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Behind him, he heard the sound of Deca.n.u.s armor rubbing against the leathers underneath. Its wearer was increasing his pace to catch up with him.
Tycon glanced over. Justus had eschewed his rank-and-file tower shield for his lighter, faster circle shield.
It was smart. The two of them weren't going to be utilizing shield wall tactics. Besides that, maneuverability was more important. The Rhodok-issued shield was not something that could take a direct strike from a Gold-Rank beast.
"They're taking volunteers." Tycon didn't turn to face the young Deca.n.u.s, "I'm going after Rena."
"I know, and I'm coming with you. Don't try to stop me, Zehr."
Tycon scrunched up his face and raised an eyebrow, "Why the h.e.l.ls would I try to stop you?"
Justus grimaced, "I mean uh... I dunno, I figured you'd say something like it's too dangerous or... you wanna keep me out of danger? You know what-- nevermind."
The sound of another set of rough, ungraceful armor clambered after the pair.
Again, without turning, Tycon grumbled, "Go back. You're too slow, you'd only be a hindrance."
"Sod off, Zehr. I have to *walk* back because I don't have my Flame-taken horse," An insulted Ferrutius replied.
Tycon had forgotten that it could have been Ferrutius. He had a.s.sumed it was Gianna.
...Oh, well. He wasn't going to apologize. He did not like the orange-bearded ruffian.
The entire prospect of wanting to run off to keep their archer alive brought a nigh limitless amount of frustration to Tycon. He wanted to take relax after the Iredar attack, but the fates seemed to enjoy conspiring against him.
With the pace, he figured he'd be able to at least advise the archers. The Gold-Rank beast would be simple enough to take down if surrounded and roped down, utilizing natural cover to guard against its ranged attacks, and keeping their distance.
Many lives would be lost... but the Rhodoks still had plenty to spare.
Deca.n.u.s Constantina absentmindedly ran her finger along the traces of her scar.
She used to hate it.
It never fully healed. It always remained a bit tender. It stung sometimes when touched by sweat or tears. Sometimes, it itched terribly, and if she scratched at it, it would bleed. She used to wake up at night with a pained, bleeding face and terrify the h.e.l.ls out of her tent group.
She never thought she was particularly attractive. The scar basically guaranteed that she would struggle to find a husband after she left the military. The other female Munifices whispered behind her back how they felt sorry for her...
Their gossip was ridiculous. She didn't need a man in order to be successful in life.
A mercenary gave it to her during a border skirmish near the end of her career in the Tyrion military. She drove her sword into his guts... through his crotch. She spat on his corpse afterward for good measure. Thinking back, that might have intimidated her Centurion at the time. She was processed out after her contract was completed, without being offered reenlistment.
It took more than a few years for her to accept it as part of herself.
She liked her scar-- it was useful. It kept people from approaching her... and just as she came to terms with her face, she also found that she... just didn't like people. She functioned perfectly fine alone. She loved solitude... and whenever she felt lonely, she relied on one, maybe two peers that she trusted.
She became a Deca.n.u.s in the Rhodoks... and she gained the ability to dote on those in her tent group she tolerated and ignoring or dismissing those she didn't.
The Flame-scarred creature took out her entire tent group of scouts beside herself and the Ranger, Hestia.
She refused to wipe the blood and viscera from her face and armor. She was incensed.
In the creature's cruelty, it tore her archers apart, a maw of sword-like teeth biting off portions of their limbs as they screamed in agony.
Piece by f*cking piece. Flame take it and all its kin, it laughed as she ran away. The Flamescarred creature LAUGHED.
"Flame take that girl, Rena! I'll have that b.i.t.c.h crucified if she's not here in five minutes," She grumbled.
"Scoutmaster Constantina..." Optio Sixtus crossed his arms, "Crucifixion is reserved for severe infractions of military code, like r*pe, treason, desertion, and war-related crimes... not for a Munifex being late."
Hestia came to her aid, scowling at the Optio, "Sister-Constantina was being *melodramatic* you ignorant male."
"I was just being informational," Sixtus nodded lightly. "I enjoy crucifying people. It was my job as a Centurion, when I was still in."
"You should try it, sometime, Deca.n.u.s," He poked Constantina in the side, with his elbow.
"Eeeep!!" Constantina let out an involuntary feminine shriek.
She was ticklish. Her mood swung from furious to embarra.s.sed to murderous.
She turned to glare at the smirking Optio, "My entire tent group was killed and eaten in front of me, you public heap of s.h.i.te."
"Whoa, hold on there, Constantina," The old Centurion, Cyrac approached on his war-horse, Bucephalus. "And you too, Optio. Stand down."
Still glowering, Constantina and Sixtus saluted the Centurion after he dismounted.
"Have some respect, Sixtus," The old man frowned. "The Deca.n.u.s is distraught. It isn't easy to lose people."
"We've lost an entire cohort." Sixtus shrugged as if it wasn't his problem, "We'll get more. Lives are the currency of Tyrion, which we pay to defeat our enemies, after all."
The old military aphorism did nothing to calm Constantina. In fact, it only p.i.s.sed her off more. Constantina smoothly drew her razor-sharp dagger, knowing her actions would get her crucified.
She took some solace knowing that Sixtus wouldn't be crucifying her. He'd be confined to a bed after she shoved her long dagger up through his t.e.s.t.i.c.l.es.
"Sister, wait," Hestia placed her hand on Constantina's arm and pointed in the distance. "It's Heracles."
Constantina looked towards the sound of heavy galloping to see the war-horse quickly approaching. The lithe form of Holy Bolt Rena sat upon his saddle.
She narrowed her eyes. It was a feat for the girl to get that unruly horse to heed her commands. The horse was known for biting and throwing off any rider beside the Eques who had cared for him.
...That Eques wasn't around anymore. She was killed by having her insides feasted upon as Constantina watched.
"It appears that Deca.n.u.s Ferrutius understood the priority of his given mission, giving Rena the horse," Centurion Cyrac nodded hopefully.
"Improbable," Sixtus shook his head. "More likely that Ferrutius was thrown off."
"That pig..," Hestia groaned.
"Worthless trash," Constantina muttered. "Rena, dismount! We're moving in to attack. Now."