@strigidae_23: (Thanks :) He's one of those characters where I never ever have to think about what he'll say before I reply to a post. Everything with him just flows. I read a post and I just write down what I know he'll say etc., he's one of the easiest characters for me that I've ever written. And Ivana's easy to interact to so it helps the posts flow even more)
@strigidae_23: (And I like the direction I'm going with him, the mutant extremist bit. It's always kind of been under the surface of his psyche as a person, he's been through enough to want 'justice' by any means, and I think he needed to meet Ivana to finally accept that part of him. And it's been really fun LOL. And you're welcome :) )
@strigidae_23 : Hope you okay with the post? :) (I knowwwwwww. I just revamped Clutch in entireity and it drained me. )
Some victories came with a price in the tsunami of bloodshed that most called War. The world was starting to get to small for the constant feuds and takeovers between humans , mutants , and meta-humans. Politicians feebly attempted to put up a veil of safety for the normal people that tried to live everyday lives in the world by feeding them false hope of a sanctuary where they would be protected. In reality everyone but the strong where being slaughtered like cows and no one in a position to save them seemed to care. Clutch grew tired of the endless hate affairs and had reached out to an old friend when he heard the hopeful news of a place called Super City where the masses would be protected . For a fee of a fallen mutant powerhouse and an allegiance to the people , Clutch's old friend promised that he would build the Wildcardz an instrument that would allow them to leave the forsaken orb called Earth.
The alliance put the Grey Gun and his death merchants in direct friction with the ever-growing Mutant Exodus to Venezuela and even after the dust had settled , the Vibranium and corpse of the Chancellor had been seized , there was bad blood between the factions that briefly aligned . Clutch only saw the ruthless capture of the South American country as a way to further his dreams and he would succeeded at any cost. Even if he had to step on the toes of a few of the most powerful people on the planet. His thwarting of the plan to infect New York City by the Mutant Revolutionary known as Envy had been a milestone for his squadron but he still needed more to fund his ambition. The Ghost in the Shell had believed that it would all come together for him in time , but as of right now there was no time for him to sit idle , because the Strigidae that was his previous employer had put a bounty on the Wildcardz. She wanted them dead for the slick double-crossing that they pulled and she ensured a small cache of Vibranium to whoever brought her the heads of Clutch's team.
The hit had only recently been ordered but in the business of death Clutch heard all , and he was about to make sure he let the Legendary Blind Swords-woman know he was not just gonna surrender to her Iron Fist rule. He would show her that her words only stretched so far and that he and the Wildcardz were untouchable and did not fear death. The plan was underway as the Skull and the Shadow some called Tenjin silently dashed through the wet skull infested catacombs of the Mutant Metropolis. In the span of a few minutes they were directly under their destination and they knew that their entrance would be met by a cascade of Orochi Warriors but they continued on anyway as they planted several explosives under the foundation of what they believed to be the Throne Room of the 23rd Assassin.
The data , blueprints ,and schematics that Clutch had gathered from his first visit to Venezuela proved immensely beneficial to his new preemptive counter-strike against the Samurai Snake Strigidae. Clutch's white skull mask contrasted against the shadows and his ebony shinobi garb merged with the darkness to make him seem like just a floating head with orange glowing eyes as he gave Tenjin the signal to follow him before he shot through the floor above and into a room full of Scarlet Death Dealers and Mutant Soldiers. He had fallen into a trap . Somehow the Strigidae knew he would be there and he let out a howl of robotic toned laughter as he and Tenjin slowly met back to back, drawing their respective instruments of death. Clutch was certainly impressed by the ruthless leader and waited for her to give an order to her Orochi.
"Hmph. I did not expec+ any less from you." He called out to Ivana with his mask making his voice like a cybernetic grim reapers.
"+enjin . Prepare yourself"
Sewer water exploded into a fine mist underneath each step of the Grim Ghost and his comrade Clutch as they sped forth through the labyrinth of tunnels beneath the palace. Adhesive backed binary explosives blinked in unison, that typical red light flashing consistently, much like a heartbeat. Both trained in the art of demolitions, masters of black operations, this was their playing field. As Tenjin moved, his armor made him disappear and reappear like a specter in the shadows only in the dim incandescence did he seem to take shape. Then only as a quick footed ebon ghoul whose movements seemed difficult to track. Hundreds of these clandestine missions had been under his belt, this was simply ritual. Another bomb to plant, another item to steal, another life to take. Commonplace. However, this mission was much more personal. Ivana, twenty third of her rank had threatened the lives of his kinsmen. Whether or not this was justified was trivial. Placing contracts on professional murderers was serious business, deadly business yet placing contracts on members of the notorious Wildcardz was practically suicidal to most. She was a warrior without equal in the eyes of her followers, unquestionably one of the most dangerous beings on the planet. Yet, the mercenaries in the catacombs feared nothing with a pulse. Nor, anything for that matter. The consequences that where soon to follow should not be surprising.
The skull masked leader of the rebel band stood in the center of the sewer and without gazing back, gave a military style hand signal; drawing his arm back with his hand near his thigh and motioning it forward. Followed by a second in which Clutch lifted his arm into the air in a clenched fist and drew is arm up and down thrice. Tenjin responded without word and double timed, bolting from his position meters away. Just as Clutch breached the floor of the palace, Katsuro was right behind him, his FN F2000 assault rifle in hand, safety off and set to fully automatic. Spinning on his heels, he drew the firearm up as he descended into a crouch, pressing the butt of the stock into his shoulder. Covering his sword brother's six his index finger put light pressure on the trigger as his scarlet glowing eyes shot left to right, cybernetics gathering a plethora of information. Most importantly, they were utterly surrounded by Orochi and mutant soldiers.
Rising slowly to his feet and taking but a few strides backwards, the barrel of his rifle scanning skulls as he neared Clutch's back. Just then, Tenjin outstretched the rifle with his left arm, maintaining perfect balance while the handle of his beloved katana ejected from a flat space holster on his left hip in a small jet of steam. His right hand rested on the handle near the tsuba as he drew the anti-metal blade. The slow slither of death echoed in the silence just before his comrade burst into his robotic guffaw. Resting the back of the single edged sword across his broad shoulders, assault rifle pointing to a mass of foes, he joined in with an alarmingly joyous chuckle. As Clutch spoke, the Living Shadow locked his feet into a combat stance, awaiting to see what would come of this heated and bad blooded encounter. Nonetheless Tenjin was indeed prepared.
"Captured huh" Guards snapped to attention as the Shogun of Venezuela strode past. Scarred black armor covered her limbs and torso and a crimson cloth wrapped around her eyes. She was accompanied by her blue furred ally, Arrachtach. His stained white lab coat clattered with pockets full of half completed gadgetry and smelled of grease and oil.
"Indeed. It was during the battle however none of the guards are certain what to do with him."
"Huh. Well, seems like a resourceful guy. Lets see what he has to say."
The rounded the final corner in the underground dungeon, Ivana keeping pace with Arrachtach using her somatic reading to track his footsteps and match his pace though blind.
"Hey. Prisoner guy." She rapped on the bars with guantleted fingers. "What's your story?"
"It's been about a week now...I think. There's no way of telling the time here. Well, I also spent most of my stay here sleeping and planning an escape. Would I be succesful? I don't think so...", the resting scoundrel thinks in the dark confines of his cell. The only source of light was a guard patrol that passed through the corridor every once in a while.
"I wasn't conscious while they dragged me here, but I can tell we are underground. Pretty deep actually. I feel a slight increase in pressure with my ears. Then there was also the fact that you couldn't find a single fly in the whole complex even if you've tried. I've been in plenty prisons to know that they get everywhere. My best guess? If they kept me in Vene, then I am most likely being held in a repurposed vibranium mine.", Vince adds as his ears alert him once more. Someone was coming. He could hear footsteps drawing near and guards springing to attention while they cruised by. Two people? Sounded like it. One of them was very light in their step as opposed to their company who was borderline stomping the ground.
He ignorantly keeps resting while the Shogun speaks, but made sure to catch every word she let out.
"What's your story?", his ears sligtly twitch when he hears the question.
"Oh you know...", Vincent gladly answers in a sarcastic tone before lifting himself off the 'bed' that he rested upon, now sitting and facing the Shogun with his back. "...My friends back home told me about the New Year's Eve celebration you got going on here every year and how I just can't miss it. So next thing I do, I jump on the plane and arrive here. Then I overhear some local folk talking about how the Royal Palace is going to have a spectacular firework show so naturally, I make sure to invite myself to the party.On the way to the Bridge I catch the glimpse of a pair of a**holes and their robot b!tches hauling away at the vibranium and I say to myself: 'I can't let them do that, the whole economy of a people stands on that metal! Tally ho!'. So I jump in and chat with them for a bit, before the head honcho of the gang arrives and calls deuces on the whole thing. I end up staying alone in a half empty vault with a group of murdered guards at my feet. Next thing I know, I'm in this lovely hotel eating all the food money can buy.", Vincent sarcastically rants while plowing his hand through his frazzled hair. It was a highly satired version of the true story so he could still keep intel to barter with.
He stands up and was topless, scars and burns adorning his back like a twisted trophy wall. The Prodigal Explorer turns his head sligthly to the right side so that atleast one of his eyes could see the blinded empress and her furry behemoth of a friend.
"Hmmph...there was also this silver piñata they took along with them. I guess they must've stolen it from your little party.", Vinnie said, describing the horrid body theft of which he was a witness..
She stood in the flickering, pale light of the vast sewage system. Vibranium armor wrapped around her form, as black as midnight. A crimson cloak hung from her shoulders. It fell all the way to her ankles like a waterfall of blood. Around her trim waist was a golden utility belt, scarred and marked by a lifetime of battle. Tattoos crawled up her neck; the ritual markings of the Strigidae temple. Her pony tail fell part way down her back, jet black hair laying draped across the arrows in the quiver that ran up her spine. A red cloth was wrapped around her blind eyes and her palms rested upon the pommel of her katana, the tip of the sheathed blade driven into the rubble in front of her as Ivana leaned against the weapon.
She could smell the metallic tang of their weapons on the air and feel the presence of great warriors in her bones. Their somatic systems washed over her mutant tachyon sense like the ocean in spring.
Ivana grinned. White teeth glittered in the dark. The smile of a shark.
They were bold. Brave. Aggressive. In a world of prizes for second place and cowards in suits she found them.. refreshing.
How many had the nerve to strike at her inside her palace, at the apex of her power? How many could find enough steel in their spines to enter Venezuela with hostile intent not once but twice?
And how many would dare to challenge the twenty third Strigidae in combat?
Only fools and great warriors.
Ivana lifted a hand. A matte black gauntlet waved and the Orochi retreated like a red tide. Her mutant army faded away, leaving the blind Shogun alone with her enemies.
Four words had carried Ivana from anonymity to the throne. No respect. No fear.
"I am the greatest warrior alive."
"And you will die in this pit."
She extended a hand toward them and waved them forward, grin gleaming in the dusk.
"I believe you."
Ivana chuckled in quiet agreement with his words. The Shogun had seen Rafael in action in South Africa. His reputation was not inflated. If anything the world did not yet understand how powerful he truly was, in Ivana's view.
Although she rarely interacted with the worlds powerhouses the Strigidae kept meticulous records of the combat potential of the worlds most powerful individuals. Very, very few could rival Rafael's combination of raw physical potential and martial prowess. Most were extremely powerful and only average at best in skill or highly skilled but not that powerful. Rafael was both powerful and skilled. Ivana felt he was a trump card, a counter to any powerhouse acting against Venezuela simply because even without his aerokinetic powers his elite wrestling would prevail over almost any other powerhouse.
"Billions? Well. That will not hurt our cause." It was incredibly generous, and, to Ivana served to underline the dedication to the cause that lifted mutants out of the mud and slime to ownership of a powerful country of their own.
"Actually, while we are on the subject of money you could accept an appointment as finance minister. Although I have warriors and scientists crawling out of my eyeballs I'm a little short on people who understand the finer details of the international market."
She pondered the question for a moment. Then she nodded in agreement. "Certainly. Venezuela can get along without me for a few days."
"Thank you. It'll be just like old times." Ivana grinned, remembering the good times on the Shadow Squad, fighting along side Rafael and the MVP's.
Having sent Orochi messangers for her two most recent allies Ivana awaited their arrival in her throne room. Legs crossed, hands resting upon her knees, palms up, she meditated while levitating roughly two feet above the carved stone of her throne.
Her sheathed blade lay in her lap and crimson robes wrapped around black armor covered in the scars of battle. Black hair hung half way down her back in a pony tail and tattoos framed her undercut. Her eyes were concealed behind a red cloth, tied at the back of her skull.
The throne room was empty, a vast, cavernous expanse of stone and steel where the only sound was the echo of Ivana's measured breath.
[Sorry, you caught me sleeping!]
Dog strode through the streets of Venezuela and sauntered his way toward's Ivana's throne room with what would appear to the casual viewer to be careless swagger. The facade was deceptive, for Dog was many things, but never careless. His sharpened senses constantly scanned his environment, and a practiced eye would note that his seemingly casual gait thinly disguised a tense readiness to spring into violent action in an instant.
"Here to see the lady. Got a reservation." He waved off the Orochi who stepped forward to guide him; he could find the Strigidae by her scent easily enough. Making his way unerringly to the throne room, he stopped a half-dozen paces from Ivana's meditating form and greeted his employer without pomp, ceremony, or anything resembling tact, really. "Looks like ya got it worse in that scrap than I did; all I got was ripped up and tossed off that stinkin' bridge, twice. Guess that's why ya got the nicest digs, huh?"
Her chuckle, as subtle and quiet as it was, dissipated the austerity that had overtaken his disposition for that one moment he swore he could project enough force to make possible his plan of targeting oil refineries. It in turn pushed for a smile, as cool and tame as it was, to decorate Rafael's Greek god features. "Only a true warrior would", he remarked, indirectly complimenting the 23rd Strigidae's value as a fighter and a combat analyst. Few people understood the true scope of his aerokinesis and other powers coupled with his martial arts expertise. Only those with a mind geared towards understanding the ins and outs of combat saw Rafael's power and skill-set for what it was. Many were in awe of Thee Champion and Amphetamines for their flashier power, yet few knew the danger the Black Jaguar truly posed.
Ivana was one of the few who did. And in a way, it made the reputed Panther King feel more or less connected to the Shogun of the Sword. "It certainly won't. Our cause is more important than myself. I don't need much. Venezuela needs the money and assets more than I do. All I need is for mutant-kind to be free, and for you to succeed", he paused, crossing both arms before his chest. As his cool, enigmatic gaze wandered all about, as if spreading his charismatic mystique across Ivana's throne room, he resumed. "I don't know much about your background, Ivana. But when I look at you, I can tell that you've been discriminated a lot. Even by your own kind, for one reason or the other", be it that her ideology was too extreme or that she didn't fit the world's socially established standards for beauty, Rafael postulated a number of reasons. "I can see the pain. Because I've seen it before. It's the same kind I see when I look at myself".
"Conventionally, the world doesn't see you as a hero. They don't know about your past struggles. Maybe you're simply too real for this world. But to all of these people that are now under your leadership. They don't look at you the way everyone else that wronged has and does. And neither do I", he paused. "They look at you as a hero. The living embodiment of something that will bring a better tomorrow for them. A better tomorrow that I'll help you build. I said I would do anything to help our kind and anything you need of me. If you would have me be the finance minister, I accept", Rafael paused, before injecting mild humor into the conversation. "Besides, there's nobody else that can make this country rich and make it stay rich". Expressing his contentment over her agreement to assist him in preventing France's rumored takeover by an unknown party, Rafael issued smiled, albeit somewhat faintly. "It'll be better than old times".
Allowing for a brief moment of silence, Rafael voiced his approval or rather appreciation for what the Shogun has come to achieve for their people. "I'm proud of you, Ivana".
In a flash of scarlet the mutant infantry dressed in traditional shinobi cloaks vanished with a swift breeze like red ghost and the trio stood alone in the sewers that reeked of death. Clutch relaxed from his semi crouched position and holstered his dual pistols that were patterned after his good friend Risky's trademark shell spitters. He wasn't sure if they venomous and arrogant display that the Strigidae put forth was a ploy to throw them off their gameplan but he didn't care . Her words struck the core of his warrior being but the humorous side of him did not allow the sting to his pride resonate long. "This b* tch is crazy" his thoughts seemed almost audible but barely as the melodic sound of his flat-space orbs that sat snugly on his wrist whirred up with a iridescence flash of orange light. The chain of a Kusarigama digitally pixelized in his palm from the depths of its dimensional storage, the scythe at the end of its chain falling into the sewer water while Clutch drew in a deep breathe before speaking out. Though not to Ivana , there was enough understanding between all of the fighters . He was initiating a command to the explosive devices that he planted upon his arrival.
"Infinite Dea+h Wave: +sunami "
The Skull Strider's words were followed by an explosive flow of sequenced incendiary combustions that led up to Ivana. Each detonation was actually an implosion which created a row of shadow portals in the space between Clutch and his new opponent. He nodded to Tenjin with a grim smile that was invisible under his mask but the years of missions completed by the both of them was enough for a seemingly telepathic link to be established between them both. The Taskmaster's glowing yellow eyes devoid of a soul read "Follow my lead" .
Only seconds had passed but the Wildcard had already launched himself into an offensive after twirling the Kusarigama with immense speed and hurling it through the shadow portals in front of him. As the chain and sickle flew and vanished into the abysmal dimension rips , he crouched into a sprinters position and the muscles in his calfs flash propelled him into a slide with immense speed under the portals that he explosively forced into reality . His movements shadowed the ninja weapon he launched through the air until he was directly at the feet of the 23rd Strigidae , forcing his momentum into a spinning kip-up that threw his legs into a typhoon of kicks aimed at the Shogunate's midsection with tremendous torque.
Clutch did not stop his attack and capitalized on the motion of his body to launch himself into the air to catch the Kusarigama as soon as it revealed itself from the last portal that was now at his feet and in front of Ivana. While mid-air he gripped the rapidly moving instrument of death and used it's kinetic energy to twist with the blade in an attempt to wrap it's cold grip around the Queen Sword , hoping its teeth ripped into her skin. After letting go of the weapon he preformed a back handspring into the portal which would shoot him back to his starting position while also throwing a sonic disruptor grenade , with impeccable timing and precision off the walls of the sewers so that it ricocheted into Ivana's line of equilibrium. She was blind but he was aiming to hinder the rest of her senses. A loud bang rang out with deafening vibrations after the metal bounced around.
His cybernetic voice howled with excitement , the robotic sound going in and out as he flew backwards through his fabricated rifts of darkness.
" An+e Up ! "
There was something stygian in the air, a powerful wave of primal energy, one which fueled the fire in the warrior spirits of the three combatants in the catacombs turned battlefield. Ivana's scarlet horde had vanished, she had dismissed them to the shadows so she may face the two Wildcardz alone. Tenjin and Clutch were to answer for their transgressions, though not in the traditional manner. This mission, within a matter of seconds had evolved from a military style raid into trial by combat.
As the Strigidae spoke, Katsuro strangled the handle of his katana, his red eyes processing multitudes of information. Analyzing his foe; reading her body language, pulse and heart rate. He came to the conclusion, she truly believed what she had said. That they would die in this pit. The Solemn Soldier was honestly rather amused at the boldness of the Shogun. Though, boldness alone was not grounds for victory and speaking and doing where two entirely different matters. Draping the sling of his assault rifle over his shoulder, the Sensational Shinobi flung the rifle into the air, the momentum causing it gyre over his shoulder and behind him. Simultaneously, he slid the blade of his anti-metal katana into the flat space sheath quickly only to strike a strange pose. His hands came together, the right hand gripping his left horizontally while his vertical left raised his index and middle fingers while curling the others and the thumbs crossed one another. His legs straightened and were brought together causing the sewer water to rush up in small waves. Performing this Ninpo hand seal represented his clan, while bringing his mind into focus as he began to delve deep into a bizarre state of meditation his eyes opened and shifted over momentarily to lock eyes with his comrade. He understood, follow his lead.
As Clutch detonated the explosives turned shadow portals and begun his attack, Tenjin mumbled a series of incomprehensible mantras, demonized from Buddhism and Hinduism. There was no magic or secret art involved, simply a manner to gather himself psychologically and biologically. Preparation for carnal destruction. These dark whispers stopped, just as Clutch launched the sonic disruptor grenade, The Storm Waker's eyes opening, his crimson optics blazed with luminous intensity upon his pallid face. Yet, a spectral chill in the sewer caused his breath to be eerily visible as he spoke a single word "Death."
His rage converted into action, he broke from his ninjutsu stance and into a full sprint for a brief length of space before emitting his own personal Shadow Portal in front of him. Pitch black hands exploded at him, dozens of sets of fingers seemed to tempt with dark allure as he crashed into the ebon liquid. Another portal appeared several feet over Strigidae 23's person, inches from the top of the skull adorned tunnel just as the sonic detonations occurred. Then the Kyoto Killing machine descended head first from the portal like a Peregrine Falcon; the Human Hayabusa. His arms formed an 'X' formation as he reached above his shoulders and gripped the handles of his Vibranium ninjato, only to shoot his legs down into a front aerial halfway to his target. As his muscular body revolved, he unsheathed his swords after pressing mechanisms on the scabbards, a translucent film coated the blades. When Tenjin was right side-up, His arms still extended up and slightly backwards, brought the twin ninjato down parallel with one another towards Ivana in cleaver style fashion. Attempting to dismember her at the shoulders with his inhuman strength. All the while the necrotic concoction which laced the sword if they managed to break the skin to poison wounds. No matter if the attack connected, he skillfully jolted backwards, toes seemingly gliding across the murky water beneath them. He instantly re-sheathed one sword while shifting his hand posture into reverse grip with the other causing his sword to point down and with a quick spin of the handle in his hand the blade facing his opponent. His free hand was stretched open in full display as kunai connected to aircraft cable fell from a flat space holster on his vambrace. Just before the kunai struck the water, a short length of cable following, Katsuro latched onto the cable and prepared the projectile weapon known as the Dragon Dart for action.
His ebon locks still swaying from his momentum in front of his face, hiding the sinister smile upon it.
The blind Queen could not see her rivals. Nor could she see the shadowy portals that emerged in the aftermath of the explosions they detonated.
She had trained with two Impero’s, Ishin and Shiho. Ivana had absorbed the ancient knowledge of the Strigidae cult. The Sactum of the Force had opened its doors to her and given up its esoteric wisdom. Spirits of the Black Lotus had whispered the forgotten horrors of their terrible secrets in her ear.
Ivana could not see their portals but she could feel them. She felt them in the way the small hairs on the back of her neck raised. She felt them in the goosebumps that ran down her arm and she heard them in the second layer of silence that ran through all things.
They were, however, secondary to Clutch’s acrobatic charge and furious attack. His feet flew in a torrent of terrifying skill and power and only Ivana's mutant somatic reading allowed her awareness of his movements.
She smirked, her hands and feet flashing through a weave of defensive maneuvers. A dozen styles blended into one. Picture perfect, pristine, peerless. Hands parried kicks. Arms intercepted and legs blocked. The Shogun snapped through a defensive pattern with the effortless ease of a true master.
Despite the grandmaster’s water-tight defense the Martial Arts Phenom's onslaught hammered its way through. The Human Highlight Reel found microscopic gaps in her guard and with his flurry of brilliant martial technique turned them into full-blown openings. Ruthlessly exploiting every advantage he slipped past her defense, driving one kick into her torso. Then another. Then another. Then yet another.
The blitzkrieg of picture perfect kicks battered her energy absorbing vibranium armor, each strike being driven with such flawless technique that they succeeded in driving the armored plates into Ivana’s battered ribs, over and over. Broken in the Venezuelan Battle of the Bridge they were only partially healed. Only a tiny percentage of Clutch’s kicks broke through her defense but so vast was his arsenal of leg strikes and so relentless was the tornado of blows that at last two kicks broke through one after another.
A blade could penetrate vibranium mesh should it strike at the perfect angle and Clutch’s martial mastery had allowed him to replicate the feat with a torrent of perfectly accurate blunt force blows. The first jarred every single bone in her body, even through the vibranium armor. The second, impossibly precise, penetrated her spectacular defenses and slammed into the same exact spot.
With an audible ‘pop’ Ivana’s ribs, already weakened, snapped. Pain tore through her torso as if Clutch had driven nails into her bones.
Ivana staggered back. Her tattooed face was locked a rictus of pain. Each breath drove a fresh spear of agony through her re-broken ribs, the damage to half healed bones only making the pain that much worse.
Caught off guard and distracted by the pain Clutch’s kusarigama twirled around her body like a metallic python. The echo of clattering chains filled the dim tunnel as Clutch yanked the weapon back, seizing the opportunity with the decisive action and unorthodox offense that had come to characterize the Wildcardz leader. Sharp steel slithered across the Shogun’s vibranium armor until a blade found her unprotected bicep. Razor sharp and cold as ice the blade bit deep. Crimson blood dripped into black water as the blade of the kusarigama sliced open the tattooed flesh of Ivana’s upper arm.
Fluid acrobatics combined with the strategic use of shadowy portals re-positioned the Ghost in the Shell a heartbeat before his sonic disrupter detonated.
It was a display of flawless timing and brilliant tactics; Ivana was clearly blind and the close quarters of the tunnel would only make the targeting of her one remaining sense all the more effective.
The high tech device let out its eardrum shattering sonic assault, driving yet another spear of pain through Ivana’s ears. Still tender from the sonic attack at the Battle of the Bridge the echoing auditory assault battered the Queen of Combat with an attack that’s power was redoubled by echoing off the stone walls of the tunnel.
Though she was mentally prepared for the sonic attack, due to the use of the same attack against her in her very last battle it was impossible to completely resist the disrupter grenade thanks to the Wildcardz tactical use of the device in close quarters. Already wracked by pain from the ribs broken by Clutch’s kicks she felt nausea rise up in the pit of her belly at this fresh and agonizing assault. Although not deafened her equilibrium was disrupted, leaving her staggering off balance and vulnerable to the incoming assault of Tenjin.
As the twenty third Strigidae reeled under the combination of Clutch’s blitzkrieg of kicks and his sonic assault the second Wildcard entered in a spectacular display of tactical teamwork and acrobatic prowess. His muscular frame flipped through an effortless aerial before simultaneously sticking his landing and launching a duel bladed slash.
Her mutant somatic reading screamed a warning as the blind blademistress twisted backwards away from the strikes. His vibranium blades split the underground sky in twin arches of silver fire.
Bending her back away from the cuts and turning at the waist Ivana evaded the first.
But not the second.
Though her somatic reading warned her of every strike before it happened the combination of the sonic grenade disorienting her and the flawless teamwork and unorthodox portal use of the Wildcardz team left her unable to dodge both strikes.
Tenjin’s blade carved deep into the muscle of her right arm. Then it sliced deeper. Bone split under its razor sharp edge.
Poison spewed into her veins. The Nectar of Gundari. A necrotic toxin of legendary lethality. Ivana felt tissue die as the Eastern Enigma slide backwards over the surface of the black water in a display of esoteric mastery.
But the Wildcardz had reset. Both had maneuvered away, giving Ivana both space and time. Space to move freely and time to recover. Truth be told she would have preferred they had not, even as injured as she was. Ivana wanted to stand in the pocket with them and brawl. She wanted to drag them into deep waters and drown them. But they had reset and there was nothing for it; she simply took advantage of the time. All things were an opportunity to the Strigidae Grandmaster.
With an animalistic snarl Ivana tapped into an occult skill of her own: Bloodbending. Her feet shifted into a wide stance and her hands glided through the air in mystical patterns.
The blood in her wounded arm balled around the clumps of life-stealing toxins that ran through her veins. A snap of her wrist sent globs of blood racing back veins of dead flesh out the bloody slash in her tattooed arm.
Crimson droplets of blood levitated in the air above her for a heartbeat before falling into the dark water beneath her; a rain of toxic red.
The clenching of an armored fist set the blood upon her wound to boiling.
Agony ripped through her nerves but, prepared now, her expression was unflinchingly stoic. The two cuts, one from Clutch’s kusarigama, one from Tenjin’s wakisashi, were both cauterized as Ivana boiled her own blood.
The pain was terrible but Ivana bore it for it was also necessary. Tenjin and Clutch's blades had carved too deep; Ivana could not afford to continue to loose blood when faced with foes of such lethality.
However the sealing of the wound did nothing to repair the damage that had already been done to her ribs, ears or the shredded muscles of her bicep.
The Third Law
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The edge of Ivana’s cloak dipped into the water as she stood, still crouched into a deep stance, gauntleted hands frozen in an esoteric guard. Her somatic reading told her exactly where her foes were.
Her attention snapped to Tenjin, last to attack. Portal, blade, internal attack. With the emotionless precision of a computer she categorized his attack.
With the fearless confidence of the conqueror she chose her counter attack.
Blade. She thought.
She spun in place. Her feet and hips reversed direction in a snap that sent her cloak billowing out behind her, concealing her motions from Tenjin and Clutch’s line of sight.
Though her right bicep had been sliced opened to the bone by Tenjin’s blade she drew with her right hand. It was her triceps and back she needed to draw-cut.
And draw-cut she did. Her hand snatched the leather wrapped grip of her blade and it flickered from the sheath in a flash of steel. The twenty first century samurai cut down and behind her at a forty five degree angle, targeting the torso of her shadow.
Invisible tachyons infused the blade with a negative mass singularity. The edge of the sword was literally a microscopic black hole, capable of carving through anything short of true adamantium.
To Ivana every shadow was a portal. So it was for masters of Khaba, the ancient Strigidae art of stealth. Shadows were not darkness and mystery. They were doors.
Between Ivana and her two adversaries was a single light, weak and flickering. Its faded light cast Ivana’s shadow behind her, pointing away from Tenjin and Clutch, and Tenjin’s shadow behind him, pointed away from Ivana.
Ivana linked those shadows with a thought.
Her blade flashed into her shadow, cutting down at a forty five degree angle. The tip of the cold steel vanished into the inky blackness..
..and emerged from the shadow of Tenjin’s leg. It was angled upward, at a forty five degree angle. It was as if Ivana had folded the universe so that her shadow and Tenjin’s shadow were simply a black window in space and time through which her steel passed.
And Tenjin’s leg was squarely in the arch of its passage.
Ivana was beyond fast. The entire motion, draw and cut, would be over in the blink of an eye. Three to four hundred milliseconds, beginning to end. The period between the blade emerging from Tenjin’s shadow and when it would slice through his armor, tibia, fibula and Achilles tendon was a tiny fraction of that.
Regardless of her strikes success or failure Ivana’ completed her spin, turning three hundred and sixty degrees in a heartbeat.
The tip of her blade stayed in the water, surrounding her in a circle of spray like that of a speedboat. Her crimson cloak whirled in the air behind her.
Her left hand came up in a blur of black vibranium. She made a fist as it rose, calling upon the forbidden art of bloodbending.
A style of horrors it allowed Ivana to ‘bend’ the blood of others, or herself, controlling blood with her movements.
Unless he had some counter or defense the clenching of Ivana’s fist would grasp the blood in his left and right jugular and the blood in his left and right carotid artery and crush it into four blades as hard as iron. The motion of her uppercut was an attempt to blast those blood-forged blades up his neck and into his brain, shredding his brain stem and obliterating his brain tissue as if a shotgun went off inside his neck.
The sheet of water cast into the air by her sword had yet to fall when her attack completed.
Regardless of her bloodbending attempts success or failure her attention snapped to Clutch.
As droplets of water hung in the air between them she analyzed his attack. Martial arts blitzkrieg. Assault on equilibrium.
Ivana exploded from her crouch. Muscles clenched like steel cables. Tendons snapped straight, transforming potential energy into pure kinetic energy.
She blew through the curtain of water before the first drop could fall. Black gauntlets snapped together and her blade was sheathed.
Black gauntlets clenched into fists. Fists snapped out to her sides mid-flight. Bloodbending.
She attempted to seize the blood around the interior of Clutch’s ears and simply rip his inner ears out of his skull in a shower of gore. If successful it would render Clutch deaf, in agonizing pain and completely without a sense of equilibrium a mere heartbeat before Ivana struck.
And strike she would for her tremendous leap had blown her past portals and over black waters like a bullet. Her knee drove outward, carrying the kinetic energy of the Shogun's entire body behind it. It was a flying knee strike, aiming to slam a vibranium knee-guard into Clutch’s jaw with enough power to bend a vault door.
Far, far more force than was needed to whip the head back and send the brain smashing into the skull like jelly hurled against the wall.
Far more force than was needed to shatter the entire jaw and skull.
Far more force than was needed to snap the neck.
She wasn't done. Regardless of the strikes success or failure her feet drove into the ground, rooting her like an ancient oak.
Water sprayed as she carried her momentum into a sudden step off to his side, attaining a dominate angle and blasting into a three hundred and sixty degree spin. Her right arm was injured so it was her left that cracked out like a whip in a spinning backfist, driving the back of her armored hand toward Clutch’s jaw with enough power to smite a five hundred pound man dead and flip him hard enough to bounce his head off the floor.
Dropping into a defensive guard made of pieces of a dozen styles she took a heartbeat to assess the results of her attacks.
Then she threw her head back and howled like a wolf.
It echoed back up the tunnel.
She grinned like a wolf too.
My initial reaction.... lmao!
......Goddamn Bloodbending..... I have no defenses lol :P
First time in my entire career as a Battler on the Vine, even against powerhouses, have I got beaten, let alone killed, for all intents and purposes in a single post. Congratulations.
Will do a short post later tonight or tomorrow so you can have the satisfaction of reading about my brain exploding in my skull...you earned it :P
Also....while we are on the subject....Why did a liquid shotgun go off in my head and Clutch just go deaf and unbalanced -________-????? I feel that I got the short end of the stick on this one lolololol XD
@tenjin: That gif! It cracked me up hehee.
Well thank you. And thank you for having the dignity to sell it. A lot of people just never respond lol.
Yeah! Feud time ~_^
Hah! That vibranium poisoned sword stuff was lethal as heck, basically lol.
LOL Biggest issue I have as far as the concept of Battling goes. I would much prefer to lose a fight and maintain character development and standards of play than try to come up with a far-fetched reason as to why an attack didn't land or somehow was nullified or did something else. It is the reason why I gave this character a resurrection ability, if he dies, so what? He comes back with character development and builds a rivalry. I had a discussion with another Viner about two weeks ago about selling. I don't avoid attacks for the most part, not because I am unable too but due to show how ridiculous Tenjin is as far as a fighter goes. I think it is more admirable, in my opinion to come out of a fight absolutely bloodied and damaged than unscathed...the latter makes you seem like you are scared to take a hit. Anyone can dodge a barrage of bullets with advanced reflexes and some obnoxious agility (Which I have lol) but not everyone can take those shots then continue to f*7k sh!t up after. Of course, that is my opinion again :P
@tenjin: You know.. I really agree with that. Dodging all the hits and stuff isn't as cool as showing off your defense and your badass grit both while also making the person you're fighting look awesome. The stronger they look the stronger you look for being able to fight with them.
The problem with no-selling, aside from it making people upset and breaking the rules, is if you make the other person look weak then you look weak in turn when they do hit you. And if you made them look weak and you loose? Ugg. Terrible. Buried your own self haha.
@tenjin: I'm cool with some underselling. Sometimes you might not want to die. Or sometimes an attack might seem like it'd feel anticlimactic. I try not to ignore it though either there's no fun in that. A clever out is fine but part of the fun is in building character don't be a wimp get messed up lol. Like you said, should leave a fight with some epic tales not unharmed. That being said I prefer some honesty as well. Some moves just shouldn't work, not going to be say Supergirl and sell a regular bullet as effective.
@strigidae_23: That is another point that helps my case, you make the other writer look like a beast. Which if the matches has some good sells, it makes for a good read. Which everyone benefits from. I don't want to read a match as a spectator and have to course through lines of dodges and misses...if there is no blood I am not interested hahaha but that is my own problem :P
However, I certainly don't mean to come off as you should job the hell out against a average fighter (like say a 2-3 on a power grid) and you are playing as a 6-7 fighting ability character. There is a huge dynamic when powers that come into play, I am just stating the core of it.
@kayle_rez I am too but as far as battling goes and story RPGs aside, I have a philosophy that I may kill my character here. Unless its a exhibition or you are both playing as a no-kill combatants (that's character specific though but for the most part there aren't too don't resort to it.) Like I said above, jobbing and powers definitely come into play.
@tenjin: I'm with ya on all but the death bit ;) some alts are my babies and I'd rather them not end up in a grave. Some can revive, but for the most part I find resurrection annoying so I don't want em six feet under unless I know I'm good with them staying there. Guess it all comes down to basically balance making it a kick ass read and making characters look good on both ends
@tenjin: Truth. It raises the stakes when they're both getting in some good stuff. As a reader I find that gives a battle some intensity.
Well in theory I would agree that you shouldn't be expected to job. However! Its just theory as far as Ivana goes; every opponent I've had with her has been pretty dangerous in their own way. They've all had something scary, which I appreciate. Its tough to write a good scene if the person attacking you isn't giving you something cool to work with in your selling.
@kayle_rez: LOL we have come to terms then lol I don't have alts so that is my own demon I wrestle with, I am not perma-dying my main hahaha
@strigidae_23: I can agree to that. LOL I only ran into that problem a couple times though so haven't had much experience with it. Most of the people I have fought gave me good material. Some more than others but that is inevitable in a long line of battles.
@tenjin: Yeah every opponent is going to bring their own style and their own set of strengths. That's one of my favorite things about battling; dealing with the variety of offense and defense. Kinda.. forces creativity. It doesn't let me get lazy and it keeps me motivated.
The Kyoto Killing Machine stood proud, one of his sword strikes delivered a necrotic wound. His approach was simply barbaric yet unquestionably effective, he would attack rapidly; ripping, slashing, stabbing his way through her defenses utilizing his strange technology to enact a volley of offensive mastery. His Dragon Dart began to swing gyroscopically with the slow turn of his wrist, a maddening whirl of death awaiting. His massive legs drew down into a semi-crouch, like that of a jungle cat poised to pounce. Just as the Shogun twirled about in a swirl of scarlet, he burst from his position in attempts to close the distance and begin his next attack. His pitch black locks fluttered from the air rushing against his ghostly demeanor.
Yet, suddenly his lower leg went completely numb, his immunity to pain did not recognize that his foot and the majority of his leg below the knee had been completely severed. As he tried to find his footing, unaware of the damage done, he brought his left leg forward as if to take another step mid-stride only to gaze upon a shower of blood expelling from his amputated limb. His right foot firmly placed on the cement floor, knee high in the sewer water, he initiated the kinetic piston and he launched forward from the series of micro-exhausts from the internal explosion. Water rose and shot behind him in a series of waves, carrying skulls and bones from their watery hiding places. His sword shot behind, still maintaining his reverse grip to perform a rising diagonal slash at his foe as soon as he entered striking range. However, this was not to be.
As his pallid lips opened, a meter away from the moment to engage his attack, he managed to speak half a sentence "Death belongs to..." A macabre rumble and movement formed on both sides of his bull like neck, blood forced into his brain like a series of daggers, shredding his every inch of his brain matter and severing his brain from his spine at the pons and medulla. His cybernetic implant ravaged. Instant death.
His body fell limp, crashing into the water and into a motionless slide. His once crimson eyes which once glistened like star dust, faded into a monotonous hue. Blood leaked from his eyes like scarlet tears. The sewer now turning red with the Grim Ghost's blood.
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