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Voldemort

Final Meeting in Dawn Komturie: The Charnel House

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There was never the intention to defend from James, the Daemonslayer had thrown himself into the jumping knee wholeheartedly to try and catch the recovering mage, and perhaps that was his own salvation. As his strike carried him past Arthur, he threw his arms down forth, adding just that extra bit of momentum forward, rendering the mage's hook to be more of a glancing blow. Painful, but not debilitatingly so yet.

Had the battle mage been able to use James's momentum against him it might have been crippling, but that was not the case here. It was still a deadly a risk to try and counter head on.

He landed from the flying knee and spun to face Arthur, hands up and held loosely at neck level, the pain in his side driving his teeth into a feral grin. Pain, it fueled him. "Good! Nice recovery" he praised. A lesser man might have been caught by that rushdown combination. 

@Voldemort

Edited by Fierach

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Even without a solid impact along James’ side, a flash of pain erupted at the sight of impact and shot upwardly across the length of his arm and into his shoulder. Arthur pulled his arm back to its defensive position and gingerly rolled the painful joint. The mage regarded his opponent, who’d spun around to face him, with a confident look and grin of his own. “Not so bad yourself.”

Without any more warning, the mutant burst into sudden action, taking a stride towards the master knight’s new position with his left leg. Arthur’s right leg followed suit. However, instead of switching to southpaw with another stride, the black mage lifted his right knee past his abdomen in the beginnings of a front kick. Swiftly, his right leg began to straighten out, aiming to slam the ball of his foot against the left side of his abdomen. 

But it was a feint! His leg would never straighten the full way, using the sudden movement to force the knight’s hands (which were near his neck) lower to defend the body kick. Instead, Arthur’s leg swiveled in a counter-clockwise half-circle, moving in a question mark-like trajectory from which the kick received its name. The front turned round kick swung towards the left side of James’ face, poised to acquaint the in-step of Arthur’s foot to the knight’s cheek. Hopefully, the possibility of continuing to be struck in the same compromised position would leave his opponent’s head open to attack. 
 

@Fierach

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Arthur was a a little bit better off in their trades so far. He was a skilled fighter, and their exchanges probably gave him a bit more confidence even, but James remained unconcerned. The Daemonslayer was a man who didn't mind giving up a pound of flesh to break his opponent's bones, and he was willing to bet that the battle mage still wasn't nearly as tough or as strong as he was.

Therefore, he would switch his tactics up, looking to bait that dual exchange. If he had to break a rib to break Arthur's jaw, so be it.

As Arthur came in, James never lowered his guard, levering up his left leg into the path to check what he believed was an incoming front kick, that never materialized. 

What inside happened was the snap of force against his left forearm, absorbing most of the force of the feint's follow-up. It pained badly, and sent him swaying away to the side due to having been balanced on one leg, but James grit his teeth and stomped back down, throwing his weight back forth to bull through, and send a devastating full-body right straight into Arthur's center mass. 

Edited by Fierach

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The mutant’s kick landed with a thunderous whack; the mage grinning with intense satisfaction as he bombarded James’ guard with enormous force. It didn’t matter if the other man blocked it as he did. After all, an arm could only withstand so many blows before it becomes difficult to punch or lift them to block strikes. In a single swift motion, Arthur whipped his leg back to its original position, maintaining his orthodox stance as the master knight swayed away off balanced before regaining his own footing. Arthur would undoubtedly recover his footing first, naturally transitioning from his kick with the balance of a lifelong martial artist. However, he used the extra time to observe his opponent’s next move, which came straight away. 

The master knight stomped down his raised foot and launched a straight towards the mage’s body. Arthur countered immediately as he took a step forward, the toes of his lead foot (the left) becoming parallel with James own lead leg. The mage pivoted his feet to the right, and twisted his hips clockwise as he threw a lead left hook. Stepping into James’ punch, the blow landed on the mage’s left flank, punishing the mutant’s sturdy rib cage. The mage exhaled in anticipation of the strike, not allowing the punch to force the oxygen from his lungs, nor to hamper the force behind his own attack. 

As the master knight’s arm struck from below, Arthur’s left hand looped overtop James’ outstretched limb. It traveled in a short parabola, his fist poised to swing over James’  shoulder and strike the master knight on his right temple barely an instant after his own strike landed on Arthur. He hoped his timing would prevent James from reeling his right arm in time to defend, knowing that the knight’s lead hand was well out of the way and unable to defend a strike from the angle the mage chose. In the mutant’s eyes, it was a good trade off if it worked. While James’ strike opened the opportunity for future strikes, wearing down his ribs like Arthur had been doing. Arthur’s hook was liable to scramble the master knight’s brain outright; every ounce of the mage’s two hundred and fifteen pound frame committed to the strike. 
 

@Fierach

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James drove forth, unrelenting, sensing the incoming hook in his periphery vision. It took a great deal of effort to recovery from being unbalanced by the kick earlier, and he leaned into the motion hard, taking a half-step forward on his other leg

He used his head.

Literally.

He drove his head forth into Arthur's chest, perhaps a surprising move, but no doubt effective at lessening the power of the other man's strike, clipping the back of his head and sending a fresh burst of disorientation jarring through him, but it didn't matter at this range. The mage was too close to slip away easily.

He'd then throw two quick body shots in succession from the sides, torquing his body from side to side, first with his left hand to target Arthur's liver, and then with his right again, targeting the section of rib he had made contact with only moments before. They were fast strikes, with a minimal of reduced power as a result of distance and speed, but they had the potential to be effective enough if they struck the vital areas directly. They'd stick to Arthur afterwards as well, as he had little doubt the mage would try to grapple him with the opening he presented.

@Voldemort

Edited by Fierach

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The mutant grinned wolfishly, his animalistic eyes watching with curiosity as the master knight lunged forward with his head. His opponent was quick and difficult to catch solidly, and it made the bout that much more fun. Far more entertaining than Arthur had been expecting, and certainly more entertaining than any of his fights during the Feast of Blades. With James head leading, Arthur’s left hook dinged off the back of the knight’s head, his hand looping over his opponent’s right shoulder. The mage was game and he met James’ advance with an advance of his own. Arthur leaned his upper body forward, bracing and pushing his weight into the advancing knight as his left hand gripped the back of James’ head. Meanwhile, the mage’s left forearm braced itself against the master knight’s right shoulder and chest, forming a barrier against James’ forward movement. 

Simultaneously, Arthur’s right arm came forward as well, knowing that one hand wasn’t enough and  that James had abandoned the inside track for the outside. The mage jammed his right forearm into the master knight’s left shoulder, his right hand looping around to the back of James’ head to meet its partner and complete the double collar-tie. With one arm, the mutant would have been hard pressed to keep James away. But with two, keeping the master knight’s head from making contact with Arthur’s chest was simple. James had kept his arms outside, poised to strike, and it made it easy to control the knight’s head. 

Arthur pushed into James’ shoulders with his arms, keeping his head just shy of the mage’s torso. Whether the master knight elected to launch his hooks or not, the mutant was prepared as he took a retreating step with his left leg and attempted to swing his arms to the left (while still holding his opponent’s head). The motion would make Arthur’s right elbow flare outwardly, partially blocking the bicep area of James as he would begin to swing his first strike. However, primarily, the motion (if successful) would force the master knight’s head and upper body to tip towards James’ right. With his head already coming forward and his body leaning inwardly, it was a real possibility that Arthur would pull the master knight off balanced, making his posture an awful platform for striking, likely stealing much of the force of James’ first strike and making his position to awkward to launch the second.

Exhaling as he was struck, the mage gritted his teeth and brought his left knee up high. If Arthur managed to whip James’ towards his right, it would present the right side of the master knight’s head as a target for vicious knees. Arthur aimed to drive his left knee into James’ right temple, exerting an ample amount of force that would undoubtedly leave James rocked if it landed. 
 

@Fierach

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Posted (edited)

James held his neck straight, stiff and steady. Arthur would barely complete his double collar tie as James contested it immediately, pushing up at the mage's right elbow with his left hand after the strike. With his head down, he saw Arthur draw back his left leg clearly and could already anticipate the knee strike. It was a common, and effective strike from this position.

Abandoning the strike with his right hand, James attempted instead to break Arthur's posture at the hip. He lifted up his left foot and stomped forth at the other man's right thigh, cutting off the force travelling up his body, fighting the mage's attempt to swing him around into a rising knee.

It would be ill-advised for the mage to still attempt the knee strike as the slayer's right arm laid in wait to catch it on its recovery, and his left leg threatened to push Arthur's footing out from under him.

Edited by Fierach

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Arthur attempted to swing James’ head towards the left, and found that the master knight had more than enough strength to resist. The mutant felt his opponent’s neck stiffen against the pull of his arms, and the knight’s hand pushing against his right elbow. An effort that left the combatants in something of a stalemate. Of course, he wasn’t dismayed at the initial failure. The mage’s years of Judo had taught him well. He would pressure one way to elicit resistance before reapplying pressure the opposite way to fool his opponent. 

The mutant acted swiftly, taking the opportunity that James offered as the master knight lifted his leg to stomp at Arthur’s lead leg. Suddenly, he reversed his momentum towards his right; the black mage stepping backwards with his right leg in a long retreating step, which moved the limb just out of range of James’ stomping attack as it shot towards him. Simultaneously, Arthur twisted his hips to the right powerfully, pulling the master knight’s head towards the opposite direction with his muscular arms rippling with the effort. 

This time, however, the mutant would hopefully catch his opponent flat-footed. With James unable to find stable footing against his thigh, Arthur’s sudden whipping motion to the right (James’ left) would occur as the master knight stood solely on one leg. A lack of stability that the black mage sought to exploit, attempting to force James into a leftward lunge as he aimed to whip the knight’s head to the right. 

If the mage managed to pull the knight off balance, Arthur’s new back leg (the right) shot upwards in a vicious knee, seeking to meet James’ head halfway. His knee was poised to impact the left side of James’ cheek and jaw, delivering an impressive amount of force that would undoubtedly leave the master knight’s head swimming if it connected. 
 

@Fierach

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Damn but his opponent was swift. James felt his stomp miss, and brought it down to widen and stabilize his stance but the damage was done, with the mage pulling him to the side.

"Hnngh!" The knight could only ready to weather the hit. His left arm had been contesting the collar tie and he made the risky decision to fling it open as he caught the knee squarely in the side of his cheek, bruising bone with an ugly impact. James definitely felt that, but he had his own opening now too. He snaked his arm underneath the leg before it could return down, wrapping his arm under the mage's knee and holding on tightly. 

Now he was the one with a firm stance. Though his head throbbed with pain, he didn't need his unhindered mental faculties to throw the mage. With one arm under Arthur's center of gravity, under his knee, James clasped his other hand around the mage's left wrist, and after clamping down on his foe, he would lift Arthur off his feet and bore him to the stone arena onto his right side, going down with him. In that stroke James would decisively break the headlock and begin to transition to a mount. He trusted the jarring impact to give him just enough time to get into an advantageous position, scrambling to straddle atop Arthur and pin down at least one arm first, the mage's left.   

@Voldemort

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Arthur grinned wolfishly, feeling that satisfying crunch as his knee slammed into the side of James’ head. The mutant had partly assumed that the landing of such an attack would have spelled the end for his opponent. It seemed, however, that the pair were destined to continue impressing one another with their skills and indomitable wills. His knee would land solidly but the master knight was still in the fight, grabbing onto the black mage’s right leg before it could return from its lofty position. It was true that James didn’t need his mental faculties intact to lift and dump a man onto his back. However, against an expert grappler, the dazed knight was at a disadvantage. 

Arthur reacted instinctively against James’ grapple, his right arm looping overtop then underneath the knight’s left bicep in a tight whizzer. His encircled arm would pull upwards on James’ arm, which similarly encircled his leg, and would help mitigate the forces of the knight’s lifting arm by pulling him upwards and towards the left (James’ right). Meanwhile, as James grabbed at his wrist, the mutant’s fingers laced into the master knight’s hair, creating a grip that wouldn’t be easy to dislodge while allowing the mage to manipulate his opponent further. His left arm would join his right, attempting to pull James towards the left again (the knight’s right). 

Meeting his opponent’s grips with grips of his own, Arthur acted swiftly. His right leg was lifted off the air, controlled from underneath his knee, but it wasn’t out of the fight as he swiveled the front of his shin at a slant to frame against the front of James’s thigh. The movement allowed the instep of the mutant’s shoe to loop around to the knight’s inner-thigh. On their own, the various bodily positions the mage adopted would do nothing against the master knight. But together, they would form the weapons to counter James, revealing the magic of Judo as Arthur unleashed a four-pronged attack. 

Arthur pivoted his left foot behind him in a one-eighty degree turn, forcing his entire body to twist towards his left (James’s right). Then, promptly, the mutant would hop back towards James in a penetrating step that would force the mage’s body weight forward, acting as an anchor that would hopefully pull his dazed opponent forward as well. The black mage’s arms were already trying to pull James’ body to his right; the twisting motion of his rotating body only emphasizing the motion as his right leg similarly turned to position his calf against the master knight’s (left) inner-thigh.

The mage would launch his right leg back, attempting to push James’ left leg off the ground. Occurring concurrently with the other forces Arthur was applying, the mutant would attempt a counter Uchi Mata, looking to push James legs off the ground while the mage pulled the knight forward and to the left (his right), hopefully casting James over Arthur’s right hip before launching the knight towards the stone platform of the arena. 

The throw would have worked against a healthy fighter who gained the advantage of grasping the mage’s leg. But against a fighter who had just taken a heavy blow to the dome, who was hoping to slam his opponent with a burst of brute strength alone, the finesse of Arthur’s counter would possibly be temporarily lost on the master knight. 

If Arthur’s counter proved successful, his opponent’s body would be dashed forcefully against the stone platform, allowing the mutant to pass overtop in the momentum of the throw in an attempt to straddle James’ midsection in a full mount of his own. The mage didn’t know if it would be necessary to pin his opponent in such a way, for his slam against the hard floor was perfectly liable to end the match, but his strongest opponent since arriving in Predator’s Keep had already surprised several times since the start of their titanic bout. 

Too bad there wasn’t an audience.

@Fierach

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It was complex perhaps, but for James's own mastery of judo techniques. Judo was the foremost influence on the grappling within his style and the martial artist recognized the form by heart. His senses were dulled, but even so he could feel his foe twist around, and feel the right leg try to extend. Years of repetition kicked into action, and whilst Arthur's Inner-thigh Reaping throw was skillfully done, James executed a counter automatically. Whilst Arthur pulled him, James could still steer by exerting his own force, much like the rudder on a ship. He steered through his hold on Arthur's wrist, and by twisting his left shoulder forward, pushing Arthur's posture upright even as he tried to sling his right leg back. 

James moved with the motion, hooking the mage's leg with his ankle as it tried to sweep him, and as he weakened the other man's posture, swung it right back like a seesaw on a wider arc, taking out Arthur's supporting limb in a mighty reversal. Both men would crash to the ground, Arthur flat on his back, with the Daemonslayer rolling upon his shoulder. He couldn't really feel his left shoulder anymore with the sacrificial drop, but the mage would be harder pressed to react to James rolling atop and bringing his right fist up to his throat, middle knuckle extended.

But the Daemonslayer didn't strike. The meaning was clear enough, as though the fist were a knife.

@Voldemort

Edited by Fierach

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The mutant’s respect would only increase for the master knight as their battle continued. Arthur felt James’ strength working against his attempts to maneuver the man, finding the fortitude and power to force the mutant back into an upright position as he attempted to cast the knight over his lifting leg. With the momentum quickly shifting the other way, it seemed as if all hope was lost for the black mage when his opponent reversed the momentum of his throwing leg, aiming to sweep the mage’s posting leg in the process. However, despite the master knight’s continued display of resourcefulness even after taking some fearsome blows from the mutant, Arthur was still confident that his judo playbook was deeper than James’. 

Arthur acted quickly, hopping his posting foot to the right (so it landed near James’ centerline) and pivoted it so his toes pointed left. From there, the mutant preempted James counter and simply fell sidelong onto his left side. The entangled pair with the mage’s hands gripping the knight’s hair and encircling his left arm in an overhook (and his own set of grips), along with their entangled legs turned the mutant into an anchor of two hundred and fifteen pounds of deadweight that would threaten to pull the master knight along for the ride. 

If the mage’s size advantage and gravity succeeded in pulling James along, Arthur’s right leg would form a ramp that would cast the knight overtop and onto his back, completing the link between the Uchi Mata and the mage’s completed Sumi Gaeshi. Just as James had expected to do, the mutant would also look to sacrifice his left shoulder in the fall, hoping to slam the master knight’s back into the stone platform with enough force to do significant damage. 

Following the momentum of his sacrifice throw, Arthur would roll over to pin James in side control, using his body and his overhook to pin down the master knight’s left arm in the process.

@Fierach

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Feeling the pendulum swing the other way, there was just enough left in the tank for James to push off with both feet as they brushed past the ground, shifting his weight forth into his opponent's modified throw and curling in his upper body in a ukemi, a breakfall, and landing across on his shoulders rather then his back.  

The action led to a roll, rougher then most, yet effective at extricating him from the mage's grip at the cost of some hair and perhaps a bit of dignity as James pulled away, holding his hand to the spot where a patch of his dark locks were ripped off. There was a twitch above the same side's eye, a vein throbbing, out of irritation or pain or perhaps both, but the man's voice was low and measured if Arthur didn't immediately pursue.

"That... is rude"

@Voldemort

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Arthur fell towards the ground and his quick thinking and aptitude pulled the master knight along for the ride. The mutant fell onto his side, trying his best to absorb some of the force of his fall, but knowing that he could only do so much when his falling surface was solid stonework. Despite the pain in his left shoulder, the mage rolled along in his attempt to pin James, but his opponent rolled out of his grasp with the momentum of his rolling fall. The mutant could do little as his opponent extricated himself, save exploding to his feet in a sudden burst of action. After all, they were both still (very much) in a fight. 

However, the mutant didn’t immediately chase the master knight, dropping the clump of hair that remained in his left hand as James spoke.

“Compared to what those your organization was built to battle would do, I’d say I’ve been downright polite..” 

Arthur chuckled through his discomfort, waiting until his opponent was standing and prepared to continue before stepping forward. The mutant led with his right leg, using his superior reach as he extended his right arm in a fast jab, aiming to strike past James’ guard and tag the master knight on the nose. 

@Fierach

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