-Kaylenne Tanova, Templar, has already ascended but keeps it to herself, Gen 2 leader of the Ulgorn Raiders. Largely oblivious to Belca's affections.

-Sephylia Thorne, Spiritmaster, has already ascended, right hand of Lord Azphel sent to watch over Ishalgen's little band.

-Abelard, AKA Abel, Warrior, second-in-command to Kaylenne, mortal

-Belca Stormwing, Assassin, one of the raiders serving under Kaylenne, mortal. Has a baby karnif as an adopted pet. Has a major crush on said Templar.

-Ilexis Stormwing, AKA Altrius due to her and Belca's memory loss, Belca's younger sister, priest and Chanter in the making. Mortal.


The Elyos pair fell upon them without warning.

Kaylenne, Sephylia and Altrius were out for a walk in the forests on the outskirts of Aldelle village, with Belca as a male escort. They didn't expect to be running into anything, just out for some fresh air. Abel had volunteered to stay back and handle the paperwork so Kaylenne could take a breather, which the templar was infinitely grateful for.

It was Belca's sharp eyes and swift reflexes that saved Altrius, the smallest and youngest, from being cleaved in two. The polearm smashed into the dirt, a split second after the assassin leapt at Altrius and pushed her out of the way. The two of them rolling over and over on the ground, Belca leapt to his feet a moment later, daggers drawn and fangs bared as he sent a crimson glare at the previously hidden assailants.

In that brief scuffle, Kaylenne and Sephylia had gotten track of their surroundings and tensed for battle, like the war veterans they were. The lone Elyos gladiator seemed a little out of his league, though - alone in Asmodae and spoiling for a fight all on his own? Yes, there had been rifts recently, but the Elyos always came in pairs at the least. Either this one had been foolhardy or daring enough to attempt a solo raid, or just wanted blood since he was on mortal territory, or had a companion hidden somewhere. Regardless, he had chewed off more than he had bargained for, since both Kaylenne and Sephylia were anything but mortal.

The templar's eyes darted to Belca's, and he gave a tiny, almost imperceptible nod, flicking his eyes into the trees. As the gladiator charged again, this time at Kaylenne, she fought him off with her shield, barking orders.

"Seph! Get the one in the tree! Belca, you take Altrius, get back to Aldelle and tell Abel to send reinforcements! Do not engage! Seph and I will hold them down! Go now!"

Sephylia's wind spirit leapt into the leaves with a powerful jump, crashing back down dragging another Elyos with her, the yelping ranger's foot firmly in one mouth. The spirit snarled and released her hold when the ranger fired several arrows into her face, leaping back a step and starting a fresh wave of attack. Sephylia then sent a barrage of magic in the ranger's direction, forcing the ranger to back off.

The gladiator, seeing that his friend was in trouble, switched targets and swung his great spear in Sephylia's direction. Kaylenne intercepted him, however, deftly bashing him back with her shield. Frustrated, he retaliated hard, his polearm slamming into her shield with enough force to level a small hill, and in that moment Kaylenne was never more grateful that she was a Daeva. Without the added strength from her aether-infused blood, that hit alone would have smashed the bones in her arm. With the ranger kiting and beating down Sephylia, the templar was almost prepared to lose. Her life was in no risk. It would blow her cover, but no matter. As long as Belca and Altrius had the time to get away.

Unexpectedly, however, Belca joined the templar in attempting to subdue the gladiator, playing a dangerous game as he wove around the Elyos's polearm, driving his daggers into chinks in the heavy plate armor. With his keen eyes, Belca dodged every swing of the great spear, but had he happened to slip, he would have easily be decapitated. Fear for Belca filled the templar, because unlike her, the assassin had only one life.

The gladiator, switching tacks, lashed out with a kick that made the assassin stumble, throwing him off balance. With a grunt, the great polearm was brought to bear-

Kaylenne frantically pulled on her aether, and sent it outwards from the tip of her sword in the form of a cage. It wrapped around the Elyos, bodily dragging him away from Belca and towards herself as she wrenched her sword. "Get out of here!" she screamed at the assassin.

"I'm not leaving you!" He yelled back, throwing himself back into the fray.

"You can't fight them! Now get out and get reinforcements!"

The assassin's face was set in one of determination. Ignoring her shrieked order, he resumed his weaving with the Elyos Daeva that clearly overpowered him. Frustration filled the templar as she desperately tried to keep the gladiator's attention fully on herself. Beside her, some distance away, Altrius, after a moment of hesitation, had started to help Sephylia out with some menial magic skills, albeit from a safe distance. Wise girl. On the other hand, Belca…

A well-placed swing from the gladiator sent the assassin flying, stunned. Kaylenne stubbornly kept the Elyos from going in for the kill, however - with her skills in swordplay and shield-wielding, it was either watch his head or get brained. The gladiator was getting more aggressive though - his friend had vanished in an attempt to save himself, and Sephylia now had her sights on the hulking warrior. It was turning into a tight spot for him, and his eyes darkened when he considered his likely death. Instead of slacking in despair, he fought harder and harder.

Kaylenne snarled in pain as the Elyos got a hit in, his lance piercing her side. Pain wasn't the issue here, however. With the other end of the weapon still in the Elyos's arms, moving wasn't an option unless she wanted her guts spilt on the ground.

She was pinned, and therefore an easy target.

A dagger, aiming for the exposed tuft of her red-gold backmane. The ranger had made his reappearance.

"Kaylenne!" Sephylia screamed.

The templar whipped her head around, an 'oh-shit' expression in her amber eyes-

To see her would-have-been assailant tackled to the ground ferociously by a furious Belca. The Asmodian assassin tore at the yelling Elyos ranger as they rolled across the ground, his claws drawing splatters of blood as he shredded every part of his victim he could reach. His rage fueled his strength, but there was a great risk in such a scuffle all the same.

Even as Sephylia dispatched the now-unarmed gladiator, Kaylenne's eyes saw as the dying Elyos ranger plunged his dagger into Belca's chest. The tip of the bloody blade sprouted from his back, and the assassin's eyes widened.

The templar ruthlessly tore out the offending spear and stumbled towards him desperately, one hand pressed to her wound in a careless attempt to stem the blood loss. The arrogant white-wings disintegrated upon their death, whereas they…


"You idiot!" Kaylenne screamed at him, tears blurring her vision. "You're mortal, you brainless brax! You don't have to save me!"

The assassin's only reply was a weak chuckle, and a mouthful of blood.

Damn the idiot and his masochism. The templar spun around. "Altrius!" she yelled. "Altrius, get over here now!" She turned back to Belca, whose eyelids were slipping shut, his eyes unfocused.

"Don't you dare," she snarled at him, grabbing his shoulders. "Or I swear I'm gonna beat you black and blue until you can even see it a mile away. Eyes on me, eyes on me dammit-"

Altrius dropped to her knees beside him, seeming so much more her small age as she desperately tried to resuscitate him. Belca coughed, his dark eyes sliding to meet Kaylenne's. "You're…so…beautiful…" he croaked hoarsely, smiling weakly.

Then his eyes closed.



"Congratulations, genius. You made her mad."

Belca blinked blearily as he came to. Eyes darting around, he took stock of his surroundings. Writing desks, shelves, books, Abel slouching in a chair.

Abel's office.

The assassin sat up, and groaned at the lingering ache of his injuries.

"And what's more, yours truly had to haul your ass all the way back here," Abel grumbled. "You owe me a drink."

"At least she's not dead," Belca mumbled.

"Well, newsflash, martyr. She ain't too happy with what you did." The warrior shrugged. "I'll put some azpha on your tombstone."

Belca rolled his eyes, and with some effort, got off the couch and made for the door. Abel's cabin had a small, separate study room, which was where he was headed.

Three sets of female eyes snapped up to meet his as he shuffled in.

Kaylenne glared at him while the other two inconspicuously edged out of the way.

"I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that your actions were incredibly foolish," she snapped icily. "I have established that Elyos Daevas are not, I repeat not, to be engaged unless I direct otherwise."

The assassin held her gaze steadily, ardent defiance glittering in his eyes. "I'm not going to leave you to die so that I can save myself. Not now, not ever."

The templar flared. "I won't be dying anytime soon, I can assure you of that," she seethed. "On the other hand, you disobeyed a direct order. The narrow shave we had was due to our greater numbers, and not in any way related to skill, understand?" Her burning gaze was so piercing that he flinched. "Yes ma'am," he mumbled.

"You put your life and worse, one of our already limited assassins at risk. Do you know what that means?" Her voice was rising, eyes crimson with anger. "We cannot afford to lose more men when we have the Mau to handle!" Slamming her palm on her desk, she stood up abruptly and stalked towards him. "Of all the brax-brained, idiotic things I've seen, this tops the lot! I should have you flayed for your insolence!"

He cowered under her furious glare.

"Dammit, I thought I lost you." Belca stiffened as Kaylenne embraced him tightly, her face buried in his neck. "Don't scare me like that," she muttered softly.

Belca's eyes softened. "I'm sorry," he murmured, holding her close, closing his eyes. He cherished the moment. She meant so much to him that he was surprised to discover the depth of it. Surprised that he was willing to even sacrifice his life for her.

"But," Kaylenne pulled away, her businesslike tone back in place. "Seeing as you still pulled a stupid ass stunt, I confiscating your karnifling until I see fit to return it."

Belca's yelp of horror was joined in by a few more voices laughing alongside them in the cabin.