Angelica: On this day, you, child of Rucif, shall be brought further into His graces, take upon yourself the burden of becoming a vessel for his divine voice. By doing so, you are agreeing to abstain from all indulgences - intoxication, purposeless violence, sex, and all else that separates us from the Black Dragon's embrace. And, as a woman, this means you must abstain from bearing children - anything that would keep you from your duties as Rucif's vassal will only bring you closer to the White Dragon's domain. If I have made myself clear, only say so, and I shall go forth with the Rite of Ascension.
Agnis: ...As clear as the Father's judgement.
Angelica: Well said. Then on this day forth, you, Agnis Blumenthal, shall be declared Priest of the Lorbeer Church, and High Speaker of His will; Blessed be the Father, and may He bless you in turn.
Agnis: Blessed be the Father, and may He bless you in turn.
Crowd: Blessed be the Father, and may He bless you in turn.
(A brief fade to black, before fading into a scene of Angelica by herself in Castle Church)
Angelica: ...Who's there?
Manfred: Ah, do not be alarmed, Angelica, it's only me.
Angelica: Oh, Manfred.
Manfred: You don't seem to be particularly happy to see me - is something the matter?
Angelica: Nothing of that sort - I was praying. Someone of such high rank such as yourself should understand these matters.
Manfred: There is no need to be hostile, Angelica - we are all friends, nay, family, here. If something is on your mind, you are free to speak of it here.
Manfred: ...Was it anything to do with your prayers?
Angelica: What I speak of to the Black Dragon is between He and I - I respect you and your seniority, but you must, in turn, respect my privacy.
Manfred: ...Very well, but know this - the Father's forgiveness only goes so far, Bishop Angelica. No matter how many duties you preform, you must keep that in mind.
Angelica: Of course.
*Manfred leaves the cathedral*
Angelica: ...Then I must take responsibility for what I've done.
Strix: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, guys, but...we're out of food. No dinner tonight.
Kaitlin: Out? Surely, we still have something to get us by?
Strix: Nope. Nothing - even that wolf Julitta caught was used up last night.
Geri: If I may, think 'strangled' is a more apt word than 'caught', given the actual events that took place. But by the by, Sir Leo, surely, even if our company didn't bring much in the way of supplies, surely Lady Kaitlin's...?
Leo: I'm afraid not, Ignatius - we were expecting more hands to carry the additional supplies we initially brought, but...
Leo: Well, worse came to worse, so we had to leave them behind early on.
Kael: And we weren't exactly expecting to be lugging along such significant drains on our resources.
Kael: What? I'm only calling it for what it is.
Kaitlin: They've done nothing but help us! They've gathered food for us, and even saved our lives! Kael, apologies to them at once!
Kael: Kaitlin, please, they wouldn't have had to gather food for us if they had been on our own - and they wouldn't have had to leech off of ours. Not to mention, you were only ever in danger when you were around them! The bandits that attacked you when you split off with Amarok? Which was, might I add, Ignatius' idea?
Geri: I was only suggesting it for your own sake, good sir.
Kael: Don't you "good sir" me! Look how well it turned out: Kaitlin was nearly killed because of you lot! And what about the wyvern? An-and that girl? She wouldn't have caused so much damage if it weren't for that damned drago-
*Freki draws her sword with a murderous glare, pointing it straight at Kael*
Freki: Talk shit about Lupa, Ignatius, or Amarok again and I swear there won't be anything for your precious Kaitlin to fuck.
Geri: F-Julitta stop! Shedding blood over something as trivial is this would be foolish. Lower your sword, collect your wits, and-
Kael: Her safety is trivial?!
*Kael draws his own weapon, rushing and taking a swing at the still-injured Geri, only for Freki to block*
Freki: You fucking bastard...
*With the other members of the group screaming their horror, Freki swipes under Kael's weapon, about to strike him in the gut, when something stops her blade*
Freki: Ki-Kid...? Why did you...?!
*Freki's blade is embedded into Strix's right forearm*
Strix, still with the sword in his arm: Look...we're all tired, hungry, and pretty pissed off that we haven't arrived in Ely as quickly as we wanted to, but that isn't really a good reason to start trying to kill each other. I can go with Ignatius to hunt in the morning, we'll get our bearings, and be in Ely before tomorrow's end, all right? So just, Kael...you're really worrying Kaitlin right now. And Julitta...just for me, can you leave him be? You don't...heh, you don't need to like, fight for my honor or anything like that.
Frek, carefully extracting her blade: Oh Rucif fucking- Kid, I-
Strix: Hey, hey, I'm okay!...I mean, it hurts like a bitch, but...I'm...yeah.
Geri, moving in front of Freki: Amarok, please, are you well?
Strix: Guys, guys, I'm fine, it just...yeah, I'm fine. Let's just all try to get some sleep tonight, okay?
Kaitlin, embracing Kael, whispering: If there's something the matter, you tell me, you can always tell me...
Kael: I know, I just...wish you never had to go on this damned venture for your sister.
Kaitlin: ...I don't know.
*Later, in the middle of night, Strix is wide awake, while Kaitlin is on watch*
Strix: ...Dammit, I can't sleep.
*Strix get up, careful not to wake those around him, and he approaches her from behind*
Kaitlin: Ah-! Amarok! You startled me...
Strix: Oh, I'm sorry - I was just going to go wander for a bit - don't worry, I'm armed...Are you okay? You seem kind of...out of it.
Kaitlin: If I were to not lie, then no - I'm worried about Kael.
Strix: ...Is this not how he normally acts?
Kaitlin: No! Of course not - he's usually sweet, if a little teasing, and a little...eager to fight? But he'd never call anyone a leech or anything of that sort! Not without good reason!
Strix: Well, I wouldn't say his claim is entirely unfounded - we haven't exactly brought good luck, you know?
Kaitlin: Don't say that! You've helped so much, you've saved my life! We're honored to have you with us.
Strix: Well...shit, that's nice of you to say. Though, I'm not so sure if Kael shares that opinion. And Julitta...Oh, Kaitlin, I'm really sorry about Julitta - you know how she's been lately...
Kaitlin: ...I can't say what she did didn't disturb me, but I know what it's like to lose someone you're close to. I mean, I wouldn't be here if Hope hadn't similarly...
Strix: Oh, oh-I'm sorry, I shouldn't have brought that up. I should probably go, you know, before Kael gets jealous again. Just don't wake the others when you get back to him, alright?
Kaitlin: Wait, huh? What are you- A-...Amarok!
*Strix leaves, grinning, while Kaitlin stews in her own embarrassment*
Strix, rubbing his bound arm: ...(I wonder...how long we can stay with Kaitlin's group...I want to help her find her sister, but if shit like this keeps happening, maybe...)
Strix: (No, you said you wanted to help, you can't just back out now.)
Strix: (But...you have the freedom to - no one is telling you to do this but yourself - you can leave. It might be better to.)
Strix: (Yeah, and I have the freedom to help these people. I-)
Strix: (Someone's here! Is every forest in Demancia filled with brigands?!)
Strix: ...! F-Father?!
*Cut to morning, in where the group has finally arrived in Ely, a surprisingly bustling village.*
Geri: Amarok? Are you well? You've barely said a word all morning.
Freki: Fucking...Amarok, you're acting so godsdamned mousy right now - are you alright?
Strix: Uh- yeah! I'm just...thinking about all the stuff I've been hearing about around here.
Geri: ...Yes, of course. Ely may be small, but it's a known gathering place for sellswords - of course tidings from across the land would surface here.
Strix: Yeah, and none of it's good - have you heard? Samial worshipers raising hell around the country, and something about rampant cultists on the loose? By Rucif's graces, it sounds like a nightmare.
Geri: Perhaps it's best if we make our way from here swiftly, then.
Kaitlin: What are you three doing all the way back there? We're waiting for you!
*Geri hurries on ahead, but Freki pulls Strix aside for a moment before meeting up with Geri*
Freki: You know, you're a terrible liar, right?
Freki: When we get some privacy, you should tell me what's wrong.
*Cut to Strix's group back with Kaitlin's*
Kaitlin: Leo, Mary, and Kael and I have been asking around to see if anyone had heard if Hope had passed through here.
Geri: And, pray tell?
Leo: We actually might have a lead - someone described a woman of her appearance passing through here less than a week ago.
Strix: Really?!...What's the catch?
Kael: The catch is that we're going to need a boat.
Freki: Fucking perfect - how do you suppose we get that? None of us have any money to buy food, let alone catch a ride, and unless one of you suddenly pulls one out of their ass, we're stuck.
Kael: Well...*he gestures to a large board next to them* we could take a detour.
*On the board is a collection of wanted posters that stretches - usually criminals, including rebels known as Sonya, Trey, and Zeke, heretics known as Randall and Gloria, a thief named Locke, and...
A missing prince.
Strix snatches the poster the moment he sees it, stuffing into his pockets, getting looks from everyone.*
Strix: It's...It's kind of complicated - I can't really explain right now.
Kaitlin: B-But either way, Kael, can we really turn to mercenary work? We're already being hunted - we shouldn't draw more attention.
Mary: But do we have any other options? I'm with Kael on this - so long as we make it quick.
Strix: I'm with Kaitlin - I don't want to spill anymore blood than necessary.
*Kael gives Strix a hard look, before turning to Kaitlin*
Kael: I know, I know, Kaitlin - but it shouldn't take too long; I can handle it. It won't be long at all.
Leo: Then what bounty should we take? Hopefully something nearby...
*Strix is trying to avoid eye contact with the other members of the group, when something catches his eye*
Strix: Silver...Weapons? Wait - those clothes...
Bandit: And you want us to find what now?
Robe-Wearing Man: A young girl - small in frame, frail, blonde - almost white - hair, blue eyes. We'll swear we'll help you find your princess.
*The Robe-Wearing Man shows off a sizable portion of gold to the bandit*
Bandit: You're speaking my language - looks like another damsel for us to hunt down.
Robe-Wearing Man: Thank you, and may the Father's blessings reach you.
*the Bandit scoffs, but Strix turns to Freki*
Strix, whispering: (Freki! Don't look, but over there - one of Kaitlin's hunters, with Divine Guard!)
Freki: (What? Which sect?)
Strix: (A little hard to tell but...it looks like Angelica's?)
Freki: (What the hell does she have to do with any of this? Is she paying them off?)
Strix: (Looks it - either way, we need to leave, now.)
Kael: What is it now?
Strix: Kael, we- (we aren't safe here! Kaitlin's not safe, she-)
Kael: What?! What have you done now?
Strix: I-I didn't do anything! Kael - this isn't about me, we just-
Robe-Wearing Man: Hail! You folk seem to be getting awfully loud - I know it's none of my business, but is there something I can help with?
Geri: ...No, my good sir, we're just having a disagreement, is all.
Kael: Yeah, so you should be moving along, sir.
Robe-Wearing Man: Perhaps I should, but...
*He looks to the board*
Robe-Wearing Man: ...Oh, it's nothing, it's just that your companion...
*gestures at Strix*
Robe-Wearing Man: He reminded me of someone...
Kael: So? Move along!
Robe-Wearing Man: Of course...Apologies for interrupting your day. Blessed be the Father, and may He bless you in turn.
*With an eerily sincere smile, the man leaves*
Leo: ...What was that about?
Kael: Maybe about whatever Amarok is trying to hide from us?
Strix: Look, I...
Leo: Kael, squabbling about this isn't going to help - you, Mary and I? Let's take this bounty - it's nearby, and it shouldn't take too long.
Geri: I can go as well.
Kael: You'll just slow us down - Leo, you should stay with Kaitlin - we can't trust a near-leper, a madwoman, and a criminal to protect her.
Kaitlin: Kael, you can trust them, you don't have to-...
*Kael and Mary have already turned their back on the group.*
Kael: ...I love you, Kaitlin.
Kaitlin: ...I love you too...
*Cut to the party in an inn, their spirits raised somewhat*
Kaitlin: Well, I'm glad you didn't get hurt at least, Kael.
Kael: Hurt? The man was practically begging for his life before it had begun! I'm...alright Kaitlin, it's gonna be alright.
*Kael and Kaitlin shamelessly embrace, while the other party members turn away*
Mary: Couple a' witless lovebirds...*sigh* At least we got something to eat.
Geri: Indeed, it's been awhile since my company and I have gotten anything decent to eat.
Leo: Well, that buck you and Amarok felled this morning wasn't bad.
Geri: It wasn't particularly impressive, either - practically dead already, the pitiful thing.
Geri: ...But either way, we should turn in for the night - in the morning, we should head swiftly for the closest port town - hopefully we'll have scraped enough together to pay for a trip for the seven of us.
Strix: ...Right, sleep well, guys.
*Cut to when all of the lights are out, and Freki awakes*
Freki: Mmm...? Is someone there?
*Dead quiet, but she rises anyway, getting out of her bed and grabbing her sword*
Freki: ...I'm just jumping at shadows, aren't I? Fuck I...Shit...
*Freki turns to go back to bed, looking if she woke anyone up, but something creaks, and she moves, but not fast enough to avoid the knife thrown at her; it embeds itself into her shoulder*
Strix: Wh-what? What's going on? Freki?!
Freki: We're getting attacked, that's what! Grab your weapons, now.
- Commence Battle! -
((Escape Mission - The room that the party is staying in is the battlefield - beds and furniture can provide cover, but they'll get swarmed if they don't escape through the windows. The enemies are a mix of Kaitlin's pursuers and Angelica's Divine Guard; boss is the Robe-Wearing Man, and he'll hunt down and go after Strix.))
Anyone Else vs. ???
???: Apologies for deceiving you earlier, but this must be done.
???: May Rucif have mercy on your soul.
Strix vs. ???
Strix: You...know who I am, don't you?
???: Of course - I wouldn't have approached you, if I didn't.
Strix: Did...Angelica, order you to bring me in?
???: Oh no, I'm just doing my duty as a citizen of Demancia.
Strix: By parading around with the Divine Guard, of all things?
Strix: ...It doesn't matter. I can't, I can't go back. I'm, sorry...What's your name?
???: My name is Micha. Pleasure...pleasure to meet you in person, Prince Strix.
Strix: Micha...Again, I'm really sorry for this...But I've made my choice.
Micha Death Quote:
Micha: ...A-ah, I'm...sorry...Ern-!
- Battle End -
Strix: We are safe here! We need to get off the road, out of town, now!
Freki: *pant* I-I think we lost them.
Kael: *pant* Wh-what the hell was that?!
Strix: ...Divine Guard, Angelica's Sect, from...from Demancia.
Kaitlin: B-but aren't they only guarding Bishops an-and-?
Geri: And...And bringing heretics to justice.
Kaitlin: But why were they with my pursuers?
Kael: ...Who are you people? Answer me! Or I'll cut you down where you-where you stand!
Freki: B-bold words, from someone who can hardly stand. *Drawing sword*
Strix: Freki! I order you to halt.
Freki: Ki-kid! You aren't-
Strix: I know, but tellin-Oh god I'm so tired can we sit down? Please? I'm so fucking tired.
Kaitlin: Y-yeah, that sounds good.
*the group stops to rest, catching their breath*
Strix: ...My name is Strix, and these are my retainers, Geri, and Freki.
Kaitlin: Strix? You mean, Prince Strix? Demancia's heir that went missing?!
Strix: I mean...yeah. Surprise? I guess?
Kaitlin: That...actually explains a lot - but what are you doing out here?! Your kingdom, your father is worried about you!
Strix: ...Yeah. I know. He knows we're here.
Freki: Strix, what the...?!
Strix: I don't know how, but he...contacted me. I could hear his voice in my head- don't give me that look, I'm not crazy. He was...worried about me, and was asking where I was, and what happened. I tried not to give him anything, but I was...I wasn't thinking straight, and I let slip that I left on my own-
Leo: You abandoned your people?!
Strix: It's...not like that. But the Emperor of Demancia is furious with me, and...Look, just let me explain...
*Strix explains everything that's going on, his reason for leaving, with occasional interjections from Geri, and Freki staying silent*
Kaitlin: ...Then you're like my sister.
Kaitlin: ...No, never mind. I shouldn't have said anything.
Kael: But, either way, that means your a threat, Strix - you'll just bring more unnecessary trouble.
Kael: But nothing - you should leave, all of you need to leave.
Kaitlin: Kael- Kael. If Strix, Geri, and Freki-
Kaitlin: -still wish to travel us - if they will still have us, then I'd be honored to have them with us.
Kael: Katlin, please - you just...risk yourself like that! If something-I couldn't-
Kaitlin: Kael, it's alright. He's- He's my friend, I couldn't just leave him behind like that, anyway.
Strix: Thank you...Kaitlin, just give me a moment, I need to...talk to my retainers, for a moment.
Kaitlin: Of course.
*Strix turns to them*
Strix: I'm sorry that I let that slip, I just...didn't want you to kill yourself for me, Freki. And Geri, we were already getting looks, and I thought that-
Geri: You need not say more - I've told you, I'm always by your side, no matter your decision...I don't entirely trust everyone of their group, I won't kid, nor do I think this is a well-thought out plan...
Geri: If I were on my lonesome, I would split ways with this party - it would minimize the attention we draw to ourselves. However, I can see merit in staying with them - you could dissuade them from wagging their tongues.
Geri: That is my council - I will stand by you, as always, no matter what you decide.
Strix: ...Right, thank you Geri...Freki?
Freki: ...Well, I think what you did was stupid - that we shouldn't have exposed ourselves like this. But what I think doesn't really matter, does it? I still come crawling back to you.
Strix: ...Ah, I...see. Very well.
*Strix, turns to Kaitlin*
Strix: If you will have us, we will help you find your sister.
Hope: Ah, fuck, where the hell am I now?
*A broken, run down temple surrounds her, the stone looks like it was once white, but no longer.*
Hope: Mm...? Who's there?
*A dragon snarls from the shadows*
???: You...need to stay away...I'll hurt you. But...can, can you help me?
((Not sure if we should limit ourselves Nino, to just nine chapters - I think we should end the story naturally))