"Is everyone ready?" Botta looked back at his squad, standing outside the gates of Iselia with weapons drawn. "We need to make a good show of this."
"Ready, sir!" Vidarr saluted, and the others followed suit. "Lead the way, and we'll be back at the base in time for dinner."
Botta smiled slightly. "Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves." But Vidarr was right – despite its importance, this mission wasn't expected to take long. Schooling his features into a proper scowl, he nodded once, and began marching forward.
The first encounter was the village guards. "Stand aside," Botta ordered them.
"Wh-what do you Desians want?" one of them said, holding his makeshift spear at the ready.
"Stand aside, and no one here will be hurt," Botta insisted, and inclined his head toward the soldiers behind him. "If you won't, I've certainly brought enough force to make you."
The guard who hadn't spoken yielded, his sword dropping to the ground in front of him, but the other held his ground. "I won't let you hurt the village!"
"Vidarr?" Botta said evenly, staring the guardsman down. His courage was admirable, but in this case unfortunate.
Vidarr took his cue, and swept the man out of the way with one massive punch. Botta nodded, and smirked coldly at the guard who'd given in. "Your cooperation will be remembered." Maybe next time, he would think twice before letting hostile forces walk in.
Once they were in the village, reactions were mostly the same. Vidarr had to knock a few more of the villagers aside, but most of them just fled in terror and locked their houses, leaving a clear path for the Renegades to make their way to the temple on the other side.
They approached the temple unopposed, the priests having no idea what was marching to their doorstep. While the Renegades could have flown to this point by Rheaird, it would have left more question as to their nature among the villagers' minds. A bunch of men in Desian uniforms threatening them as they marched straight through the village, coming from the direction of the Ranch, though...that would set a clear picture in their minds of what had happened. This time tomorrow, everyone in Iselia would believe that the Desians had attacked the Martel Temple and killed the Chosen One along with all her guardians.
"This is where the fight begins," he told the others as they made their way up the steps. "Stay on your guard, these priests are trained as fighters in order to protect the Chosen One."
Just then, a huge column of light burst from the top of the temple, causing everyone to shield their eyes. "That's the signal for the Oracle. Let's go."
Though the priests were more trained than the villagers, they were no match for the Renegades' precision and experience, and fell quickly. Botta sent Reinald to scout out the temple building and find where the Chosen was hiding, and the man quickly reported back. "Sir, the Chosen isn't here! They must have evacuated her somewhere!"
Botta turned to the head priestess, an old woman who hadn't been able to pose enough threat to warrant killing. "Where is the Chosen?" he demanded of her.
Even as he said it, a girl in prayer garments ran up, followed by a boy in red and a little half-elven boy. The priestess' eyes widened, and she called out, "Run, Colette!"
That was her, then? He'd known that the Chosen One was an innocent, no more than sixteen, but the vestments made her look younger, and Botta hesitated for a moment even as Reinald and Yolan called out to taunt the children.
And the other children...he hadn't counted on any collateral damage beyond the priests. That was a shame, indeed. But they didn't have a choice at this point, and so with a nod from their commander, the Renegades struck.