Attempting to ambush the ambush, Xeno and Ragnar circle around back of the campfire. Sliding into position, they notice a number of men-at-arms milling about, chatting casually as the shadows lengthen around the small clearing.
Xeno attempts Whispering Wind. He whispers "Hey, I heard the Count is going to stiff us on this job."
Rolls a 1.
Two men-at-arms hear: "Hey, count how many stiffs we can rack up on this job." They immediately draw their shortswords and investigate the source of the whisper. As the two men close in on Xeno and Ragnar's position, Xeno throws caution, odds and military strategy to the winds... he lowers his head and charges.
Rolls a 30.
Not only does Xeno strike Biff Blorferson stone dead with a helmet to the diaphragm, but the blow is so piercing that when Biff is born again in three day's time, he will born with a partially-formed torso. He'll be mercilessly teased growing up, being called 'Doughnut Boy' and greeted with a sarcastic "Cheerio!" everywhere he goes.
He will seek out the cause of his terrible misfortune.
He will thirst for revenge.
Meanwhile, Biff's comrade let out a sharp cry and turned on his friend's murderer, who in turn, turned on him and not-so-delicately skewered him as well.
Meanwhile, Kobayashi and Xoe sensed things were going quickly awry. Xoe sends her Guidos into the fray, and Aramis wastes no time in skewering a calf on an oak branch. Kobayashi ineffectually shadowboxes a guard. Xeno, wanting to join this next fray, throws off his gore-enslimed helmet and skewers Ragnar.
Iryien* fails twice with a bow, (unless her intent all along was to shoot the ground ineffectually) and Xoe shadowwalks to intercept Fundus. She finds herself face-to-groin with DCM's old adversary and original tormentor - and after thoroughly confusing him by lambasting him for actions that will haven't not been happened yet, Fundus calls off his guards.
As everything goes quiet, Kobayashi notices a strange, swirling pattern in the clouds. Takemiya senses a disturbance as well, and quiets himself using the Veils of Seven Silences in order to determine the source of the impending strangeness. Takemiya feels a prescient chill run down his spine as a sharp future-sense tells him they are about to be attacked by an icy blast.
That's exactly when they were attacked by an icy blast.
Frost flew everywhere. Everyone went down. Saladin was encrusted in his own little igloo, while Ragnar praised the gods that something had finally staunched his abdominal bleeding. Iryien* thought she saw Xoe turn into radiant, crystalline light - only to rub her eyes and find herself looking at a radiant, crystalline Xoe retreating into the woods, trailing something behind her.
It was a rope.
Or was it? It seemed to be alive, pulsing with an otherworldly flubulation that simultaneously repulsed and attracted her. She reached down to touch it and-
It was Takemiya. In her head. She saw him standing a few yards away, in perfect silence, while all about him was chaos chaos chaos chaos... Behind him, Xoe was breathing fire and Fundus' shirt seemed to be melting away, but all she could concentrate on was the sheer force that was Takemiya, standing silently still in the center of a swirling storm.
"We must be careful," she heard him say in her head, as he knelt on the ground, pointing. "These lines, they are our other lives. There are many of us here, now." He pointed to Kobayashi, who seemed to be shuffling towards a great, golden giant who was slowly making his way away from the scene. On the ground, another pulsating cord connected the two, determined the path that the young monk was walking.
"You must help me prevent something terrible from happening. You must help me make sure that no one touches these cords, that none of us accidentally- oh, shit."
Iryien just had a split second to take in what was happening: Takemiya's sandaled foot stepping on a shining, mercurial cord - the flash of light as the cord blew open - lightning from above - the sky opening up...
The next thing Iryien* felt was a blast of icy, glacial wind. She could hear the chanting of a thousand voices, voices raised in rapt devotion. She smelled incense, tasted earthy tea.
She wished she wasn't here right now, wasn't being exploded into a million pieces on a strange hillside on her first day on her new job. She'd rather be someplace warm and comfy, with a nice bit of food and strong drink. And, what the hell, as long as she was making her dying wish - perhaps just once she'd like to meet a wonderful gentleman who appreciated her for who she was, didn't bark orders at her and didn't guffaw behind her back every time she accidentally shot the planet.
Just once she'd like to meet a sweet, old-fashioned kind of guy who knew how to treat a lady like a lady.
*The Second-Worst Ranger In The World