The Black Dragon - Black Dragon R4 - Ironforge Destiny

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Description: Life has been hard for Lukacs. Not only was Szabolc kidnapped, while he was out recovering from a humiliating loss against Lotus, but he had to go and try and channel with his armlet while alone in his tent. Now it is broken, and not even Istvan of the Caretakers can fix it. But an Illyrian Smith by the name of Rosalind can't help but overhead the poor Podiebrad, and offers to fix it. Unfortunately, Istvan does not tolerate being upstaged by outsiders...

By decree of the Kings of Illyria, and by the Patriarch of the House of Podiebrad, the Sacred Order and Raven Guard would be allies in securing Southtown, and working together to fight back the Darkstalker hordes. Of course, It wasn't exactly a warm alliance. The closeness of the House of Podiebrad with the NOL was definitely a point of contention for one side. And the other? Apparently, the Raven Guard felt personal about the 'betrayal' of the Sacred Order over the matter of Dizzy. Which in turn was a betrayal against the Sacred Order! So while the forces of Illyria were 'welcomed' to the fortified bunker camp of the Raven Guard, a docking station for their airship, the guardsmen kept to their side of the camp in general, and the Illyrians would keep to their side. There would the occasional cross over, of course. Not everyone had a beef, and besides, there were always things that boiled over to one side or the other.

Like right now, in the Caretaker's tent.

Istvan was a typical Caretaker, the translated name for the role of 'Gondnok.' They were the guardians of the artifacts, and trained in an ancient martial art said to have come from the House of Strolheim itself. Once upon a time, they were the elite guards of the House of Podiebrad. But over the years, the ranks were filled with those who were incapable of serving in the Raven Guard, yet were talented enough in spiritual power to find better work than scrubbing toilets within the Podiebrad Manor. Istvan sat in a portable wooden chair, a grindstone, a small furnace, tools, and a basin sits in what must work as a smithy. Each caretaker had a disability that kept them from serving in the guard. For Istvan's case?

He was blind.

The best craftsman that the Podiebrads had to offer, the bald, wrinkled man was holding a bracer in his hand. Rolling it between his fingers, he almost seems to listen to it. And as the thin-mustached man, holding his raven mask in his arm, was rubbing the bite scar on his neck. Behind him was another man who was wearing his mask, a hand on his shoulder. Istvan was shaking his head...

As the unmasked man unleashes a shout of despair.

"Take it easy, Lukacs-" The masked man says, as the thin-mustached man falls to his knees, covering his face, sobbing. Istvan had heard this before, and the grim-faced man just speaks again, dismissively. "You are not supposed to channel your artifacts without your officer. They cannot be attuned without harmonizing with the other pieces. It's broken, and I cannot fix it." Lukacs gives another sob, tears streaming down his cheeks. "When Szabolc... When Szabolc is ransomed, I will inform him that you will be unable to perform your duties. You will be reassigned to the Manor to join the Bastards, until have completed your service in the guard. I am sorry, but you have brought this upon yourself."

Lukacs can only give a babbling response in Hungarian.

Most of the time, Rosalind von Eisenschloss can be found in the armoury on the Illyrian side of the encampment, but right now, she's off-duty - instead, the black-haired blacksmith is having a quiet moment, carefully assembling a model of a castle at a desk in her room. She's wearing an all-purpose tan-coloured tank and comfortable brown jeans, her armour arranged neatly on a rack by the desk with the mesh undersuit hung beside it.

Setting a piece of a turret carefully into place, she closes her eyes and lets out a sigh. One hand comes up to rub at her temples as she lets the night in; for some time, she allows the pools of external emotion that she's kept dammed up for the day to wash over her mind.

After a couple of minutes, she stands up from her chair and pulls on a brown jacket before heading for the door.

A short time later, Rosalind steps into the Caretakers' tent, announced by the light footfalls of her boots. Her blue eyes shift between the Raven Guard members and the caretaker as she moves into their territory, her hands shifting from her sides to clasp behind her back as she straightens her frame and assumes a posture of polite formality, clearing her throat.

"Is there any assistance that I can offer?" she asks, her eyes shifting pointedly to Lukacs in particular as she posits the question. "I don't mean to intrude, but I couldn't help but sense a certain... distress."

The arrival of Rosalind can't help but break the lines between the two sides of the camp.

Already, there were other Guardsmen around the wailing soldier, and the arrival of the Illyrian out of uniform draws wary stares from the masked soldiers. The mercenaries never seemed to be -out- of uniform, short of not wearing a mask. The masked one by the sobbing soldier doesn't hesitate, though, as Rosalind approaches asking to give assistance. "Ah, I am sorry, I am sorry, it's a family matter... My brother, Lukacs, he has been having trouble with his bracer, and he broke it. Without it, he can't fight alongside us, so we are coming to Istvan, to see if he can fix it." The masked soldier looks up and down Rosalind. Did he recognize her out of uniform?

"There is nothing that can be done."

Istvan's words come, as he leans from his chair. He was staring ahead into darkness, but the words he speak are slow and steady. And as much directed to the whole army, as it was on Rosalind. "Go back to your side, Illyrian. Lukacs has failed to take care of his link to our family. He has broken it far beyond compare. The art of soul forging has its limits. Until the legendary smith Ejnar returns, we have nothing for him." He shakes his head, as the masked man helps Lukacs to a stand. Istvan extends out his hand, holding the poorly welded bracer. "I am sorry for the weeping of Lukacs. The burden of a soldier being forced into service within the manor is a difficult one." There is a wry expression spreading across Istvan, his grey eyes staring into unseen oblivion. Was he enjoying this torment? Or was it a grim acceptance of the way things are. But that expression falls into a scowl, before Lukacs lifts his voice, turning to the woman his brother was speaking too. "Aren't you the Illyrian armorer?" He babbles aloud, showing the broken artifact to Rosalind. And there is an... invisible stabbing sensation piercing the air, as if some faux pas was committed.

"Is he right?"

The dark-haired Illyrian knight shows no signs of umbrage at Istvan's reaction to her presence. Instead, she smiles calmly, first at Istvan. "I'm sure that Lukacs' link to your family is more than this, or he would not be so distressed," she says, before turning the smile to Lukacs. "Let me see. Don't worry, I won't touch it unless you want me to."

She holds her hand out as if to take it, but rather than entering her grasp, the piece floats inches from her fingertips, held by Rosalind's force of will. The bracer turns slowly in the air as her blue eyes examine it closely.

"I could repair this," she says after a once-over with confidence. "It will need reforging, though. The problem is in the materials and past repairs as much as the damage itself."

A murmur was building amongst the ranks as they watch the Illyrian knight. When she comments about the link to the family, they were about to object to outsiders and the like. But when the piece floats in the air? The Raven Guards watch in awe. Lukacs stares as she uses her power to lift it, and inspect it. His jaw is slack. But Istvan... Istvan lowers his head. He could sense it, the power. He clasps his hands before him, his lips drooping into a full scowl. As she declares with confidence, Lukacs rises up on his tippy toes, holding his hand over his breast. He is about to say something... except, of course, the problem. And in that moment of hesitation?

Istvan speaks for him.

"The girl is bringing you false hope." Says Istvan, with solemn groaning. "The Patriarch has exhausted our supplies; we do not even have the seithr to reforge it." Istvan can't dispose of the air of indignant annoyance, however. It's almost as if he is lecturing Rosalind on how it works. "As for past repairs, I don't see why we are being lectured by a Sacred Order... academic." The air of contempt builds. "How artifacts are used in the field significantly differ from what you have in books and museums. The quality of the repair is irrelevant, as long as it keeps the flow of soul power through it." He shakes his head.

"Tell me, how many relics have you handled that are so old?"

It doesn't take being an empath to recognize the Caretaker's indignation; the sense that Rosalind has stepped over an invisible line. She turns her eyes to Istvan, offering an apologetic smile as the bracer continues to turn over above her hand.

"I apologize if I sounded as though I were lecturing you. It was not my intent. I was merely being straightforward. And I certainly understand the importance of practice in addition to theory. I believe this is the first that I've been accused of being an academic, however. Thank you."

She gives a nod to Istvan; while there's a hint of humour in her tone, it doesn't seem especially sarcastic. Moving her hand slowly, she draws the bracer through the air over to a more casual position in front of her chest.

"The Sacred Order deals with many relics, and I was chosen to assist in their maintenance. I've always had a love for mending broken things, ever since I was a child fixing her broken toys."

The knight-armourer's eyes rest on the bracer as it continues to spin.

"And while a toy may be worthless next to an ancient heirloom, to a child, it bears the same reverence."

The artifact begins to disassemble in the air, components coming meticulously apart as Rosalind levitates them up to examine the inner workings of the device. "And if I, as a little girl, never allowed a toy to remain in disrepair for more than a sleep, then I, as a woman, surely would not allow this relic to linger in its state for more than a night."

As she makes her statement, the bracer starts to reassemble itself perfectly in the air, returning to the precise state it was in before one piece at a time. It may not be restored to functionality, but it is at least unharmed by Rosalind's telekinetic machinations.

Only Istvan is not in awe as she dismantles the artifact.

The process draws just short of a dozen guardsmen and women, who all watch the process with the attention of students to a teacher. For Rosalind, it would seem so clear, so simple. To shift away the poor fixes, to repair the core, and then a simple matter of reforging and reattuning it to its owner. It was like a book; well, more like a page. Up close, it is even more obvious how it is merely a piece of a greater set; it's only a spark of power compared to what the full armor would seem. There is a single round of applause as it is returned back into shape. The poor guardsmen gets elbowed, as he squeaks in pain.

Istvan huffs furiously, his irritation only building.

"These are not toys, little woman." He states with condescending air, almost growling in fury. "These are specially attuned to not only their wielder, but to the Raven Guard on whole. We do not have the seithr to repair it. We do not have the time to repeat the ritual binding it. Lukacs will be sent back to the Manor! I will not allow outsiders to corrupt our sacred rites and rituals!" And Istvan rises, as indigo energy flows from his arms to his finger tips. The light flares in his grey eyes as well, as he stares into oblivion, lips curled in a snarl.

"Who are you, to treat the ways of the Raven Guard as mere children with playthings?"

The levitating bracer's spinning slowly comes to a halt as Rosalind's soft smile disappears, her lips drawing tight. The device still hovers just above the knight's hand, however. She tilts her head a little as she eyes Istvan, her expression the same analytical, dissecting stare that she was giving to the piece of armour she was inspecting moments previous.

"My name is Rosalind von Eisenschloss of the Sacred Order of Holy Knights," she introduces herself formally, her German accent seeming to grow ever-slightly thicker when she does. "And if you thought that I was calling you and your Raven Guard children with playthings, then I believe that you have misunderstood my metaphor. If anything, I was saying that children take more care for their toys."

The piece hovers closer to Lukacs as she shifts her hand toward him, offering to return the broken bracer. "However, I don't believe that it's appropriate to punish a child when it's the Caretaker's handiwork that causes his toy to fail. Moreover, I have no intent of corrupting your sacred rites and rituals, as you seem quite capable of doing so without my assistance."

Drawing in a breath through her nostrils, then huffing it out quietly again, she adds, "And if I may speculate, I believe that you're more alarmed by the greater possibility that I would succeed in repairing your relic than the lesser possibility that I would fail."


The name whispers across the ranks of the Raven Guardsmen. Even Istvan seems to recoil, his scowl fading into a look of shame and fear. The reputation of the family of knights was well established especially within the ranks of the Podiebrads; long ago they would have turned to the knights for assistance. Even in the decadent era that the mercenaries found themselves languishing in right now, the name of the House of Eisenschloss was one of those who were superior to the Podiebrads in the matter of refinement. And the truth of the matter slowly sinks in all of them. That Istvan was in fact realizing that his skills, and all the skills of the Caretakers were mere imitations of the likes of the master smith line that Rosalind was part of. That mask of hesitation fades away, as his red lips curl in rage, as he rises up from his chair into a stand.

"Step forward, Little Woman."

The words growl out, as the soldiers realize what is happening. Most begin to form their instinctive circle around the tent, clearing the way between the caretaker and Rosalind. But not the two brothers, who had come to him. "No, stop Istvan." The brother of Lukacs warns, moving himself between the Caretaker and Rosalind. "The Patriarch, eh, the Patriarch wouldn't want you poisoning the water." Istvan responds by stepping forward, and seizing the Raven Guardsmen up by his his hip and chest, holding him high over his head, before unleashing a Strolheim staple:

A powerbomb to the ground, with a burst of indigo energy.

Lukacs was wincing, moving behind Rosalind. Istvan steadies himself, his motions rigid, his gaze away. "Step forward, Little Woman. You have sullied my honor, you have infringed on my brothers, and you have declared yourself my better. We of the Gondnok do not seek battle. But we will defend what we are guardians of. Well, I am the guardian of our legacy of craftsmen!" His stance is rigid, his palms easing down to a stationary, upright position at his sides. Indigo energy was blazing upon it. "If you win, then you take that relic, and do what you see fit! But if I win..." He turns, not quite looking towards her, but at least facing at her direction.

"Then you will be forbidden from our relics!!"

Rosalind watches passively as Istvan takes out his frustrations on the brother of Lukacs, her hands folding once again behind her back as the bracer is set aside. Her eyes follow the Raven guardsman up over Istvan's head, then down to the ground, before returning to the Caretaker's face. Her nostrils flare briefly as she lets out the faintest of disapproving snorts.

"If you insist," she says in response to the smith's challenge, before taking a step forward with her left boot then bringing her right up to match it, before turning her own body to one side.

Hanging against her hip in a utilitarian black sheath is what appears to be a sword of middling length, its pommel engraved with a cross of the Teutonic Order. The weapon's black hilt slides free and up into Rosalind's hand, moving of its own accord - as willed by the knightly telekine - to rest in its owner's grip. As she draws it out, the blade of the weapon droops, then dangles, falling into segments that are held together by a steely thread.

"A convenient object lesson," Rosalind remarks as she raises the limp weapon. "As you can see, I am not above breaking my own toys. The difference is that, in repairing mine, I am not so beholden to the past that I can't seize an opportunity for improvement to the design."

As she holds the weapon in a formal saluting posture, the pieces of the blade start to rapidly retract along the cord until they interlock firmly into place, reforming into a solid sword - though the bladed edges seem curiously to be missing until, with a click, they snap out of the empty lines along the sides of the weapon, then retract again.

"Shall we?"

COMBATSYS: Rosalind has started a fight here.

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Rosalind         0/-------/-======|

Depsite his anger, he is patient.

He would not allow himself to be insulted by an Illyrian. Not even the Patriarch would allow such loss of face. Lukacs takes the moment to get to his stunned brother, and roll him to the side as Rosalind unleashes her weapon. The Raven Guard coos in awe; they had only seen such with Szabolc and the Patriarch himself. But the Caretaker looks past it, tightening his fists a moment. "No." Istvan says gruffly. "I cannot see." He spreads his arms apart now. "We begin, now!"

And he claps his hands together.

It briefly looks like a prayer. But as he fixes his feet on the ground, the indigo energy floods over his arm. And with his teeth gritted, it shapes and transforms, energy crafting as Rosalind would do with steel and hammer. He lowers his hands slightly, as the energy finally takes the form of a wedge of his soul enegy, taking up nearly half his body in size. And then, he charges. He is not fast. But the energy wedge drives before him, as he stamps towards Rosalind at a robust pace.

Attempting to drive the energy straight into her, to blow her back.

COMBATSYS: Istvan has joined the fight here.

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Rosalind         0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Istvan

COMBATSYS: Rosalind blocks Istvan's Swords Into Plowshares.

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Rosalind         0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Istvan

As Istvan rushes toward her, Rosalind stands her ground, her hands both wrapping around the hilt of her sword as she brings it up to defend herself. Sparks of energy fly from the clash as the soul wedge impacts against Rosalind's guard, pushing her backward along the floor of the smithing chamber. Her eyes remain locked on Istvan, though they do flit now and again, taking in the elements of the Caretaker's stance and style. She steps backward, lowering her guard as she begins to circle steadily.

"Lukacs, if you and your brothers could afford me somewhat more space with which to work, I would be much obliged," she states in a polite tone as the blade of her weapon trails down to the ground, and then - with a subtle twist at the wrist on the knight-armourer's part - the blade comes to life, splitting back into its segmented, serpentine state, doubling in length and starting to sway back and forth along the ground.

"Don't allow me to interrupt, however. You may continue," she offers to Istvan as she continues to step around him, not yet attempting any aggressive moves of her own.

COMBATSYS: Rosalind calculates her next move.

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Rosalind         0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Istvan

Even with the charge, the stance was rigid.

Istvan keeps everything tight and stiff, everything flexed and steady. As he leverages the sculpted energy bulwark hard into the segmented sword. Unable to move forward, he staggers back, the enegy disappearing. Lukacs and his brother glances at Rosalind demand. Lukacs makes a quick allegiance calculation. And he scrambles away with his brother, to carry out Rosalind's command. Istvan seems to be bracing for Rosalind's attack... But softens slightly, when no attack comes.

"Arrogant as an Illyrian can be!"

Istvan's contempt is broad, but drawing in a heavy breath, he clenches his fingers into claw-like shapes as he lifts them up by his elvows. "I hate the Sacred Order, ever since you betrayed the NOL over that -monster!-" Several of the Guardsmen let out a cheer, an outlet for their frustrations. Staggering in steadily towards Rosalind, Istvan's head turns side to side, pinpointing down the woman. Arms lashing out, he attempts to seize the smithy as he did Lukacs's brother. Should he get a grip on her? She would feel the man's grip not just on her body, but upon her very soul, seizing both as he would try to wrench her arm from her shoulder socket with one hand... As the other would start a strange twisting motion on her spirit, hand trembling as it would feel as if -that- was being tied up into pretzels!

"You will be humbled!"

COMBATSYS: Rosalind counters Medium Throw from Istvan with Steel Constrictor.

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Rosalind         1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0           Istvan

Rosalind remains steady, her whip-sword sweeping the ground, as Istvan staggers in toward her. She turns her left hip slightly toward the Hungarian, her free hand resting above it. There's something almost casual in her posture - as though she were waiting for a train to arrive, perhaps.

The threat is not in Rosalind's left hand, however, and her stance serves only to conceal where it is - in her right, in the sudden flick of the wrist beneath her jacket. The steel whip lunges like a cobra, leaping up from the floor to lash around Istvan's neck. With her opponent entangled, Rosalind steps to one side and jerks on the hilt of Schlangenschwert, forcing the soul-infused grappler down to the floor as the whip reels in to a shorter length, keeping him held by the neck just above it. She raises her right boot and plants it in the middle of the Caretaker's back, pushing down and applying pressure to the man's throat as she does.

"Really, if you think that I'm as arrogant as an Illyrian may be, you must not have met many of us," she remarks coolly as she keeps her left hand on her hip while pressing with her foot.

"Am I being humbled yet?"

Dominating pressure.

The first humiliation was only a faint memory now, as Istvan feels the coil lash around his neck. He tries to keep rigid, but it only makes it worse. Forced to his knees, the Illyrian drives her boot into his back, as she strangles him. The reaction from the onlooking guards was... Uncomfortably energized chattering. A name 'Zsa Zsa' comes up. But that only enrages Istvan more. "You! Humble! Insult!" Are the only clear Non-Hungarian words as he jerks up, finally surging with enough force to break from his kneel.

He wouldn't try to rise up alone.

Istvan would bring his hands around, lashing them out to try and grab Rosalind again. At the very least, the Hungarian was predictable and repetitive: he was attempting the very same move he pulled on Lukacs's brother. Lurching in, he would attempt to dead lift Rosalind up over his head longways. There, he would proceed to slam her straight down to the ground. And once she hit it? A blend of her soul energy and the Podiebrad's soul energy would erupts into a column of burning spiritual flame.

But only if he got a grip.

COMBATSYS: Rosalind counters Guilt Offering from Istvan with Skyward Serpent EX.

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Rosalind         1/-======/=======|=======\-------\1           Istvan

The dominant leg on Istvan's back shifts as the Hungarian starts to power out of the position that Rosalind has him locked into. The grip of the weapon loosens as the serpentine segments clatter to the floor around Istvan's feet, slithering in a wide circle. Rosalind steps backward, calculating cold blue eyes remaining on Istvan's unseeing ones as he lumbers toward her again. Her posture remains the same; an unusual and relaxed stance for a swordswoman, though the state of her blade is unusual and relaxed for a sword.

It's perhaps too late that Istvan might realise that the blade has formed a lasso around the sole of his right shoe - and then, with two quick snaps of Rosalind's wrist, the circle jumps up and tightens around his ankle, then flips him up head over heels into the air - and then, while he's still above the ground, the blade retracts back to the hilt with a click. Rosalind swings her sword back, then strikes upward toward the flying Hungarian - the weapon uncoiling again like a chain to wrap around Istvan's torso before she yanks down, the whip releasing and retreating again once the force has been applied to let him slam back into the ground.

The knight-armourer holds her weapon low at her side as it *clicks* back into its straight sword configuration, posture relaxing again as she peers dubiously at her opponent. "I must apologize. I had thought, given your craft, that your blindness would not be a serious impediment. It seems that I was perhaps mistaken. You may forfeit your challenge now, if you wish. I would not see any shame in it."

She raises the back of her free hand to her mouth.

"Oh. Perhaps that was poor phrasing."

She hadn't even been the aggressor yet.

The Podiebrads watch with rapt attention as they take apart her style with the same skill and dilligance Rosalind had with their artifacts. Her form, her grace, her cold, efficient manner. There is even the flash of a camera as a guardsmen starts taking pictures of her. Istvan himself is less excited about the nuances of her style, as he is sent up into the air, and slammed down once more. Groaning, he lifts up into a sitting position, his rigid form having been snapped by the specialized sword wielded by Rosalind. He was bruised badly now in his neck, the only exposed member of his many injuries. It would be prudent to yield. But he takes another choice.


Clasping his hands before him, he lets out a moan. A moan, than soon fall into a murmur of prayer. Rising up slowly, indigo energy boils over his body, flowing out and within himself. His words boil out, as his body eases it's pain. "Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." He brings his arms back apart, a calm over him.


He exhales deeply, his grey eyes staring as the bruise on his neck fades. "Faith will be my shield and sword. There is no shame one before the eyes of God, and to the ears of the Patriarch." He readies his palms, nodding as he goes rigid again. Pillars of indigo energy builds into his hands. "I will not be your bull running into your cape!"

"Come and fight me!"

As Istvan stops to pray, Rosalind's demeanour seems to soften subtly. Rather than attempting to exploit the opening, the black-haired knight brings her sword up to salute with her right hand while her left folds respectfully behind her back. She closes her eyes and bows her head slightly as Istvan speaks, drawing in a slow breath and lifting her shoulders steadily before exhaling and relaxing them.


Her eyes open again when Istvan begins to address her instead, and she raises her chin again, shifting her posture with her hip forward once again as her free hand hovers at her side. She brandishes Schlangenschwert, swiping twice at the air as the tension of combat returns to her frame.

"Very well. I suppose it is my turn to extend myself, then," she says, her tone seeming a bit lighter, some humour returned to it. And she steps in and thrusts her blade forward with what would seem to be a reckless lunge from far out of reach - but as the strikes, the chain-weapon extends, leaping from the hilt and aiming at Istvan's side - an easily dodged maneuver.

The aim isn't truly for the Caretaker, however, but rather at the Caretaker's chair, aiming to slide into a gap in the furniture before she twists the weapon and retracts it, intending to hook the tip over the rungs before she pulls it back to try and crash into Istvan's legs and trip him down on top of it.

COMBATSYS: Istvan successfully aids himself with A Time To Heal.

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Rosalind         1/--=====/=======|=======\-------\1           Istvan

COMBATSYS: Rosalind successfully hits Istvan with Large Thrown Object.

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Rosalind         2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\===----\1           Istvan

When Rosalind follows suit, the -whole- of the bystanders follow.

Despite the differences that have grown between the Sacred Order and The Raven Guard, they at least shared a common faith. Of course, the matter of who was more holy than thou was still a point of contention, but when wasn't it between Orders? Istvan steadies himself, not reacting to the whip of the sword. He growls out his words. "Faith is my sword, and my shield!" The chair is seized up,There is a cry from a raven, as in, the actual bird. It flies by. And Istvan smirks. "And God has found favor-"

Istvan takes a chair to his legs.

Istvan is now sitting. There is a pregnant silence from nearly the whole of the Raven Guard that was watching the fight. Almost. Because the guy with the camera is -cackling-. He takes an elbow to the ribs. But Istvan heard it. His face was beet red. And his lip was curled into a snarl, as he stands up, stumbling once from the pain. "Enough! Let God pass judgement! Let the bitter waters rise up!" He bellows, as he draws his arms back. A familiar technique, for those who follow Krauser. Palms open, he exposes his defenses, as he draws in power. It almost seems like an opening...

Except something was wrong with the guardsmen.

They were getting distant, limp, as indigo balls of soul flame are pulled out from them. Rosalind would find a barrage of small firefly flames scattering all around her, heading towards Istvan. If she could evade them, it would be find, but if one should even touch her...

COMBATSYS: Rosalind blocks Istvan's Rivers Of Babylon.

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Rosalind         2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0           Istvan

All it takes is a touch.

The soul lights latches on to Rosalind, giving a purifying light around her. It doesn't hurt, but the weight of it is like an anchor. The other lights suddenly stop for a split second, before all surging back at Rosalind. The ghostly blue flames now were all around her; now it was starting to hurt a bit as the fires would now burrowing into -her- soul. But the problem was the weight; it was trying to anchor her in place, to keep her grounded.

As Istvan finishes building up his energy.

There is a smug smirk, the becomes gritted teeth as finally, he -slams- his arms forward. "COME THE RIVERS OF BABYLON!" He roars, as a practical tsunami of indigo energy explodes out from his 'Podiebrad Wave'. Rolling on the ground for Rosalind, the souls latching on to her finally release, being sucked into the tsunami of blue energy as it rolls across at her, threatening to bathe her in the soul energy of the whole of the Podiebrad family.

ANd nearly purify her soul to oblivion.

The blade of Rosalind's sword has snapped back into its standard configuration by the time that the soul flares begin to appear. She raises iit up in a defensive guard, angling the weapon to try and intercept the flames, and succeeda in part - but one manages to collide with her left shoulder.

The German knight struggles against the weight of the soul light, her legs trembling as she lowers into a more traditional fencing stance. Her jaw sets as the wave of energy washes toward her, and she flips Schlangenschwert upside down in her hands before driving the blade into the floor, the blunted tip smashing through the bottom of the tent and into the earth below with sheer, raw force. She drops to a knee behind the blade and closes her eyes, focusing her will into the weapon as the wave breaks against it, split by the power of her own soul even as it's tested by the lights already clinging to her.

And then, having avoided the brunt of the assault, Rosalind opens her steely blue eyes and pushes forcefully down on the pommel of her weapon...

COMBATSYS: Rosalind successfully hits Istvan with Den of Vipers.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Rosalind         1/------</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Istvan

An instant later, the tip of Schlangenschwert bursts up from the ground between Istvan's feet, wreathed in cool blue energy and stabbing upward at Istvan with likely sufficient force to knock him off his feet (mercifully, the sharp edges of the bladed segments remain retracted). The weapon retreats back into the ground, only to burst forth twice more in rapid succession, each time striking at Istvan again.

Istvan actually moves his feet before the tendrils burst up.

Bracing himself, he pushes his hands down, indigo energy still clinging to his form like a cloak. He manages to keep his footing on the first stab, clutching the sword to keep him from being blown back. The second and third thrusts, however, pierce his guard, moving faster than his anticipation. And groaning, he falls back. If the blades were out, he would be carved up badly

But for his purposes, he was still standing.

While the offensive merits of the whole of the Caretakers would very much be in question, the defensive endurance of them was in no contempt now. Istvan was battered and bruised again, but rubbing his chest, he begins a steady stride back at Rosalind. "I will not..." He tries to say, but a coughing fit cuts it short. He just lashes a palm forward, thrusting it at Rosalind. From there, he would use the other hand to seize her and scoop her up. He would slam her on the ground once, trying to bounce her off the dust. And if he could do that? He would follow up with a driving haymaker on the rebound, to punch her away.

Aiming right through the crowd.

COMBATSYS: Rosalind interrupts The Righteous Perishes from Istvan with Heaven and Earth EX.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Rosalind         1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1           Istvan

As Istvan recovers from the stinging strikes from below, Schlangenschwert retreats into its burrow, *click*ing back into its sword configuration as Rosalind rises to her feet and raises the blade at her side in a two-handed grip.

There is no chastising remark from the knight-armourer this time as her Hungarian counterpart strides toward her, only tight-lipped focus on her face. She can still feel the soul flame burning between her shoulder and chest, but it only drives her to sharpen her concentration.

"You will," she remarks simply as the Podiebrad armourer's palm thrusts toward her.

Rosalind turns into the Hungarian's hand as it reaches her unarmoured chest. It doesn't stop her momentum as her arms surge with adrenalin, swinging Schlangenschwert in a semi-circle uppercut stroke, breaking Istvan's grip on her as the blade smashes into his torso and knocks him airborne. As he's launched, the weapon segments, tip hooking into Istvan's clothing and tethering him. Then, as Rosalind twists her body into a spinning follow-through, Schlangenschwert tugs Istvan violently back down into the dust, kicking up a cloud of it as Rosalind pants for breath.

He will.
he words rattle his very spirit, as his reaching is met with a swift, smashing blow right into his chest. Sent into the air, he is suddenly snatched with the weapon, and promptly slammed down into the dirt. A round of half-hearted cheers come, as the bloodlust of the Podiebrads is whet. There is a moment of silence, as he is cratered, legs in the air. Gradually, he forces up to a stand. Rigidly, he enters his stance. He stumbles. He tries to steady. He stumbles.

And he falls to his knees, in defeat.

"Yield! Yield! I am... humbled." Was his mourning, as he cannot bring any of his strength forward. Palms on the ground, it was practically bowing to the Illyrian, as groans and grumbles break through the Raven Guard. "Take them! Take their artifacts, and I hope you poison yourself on them! Wretched woman! Wretched Illyrian!" That was his lament, his moan.

As he surrenders to the might of Rosalind von Eisenschloss.

COMBATSYS: Istvan takes no action.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rosalind         1/-----==/=======|

COMBATSYS: Istvan can no longer fight.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rosalind         1/-----==/=======|

Rosalind gives a brief flourish of her sword as it shifts back into compact configuration before sliding it back into its sheath at her side.

"You acquitted yourself well, given your disadvantages," she comments as she rolls her shoulders before relaxing slightly.

"I will repair the bracers and return them in the morning. If there are any other outstanding repair orders that I can assist with, you may present them to me now, or then." The comment is directed to the Raven Guard in general as Rosalind steps forward and stoops to offer a hand up to Istvan. "You know, you remind me somewhat of my grandfather."

Istvan -seethes- bitterly.

Face twisted into a scowl, he paws around for Rosalind's hand, and accepts the help. "Because the honor of the House of Podiebrad demands to accept all leniency with dignity." He sputters darkly, his grey eyes staring into the distance. He had lost, and before his brothers and sisters. He was ashamed, and in spite of Rosalind graceful victory, and gentle comparison to her own family... it does nothing for the caretaker's outrage. "But do not compare me-"

"I swear to shit, Istvan, could you just lay off the girl?"

Lukacs and his brother had the spot all ready for Rosalind. It... was a bit informal from what she would be expecting. Certainly, the work space was set up to the parameters. But Lukacs's brother was busy cutting the salami, preparing a tray cheese, crackers, meats, and dried fruit. Lukacs himself was shaking a bottle of wine, clutching three glasses with the opposite, and a small red tablecloth over his arm, as he calls out at Istvan. The other guardsmen cast their gaze back to their formerly weeping brother in arms. The blind caretaker jerks his hand back, and throws his arms in the air. "The Patriarch will hear of this! The council will hear about this! Szabolc! Matthias! I will even tell that trollop Zsa Zsa!" The man rants and raves, flailing his arms around. He knocks over a guardsmen, as he limps off to the infirmary. There wasn't a doctor there, since, he was the doctor effectively. But he would stew and brood, and make good his promise. Lukacs, for his purpose, shakes his head. "Don't mind him, he is hurt. Now, do you need anything else to be comfortable?" Comfortable for working? "Wine, food, do you need a warm wet towel? My brother, Moricz, he gives amazing back rubs; you ask and we will give you!" And he gives a gentle bow.

"We are your servants!"

COMBATSYS: Rosalind has ended the fight here.

Rosalind's assistance in Istvan's return to his feet is given easily and with a smile that lacks irony, even as Istvan seethes with contempt. She steps back to give the Caretaker space s he prepares to rant, about to fold her arms behind her back - and nearly crashes into the arrangement that is already being prepared. She does a double take.

"W-what is all of this?" the knight-armourer questions, pushing a hand up the side of her face with incomprehension at the ambush of doting. "I believe that you mistake my station - I am a smith, or an engineer at best; hardly royalty!"

Realising that the blind caretaker is storming off, she turns to shout after him, quickly folding her hands behind her back and looking the faintest shade redder for the attention. "Please, inform them that it was Knight-Armourer Rosalind von Eisenschloss who was responsible for the commotion! I do not wish to bring reprimand on anyone else for my intervention."

At the mention of royalty, the joyful exterior of the soldiers fade.

"Alas, the House of Podiebrad are not royalty." Lukacs sanguinely states, his heart drifting. "Nor is it even Nobility. The Patriarch has long lost any noble titles through the sands of time; our birthright in Bohemia stolen from under our very noses!" Instinctively, Lukacs begins to bring the bottle to his lips, and only just stops himself. "Sorry, sorry; the betrayal in Bohemia stopped the House of Podiebrad from scourging the earth of the foul nightkin of Romania! Those vile creatures would have been eradicated from Europe if we were not betrayed! A pox on them! A pox on the Hasburgs! And... uh..." He blushes a bit.

"This is because you are helping us."

He raises the glasses, and gestures to where she works. "Those who help the House of Podiebrad are to be treated as princes and princesses; it's good business for mercenaries." He singsongs, as he waltzes towards the table. "Since we could very well be fighting you as enemies the next day! And the week after, back to bathhouses and eating grapes off the vine..." He sighs, as he sets the bottle down on the table. "Life with outsiders comes and goes, and they go and come. We take the good moments, even when they are moments, and the same with the bad. But no no, please, don't listen to me! You are saving my life and lively hood!" He holds up his artifact, eagerly waiting for Rosalind's work. "Whatever you need, we will fetch for you! Istvan, he will make sure we are punished later, but that is in the future, this is the now!"

He seemed set on letting Rosalind help him, for sure.

"Does anyone /not/ rue the Habsburgs?" Rosalind wonders aloud in commiseration. "My family was also stripped of its titles and holdings. I wonder if we ever demonstrated such hospitality to our guests."

The knight-armourer takes the relic by hand this time, turning it around and examining it. "I believe that I will only need to extract the replacement materials... it may be faster work if there is another less-damaged piece I may use for reference?"

She sits down at the work tabley and starts to telekinetically disassemble the object in preparation for the repairs to be made.

When Rosalind asks for another relic, Moricz doesn't hesitate.

Working on his gauntlet, he unlatches a small bracer off of it. There, he places it on the table by Rosalind. The quality is certainly comparable to the broken one; it was in fact ready to break itself. While Moricz bows as he leaves it, Lukacs doesn't stop talking, as he pours the three glasses of wine. "All the relics are like that; the last Patriarch, eh, Aurel didn't really focus on maintaining them. I am not so sure why, on the details, he was more focused on, ah," He blushes again. "Ah, filling out the ranks of the House of Podiebrad. If we didn't have the relics to support us, then we would send them to the NOL. And the NOL, they would be sending relics back to us! We are one of their twelve founding families you know. It was supposed to be a win-win deal. Then the leadership changed in the NOL, and we had no legitimate heirs, and..." Lukacs shakes his head. "Now we have no armory, piss taker armorers, and a bunch of half brothers and half sisters without any prospects in life short of mercenary work." He shakes his head, pointing to one of the armed guards up on his watchtower.

"You know they still have us on SKS rifles?"

Rosalind's brows lower with concern as she examines the second bracer, the pieces of the first rising up in the air and reconfiguring as they attempt to recreate the shape of the latter, resulting only in their reforming as they were.

"I don't suppose that there are any untainted examples, then," she says, more as an assumption than a question. "Very well. If I'm successful in repairing the first, then I believe that this one will want correction as well before it fails in the field. At least it will provide a reference for reforging the other."

Her nose crinkles a little as she takes the pieces of the broken bracer over to the forge, checking the facilities over as she prepares to heat and reshape the metal and remove the 'impurities' created by past jury-rigging. Rather than working with hammer or mold, though, she seems content to work with her mind - telekinetically manipulating the pieces and reshaping them with surprising precision once they've entered a pliable state of heat.

"Guns are not my specialty, but I thought that the Kalashnikov was available abundantly and superior to the SKS."

"See? She gets it."

Lukacs nods to his brother, who shrugs silently. The guardsmen then puts on airs, as he mimes out what must be Istvan. "If you need more than one shot, then you aren't doing your job. We can't afford the bullets, and besides, the caliber of the Kalashnikov is no good for automatic fire." He snorts at it, wiggling his thin mustache. Moricz, for his purpose, was more focused on Rosalind's actual work; he was studying how the soul energy and matter came together, how the material was cast and formed.

Lukacs just keeps talking.

"As for untainted, not even the Patriarch gets untainted." He scoffs, back in his regular tone. "All our relics are tainted, except for those that we haven't managed to dig up out of the catacombs." The catacombs? "That's why the Patriarch was so eager to get that so-called Legendary Smith in his favor. Ejnar, or whatever. My brother and I were part of the team that sprung him from jail, yeah?" He nods, proud to himself. "He's some kind of craftsman of the gods or something. We find pieces of Tyrfing for him, which is some kind of legendary cursed sword? We get them all, and he'll fix -all- of them." And he clears his throat a bit. "Say, uh, there is... we've been hearing a rumor, you know? I don't know if you want to talk about it. But it's been a rumor, uh, about Illyria." He lowers his voice, half whisper.

"Is it true that you guys are crazy up everywhere with magic now, like seithr and stuff?"

The potential distraction of Lukacs' speaking doesn't seem to affect Rosalind's focus as she works the materials, extracting and reallocating what seem to be the impure materials into more external support structures while working the foundational metals into a perhaps somewhat thinner, but unbroken version of what she perceives the intended shape to be.

"I'm surprised that the Patriarch has turned to a pagan for the care of his family's relics. The Caretaker seems to be of strong faith - not that I can't understand the need for pragmatism, though I thought that it seemed somewhat lacking. And I can hardly call myself a legendary smith," Rosalind remarks as she continues her work. The ability to work without the limitations of tools makes the progress much faster than one might normally expect of such an endeavour. Her eyes do finally shift away from her work, leaving it suspended, at the question regarding Illyria.

"I apologize, but I can't personally comment on the matter. I suppose at best I could say that we are... suitably equipped for the maintenance of our artifacts."

The woman's lips purse a little as her eyes return to her work. The bracer has begun to cool, and she holds a hand near it as she turns it around to check for imperfections.

Lukacs is actually speechless for a moment, when Rosalind points out they are turning for a pagan for work.

An uncomfortable amount of silence, in fact. Maybe it was something that Lukacs didn't realize. Or maybe it's something he realizes now... but doesn't know the words to respond to it by. Or maybe it was the follow up on the magic of Illyria. Was it an insult? Maybe he thought it was an insult. As his jaw keeps slack, Moricz finally speaks up. "He's an old coot, compared to Matthias. And don't be hard on yourself. You are working ten times as fast as Istvan." On the mention of Mathias, that seems to break Lukacs from his trance. "Matthias! Yes! We... uh... hrm." He goes quiet again. And when he speaks, he chatters back and forth with Moricz in Hungarian. He turns back to Rosalind. "Sorry, Matthias is Szabolc's immediate brother; he is the leader of the Caretakers. Kind of an idiot savant on the family spiritual guidance, I guess you would say. I was just talking with my brother on it, though, about the pagan thing." His eyes go wide. "I don't think I heard him say -anything- about it, good or bad."

"And I don't like that at all."

"Perhaps he simply did not consider the matter relevant to the arrangement," Rosalind posits as the bracer lowers into a water trough at hand to hasten its cooling, a hiss of steam rising off of the surface as the relic is submerged. Several seconds later, it floats back up, spinning rapidly in the air to dismiss the droplets of moisture clinging to it.

"Here," Rosalind says as she pushes out her chair and stands. The wine and food have remained untouched. "It is possible that it will require some sort of further attuning, as I'm not entirely familiar with the manner of function of your relics, but the physical form should no longer impede upon its mystical function."

The piece of armour, now cooled, floats over Rosalind's outstretched hand as she offers it to Lukacs.

Yes, maybe it was that.

The final steps of the reforging process goes underway, and Lukacs seems to be troubled in his thoughts. He sips his wine. But when Rosalind finishes, he downs the glass in a single gulp, and puts it down. Almost immediately, he straps it back on his arm. And he waits. He looks to his brother, he looks back. And the duo nods knowing. "It...

"Definitely needs to be reattuned."

He lets out a giggly laugh, rubbing the bite scar on his neck. "But that's okay, that's okay, we can get a ritual going out in the bathhouse." That was a string of details that were almost too much information, and yet, not enough. "You did it, you saved my meat, oh lord, I don't have to scrub toilets now! I- what- what are we supposed to do to repay you?" The pair look at Rosalind, apprehensively. "We have to repay you somehow, you don't- you've saved us! Name a price! Name an offering!"

"Name anything, and we will do what we can!"

As the brothers seem satisfied with her handiwork, Rosalind seems to relax - a posture that, strangely, was only exhibited thus far in the midst of her fight with Istvan. She leans her hips back against the table, resting her left hand against the tabletop as she picks up her wine glass and raises it to her lips to swallow a mouthful.

"Honestly, your happiness is enough of a repayment," the Sacred Order knight say as her gaze becomes distant for a moment.

It's true on a level deeper than moral sentiment; for the empath, the suffering of others around her is a shared experience, but so is their joy. And while she normally spends much of the time shielding herself from external emotional influence, for now, she allows herself to feel some of what's around her. She closes her eyes and enjoys the moment.

Then, a few seconds later, she opens them up again and looks between the brothers.

"Though... I seem to recall mention of a back rub?"

Log created on 21:13:34 05/26/2020 by Daniel, and last modified on 23:07:27 06/05/2020.