The Silencer

The one at the head of the trio was even taller than Seraph, and twice as intimidating, with a full suit of red plate mail. He had no helmet, and he looked to be either Azuran or Yuran, most likely the second, considering that he had dark hair but light, large eyes. His body bulged with muscles, even through the armor; even his face was muscled… however that would be achieved. I observed that he was clean-shaven, and wondered if the small scars flecking his face were from battles or shaving. Probably battles, but you could never be sure…

He was flanked on the left by a clearly Irashi man, with bright red hair, a thin and friendly face with pleasant, narrow (Azuran?) eyes and a trusting smile… but he wore the Azuran three blades weapon combination, with two over his shoulders and one in a sheath behind his hips. The hip one was a great sword, as opposed to the two over-the-shoulder long swords, I realized. That wasn't normal to the threeblades style; that used all long swords. As he walked, the band at his waist would go down and up on the left, but the right never moved. He also had a Yuran secondary knife. His green shirt was fairly tight, no sleeves, and cut off at the bottom of his ribs, right at a scar going from the left to the center at the same height. The pants were loose and long, engulfing his feet in a torrent of fabric – black with a ring of gold at the end… a style favored by death cults, starting as far back as the early Cryptas Kings. Ironically, he had the Irashi Sun, a hairstyle with the hair all combed from the back forward to the front, then curling straight up at the front, with the sideburns and beard carefully grown to form the rest of a circle around his face. There was never a mustache with the Sun… ever. Right under his lip, the beard had the required subtle upward point. This guy was either genuine or a master of disguise.

On the right was a man who I had definitely seen before.

"Hello, Forty-four." I waited for a response. I got one. Project 44's eyebrows shot up. His skin was dark at the time, an imitation of someone from Anra, a small island southwest of Ira and southeast of Azura. That observation immediately became useless as he morphed into Base form, then made a few slight modifications to make his preferred form. He was extremely pale, blond-haired, and just shy of six feet tall, with no facial hair. He wore a single over-the-shoulder great sword, and a loose set of generic black clothing, of middle quality; not peasant-bad, but not nobleman-good or even merchant-good. His left hand held a sword where the blade went out, curled back towards the wielder, and then back down, formed a U-shape where, I'm almost certain, the inside was blunted to use for supporting the blade without being cut, while offering the flexibility of a slightly imbalanced double-edged great sword.

"H-… Hello, Forty-three," he replied eventually, slowly, cautiously. Then, the squad of royal soldiers behind us moved forward.

"You are all under arrest," they declared. "Surrender now and you will not be harmed. The Irashi laughed. He laughed hard. He laughed and laughed, then eventually slowed down a bit. Then, he looked at the soldiers, and started laughing again. "Is something funny?!" a soldier demanded.

"Only your faith in your competence with those swords and shields of yours." He suddenly grew serious, and his face grew hard. His smile disappeared. He looked down from where the three were standing, then turned to Red-Armor. "If you don't mind?"

"Have your fun," Red-Armor replied with a nod. I gaped at the Irashi at that point from what I saw.

He bent his knees, then shot up towards the ceiling, fifty feet above, flipped over and landed upside down with his feet to the ceiling, then shot straight down and landed upright and crouching, with a shockwave of stone, dust, and brick flying at us. The Elementalist gestured at the shockwave, and it dropped. The Irashi stood up unharmed.

"You have the honor of dying to Tenblades," the Irashi – Tenblades, evidently – stated calmly. He pulled out both long swords and the great sword and stuck them in the ground in turn. He held his right hand to the air. A blade formed in his hand, a long sword, and he planted it alongside the others. He repeated that until he had eight long swords, a great sword, and a knife – but the knife stayed in his hand. "Let the fun begin," he declared to the guards, who had now circled him. They rushed with tiny delays, delays of just milliseconds.

"Milliseconds" was enough.

He threw the knife into the first man's forehead, right between his eyebrows. The soldier dropped. Tenblades ripped two swords from the ground and deflected the first two strikes, then threw both into the air. He stabbed through the second man's armor with a sword plucked from the ground as the soldier's eyes followed the blades in the air.

Two blades airborne, two blades in people, six on the ground.

He pulled another blade from the ground and deflected a stab, the grabbed a blade from the air and slammed it ear to ear through a man's skull, with the other hand just above the ear on his head to hold it in place. The other falling blade stabbed into the ground in front of an advancing soldier, preventing his strike from going through. Tenblades disengaged from the dead body with a backhand slash across a row of people to keep them back, then pulled three blades from the ground, one by one, and threw them into the air in differing positions. He held the long sword he still had two-handed, and lowered it. He then flicked his hands, shooting it out. Another man was instantly speared. He grabbed two blades that fell at the same time, one in each hand. Each one took off a man's head at lightning speed, leaving the Irashi standing in a wide stance, facing the opposite direction, with a pair of headless bodies collapsing next to him. He plunged the blades into their respective bodies, then pulled one sword from the ground and another from the air. One halted a rushing soldier in front of him – by impaling him and being left in him. Tenblades suddenly spun around and flipped the other soldier over, sliding under his strike in a low crouch and simply standing when under him. As the man flipped Tenblades stabbed the sword into him, but the spot the soldier had struck at during his flight was being clutched by Tenblades, and had a large red stain all over it.

Nine blades in people, one on the ground, and one soldier left. Then I realized it. As the last soldier went to ensure that Tenblades was dead the hand shot out and took out the poor man's leg, dumping him on his back. Tenblades stood up and grabbed the great sword, the last blade left out of a body. Tenblades dragged it across the body of the man, bottom up, straight through the center, as the man screamed in terror and pain. His flesh and bone parted like pages in a book.

The Irashi's pleasant smile was back, but it seemed less friendly now that he was soaked in blood head to toe.