The mission was simple: meet with the locals at the designated rendezvous point, navigate through a discreet pathway through Mount Hakobe. The mission was planned to be a quick infiltration mission and an even quicker extract of the VIP. The target was a family member who was spending their vacation at the snow capped mountains. Originally the VIP had only planned to spend a month or so at their families snowy retreat, however there were complications… The territory around portions of Mount Hakobe was under control of a Dark Guild known as Errings Rising. Not much was known about said dark guild, however it was known that they were dangerous and had quite a few powerful mages within their ranks. In order to avoid a large scale conflict, it was decided a covert team of operatives from the spec ops branch of the Rune Knights. The team was composed of five rune knights, one rune knight specialized in healing magic, another specialized in communications, one was proficient in ice magic, and the other was well versed in support magic. The fifth knight was none other than Alicia, her magic was classified as a requip variant, however calling it requip was a way of classifying her magic in the most simplest way…
Alicia and her comrades wore casual attire, all of which dressed in white camo in order to blend into the arctic terrain. Alicia had a small backpack with rations and other supplies stored inside. She had chosen to arm herself with a bolt action rifle that very closely resembled a kar98k. The rifle was equipped with a large suppressor enchanted with a few enchantments that allowed the suppressor to double as a compensator. The rifle was finely tuned and a perfect choice for the large openings the mountains presented. With the help of a few more enchantments the rifle shots were nearly silent, and perfect for the set parameters of the mission. The rifle equipped by Alicia was not the only weapon in her arsenal, she had many more tricks up her sleeve. The cold air pricked Alicia’s nose, her warm breath left her lips forming puffs of clouds.
“Approaching Bravo… keep your eyes peeled… Sinclair got any visuals on Bravo?” inquired one rune knight specializing in ice magic. Alicia peered down her scope, a small magical sigil formed in the scope enhancing her vision even further than what the normal scope would allow. Sure enough a group of people, all of which met the descriptions of all the guildless mages the team was supposed to work with. Alicia scanned the area meticulously to keep an eye out for any ambushes or potential threats. To her relief there seemed to none at the moment.
“10-4 sir, no other threats present… I believe we are clear to approach Bravo sir…” Alicia lowered her rifle and awaited instructions from her commanding officer Ryan Creed, the ice mage who was the real commanding officer of the mission. In order to keep their moves classified, the Rune Knights had given some degree of false information. Alicia was to act as the dummy leader of the team, while the real commanding officer posed as one of the lower ranked knights under Alicia’s command.
“Sinclair, remember the mission… upon making contact with Bravo you are to be referred to as the leader of this team… this is a friendly reminder to all of you knights…” Ryan spoke in a cold and professional tone. Everyone nodded unanimously, replied back with a nod and looked to Alicia to see what the next move was.
“Alright… move out…” Alicia signaled everyone, the team moved quietly towards the designated meeting area. After half an hour or so they arrived at the designated point. Alicia approached the guildless mages and introduced herself, but before she did so she stored her rifle away in it’s designated pocket dimension.
“Hello… fine weather we’re having huh?” Alicia smiled sweetly as she approached the strangers. Granted, Alicia was aware of the mages’ names and faces, but she knew nothing more except what was provided to her during the briefing she received along with her team. She looked around, keeping her eyes peeled for any suspicious movements.
One of the locals approached the squad raising his hands in a greeting. "Howdy, I'm assumin' you're the folks we'll be working with?" the man that approached stood about 6 feet in height with a bristly beard. He was dressed in thick winter attire. He was equipped with a heavy axe and light armor over his winter clothes. The man seemed well adapted to the seemingly frozen waste land. "The names Rick Anderson. I'm one of the folks that live on this frozen dump.... nice to meetcha!" The tall man seemed to be a bright and jolly fellow, he extended his large hands for a handshake. Alicia politely obliged and returned the handshake in return. Rick's hands was far larger than Alicia's hand, as his grizzly bear mitts wrapped around Alicia's small hand for the hand shake. The man gave a firm handshake while giving a chuckle and a pat on Alicia's shoulder.
"Firm handshake you got there miss, I think we'll work together just fine young lady" Rick bellowed as he gestured for his allies that it was safe to approach the squad. Alicia laughed to return the friendly gestured that was presented to her, although these men and women volunteered to aid in the mission, and even though they would receive compensation, Alicia knew very well it would be just as equally as dangerous for them. It was the squads responsibility to not only locate and extract the V.I.P at the same time protect the locals that were guiding them through the duration of the mission.
"Nice to meet you Rick, just call me Alicia. My team and I are ready when ever you are." Alicia introduced herself first to Rick and then to the other locals that approached. "I'd like to personally thank you all for taking this risk, Rest assured that my team and I will do everything in our to keep you all safe throughout the duration of our mission."
After introductions the rest of Rune Knights and the locals began their climb up the frozen peaks of mount Hakobe. The terrain was difficult to climb due to the thick layers of snow they all had to wade through. The incline began to steepen and as the climbed higher the frigid frozen winds grew even colder. Alicia had noticed one of the her fellow Rune Knights struggling. Alicia allowed the others to pass her as she stayed behind to wait for her struggling companion.
"You okay soldier?" Alicia inquired as she reached out her hand to help the rune knight up over a large boulder.
"Ah! y-yes Mam" the young woman replied. The rune knight was Abby a young Rune Knight who bravely volunteered for the mission. Alicia had been in a few training sessions and workshops with Abby. Alicia was aware that Abby was not the most athletically capable individual, but Alicia knew how hard working she was.
"Abby just call me Alicia.... besides it's not like this is the first time we met each other." Alicia smiled at her ally brightly.
"O-okay... t-thank you for waiting..." Abby smiled back, Alicia noticed that there was a sense of relief on the girls face. Alicia had a feeling that Abby was afraid that everyone else would leave her behind.
"No worries! We don't leave anyone behind especially not on my watch" Alicia and Abby walked side by side, keeping up their pace fast enough to have visual on the whole party ahead of them.
"You aren't feeling tired Alicia?" Inquired Abby as she breathed heavily, her breath puffing out clearly visible due to the sub zero temperatures.
"no not really... I-" Alicia was starting to reply when suddenly one of the locals leading the way collapsed onto the snow. One of the Rune knights approached to see if everything was okay.
"Hey are you okay?" Alicia heard the rune Knight ask, seemingly out of nowhere the Rune Knight collapsed over the unmoving body. An arch of blood spewed from the knights head. Alicia's blood grew cold, she used her weight to push herself and Abby down onto the snow.
"EVERYONE DOWN THERES AN ENEMY SNIPER!" the other remaining Rune knights quickly hit the deck, one of the locals was shot down right in the chest. The poor man looked at his allies in surprise as blood began trickling from his mouth, another shots pierced through the mans body, then another and another shot.... the man was dead before he even hit the ground. Ryan quickly cast a wall of ice
"W-what's going on?" Abby's voice was shaky, Alicia couldn't blame her two of their allies were killed in a matter of second. By this time everyone was already on the ground. There was silence as everyone tried to remain as low as possible. Alicia focused her magical energy in order to try and pin point the assailant. Yet the sniper either was very skilled in cloaking his presence or he was beyond Alicia's magical sensory range.
"Anyone got eyes on the sniper?!" Ryan shouted from a distance. "Negative" the Rune knights responded. "Can someone cast an invisibility spell?" Ryan asked. One of the other Rune Knights by the name of Cecil responded.
"I can cast invisibility on multiple people but Alicia, Abby, and some of the locals are out of range." Cecil called out.
"We'll be fine! I'll take care of Abby and the rest of the locals! I have a some smoke grenades that can cover us while masking our temperatures and magical presence!" Alicia called out, a grenade launcher spawned on her free hand. "The smokes should distract the snipers as well, that should provide Cecil time to cast the invisibility spell. I'll smoke out on the count of three! Ready? one... two... THREE!" TWUMP! Alicia fired a smoke grenade from the grenade launcher. The smoke grenade arched before detonating completely obscuring the area Alicia and Abby by 50 or so meters. Alicia then got on her knee while the smoke masked her and fired another smoke grenade towards the locals that were not in Cecil's range.
"Abby get the locals and move it! The smoke wont cover us for long, the winds will blow it away in a minute or so!" Alicia quickly helped Abby up and pushed her towards the cowering locals. Alicia stayed a few meters behind, constantly firing smoke grenades to cover her allies escape. Alicia's eyes darted around the frozen mountain scape, she enhanced her vision with some enchantments in hopes to find the unknown enemy sniper.