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Rank: Corporal (Scout) WS: 6 Progress to Corporal The following should be a minimum of 4 posts at 100+ words each: -Intro RP: HERE (Complete) - 8 posts (4474 word count) - First Rank RP + WS 2 to 3 RP -Choice of RP: HERE (Closed due to Partner MIA) - 44 posts (14.675 word count) - Second Rank RP The following should be a minimum of 5 posts at 100+ words each: -Weapons Training RP: HERE (Complete) - 3 posts (2541 word count) - WS 3 to 5 RP -Weapons Training RP: HERE (Closed due to Partner MIA) - 44 posts (14.675 word count) - WS 3 to 5 RP -Weapons Training RP: HERE - (Complete) - 7 posts (3327 word count) - WS 5 to 6 RP
"Calder Berrick is in the Panarch's palace." Jehryn's simple report caused a ruckus among the gathered representatives of the Band's incursion teams. They had gathered in the inn of one of the Band's agents in the city, which had somehow survived the Seanchan invasion and subsequent squelching of outbound intelligence. The survival of this safe haven was one of the only bright spots for the Band in the city. Questions immediately flew through the air, each trying to ascertain the accuracy of the scarred man's findings. Mehrin remained silent. Though he and Jehryn had had a falling-out during the march to Tanchico, he knew enough to know that he was trustworthy. "If Jehryn says that he is there, then he is there." "But how can you be sure?" A sound like gravel being shaken in a tankard cut through the questioning. Jehryn replied, "If you will kindly silence yourselves, I will respond to your queries." Jehryn's voice was a dry rasp, caused by inhaling the sweltering heat of a forge fire. The flames were also the reason for Jehryn's garb. Jehryn wore bandages wrapped around his head, hiding a horribly scarred face. The horrendous injuries had caused a heavy toll on Jehryn's physical abilities, but his mind was sharp, and he was one of the best medics in the Band. However, the injuries meant that Jehryn could pass as a downtrodden beggar, and that opened new routes of exploration and information gathering. "The kitchen staff at the palace are kind to the beggars, and I have often gotten a few crusts of bread, as well as some more choice leftovers, from them. They often talk about palace gossip, and Berrick's name comes up quite often." Jehryn chuckled for a moment, then continued. "It seems that he is rumored to be quite close with the Panarch herself, but I mostly attribute that to scandal hunters. However," Jehryn added, his voice becoming serious again, "it seems that he has drawn the interest of one of the Seanchan upper-class. Nobody mentioned a name, though; I think that the staff are afraid of being punished for even mentioning it." "He's drawing attention to himself, then. That's not good. We need to get him out of there as soon as we possibly can," one of the Banders said. "Based on who he is," Mehrin replied, "it is no surprise that he is drawing attention." Some of the veterans in the room nodded, remembering the stories told by the various soldiers who had been present at the defense of Cairhien. Many had mentioned seeing Calder fight, and that story would have spread far beyond the Topless Towers. The man in charge of the mission was not as impressed. "Mehrin, please try to be helpful." "Sorry." "Anyway," Jehryn rasped loudly, cutting into the quiet conversations that had arisen through the room, "I have a suggestion. The servants' uniforms are sent out once a week for laundering. I suggest we steal a load and fit some of us into the outfits. I have observed how the servants act around the Tanchican aristocracy, and more key, how they interact with the Seanchan themselves. Whoever we slip into the palace will have to have multiple traits. They will have to be able to learn the floor plan well enough to stage an escape in an incredibly narrow time frame, and they will have to be willing to swallow their pride." Several of the soldiers shifted uncomfortably. Pride was one of the driving forces in the average soldier, and it was even more true for the Band. Jehryn's idea would be a tough one for some to swallow. At least they won't choose me, Mehrin thought with relief. I'm too old and scarred to get away with it. Out loud, he added, "I don't think that it is necessary to send in the whole team. Three or four men should be enough to get the layout." "We need to think of extraction, too," one of the Banders said, causing a quiet rumble of agreement. "Should be simple enough," Jehryn replied. "Just wait outside. The three or four men that Mehrin suggested should be able to get Master Berrick out of the palace simply enough." The leader appeared to be deep in thought. When he surfaced, he said, "And what if there are complications? We need to get every advantage we can inside that palace." With a sigh, he continued, "I really hate to do this, but Mehrin?" Mehrin blinked. Oh, you're not serious, are you? "Yes?" "They may need you inside. Do you have any ideas?" Mehrin suddenly found himself in an unenviable position: he did know a way to get himself inside. "I came into the city as a bounty hunter, and the description of the man I was looking for was based on the description that I was given of Berrick. I can try to gain entrance to the palace on the claim that there is a man there that matches the description I gave." Damn, damn, damn... "The problem will be weapons. I doubt they'll let me into the palace with my claymore, my whip, or my knives. I have a couple tricks that I can probably sneak in, though." The man nodded. "Good. I am putting you in a really poor position, but that's what mercenaries are for." What did I do to irritate this man? "Now that I have that settled, does anybody have any other ideas to suggest? If not, I think we have a plan: insert men dressed as servants, send the merc in as muscle, make a night extraction, rendezvous with the rest of the Band in the city, flee."
It felt as if it had taken years to reach this point, but Mehrin finally found himself standing at the gates of the city, only one in a long line of men and women, merchants and farmers, trying to gain entrance. There were others, too, but none of them would enter at the same time, and several more of the Band's infiltration group would be entering through other gates. "Stay separate, stay discreet, don't cause any issues. As far as we can tell, the Seanchan have not been confiscating weapons at the gate, but if they try, allow it. There's at least one former thief with the group, so it won't be a permanent loss. Again, and I can't emphasize this enough, don't do anything stupid! We're going to be too far out of the way to offer any form of support. The Asha'man with us will Travel the entire Band out of the area to avoid being scouted. You'll be on your own." Commander Alliatar's words still played in his head, and Mehrin once again found himself wondering if they were addressed to him, specifically. No longer a Band member, he had come at the request of the new Commander. Maybe she had wanted some extra muscle on this, or maybe another tactician- Yeah, right- but whatever the reason, here he was. The line, though long, moved quickly enough, and Mehrin soon found himself at the portal into the city itself. There was something bothering him about the rapid movement of admittance, but there was no time to dwell on it. A man in segmented armor and a helmet that made Mehrin think of a beetle gestured for him to stop. "Big man, this one," he said, eying Mehrin up and down. With a sinking feeling, Mehrin suspected that the man was memorizing his description: brown eyes, short hair, scar across left eye, black leather cloak, hat, vest, large knife and bullwhip on belt, small knife in left boot, large claymore across back. "Care to guess my weight, as well?" Mehrin asked the man with a small smile. He didn't smile back. No surprise. From what Mehrin remembered of the last time he'd seen Seanchan, they didn't seem to have much of a sense of humor. After he was satisfied with his mental picture, the Seanchan guard asked, "Your purpose in the city?" That was an easy one. "I'm a bounty hunter. My services were hired by the High Lords of Tear. One of the Lords of the Land saw his mistress murdered, and several expensive pieces of jewelry were taken. I've followed a path of pawned jewels to here, and I hope to find the man here, too." As an afterthought, Mehrin added, "I passed through another town about a day back, and I swore the oath there. I obey, wait, and serve." That oath had been even easier than the lie. All it had taken was the maimed medic, Jehryn, dressed in rags and sent to the gate to beg. He reported back that people were made to swear at the gate if they had not already. Some of the infiltration group had been chosen to swear at the gates, others to claim knowledge of the oath. Nothing to link them all together. The man considered his words. When he answered, it was after retrieving a small book from his belt and a bit of sharpened charcoal. "I'm making a note of your description, and I'm going to cycle it to the other gates. If you find your man here, make sure to check with the guard on duty as you're leaving. If you have your man, show him to the guards. If not, then tell them where you think he's going." With that, he waved Mehrin through into the city. Just inside the gate, Mehrin noticed a couple of oddly-garbed women, one in a red-and-blue dress, and the other in a grey dress. The oddity came from the bracelet that the red-and-blue dress was wearing: it was connected by a leash to a collar on the woman in the grey dress. It tickled something in his memory. There were lots of stories after Bandar Eban in the Band, dealing with all kinds of oddities witnessed by the Banders during the battle. Maybe it was in one of those stories. There was plenty of opportunity to wonder. On his way towards the central plaza, Mehrin saw two more pairs of women. They were standing on corners, as if they were looking for something. Definitely something to mention. Otherwise, the city seemed to be operating as usual. The markets were bustling, Men and women were walking the streets, sometimes crowded shoulder-to-shoulder as one of the insect-like Seanchan soldiers came past. The only oddity was the King's Palace. It was a pile of rubble that was only occasionally visible. There was no word whether or not the king had survived the attack, and Mehrin had no idea what could cause a level of destruction similar to what he was seeing short of the Power. Another question for later. The central plaza was huge, and while there were hundreds of people milling about, it still appeared empty. Just as well. Mehrin passed through the crowd to one of the fountains and sat on the edge. One of the Banders would be along eventually. "You will not command, Mehrin. You're not a Bander anymore, and I will not have a non-conscript commanding my men and women. Is that understood?" That had been said in private, only Salla and Mehrin. It grated a bit, but Mehrin understood. He would have said the same thing, once upon a time. Besides, she had not once mentioned the paperwork. OOC: Okay, boys and girls, here we go!
If one were to think about it logically, dawn was probably the least intelligent time to hold training sessions. Not only were the useless meat-sacks not awake enough to hold a sword, there was always one dumb bastard who thought he or she could show up late without repercussion. Sergeant Beleo Ronas was not one for logic, though. The session was at dawn for one simple reason: everybody knew training sessions were held at dawn. The Sarge was not a big man by any stretch of the imagination. Standing six feet tall, there were plenty of men bigger than him. However, there were very few in the Band as old as him. At 47, Sergeant Ronas was one of those things that wise warriors feared: a veteran front-liner. He was also the go-to man when it came to breaking the new flesh in. His methods ranged from the classic to the unorthodox, and the results showed the effects of his abilities. People he trained reacted better in odd situations than most. He had also personally trained one of the most deadly men to ever be part of the Band, the former commander Mehrin 'Deathwatch' Mahrvon. The field was set. Beleo had commandeered one of the sand-covered training areas near the westernmost wall, setting out a few weighted training weapons ranging from rapiers to shortswords to an oversized claymore. No matter what kind of sword a trainee felt comfortable with, there would be a replica of it on that table; the arrival of bizarre weapons made sure that training replicas were always made for them. Sergeant Ronas walked to the far end of the laid-out training weapons, where he picked up his own custom-made training weapon: a heavy two-hander like the ones favored by heavy infantry in his home nation of Shienar. The blade was heavily notched, and the leather-bound hilt was stained with sweat and blood; training did not always go easy for either him or his students, and the weapon showed it. Taking a moment to shrug out of his rough-spun coat, Beleo swung the weapon a few times, loosening up a bit while his students appeared, one by one. Directing them to the assembled weapons without a word, he continued working and waiting. OOC: Post your arrivals, selecting a weapon, and waiting for Beleo to start the lesson. I'll get things going as soon as I have a few victims. Just a reminder, your WS range from 2-5 right now (I would have sent you the number). Sergeant Beleo is 17, so don't think you'll be an equal match in the event he decides to use one of you as a demonstration spar (which might be possible; I'm not sure yet myself what all will happen in this lesson).