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About Shield

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  • Guild Name
    Celestial Ascendants
  • Position
    Tank Sentinel

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  1. Shield was slow to arrive, but did so much more calmly than on the prior rendez vous. He knew that he had played a very serious part in splitting the front lines. He knew that anything he said would be held under very tight scrutiny. He knew there was a very real possibility Zandra was going to hit him again. In any case, he was prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. Striding slowly into the small gathering space, he was a little surprised to see that Hestia had decided to attend. Either way, he was not here to pick a fight, which was evident in the slack, relaxed posture of his shoulders. No need to throw down any gauntlets. Still, I know what I believe. He took his seat, waiting until Jomei noticed him and giving him a nod of greeting. A moment later, he noticed @Macradon nearby and slid a little nearer to the now retired front liner. Raising a hand in silent greeting, he gave a half smile, something he was not expecting to be able to give at the meeting, before turning his eyes back to the front. Not far away, he also spotted @Calrex and gave him a subdued wave as well. He didn't have any words to offer to those gathered just yet. He honestly did not know where he thought the meeting would go. It was possible he could be convinced that the front lines were ready to advance. That, however, would take some convincing still. He opened his inbox and sighed, still not seeing any word from Beat. Seems like if it's not an actual boss fight, he doesn't feel the need to venture outside anymore. Maybe that'll change if we can get things to cool down. Maybe... maybe not.
  2. With the beast near dead, Shield knew that using his Howl skill would be essentially useless. However, he was not going to go down in the annals of Aincrad as the tank that left a powerful boss unthreatened and allowing it to come back and crit a party member. With a slow, intentional gait, he stepped over to the rhinoceros and took in a slow, deep breath of air. He sheathed his sword briefly in the strap of his shield and, grabbing the monster's horn, he blasted a full breath of air at the immobilized foe. "We came all this way and went through all of that quest build-up, and you barely withstood the first strike?" he roared, sending Piasuhōn's rough fur tossing in his gale of sound and wind. "I've seen tougher monsters than you in measly little dungeons three floors down from here!" The eye of the coliseum's prized animal were livid, narrowing into slits that burned with an intense hatred. However, with its body unable to react, the was the only clue to the unbridled rage that Shied saw on the other side of its large glassy eyeballs. "Well, I'm not really concerned with who does it, but let's kill this thing and find something more interesting to do."
  3. "Baldur is not abandoning the lines, not even for this fight. he merely stated he would not follow your plan. To whit, you're missing the bigger picture here," Shield said, picking through his sentences carefully. There was no way to way what he was about to say without making it personal, but he was going to do his best. "It isn't people that Baldur and I do not trust. It's you." At this point he leaned forward, his dark eyes trained on the younger player before him. "Baldur and I have been through our share of raids before you ever joined the lines, and we have never had issues trusting our teammates. Hell, we even trusted that snake, DeathAdder, before we knew who he was. However, the weak link in your equation is that it relies on our teammates responding to the trust we give them by being trustworthy." He slowed his speech, trying to keep his cadence even and his features light. He had gotten out what he needed to get out from a cathartic standpoint. Now he needed Hestia to understand. "Your decisions in the last floor boss fight were... questionable, though you were not the only one making such calls, so I can't hold you entirely responsible. At the meeting Baldur called, you thumbed your nose at the words of your seniors - showing a decided lack of trust despite our collective experiences, which would make it hypocritical by anyone's standards to ask for our trust now. "However, that meeting was meant to be a meeting of equals," Shield added, giving a steady nod of his head to show that he was not particular worried about that as a singular point. "All opinions were welcome, and as frustrating as it was, having a devil's advocate is not without its merits. Then... that last fight-" At this point, he was out of options. Hestia seemed determined to try to make this discussion about power struggles and how unreasonable it was to refuse to trust. There was no sense in holding back information. "You early arrivals screwed up. The second you saw that you couldn't keep up with either the damage or healing requirements of that fight, you should have immediately left. We had not communicated. You didn't know when anyone was coming - or even if they were coming. We could have been exploring in the exact opposite direction. You played with the lives of the players who relied on you, and that is shady dealings for a tank. You don't take those risks in this game. "But maybe you had the situation in hand better than it looked like," Shield said, shrugging his shoulders. "Who knows? I may be misreading that. I can say it looked bad when we came in, with the boss still at full health, with a full battery of ads still buffing and healing him, and the players half drained of energy and good chunks of health. It looked bad. Maybe I'm wrong. But when a team rolled in that had the numbers. That had a plan. That brought enough players to actually take charge of the situation... "You didn't trust them." Shield's tone was cold now. He wanted his point to be unequivocally heard. "You largely ignored us at first. You wasted our time and our efforts and our resources to the point that by the time you fled, we no longer had what we needed to put down that party. We had everything we needed to solo that encounter, but the lot of you did not trust us, and it cost us the opportunity to finish the fight, which is exactly what we warned might happen if you did what you did. It is an insult for you to ask us to trust you now when the only things you have demonstrated trust in as of late are your friends and your pride." He was on his feet now. There was no hatred in his voice, nor in his eyes. He could have shouted. He could have easily unleashed his howling gale of a voice to drive home his point, but he knew nothing would be settled here, so a show of temper would not suit the situation. Later, once cooler heads prevailed, they might be able to make some sense of things. For now, the lines were damaged, and this was all it was going to be with the two of them butting heads. "So, if you insist on taking the reins of this fight, I can't stop you. However, you don't get to tell me who to trust. Even in a game that depends on others trusting one another, it is still possible to prove yourself undeserving of trust, and it would be foolish to ignore those signs until someone has demonstrated they are again trustworthy. "Until a better plan emerges, I'm with Baldur, both now and in the fight. Any plan that comes from your mouth is now suspect, and I will not be a part of your proposed teams," he concluded. His shoulders slacked, and he settled back into a more neutral stance. "If someone else would like to step forward and propose something, by all means, do so. I don't think it wise to take a hand in that myself, as I have been very deliberately contrary and I recognize that anything I say would sound too much like a conflict of interest or as a result of temper or my own pride." Shield turned his eyes to the crowd. Calrex was the first player he spotted, but the two of them were friends, and it would not help his case any to single him out. The next leader, and perhaps the actually most accomplished, was one he did not know personally. "@Jomei," he began, taking a seat a little closer to the renowned Irishman. "I know you have been quiet today, and you may very well have your reasons, but I have far less reason to doubt you, and I know you have inspired many to your cause in your own guild." Turning back to the gathering in general. "I recognize that Hestia and I have too much baggage at the moment to be effective in directing this meeting. I recuse myself from trying to take that position, and I recommend," he said, though he did put a hint of sting on the word, "that Hestia do the same. I would motion that we ask Jomei to step in, or if he feels unprepared, I would motion that someone else nominate themselves or a trusted associate."
  4. "First of all, it's good to see fresh tanks training to join the lines," Shield said, giving Hazado a nod. "I've heard your name a few times when the subject of up-and-comers was being discussed, so know that we're eager to have you join in. That said," he went on, turning to face the man properly, "this kind of meeting is not new to the front lines. It's usually chaotic, with everyone shouting over one another to have their ideas heard. I'm sorry if that's disappointing to you, but I've many times tried to keep order and keep things on topic, and it does not work. Second of all, Baldur's choice of teams has nothing to do with staying with 'friends.' Yes, he does know those players in his team, but the reason he chooses them is because he trusts them, and he knows they'll listen in the heat of battle and maximize their effectiveness. The last few boss fights have been a mess, and if you can't rely on your teammates to listen, then there's a very real chance you won't have an impact in the fight. You're describing a very general strategy, and of course it has its merits, but don't underestimate what we've faced." He swiveled in his seat, facing sideways to try to keep both Hestia and Hazado in his field of vision, as well as trying to project his voice towards the largest portion of the players gathered. "The Sahagins we faced in the labyrinth were a beast of an encounter. They were a fully functioning party with heals, support, and one hell of a heavy hitting boss, not to mention mechanics that took away a lot of a tank's ability to control the battlefield. Despite having a tank and two DPS, one of which being the single heaviest AoE hitter, they were at a complete standstill and couldn't keep damage on the boss. It was at full health when we entered the fight, and the they had been there a while from the sound of it." The conversation had become very broad and very wordy, and Shield knew if it kept going this way, they would likely lose people's attention. Still, he knew the dangers of undercutting the threat they faced. If people walked out of this meeting thinking they were ready for the fight to come, then they would be acting on a dangerous lie. He took a breath, allowing his words a moment to register before continuing. "That boss was designed to hit us where we were weakest - it punished parties for not acting as a unit. If players were there acting on their own interest the entire fight as is typical of the front lines, then nothing would have been accomplished, and let's not pretend that the front lines are anything but precisely that - players acting on their own interest. Many have the best of intentions, but without a common goal, we're just throwing ourselves at a wall, and we will break before it does." "I'm aware I've been doing a lot of nay-saying, so allow me to extend an olive branch," he said, letting his eyes move to Hestia and Hazado before returning to the crowd. "Having solid teams is important, but knowing what we're up against is going to be essential to making this fight work. I recommend we go in with a small task force and go turtle. Everyone focus on their defense and eschew most of the offense." This was not going to be a popular plan, and he knew that, but he grit his teeth and continued with his proposal. "We still need to deal some damage, as we've seen bosses punish players for timidity. Still, everyone needs to go in there with a tank and a healer on their team, a teleportation crystal in their inventory, a perfect antidote salve already applied and an extra in reserve, and the intent to teleport out as soon as we have enough information. Should things change in the course of the battle and we decide we have everything we need to finish it, then by all means, let's finish it." Even as he said these words, there was warning behind them, conveying his doubt that it would be so simple as that. "But at this point, I think it would be foolish to rule out the possibility that Kayaba is preparing these fights to hit us where we're weak. I don't think we have a good shot without doing the same, which means going in to gather intel and coming back to fight properly once we know what we're up against."
  5. "Don't count on Macradon," Shield said plainly. "He made it fairly clear that he's retired indefinitely from the lines." He watched Baldur exit the arena out of the corner of his eye. Apparently, he was not the only one who had shown up to the meeting with frustrations. It was everything he could do to bite his tongue. "Hestia," he began, he took in air, pausing on his held breath as he tried to find more subtle ways to start, but as long as people were ripping of band-aids, this was one that needed to be removed. "You aren't in any special position of authority. You don't get to dictate what other players do, especially when you have been openly uncooperative in our recent dealings. You're preaching unity in the open forum, but behind closed doors, both on the battlefield and in smaller gatherings, you dig in your heels and refuse to play nice." His eyes pointed at the direction Baldur had stormed off. "Are you really surprised people are starting to get testy?" He crossed his arms and leaned back in his seat, his dark eyes still focused coolly on the woman on the stage before them all. "I stand by my resolution from before. The front lines are not prepared for what's to come. You can have all of the consumables and temporary buffs in the world. With the new breed of bosses we've been facing, they demand more than just stats and bodies. They demand strategy. They demand discipline. Those are two things that we lack as a whole." He sat forward again, uncrossing his arms and placing his hands on his knees. "When the early arrivals in that last fight ignored our words, we compromised. Even though the lot of you snubbed us, we joined in and tried to help, even though it was not in our best interest to do so." He left the last few thoughts unfinished. Hestia had requested that those who had been present not say what had happened after that. However, they all certainly could remember retreating from the labyrinth at some point or another. The word 'disaster' danced on the tip of his tongue, but he swallowed it back and proceeded. "Don't try to make me pick sides, because you won't like my answer. I have seen Baldur's strategies and their potency, and I trust him implicitly. Don't make me choose between the plan of the player I trust and the plan of the player who has refused to trust us. Besides," he went on, conjuring up Hestia's own words so that only those who had been present to hear them the first time would notice the venom behind them now, "you won't stop people from just continuing forward and doing what they want at the end of the day."
  6. Shield sat back, listening and skimming the little that had been discussed from Neo's message. The conversation had begun shifting slowly to preparations for the fight, and that made him extremely uncomfortable. He took a moment, thinking through how he wanted to phrase what he was going to say. Hestia had her reasons to keep parts of the last few raids under wraps, but to gloss over the danger they all faced would be even more dangerous. Slowly, he stood, his eyes forward. "We're getting ahead of ourselves," he said, giving little glances to those who had thus far been discussion item distributions and the like. "While I appreciate the urge to move the front lines quickly, we need to take great caution moving forward." He gave Hestia one last look and half a nod before continuing, confirming that he was at least going to try to follow her wishes, but only so far. "The last two raids have been beyond what we players have faced, and not by a small degree. Without proper planning and coordination, we could not have succeeded. As I look around now, I do not see the proper number of sheer bodies needed to mount our next offensive." His features were grim and his dark eyes held a foreboding behind them as he looked around the small gathering. "Artemiel had the capability to put a party down that was not properly defended," he explained, careful to not to divulge more information than necessary - at least not yet. He still wanted to give the benefit of the doubt. "The sahagins in the labyrinth were specifically designed so that if you didn't bring enough firepower, you could never win. We have some very powerful players gathered here, and if those gathered decide to go forward, then I'm not going to abandon the cause. That being said," he gave one last look around, assessing the players he saw and making guesses about who else might be likely to attend aside from those present, before returning to his thesis. "We're not ready. If we push on in the state we're in now, judging by how the last floor boss went, I wouldn't be surprised to see players start to die."
  7. Shield was not in a hurry to join the meeting. He could have easily invested another teleportation crystal to make his way to the first floor more expediently, but he needed to take his time. As he walked, he seethed. He had been angry at players before. Never before had that anger persisted beyond the instance where it was incurred, and if so, not with this intensity. He felt it in each step he took down the stony mountains of the eleventh floor. The shock of each footfall carried up into the bones of his legs. In the real world, it would have stung. Here, it was almost comforting in a way. Normally, he waited up for Beat for such important outings, at least if they left from the same location. This time, he had specifically told the younger player not to wait up. Hidden beneath his sleeve, the muscular grip of his serpent familiar, Lilith, clung to his wrist like an ornate bracer. She was strong enough to keep her place despite his jostling gait, though he was sure he'd get plenty of attitude about it when next he called on her. A new message pinged his inbox, and as he saw who had sent it, his nostrils flared. He almost dismissed it entirely, but if it regarded matters of the front lines, he couldn't afford to miss a vital memo. He read the short missive and stopped in his tracks. "She wants us to-" He read it through again, several more times, his dark eyes darting across the display panel in front of him. "That woman is going to get someone killed." He quickened his step, both his speed and his anger redoubled. By the time he had arrived in Taft, his temper had fallen off, but his trust in the players in question had remained unchanged. He entered the teleportation plaza, calling out his destination: "Town of Beginnings!" His arrival to the gathering was silent. He was not in the mood to make an entrance nor to start a fight. He had not called the meeting, so it was not his place to derail it as soon as he stepped foot into the stone theatre where it was taking place. He sat towards the back, leaning forward, elbows resting on knees, listening to try to catch up on where they currently were.
  8. Shield acknowledge the statement Beat had made, but he did not comment on it. As it was, he didn't really know how to respond to the extended absence of the player from front line activities. Aside from the very essentials of pushing the front lines forwards, the young spearman had been all but gone from the front lines. He extended his sword arm, watching as a similar sphere of red energy gathered at the tip. It was more costly than simply donating energy, as it had to be converted from its base form into damage. Still, it was a worthwhile investment. As minmaxed as the two were, every opportunity to maximize Shield's defense and Beat's offense were well worth it. The gate behind them shut, and ahead of them another began opening. Before it had finished, however, the thing behind it got impatient. A horned quadruped charged through the portcullis, bending the flat bars like they were little more of an obstacle than the air around them. Their opponent, shaped like a beastly multi-horned rhinoceros, stamped and bucked, kicking its hind legs out like a horse before spotting the adventurers ahead of it. Shield, in the little time they had, tossed the red sphere of light towards Beat and ran in front of the others, raising his shield to just under his eyes, so he could watch the rhino. It pawed at the ground and charged once again. Bracing himself for the impact, Shield put his shoulder into the barrier. The clash was powerful, and if not for the Stone Wall mod, he surely would have been thrown back. He managed to ignore most of the damage, though a tiny sliver disappeared from his health. In front of him, he felt the beast shoving hard, tossing its great head and snorting angrily. "So far, so good! I'll grab its attention after you all get in a swing!"
  9. Shield waved farewell to Neo. He did not expect further business, and for a while, he was right. What he especially did not expect to see was his fellow merchant and occasional traveling companion, Hirru. "Now this is a visit that I had not anticipated." He gave a half smile and a tip of his head to the hunter, looking over the equipment he had selected. "Very well. I'm glad to see some of my rare finds finally getting some use." He looked over the Col that Hirru had sent before sliding the items back across the counter. "There you are. I appreciate your visit. I was beginning to think other merchants were boycotting me." He gave the hunter one last little smirk and a thump on the shoulder. "Take care, friend." He returned to his work, now rearranging his display case of rare finds. It feels like the others are really starting to come together around the front lines. It's small things, but every once in a while, someone makes a big gesture like this. It's a relief. [Returning overspent funds: 10,000 Col > Hirru]
  10. Shield

    [BR-F24] 'Sahagin Shenanigans'

    Shield gave @Ruby a nod, confirming her assumption. "That first part of the fight drained too much energy. Beat and Baldur were tapped by the time they were in killing distance, and a few bad shots meant we weren't going to beat the next heal." There was a lot that he wanted to say, but now was absolutely not the time to do so. "I'm going to try to rally the others and rejoin. If you manage to put them down before we're back, shoot me a message." With that, he stuck his sword into the ground and dragged his hand through the air. With a faint tinkle, his menu sprang into view, and a moment later it was gone, a fresh Teleportation Crystal in his hand. He had never had to used one in a fight before, and it did not feel good to do so now, but this was about more than his pride. The longer he stayed, the more of a burden he would be on the others. His fingers crushed the crystal, and he called out into the air, "Paraneze!" His form vanished, and moments later, he materialized at Baldur's elbow, just beind Hirru. He did not look at the samurai just yet. His even temper was gone, and his teeth were clenched behind his pursed lips. "Things are getting worse..." Shield has left the thread
  11. Shield

    [BR-F24] 'Sahagin Shenanigans'

    "I'm not leaving an unprotected player in a boss raid!" Shield called to the air, watching as Beat and Baldur both evaporated. Cursing under his breath, he called out to Hirru. "Get out of here! I'll draw their focus until you're safely out!" He set himself down in his stance, bending his knees and cocking his elbow, focusing the remaining shaman at the tip of his narrow blade. "I know I don't have accuracy worth anything, but I'm not gonna hand you the chance to drop my focus and target our wounded players." He put a hitch in his step and hurtled forward, the tip of his blade beginning to shine with his activated sword art. The wily fish beast was ready for him though, having been tempered by the actual offensive players in the fight. It sidestepped his attack without a second though, and Shield slammed his foot down to stop his motion, skidding to a halt between the two fish creatures. "Come on then!" he bellowed, glaring at the weaker of the two. "Hit me!"
  12. Shield remained silent, the fury of the bat's claws continuing to tear through his body unhindered. His eyes remained fixed on his health gauge, watching the green bar drop, turn yellow, and the paralysis marker begin to flash and then replenish before fading entirely. He would have strained against his frozen condition, but he knew better. He had been here enough to know that the game was not something capable of being flexible in that regard. There was a day when he might have kicked against the goads, but for now, the situation was what it was. There were only so many attacks he would be able to take before his time ran out. He knew that in his inventory, there was a full stack of Teleport Crystals just burning a hole, but unless he got an opening, he would die with them there and untouched. His finger itched, begging to be able to swipe through the air to select one, but until that symbol faded from his health gauge, all he could do was wait.
  13. Shield

    [BR-F24] 'Sahagin Shenanigans'

    They wee getting down to the last of it. Both the Chieftain's health and the DPS' energy stores were dropping down to their last reserves. Unfortunatey, despite the plans that Baldur and the others had laid, they were running out of time. And with Hirru's missed attack, they were about out of chances. If we're going to stretch, then we need to stall that summon. Hirru has the right idea, but... Glancing own at the thin, unenhanced blade in his hand, Shield frowned. I'm the wrong person to be puicking up that ball we keep dropping. With a shrug, Shield charged up the sword art that he needed to do the trick. He sprang to his feet and charged, focusing his eyes on the frame of his target, but something in his approach was wrong. He stepped off with the wrong foot, and as he stepped to regain his rhythm, the light faded from his blade. He sprang back, raising his shield to resume his defenses. "We can't focus on defense anymore. We started our fight too far behind to have that luxury now. Hirru, if you're too low, and I don't have a heal ready, TP out. This fight isn't worth your life. Everyone else, we need to hit as hard as we can as fast as we can! I'll try to pump up your energy stores as best I can."