The following morning, 117 men and women of the Brazen Guard collective collected in the temple courtyard. Their effective number during combat would be far less... as the close combatants would not be able to easily engage with the lethal sweeping attacks of the giant-sized Guardians.
According to Tanamar, two Adamantine-Rank creatures would be summoned out of the mosaics... in the image of Snake Cult champions, no doubt. Further, additional defenders would be summoned from the thirteen sacrificial stones, mostly Iron-Rank creatures. The latter would be intercepted by the close combat squads, led by defensive classes such as Legionnaire Karodin and Duelist Ptolema led those tent-groups.
Such persons, Tycon had personally identified as competent as Decani... and though their groups consisted primarily of Bronze-Ranks, they had the advantage of numbers and teamwork, and were more than able to defeat their opponents.
In the distance, Tanamar was briefing the collective about the upcoming battle. It was his second time going over the information... and he'd likely have to explain everything three or four times for learning to occur amongst the short-attention-spanned masses.
Tycon stayed back with the Brazen Guard leaders, separate from the crowd. He stood, handsome and comfortable in his black armor, his white full-helm resting underneath his arm.
Bannok approached him, heavy Tyrion shield on his left, his right securing the enchanted battleaxe resting over his opposite shoulder. He would be locking down one of the two Adamantine-Ranks, something that, as a Gold-Rank human, would be unthinkable if he did not have the synergistic support of both healing spells and Elven archery also at a Gold-Rank level.
"So what was that about, earlier, green-hair guy?
Tycon brushed some of his green hair out of his eyes, "You'll have to be more specific, Brother-Bannok."
"Ah, right. I mean ah... haha..." The Weaponmaster grinned, "I wanted to ask why one of your Letalis gals beat the ever-living shite outta a Stormbrand."
The tattooed dark elf, Ariadne, placed her hands on her hips. Though her posture was somewhat negative, she wore a smirk similar to that of her husband, "That Occam feller had his corn creamed, let me tell ya~ But thankfully, only the best healin' tonics worked him right up."
The older elf, Felinus, slowly turned his head to look over in bemusement, "Sapling... did you not assign a healer to attend to the *broken* Cleric?"
The Priestess rolled her eyes, "Sevennnn helllllls, noooo! Not after that what he tried to do to Becca! Only service I'd give that creep'd be cancellin' his birth certificate."
"You cannot--" Felinus paused. "Oh. Very well."
The nuance behind Aria's statement took a few moments to dawn on the elf... Tycon took a similar amount of time to reach the same conclusion.
He chose not to ask about the... Becca incident. Knowing the tendencies of Cleric Occam, he could surmise the gist of it. Occam was scum and didn't deserve to have nice things.
"Anyroad, dear husband~" Aria sang, "Don't you dare punish Mister Tactician for that egg-sucker being taught a lesson he rightfully deserves!"
Bannok snorted, "Oh, don't worry. I'm old... I don't give a shite about drama-- and I ain't bendin' over backwards to make the Stormbrands happy, of all people."
Hunter Felinus tilted his head, "You have shown leniency to the Stormbrands on multiple occasions, prior."
"I just like the kid, that's all," Bannok shrugged. "--and now that she's got herself a different guild, Tancred and his goons can f*ck right off, if they want."
"'An now... she's gonna be in a fight with an Adamantine-Rank..." Aria crossed her arms, an expression of worry on her face. "Are y'all Letalis folks gon' be alright? Ah mean... I heard you got yerselves a defensive-type, now?"
"Yes. Yes, we did," Tycon nodded.
It was him.
Tycon was well-qualified to take the attention of the second Guardian.
To protect his guild, he needed to always be wary of his positioning relative to the opponent and those he defended. As for himself, his mana usage would go towards the defensive skills he learned from Garock, instead of his usual offense and support skills. Then, with the vigilance of the Brazen Guard healers, as well as Zenon's defensive wind enchantments, he was confident in both his resilience and ability to fight through injury.
Bannok tapped his weapon against his shoulder pauldron, "You uh... gonna field the... Raging Flame Knight, then?"
"So I know that's not a *real* defensive-class... Is she gonna be good facing off against an Adamantine-Rank? I mean, you're gonna know the strength of yours guys best."
"She'll be fine," Tycon reassured the Weaponmaster.
...As long as Tycon could successfully harness the creature's attention, Korr would be just as safe from its attacks as the rest of Guild Letalis.
Why were these people so concerned?
"Tactician..." Felinus approached Tycon, removing his hood and facing him directly.
It was... odd. The purple-haired Elven Hunter spoke freely, yet had chosen to address him, first. Tycon surmised that Felinus had something else on his mind-- something other than doubting his abilities in acting as a defensive class.
Tycon nodded in acknowledgment. If there was one good thing about elves, they did not waste effort on unnecessary words. When speaking to Felinus, Tycon did not need to offer redundant audible confirmation, when a nod or a shake of his head would do.
"The female Knight..." Felinus whispered...
In analyzing the context of the elf's words... His statement seemed to be... an inquiry.
"Her name is Korr." Tycon offered, "She's... very strong."
Tycon considered openly admitting that he was also terrified of her. He doubted anyone in his immediate vicinity would judge him negatively for saying so-- but as it was unnecessary information, he decided against it.
A hint of recognition gleamed in the elf's pale yellow eyes... "The Unbreakable."
Tycon nodded once more.
Korr's reputation seemed to be known even in the Holy Country. Good for her.
The elf replaced his hood and turned to walk away... but he hesitated.
He turned back for a moment, "Thank you."
Expressing thankfulness was redundant. But still, as a human custom, that the elf was so polite was a pleasant interaction. Felinus practiced greater courtesies than Tycon expected from most humans.
Barza Keith, the Lone Shadowdark, shook his head. Had he fallen asleep, standing up? There had to be over a hundred people in the crowd, so it was warm and... no one was really watching him.
It sounded like it was near the end of Tanamar's brief.
"...So those are the group assignments. If you are a close-combat class, you are either in BANNOK's group or the LETALIS group!" Tanamar shouted, "If you are a ranged or support class, you will be directed by Hunter Felinus or Priestess Ariadne."
Lone nodded. That was fine. He was part of the Letalis group! He hoped he didn't miss anything important.
...Oh, but he was a Ranger. Was he part of the Ranged group? He did have a pistol, so he could serve as a Gunner if he needed to.
"Once the fight is initiated..." Tanamar continued, "--hold attacks until the Guardians are kited back to their positions... Now, as I have explained the fight three different times... are there any. more. questions?"
Three times? ...Lone wanted to raise his hand, but that'd only piss Tanamar off. No, it would be better if he just went with whatever was going on.
It'd probably be fine.
"Question, Mister Tanamar!" A female voice rose from the crowd.
It was Sorina, the beautiful Calculator with a Business Degree. Lone didn't know why she was around since she wasn't really good at fighting... but Boss Tycon had insisted on it.
"Yeap?" Tanamar gestured towards her.
"What's kiting?" She asked.
Lone had the same exact question. He and Sorina were on the same wavelength! It hurt a little bit that she didn't like him. Every time he tried to approach her-- nevermind asking her about it, he'd be chased away or hit by a skill.
"YOU!! Hahaha! You don't know what kiting is?!?" Someone mocked. Looking over it seemed to be someone from... the Stormbrand guild? If Lone recognized the symbol correctly, anyroad.
It pissed him off a little to hear someone making fun of Sorina-- not that he still liked her or anything... even though he had a thing for her for... years, now.
Maybe he did still like her a little bit...
Lone shot his hand up into the air, using all of his Iron-Rank Physique to do so, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT KITING IS, EITHER!!!"
The crowd grew quiet.
Sweat dripped down the back of Lone's neck. He was pretty sure he knew what was going to happen when he did what he did... but it didn't feel comfortable getting stared at by so many people.
Sorina scoffed, "Pff... You don't know what kiting is? Really? Dummy."
Lone blinked. Had he been tricked?
Tanamar sighed, leaning on his holy lance, "When a kite on a string catches the wind, it stays a fixed distance away, right? When Fel and I engage the enemy, our goal is to not evade the Guardians, but to keep their attention and move them into position."
"But... why is it called kiting?"
"...Because we don't want to release the kite or pull it too close, I guess."
Lone nodded slowly. He didn't understand it completely, but from what Tanamar said, it didn't really have anything to do with him. He just had to do whatever... someone told him to do...
...Whoever that someone was.