lid. He upended several copper and silver coins into his hand, and could only laugh. "The riches of a golden goddess," he tsk'ed as he dropped the offering into a pocket of his armor.

A spray paint can clattered onto the cobblestones nearby, and he could hear them spraying something on the wall. Whatever they were doing, it was a small mercy, a minute of peace without any direct abuse from the soldiers. He hung onto consciousness through the waves of pain, focusing on the little bit of warmth he felt deep down, like a beacon of hope...

"Sergeant," the Trooper behind him announced, "he's got something in his hand."

Do I? Cristoval wondered dimly. His right hand was clenched into a fist, and had been throughout -- the source of that tiny bead of comfort and warmth that had carried him through the ordeal, the golden pendant of the Flickering Flame.

Both Troopers wrenched his arm to the ground, but his hand stubbornly remained in a tight fist. He wasn't sure he could have opened it if he wanted to; but he didn't want to. "Let go of it." He hadn't before; he wouldn't now. "Now," the Trooper hissed, and he could feel a boot pressing down on his fingers. It wasn't until the crack that the Sergeant was finally able to pry his hand open, revealing the symbol hiding there.

The man barked a surprised laugh and shook his head. "Leave it," he decided. "For all the good it does him. Let's get moving. We're ten minutes behind schedule."

One set of boots started to retreat, then another. He felt a heavy foot pressing down on his injured ribs, a glob of spit landing on his cheek, and the last soldier finally left him behind, bruised and bloody and laid out in the street in front of the shattered remains of the shrine. Above it, in black spray paint, was the symbol of a helmet and a declaration:

NO QUARTER

((This isn't a support post, just a story post for its own sake. Enjoy!))
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Eregor
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Here Comes The Flood

Post by Eregor » Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:24 pm

With the taking of Precinct Six, the guerrilla-style conflict that had been brewing in Old Market flared into open revolt. The sides were fairly even; the Resistance held Precinct Six while Navarran troops fortified the Cardinal Inn and Knights of the Wayward Court patrolled out from Little Elfhame, but there were other Watch precincts and strongholds still manned and fortified by the Blackguard.

The scales were about to tip further into the Resistance's favor.

# # #

The Town Hall and Courthouse had been left all but empty in the wake of the Blackguard's takeover, with the business of the city being moved to more secure locations for the duration. Mercenary troops had quickly taken up residence there, barricading the entrances to the plaza and turning the whole complex into a fortress. All approaches by ground and air were covered, and within the defenses the Blackguard troops were at ease, confident that they were prepared for whatever the Resistance might throw at them. Indeed, they had already repelled multiple attempts to breach the complex. In the plaza, they staged contests of strength and skill among themselves, laughing and mocking those who might try to oust them.

So it was that not one of them could say exactly when the man appeared by the courthouse doors. One instant there was nobody there, and in the next, he was standing in plain sight, short dark hair ruffling in the wind and a slight smirk on his lips. "Good morning, gentlemen. My name is Eregor, Keeper of the Tower of Water, and this? This is your wake-up call."

All around the plaza, troopers grabbed their weapons and fired at him but before the first bullet struck, Eregor vanished from sight once again, and their assault did little besides rip apart the great wooden doors. "You missed!" This time his voice came down from the top of the clock tower, where he waved down at them. "My turn." Raising a hand, he put his fingers together and snapped.

In the center of the plaza, the waters of the fountain--largely thawed in the wake of a warm weekend--began to churn and spin, rising up into the air to take the shape of a giant, vaguely humanoid shape that towered over the Blackguard forces briefly before crashing down upon them. A flood washed over the cobblestones, sweeping Blackguard troops up whether they stood their ground or tried to flee. There was no escape, not even behind stone walls or heavy oaken doors; the elemental torrent smashed through windows and burst from pipes, bringing wet death to all that stood in its way. Only those being held in the makeshift jail below the courthouse, awaiting torture or execution, were spared, the floodwaters parting around them as if guided by an unseen hand.

When it was over, and the water elemental dispersed into the sky like rain in reverse, Eregor blinked out of sight from the tower and reappeared down in the plaza, surrounded by the bodies of drowned troopers, and the triumph drained from his face. "What a senseless waste." A shuffling noise caught his attention, and he looked over to see former prisoners emerging hesitantly from the courthouse. As the Keeper approached them, one turned to look at him. "Why? If you could do this, why did you wait until now?"

Turning to regard the death around them, Eregor sighed and looked back to the man. "Because I had hoped it wouldn't have to come to this. Now, let's get you all home."

((public support... very public support))
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Conner Reid
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There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Post by Conner Reid » Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:01 pm

“Has he been seen? By a doctor? A healer?”

“A doctor. He said that Cristoval has a mild concussion, two broken fingers, a broken nose, two broken and three cracked ribs, and deep bruising in his back and abdominal muscles… but he recommends sending him to a hospital or a healing house. I... felt it prudent to leave those choices to you.”


Conner paced the waiting room of Dockside Medical Clinic. The small reception area had barely enough space between inward facing chairs to let Conner complete three full strides. An unlit cigarette twitched between his fingers. It had been an hour since Cristoval had been transferred in the back of a hover vehicle from Madame Scylla’s brothel, Down Below, to doctor Eva Luna’s clinic. He couldn’t stop thinking about Cristoval’s broken face.

“How long--how long were he out there? Do you know?”

“More than an hour.”

More than hour.
More than an hour of Cristoval laying bloodied and battered in the streets of Old Market. Conner felt sick. His chest was so tight, he wasn’t sure blood was even flowing all the way to his hands. He dropped the unlit cigarette, then bent to retrieve it.

“Mr. Reid?”

“Conner.” He straightened in time to see the doctor coming towards him.

“Conner,” she smiled faintly, hands neatly tucked into the pockets of her white lab coat. “His condition is serious but stable. He’s going to need time to rest and recover. I want to keep him here for observation overnight… just to make sure his concussion doesn’t worsen.”

Conner nodded, “Is he awake? Can I see him?”

“I’m keeping him sedated for now. If his condition remains stable, I’ll start bringing him around… say in six to eight hours or so.”

“Aye. Alright.” Conner pushed a hand through his hair. “Would you just--would you put this somewhere? Where he could see it, aye?” He tugged the kelly green knit scarf from around his neck and held it out to her. “Iffin--iffin he wakes before--”

“Sure.” Eva reached out to take the scarf from him. “You can stay with him… if you want…” She gestured back behind her towards the treatment rooms.

“No,” he shook his head. “Got something needs doing. Aye?” He moved towards the exit, then paused with his hand on the door. “Just--make sure he has his pendant with him, aye? The Flickering Flame.”

“He has it,” Eva nodded, watching as Conner pushed out into the darkness. “He has it.”

* * * * *

Conner was on his fifth cigarette when the patrol finally came around the corner.

Over the last several days, Conner had come along with Cristoval into Old Market enough times to know more than one way to get past the barricades. The district was almost eerily quiet given all that had been happening. He had been crouched in the dark stairwell, waiting, for more than an hour.

He recognized them from the paint. One of them had been doused in iridescent orange paint. He remembered that from the story. There were three of them. Two troopers and their sergeant.

“Need any help with that?” Conner stepped out of the stairwell and gestured with his cigarette.

The trio pulled up short, both troopers raised their rifles and aimed at Conner. The sergeant held a hand out towards them, taking a tentative step forward. “What are you doing out here, son? You’re way on the wrong side of curfew.”

Conner chuckled and held up his hands in a don’t shoot gesture. “Just came out for a smoke, mates.” He tipped his head back towards the darkened building he came from. “Old lady don’t want me smoking inside.”

The two troopers lowered their rifles, the female looking around the street cautiously while the other two kept their eyes fixed on Conner. The sergeant nodded back to the building. “Better get back inside, son.”

Conner nodded, and took a few steps like he was about to comply. But then he nodded to the trooper with the painted armor. “Looks rough mate,” he chuckled. “Could help with it, iffin you’re wanting.”

“Yeah?” The trooper stepped cautiously forward. Trained to stay together, the female trooper backed up a few steps to stay with the other two, watching the rooflines down the street.

The sergeant shifted his hold on his rifle, as if finally sensing something might be amiss. “Wait--” but it was too late.

Conner tossed his cigarette. A circle of flame ignited, lighting up the street, and capturing all three Blackguard inside. Then he clapped his hands.

Inside the circle, the three patrolmen were reacting, raising their rifles, the sergeant shouting orders. But it was all happening in slow motion. A ripple in time had opened around them, and it was smothering them, making it impossible for them to do anything, let alone be heard.

Conner watched them through the flames. His eyes flat, his chest still tight. He could picture it. The way they must have stood over Cristoval. The way they must have laughed as they stomped him. The way they must have heard his fingers breaking. His ribs breaking. The way they left him there. Like a dead dog in the street.

And he thought about all the indignities of the past several days. The way Cristoval knelt on the pavement, unpacking his bag for them to rifle through. The way he kept his head down and waited patiently for them. The way they jeered while they handled the bandages, and the rubbing alcohol, and nothing more than the necessities of a field medic. The way they humiliated him for trying to help. And the way Conner had allowed it. The way he had knelt with him there, saying nothing.

A cricket bat slid into Conner’s hand. Solid white willow. He could feel the weight of it in his hand. A calm settled over him. Until that moment, he hadn’t decided what he would do.

But now the bat was in his hand. And he knew.

They couldn’t move. But he could.

* * * * *

The three bodies were left for dead. They would be found after more than an hour, once the patrol failed to check in for rounds. If anyone in the residences had seen the attack, they hadn’t reported it. At some point, the handle of the cricket bat had broken from the blade. It was abandoned there with the bodies, along with other things that had come from Conner’s apartment into his hand at his time of need---a single-sided axe, a steak knife, and a dented and bloodied toaster oven.

Conner was long gone by the time the flames burned themselves out and the time trap weakened and faded.

Two blocks over, the shrine to the Flickering Flame had received attention for the second time that night. The statue of the goddess had been repaired, poorly, and returned into its alcove a precarious pile of barely held together cracked pieces. Special attention had been given to her face, however, and the seven candles flickered once more over her beatific smile.

The painted helmet and message had been removed. Just gone. And in its place, something new had been painted beside a symbol of the Flickering Flame.

SHINE ON

((this is a support post))
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Rhiannon Brock
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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by Rhiannon Brock » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:26 am

In the days after the challenge that took the title of Baron of Old Market from Harris D'Artainian, Rhiannon had her work cut out for her. While it was true that baronial titles held no political weight, the people of the district had come to have expectations. To say that Harris had disappointed some of them would have been an understatement! Her counterpart and niece had made their mark with a small but busy facility that provided free medical care and shelter to those in need. It had started with a modern fire station to add support to those already in the district. It was Maggie's dream to have something more for the people that suffered through years of fires, bombings, and other catastrophes. Dennis Harker made his daughter's dream into a reality.

Bargains were struck, trades were made, and, short of making deals with the Devil Himself or Harris for that matter, Rhi was determined to get things back to whatever the people of Old Market considered normal. For some, it never would be normal again. Her mother's soldiers had cleaned up The Cardinal Inn. There was much speculation as to what all had gone on in the place in the last couple of months. "I don't think I want to know," was the only comment Rhi was publically overheard making on the matter.

The dead were being given proper burials and the living ... the living were trying to make sense of the insanity that still had a hold on the district. Healers were dispatched to render aid to as many of the wounded as possible. Carts, vans, and whatever could be mustered up were used to transport people to the West Side Clinic for triage. Cases were sent to Rhydin General, Riverview, Dockside, and any other facility with space available.

Clad in dark brown leathers over her usual work clothes of jeans and a flannel shirt, Rhi found a few moments of peace on the Cardinal's Inn porch with a steaming mug of coffee and a bowl of their famous chili. Rhiannon had started life with the auspicious name of a Welsh goddess, but at 26, she often wondered if she lived up to it.
"The definition of hero never included anything about age." RDB
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Mairead Harker
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Boots and Hooves on the Ground

Post by Mairead Harker » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:37 am

12 Mar 2020 - Early Morning

The Dawn Unicorn landed at the Ilnaren Dock in Old Temple. Her Captain was a scruffy looking sailor that had seen years of conflicts and their aftermath. While he'd grown used to women working on his ship as hands in all capacities, he wasn't prepared for what had been dropped in his lap. It was something akin to a story told by his many times great grandfather about a young girl that was never meant to lead, but rose to the challenge. The rules in Ireland didn't bypass daughters nor did the ones in Rhydin.

"My Lady, are you ready?" the old man addressed the newly minted Lady Knight Marshal of Navarra.

"No, I'm not," was the honest reply. "But I'll have to be, won't I?" Her right arm in a cast, she tugged on a pair thick black gloves with the help of her teeth. The bruises on her face and other places had faded to varying shades of purple and greenish yellow.

"You could refuse and pass the job to someone else." The Captain rested a hand on the teenager's uninjured shoulder. "She wouldn't think the less of you if you did, lass. Especially with that wounded wing of yours."

"Oh, I know that." Her hands rested on the ship's railing as they watched horses being lead across the dock and into a formation to cross Westbridge. "Gran always said that the only person I needed to prove anything to is myself. There's a promise or two that I need to keep." Maggie watched as instructions were called out on the ground as troops lined up and supply wagons were readied. Her own mount, a black mare, waited to be lead off the ship.

"What might they be?" He was genuinely curious.

"One of the men that nearly killed my grandmother taunted me as he ran off. I told him that I would be coming back for him." The muscles in her jaw tightened. "He said to bring an army."

The old man howled with laughter. "And so you have."

An impish smile formed on her lips and her eyes twinkled. "And so I have." She closed her eyes and drew in a long breath. Releasing the breath slowly, Maggie headed toward the ebony warhorse, the boss mare of this herd. Before leading the mare across the specially made gangway, she gave the old man a warm smile. Despite the difficulty her casted arm caused, she refused help to climb into the saddle and rode across to the dock.

"Told ya it would be the wee Clover in the stead of Herself," one of troopers said quietly. Heads turned toward the front as the last rider moved to the front rank.

All fell quiet as the young one spoke formally. "We are not here as a conquering force. We are here to be of help to the people of Old Market as best we can as promised by our Lady to the Governor of Rhydin. Many of them, especially the children, accepted my presence in the Cardinal Inn. I want them to be able to feel safe in their homes again. I expect each of you in the name of Herself to do your best to meet that goal." Murmurs went through the crowd. She raised a gloved hand. "The last of those that harmed her belongs to me." Way was made for them to cross Westbridge.

((Anyone wanting to use the Navarran troops to help in repair and other recovery operations in Old Market is welcome to do so))
"And those who have not swords can still die upon them." - Eowyn, shieldmaiden of Rohan
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Mallory
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Re: Resistance Homefront

Post by Mallory » Sun Mar 22, 2020 10:21 am

For one week following the Blackest Night, both during and after shop hours, the Lyceum was allowing free use of its portal doors between the city’s different districts, the Twilight Market, and Cadentia for any medical personnel as well as those fleeing recent violence and returning from Cadentia now that the Blackguard had left.
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