With the three tents they were given it wasn't hard to figure out who was sleeping where. The girls Mia, Sveta, Karis, and Himi all shared a tent. The older guys Volug, Ike, Felix, and Eoleo shared another leaving the younger males Matthew, Tyrell, Amiti, and Rief with the last tent. Amiti and Rief weren't exactly happy with having to share a tent with Tyrell. He snored louder than anything. The only reason Matthew didn't care was his insane ability to sleep through anything. A trait he shared with Felix. They set up their tents on the very edge of the camp wanting as much space as possilble.
Ike woke up with the sun as always. The only one in his tent awake with him was Volug. Both beorc and laguz walked out of the tent leaving the two Adepts in the tent. Yune knows they will both need it. Speaking of said goddess, where is she? No doubt she is in some bird somewhere nearby watching everything.
Today was the day that Ike would once again grace the field of battle on Tellius soil. Once again he would be fighting to protect the ones he loves. What weighed on his heart was that he had to kill others in order to do so. It was a necessary action but not one he enjoyed like he had seen so many others.
"Volug do you think those kids will be able to handle this?" Ike asked generally concerned.
"Yes" Volug responded in the ancient language. "They are strong in body and mind." It was odd that the longer response was spoken in Common.
"Guess we'll find out soon enough. I'm going to head to the commander's. Want to see if Lethe will tell me why's she so mad. If Aimee stops by you do NOT tell her where I went." Ike made sure to stress the word not. He by no means wanted that woman anywhere near him if he could help it. By the end of the Goddess War Soren was the one who went to pick up anything Ike needed.
What Ike wouldn't do to be fighting alongside his old friends. True he had Mia an old ally from the Mad King's War and former Greil Mercenary but he hadn't grown up with her like he did with Titania, Oscar, Boyd, Rhys and the others. Another reason he led Felix back to Tellius was so that he could see these friends once again. Mist would be the happiest to see him though. She was so sad when he had left. While she didn't cry he could see the hurt in her eyes.
With any luck though they would be here in a few days. Tormod had always been one to move quickly and Ike doubted that anything had stopped him on the way to the fort. If he remembered the distance between here and the fort Tormod and the Mercenaries could very well arrive in a day or two. Actually knowing his friends they probably where going to appear today. He'd get an earful from Titania and Mist about how he should have come home first. Body and Oscar would ask him about his travels. Rhys would be worried about any sickness he caught and most likely give Ike a medical once over just to make sure he was healthy as he should be. Gatrie would ask him about the girls he had seen and Shinion… well he'd be Shinion and not really care that Ike was back.
He had reached the commander's tent to find the reason he was there standing outside. Lethe, Lyre, Mordecai were all standing outside the tent. Ike had suspected that the three would be there waiting for the "lazy beorc" to wake up. Ike chuckled at Lethe's predictability. She would certainly not be happy with him if she knew he figured out she be there so early. Well she'd be even less happy with him.
"Lethe" Ike called to the feline.
She visibly tensed as she whipped around to face Ike. Clearly he had snuck up on her. Mentally patting himself on the back Ike continued walking towards her.
"You only caught me by surprise because all you beorc smell the same. In need of a wash." She was quick to inform Ike. "I could not pick up on one stench above the other."
"Alright Lethe what's got you so angry?" Ike was bold and went straight to the point. Some people might call it blunt others might call it stupid. Right now it was a little of both.
"You abandoned your people." She spat at him. "What soldier leaves his people behind to seek glory?"
Ike let out a sigh. "Lethe I've met up with a few of our old friends. You're the only one that seems to have such a problem with me having left." Ike wasn't fully truthful in that. Mia had given him an earful the night he got back about how he had not taken her along with him. She was extra pissed when she learned that he met Felix, her rival, days after leaving. As he already thought earlier Mist and Titania were probably going to be a little sore.
"Yes well they aren't soldiers with a sense of duty like me." Lethe retorted.
"Lethe I was, am, a mercenary. I never swore to any single country like you have." Ike pointed this fact out feeling it was a good counter point. The poor fool.
"You led the united armies of the Begnion, Phoenicis, Gallia, and Crimea in the Mad King's War then in the Goddess War you led people of every nation against Ashera. During those two times did you not become a Lord? Is a lord not part of your silly beorc politics? You were ranked more important than a soldier and you left your people behind!"
Ike was taken aback at Lethe's outburst. She had certainly made a point. Ike had indeed led the nations in war. Due to politics Ike had to become a Lord in order for the stuck up members of Begnion and Crimea to actually listen to him. The second time he never officially left office. He technically was still Lord Ike the ambassador between Gallia and Crimea. His "manor" was the fort the mercenaries lived in.
"You're right Lethe." Ike said in defeat. "I did leave my people behind for my own glory. Now I'm back though and Gallia will be seeing more of me once we get rid of these Tuaparang."
If Ike could see into the mind of Lethe he would see a storm of emotions. She was still angry at him for leaving Tellius. She was truly angry at him for leaving his responsibilities. Beorcs just didn't seem to have the same sense of duty that the laguz did though she always thought Ike to be different. He had proved her wrong about that though.
What really caused Lethe to be so mad at him was that he had left her behind. It had taken her a few months after he had left to realize why she felt empty. At first she thought it was because she no longer had anyone to fight. Like any other laguz who tasted battle some part of her always wanted more. Lethe had gone on a fighting spree taking on anyone who dared challenge her. When that didn't work she threw herself into training new recruits. While she produced quite a few above average soldiers then she still felt something missing. It wasn't until she saw Ike in the woods yesterday that she realized he was the reason she felt like something was missing.
Lethe wasn't used to dealing with the emotions that were brought to head yesterday and so she acted out the best way she knew how. Physically. There was the start of a bruise of Ike's cheek from where she had hit him. There was also a slightly smaller one under where she had gotten him.
"We shall see if you are true to your word after this then." Lethe said in a voice that ended any chance of conversation and turned back towards the tent to wait for the lazy beorc commander to wake so she could leave.
Sveta was the first of the girls to awaken. Himi and Karis were sleeping peacefully while the woman named Mia was sprawled all over. She was surprised that no one mentioned the fact she had the same name as Rief's mother. It had made Sveta giggle when she first heard her name. Sveta felt the gloom of battle come over her as she left the tent and her sleeping companions. She witnessed Ike and Volug leave the camp in separate directions. Today was the day she would get to avenge her brother. Today would be the day she would get to kill a few Tuaparang. Sveta noticed that she didn't feel as excited about her revenge as she would have thought. Even though she would kill her prey she would still be taking the life of another creature.
I cannot let revenge plague my life. What would I have left after it was finished? Sveta mentally scolded herself.
Sveta walked past Matthew's tent. A part of her wanted nothing more than to use her Spirit Sense and peer into his sleeping mind. She knew she would be able to. None of the other Adepts were awake they wouldn't feel the small trace of Psynergy.
At least Sveta thought none of the others were awake. Back in the tent that Ike and Volug had come out of earlier Felix was starting to stir. While not fully awake he would be still be able to sense the power of an Adept.
The young Jupiter Adept decided against using her powers on Matthew though. Her curiosity would have to understand privacy. If she wanted to know what he was thinking she would have to do it the old fashion way and talk to him. If only he wasn't so good looking though. The last thought caused Sveta to stop and wonder about herself. Since when did she consider Matthew good looking? She knew she was attracted to him. But she was attracted to him for more Beastmen reasons such as his ability to lead their pack out of any situation. His strength in battle and kindness he showed his friends. Looks was something that the humans paid attention to. While Sveta had no problem with humans she wasn't sure if she was fine thinking like one.
As Sveta looked out into the forest thinking both Amiti and Rief walked out of their tent. Neither one looked like they had gotten a good night's sleep.
"God how does Matthew sleep through that?" Rief wondered aloud. "Tyrell snores like a volcano erupting. Mt. Aleph sinking into the ground probably made less noise."
"I think it has to do with Matthew being a Venus Adept. He sleeps like a rock." Amiti offered the only bit of logic he could.
"But even Himi complained when we were traveling."
"I don't know Rief!" Amiti said loudly. "All I know is we need to invest in earplugs or something."
The offender that caused the two Mercury Adepts so much strife last night walked out of the tent face beaming.
"I'm starving where can I get some food?" he innocently asked.
Sveta let out a smile giggle. After hearing Rief and Amiti complain only to have him come out hungry struck her as funny. When her stomach let out a tiny growl she found herself agreeing with Tyrell. It was time to find some food. The only problem is that she didn't know where she was supposed to go to find it.
Maybe Mia will know. She seems to know a lot about army camps.
With this thought in mind she walked back into her tent to wake up the swordswoman. Karis and Himi were getting up already both of them brushing their hair getting it ready for the day. Sveta quite enjoyed letting her hair out of her braids and had kept it loose since. Every morning after she had used her control over wind to make sure her hair was not all over the place and left it at that. Mia was still lying on her face arms and legs going every which way.
"Miss Mia please wake up." Sveta asked the woman. "You are the only one here that knows where we can get food."
"Hummmmur" the sleeping form said.
"She seems to need more incentive to wake up." Karis said as she finished putting her hair into its ponytail. "Mia wake up Felix wants to fight you right now."
The night before Karis had asked why Mia had been glaring at Felix for most of the day. Mia told the girls a story about how she was supposed to face a warrior in white. When she first saw Felix in was in the same white clothes that he was wearing now. She had challenged him to a duel the second she saw him and many nights after but has yet to win. Mia told them how she wanted nothing more than to beat Felix in a duel.
This trick seemed to work. The Trueblade flew up onto her feet and grabbed the hilt of her sword as she rushed out to fight Felix. She was going to be disappointed when she found out Felix was asleep. It was slightly cruel to trick Mia like that. That was the thought until they heard shouting coming from the direction of Felix's tent.
"God damn it Mai I was sleeping! If it wasn't for Bane I'd be dead." Felix shouted as he thanked the stars that the Venus Djinn had been awake.
"But Karis told me you were ready to fight. I thought you were faking it." Mia said defensively.
"Why didn't you use your common sense and let me sleep? We're going to fight the Tuaparang today why would I want to fight you?"
"As a warm up. If Ike was here he'd do it."
"Do I look like Ike?"
"No your much more handsome." a soft voice said. Aimee walked towards the group. "Your companion Volug told me you were all still asleep and would probably miss out on breakfast if someone didn't show you the way. I just happened to be free and thought I could show you towards the mess hall."
With each word Aimee walked came closer to the brunette. By the end she was close enough to kiss him. Felix slowly backed away like you would from a dangerous animal. Then an idea struck him. He drew his Gaia Blade and started towards Mia. True to her speed her blade came out and blocked the swipe.
"Sorry Aimee Mia and I were just starting our warm up for the day. Looks like you'll have to show the others where to get some food." Felix told the woman as he parried a cut from his opponent.
"Oh alright." Aimee said as she went to get the others.
Eoleo had gotten out of the tent along with Felix. It was hard to sleep when a crazed swordswoman was attacking your friend in a small tent. The girls had came out of their tent when they heard the shouting while Rief, Amiti, and Tyrell had already been outside deciding how best to find food. The only one still asleep and in his tent was the fearless leader Matthew. Sveta walked over to go and wake the sleeping teen.
"Sveta NO!" Rief, Amiti, and Tyrell shouted. Using their Psynergy Rief and Amiti formed a wall of ice on the other side of the tent flap preventing the beastwoman from entering.
"I was just going to wake Matthew." She said.
The three friends ran over to her. "We know but what we don't know is if Matthew is sleeping or if he's up and changing." Rief informed her. "Either way you'd be seeing more of Matthew than is appropriate for a girl."
"Since when?" Karis asked. "How many times have you guys let me into his tent to wake him up?"
Every one of her male traveling companions had the courtesy to start looking anywhere but at Karis. Tyrell even started whistling.
"You four mean to tell me that at any point in our adventures you were willing to let me stumble ont slightlynakedMatthew?!" she rushed the last few words in order to get them out.
"Come on Karis it would have been funny." Tyrell said.
"I told them not let you do it." Amiti squeaked.
"I was with Amiti but Eoleo and Tyrell can be persuasive." Rief told her
"It's not like you wouldn't have enjoyed the view." Eoleo said smugly. "We were always amazed that you managed to never see anything."
"Himi would you mind getting me my bow?" Karis asked the young girl politely.
"RUN!" Tyrell shouted.
The four guys did just that. They flew by Aimee and into the maze of tents. Even Felix and Mia had stopped their duel to see what was going on. What they witnessed was four guys running past followed by a very angry Karis holding a bow.
"YOU FOUR BETTER RUN!" she shouted as she chased after them. "Men" she said under her breath.
Sveta and Himi weren't far behind Karis both with grins on their faces.
"Someone want to tell me what's going on?" came Matthew's voice from the other side of the ice wall. "And why there is a wall of ice as thick as Tyrell's skull?"
"Just use Flint to break it Matthew" Felix called to his nephew.
The sounds of a Djinn being released echoed through the camp followed by the sound of breaking ice. Matthew emerged from the tent Sol Blade in hand.
"Thanks the Sol Blade wasn't doing enough on its own." Matthew was honestly thankful that his uncle had suggested the use of Flint. "Also didn't want to accidently trigger any of its powers. So now why was there this block of ice and why did Tyrell yell 'run'?"
Sveta and Himi told the three what had happened between the five friends.
"I always thought Karis was brave coming in to wake me up." Matthew said absent mindedly. "I just figured she didn't care."
"Matthew do you have a thing for Ivan's daughter?" Felix asked a smile on his face as he teased his only nephew.
"Ew no. She's like my sister. I grew up with her."
Sveta threw herself a small party at the moment.
"Alright. Jupiter Adepts, especially those with Mind Read, do have some interesting talents." Felix hinted. Sadly though it went right over the young Venus Adept's head. Clearly Isaac raised him to be a gentleman or was it Jenna?
The teenagers and per-teen's stomach let out a growl. Aimee walked up with a smile on her face. "Come on let's get some food in those bellies before Ilyana cleans out the mess hall. If you see her don't fall for her tricks she's already had her breakfast and probably five others by now."
Aimee led the three to a very large tent with a knife and fork stitched on the side of it. After breakfast which was slightly better than the food they had eaten on the way the three didn't know what to do. The others they had come to Tellius with still couldn't be found. Felix and Mia were still probably dueling back at the tents. They had no clue where Ike and Volug were.
"Guess we just walk around till we find someone?" Matthew suggested.
"And get lost?" Himi pointed out.
"Sveta can always find the way back. Right Sveta?"
Sveta shook her head in the negative. "There are too many unfamiliar smells for me to pick up the faint ones that I'm accustomed to."
"Hey Matthew" came the sounds of a familiar voice. Udaya came running up to the three Adepts. "See you guys found the food easy enough. But where's the others?"
"Karis is chasing the boys" Himi told the older woman. "They did something very mean to her."
Matthew and Sveta agreed with their younger friend. Even though Matthew had been an unwitting part of it he felt a little bad for Karis.
"Well if you're looking for some to do you should head over there." Udaya pointed to the west end of the camp. "Most of the soldiers gather there when waiting for orders. It's the best place to find something to do."
The three made their way across to the area Udaya had pointed towards. Sure enough there was a large group of soldiers standing around in their armor. They looked ready to deploy at a moment's notice but every one of them also seemed relaxed. Most were playing cards around various makeshift tables. A few people in robes were gathered around deep in discussion each had a set of books attached to their hip. Some of the soldiers were sparing like Felix and Mia.
"Shall we show them what we can do?" Himi asked a half smile on her face. "I'm sure if I used Slaying Dragon they wouldn't know what to do."
Sveta gave Himi a quick cuff on the back of her head. "Himi it is not nice to scare the soldiers. We are going to be fighting alongside them."
"She does have a point though." Matthew added. "If the Tuaparang have any Umbra Adepts in their ranks these soldiers will have to know how to deal with Psynergy. Even we don't know the full powers of the Zenith Tribe."
"Hey what are you kids doing here?" one of the robed soldiers asked.
"We're waiting orders just like you guys." Matthew told them
"Funny but the army doesn't take in twerps like you." A heavily armored soldier told them
Himi turned to Sveta. "Now may I?"
"I think your dragons would be a little much for them. Maybe Mad Growth or Briar would be better."
The younger girl closed her eyes and to any with Psynergy you could see a glow come off her body. Vines erupted from the ground underneath the two soldiers and picked them up carrying them into the air. When Himi opened her eyes she cut of the Venus energy and the vines disappeared causing the two entangled to fall to the ground.
"What the hell was that?" an axe wielding soldier asked in shock.
"Psynergy. A very powerful force. Unlike our mages these kids don't need tomes to cast." Ike's voice answered.
"Sir Ike" a few of the soldiers gasped as he walked into the clearing.
"These 'twerps' as you called them are quite powerful. They have fought the Tuaparang before and won. Those of you that fought under me before should know that age means nothing. How many of you did my sister Mist save because she was out on the field?"
The soldiers that knew who he was talking about shifted uncomfortably as they remembered the young Valkyrie riding up to them and healing their wounds. After she would heal them she'd ride off to the next injured soldier using her staves to lend aid. There were even times when they had seen her take up a sword and hold off enemies to protect the injured.
A man on a horse rode up towards the group of waiting soldiers
"We leave for fort in thirty minutes men." A few females cleared their throats "and women" the messenger added.
Ike turned towards Sveta, Himi, and Matthew. "Hope you three are ready."
"So long as we're all together we'll be ready." Matthew said confidently.
The messenger rode up to the four heroes. "Sir Ike there is a group of people here to see you."
"Could you send them here" Ike commanded. The messenger gave a nod and went back towards the camp.
"Who do you think it is?" Matthew asked the older man.
"With any luck my friends." Ike told him.
Sure enough as they waited the other members of Matthew's group appeared. His male companions looked a little worse for wear. Each one was sporting a few bruises. When Karis stopped she simply dusted her clothing like she had done nothing. Felix and Mia weren't far behind them. Neither looked worn out or like they had done any damage to each other. Volug trotted up in his wolf form.
"Ike!" a girl's voice sounded over the noise of the soldiers getting ready. A girl with long brown hair ran up to Ike and wrapped her arms around him. She had on an orange top and a white skirt. Strapped to her back was a staff topped with a blue crystal and a sword hung at her waist.
"You really are back. Tormod wasn't lying."
Ike put his arms around the girl and picked her up in his hug. "It's good to see you to Mist."
A red head woman in gold armor walked up to Ike next. She was followed by a man with green hair it looked like his eyes were closed he wore green armor much like the red haired woman. Another green haired man also came up this on was in a red shirt with a spike shoulder pad. Following him was yet another green haired boy this one younger looking than the other two. He was dressed in blue and he had a bow in its case on his back. An orange haired man in white robes holding a staff similar to Mist's stood back. A blonde man with a big grin on his face and in thick blue armor stood next to a man that looked like he rather be anywhere but here.
Ike greeted each in the order they appeared. Matthew was quick to place the names of Ike's friends. In the same order they were Titania, Oscar, Boyd, Rolf, Rhys, Gatrie, and Shinion.
"Wait. Where is Soren?" Ike asked looking for the mage.
"He's talking with the captain to make sure we're getting paid for this." Titania told Ike.
"Works been weak ever since you left" Body said with a laugh.
Mist turned to face the Adepts. "I see you've made some new friends."
"Oh right. Guy these are" Ike pointed to each Adept when he said their name. "They have come from across the sea to help fight the Tuaparang."
"I don't think we'll be needing them too much." An almost emotionless voice said. "What can they even do?" the speaker was Soren. He was in black robes with a green overcoat. He had black hair and a red symbol on his head that marked him as a Branded.
"Oh Soren always thinking how best to win." Mia reminisced.
"Some of us like to plant ahead." Soren replied coldly.
"I think you'll find them quite useful Soren." Ike informed his old friend and tactician. "They can use what's called Psynergy. It's like magic but without tomes or staves."
The nine Adepts broke into elemental groups. Felix spoke up to inform Soren more on the powers of Psynergy. "We've broken up into the four elements we control. I'm Felix and standing with me are Matthew and Himi we are all Venus or Earth Adepts next to us is Tyrell and Eoleo both are Mars Adepts with powers over Fire. Following them are our Jupiter or Wind Adepts Sveta and Karis. The two blue haired boys are Rief and Amiti who have powers over Water and are called Mercury Adepts."
Rief spoke up to give a better explanation of Mercury's power. "I'm actually a better healer than fighter. I have Psynergy that call heal multiple people who are nearby. Most of my attack powers are water based while Amiti has more ice based powers."
Karis was the one to speak up for Jupiter. "I'm more Psynergy oriented than Sveta hear and rely more on the electrical powers of Jupiter while Sveta controls more Wind Psynergy."
Tyrell went to speak for the Mars Adepts but was cut off by Eoleo. "Me and Tyrell both lay waist to our enemies with physical strength but we do have some powerful fire attacks."
Felix resumed speaking for Venus. "Matthew and I are balanced with Psynergy and physical combat while Himi here is a Psynergy based warrior. Think you can remember all that?"
Soren just looked at Felix. "Yes. Since you all have magic and physical strength you are very unique. I'm guessing though that our enemies know of your strengths. In fact they probably have defenses that they can use against you already. They have been her only a month and haven't had enough time to perform counter measures against all out units. In other words you nine will probably hinder whatever group you travel with." The cold calculating tone of Soren's voice cut deep into the moral of the Adepts.
"Soren you could be a bit nicer about it. Ike did say they fought these guys before. They can be helpful." Mist scolded the mage. The young woman turned to face the Adepts. "Sorry about Soren he's not much of a people person."
"The Captain has given me control of the Greil Mercenaries along with the Adepts for the upcoming fight." Soren informed the group. He pulled out a map and placed it on the ground. He motioned for Ike to come over and Felix went to representing the citizens of Weyard.
"The Tuaparang are holed up in Fort Rogold. I managed to get a layout of the place from the captain. There is a side passage here. No doubt it's full of enemy soldiers so we'll have to close it off so they can't escape. The captain will be leading a frontal assault. What we need to do is find a way in that our enemy isn't going to expect."
"I believe we useless Adepts can help you there. Send us in and we can blow a hole in the walls. Not the most subtle approach but they already know we're coming."
"I rather have our group sneak in if you don't mind."
"Where's Ivan when you need him?" Felix asked himself.
"So who do you think we should send in?" Ike asked
"We won't be able to take everyone in the group would be too big to sneak around. Titania and Oscar will have to stay outside their horses would draw to much attention. I'd like to take Gatrie but his armor would give us away in a heartbeat. It'll have to be you, Mia, Boyd, Shinion, Rhys, and myself."
"You want to send in six people to take down the entire fortress?" Felix asked in disbelief. "Only half of you actually have a weapon designed for close combat. It'd be stupid not to take in at least four of us."
"He's right Soren. Whether the Tuaparang know them or not six people wouldn't stand much chance. We'll take in a heavy hitter from each element and the others can help attack the outside."
"Not a wise idea. Leave Amiti and take in Rief. If he's anything like his mother he's a damn good healer. The Pure Wish can heal a whole group of people from almost near death. It just depends on his Psynergy reserves."
"Alright since you all seem to be demanding I work the Adepts in we'll take Matthew, Sveta, Eoleo, and Rief."
"So how are we getting in?" Ike and Felix asked.
"With this many people we should be able to fight through the escape tunnels the run into the dungeons. They will have soldiers and the doors will be locked but with our group we should be able to get past them. Begnion actually did good when they made Fort Rogold."