Date: July 28, 2013
A swordsman is sent on a mission to clean up a mercenary force trespassing and looting the Field of Great Conflict. A genin is escorted on the mission by a Jounin for educational purposes. The mission turns out… Well. What's life without surprises?
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
The Field of Great Conflict
Meruin crouches at the edge of the West Mist Forest, his misted gaze looking towards the center of the Field of Great Conflict. This land that was once filled with death and struggle between shinobi clans and mercenary forces now holding nothing but the remains of war. Destruction. Corpses, these long decayed. Shattered armor and broken weapons. A stillness to the air and a silence of the purest kind, broken only by the cawing of carrion crows.
But there. Some 400 yards in, an addition to the usual fare to be found. There was a camp of mercenary forces, numbering some 50 strong. Half of that number appeared to be staying within the central camp — pitched tents, camp fires, and… a forge — while most of the rest could be seen moving about the rest of the field, gathering up equipment. Scavenging. These were the reason that they were here.
Or somewhat more accurately, the reason that Koumorite Yoichi was here. It was his mission to see these people killed for their trespass and insult, the each of them. It was the village's tradition, one might say, to deploy the Seven Swords to missions involving the Field of Great Conflict, as it was the first generation of these who ended the months of warfare here in the week. With a mission of this difficulty, perhaps B-rank, it was judged that only Koumorite Yoichi was necessary to carry on the tradition of the seven.
Meruin was only here because Onkyou Hibiki was here. He was escorting the young genin on this mission for the chance to have him view how more adept shinobi can see a mission completed. Yoichi was here to complete the mission. Hibiki was here to learn. And the Okumo was here to ensure Hibiki's safety. With any luck, this overcast afternoon would see Kirigakure fully successful. Meruin sent Hibiki a glance and a slight arch of the brow in a mild warning. Whether that was to pay attention, or to be wary, or something else entirely wouldn't be clear.
A mission to his liking… Yoichi is more than happy to come and rid this land of the mercenaries. One couldn't exactly tell it by the stone-esque look on his face, though. The man is virtually a moving statue, completely focused on his mission and not caring to socialize, even amongst his brothers in arms.
The overcast day makes a rather perfect environment for this Swordsman to invade and make it seem as if the heavens themselves are warring against these men at first. Once their game is thrown off, then they will be slaughtered en masse. Yoichi currently stands upside down under a branch, masked by the shade of the forest as his eyes are closed as he keeps his senses in on the camp they are too approach. "The signal will be a massive bolt of lightning. Once it strikes, their attention will be on it. As soon as that happens, start picking them off from the outside while I destroy them from the inside." With that, he'd seem to vanish into thin air in preparation for his attack.
There had come - in the past few fragrant nights of spring - a change in Hibiki, arised since his endured punishment at the hands of Jounin Meruin. The youth's clothes are new (a need of having the others destroyed), a new coat - as tremendous as the last - cast over the youth's shoulders, his arms tucked inside. His hair looks neater, shorter and trimmed. Even his mein, before so staticky and wild, now seems a droplet of water hung on the edge of a razor. He seems pressingly alive.
Hibiki walks aside Meruin, companionably close, a tutor and his student. The boy shrugs himself closer into his coat, belying the charging of Chakra taking place beneath the wan surface.
"Hibiki wonders if you want to make a wager, Yoichi-san."
But the Kiri nin vanishes into the unsettling nowhere; perhaps never having heard.
The mercenaries continue about their business, their leather armored forms stepping through the battlefield, rifling through the corpses for anything of value before taking up broken weapons and armor that hasn't yet rusted fully through. What they could be hoping to find after all this time isn't at all clear. None of them have found anything but bone and, for some, skin even drier than the leather of their armor. With the exception of two mercenaries. They managed to find a bat featured, red eyed creature named Yoichi hiding out nearer the camp. A moment of hesitation and surprise before the pair sounded off an alarm.
"INTRUDER! TO ARMS!" brings sword wielding mercenary rushing towards him. The two that'd found him rush towards him, the closer leveling a slash of the blade towards Yoichi's neck. The other arrives via sprint but two seconds later from the side, looking to run him through.
"It appears as though this will be a hands on lesson," spoke Meruin to Hibiki as Yoichi vanished, the Okumo's pupiless gaze once more settling on the field, surveying the area. Keeping watch for movement, ensuring that they weren't spotted and the like. Of course, the sudden shift in the aura of the group and the shout for a call to arms said that the Swordsman himself was. Which was, perhaps, intentional. "I hope I need not remind you to await for the signal, Onkyou Hibiki." The Jounin has made no move as of yet, making it clear that he was doing the same.
Well, that didn't pan out exactly as planned. Oh well… Still, the situation is recoverable. Just as the strikes would come his way, Yoichi would seem to vanish with a bolt of lightning. A moment later, what seems to be a flash of lightning lights up the area to temporarily blind the men as the Swordsman would seem to vanish. Just seconds later, a thin bolt of lightning would fire up into the clouds from a spot closer to the center of the camp, charging the clouds with his chakra and beginning to overflow them until finally a massive bolt of lightning fires back down at the center of the camp, beginning to split off into multiple branches capable of incinerating anything in their path as they aim for all mercenaries within their range.
"Oh, yes, we heard. But-" begins the boy, as Yoichi erupts with lightning, several bolts of it disrupting the tranquility of the early air.
"-how are we - all we, to say - supposed to know which-"
Suddenly, the tremendous bolt lances down, segmenting the sky to destroy anything in its heaven-sent path. Dances of crackle snap from merc to merc. Hibiki stares at the charged carnage, and the erupting cries of those foolish enough to be alive in this place at this moment. The Genin rolls his shoulder, shuddering his neck. He brings a finger up and rubs the inside of his ear.
"Do we start now?"
The mercenaries assaulting Yoichi drop their weapons in surprise as electricity charges them, looking up to search for the swordsman to find him gone. Those who'd been dashing to his location slowed to a stop, looking for the manbat invader. A sudden flash of light towards the center of the camp caught their eyes, and they all turned to look to it. The frozen faces of those closest were lit white by the sudden bolt of destructive light that smote the camp and those nearest to it, the tents brought to ash and the bodies made black corpses. The screams rose as the lightning arced off of the center pillar, seeking out and searing the life of those that it touched, tearing rents in the earth with it's rage. By the end, all but the stragglers, their stunned numbers perhaps seven or eight, were dead or dying. The field where the camp once was and it's surrounding was now only a steaming scar. And the forge that had been present?
It was still there. And glowing gold.
Meruin watched as Yoichi fended off the assault of the mercenary force, ignoring the words of the genin beside him. He played his part. That of the observer, and the protector of he who should have been doing the same. The sudden carnage, the finale, lit his pale face even at this distance and screams of the lost making his sharp featured visage nearly sepulchral.
"You must learn your Swordsman better," spoke the Okumo. "Consider your superiors something to add to your studies. Now come. It appears that we are only here to see the spillage cleaned. All of them die. We'll have to hunt." Meruin began running into the field at a pace Hibiki could keep up with. "And recall his tactic. Using his presence as bait before detonation." He whipped out an arm, a pair of shuriken flying from him, arcing the long distance towards the nearest mercenary still stunned by the Swordsman's carnage.
With the camp fried, Yoichi is now visible amongst the carnage. No expression shows on his face as he clamps the two swords together, spinning them together, and lightning would strike down up him. Rather than damaging him, however, it creates an aura around his body, lightning crackling around him as he disconnects the swords and points them upward. Showing neither hesitance nor mercy, he quickly moves into his next attack, and nine tails of lightning would sprout from each blade. As he swings them out, the tails of lightning would fly toward mercenaries, arcing out in a wider area to fry them even further and prevent those still living afterward from being able to run.
Struck by the lightning stemming from Yoichi and the pair of legendary swords known as Kiba, there was no mercenary left to be awed or fearful of the man's electrical scourging. In little time, those that remained were struck down by the force of the angry heaven's lent to the Swordsman.
Which meant that there was noone left to explain what came next.
The golden forge grew abruptly brighter with a pulse of mellow light, the color darkening to something more resembling resin, the radiance suffusive across the blackened gouge in the earth under the overcast sky. Another pulse of light, the sound of it traveling through the air, chest deep. From the forge rises a dull, copper colored sphere.
Immediately, droplets of some liquid rise from the sundered camp, streaking towards the orb, circling it and crashing into it. The metal melted by the force of Yoichi's lightning. More and more, faster and faster, the seemingly useless armaments gathered by the mercenary forces leave their resting places and flock to this orb. The shuriken jerks from the body of the mercenary downed by Meruin to join with these — Even Yoichi would feel a firm tug from his weapons, though nothing enough to steal them from it's master.
From this whirlwind of Iron and Steel coalesces a shape. A being. An existence. A large arm broke the golden glowing cyclone, made of blades and shields, revealing a shoulder of fullplate armor at least 11 feet high. It's daggered fingers grip a blackened furrow in the ground, pulling itself forward to drag a patchwork head with helmet eyes. Abruptly, the final piece of floating armor, a shield, struck the side of it's head and stuck there, the deep yellow light dimming until it only resided within the creature's core.
Those eyes turned to Yoichi. The sound of metal on metal was it's piercing roar.
Okumo Meruin's gaze turned to Yoichi only a moment as lightning struck him once more, his focus returning to the mercenary. It was soon clear, however, that that man's dazed attention was on the Swordsman as well, right up until the moment that lightning whip took away his care for bodily matters. And that seemed to be the case with all of the others. With no mercenary near enough to cause any harm to either himself or Hibiki, the Jounin allowed himself to simply watch. And it was a dazzling spectacle, many would say.
It only made what came next somehow more potent. The pulse of light from the heretofor unnoticed forge. The sound of it, almost more felt than heard for the Okumo. His eyes narrowed and he lowered himself into a crouch, visibly prepared as is not often the case. With the orb coming into view, his skin suddenly became black as chitin covered it. A quick glance, a flicker, and he was in between Hibiki and whatever was to come next. The giant metallic construct… wasn't something on his list of suspicions. Nevertheless.
"I will see you protected, Onkyou Hibiki."
As the magnetic pulse starts to pull the metal from the corpses, Yoichi would blink a few times as he sees the creature of metal come to life. "Well… That's something you don't see every day… I suppose we have something to bring back to Kirigakure to be studied after this thing dies." He blinks a few times as he ponders things over… If this thing's life is powered by a magnet that's been charged on one side, the opposite should also be plausible, to kill it by charging the other side. Since the top is the part that got hit in the carnage, Yoichi assumes the other side must be at the bottom.
"You two might want to move for cover," the Koumorite Swordsman says as he moves to stab his swords into the ground again. This time, however, no lightning fires up to the sky or down from the heavens. Instead, as he holds a hand seal, after a second, eighteen whips of lightning would burst up from the ground underneath the creature, intending to surge through its armor and begin to reverse the magnetic polarity so he can make this creature do the exact opposite of its creation… which may be rather explosive.
Befitting the impossibility from which existence only momentarily ago alighted, Hibiki is still. His eyes are wide, his mouth agape, the shoulder of his coat slipping from arms which seem to care not. Such a beast - such a thing! - screaming the grinding wails of furious metal. The Genin sees Yoichi from his eye settling piked blades into the ground.
And away he leaps, watching sincerely as clawed fingers of lightning scratch from the earth, choking the metal giant with dazzle. The youth's neck quivers, and he rolls his shoulder several times.
"No, no. No. Not now. This is not the time. Stop it. Stop it!"
But such cries are in vain, for forth pushes, from Hibiki's shoulder, a second head, just like his own.
"Oh, wow…" says the freshly formed face.
The patchwork armament slams it's blade boned fists into the ground with a heavy thump, lunging forward with the force of it's aggression, the peal of tortured metal marking it's defiant scream as lightning bursts beneath it. Immediately, that golden glow brightens and the electric scourging strikes the metal limned with yellow chakra. It begins running forward on all fours like some mixture between beast and man, the lightning lashes not only reaching it but even appearing to be absorbed by it. By the end of the assualt, the golden glow dims once more and the metalwork creature is upon Yoichi. An arm swings, numerous blades swinging out of the limb to form one large one that gets sent in a slash meant to cut the swordsman in half.
Meruin leaps moments after Hibiki does, keeping near to his charge, attention on him but also, largely, on the giant construct of steel and chakra. He was tudying the thing, searching for weaknesses and the general level of threat that it posed. It'd managed to defend against the Swordsman's attack which'd just smoldered the final mercenaries and it had hardly seemed to notice doing so.
Whatever other thoughts that ran through his mind, he forced his body into converting it's physical energy into chakra. A second pair of eyes sprout from his forehead and fangs from his mouth. Along the whole of his form, spider silk spreads, giving him the look of one sleekly furred. Made of the same substance are four, powerful look spider legs stemming from his back. They touch the ground and lift him from it.
He is prepared.
Yoichi would appear to be standing perfectly still as the creature lumbers his way, not even preparing to block. It would almost appear he has a death wish, though the more likely story is that he is observing the 'creature' to study how it moves and try to get any leads on how pierce through its armor. Just as it is about to strike him, his body would turn into form of lightning and dissipate. Behind the creature, the Kiba blades have been stabbed into the ground again, the Koumorite having no mercy toward the mindless thing obviously as a bolt of lightning fires into the air to charge the clouds once again. They glow yellow briefly before a massive bolt of lightning rains down between Yoichi and the creature branches off it moving directly at the monstrosity in attempts to pierce straight through its armor from underneath and reach the bottom side of its magnetic core.
Such wonder exists as beyond what Hibiki believed to be: for outstriping the giant metal man comes four plunging spider legs from Meruin's back, to lift the Jounin from the ground.
"Oh, wow…" says the second head again, before plunging itself back into Hibiki, whose neck and shoulder quiver and spasm. The boy breathes out a long breath, pulling his coat closer about himself. He stares into the distance at the awful metallic violence and its galvanizing foe. A suddenly hand erupts from Hibiki's chest, plucking a kunai from within his coat, and before a thing can done, flung is the blade, though not - as perhaps expected - at the metal giant. Instead, the kunai flies at Yoichi, the second head seen before replacing the just withdrawn arm, the chested dome shooting a barrel of words right behind the blade.
"Cut off its head!"
"I'm going to cut off your scrap head if you don't stop."
The creature's blade arm tears through the crackling electricity left behind by the swordsman, it's body twisting with the power behind the useless blow. When the lightning strikes the sky from behind it, it's upper body simply whirls about, leaving it looming over the Swordsman. The golden glow suffusing it grew in intensity.
And the lightning struck. The light it emitted grew brighter and brighter, eventually as bright as the lightning itself — brighter, almost blinding. A concussion speared through the area, ash rising with the force and the sound of tortured metal rang out, it's brightness was snuffed as it reeled away from the Swordsman. The energy drawn by the swordsman tore through the construct.
It wasn't dead or rendered immobile — it didn't explode, but the glow was gone and it was partially melted in certain places. But it was also coursing with an electrical charge. And it abruptly lunged back towards Yoichi, swinging at him. The electricty almost seemed to guide the limb as it rearranged, a score and more of edged weapons flying off of the arm and forming a separate, larger blade. The lightning imbued weapon went to cleave Yoichi like a disembodied extension of the sentient weapon's now smaller arm.
Meruin watches the combat closely, his platinum spider legs giving him a firm base, allowing him an extremely stable base as he examines the fight. That looked like a heavy blow that the Swordsman had just avoided, and… ah. There's the lightning to the sky. He glances over to Hibiki to discover that he had just tossed a weapon towards the fray.
The Okumo's hand whips out, suddenly coated in a chitin holding the same hue of the abyss, black and sheenless. He snatches the weapon from the air before leveling a quiet gaze at Hibiki. It is now that the lightning strikes the construct, the light of the battle at the Okumo's back as he cants his head at the genin. "Those were not orders, Onkyou Hibiki," comes his smooth voice.
He turned to look back to the fight, a very thin cap of chitin covering his eyes, working to filter some of the light coming his way, allowing him to see what occured. "You would only have given it another weapon to compose itself with." The light of the creature winks out and it's shriek fills the air, setting teeth to clenching, pained. But he soon releases that tension to say. "But if you wish to risk life and limb so readily, you are welcome to do so." He turns and throws the kunai at the ground at Hibiki's feet. "Ordered to do so." There's a gesture to the combat, his command only, "Engage," before his spider limbs start taking him towards the fight with rapid motions. It was clear, however, that Hibiki could overtake him and reach the battle before him.
It seems that did quite a good job of weakening the creature, at least a little. Yoichi is unbudging as he creature attacks him once again, this time bolts of lightning spreading out from his aura like a shell that discharged the flying weapons to make them fall to the ground harmlessly. "Well, if nothing else works, I suppose melting all its weaponry and discharging it is a good plan," he says, smirking slightly as he grabs his swords up, tails of lightning sprouting from them once again as he swings them at the creature in an attempt to attack its core with many tails of lightning once again to try to bring it down.
In the distance comes the firmly closing eyes of dusk, bound to give the world sleep for those who believe of creatures lurking in the dark. But such things do.
Hibiki stares at the kunai lodged at his feet. He reaches down and lifts it from the dirt, tucking it away into his coat. His hands poke from the cloth, and rapidly wisp hand seals, whispering on the last one, for forward comes the mist.
With Meruin's light pace, Hibiki rapidly catches up to him, his feet nimble, his eyes sharp.
"Perhaps your acid, Meruin-san?"
A suggestion reminiscent of not yet bygone remains.
The construct of rust and metal lets out another metallic screech as it's attack is not only rebounded but disassembled by the Swordsman. The lightning whips come at it and the chakra driven giant's body suddenly dashes away. Not in retreat but in evasion. The lightning whips, fast as they are, never manage to land onto this creature that was a patchwork of this graveyard armory.
The helmets that were it's eyes lock onto Yoichi and, abruptly, it's dashing back in towards the bat reminiscent man. But between breaths, a mist rises, coming as naturally to Kirigakure lands as a fish takes to water. Another breath and the creature's target is hidden from it's view. This seems to deter it, and it stops approaching the Swordsman. Instead, the glow of it's core begins to return, coloring the mists around it. Metal, that of the weapons dropped in the prior assault, and that of others around the battlefied begin flocking to it's form, whisking through the mists as it begins to rebuild itself.
"Perhaps so," says Meruin as he scuttled along with Hibiki, the mists rising up around him. He looked over towards the genin long enough to give a nod before turning his eyes back to the mists. A dagger whipped past him, heading towards the golden light. A moment later, the jounin put on a burst of speed, following it towards that glow. A deluge of spider silk burst from his form, as though a platinum hued kraken were trying to push itself out of his torso, the many tendrils of webbing laced with a potent acid as they swept through the mists to reach the construct, attempting to deliver the deadly substance.
Well, that didn't go as planned… Yoichi's eyes narrow as the creature evades his attack. Just as it seems it's coming to attack him again, Hibiki throws up a mist, and Meruin goes after the creature as well. That will help… He's going to have to prepare again before he can launch an attack big enough to take this thing down. While the creature is busy regenerating itself, he begins to gather chakra, preparing to rip away whatever bit of hope it's trying to regain for its survival in dividends.
Only in twilight do such cursed beasts roam, the indefatigable metal giant clabbering itself together. Into the mist the combatants sail, Meruin bursting forth with acidic rope, cast at the maniacal colossus. How alive it all seems — Hibiki, too. In the face of duty - "Ordered to do so." - what cast could the die ever be? There was no game, indeed; no gamble against dispute — duty must be. Thus, Hibiki ceases, and watches - curled in the mist like a child to bed - to see what effect his duty reaches.
The golden glow abruptly vanished as the pale tendrils pierced the mist, rushing towards it. Swift movements see it evading this assault just as it had evaded Yoichi's earlier lightning scourging, the construct's body shifting, almost liquid as it maneuvered around the many limbed assault. After a final leap backwards, it flings it's arm out in a semi-circle, sending a stream of chakra sharpened shards of metal all around it. There were none spared from the range of the attack.
Meruin's spider limbs take him abruptly to the side as he sees the weapons coming his way through the brief hole he'd made through his own assault. The weapons come in and darkness covers his form, that chitin once more protecting him from harm as those weapons bounce from his body. He made no move to protect Hibiki from his own barrage of dull steel, instead simply attempting his attack once more, that acid soaked webbing lashing out with a great many, far reaching strands.
As he prepares for his won assault, Yoichi is not quite able to move in time to get out of the way of the sword that gashes his shoulder. With a wince of pain, he lets out a sigh as focuses again, for now ignoring the gaping wound that blood pours down his arm from. He stabs the Kiba blades into the ground again, lightning sparking up into the sky once more to send yet another massive blast of lightning down on the creature, the branching tails of lightning intending to rip it apart as much as possible to try to get to its core.
"Yes, I know what he uttered about protection. Regardless-"
The metal from the beast spins wickedly through the dusted, dusky mist, its carving jackal face licking for blood. The sleeves of Hibiki's coat fill, whipping hands tight forward together as the others stay slack; an asterisk of wind sends the weapon spinning into the dirt. The youth looks onward at the thrashing tinny beast.
"Jounin!" he shouts into the desolate dusk of the Field. "Would there not be one controlling this craft?"
The boy looks deeper into the mist, deeper into the beast; his hands flash together, his head cocks back, and with it forward comes a spinning spit of water as steel, straight for the giant's ankle.
The metal creature's luck suddenly seems to have run out as it had barely managed to begin moving before the Okumo's webbing touched it, sending a hissing sound into the mists as the acids infused in it began eating away at it's various metal pieces. And then the gouging bout of lightning shattered the clouded heavens just long enough to do the same to the mellow, then golden, the yellow, then bright white, attthen extinguished light that had initially absorbed and protected it from such assaults. The creature lets out another, anguished, tortured wail as lightning courses along it's melting metals — the sound is cut short as Hibiki's aqua bullet strikes a weakened ankle, dislodging the helmet that sat there. The beast toppled over, the orb that was the core of it getting ejected and bouncing away from the body. But even as it initially bounced, the armor body began to follow it and soon it was reforming itself, if more slowly than before.
"Perhaps it is so," speaks Meruin to Hibiki, his writhing assault getting torn asunder as Yoichi's thunder gate tears through the silk, destroying much of it. Soon, knocked over by the genin's final contribution, the beast is rendered temporarily vulnerable and the Okumo takes advantage of this. His arm whips out and he lashes out with a caustic whip of his own, aiming for the copper colored orb and anything it might've managed to draw in the way.
As the core is finally ejected by the flurry of attacks, Yoichi would grab his swords from the ground again. Once again, nine tails of lightning form from each of the blades as he would whip them in a flash to try to capture the lumbering creature to attempt to capture it and bring it down while Meruin captures its core. With enough time away from that core, it should hopefully lose its charge enough to dismantle itself so said core can be transported without error back to Kirigakure to be examined.
Hibiki watches in delight as the beast dismantles upon introducing itself to the ground, and how quickly and shiny the orb rushes from it, and like wolves do the metallic bits howl and leap. Meruin's spidery tendrils hasten towards the orb; Yoichi incises the metal, and there Hibiki joins. The boy spins around, and from his back protrudes a duplicate head and hands, simultaneous to his own, the fingers knitting hand seals together, and then there comes a rushing, sickled wind, to push too against the metal hungry for its home.
The webbing that comes in hits a shield with a quiet hiss, the seonc dlash sending it flying away from the orb, leaving it fully open to the brutalization from the trio. Spider silk, electricity, and slicing winds batter the orb, sending it rolling out of the final vestiges of the unnatural mists wrought by Hibiki. When it comes to a stop, the copper orb cracks. It splits, revealing the copper to be a simple outer shell to a amethyst center that was far more gem like. But there was no further action from the metal or the orb.
The web rope stemming from Meruin's limb rescinds back into his arm and he begins approaching the orb. "There hasn't been any evidence of outside control," he speaks, a continuation of his answer to Hibiki. "If there is any, now is the most likely time to find some." He raises his arm, webbing shooting out to attempt to enwrap the amethyst orb before drawing the cocooned thing in the Okumo's grasp.
As the creature is at least defeated, Yoichi glances around at the carnage. "This might be fun for the Mizukage to explain as a natural disaster," he comments before looking to Meruin and giving a nod. "Keep that wrapped up tight. We don't want it finding any new source of power or armor. I'll check the area to be sure there are no signs of a controller, though I haven't sensed one as of yet through chakra or my hearing. Good work. See you in Kirigakure." With that, he'd vanish.
Hibiki nods as the Swordsman departs, the Genin left to be with Meruin. He stares at the gem, at the man holding it.
"I suppose we should return."
The boy begins a slow, purposed walk away, leading several seconds on, through the mist to return to the Mist, bathed in fresh-faced night. So it is: duty. Not yet death.
Okumo Meruin inclines his head to the Swordsman in acknowledgement and farewell both, turning away from him as he vanishes to give the area it's final surveillance. The Jounin steps forward towards Kirigakure, beginning the journey back towards home with his ward, eyes taking in the scene around them. Rent metal. Burnt corpses. Scorched earth. And in truth… it was not all too out of place with what was already here. This place had seen far more carnage than what was displayed here. And perhaps it would see even more.
But it would be another day.