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Feast of Blades: Trueblade Arena: Dust to Dust

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@Voldemort

@Etched In Stone

Arthur Uskglass versus Momoku Akuja Kenshi

Round 2: Dust to Dust -

A simple, round stone arena in the depths of roughly 30 feet in diameter. It looks suspiciously similar to a prior arena, right down to the stone rings on the outside of it that revolve slowly, one clockwise, one counterclockwise, each 2 feet in wid- goddamnit this is the same arena from Tabula Rasa isn't it? Did the OFM empty the place of water and fill it with sand instead? Yes they did. The author doesn't know whether to call himself a lazy bastard or justify it because the OFM does reuse their arenas to create different biomes and conditions. The other stone circles here are not visible, only a two-foot deep layer of sand surrounds the center stone arena.

WEAPON CONDITIONS: Only two weapons may be brought. Dual swords count as two. Shield counts as one weapon. A dagger counts as one weapon. If you choose to pull a length of string off your pants before the fight and bring it in, that also counts as a weapon. Sporks are the deadliest and most versatile weapons, they're banned.

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Arthur took a deep breath, exhaling profoundly as he stood to his feet and stretched out his mighty limbs. Feeling satisfied and limber, the mutant took a final bite of his apple and tossed the mostly eaten fruit away in a nearby bin, which was nearly a quarter way full with banana and orange peels. He drank the last of his water,  finishing off his pre-fight meal before grabbing his weaponry. Taking up his sheathed longsword, he moved his black robes aside and attached the weapon to the bottom of his leather baldric. Meanwhile, Arthur grabbed his pollaxe, leaning the long weapon against his broad shoulder as he held the pole in his right hand. 

The mage grinned and pushed open the door with his free hand, striding into the sandy chamber to the roar of the crowd. Tournament goers hadn’t been entertained by his previous bout; his opponent (and good friend) had mysteriously forfeited the match, but Arthur had every intention of making up for that with a vicious second round. As he made his way to the stone arena in the center of the chamber, the mutant’s armor was mostly hidden under the voluminous folds of his wizard’s robes. The garment of shimmering black velvet rested loosely atop his shoulders; a mantle of black wolf fur provided for an intimidating visage as its tail and empty sleeves hung past his hips. A black wide brimmed hat sat atop his head, extending up then down in a crooked point. 

As Arthur reached the platform at the center of the room, the mage undid the golden chain that kept his robes clasped around his neck, causing the garment to fall at his feet where the hat soon followed. The mutant stepped his boot-clad feet onto the stone and roared ferociously, extending his strong arms off to the sides in a boisterous display of showmanship. The crowd cheered even louder as Arthur paced the length of the platform, his animalistic eyes staring towards his opponent’s entrance the entire time. 

Underneath his robes, the mage wore his armor, looking every bit the warrior in his black pair of padded chausses adorning his legs. A black aketon with vertical orange stripes was worn above; a black paisley design was embroidered onto the long stripes. Arthur wore his Order-issue half-plate as well, each piece of plate armor fixed to arming points across his gambeson shirt and pants. 

@Etched In Stone

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Even with odds against his lack of vision, Kenshi proved to be no less capable than the other fighters of the tournament. Once he had dressed his wounds and fully recovered the Hanyo celebrated very little in fact, he chowed down some of that buffet and took to small training sessions in the privacy of his quarters. Pushups, Situps, Jumping Jacks, usual calisthenics but then, set primary focus on his blind sense and concentration, his timing, reaction speed, his sense of feel which required more mental Will than the physical endurance or prowess.

Seemed the people of Predator Keep's were surprised at the performance of the blind man in that first match, striking a victory against the Russian impressing those who had doubt in his efforts from the jump. Today, marked the day for his second bout, round two, and it been safe to say the foreigner felt more than focused. Approaching the arena once again barefooted, long bangs concealed his face in separate halves midriff his back beyond iridescent, seasoned white eyes. He didn't bare the straw kasa as he had previously. In medium-armor that extended the reach of his body acceptable for the tournament, he fancied himself none for this bout and without the company of his Jigoku wolves. His only exclusive items had been the black scabbard of an average steel katana tucked in the black obi on his right in the most untraditional manner possible and a one foot steel naginata blade in reverse fasten with it's three foot metal polearm protruding roughly from his posterior. Slipping through the doors he quietly kicked across the sand with his feet, his opponent beating him to his arrival. 

Without a doubt if the Momoku continued defeating his opponent's until the finals, his name would reach across the city faster than any thing else. Not only could that excite more followers under his teaching at Hinode no Gakko, but ultimately meant more numbers for the rising Jigoku Empire. At nearly 5'10 the ectomorphic male stopped abruptly across the opposite end of the area, hands dangling loosely to his sides. Facing his opponent atleast fifteen feet away he'd sniff out any misconstrued impressions of the man Arthur. There were things that even the eyes couldn’t see. Coming across the game of the black fur upon his shoulders, he'd ask firmly a question before commencing. This man was a fool to assume he'd not know the answer already, or that he couldn't distinguish the way it scented. But, his honesty was to be judged first then came his fighting.

"Is that pelt you wear from a Wolf?"

@Voldemort

Edited by Etched In Stone

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The black mage continued to pace from side to side, getting his blood pumping as he watched Kenshi make his approach and step onto the stone arena. Arthur was ready to fight, his anticipation almost too much to bear as he settled in the center, and stood defiantly fifteen feet from his opponent. If the martial artist from Jigoku wanted to advance to the next round, he would have to destroy the mutant, so powerful was his desire to prove victorious. Of course, nothing particular about his current opponent caused Arthur to act in such a way; the mage hadn't done any research on any of his competition and only knew Artanthos. Had he, he would have found out that Kenshi was from the court of Xartia's son, making the match-up quite personal as they were both fighting men with diametrically opposed allegiances. Arthur, however, entered the bout as ignorant to his opponent's identity, and perhaps wouldn't have cared much if he did know. It didn't change what the mutant was going to do to him.

Arthur turned towards his fur-clad robes he had left upon the sands after Kenshi had asked his question. The look upon the mage's wolfish features was confused, unsure as to the point of his opponent's line of inquiry, or what it had to do with their fight. The mutant shrugged his shoulders, deciding not to ponder on the subject and instead chose to respond. "A dire wolf," the black mage replied matter-of-a-factly, "But we're not here to yap about wildlife..." 

Swiftly, the mutant wasted little time as he advanced on his opponent. He held the seven foot long wooden pole of his pollaxe in both hands, his right hand nearer to the head whilst his left was positioned closer to the weapon's spiked queue. Arthur carried the pollaxe perpendicular to his torso, taking purposeful steps towards his opponent and closing the distance between them quickly. However, while Kenshi's naginata was surprisingly short, the mage's pollaxe (or his wizard's staff as he liked to call it) could strike at his opponent from quite a ways away. Planting his left leg forward (eight feet remaining between them), he rapidly transitioned his pollaxe into a high guard, holding the entire polearm over his head and roared thunderously as he delivered a downwards chop towards the top of Kenshi's head. The attack cut the air asunder with a great WHOOSH, displaying Arthur's lack of concern for the damage he'd wrought if the axe head connected.

@Etched In Stone

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There had been an official looking man standing not far from where Gabriela just so happened to find herself agonizing over what to do. Upon realizing that the man might carry some semblance of authority, at least in so far as the tournament was concerned, Gabriela approached him with the intention of inquiring to the whereabouts of the Dawnwood encampment. However, the man was a quick-shot, and before she could say anything -- no sooner had she cleared her throat and uttered a very small and quiet, “pardon me, sir,” -- than he jumped into action.

“The current matches can be viewed down below -- that way, young lady, that way,” he said with a flippant tone that denoted his annoyance with her and everyone else who had asked him this very question about a hundred times already. He lifted a hand and pointed a finger, and didn’t much care that the young woman looked in the direction that he pointed but then looked right back up at him with her big, golden eyes all wide and framed by furrowed brows. “Go on, down the stairs, to the center of the fortress. You better hurry, the next match already started and you’ll be lucky to see anything if you don’t get going.”

“But I…”

“Look, it’s impossible to get lost. Follow the crowds or the noise -- everyone is there already. Now go on, we must keep the foot traffic moving.”

Gabriela turned to look to the right and then to the left. There were a few people around them, most of them standing and chit-chatting, or walking about slowly with soft goals in mind. She couldn’t begin to understand the urgency behind the strange man’s voice. And although she considered trying to ask her question one last time, she considered the newly presented proposition. 

What would it hurt to go see one of the matches? 

She was in desperate need of a distraction and a moment alone with her thoughts. And it was always a wonder -- with her, she always felt her loneliest when she was sitting right, smack down in the middle of a crowd. 

“Thanks, I guess…” she murmured to the man before turning and walking off in the direction he had pointed.

He smiled brightly. 

He was rather proud of how helpful he was in his new job. 

~*~

It wasn’t hard to find the arena. The man directing traffic hadn’t been wrong with his directions. It was pretty much a straight shot from the surface down what seemed like an endless flight of turning stairs. After about five or ten minutes of climbing down she began to hear the dull roar of cheering, which only grew louder and louder the closer she got. And by the time that she finally arrived and entered through one of the main gates into a designated spectator seating area, the fight looked like it was about to begin. 

There were a few boos and hisses made in her general direction as she picked her way forward toward a small area of seating that was empty. Lucky for her, it didn’t look like she would have to be sharing her personal space with anyone. And so, a pretty girl in a blue coat with astonishing long, dark hair, made quite a disruption by entering the spectator area after the fight had started. She was a sight, in her powder blue ensemble when everyone else seemed so content on wearing darker colors, browns, blacks, or burnt and tanned shades of gold, green, and red. 

She hadn’t come with the intention of watching the fight, but rather finding a place to be alone -- but it seemed she had joined just at the onset of the action. One of the men involved in the fight had drawn his weapon and was dashing forward in a remarkably reckless sort of way. Gabriela couldn’t help but frown, and worry, even while she tried to put her mind away from the fight and onto more pressing matters, like getting a hold of a member of the Dawnwood family and convincing them that she was in fact the Black Queen of Orisia.

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Only then, did a smirk of half-sarcasm etch Kenshi's lips yet in truth the man's answer really held no weight. His integrity was valued if only briefly, before finding itself interrupted with the idea of his question seeming useless.

Sooner than ever the crowd demanded a show with their roars and uplifting applause. The hanyo's feet grounded firmly in the stone, slightly arched, extending a feel for the surface as his white wolfish eyes aligned themselves forward - his composure seemed no different than his fight against Bishop. This man in his aggressions appeared in similar energy, no less dynamic than the Russian. With breathing moderate and controlled, his tunneled canine senses took in to noting his surroundings all, fairly quickly - his blindsenses painted a battle as the man took to a head-on charge. Not only did the great WHOOSH cut the air asunder, it alerted Kenshi of two things; from where the weapon was striking, and how close it had been prior to the execution. Of course, the blind ookami did not see such things as physical external force, or speed rather, but one thing was certain. Discerning the sounds of blades or blunt weapons, distance, sudden body movements, even deception. These teachings over nearly two hundred years had been instilled in him and as a Spiritual warrior, Kenshi was far more in tune, in sync with his awareness than he needed to be for any attack at this moment. Hinodegakure and the Tadokuro regime glorified him as the Senjo no Okami "Wolf of the Battlefield" nearly two centuries ago. Could be possibly this tournament was used to sharpen up some loose ends? As the poleaxe cut through the air, unhesitant in his decision to react the Soke lifted his left foot in side step towards his own left - his entire body evaded the slash that now pummeled for the dirt. Concomitantly did Kenshi pivot, shifting his shoulders and hips to his right, applying said weight to his legs as they twisted along with both feet at almost a ninety-degree angle of each other. Whether the man seen the seamless flash of the Katana from it's scabbard in the overhand grip of the Practitioner’s right, at this point he might have had difficulties manipulating his weapon from its already sky-rocketing momentum. With the hisaki tip and bladed edge slanted enough to aim for the intended slash to direct a horizontal left-right course through the man's neck into his own beheading, seeing he'd knew no other way out perhaps. Even yet that didn't halt Kenshi's next movement. A deep thrust of the blade into the robed garment on his gut region, stepping his weight into the impalement, he'd further close the distance between he and his opponent. 

@Voldemort

Edited by Etched In Stone

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Blood and violence. Lust and cheap thrills. Such was what made up the lives of humans, and this tournament that gambled on lives proved it. He had never been fond of mankind, but this was disgusting. He glanced over the heads of the gathered spectators as they cheered the combatants, a sneer of contempt passing over his face. In all the many years he had been alive, he had seen nothing but humans bringing death wherever they went. Perhaps it was only fitting that they now sought to kill each other in pastimes such as this.

Alas, he had not come to view the fight. No, his sojourn here, far from Genesaris, carried a far more important purpose.

A tall man of auburn hair and golden eyes flecked with silver picked his way carefully through the balconies and favored seating, ignoring the irritated look sand growls aimed toward his intrusion. He had chosen clothes carefully for this event, this foray, making sure to blend in with the rest of the Terran –pardon, the Fracturians? – now gathered together. The style of Fracture was different from his homeland, and due to the hostility between the two lands, he had no wish to announce where he was from. He had picked out as humble sierra-brown coat and a simple tunic and slacks of modest dark browns and reds, with vines embroidered around the low collar and loosely fitted sleeves. A pair of low leather boots completed the ensemble.

He followed the path that had drawn him here, the sense that he had carefully traced ever since the aura had changed in a way so thorough and drastic it could not possibly be ignored. As such, he found her quickly, the girl in blue –the human girl – seated alone amidst even this great crowd. With smooth steps and a graceful sweep his tall, angular body, he dove in like a predatory bird and sat beside her, draping a long arm across her petite shoulders.

“Why the long face, my dear?” Ryzerus smiled.

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When Kenshi sidestepped the mage’s first attack, the axe split the air near the other man’s ear, illustrating just how close it had come to cleaving his head into mushy parts. However, unlike how the katana-wielding man assumed, Arthur did not over swing his pollaxe. It didn’t continue on, rocketing towards the ground nor did Arthur find it difficult to manipulate the long implement. On the contrary, as the pollaxe slipped by Kenshi, the mage tensed his body and brought the pollaxe to its predetermined end point. Arthur ended his attack in a guard position; the axe stopping just under the level of Kenshi’s head in forward-facing position that was adequate to thrust from. 

Arthur wasted little precious time as his opponent would waste none; the warrior pivoted towards the right and drew his katana in a flash. Meanwhile, the mutant pivoted to the right as well and leaned back hard on his right heel (back leg.) Meanwhile, the mutant reached higher along the pole with his lead hand (the right), turning the head of the pollaxe upwards and to the right, which followed the short distance Kenshi had traveled. Though the offensive section of Arthur’s weapon could do little to thwart the swordsman’s coming attack, and Arthur’s body wasn’t near enough to preempt his opponent’s cut. It didn’t mean that Arthur could do nothing with the rest of the pole weapon. With his weapon extended towards Kenshi, the pole created a zone of defense of sorts.

As the mutant moved the polearm to the right, Kenshi would manage to pull his blade from his saya. However, as the swordsman did so, the new position of Arthur’s polearm would impede in Kenshi’s motion. Arthur drove the upper third of the pole into the swordsman’s right forearm, over binding the limb, stopping the cutting motion short, and parrying the attempt on the mage’s neck. Aside from preempting Kenshi’s attempt to close the distance, the motion of the pole weapon accomplished a secondary role as well. Placing his weight on his backfoot and causing the rest of his body to lean away from Kenshi, the mage created the space that would maneuver the spear point at the top of the pollaxe so that it was perfectly aligned with Kenshi’s face.

Arthur applied pressure on the swordsman’s forearm from above, keeping the limb in his control as he jabbed swiftly for a thrust. The mutant aimed to drive the foot long spike through the lower half of Kenshi’s face, likely penetrating into his mouth cavity if Arthur proved successful. 

@Etched In Stone

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The bench was hard and cold. That was all Enid could think about as she peered down into the arena, shifting uncomfortably where she sat and folding her arms tight to avoid bumping elbows with anyone who sat near her. She didn't give much thought to her surroundings otherwise. A flutter of movement to one side of her vision, a flash of something blue on the other, and the swell of cheers came from all around. She liked people. Really, she did. But the revel of the spectators reminded her of something primal and ancient and all too familiar. It was an unusual feeling.

Enid fit in well enough with the rest of the crowd; There seemed to be a general preference for dark, mostly black attire. Everything from the tip of her pointed hat, to her embroidered coat, to the heels of her boots was black on black on black, save a few blooming flowers atop the hat's brim. The pink and purple blooms stood in stark contrast to the otherwise dark ensemble and the green tint of her skin.

The witch was not generally drawn to competition (though, she would confess, she was no stranger to it either), but this was an exception. She watched Arthur as he'd paced about in the center of the arena, looking the part of a wild animal in a cage. He wasn't agitated, though, just eager. She could tell that much even at a distance. Of course, she'd known him for longer and far better than anyone else in her life, save maybe her own mother. If the witch couldn't recognize his body language by now, then she'd never really paid attention. Still, it had been a long while since she'd witnessed her friend in proper (mostly) sporting combat.

His opponent, by contrast, seemed calm. He approached Arthur with an even stride and an empty gaze, and it took some time for the seer to realize that the other man was at least partially, if not completely blind. “Interesting..” she thought aloud, though the word wouldn't carry over the sounds of the crowd. The exchange between them was brief, and in the span of a breath the fight had begun.

Both men moved with purpose, but Arthur's way of advancing on the other was, for lack of a better word, aggressive. Beyond aggressive. Which only made sense (it was combat, after all), but there was something simultaneously joyful and furious in the way he moved. And though the other man was swift, she wondered if it would be enough.

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The head on strike missed, but just barely -- Gabriela imagined the sound of the axe splitting the air as it cut down and through the air just besides Kenshi’s head. She imagined the sound and drew it forth from the archive of her mind, the place where such memories were stored, swearing that such a sound must exist given the type of life she has lived. But everything was blurry, every thought and, most certainly, every memory. And so she didn’t know if the sound she imagined was real or made up, but whatever the case, it drew her into the fight in a way that the action alone could not. Suddenly, she was imagining what the sound of their breathing was like -- what did the air sound like when it came whistling out past Arthur’s slightly parted lips just as he pivoted to follow after the retreating Kenshi? As for the Kenshi, she imagined how smooth and how slick his blade hummed through the air while his feet caught the grains of sand under the weight of his shifting heels and the balls of his toes. 

 

Her eyes were about to close, just as a symphony threatened to come to life -- built entirely upon the imagined sounds of battle -- when she felt a shadow move across her followed by the heavy weight of an unwelcome arm. 

 

“Why the long face, my dear?”

 

Gone were the fierce, and hauntingly beautiful golden eyes -- those legendary golden eyes of the Black Queen of Orisia. They had been replaced by honey-warmed eyes. They were the sort of eyes the color of freshly polished topaz when it’s held up to the sun, radiant, beautiful, but earthy and heavily grounded. There was nothing ethereal about her now, but rather something dense and profoundly dark. 

 

“The glory of bloodshed hardly ever seems a happy matter,” she replied, shrugging her shoulders in a curt but sustained manor, one that would ensure his lazy arm would fall away from her small form. With a miniscule motion, she ensured that he knew that his physical advances were not wanted. But the odd thing was that she did not immediately get up and walk away. Odd indeed, considering the quality of the time they had spent together. Then too, like now, she had been under disguise. “I am simply trying to take in the fight.”

 

There was silence then -- but Gabriela kept up appearances. Her eyes were set on the fight below, and they traced the movements of the opponents who seemed to dance and glide more than jab and slash. Fighting for sport was a strange business, the sort she had never understood but had been forced to patronize since she was a child and long before she was a queen in Valucre. Even so, she found herself thinking that she had never given it a proper chance. This seemed interesting enough, but maybe that had more to do with the fact that she found herself yearning for the violent outlet that came so easily to the two strangers below. 

 

“I find it problematic that you found me, Ryzerus.”

 

Her words came suddenly, but quiet -- a whisper that she hoped no one but the High Lord would hear. She didn't bother looking away from the fight, instead, her lovely gaze darted about the arena with the two brawling figures. 

 

“For reasons that I am sure you can imagine. I thought my transformation would do away with everything that remained of my old self -- be a dear and tell me what remains of Gabriela?”

 

@The Hummingbird

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Though his eyes were fixed steadily on the battle, Ryzerus’s true attention was focused on the dethroned Queen of Orisia. While his senses did not fail to take in the wonders of the tournament, they were sharpened further on the woman who hated him so. As the fighters below moved in stealth and violence through dust and dirt thrown up by heavy footfalls and air stirred by blade and body, he carefully examined the Queen through touch alone.

She was warm now, giving off the human quality of body heat. Her skin was darker, and her eyes were no longer the molten gold he was familiar with. She was so different in this human body – ah, but she was still beautiful, still alluring. And her voice. That was the same too, and he smiled.

When she attempted to free herself from his arm, he merely leaned into her and tightened his hold. She wasn’t getting away. To any onlookers, they might see only an intimate couple, unaware of the tension between the two, the disdain and the hate and the uncomfortable strain that tightened both their faces and their chilly manner.

“You’re not happy to see me?” his asked, his voice dripping a sweet poison. He shifted in his seat and rolled his eyes. “Please. I wrapped my powers around you the moment I decided you were worth the effort.” He raised a hand and waved it around, mimicking the motion of weaving an invisible thread. “Marvel at my uncanny ability to hide my magic from even the likes of ancient vampyres. Now that you’re human, of course, you’re even more helpless than before.”

Ryzerus leaned back as the figures down below began to fight in earnest. He watched then with boredom in his eyes. He had seen battles to the death, entire wars razing entire cities, he had seen airships crash into holy temples, gods and deities impaled and defiled – what was this, compared to all that?

“What made you decide to abandon your heritage, Gabriela?” he suddenly asked, a little too loud for comfort. “What are your plans now? While your kingdom slowly shrivels and dies, what will you do? Oh, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t give a fuck about your kingdom. No, no. It’s you I’m most interested in. I’ve never seen someone run so desperately from everything when it goes wrong. Imagine, being one of the great powers in the world… then leaving it behind.”

He glanced at her. “But you’re still Gabriela, my dear. You ask what remains of her? Everything that matters, love.”

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“Marvel at my uncanny ability to hide my magic from even the likes of ancient vampyres. Now that you’re human, of course, you’re even more helpless than before.”

 

Pinned to his side, Gabriela held her breath in an attempt to control her temper. Vampyre or human, she felt the same quick fuse light in her belly the moment he tightened his grip around her shoulders and pulled her into him harder and firmer. Her eyes, no longer the unearthly shades of molten gold they once were, settled on his elegant hand as it tossed itself into the air to create intricate, imagined patterns of weaving. 

 

“You weave your web far and wide -- what a disgusting type of insect you are,” she replied while tilting her head and seeming to try and look over the annoying hand gestures he insisted on performing. If others looked upon them, if they cared to examine their facial features, no one would guess that this couple was intimate in any way, shape, or form. Her expression was almost, nearly as cold and serious as when she had been a vampyre, a feat that Ryzerus would surely be proud to know he had attained. 

 

“What made you decide to abandon your heritage, Gabriela.”

 

“Do you really have to ask? Your brother is bonded intimately with the source of my despair.”

 

“What are your plans now? While your kingdom slowly shrivels and dies, what will you do? Oh, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t give a fuck about your kingdom. No, no. It’s you I’m most interested in. I’ve never seen someone run so desperately from everything when it goes wrong. Imagine, being one of the great powers in the world… then leaving it behind.”

 

The ice-cold mask cracked and Gabriela smiled. It was a mocking thing, a curl of her full lips -- just a slight thing that bordered a snarl in a shift of the light. Her eyes were still intently set upon the arena below, and the unfolding events that made her realize there would be no fight tonight.

 

“Surely you’re not speaking about Irene Gabriela DuGrace -- a great power? You’re a fool if you ever believed that to be true. I was a great trophy, a sought after toy, a source of endless entertainment for a slew of masochists -- yourself included, High Lord. Let’s not muddy the waters with obvious lies, not between us, not between such good friends as you and I. I’ve never had power, nor have I ever sought it. Gabriela is dead and gone, and soon so will her memory be as well.”

 

She felt his glance -- the weight of it as he regarded her.

 

“But you’re still Gabriela, my dear. You ask what remains of her? Everything that matters, love.”

 

Like water being poured over her face and sheets of makeup running off her smooth features, leaving behind a fresh and honest perspective -- Gabriela’s brows pinched, her eyes misted, and her lips fell half open. If what Ryzerus said was true, and there was something of her old self left in this new shell, and whatever it was that happened to be left was essentially what mattered most…

 

“Hate,” she said soft -- a prayer, a broken hallelujah. “Giving up my heritage meant giving up any hope that this world could be redeemed. All that’s left of Gabriela now is the hurt, anger, and hate.” 

 

She looked at him, those brows still pinched hard and her expression heartbreakingly honest.

 

 “Everything I loved was taken. Everything I could have loved -- I threw away. I don’t even feel sadness. I can’t weep for the loss. All I feel is hate. I despise the world. I despise the noise, the violence, and cruelty. I ache for it to end. I ache for it to cease once and for all.”

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On 11/24/2019 at 10:10 AM, Voldemort said:

Arthur drove the upper third of the pole into the swordsman’s right forearm, over binding the limb, stopping the cutting motion short, and parrying the attempt on the mage’s neck. Aside from preempting Kenshi’s attempt to close the distance, the motion of the pole weapon accomplished a secondary role as well. Placing his weight on his backfoot and causing the rest of his body to lean away from Kenshi, the mage created the space that would maneuver the spear point at the top of the pollaxe so that it was perfectly aligned with Kenshi’s face.

Kenshi's free rosary left hand the instant the slashing of his unconventional Iiajutsu seemed thwarted by the poleaxe's upper shaft (if not mistaken) he became far more aware of the immediate surroundings in the contact of his opponent's defense. His fingers found themselves binding near the upper portion that pressed against his forearm, crossing the air shoving the single grip downward against Arthur's sturdiness. The Practitioner's legs swept from their grounded formation, shifting to the left this time as his hips swung naturally, flowing rhythmically with the rest of his body that danced this battle. In his control and redirection of not only the shaft head but Kenshi's own body weight, Arthur placed his own backfoot to lean away to adjust the distance again, but the poleaxe remained in temporarily tact. By removing his targeted limb from being contacted the foreigner also freed the sword hand and the maneuverability he held over it. In a right-cross motion of his overhanded grip on the Katana bending the elbow and the forearm, contorting the handle of the blade in way so the hilt and his thumb aligned mid-way down at his chest, the Ha edge on his sword erected in a slash perpendicular to the arm to halt with it's tip pressed against the Mage's neck upon the jugular. His blind gaze and wolfish features for the first time took a good look at the man the Swordslayer's mouth opened and he spoke clearly in his intents. If Arthur was an honorable folk, than he'd take the Soke's words with heed, grant passage and without stabbing him in the back first. If some body had to die today in order for that to occur, what choice would the hanyo really have?

"Prove me your skills outside of this tournament, Mage man. Celebrate this short victory, however because today you have won. Find me in Jigoku, if you’ve any doubts."

Torqueing the shaft head haphazardly in a leftward the opposite direction, releasing his grip of the poleaxe he placed his feet to balance in front staring into Arthur's eyes, he'd take a bow and push off in the direction of the arena doors. Whether the audience felt as if they wasted their funds on such a weak spectacle of a match, which, no doubt some would shew and shout. To the spiritual warrior however, none of that mattered as he head to his quarter in tranquil nonchalant.

@Voldemort

 

Edited by Etched In Stone

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His opponent had erred. If it had been his prerogative to forfeit the match, he should have disengaged and departed. It would have been safest. Arthur’s upbringing among the Ouread Hexblades would have urged the black mage to chase the departing Kenshi out of the chamber like a mad dog. The mutant would have had to control himself, knowing that such conduct would likely see him disciplined by the tournament organizers. However, his opponent had no intention of ending the battle cleanly. Instead, Kenshi chose to persist, stepping forward with his left leg and attempting to grab hold of the mage’s pollaxe. It would prove a grave mistake. With the pole braced against his opponent’s right forearm, the tip of the foot long spike at the top of the axe head was less than a foot away from Kenshi’s face. Simply, with the spiritual warrior’s left hand on his sword’s saya and his left hip rotated away, pulling the scabbard back to draw his sword from his Iaido stance. His hand had to travel much farther to grab the pole than the linear route that the spear needed to travel in order to reach its target. Arthur’s opponent’s advancing step only shortened the distance the spear needed to travel significantly. It also presented the left side of his cheeks as a target. If the spear connected with its target, and it was likely to, the spike would penetrate flesh and travel unimpeded through Kenshi’s mouth (causing damage to gums and teeth) until it exited through the opposite side of his face. Arthur pushed forward on the polearm, aiming to drive Kenshi backwards and to the ground in a dynamic display of strength and technique.

@Etched In Stone

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Though most of his face remained frozen in indifference, one brow rose as Gabriela concluded her words. For whatever she might be now, he saw that she was no longer the small, weak, pathetic creature he only once visited in the cold of night, and tortured in the strange lands far from here. No black tears fell from her honeyed eyes; there was no sadness to be seen. No love for anything, no claim even on sympathy, nothing but what she spoke of – a cold, dark, consuming hate for a world that had betrayed her endlessly.

Slowly he removed his arm from her shoulders, his hand coming to rest with its twin on his lap, where his fingers tapped in a rhythmic pattern. The battle waged on the field before him was forgotten, even as one turned to go and the other declined to surrender with any note of grace. People were cheering and cursing and booing all around him, but he gave none of this any notice. All that mattered was this small form of hate sitting at his side, looking into his eyes unflinching, undaunted.

Then he inclined his head toward her, in a unexpected sign of what she had never earned before.

Respect.

“Now you see,” he said, his voice dropped to a venomous whisper, but the fangs dripping with it were not aimed at her. “This world. What is it to you, this place of shame and treachery? What did it ever matter and why? Why did you ever care for it, when it has brought you to this end?” His lips curled in a sneer. “And I will tell you, it gets only worse. Look through yourself beyond this land, and tell me what you see. What? Is it not so easy? Then let me tell you – blood. Blood and betrayal, treason and hypocrisy.”

Again his hand shot to her, to seize her chin, forcing her to look at him once more, their eyes matching, one of honey and one of silver-flecked gold. “Hurt, Gabriela? Why are you hurt? Why bother to feel hurt? It does you no good. Hurt is a weakness, which you cannot afford any longer. My dear, you are utterly alone in this world, and I am your only listener. Yes, me, one whom you despise. I am the only who understands your hate for this… realm of atrocity.  

“You call me a masochist? Why not? This world, Genesaris the heart of it all, sustains me, and I enjoy watching it rot for all it has become. Even this place whose people worship a so-called Saint has wilted in violence and love for bloodshed. Indeed, I am a masochist, and I’m also a sadist, because I enjoy the pain it must endure now, all the killing… for the sake of pain and the sake of killing. For my sake, Gabriela.

“I am Ryzerus Ryan Destiny, and the destiny I see, is a vile end that lies in a cold, disdained grave.”

His brought his face close to hers. So close. “Show me what you’ve learned, my love. Spit on the grave.”

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