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Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde]

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#76Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:08 am

Jin Tatsumi
The chain hung limp, dangling against the wall. A knight that had run up the steps to pull the lever and save his friends, fell to his knees.

“You can’t escape now,” Jin gazed at the man with wrath and pity, but there was little joy in the act for him now. But his vengeance was satisfied.

“You will die here with us then, mage. You’re stuck too,” the knight yelled as he moved closer to the edge of the wall to leap over but flames burned high and he recoiled.

Jin stepped by the flames. The heat almost burned his skin before he could step into it. The light mage jumped up onto the wall. The knight starred with shock and horror.

Fire lapped around his legs. Burning the soles of his shoes. The paladin jumped through the flames. The warmth turned to a burning heat. He pressed his hands together and created a dome of light that surrounded him and reached out to some of the knights.

The flames burned his flesh but the healing light replenished it just as fast. The boost from sapping their health pushed back the third-degree burns as quickly as they came. He could see her face dancing in the fire. The sight of her, cast the pain to the furthest reaches of his mind.

Jin landed on his feet, beyond the reach of the flames. His hair was half burned away. Clothes were smoldering and his skin seethed with heat boiling around him.

#77Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:08 am

Jin Tatsumi
Patches of his skin burned and blackened. The yellow light magic changed his pigment back to normal and turned the black skin to his normal hue. The hair regrew and he ran his hand through it. The fire engulfed the wall of the keep and spilled into the haystacks and wooden beams that held it up. Knights pulled at the iron gate, once made to protect their religious zeal, it now imprisoned them to their beliefs.

Jin stood beside the two elves. One of them put an arm around his shoulder. They walked through the dirt path. The flag of the church and Brunhild's caught fire and the pole crackled with flames. They both tore free from the rope that kept them flapping in the wind and floated to the earth with embers burning away the meaning they once held.

The sun rose on the keep, and only burned shadows remained from its former glory. The knights joined the bodies of those they couldn’t convert. Jin and the two elves found their way back to Amaris, safe and sound with the elder.

“Come with me Jin,” Amaris said softly and led the man to a gravesite with all the names of those lost in the battle.

“Things are far from over. More will join this plot of land as we continue to fight. But at least they have a place to rest,” Amaris gave Jin a pat on the back and walked down the woodland trail.

Jin sat next to a small rock formation. A bag of food unfolded on the ground. A name was etched into the stone. Jin leaned the bow and quiver on the stone.

#78Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:09 am

Jin Tatsumi
“You’ll never guess how things ended up for the keep. We really hit a blow to Brunhilde today,” Jin said and took a big bite of a dumpling. He leaned back and stretched out his legs. His ankles crossed over as he took in another dumpling and recounted the battle against the keep.

“Well. I suppose that’s all for today,” Jin dusted off his pants and rubbed the side of the stone etching. “Rest easy,” he climbed to his feet. Took the bow and walked down the hill. One final look over his shoulder at the grave and he stepped back into the camp of elves. His newfound brethren. The sun was setting and Jin dragged his feet to his tent.

“Jin. That's not yours anymore. Take this one,” Amaris said and pointed toward Lianara’s tent. It was finely crafted compared to Jin’s ramshackle attempt. The two men shared a smile and jin gave the elven man’s arm a squeeze in silent gratitude before slipping into the tent.

“Tomorrow we are getting up early right,” Jin said, leaning halfway in the tent.

“Huh,” Amaris replied.

“Those caravans of zealots aren’t going to stop themselves.”

“I suppose not,” Amaris smiled with a small breathy huff through his nose in amusement. “See you when the sun rises.”

The next day arrived and Jin rolled out of the tent with armor tightened and blade sharpened. He latched the spear to his back and stretched wide, waiting for the rest of the elves to get ready.

#79Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:09 am

Jin Tatsumi
The two elves from last night stood behind the paladin. Their weapons sheathed at their sides. Amaris stood in a separate group and excused himself to walk toward Jin. A slip of paper was crumpled in his hand.

“Here you go. Good luck, friend,” Amaris handed Jin the paper. It unfolded into a small map with moving images. The locations of supply routes were glowing through the page that was a layout of the local area. There were only a few roads large enough to carry such supplies; the options were limited anyway.

“Intel from some spies,” Amaris waved farewell and ran off with his team. Jin rubbed the back of his neck and cracked it left and then right.

“Off we go,” he said to the two behind him and the three more that stood behind those two. The team ran through the wilds. Jin moved through the lands with ease, leaving over trees and ducking beneath branches. He turned corners by latching onto a tree and swinging around it, cutting his time down, without losing much momentum. The elves slowed their pace so that Jin could stay with them.

Hours ticked by until the team halted at the intersection of a road. “We’ll make camp here for anyone that passes by.” The elves strung together with rope and the makings of a small fire. Jin sat on the side of the road and unfolded a small table from his travel pack. He placed a small assortment of bottles and potions on a silken cloth.

#80Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:09 am

Jin Tatsumi
It was a far cry from the days he was a potion seller and a merchant before. His intent back then was more wholesome than trickier even though people thought him a trickster. He rolled up his sleeves and pulled a hat over his head. The sun beamed down and cast his shadow, wide onto the road.

A clip and clop of hooves trotted down the trail. Jin kept his eyes on the small stand of potion she put together. Most filled with just water. The carriage got closer and an elven whistle came from the woods behind jin. His ears perked up and a grin struck his face.

“Hail travelers. Come for healing and tonic?”Jin spoke in his best merchant's voice. A trait he had some experience in before. The carriage continued trotting down the path without a word.

Jin stood up with two potions in hand. From under his large hat, he could see the hand of a knight move to the hilt of his sheathed sword.

“Easy. I’m a potion peddler you see. These are dangerous times after all. Come have some quick healing and rejuvenation for your travels.

The knight groaned and the glimmer of the top of his sword peeked over the lip of the sheath. A regal voice replied, “Hold. Let us see what this man offers. The church does not ignore those who may be worthy.” The carriage slowed and the horses reared their heads back and scuffed their hooves on the ground.

#81Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:10 am

Jin Tatsumi
“Let me see what you have,” The knight slid his sword back and spoke on behalf of the minister. Jin gestured his hand over to the table, to show off all his wares. He reached out one of the potion bottles to the knight to try and stepped toward the minister.

The knight took a large step, cutting off Jin from the minister.

“I’ll try it first,” the knight snapped.

“Of course. Can’t be too careful,” Jin replied with a grin hidden by the wide-brimmed hat. The knight grasped the potion and Jin laid his hand atop the man’s

“The roads are more dangerous now than ever,” he whispered and raised his head, revealing a closed eyes smile. Wind tickled the tip of his nose and a yellow magic circle appeared around the two.

The knight fumbled over his words of shock and jerked his hand, but Jin’s grasp was too tight. Healing light flooded the man’s body. His arms grew weak and it was easier for Jin to never let go. The knight fell to his knees, with raspy coughs. The minister screamed for help and scuttled to the corner of the carriage, too scared to even close the door. The knight dropped to the ground motionless. Jin stepped over the fallen man’s body without a second glance and stepped onto the first rung of the carriage step.

Knights dropped from the carriage behind the lead one and drew blades. They ran forward and Jin kept a smile on his face as he held the side of the carriage for stability.

#82Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:10 am

Jin Tatsumi
Arrows pierced the ground in front of the charging knights. They stalled in their spot and held their weapons against the forest, scanning the location of their enemy. More arrows fired from the opposite side of the road and struck them in the back. One knight collapsed and the other dropped down to protect his ally. His shield came up to the left and his sword was held to the right, trying to be ready for anything.

A look of helplessness flashed across his eyes as Jin stepped into the minister's carriage. He hoped they felt the same kind of hopelessness that they brought onto the ones they slaughtered.

The minister huffed through his nose. His face filled with red. Veins bulged at the sides of his temples. “I’ve never heard of a mage like you fighting alongside heathens.”

“That’s because anyone that would have known me has died,” Jin said and pulled out the dagger from his cloak.

“You won’t get away with this,” the minister spat.

“Hmm,” was Jin’s only reply as he drove the dagger into the man’s heart. He grasped at the holy symbols around him that offered no protection in his final arrows. More knights poured into the road and were cut down by the flank of arrows. Jin wiped the knife clean on the minister's outfit and jumped down from the carriage.

A knight raged through the cavalcade of arrows. His eyes locked onto the paladin. Arrows bounced from his shield while others slipped through the cracks and sprung leaks of blood. Nothing stopped the warrior.

#83Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:10 am

Jin Tatsumi
Jin stepped his foot back and bent his knees. The dagger flipped in his hand ready for a fight. The knight took an arrow to the knee and stumbled forward but regained his balance immediately. A spear flew from the tree line. Jin dropped the knife and snatched the radiant spear from the air and spun with it as the knight shrugged off an arrow that struck the side of his helmet.

Jin thrusted the spear and the knight parried. The knight followed with a downward slash and Jin rolled out of the way, taking a low stance. The paladin stabbed at the man’s legs but the knight bounded over the blow with the agility of an unarmored opponent. The knight landed and slashed horizontally. The blade arched toward Jin’s neck trying to cleave it from his shoulders.

The paladin dropped fully to the ground. The blade sailed over his body. The mage kipped up to his feet and thrust his spear backwards. A grunt came from the knight. Jin felt the spear pierce soft flesh. He yanked the spear out, splattering blood onto the ground. The knight’s breathing shallowed.

Jin faced his opponent who was strong enough to stay on his feet as the light mage delivered the final blow. The rest of the entourage was taken out by volleys of arrows. Any that got by the volley was met with the paladin’s spear. They cut down the flag of Brunhild and left it on the road.

With torches in hand, they lobbed them onto the carriages and set the supplies ablaze.

#84Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:11 am

Jin Tatsumi
The fire burned in the background as the team marched off the road. A small skittering of leaves caught their attention. The flicker of armor darted behind trees on the far side of the road.

“Someone lived,” An elf whispered and raised his bow. Jin placed a hand on the elf’s arm and pressed the bow down gently.

“Let him go. He’ll warn them and they’ll send someone important for us to deal with now that they know we’re here,” Jin walked back into the forest with the elves beside him, happy with the idea. It would be a long series of battles if it stayed just caravans and carriages the whole time.

Time passed and the team stopped another caravan that came down the path. The local villagers began to travel the roads again, safe that they would be protected. They offered food to the elven team and the local church sent word that they would begin to rebuild without the worry of another attack.

Jin smiled and leaned back against a tree, resting before an elf rushed up with a letter. Jin took it and discovered another small caravan of Brunhild coming along the way. However, they had minimal supplies with them.

“A possible trap,” an elf asked.

“Seems like we got what we wanted,” Jin replied and took up his post as the merchant on the side of the road. The table and potions sprawled out before him. He pulled the hat down to cover his face again and began pretending to brew a potion on a small stove.

#85Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:11 am

Jin Tatsumi
The carriage rolled down the path. An elven whistle came from the forest and Jin rolled up his sleeves and put a smile on his face.

“Traveler’s...come for some healing and ointment for injuries?” he called out.

The carriage came to a crawl without a word. A knight climbed down from the driver’s seat and dug the toe of his boot into the ground, testing it. Small splinters of wood poked out where he dug. Jin’s eyes narrowed, hidden beneath his hat. It was a remnant of the first attack.

“Yes. We could use some healing,” the knight replied with a stoic rumble.

Jin approached with two potion bottles. One in each hand. He was a mere foot away from the knight. “Here you are,” Jin replied and reached forward.

The knight reached out for the potion bottle. His hand was fully encased in a thick gauntlet. The knight’s hand clenched the air and three holes flapped open at the knuckles of the gauntlet. A dart fired from each one.

Jin dashed backward, but one dart stabbed into his rib and another into his shoulder. “Crap,” he grumbled through grit teeth. The hat fell from his head and his hair flowed freely.

“There you are,” the knight stood proud. “I’ve had to kill many people on the road with that trick. Only the person that could dodge it would have been the likely culprit behind the attack.”

Jin pulled the darts from his body and cast them onto the ground. Dirt buried the tiny weapons.

#86Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:11 am

Jin Tatsumi
The knight reached over his head and pulled a greatsword from his back. The blade grew larger the more he pulled it from its scabbard. Every three inches it was a thick jagged plate of metal. Jin pursed his lips and exhaled an exasperated breath. He rolled his shoulders and bounced on the balls of his feet, knowing that this battle was going to be a tough one.

Arrows didn’t wait. A volley burst from both sides of the road. The two-carriage caravan was peppered with them. Three arrows swarmed the man but his blade cast them all to the ground. He glared at the light mage over the top of his serrated weapon.

Jin pulled the spear from his back and returned his stare. The arrows stopped flying and the path fell silent as the two faced each other. The knight lowered his stance, settling his weight into his hips. The two handed sword leered in front of him like a perpetual taunt.

Jin held his spear to his right side, both hands spaced out and feet facing his opponent. The knight charged and brought his weapon to the side for a horizontal swing. Jin parried the weapon skyward and brought the blunt end of the spear around toward the man’s skull.

The knight took the energy of the parry and swung it in a full circle, rising up from the ground for a low to high vertical slash. The strike gashed Jin’s chest, but the mage jumped back to see the fabric of his shirt torn up across his face. Bloodstained the shredded fabric pieces

#87Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:12 am

Jin Tatsumi
The paladin balanced his weight on his rear leg. His front foot searched for the ground. The toes of his boot tapped the dirt as the knight was already closing the distance. Another blow flashed horizontally. Jin could barely keep his balance as his weight had yet to settle on both feet. Sword clanged against the hardwood of the radiant spear. Jin barely turned his weapon in time to absorb the cut of the blow.

The impact knocked him to the side. His feet juggled over each other on the frantic hunt for balance. Jin slammed the blunt end of the spear into the ground, slowing down his movement. The knight appeared at his side in the blink of an eye. Pain swelled in Jin's shoulder as the pummel of the knight's sword dug into it. He rolled on the ground. The world was a spinning blur. The distorted cyclone vision slowed as Jin bounced off the ground, and hovered in the air.

The sun gleamed overhead and was soon overcast by the knightly figure. The silhouette of the sword rose like a solar eclipse. The blade crashed down. Jin's body folded in two and plummeted to the ground. Earth battered his back and sent him bouncing back into the air. His armor took the brunt of the hit. It flapped in two pieces around his chest and stomach.

The knight swung his foot around and knocked Jin. Metal crashed into the side of his face. The knight's boot molded Jin's cheeks around the heel.

#88Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:56 am

Jin Tatsumi
Wind bursted out in all directions as Jin rocketed across the ground. His body cut through a tree, leaving a splintered stump in his wake. Branches cut his revealed skin. A bramble of bushes slowed him down. A second tree caught him with the gentleness of a rhino. Bark flung freely. The paladin slid down, leaving behind an impression of his body. The world ceased to exist. The chirp of birds seemed a million miles away. Green foliage became smears in his clouded vision.

Darkness overcame him, as his eyes slammed shut. He shook his head and fumbled to grasp the tree behind him. The ringing of arrows singing off of platemall overtook the calm sounds of nature. The elves fired deep into combat against the knight as the bulky man plodded his way to Jin.

The mage staggered to his feet and shook his head. Light flowed over him as magic refueled his body. He stared up with fire in his eyes. The brute was on his way and Jin held his spear ready once more for the next clash.

The knight knocked away a swarm of arrows with his shield and charged. Jin tossed his spear up and pressed his hands together. Light burst in the area and sapped the man’s strength. The sudden pain made him miss a step and stagger forward. Jin felt a rush of healing energy slip from the man’s life force and aid his own. Jin leaped into the heavens and caught the spear as it was crashing down.

#89Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 11:14 am

Jin Tatsumi

The spear pierced the man from shoulder to hip. Blood turned the brown shaft of the staff crimson and flowed like a river into the forest floor. The knight raised a trembling hand. The hilt of the sword slipped from his fingers and stabbed upright into the earth. The unyielding knight reached a shaking hand to the sword. His finger twitched around the hilt, the spasm of his hand and trembling arm forbade him from securing a grip. Jin sighed and placed a hand on the knight's shoulder.

“It’s over now,” The light mage spoke softly, respecting the man’s tenacity.

“What is weariness to the body of a Knight, when he must bring woe to the wicked,” The man proclaimed.

Jin slumped his shoulders, and looked into the sky as the knight struggled to stabilize his hand. He understood the man’s plight and will to carry on. Jin pulled the spear from the man’s shoulder leaving a hollow tunnel that filled with blood and guts like a bowl of gravy.

The knight collapsed on the hilt of his sword. He kicked at the ground trying to find control over his right leg but it was nearly limp. He arose on one foot and slipped a dagger from his waist, giving up on the sword and using it as a rest instead.

Jin nodded and lunged one last time. Behind him, he saw the reflection of Lianara, smiling back at him. Awaiting the final blow. Jin lasered focused on the knight and blood clouded the air.

#90Jin Tatsumi 

Casting out Faith [Sabotage: Brunhilde] - Page 4 Empty Sun Jul 04, 2021 11:30 am

Jin Tatsumi
Jin rejoined the elves. Their quivers held only a few arrows left of each. They slung an arm beneath the light mage’s and took the weight off his tired body. Even with his healing magic the fight was exhausting.

“The markings of a priest. We got a good one this time,” an elf called out as he held up an insignia from the dead knight that proclaimed his rank.

Jin smiled, finally pleased with the turn of events and ready to head home.

“Let’s go home for a bit,” the paladin said and the team left the carriage behind. Jin paused and looked back at the hollow mess. He shook his head, lit a torch, and tossed it on the wooden vehicle. Flames erupted and engulfed the limited contents within. They liked to burn churches so only fair they went out by fire.

Once back at the camp, Jin waved at Amaris who was just as bloody and beaten as the rest of them.

“Got him. Took down a priest,” Jin said and hugged his fellow warrior. They shared stories and lamented about the fallen. As the day wore on, Jin stood before the songstress's grave and placed the bow on it.

“It’s time for me to go, Lianara. Thank you...for teaching me so much. I’ll always miss you,” Jin placed a solemn hand on the gravestone with a tear welling in his eye. Before it dropped he turned away, strapped on the spear and took a deep breath. The forest smelled of the soup the elves were cooking. But it was time for Jin to head back to Hildegard.


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