Horn: Solo

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Operator Record
Horn icon.png

Even if she is the last man standing on the battlefield, even if there is no end in sight to this war, even if all she can do is try her best to stand...

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Horn to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Horn.
Female Londinier icon.png
Fleeing Londinier
Victorian Partisan B icon.png
Victorian Soldier
Male Londinier A icon.png
Dublinn Messenger
Dublinn Soldier icon.png
Dublinn Soldier
Londinium Tube
Hillock Interrogation Room
Londinium Industrial District Night
Londinium Detention Camp
From County Hillock to Londinium, Horn has suffered, hated, but the decisions she makes are still the most rational.
<Background 1>
(The first page of a memorandum.)
Triangle, Snare, Bass, Mandolin, Cello, Oboe.
I won't forget.
March 20th
Skirmished with Dublinn again, and made off with some resources for survival, including a notebook and this pen. I can finally straighten out my thoughts to a degree.
Mandragora hasn't been fighting at full force. We couldn't have recovered the wounded Londiniers otherwise. I'm surprised that lunatic knows self-restraint―or maybe even she realizes Dublinn's just a lone current in Londinium's vortex.
I still can't make out the full picture of that vortex. Which scares me, even.
<Background 2>
[Two Dublinn soldiers are having a talk.]
Dublinn Soldier A ...Is that really what Captain Mandragora said?
Dublinn Soldier B Aye, those were her orders.
Dublinn Soldier A So she's off cavorting about with nobles too! I didn't want those stuck-up lords bossing me about! That's why I went with her in the first place, you know?
And warning us to speak no ill of the Sarkaz? We're collaborating with those devils? Is she having a laugh?
Dublinn Soldier B You'd have a pillar straight through you if the Captain was here. Just mind a little what you say. She's got her plans.
Or these plans are The Leader's, in which case I say you zip it even tighter.
Dublinn Soldier A Over here, Viccy.
[The Dublinn soldiers remove the restraints on Horn.]
Dublinn Soldier A Captain says we're to take your cuffs off. You can go get a breath of fresh air.
Horn What is this, a trick? Are you planning to aim at me once my back is turned? Use me for crossbow practice and laugh while I run?
You can try, then. The outcome will disappoint you–or you'll be dead before then.
Dublinn Soldier A Hah, there's that stiff upper lip! You're just as hoity-toity as any Viccy!
But you're not all wrong, I suppose. If you think you can escape, you'll have to see if you can outrun a bolt first, I'll tell you that.
Dublinn Soldier B Enough, Victorian. It was Captain Mandragora's decision to allow you a little free time for once before we enter Londinium. You'd best be grateful.
See your city's wall there? Looks as tall and mighty and indestructible as ever from here, doesn't it?
Drink in the sight, and hold onto it. It's a magnificent illusion, I'll give you that, and once we're in the city, you'll miss being so mistaken.
Horn Do you know what happened in Londinium?
Dublinn Soldier B You'll see for yourself in a few days.
Not that Londinium's state has much to do with your likes, seeing as you'll drop dead before long.
[A male Londinier runs toward Horn and the Dublinn soldiers.]
Fleeing Londinier E-Excuse me, do you know how far it is to the nearest settlement from here?
Dublinn Soldier A Settlement? Hah, you're on the run out?
So's everyone else, don't be daft. Settlements nearby could never take you in–
Dublinn Soldier B Shut.
–We're an army from far off, madam. We're not familiar with this place.
Fleeing Londinier My apologies...
Horn Hold on, please. You came fleeing from Londinium?
What's... the situation like in there now?
Fleeing Londinier Er. Didn't you know?
The Sarkaz have made their move. Londinium is putty in their hands as we speak.
Horn Then what about–
Fleeing Londinier –No one knows where the defense force's gone. We hear they collapsed from the inside. Not a soul's stepped out to defend the civilians of Victoria.
Horn ......
(How did she know what I'd ask? And what changed? Why is this Dublinn fighter being so polite with the Victorian here?)
Fleeing Londinier But I can't say I know what's gone on in every part of Londinium. It's a massive place, and I've been out of the city for a good moment now, just wandering about everywhere.
Horn How about Londinium's perimeter, then? Would you be familiar with how much noble power is concentrated about it?
Fleeing Londinier That's not something small city-folk like me ought to know.
–I don't even know if the "White Wolf" Count's anywhere around, grand as he is. Years and years I've held him in high regard, ever since he saved my parents' lives once upon a time.
Horn Sorry, I'm familiar with who you speak of, but it's been extraordinarily long since I heard his title.
(She recognizes me.)
Fleeing Londinier (Nods)
My guess is he'd be collaborating with some noble now, readying his forces for this whole quarrel.
Horn –I'd wager the "White Wolf" doesn't plan to work with other nobility. He cares moreso about his homeland, and less who the throne belongs to.
Fleeing Londinier I understand...
Dublinn Soldier B Excuse me, but that's enough of the info inquiry.
We're still an army with discipline. Not like the straggling forces you saw in Londinium, I'm afraid, madam. You'd better be on your way while the sun's still up.
Fleeing Londinier Ah, I'm sorry. I'll be leaving now.
Oh, you'll all be entering Londinium soon, won't you? We can at least shake hands, soldier.
Horn ......
[The female Londinier shake hands with Horn, but unbeknownst to the Dublinn soldiers, she handed over something to Horn.]
Fleeing Londinier (This is my own personal hope.)
–I hope, once you're back, you'll have the chance to drop in on my family. They decided to stay when I fled. I don't know if we'll ever see each other again.
Our family lives on the wharf. You'll recognize my daughter once you see her.
Horn Alright. I'll do all I can.
[The female Londinier leaves.]
Horn (If I'm not mistaken, she should be... a Messenger of Count Mourning's.)
<Background fades out and in>
[Mandragora asks Horn,]
Mandragora Soldier. You ought to know why it is I've paid you a "visit," don't you?
What a pity you are, still hoping your noble standing'll give you some kind of sway. Trying to influence others' decisions with your own personal statements.
Have you seen yourself in the mirror lately? You don't know the fate of your own sacrifices. You fought your battle and lost in every way. You killed every last one of your own underlings.
You should be defanged clean by now, but here you are still howling through empty gums.
Horn ......
Given you're so annoyed you're still spitting venom at me like a day hasn't passed, the noble you went begging to must've seen through your lies.
Mandragora No. I'd never disappoint The Leader. But I'll disappoint you, though.
There's nothing your clever little voicebox can change! They don't even care if it's the truth or not that you work with Dublinn. As long as you're still alive, it's Dublinn they'll bet on.
You're daydreaming. Wake up. The vast majority are nothing like you, killing yourself in the name of Victoria. They'll try every trick in the book to save their own souls and that's where it ends.
Horn Don't worry, little Feline. I'll at least see your life go out before I die for Victoria.
Mandragora Heh. You just love to front, oh so hard. Pretending you're still not done with yet?
Believe me as little as you want, then. I know reality'll dawn on you soon enough.
<Background 1>
March 27th
I wasn't in time to ask that soldier's name. Dublinn's Originium Arts had him pinned in the ruins. There was nothing I could do.
I've continued to amass intel on Londinium, and I have a general idea of where most of the defense force's soldiers went at this point. Serving the Sarkaz was the choice of most, and I've managed to convince myself that it wasn't beyond expectations. We also learned of the address of a detention center from him, one that's holding some of ours.
But I don't know if they'll still want to fight, or even if they still can. I've seen too many people tried and tortured, and the wrecked state of their bodies after.
Why couldn't I have found them just a little earlier?
Maybe that soldier... would've wanted to tell me as much, but couldn't get the words out. I'm left unable to even record his name, nor can I deliver his loved ones a last word from him. I couldn't have–I couldn't have found him just a little earlier.
How do we lay such hatred low? What number strong would a force have to be to kill that Dublinn lunatic? She has to die. Even if I have no sword and no mantlet, even if I may be outdone by her, I have to take vengeance on her.
I'm losing a grip on my own thoughts. Stop writing. This is no calm decision-making.
<Background 3>
Dublinn Soldier A Hey, do we still have to keep eyes on that Victorian loony?
Dublinn Soldier B Just give her a glance on the regular. Captain's said we have to ensure she stays alive.
Horn Nineteen, twenty, twenty-one... And again, Triangle, keep training, I'm starting the count over...
Dublinn Soldier A Listen to that, she's mumbling to herself again. She was there sometimes before, but now she doesn't hear a single word we say. Just talks to the dead every day.
Dublinn Soldier B Enough, enough. Go have your break. I'm on shift now.
[The Dublinn soldier knocks on Horn's cell door.]
Dublinn Soldier B Hey, soldier.
Horn For now, we'll suppose the enemy's formation includes shieldguards and Casters, and the bombardiers are positioned here...
Dublinn Soldier B Hey! The Captain gives you good food and drink, doesn't grill you or torture you one bit, and that's what it takes for you to go unhinged?
Crushed by life just because a few friends of yours died? Would you like to know how much us Tarans have lost?
It's beyond anyone how dross like you made it as a Victorian Army... lieutenant? Hah, that was your title, right?
Horn Don't rush. Stand behind my shield. You're not withstanding an explosion, no matter how good your constitution is...
Dublinn Soldier B Never mind, still not reacting at all. Carry on chatting with your imaginary friends.
Right, there's no chance you remember by now. You once said you'd never failed on an assignment before, how your shield would protect every last man.
What, was it too humiliating that we did this to you? Just forcing yourself to forget it all now?
Heh, I suppose the Captain gave us a bit of fun, leaving you here–
[The Dublinn heard sounds of something being cut down from Horn's cell...]
Dublinn Soldier B –What the hell is she up to now?
[...and peeks in, only to see that Horn had disappeared.]
Dublinn Soldier B Where is she?!
She tore the vent cover off the ceiling...? You really think that'll let you escape?
[The Dublinn soldier goes through the vents after Horn...]
Dublinn Soldier B Trying to go through the ducts? Get back out here, Viccy!
[...but she slashes him down just as the soldier gets too close.]
Horn You only opened the door to catch me because you truly thought I'd gone mad. Thank you for letting your guard down.
Dublinn Soldier B Why you...!
How'd you... Where'd you get that blade from?
Horn Someone very kindhearted hoped I'd check in on their family after reaching Londinium, and gave me this little folding knife on the side. It's no weapon, but it's enough to prize off a vent grill.
By the way, the air vents here are nowhere near enough to let someone crawl out, or else I'd be gone long ago.
[Horn grabs the Dublinn soldier.]
Horn Lend me your comms terminal there.
Dublinn Soldier B Looks to me like you really are off the deep end. You're just going to trot on out of our base's deepest parts? With nothing but a knife?
[The Dublinn soldier struggles...]
Dublinn Soldier B Stay put! You're going to jump out the window, aren't you? Like I'll let you–
[...right as an explosion suddenly occurs.]
<Background 4>
Mandragora Did the Regent... finally agree to meet me?
Dublinn Messenger Yes. They all have surely witnessed Dublinn's might now... even if both we and they are well aware, Dublinn and the Sarkaz Royal Court cannot truly ally.
Mandragora Hmph. Obviously, The Leader's had this planned well in advance–
[An explosion is heard.]
Mandragora –What's that noise?!
Is there a raid? But the Sarkaz wouldn't... I mean, their Lord agreed to treat Dublinn like guests!
Wait, is it the Victorian Army out of their depth again?
No, no, no, they've got barely any left alive. Why would they provoke us by themselves? And Londinium's top people might've never even witnessed Dublinn's fires before...
<Background 5>
[Horn made it out from the Dublinn detention camp.]
Horn Beautiful Arts... May you sleep peacefully within your own blast.
I heard everything you said. From the very first joke you made about them, I was intent on making sure you'd never open your mouth again.
But you're right, I might not be completely sane at this point. Nor do I know if reopening my scars again and again is clearing my mind at all... or if it's plunging me even deeper.
[Horn picks up a dispatch from the stolen communicator.]
Dublinn Comms Wh-What's going on? The whole floor...
There was an explosion inside the building!
Send a team in to rescue! I'll report to the Captain!
Horn (Surrounding patrols have been drawn to the explosion site, all as projected.)
Now, this is an assignment... with only one person taking part.
The plan of action, escape from here.
The backup plan, put my life on the line against Dublinn.
An assignment I won't fail no matter what. Now there's a reassuring thing.
–2nd Tempest Platoon Leader Horn, commencing.
[Horn heads out.]
<Background 4>
[A Dublinn soldier rushes to Mandragora.]
Dublinn Soldier Captain Mandragora, reporting in!
There's been an explosion at the old tobacco factory! Apparent cause was dust buildup in the ventilation!
Mandragora What's to panic about? Is that beyond you lot to handle? I thought you'd seen plenty of explosions at this point.
Dublinn Soldier No... Captain. You probably remember, but that Victorian soldier was being held there too.
Mandragora She died?
Dublinn Soldier Er, the soldiers we sent to rescue at the scene found she'd, seemingly... escaped.
Useless... bloody, useless, idiots!
And you told me she went mad? I KNEW she was faking it... She'd never be broken so easily!
I just knew it... The Sarkaz wouldn't treat us as an enemy, Londinium's army won't have known to mind us yet... It has to be her. She's the only one who'd pull an attack on us!
Hmph. Where's she think she can run to, though?
<Background 5>
[The stolen communicator picks up Dublinn transmissions as Horn runs.]
Dublinn Comms ...3rd Squad, blockade around the warehouse...
Call Walter... Wasn't he the one on guard today? 7th Squad, send two people to search for Walter at the explosion site...
She can't have gone beyond this block in this short a time...
Horn Completely right.
With a blockade and sweep like this, I've got nowhere to flee.
[Horn noticed someone's presence.]
Horn Who's there?
No, there's no one else here. Those footsteps are from the other side of the wall. A few Dublinn fighters who haven't seen me yet.
(But someone's been watching this place the whole time.)
[The communicator picks up transmissions.]
Dublinn Comms She left tracks. Most likely she went towards the food processing plant.
Don't let her hide in there! Shut all the doors!
Horn That's untimely.
[The communicator picks up transmissions.]
Dublinn Comms Walter's dead.
And his comms terminal. It's been taken too.
Deactivate all clearance for the guard team's comms!
[The transmission abruptly ends.]
Horn Terminal's gone silent. They're on full alert.
[Horn climbs the walls with her sword as Dublinn soldiers pass by and heard the noise.]
Dublinn Soldier Over there! Someone's climbed up! The searchlights!
We'll come for her from the roof! Set up crossbows around the sides!
[The soldiers move out as Horn made it across the wall.]
Horn Hold on...
The factory door's... open?
[Horn walks into the factory.]
<Background 4>
[A Dublinn soldier contacts their commander...]
Dublinn Soldier Reporting in. Situation normal on this end.
The entrance–the bloody entrance–didn't we just shut–
[...but are stabbed from behind and collapses.]
Dublinn Soldier Urgh–
Horn Seems it wasn't negligence on Dublinn's part. Someone else opened this door.
The soldier dodges behind a wall, vigilantly scanning all around her. The damp factory air is silent as a throat gripped shut, not a hint of movement to be felt.
Like someone has cut the wind away altogether.
This isn't her first time sensing that peculiar gaze. In that claustrophobically cramped room, her nerves on high alert had picked something up too.
Horn You there, watching me, who are you?
No voice replies. Only the scent of Originium Arts that flit past the entrance just now convinces her someone else is here.
Horn (–No, they're watching the entirety of Dublinn.)
(Is it a Sarkaz? The will of the occupant upon the throne, surveying the bedlam of Londinium?)
[Dublinn soldiers reached the factory's gate...]
Dublinn Soldier The entrance is open!
I found her! She's in there!
Horn ......
[...and enters.]
<Background fades out and in>
Horn (One squad of soldiers, coming down from upstairs. The door to this safe passage is about to be broken through.)
(At least three crossbows are aimed at the platform outside this window.)
(But there's countless tubes and containers here. I can bide my time and hide for a while. I have more patience than these Dublinn soldiers.)
(And Dublinn's been allowing this factory to operate normally so they can restock their fighters' daily supplies.)
(Which means this factory should have an exit that gets used at fixed times... leading to a logistics transport way in the sublayer. I can look for an opportunity to open it.)
As she puts together her escape plan, she catches the sound of the gateway slowly creaking open, coming from below.
Horn I thank you... unshowing stranger.
Mandragora The soldier's hidden right in here?
Horn ......
<Background fades out and in>
Mandragora Where are you? Where do you think you're running? Your Army's gone from existence, toy soldier!
You won't make it even one step out of this bloody Sudean place.
You show your head in any controlled district, and those devils'll make Arts skewers out of you on their blades.
Come out. I've got your best interests at heart.
You go out there, and you'll see just how much more bloody miserable it ends for the Victorian soldiers who don't listen. It gets worse than what happened to your little squad of friends, you bloody believe me.
<Background fades out and in>
Horn You...
<Background fades out and in>
Creeping along the shadows towards the transport way, Horn suddenly stops in her tracks. Dublinn's Caster stands with her back to Horn, right there under the corridor lights.
In her hand, Horn clutches a rapier stolen from the side of a Dublinn soldier. If the Feline activates her own Arts in time, then the instant Horn thrusts, her fragile sword will shatter against rock.
But if the Caster doesn't react in time–
As Horn is gripping her sword, Mandragora turns and faces in her direction.
<Background 1>
March 28th
I had the same dream again. I was running through the drainage layer, echoes chasing my footsteps in the dark. I dreamt again and again of the murdered soldiers, so many of whom were tortured beyond recognition. It's near-impossible for me to relay to those who loved them the circumstances in which they left this mortal coil. But the most frightening thing is... inside my head, bit by bit, their faces are blurring.
It's at these times that I'm glad for this memorandum. I can look back page by page, read their names, and copy them again letter by letter.
I've dreamt of taking my revenge too, but every time I charge at Dublinn, or the Sarkaz crowd, I wake up with a start, like now. I often can't help but wonder, if I'd run Dublinn's Caster through that day, how things would've turned out–whether I would feel freed, no matter what the case may be... but for my sanity, I have to stop such thoughts then and there.
Closing my eyes to rest has become a form of duty, and so has living.
Faced with Londinium in this state, and even Victoria as a whole, I have no idea what else I can do aside from fight what battles lay in front of me, but I still–I have to hold onto hope, even if it takes all I have just to stand here.
[A Victorian partisan approaches Horn.]
Victorian Soldier Lieutenant, you're awake.
Horn I am. I just came to. Good timing; it's almost time to relieve the guard on duty. What is it?
Victorian Soldier No... I just couldn't asleep, and I saw you had a candle lit here by chance.
–Sorry, did I interrupt you while you were notetaking?
Horn It's alright, it wasn't anything too important.
Victorian Soldier Ah, that's a relief.
Lieutenant, have I ever mentioned before? I used to live in Sudean, in a little alley behind a textiles factory.
Our family had a habit of leaving a candle lit on the windowsill that faced out, since there was no light in the alley, and they wanted to let whoever got off work at night see as they went.
Thanks to your candle, I felt for a moment like... things weren't so gloomy after all.
Horn In previous times, I would've said reminiscence was no good thing.
But now, I think there's only a clinging onto the state Victoria should be in, the lives the Londiniers should have, that lets us fight on in the city's darker corners.
Though it's a bit of an unrealistic ideal. Hah.
Victorian Soldier It's not. We believe in you, Lieutenant.
Victoria's servicemen won't fall so easily... and neither will Victoria's citizens.
But we are worried for you, too.
Horn What's to worry for?
Victorian Soldier You might not be willing to tell us much, but we're all soldiers. Things have affected us in all sorts of similar ways, surely.
I'll stand guard for you tonight. You get a little more rest.