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A quest to return home: D’you want Axe? (Open)

#1
Orihime's heart had never felt heavier; the harsh whisper of the icy breeze chilled her to the bone. Like a fool, she had never considered the consequences of not returning to the shore. She was frustrated and her all too familiar tears were racing down her porcelain cheeks. ‘You're weak.’ The sound of Zabajin’s familiar voice filled her with a passionate rage she had never felt before.

"No!" Orihime bellowed out into the frosted canyon. She wiped away loose strains of fiery red hair and tears, then rose on her feet. Zabajin and his family were everything to Orihime;  the trolls were like family. She believed that even her and Te’Zali could one day be friends. In order for Orihime to return home, she knew she could not give up, or lose in the battles ahead.

After examining the instructions left behind by Orunjin along with a map, she was able to determine that she was close enough to Dragonspire Peak. According to the quest, Orihime had to return with a fistful of dragon scales. The place was familiar to Orihime, but only by name.

Zabajin had once told the red-haired girl a story of his names origin; he was called the dragon warrior. One particularly warm day, after they had spent many hours training, they went and relaxed on a fallen down tree. Orihime had packed homemade black bean and onion custard rice balls for the both of them. To Orihime, the best time of the day was eating and resting alongside Zabajin.

She didn't mind the grueling hours that the troll warrior made her spar with him. The deadly, yet graceful way he moved took Orihime's breath away. There was something about how he fought that was unlike anything she had ever seen. The troll was not very tall, in fact, he might be one of the shortest trolls she had seen so far, but that did not stop Zabajin from being their village's strongest warrior.

He was quick and venomous; his movements were mystic compared to the brute force of his brother Rufio. It's hard to describe the fluid and violent way he moved other than it was like a dangerous dance. Orihime was the perfect partner for him because she could always heal herself if he cut her too deep making her by far the strongest opponent he ever faced. Zabajin's eyes would still be lit up from adrenaline when they broke for food, a high he got from trying to surpass his limits.

At these times, Zabajin was the most vulnerable. Here he would talk to Orihime about anything and everything. The chief would talk to Orihime about things like his hopes and dreams for his son and his people. One day he opened up about his past to her and she learned he was found in front of a cave at Dragonspire Peak.

When Zabajin became of age and began training to fight and hunt, elders said that he fought like a serpent. When he started being noticed in battle, the future war chief adorned his entire body in a dragon tattoo. The wings of a dragon sprawled across the entirety of the chief's back. With ink like his, combined with the way he fought, the mantle of Dragon Warrior was given to him.

It was only fitting that Orihime would brave Dragonspire Peak to get what she needed to return to Zabajin. The prime smiled to herself as she imagined the moment she would sit down next to her friend again, but Zabajin listening to her tales this time around. Orihime did not stay in her fantasy for long as she knew she would face her toughest obstacle yet. She needed to obtain a fistful of dragon scales. 
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#2
The Frozen Fields certainly lived up to its reputation in Alexander’s eyes. He was covered head to toe in his power armoured Pilot suit which insulated him from the brunt of the arctic-like environment. Even with this protecting him, his progress was slowed by the ferocity of the icy winds. Visibility was also a factor in navigating these treacherous lands, blizzards and heavy mist shrouds obscured the surroundings. Even experienced travellers had been known to lose their lives after missing an easy to spot landmark that was hidden by snow and mist. The terrain was as unpredictable as the weather, ranging from flat, open fields to grandiose mountain ranges. Combined with arctic temperatures, this made navigating the Frozen Fields a particularly dangerous undertaking. An undertaking with risks that Alexander was used to making at this point.

This time the risk was unpredictable, he was hunting down a foe far more elusive and deadly than a gang of organised thugs. Alexander was hunting down a witch. A witch responsible for looting supply convoys and kidnapping children to devour later. Alexander frowned as he trudged along one of the smaller mountain ranges in the region. The search was tedious as caves dotted each of the snow-coated mountains. The idea of witches, wizards, the supernaturally and magically gifted existing outside of fiction still seemed sceptical to the Titan Pilot. And yet here he was, trying to hunt one down and claim the reward on her head. While the reward was decent enough, it was the fact that this supernatural sorcerer was killing innocent kids that drew her into his crosshairs.

He had very little information to work with from the beginning, the witch was somewhat methodical in leaving no witnesses to her attacks. The information he did have, however, allowed him to narrow down the general area in the Frozen Fields she hunted and a rough description of her appearance. Surviving accounts were sketchy at best, her attire was described to be mostly white, no doubt to blend in with her wintery surroundings. Her physical appearance was described to be youthful, beautiful even, ranging from sixteen to mid-twenties if he had to place an educated guess. A target not to be underestimated to be certain, but he was determined to apprehend her dead or alive and rid the Omniverse of one more monster. Truth be told it was taking time away from his primary goal of escaping this Omnidimensional prison, but it was something that he couldn’t ignore.

Alexander crested a steep ridge overlooking the Witch’s hunting ground and laid prone into the thick snow that now engulfed him. With his helmet being the only partially visible part of him above the snow, he slowly peered over the ridge and waited. The icy mists had cleared hours ago leaving the skies above almost cloudless with the sun hanging high slightly to the east. To his west was a mountain range, the locals referred to it as “Dragonspire Peaks”. While he was curious if it was actually home to some of the mythological beasts, he had no intention of finding out personally. There was also a settlement established under a giant tree some twenty miles nearby, he spotted it during his initial scouting patrols but avoided detection from its inhabitants. To the north and east beheld vasts mountainous forests with trees as tall as twenty-five metres and just as proportionally thick bases. To the south, where he initially approached from only to take a major course correction to avoid a roaming dragon, was significantly flatter and quicker than going through the various mountain ranges.

Alexander checked the chronometer on his helmet’s Head’s Up Display, the time that the target would start prowling for convoys was near. A supply road vital for reaching scattered settlements in the Frozen Fields was just four hundred meters below the ridgeline he was on. Using this road as bait and lure the witch out he watched convoys came and went for the next hour. Despite its importance to the settlements, the manpower to keep it safe was focused in key locations with checkpoints established. The idea made sense on paper, instead of spreading out their meagre forces to be easily picked off by raiders or rogue Primes, it would be easier to focus it within key locations vital to maintaining the primary settlements and expand from there. In practice, however, it wasn’t so simple as threats were incredibly varied and with not enough manpower to tackle these obstacles meant expansion would be a slow and costly affair.

Alexander waited patiently for the witch to appear and make her move. Longbow Designated Marksman rifle in hand and primed, but lowered, avoiding the sun’s rays reflecting over the scope lens. After another twenty minutes of watching the convoys below and he spotted her. She prowled through bushes and trees into position just a few feet away from the road to ambush an unsuspecting convoy. Sure enough she matched the description, white robes, youthful and easy on the eyes.

This time she was the one being hunted. Alexander watched as the witch hid behind a low standing thicket, obscured from view by the roadside but painfully obvious from his position. Slowly his rifle was raised with its crosshairs zeroing in on her, preparing for the shot. At his angle the shot could either kill her or outright cripple her, either way she would be incapacitated. His breathing was controlled, stabilising his aim as his finger slowly pulled the trigger. The trio of deafening cracks of the Longbow were heard as far as the nearby settlement. Only three were needed as the Pilot pulled the trigger and sealing the fate of his target. The first shot smacked into the witch’s head, killing her with the following two striking where her heart resided. Her body collapsed on the floor as if someone delivered a powerful kick to her skull.

Minutes passed with the Pilot keeping his rifle’s crosshairs on the freshly deceased body. He no doubt expected her to come back to life or perform any magic tricks while his back was turned. Yet she remained lifeless, with the kill confirmed he took photographic evidence and sent the images to his client. The reply he received was satisfactory, the reward would be sent to him with a message thanking him for his service. Alexander arose from his position, engaged the safety catch on his Longbow and began to flee the area. The sound of his rifle would've attracted at least some attention and he preferred to not linger in the immediate area for too long.
In the end, there will be no one left.
We are no longer innocent.
We are lost from this world.
From home.
We no longer believe in such things.
We only believe in war.

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