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Ask Ancient Secrets Revealed

I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

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Old Empire Citizen
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Equestrian
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Monster Slayer
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Female
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Mid Twenties
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Anara blinked and grimaced, trying to move but found she could not stand from her kneeling position, her sword held before her in a guard and her arm covering her face protectively. Ice covered her from head to toe, freezing her body to the ground. Blood and spittle stuck to the prison of ice that had been built around her. She tried to create more flames, but the cold and her exhaustion prevented even a single spark from being generated. At least her body was more numb than in pain from the cold.

Slowly the heat of her breath seemed to melt away the ice covering her face. The skull lord had stomped past her, weakened ankle making it limp slightly. Boros was still blinded and dry heaving on the ground, barely able to gulp in air between his stomach fighting to empty itself, his muzzle stained with green and yellow smile and bile he had spat up. Kyri was talking softly, her eye socket bleeding from her wound, all the traumas that had been reaped upon the trio were evident.

Boros.” Anara whispered, loud enough that her hiss could be heard, drawing the minotaur’s attention. His ears twisted around in her direction, though he could do little more than crawl. His hands felt his way across the icy stones and found her ice covered body.

How bad is it.

We’re dead, but I don’t feel like dying alone.” She responded, the bull cracking the ice around her arms with his powerful fingers. He continued to heave up bile on the ice around her. “I want to take that three faced bastard with me before I go into the Empty.

Aye, I’m with you there. You got a plan?” He asked gruffly between dry heaving, his stomach finally as empty as it could be, though he could only barely stop from coughing up more.

Yeah.” She continued in a hushed tone, while the One who is Many towered over Kyriaki. The creature began whatever communion it was going to do while Anara was freed from her prison, fingers aching with frostbite, body heat rising with rage.

Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Anara Dorn

As if gripped by an invisible power, Kyriaki's mouth was suddenly forced wide open. A cloud of black smoke poured into her mouth. Her remaining good one eye turned obsidian, while blood still poured from the one she had thrust her knife through.

The ice zombie made a few jerky movements. Her lips moved, speaking in unison with that of the skull lord. "Ah, this is much...better. Young, free of decay. Unbound by the spellwork keeping the Three Who Are One trapped inside this prison. You will serve me well. The blood of your companions will be sacrificed upon the altar of my power."

Because the skull lord was still, you know, a threat, shadowy dark tendrils were released by the Three Kings. They shot towards Boros and Anara. What would they do? Probably nothing good. Oh, and there was ice, because he could use Kyriaki's skill set, too.

Locked inside her mental prison, Kyriaki could still see events unfold, much like how a prisoner can look through a tiny window. But unlike the typical prisoner, she could see things through her captor's eyes. The link went both ways. The Three Kings might be...a bit distracted.

"Behold the magnifigence of the Three," the skull lord gloated inside her mind.
"Yes...I see it now," she said pensively. "It is...glorious. But there's just one thing you may have forgotten, Master. Isn't it...four now?"
"Know your place, girl. Your continued existence is at my sufference. You exist because I allow it and will end when I demand it."
"But I'm still here...with a part of you. Look around you - at these walls." The apparition of the skull lord punched her so hard she flew across the room, smashing into the ground. Blood dripped down her face.

The zombie laughed, as the walls closed in on them. "I'm not trapped here with you." Her eye glowed with a fierce light. "You're trapped here with me." Snarling like an animal, he smashed her face into the ground. Again and again.
In the real world, blood poured from Kyriaki's eye and mouth.
 
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I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

Character
Old Empire Citizen
Rank
Equestrian
Job
Monster Slayer
Gender
Female
Age
Mid Twenties
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Single
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Wanderer
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Anara could see Kyriaki and the Skull Lord of the Kings Three, the One who is Many, having their mental duel. Suddenly black tendrils rocketed towards Boros and herself, the bull was still tearing away at the ice that imprisoned her frostbitten flesh, and he could not see, his chest and gut still dry heaving every few breaths. “Look out!” She cried, tearing away from the last of the ice, leaving scraps of her trousers, skin, and flesh behind as she jerked upwards to get between the bull and the tendrils. One of them grazed her flesh as she guarded the minotaur, the other went wide and struck the stone wall suddenly.

Her cheek turned black, dead skin sagging as she fought against the powerful black magic the undead abomination corrupting her flesh. She screamed in pain and rage again. Behind her Anara heard the sound of glass breaking, suddenly feeling the minotaur’s hands cupping her face. The deathly scar on her cheek suddenly felt cool and refreshing, her skin felt a numbing sensation and her magic faded quickly. Dimeritium infused oil. The huntress grinned, tugging on Boros’s belt to guide the big bull forward, charging at the skull lord stooped over Kyriaki.

Suddenly the undead was roaring, but doing little else. Blood poured from Kyri’s mouth as the pair rushed the undead. Anara ducked suddenly, right before she was caught between the charging minotaur and the monstrous undead, sliding beneath his feet. She twisted and came up on her feet in front of the skull lord, his two sets of glowing green blazing into her blue eyes. Suddenly the Minotaur’s hands were upon him, grabbing at his arms and pinning his horned head into the back of the creature. Almost immediately the skull lord’s bones and shroud began to burn as the anti-magic oil damped the vast necrotic energies that held the creature together in the first place. Anara wished she had a pair of shackles made with the substance, but it was terribly rare.

The minotaur grunted, struggling to hold the arms of the incensed construct of undeath, Kyriaki holding its attention within the prison of her mind, and now dimeritium dampened its magic. Anara had only one thing to do, she thrust her sword into the skull with void blackened eyes. It screamed a long curse with it’s dying breath. The huntress grinned for an instant before the effects of the curse set into her body, crippling pain from all of her injuries felt magnified.

Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Anara Dorn

In the mindscape, her head was smashed into the hard, cold ground. This being a prison of the mind, the rules worked differently than in the real world. Which meant that she could feel pain. The skull lord smashed his boot into her spine.

But she was not the only one taking heavy blows. Abruptly, the Skull Lord of the Kings Three howled in anger when his real, corporeal body was burnt by the anti-magic oil. What happened to the body affected the mind, as it did vice versa.

Having been given some breathing space, Kyriaki got to her feet, standing shakily. "You fool," the skull lord thundered. "You haven't the faintest idea of the powers you toy with! You are but a pawn in a milennia-old game of gods!"

In a fury, the skull lord threw a powerful punch at her, raining down blows. Kyriaki ducked under the fist, took the second and caught the third in a barrier of ice. "My rules now," she declared, coughing up more blood. Chains of ice wrapped around the skull lord, and he howled a blood-curdling roar.

It caused chains to burst and forced Kyriaki to clutch her ears, but when he stepped forward, the remaining chains just wrapped around him even more tightly. And then Anara's blade had pierced one of his many skulls.


Abruptly, the cloud of smoke was expelled from Kyriaki's mouth. Blood was still dripping from her mouth and her eye. The ice zombie had no sword, just a dagger. With the undead entity reeling, she thrust to the Skull Lord's vertebra.
 
I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

Character
Old Empire Citizen
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Equestrian
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Boros could see again, his milk-white eyes clearing and returning to their natural brown color, his muscles strained against the unholy physical power of the Skull Lord, holding both its arms out in a crucifix hold, his head thrust against its back using his shoulder and back muscles to leverage his hold even as the Skull Lord struggled against it. Whatever magic it had been using on him was gone now, but he could hear Kyriaki growling and gurgling, he could hear Anara screaming in pain with only the undead construct between he and the girls.

The minotaur grunted, hauling backwards on the creature’s arms and trying to use his position to force it onto its knees. Then he released it and sprang, both oil coated hands grabbing the final head far to the left, and wrenching it, twisting the myst-empowered bones until they cracked. Dust and bone meal ground from the joints of the neck until it came apart and finally the entity slumped to the floor. The great bull panted, looking at the two girls, his last companions.

Kyriaki was severely injured, missing an eye, arm tore up but still functional, blood and ichor leaking from her wounds like a stain. The blood was brackish and dark, even as he blinked, readjusting to having his sight.

Anara on the other hand writhed in pain on the floor, her wounds were many but most of them superficial, aside from the three punctures through her chest. She seemed to be in intense pain, her breathing raspy as her lung filled with blood from her fight. The huntress had been running on adrenaline, but whatever fell magics the Skull Lord had wrought on her body saw an end to that.

The great bull wiped his hands on the Skull Lord’s cloak before kneeling in front of Kyriaki. “Come on,” he grunted, his jaw aching from having been struck. “No need to worry, I can guess you aren’t human, but you ain’t gotta tell me what. Just let me know if there is anything I can help you with.” Kyriaki was more important than Anara, not because she actually was, it was just smarter to aid the most likely survivor and the one that would be able to assist him the most if they were attacked again. Survival came first for the bull, any sentiment and mourning would follow once as many of them as he could manage were safe and out of the tomb.

However there were still riches to gather before they could leave. Damned if they came all this way to leave without so much as a copper.

Kyriaki Argyro
 
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I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Anara Dorn

A very loud, sharp crack resonated loudly across the hall. Dust and bone ground from the zombie's neck joints, then it finally came apart. The entity slumped to the floor. Dust seeped from its massive form in waves.

Of the original party, only Kyriaki, Boros and Anara stood. Each of them had suffered heavy blows and were in a poor state, to say the least. Kyriaki looked up at the huge bull. Even when kneeling, he was bigger than her.

"Help Anara," she said quietly - but commandingly. She could guess why he had turned to her. "Search this place for anything valuable. There should be an...occult tome. Bring that to me. Gather up the other riches. I'll tend to Anara."

Quickly she took ahold of the shaking she-wolf. She was in the throes of agony, and it was not just physical pain. The metaphysical went beyond Kyriaki's ability to heal, but she could deal with the small stuff. "Anara, it's me. Hold on. You'll be fine. This will hurt," she warned as she rummaged in her backpack.

She poured vingear over Anara's stab wounds, using it to wash her injuries. Then she fetched honey, starting to apply it like an ointment. She could use cloth to wrap her wounds. However, it was then that she tensed, feeling a surge of energy build up inside the room. There was a presence, dark, powerful and glorious...
 
I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

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Old Empire Citizen
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Equestrian
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The big minotaur nodded his horned head at the zombie girl, chewing on his cheek as he considered her words. “Aight, I’ll see what I can grab. Book, eh.” He grunted through his sore jaw, rising up to clamber off towards the looming sarcophagus.

All around the Kings Three’s entombed throne there were coins of ancient gold, small gems, and other simple treasures he scooped into a sack by the handful, enough to sell for decent money. No great fortune’s worth in the sack he could carry, but enough to live well for a while split between them. He began looking through a handful of old tomes, trying to guess which ones looked worth anything or occult in nature.

Meanwhile Anara growled through her teeth as vinegar was poured over her wounds, blood running and mixing with the clear liquid as Kyriaki worked on her. Her lips curled back, canines elongated in her mouth from the pain. She could feel her hands wrenched back in agony, “Shit.” she snarled, “I can’t.” The white haired girl said through clenched teeth. Her body wanted to tear off her skin and reveal her snow white fur, but she was unable for some reason. Something prevented her from going through the change. Perhaps it was her body, unable to take the pain of having her bones crack and reform, her skin splitting open. Whatever the cause, she was trapped in her human skin, in terrible pain.

The hairs on her neck rippled, the amulet in her pouch vibrated and hummed loud enough that it could be heard suddenly.

Do not be afraid, child,” came a voice, sweeter than the finest wine. Anara opened her eyes and looked towards the sound.

A thin red film could be seen over the empty archway across from the sarcophagus, growing out from the edges of the wall. Within there was darkness, swirling smoke and blackness, starlight withering in and out in a thousand shades of colors. But at the foremost, there was a feminine figure. Taller than the girls, but not quite as large as Boros who stood near the opening. The entity had red skin, but her bones and organs could be glimpsed through it as light appeared behind her. Her form was curvaceous, like an hourglass in some ways, but lithe like a dancer in others. On her head were thick, goat like horns in the place of hair, yet she did not look hideous. She was beautiful and awe inspiring to behold.

Anara’s lips curled up in a snarl.

I could never hurt you, my love.” She whispered, like a lover to another sharing a pillow. Her hand extended outwards towards the archway, holding it out to be grasped by any of the three that remained.

Boros snatched a dark colored leather tome from a handful, the symbols on it as close to occult as he could assume and began stepping backwards away from the arch.

The red film continued to expand until it covered the archway like a scab over a wound. Boros twisted as the silhouette of the figure appeared against the red covering, pressing against it. He ran off towards the girls, stopping to help them up. “We gotta get out o’ here.” He muttered.

A hand pressed against the red film behind him, and the voice echoed through the halls. "I will see you again, my love. Safe journeys until we meet again."

Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Anara Dorn

The entity was both deeply alien and...extremely alluring. Her voice was as smooth as silk and felt like a lover's caress. Kyriaki's hair stood on edge, but it was a struggle to turn away.

My sweet girl, the enchantress spoke in her beguiling voice that echoed across the halls. For the briefest of movements, their hands touched. Kyriaki was not sure who had made the first move. She did not know whether the demoness had taken her hand or if she had.

In any event, Kyriaki stiffened when she felt as if she was being caressed. Wait, that was wrong. She could not feel. She felt on fire. Oh, my poor child. Daughter of Morganthe. You are so much more than ice. The things you have been denied.

Finally, she pulled herself away. Towards the door. Away from the red woman. The horned entity's words reverberated across the hall. We will be reunited soon, my sweet. Take care of yourself.
 
I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

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Equestrian
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Monster Slayer
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Female
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Mid Twenties
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Anara was snatched up off the cold stones, a tome bound in leather pressed into her bloody hands as the minotaur grabbed her beneath her knees and around her shoulders. The white-maned girl looked around his arms behind him to see Kyriaki touching the hand of the entity, some form of Mystborn Anara did not know, her snarl reappeared on her face, not from pain however.

She watched until Kyri pulled herself away and ran down the corridor, chasing after the minotaur on their way out of the tomb. They had to escape before dawn, or they would spend a year trapped inside it. Even disregarding the undoubtedly many horrors within the labyrinth of tunnels they had not explored, they would thirst or starve to death in short order if they failed to get out. The great bull took to the stairs quickly, taking them two at a time as fast as his cloven hoofed feet could take them.

Anara jostled in Boros’s arms, her lungs aching under the pressure of being held, pressing against her ribs in an awkward position, blood leaked onto the book she was forced to hold to. Her blue eyes turned to the path ahead, the long, narrow tunnel that wound and twisted until it would reach the entrance, the sealed door they would have to open.

At least,” she panted, each breath aching in her body, “We don’t have to get stuck on the way out.” Loosely she held up an injured hand, a hole through her palm where the stone spike had impaled it. The huntress was still alive, but quite the worse for wear.

Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Anara Dorn

Out. That was the only thought on Kyriaki's mind at the moment. And so they ran up the stairs and through the long, narrow tunnel. By some stroke of good fortune, they made it to the door. By three they come, and by three they enter, Kyriaki thought grimly.

Their blood opened the door. Darkness greeted them when they stepped outside. No light shined in the sky, but the area was mercifully free of skeletons or ravenous zombies. However, it was plain that it would not stay this way.

The grounds ahead of the tomb were still littered with corpses. This was where they had made their stand where three of their goblin comrades had fallen. "We cannot relent. We must keep moving," Kyriaki urged the now extremely dimished party.

This was no place to make camp. They would not be safe until they had left the tomb and this cursed battlefield behind them. "To the horses." They had left their steeds far away from the battlefield. Gods be god, they would still be there.
 
I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

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Old Empire Citizen
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Equestrian
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Monster Slayer
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Female
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Mid Twenties
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Boros, while a large and muscular minotaur, was not without his limits. Many minor injuries, a fractured if not broken jaw, hurt ribs, and the long night of running and fighting wore on even the strongest of beings. Not to mention he was also carrying a sack full of coins and jewels that likely weighed many extra pounds and Anara’s own weight being carried before him like a princess being hurried through the threshold by her blushing new husband. The great bull panted heavily, weariness in his muscles. Anara could tell by the way he stooped lower, his once proud shoulders and posture hunched over. “Aye,” he responded to Kyri nodding at her and plodding through the dark red soil and grass with a much slower loping gait. “Just a bit further.

Fresh air filled her bleeding lungs, the moonlit sky hung over them, the first dim light of dawn still a ways away from them. The undead roving across the hills in packs still fought amongst each other, but it would not be long until the undead moved to hunt the newly returned living. Unfortunately, Boros did not have a steed, unless he planned to ride in a mule drawn cart. Anara supposed it was possible, if an uncomfortable ride for a while before they could make camp.

Anara lifted her fingers to her mouth and sucked in air painfully before whistling loudly. “At least I can lighten your burden.” She wheezed and rasped through each breath, but Aldritch and Arion would be on their way with any luck, the old warhorse was hopefully smart enough to bring along his companions when summoned but then again, he was a stubborn old thing that would not have budged for anyone but his master.

Kyri,” Anara called, reaching her hand out from tucked within the minotaur’s grasp. “Are you alright?” The white-maned girl knew the answer, the zombie was not in pain, albeit not physically. She needed to be sewn up and a new eye, hopefully a blue one that matched her current one. Finding a fresh grave with a good eye would be on the difficult side, assuming Anara managed to survive long enough to assist in such an endeavor. But emotionally, Anara did not know, she was concerned after the encounter with the entity.

Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Anara Dorn

"I am...," Kyriaki paused, no words leaving her lips. She half-blind. She was frustrated, ashamed and angry. None of that mattered. She had been shamefully unable to resist the dark influence of the Kings Three when the entity forced its way into her mind. Her weakness had gotten a minion - a goblin, but still - killed and resulted in Anara and probably Boros being injured.

It was disgraceful for an Argyro, but then she was the lesser one. She did not have the right to complain, least of all about something so petty as her personal feelings. "I am fine," she said at last, speaking with an air of finality. Any warmth had been drained from her tone.

"I am sorry, for what it's worth," she said...very awkwardly. Words are wind. Mercifully, their horses would appear in the far distance. Whinnying could be heard.
 
I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

Character
Old Empire Citizen
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Equestrian
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Monster Slayer
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Female
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Mid Twenties
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Anara held out her hand from around the minotaur and squeezed Kyriaki’s shoulder in a manner she believed was comforting. Of course, little was of comfort when being touched by a bloodsoaked murderer barely clinging to life with injuries both physical and mystical. Still, it was all the white-maned girl could offer at this point, each breath was labored and each movement was taxing as it were.

Aldritch came up hurriedly, skidding to a stop and allowing Boros to push Anara’s body into the saddle and the bull to grab his reins. Boros stooped to help Kyriaki up onto Arion before they began to lope off the field as quickly as the minotaur could, though it was clear he was no sprinting champion by his beleaguered pace. “They were alright lads,” He responded with a shrug. Anara could see the look, one she had seen on her mentor many times. The expression of one who had lost so many close to them it became routine, the sorrow of a companion’s death becoming little more than a drink once in a while and a few sorrowful tears if they were well loved. “We’ll pour a drink out for ‘em and sing a song or two.

Sing?” Anara muttered, blood sputtering from her mouth and dribbling down her chin, mixed with her spit. “I do not know any words to songs.

That’s alright, I know a bunch. I brought my lute for after the fight, I suppose instead of a foot stomper I’ll play a few dirges for the lads. After we all get to safety.” The bull grinned, and patted Kyriaki. "Don't worry about it, we are still alive and that is what matters. Not those left behind, but those still with us to carry on our cheer."

Kyriaki Argyro
 
I am Ice, I am Death

Kyriaki Argyro

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Anara Dorn

The ice zombie saw something in the bull's eyes that made her want to empathise. Those eyes had seen a lot of loss, too. Perhaps there was companionship to be found there. "I know some songs," Kyriaki said quietly. Most of them were songs and ballads about gallant equites and sweet maidens.

Those were sung at court to entertain nobles and obviously not appropriate. She knew others as well though. "From the legion and the Watch." Admitting to being a deserter seemed fairly trivial now.

In the far distance, they could still hear the undead legions trapped in this awful place mindlessly fight each other, though they had mercifully receded from their field of vision. This was for the best because despite the trio's best efforts, their pace was not very fast. The fact that Kyriaki had only one eye to guide her did not help. Luckily Arion seemed to have a good idea of where to go - away, above all.
 
I fight monsters, and I became one

Anara Dorn

Character
Old Empire Citizen
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Equestrian
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Monster Slayer
Gender
Female
Age
Mid Twenties
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Anara looked from Kyriaki to Boros, tilting her head in curiosity as they spoke. She knew one tune she liked that she could whistle if the mood struck her, but usually she only did it on the same day her mentor had used to.

Music was a subject that she was simply watching, listening, with no real experience or anything of value to add to the conversation. Instead she listened on, hoping to learn something from her two companions.

Boros nodded his head, “I heard a few from the legion when I was working for them in the south around Sarrad.” He loped alongside the horses, taking long strides to keep up with the now trotting steeds. "They've got Legio Aeterna and Urbane, good marching tunes. D'you know Cup of Mead? Always liked that one for lifting sour spirits."

So, if it isn’t impolite of me to ask, what are you? I figure we've been through enough that I’m owed some kinda honesty, ya know.” His tone was not accusatory, but Anara could sense some wariness in his voice. “Not everyone can just take a dagger to the eye.” He nodded his head to Anara, “And are you the same?

No, I am human.” Just a human bent on the precious moments when death looms over her and she can find something to inflict fear upon, relishing in the death of the powerful.

Kyriaki Argyro
 

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