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View Full Version : Lobotomizer (Kalena "The Absolute" Eirwen) vs Azure (Leoncio, "The Beast")



Azure
10-26-2015, 11:53 AM
So, this was pretty much my most stressful battle ever. I tried my hand at going head-to-head with the legend of the Writer's Lounge, Lobo-chan. After our soft deadline passed, we kinda just went about things until both of us were done and satisfied. So, nothing left to it but to do it.

Kalena Eirwen (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?45403-WRHG-Kalena-Eirwen)


Months passed. Months that seemed no more than an endless stretch of time, months that had no meaning in them.

For four long months she sat in her bed, only moving enough for the most basic of needs. The burns inflicted upon her from the past battle had faded away, and she had long recovered since. Yet she stayed, a husk of her former self, waiting for each day to pass over and over.

She was not yet broken. Her mind still rang true, though she wished it did not, and thoughts of her past, her mistakes, and her situation frequently come to mind, almost always accompanied by visions of where she had done wrong. Was it truly the best to have entered this world? Why had she, despite all her victories in the past, failed to make a single step in her goals? Would it all have been fine if she stayed, where she could continue the govern the continent, where Corvon would not have sacrificed himself for her own foolishness? It was those what-ifs that drove her to the brink of emotional breakdown, exacerbated by the faint snickering that, seemed to ring all around her, yet was so faint that it could have been mistaken as a hallucination. At times she would have prefered herself dead. Only, the knowledge that Corvon died to let her live stopped her from doing so. That small, stubborn part of her who would refuse to throw away something that her closest companion had saw fit to give.

The door creaked.

She did not raise her head. there was no need to; it was clear who it came from. A well built man, with unkempt hair and clothes alongside a dirty cloak. He sat opposite her, unfolding a plastic board that revealed alternating squares of mahogany and ebony, placing plastic pieces on either of their sides.

There was nothing that need to be said by him or her. She slouched forward, bringing her hand over to move a piece. It was the thirtieth session of chess between the two of them, one that had started by the other, and continued by both. She was not well versed in the strategy, but it was too reminiscent of the ages she lived in to pass up, and inwardly, she was grateful for the chance to direct her anguished mine elsewhere.

Twenty turns passed. The pawns have all arranged themselves to a diagonal pattern, covering each other and protecting the main pieces aiming to attack the opposition.

“You are getting good at this.” The man, Jeff, commented. When there was no reply, he continued his turn.

“I can’t say i know how you’ve been feeling all this while, but you can’t just stay like this.”

Five turns passed without a word from her. That was the norm, but he was intent to continue, to force a word from her.

“You had a goal. A mission. What happened to that? Did you really think Corvon saved you so you would lie in bed for months?”

Part of her cracked. There was an urge to retort, but she could not even find enough strength to do so. Instead she continued playing with the same listless expression. That expression flickered briefly, as she found herself caught in a forked attack from his knight.

“This is checkmate.” He said, as he subsequently trapped her king with only two pieces. The only paths of escape were blocked by her own. “You’ve learnt how to play aggressively, but you focus so much on pushing forward you leave everything else behind. Kind of like reality isn’t it?”

He swept the pieces into his palm, and folded the board once more. “But if there’s one big difference, it’s that you’ve never stopped improving in the game, and that’s how it should be. I’ve lost a few things in my life, Kalena, and I know for a fact that no matter what you’ve left behind, you’ve got to keep moving. Think about that, will you?”

He took one last look at her, no, at her arm. A long, drawn out stare with the most complex expression. Vexation, frustration and annoyance. But eventually, he left the room without another word. Before he would talk at great length, and she would retort heavily, but now both were too exhausted to carry on; this was the first time in nearly two months he had spoke for so long. She glanced at her left arm, the same Jeff had set his eyes upon. There was a reason him doing so. Where there was a fading line from where her arm had been reattached, several new scars made their mark. The very scars she carved upon her arm, to retain the only thing that was left of Corvon; his final gift to her.

Hours later, the sound of switches throughout the household brought her to attention that it was close to midnight once more. She had been staring at where the chessboard once was, recalling the moves she had made up until her loss. She thought of the words Jeff had said initially on nothing but a passing whim, perhaps to detract from her normal thoughts, but for some reason this time, his words spurned her want to do something. Anything. Surely she had despaired enough; should she not make Corvon’s sacrifice worthwhile, to live where he could not?

You are worth little; why do you struggle, than to deceive yourself of this fact?

That niggling, almost foreign sentence passed through her mind, but she had long pushed the bed sheets aside.

For the first time in four months, she bore the urge to leave the house.

The night was quiet, There was nothing but trees and grass for as far as the eye could see. Perfect conditions, Jeff had once mentioned, without the pollution, noise and air, from traffic and other people. For once, she felt inclined to agree. She lived her life in solitude; her relationships being those forged out of common interests or necessity, save perhaps for Corvon. The lack of people, the silence, and the darkness all bore a familiarity that calmed her spirit. The same as it had been in her room, perhaps, but the freedom of movement and fresh air made it doubly so

She trudged along the beaten path, observing the many fruit bearing plants that Jeff had seen fit to grow over the years around the house, with clustered trees bearing peaches and apples amongst them. There was no real reason to have left the house; she only felt she had to break this cycle of brooding. In doing so, she realised just for how long she had neglected her body. It was sore in a way it never had been, growing restless from the lack of exertion. Yet it did not spurn her to do more. Like everything else, she merely noticed its presence, and but lacked any energy or motivation to act upon it. It simply felt pointless to her.

She froze abruptly, picking up on the rustle of grass ahead of her. No one from the house should be awake, so who was it? She ceased to move, awaiting this apparent visitor to make his presence known. Vaguely it occurred to her that she was completely defenseless, but what did it matter to her?

“Kalena, is it? I’ve heard a good deal about you.”

Those words rang through the darkness, but she could not see the source of it.

“...Yes.” One word. That was all she gave.

Eventually the visitor appeared before her. A man, whose appearance could be no better described than that of a tribesman, his bare torso revealing tattoos etched upon each shoulder, and beads that were slung across them. He was muscular; not those that were fashioned for appearance, but that which pointed to some time of practical training. His expression was that of a confident smile, but his eyes seem to betray a different emotion. What it was, mattered not to her no more than the way he presented himself and what it meant.

“I’ve come to witness the system’s stronger warriors.”

When there was no immediate reply, he continued.

“The name’s Leoncio. What I’m saying is that I’m challenging you.”

She looked at him, a brief look of distaste flashing across her face as her one fear was realised. Another one. What spurned them to come? What in all of the world did her worthless self had that they saw fit to seek her out?

“Why?” She merely uttered, barely audible even to her.

“Why?” He grinned, “well, it’s training. Both for my body and mind. Plus...I’m sort of interested in how strong you are. They made you out to be a superhuman, you know. I want to see that for myself.”

So he needed a punching bag. She would have been inclined to voice out her thoughts, but even that was too much effort for her. She could not convince him otherwise, nor concede defeat. The only option, was, as it had always been, to fight.

Almost instinctively her hand was brought to her hips. At first she assumed she had left her sword by her bedside, but the cold touch of the hilt sent her to a mild relief. Of course. Even in her most troubled state, she never neglected to bring it. More than just a habit, it was part of her.

“There’s no need to be all up tight like that,” he laughed nervously, “I’m not here to kill you or anything. Just a fair fight, a spar or something. That’s fine by you, right?”

She watched him with expressionless eyes, studying him. He seemed to have no deeper intent than his words, but his hesitant words and forced smile made it quite clear he was unnerved by her lack of emotion. Something just didn’t seem right with her, he thought, and she would have agreed with him had she been able to read his mind.

She did not want to fight. It was a meaningless battle to her, but there was no other option. inwardly she told herself she would at least better the skills of this stranger. But that only fired off more questions against herself. what good is there to better a participant of the system, who knowingly partakes in violence for the amusement of others? In the end she discarded her thoughts, and simply unsheathed her blade. Without reason, she would have to fight, and she would accept any outcome that arose.

“Not one for chit chat huh? But I guess there isn’t much else to say.”

He settled into a half crouched stance, arms bent and at his side, as if eschewing all defense. She herself did not feel pressed to settle into any stance. instead her sword was raised at an angle and her body straight, though not rigid. A careless stance.

Leoncio struck first. Like a spring his bent legs snapped straight to propel him forward, swinging his right hand in a swiping motion. But as if on clockwork she mimicked his footwork, stepping or kicking back just the right distance as he had advanced, fluidly making way for his hands. He kicked off to her left, swiping down with his right at the same time to catch her off guard, but then she simply shifted her left and back foot to the right of her other leg, enabling her to turn and swing her sword against his arm, catching it just before his nails reached her. He cried as a sharp pain coursed through his arm, only to see her blade tilt horizontal, and driving through through his neck in one swift motion.

He stumbled back, clutching at his neck whilst coughing violently. It felt as if an iron bar had drove against his windpipe, knocking the air from his lungs. Then he stopped. Surely he should have been dead? A blade to the neck was as good as execution, so why?

He broke free from his train of thought just in time to kick away to the side from a stab. “You…! Are you even using a sword? That thing doesn’t cut, does it!?”

“You have lost,” Kalena said plainly. “There is no further need to continue.”

“What do you mean?” Leoncio blurted. It ended too quickly, and her curt words only served to confuse and frustrate him.

“If my blade could cut, you would have lost your life. This is a spar; do you intend to go back on those words?”

He froze. She was, by all accounts, right. But how could he have this all end on such a sudden and unsatisfying note? What happened to understanding his opponents, those whom he felt most strongly with?

“I can’t accept that, not when you’re not even standing properly. Give it your all; I won’t be losing this time!”

She did not reply, but once again she returned to her loose stance, waiting for his action. He lashed out, closing the distance with a single lunge with the intent of catching her off guard, but it was a simple task for her to step back and sideways. When he twisted his foot to face her, her blade was already swinging down at full force.

Instinctively, he swung his hand, using his ki to fabricate claws that caught and locked the blade in place. He twisted his body, pulling the sword back and by extension his opponent. At the same time he bent his leg slightly, intending to kick her feet off the ground. But she was quicker than him, and kicked away the same leg he bent. Undaunted, he yanked the blade towards him once more with the intention of pulling his opponent forward into a side kick to the head. What he did not expect was for her to calmly raise her left arm to block it, and when she fell, brought both arms together to bring down his leg, sending both crashing into the ground. It took a well placed strike with his extended claws to force her to back off, yet failing to keep his grip on the blade in doing so.

In that very moment where Leoncio recovered from the ground, he realised that her expression had not changed from its blank stare, even as she picked her sword from the ground, it appeared as if their tussle seconds ago had not happened. It seemed inexplicable that someone in battle would look so...disinterested. Detached from reality, as if this battle meant nothing to her. Was she looking down on him? The blunt sword, the careless stance, and even her expression that seemed completely invested in this fight, they all added up, and it was distressing. What set them so far apart in strength? He relied on brute force, perhaps, but he gave it his all. And yet he was kept at bay by someone who appeared to have no conviction. It wasn’t fair.

He reengaged, but this time he took advantage of her pacing, using his ki to increase his range further than she would anticipate. he tore though her clothes and skin, drawing huge gashes at her stomach. Briefly her eyes flickered with surprise, but the satisfaction from him was short lived; as he proceeded lunge at her with nails bared, Kalena stepped away just enough to bring down her blade between his fingers. Though blunt the impact was enough to cut through some flesh and almost crush his bones. He cried out, staggering back as the sheer agony almost forced him to blackout, but his opponent did not relent. It took only his instinct to kick away from a stab to the head, and even then he could not maintain his balance before crashing to the ground.

The sword of truth returned to her side with a flourish, and with it, a piece of cloth fell to the ground with the barely audible crunch of grass. Leoncio struggled to stand, running his uninjured hand through his hair with undisguised horror. He looked to his opponent, looking for the same horrified, hateful expression that he’d seen so many times on others.

Nothing.

Her expression was as dead as it had been. He should have been relieved, but it only served to disturb him more. Did she really not mind these ears of his, or did she simply not hold him in any regard worth caring about?

“Give up.” She said simply. Two words. Nothing else.

“Do you not see me as an opponent at all?” He growled, nursing his injured hand, all the while looking for some form of reaction from the other. Noone could possibly be this emotionless. Surely.

“I was not the one who asked to fight.”

Leoncio grimaced. She was right, yet her response irked him for reasons he himself could not understand. “Then I won’t give up until you take me seriously!”

She only raised her sword up in response, and the exchange continued. But as he swung at her, it seemed as though touching her was a near insurmountable feat. She quickly understood and adapted to his variable range, acting as if every attack would land and simply dodge on that assumption. She would back away up to two metres at a time, and when he attempted to reach her, closed that distance within a single step to strike him whilst his extended claws swung uselessly behind her. He was like a beast, attacking viciously and incessantly, and she was like water, letting herself be influenced by his every movement, but not destroyed by them. And though he did not notice in the heat of the battle, the rift in their strength despite her apparent lack of any special ability was steadily inciting frustration. He could not allow himself to be this weak. When she could clearly step away from his attacks, he forced himself to be faster. When she parried his claws aside, he forced himself to be stronger, so he could not quickly submit to the tilt of her blade. And with each passing moment that he drew upon the strength of his inner beast, so did he he willingly submit to it, until his own human consciousness had been entirely removed. Replaced, by the bestial counterpart on which he had so relied upon.

Kalena had no conviction. When they first clashed she was simply going through the motions, acting based on her years of experience rather than thinking of what she was doing. There was no intent in her movements than to simply perform the logical counter action to her opponent. Leoncio swung at her, and she stepped back just enough. When he caught up with her footwork, lunging at her with an outstretched arm, she slapped it aside and struck him squarely in the head with her pommel.

But that alone failed to stop him. With one swipe he gouged away at her chest, even as she kicked away from him. The pain hit her like a wave of fire, but rather than reeling from it she dully wondered that if she had not noticed in time, would it have been for the better? Inwardly, her decision to allow the fight to continue was not just made in hopes of beating the man until he would no longer seek her out, but also in the sliver of hope that perhaps he might end it all. And now...perhaps..

But you cannot die.

She hardly flinched as the foreign thought made its way into her own. Neither did she when her opponent knocked her to the ground, gnashing sharp sets of teeth as he fought to tear her neck apart, blocked only by the sword she had timely held at both ends. Twice she should have died, and twice she miraculously did not. She knew that, in the end, she was only clinging to the impossible hope of death. What then, was the point of fighting?

The moment Leoncio reached his neck forward for the second time, Kalena swung her knees and head the other way and, leveraging on his momentum, shoved the beastman aside. The other growled as he came to his knees, but his prey was no longer in sight. He sniffed the air, feral eyes shifting to the forest where the faint patter of feet could still be heard. There was nothing in his mind, only the notion of finishing the hunt. The tail like cloth swaying behind his back, he steadily stalked her trail.

Kalena lay herself against the back of a tree, resting, yet never stopped listening for her surroundings. Perhaps retreating to the dark was a disadvantage with her opponent’s animalistic senses, but she was willing to take a gamble. And...most of all, it gave her time to think. Jeff’s words rang through her mind then. Indeed, what had happened to her goal? It seemed as though it mattered little after Corvon’s demise. Where she had once thought of establishing justice as her path, why then, did she shirk at the loss of a comrade? When did she, over the course of the several wars she waged in the name of her country, ever mourn for the loss of the men who fought by her side? Corvon fell by her blunder, but so did many more in her defeats in the battlefield. What changed her? And now, what should she fight for?

The crunch of a twig broke through her thoughts, and instinctively she kicked herself forward. A gust of air blew behind her, and she knew her body would have been eviscerated in half. Her feet twisted, and she spun back to face her foe, almost invisible under the near pitch black darkness. Just barely, she stepped back from another swipe, knocking away the next set of claws that came at her. Her opponent fought as a beast, fast, strong, and unpredictable. But there was predictability in all that chaos. A beast does not feint, nor does it know strategy. She did not need clear sight to see movement, and movement told her what it would do.

Leoncio lunged forward once more, and Kalena swung back and to her right, bringing the trunk of a tree between her and her foe. There was a dull thud as his claws ripped into the bark, but even with his strength he failed to pull them back. It took the other a mere second to step around and behind him, sword drawn back and swung down upon his head. Despite that, he let out a great roar, spinning back to lash back at her, but that was a futile effort.

Kalena simply ducked, and upon setting her sword straight with a flourish, brought the tip to his throat forcefully, just enough to draw blood. Leoncio froze mid motion, slowly stepping back from her. He shook his head, mumbled something incomprehensible, and looked back at her with renewed eyes. Eyes that no longer flared with animalistic rage, but rather with regret and relief.

“...I’m really sorry.”

“Why?”

“I showed something I shouldn’t have. I’m a monster, really.” Leoncio turned his head aside, “I’ll be out of your way then. We can chalk it up a loss on me.”

“What do you fight for, that winning means something to you?”

He opened his mouth, and closed it again. He could not figure out a proper response. After all the apathy that she bore throughout the battle, why did she show interest now?

“I’m...not really sure. I guess it doesn’t matter if I win or lose. I just hate this part of me, you know? I figure I could keep a lid on it if I trained hard and fought hard. You’re like me right? You don’t actually want to be here.”

“Like you?”

Her eyes narrowed, so slightly that it was only just visible to him, and yet radiated so much hostility that he could not help but take a step back.

“Do not draw such illborn assumptions. You who believes in weathering a wall by brute force have nothing in common with me. Do you expect to be stronger by throwing yourself at your enemy? Do you expect to distance yourself from your beastial side when you rely on it so strongly? You have yet to understand the depths in which you have sunk yourself into.

Kalena turned away as she felt her own emotions grow from the outburst. She felt insulted, but could not shake away the fact that, like him, she did not truly know where to go. For all the uncertainty she had, upon what grounds did she have to lecture him?

“Is that...why you didn’t take me seriously?”

She did not reply immediately. Instead she raised the sword of truth in front of her, staring upon its polished edge with weary eyes. It was difficult to see, but she could still tell it no longer bore the edge nor same spirit it used to have. It was dull, and had been dull since three months ago, and she knew the reason why.

“I have no right to bear arms, that is all.”

Kalena sheathed her blade, tottering forward with unsteady steps. Exhaustion and pain gripped her body as the adrenaline from the fight faded away, but their presence was a welcome one. They reminded her she was alive, of every swing of the blade she made, of the convictions she had decided upon in those swings.

She still did not understand her path, or what she should do. But amongst all the questions she brought upon herself, one saw itself answered. If she must be forced to live, then she will do so not because of such, but because Corvon could not, and in doing so she would carve a way forward, even if her sword had long abandoned her.

As if to reflect upon that, she made one final remark.

“When you have understood your way, come to me one more, and I will show you my own as well.”

Leoncio Cardozo (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?48890-Leoncio-The-Beast)

GDoc Link (https://docs.google.com/document/d/15i8iipAnDg7XnpYX4A2mDBEVVqmrG6as7EtDmlAzDbg/edit?usp=sharing)


The truth is rarely pure,
and never simple.
-Oscar Wilde

Truth is by nature self-evident.
As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it,
it shines clear.
-Mahatma Gandhi
____________________
Leoncio sits on the Night Creatures HQ’s main building, looking upon the night sky with empty eyes. Though it had been some time since his battle with Ralic, the fight still lingered deeply within him. His eyes close, and slowly he drifts back in time, back to the last time he’d felt this hollowness. It was almost ten years prior, after the incident in the church. The memory slowly washes over him, and he finds himself drowning in the visions of his adolescence.

He recalled that it had been just after dinner. He’d been in charge of cleaning after everyone. The methodic scrubbing of the old cracked dishes was comforting after another day of being an outcast. As Leoncio relived the scene, something nagged at him. Some detail that he couldn’t place his finger on. As he continues to focus on the memory, a loud slam resounds, both in memory and reality. He moves his body, it still a bit stiff from being motionless for such a long period, and looks to see what caused the sudden ruckus. He is met, surprisingly, with Manny’s own gaze.

“Yo,” the mannequin calls out. “We should probably talk. I’ve been here a while now, and I’m thinking you’ve got enough fire in you to handle it.” Despite his voice having the same cocky tone as usual, something about his movement was… off. As though he was nervous about the topic, whatever it may be. Manny points a distance off. “We’ll talk about it over there, near the large boulder. Get your ass in gear, kitty-cat.”

Despite the jeer, Leon sensed that this discussion was important. He’d have to put aside his problems for now. He flips off the roof, landing with barely a sound on his feet as he follows in Manny’s direction. When the two meet at the rock, Manny faces him with no hint of playfulness or cockiness. The air was tense, much too tense.

“What is it?” Leon asked as several moments of silence passed. “I’m actually starting to worry.” Though his words are light, a gnawing grows in his chest. Manny scratches his head a bit, before finally speaking up.

“Look, you’ve gotten into some fights since you went and became a gladiator. Looking at ya, I can tell you’re starting to get hit with some doubts about yourself. I ain’t the one to talk to about those troubles, because I never faced them. I’m a puppet who was made to kill; I don’t have a conscience like you. But the only reason I bring it up, is because you need to get your head out of whatever place you’ve gotten it stuck in. Things are going to start to get more and more dangerous for you soon. See, your little winning streak has earned you some notice.” Manny looks Leon dead in the eye. “Keep your eyes nice and wide open, and watch your back near shadows. Seems the original Night Creature himself has taken notice of you, and when he takes notice of anything, it’s never good.”

Leon’s body tenses, his pupils dilating as a cold sweat forms on his brow. He’d asked Manny before about the old Night Creatures, about why the name was “cursed.” Though he’d never been given much information, he’d been warned that its founder was a monster through and through, a being that only understood pain and fear.

“Now, don’t go getting all terrified now. It is what it is. That aside, I doubt he’ll do anything for a while. He’s changed a lot since he was made. If not for my contacts, I wouldn’t even know he was already keeping an eye on you.” He looks up, seeming to think on his next words. “...as you are now, if you two met, you’d be totally at his mercy. I’m not saying you’re weak. Hell, you’re stronger than me, and I beat him when he was probably his strongest. Thing is, though, your heart and your mind are weak. Nightshade may not have his old strength, but he’s smarter now. He’s evolved. I’m not sure even I could beat him as is.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Leon stares at the ground, unsure how he was feeling. Weak, scared, alone, pitiful… “What do you want me to do? I’m just some punk who can’t even figure out why he’s still bothering to stay alive!”

Silence falls around them once more, and it’s somehow even more deafening. Leon looked up to see a fist coming to meet him. Taken by surprise, he’s knocked flat on his back. He holds his nose, tears streaming from his eyes. When he blinks them away enough to look up, he sees a look of pure disgust on Manny’s face.

“I thought there was potential in you. Looks like you really are just some weak little shit. You don’t deserve to lead this clan. You don’t deserve to lead anyone.” He clenches his fist tighter, then lets it go. “Kizu and I are leaving tomorrow. I don’t wanna see your face anymore.” He walks back to the base, leaving Leoncio to lie on his back with tears still falling like stars in the night sky.


~~~~~~~~~~

It was a few days after Manny’s revelation that Leoncio received the call to battle. It seemed the Gladiator system also hadn’t missed his streak of wins. His opponent was a veteran who’d also never tasted defeat, though, their experience was clearly very different.

“Eight battles, eight victories…” Leon whispers to himself as he looks over Kalena’s profile. It seemed she was a swordswoman. He lightly touches the scar on his stomach, where he’d been pierced through cleanly. The memory was somewhat blurry, but the pain was embedded deep into his body’s memory. He grits his teeth; did he really have any chance at winning? It seemed like a fool’s gambit, with no real reward. He’d still be lost, unsure of his actions. He’d still be pointlessly fighting without a goal anymore.

He’d still be weak.

Manny’s words come back to him, and his resolve slows stops wavering. He had seen potential in him, and what did he do? He pushed aside the praise, belittled himself. He took Manny’s expectations and threw them into the dirt. His hands trembled as he closed the folder, wanting to read no further. The battle was scheduled for the next day; for now, he needed to ready himself. Walking through the base, he knocked on Zalgo’s door, seeking some council from the older being. Zalgo opens his door, glaring out before his expression lightens a bit.

“Leoncio,” he answered calmly, in his telepathic manner that Leoncio had only somewhat grown more accustomed to. “You don’t often come to simply speak to me. What’s troubling you?”

“It’s… it’s complicated, Zalgo.” Leoncio runs a hand through his hair. “I’m going up against a really tough opponent, and I… I don’t know. I can’t really find any motivation to fight. I’m not even sure what I’ve been fighting for anymore. Every fight I’ve been in, I’ve ended up relying on the power that I’m trying to control. I don’t know if I’ve made progress or regressed, and I feel like now I’m just making excuses to myself.”

The alien is quiet for a moment, before once again touching Leon’s mind; this time, however, rather than speaking, he showed Leoncio images. At first, he didn’t understand what was happening. After a few moments, he realized he was looking through Zalgo’s eyes at some… thing, that he somehow realized was Zalgo’s father. Held against his will, he saw as Zalgo’s father’s life was ended before his child’s eyes, the feelings of hopelessness and despair filling him before he returned to his own flesh.

“I am not of this world. My own world, my own kind, all dead. I am its lone survivor. Before my own eyes, my father’s life was taken in cold blood, I forced to watch before being exiled. Not all are blessed in life; for those of us who are trash, the thrown away, hated monsters, our lives are a struggle. To accomplish anything, we need power. We must fight, not only to survive, but to prove that we deserve to exist. If your heart is weak, then strengthen it. I came to you and accepted you as my leader because I saw within you a fire. A burning spirit that could prove its existence. If all that exists in you is a weak spark, then know that I will no longer view you as an ally; and be warned, my oil does not offer a painless death.” The door shuts, and Leoncio stands there a moment, thinking over if he’d been given words of wisdom, or simply a threat. No matter what, he knew that he’d have to fight this Kalena; it was all he had for now. The field of battle was the only place he could find his answers.


~~~~~~~~~~

The place of battle was once again the arena. Upon entering the combat room, Leon’s heart skipped a beat, his blood freezing in place. This time, the stage was set to resemble a large church. Pews stood silent along either side of the large carpeted path towards the other end, where a stained glass window of Jesus Christ shone light upon a lone figure, kneeling away from him. Though the large doors shut silently behind him, as they closed, the figure stood, slowly turning to face him.

Despite her plain dress, consisting of a slightly rough leather jacket, tanned trousers, and a plain white blouse, Leoncio was taken by her beauty. Rays of light became trapped in her brown curls and slid down her ponytail, and her eyes seemed to pierce through him. A sword was sheathed at her side, its plain appearance belying the strange aura of power it held. The woman, Kalena, held him firmly in her gaze.

“...still but a child, yet you still participate in this blood sport. Truly, it is a pity.” Her voice is calm and monotone, and something about it sets Leoncio’s instinct on edge. A memory starts to wriggle in his mind, yet he represses it focusing on his current circumstances.

“I am a child, yes,” he replies. “But I don’t participate in this system because I enjoy it. I’m here because I need to be. Because it’s the only place I can be.” He quiets down as Kalena raises her hand, slowly switching to a martial stance. Her feet spread slightly, her body lowering.

“I care little for your reasoning. We have met here now; our reasonings are our own, and should only serve to motivate us, drive us through this battle. I’ve seen that you carry no weapon, and your abilities are not such that I should need to rely on Adelaide. Come, let us test our resolves.”

Leoncio breathes in, then letting the air slowly slide past his teeth, he takes his own stance. Already, he could sense the difference from all his previous opponents. This woman didn’t seem to be much stronger than himself, yet he could feel the experience in her. It was as if they stood on entirely different planes, with her looking down upon him as one would an insect. He felt himself start to shrink away, fear clawing its way into his heart. Kalena notices his lack of conviction, and advances towards him, never breaking her form.

Leoncio advances as well, though more hesitantly, trying to steel his resolve. After but a moment, the two stand a short distance apart, Leoncio easily able to make out each detail of Kalena’s face, able to see how her throat moves as she breathes in and out slowly. He takes in this information, and as he prepares to move in with a feint towards her stomach, he finds her fist striking him squarely in the nose. He reels back, tears now streaming from his eyes at the sudden attack. Kalena capitalizes, striking him in the stomach and causing him to keel over before smashing him in the side of the head with an open palm strike. His body is sent into a pew, and he smashes face first into the wooden seat. As the wood comes in contact with him, he is momentarily stunned, and his senses move into overtime. He shifts to the side, away from Kalena, whose fist connects where his head was moments ago.

Rolling to his feet, Leoncio wheezes for a few moments, trying to regain himself. He’d lost out in the initial bout, and though his tears were no longer flowing, he now had an intense pain in his face to deal with, and the blow to his stomach had been precise; it had struck him in his liver, though it hadn’t been with the intent to deal serious damage. That said, it still dealt some heavy damage, and was making it a bit difficult for him to recover. Kalena turns to face him, shaking her hand before resuming her stance. Leoncio gets back into his own stance, now more wary. Once more, they moved into each other’s range.

This time, Leoncio was the one to take the initiative, swiping towards Kalena with his hand. As she moves to slip aside from the blow, he slides in, taking a hold of her arm. He slips around her, holding her arm in a lock and sweeping her legs from under her. As she falls, unexpectedly, she manages to withstand the pain and headbutts Leoncio, once more striking his nose. He releases his grip, and earns a swift kick to the chest, sending him rolling backwards. He manages to roll onto his feet, but is met with a kick to the chin that sends blood flying from his mouth as he bites his tongue.

As the pain strikes him, he feels the beast within start to emerge, the threat to his life becoming more and more apparent. He holds it down, keeping his ground and distancing himself from Kalena by volleying over a few pews. As he distances himself, Kalena calls out.

“You’re weak,” she points out. “You’ve got a decent form, but you’re clearly unused to fighting others with techniques of their own. You’ve strength, but you hold yourself back. You have no bloodlust, no real sense for this battle. You’re just going through the motions; nothing about you says you want to win. What is it you’re doing here? Why not simply yield?”

“I don’t know,” Leoncio says. “I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know why I’m still fighting. But I do know that the only way I can find out is through this path I’ve chosen for myself. This is all I know; this is all that something like me has.” For the first time in the battle, he lets his claws form, the semi-physical energy forming over his fingertips like small blades of light. Kalena sighs, then withdraws her sword. Her form changes, her standing almost sideways in nature as her sword takes place before her.

“It seems your heart is unsteady. Though I have no ill will towards you, I shall not lose to someone with so lackadaisical a heart. You, whose heart has such simple burdens, will not stand against Adelaide’s blade for long.”

The power of the beast slowly sparked back in Leoncio’s heart, and he moves towards Kalena in a haphazard manner, his movements increasing in speed yet still retaining their refinement. He thrusts his hand towards Kalena, claws poised to pierce into her stomach. Letting out a short breath, she knocks aside his claws with the flat of her blade, adjusting them to cut into his shoulder. The blade’s edge slices cleanly into his flesh, and blood slides down its edge. The pain only further awakens Leoncio’s abilities, and swallowing down the pain, he swipes at Kalena’s stomach, barely nicking her as she slides backwards.

With a flick of her wrist, the swordswoman flicks the blood from her blade, before lunging forward, the tip of her blade aimed for Leon’s leg. He instinctively backsteps, falling for the feint as Kalena adjusts her attack’s direction and slices just below his eye. Blood flies freely, and he brings his hand to his injured eye, his breathing growing heavy. Kalena lowers her blade towards the floor, holding her position with a calm expression, those piercing eyes going through him, seeing everything about him.

“Let’s end this here,” Kalena says in that ever-present monotone. “Your sight has weakened, you’re still losing blood from that wound to your shoulder which will also disable your arm, and your movements have started to dull. This battle is mine; to continue would be to throw away your life.” Somehow, during the battle, she had returned to standing beneath the light of the stained glass. As Leoncio looked upon her in that light, she appeared to him as an angel. An angel sent to bring down those who defied her. Her nickname, “The Absolute,” felt more fitting than ever. He wondered to himself, why was he still fighting? Why did he subject himself to all of this? Once more, a memory came to him. This time, he allowed it to play out in his mind.

~~~~~~~~~~

Leoncio calmly washed dishes, when he heard his name called out. Who needed him at this time of night? He walked off towards the sound, looking to see who needed him. It was the father of the church, along with several of the other orphans.

“Father?” Leoncio called. “What is it? There are still dishes to finish….”

“My child,” the Father said. “As you know, though your heart is clean, your body is that of the beast. Appearing at this church on the sixth hour, of the sixth day, of the sixth month… though we do what we can, the influence of evil is still present within you. Within that cursed body of yours.”

Two older children hold Leoncio’s arms, and press him to the floor. He doesn’t understand what’s happening, what the Father is talking about. “What…? What are you saying? Why are you holding me down? Did… did I do something wrong?”

The Father brings out a bible and a vial of what Leoncio knows to be Holy Water. “It is not the fault of you, child. He who once was borne of light, yet let his heart fill with darkness is responsible. We do this not to harm you, but to allow you entry into the Kingdom of Paradise. Grit your teeth and hold your tongue. We shall make this as quick as possible.” He begins to recite verses, splashing the water on Leoncio who struggles to free himself, still confused.

Then, he feels something cold and metallic, followed by a sharp pain. His voice fails him, as he turns his head and sees one of the sisters holding his tail. It is when he sees this extension of himself no longer connected, that the pain rushes in at once. Something inside of him broke, something deep within. The world turns black, then violent shades of red. When once again he can see, all around him are bodies. He looks down at his hands, covered in blood, the piteous moans of the church folk the only sound filling his ears, before his own screams of despair fill the night.

~~~~~~~~~~

Leoncio’s body stops moving as he returns to reality. He looks around, taking in his surroundings once more. This was it. This was the church where it happened. It was larger, but it was indisputably the same. His eyes drift back down as he hears Kalena tap the ground with Adelaide.

“Will you yield, or will you throw your life away?” she asks. Leoncio looks at his hands. As he looks, once more, blood seems to cover them. His uninjured eye slowly turns golden, and he looks up once more.

“I understand now,” he says. “I understand why I hate myself. I understand why for so long, I was consumed with guilt. Why I couldn’t bring myself to accept this power.” As he speaks, he slowly shifts his body to a more feral version of his usual stance, hands lowered in front of his body loosely. Around him, an aura of light seems to form, before it seems to take form on his shoulder in the shape of a wildcat. “The truth I buried so deep within my heart.”

Kalena shifts backwards, noticing a shift in Leoncio’s heart. Where once there was uncertainty, there was now a calm bloodlust. “I take it this truth has led to your decision to continue this struggle. I know not what it is you’ve kept hidden, but there is nothing you could experience that would change the outcome of this battle. You’ve not felt true loss, true despair. Allow me to carve into your body a lesson of what true pain is.” She moves forward, blade raised in what looks to be a vertical strike, planning to once again feint and slash into Leon’s other shoulder. The young boy doesn’t move, simply watching her approach until in an inhuman burst of speed, his fist connects with her abdomen.

Kalena staggers, her breath leaving her, and Leon doesn’t let his chance go unutilized. Moving into her personal space, he separates her arms, then grabs her sword arm and knees it at the elbow. It bends in the opposite direction with a sickening crunch, and Kalena drops Adelaide to the ground, the sound reverberating through the empty church. Leon’s fist smashes into Kalena’s stomach once more, even more force into it, and he releases her arm, instead grabbing her by the neck. His grip starts to tighten, and for a moment, Kalena struggles against his arm. Realizing her efforts are fruitless, she instead smashes him in the side of his head. He releases her, and she kicks him in the stomach before moving away, recuperating. Leoncio, despite the blow, continues to watch her with his mismatched eyes.

“I don’t want to kill you,” he whispers. “But I also don’t know if I can hold back. This pain… this hatred. I buried it all away, pointed it towards myself. Now that it’s been unsealed, I just have this urge to let loose. To let myself run free.” He kicks her sword towards her. “My left arm is completely numbed. I can’t use it anymore, and you can’t use your right. Let’s finish this with the next exchange.”

Kalena glares at him, before taking up Adelaide. “I accept your terms. I don’t wish to strike you down either, but I have not the reason to restrain myself. Let’s let this deplorable match reach its conclusion.” Standing, she points the longsword towards Leoncio, reciting a short incantation. A light shimmers along its edge, and she holds her body steady, ready to strike at the slightest provocation.

Focusing his chi in his right hand, Leoncio puts as much power into his claws as he can muster. The wildcat on his shoulder mewls, and his senses seem to sharpen to an unimaginable extent. Everything becomes crystal clear, and he moves his arm to his side, preparing to rush forward himself.

The two combatants look each other in the eye, and as if reaching a silent agreement, rush forth, putting their all into a final attack. As they pass by one another, they slash with all their heart, all their spirit, all their determination. There is silence as they stand, backs towards one another. Leoncio feels his wounds first, a deep strike having tore through his stomach. He presses his hands to his abdomen, keeping himself together as he feels his entrails threatening to relocate themselves. Behind him, he hears a short sigh.

Kalena collapses to the floor, the attack to her own abdomen in more severe a condition as the five slashes let blood flow like a river from her. Leoncio collapses to his knees, looking up to the image of Jesus in the glass.

“This isn’t victory. This is just you waking me from a child’s dream.” Leoncio wonders faintly as the edges of his vision turn dark if dying would’ve been a better conclusion to his story. Behind him, he hears a scratching.

As he turns, he sees Kalena stabbing Adelaide into the floor, using it as a crutch as she raises herself from the floor. She turns to face him, the look in her eyes somehow… different. Though it still pierced through him, where once it was like the stab of a rapier, swift and calculated, now it seemed to overflow with an unspoken fury, as though a carefully formed dam had been taken down, letting forth the flood of withheld emotions.

“It seems… it could not be decided so simply.” She raises Adelaide towards the roof, and behind her, a boulder rises slowly into the air, a silent omen that points a jagged edge towards the downed monk. Kalena points the weapon at Leon, and the rock lurches forwards until it hangs above him. “Apologies. I’d thought you’d be unconscious with my last strike. But your eyes… they still have a fight in them. Holding back against you would be an unkindness, and unwise.” She gives him a nod, and lets the boulder come crashing down.

The sound turns the fake church into an echo-chamber, the sounds reverberating without cease for several minutes, dust obscuring vision. Kalena falls to a knee, holding her stomach, blood dripping from her mouth.

“This is more severe a wound than I suspected. Thankfully, that should have finished things. You were a strange opponent, Leoncio.” A hand rests on her shoulder, and her body tenses up.

“And you’re the strongest I’ve faced, Ms. Eirwen.” Leoncio looks down on her, his body being held together through pure willpower and straining his abdominal muscles to their absolute limits. “It’s why I can’t hold back either.”

Gathering his remaining strength, he focuses his claws on a single area, creating a new technique on the spot. Releasing the pent up energy, he rips into Kalena’s shoulder, the wound eerily similar to the one she gave him earlier. Straining to keep conscious, she turns to face Leon. “How?”

“Your blood loss. You just missed me.” And with that simple bit of luck, it was over.


~~~~~~~~~~

At an unknown location, a lone man smiles as the scene on his television changes, announcing Leoncio as the winner of the battle. He leans back, wondering to himself just how many viewers this battle had. It was truly worth it, using his information network to look into the child’s past, and set up these past battles to reawaken his memories. His brutality was growing, and the darkness within him was taking shape. It was a pity that he was still so adamant against killing, but he was young. The young were so easy to influence, after all. It would take some more pushing, but for now, he was satisfied with these results. Pressing a button on his chair, he contacts his secretary.

“Hello, Leilah? Could you please recall the first unit? They should have enough sources by now, and I’m feeling a bit excited. I need some toys to play with, and they always bring the most entertaining ones. Always so… exotic.” The room falls to silence, until a simple reply comes back.

“Yes sir, Mr. Nightshade.”

CnC highly appreciated!

GuardianTempest
10-26-2015, 08:48 PM
Match of the...Year?

This will take a while to read, but it's surprising that Lobo's still willing to scrap with a worthy foe.

Azure
10-26-2015, 08:55 PM
Match of the...Year?

This will take a while to read, but it's surprising that Lobo's still willing to scrap with a worthy foe.

This is the biggest compliment I've received in some time.

Haru
10-26-2015, 09:17 PM
Hey hey hey, you got a new battle up!
I'll read it when I have time!
Yo, We still doing the collaboration?

Azure
10-26-2015, 09:24 PM
Hey hey hey, you got a new battle up!
I'll read it when I have time!
Yo, We still doing the collaboration?

Yes, and sorry that I'm kinda on and off about it. I try to work on it here and there when I have time. Since I have no battle, I should be able to a bit more. Just keep an eye on the page every here and there, and we'll make it work.

Hewitt
10-26-2015, 09:29 PM
Oh loboto. Why dont you face a real man instead.

ErrorBlender
10-26-2015, 09:30 PM
Hasn't he already battled you?

GuardianTempest
10-26-2015, 09:41 PM
Yes, but that was from way back when in lands far away. It probably no longer counts.

ErrorBlender
10-26-2015, 09:46 PM
I doubt Hewitt will even write a battle again anyway.

Hewitt
10-26-2015, 10:01 PM
I doubt reverse psychology works anyway

ErrorBlender
10-26-2015, 10:23 PM
It was never intended that way. Just stating a fact we all know.

Malacal
10-26-2015, 10:40 PM
So the only real advice I can give you Azure, is that sometimes you'll use a word twice in rapid succession. There is a simple fix: Don't. I would suggest proofreading for these.

Edit: Lobotomizer, you had an incredible story behind yours. I wasn't really impressed by the battle aspect, but the overall story was great. The only thing I didn't like, was the for the first four clauses you said the word "months". I know there was intended to be emphasis, but you went about it wrong. It would've been better if you reworded them to not include the word months but once or twice at most. But damn, I really liked the story, so the vote goes to you.

Cruel
10-29-2015, 09:54 AM
I feel like Lobotomizers build up to the fight was much better executed, however the description of the fight itself got a little confusing at times for me at least.

Azures was the opposite, the events up until the fight itself weren't written as well it seemed, but the intensity of the battle itself really got me into it.

Azure got my vote on this one, but it was a really tough decision because lobo's got me really into his character.

Haru
10-29-2015, 03:51 PM
Who's this scrub called sketchpen?
Anyway, I'll read this later.

Malacal
10-29-2015, 04:02 PM
There are certain things that are even unknown to mods. Sketchpen is one of them.

roBEAT
11-02-2015, 10:01 AM
I'm so damn impressed by both of your stories. Well done guys. Don't even know who to vote for yet. I might even read those battles a second time.

However I do got a question for you Azure. One might not notice it because of the tension and flow of the battle, but it seems like you are switching tenses without any reason pretty often especially at the start of your battle:

Leon looked up to see a fist coming to meet him. Taken by surprise, he’s knocked flat on his back. He holds his nose, tears streaming from his eyes.

Later into the battle:
The power of the beast slowly sparked back in Leoncio’s heart, and he moves towards Kalena in a haphazard manner, his movements increasing in speed yet still retaining their refinement.

I might not be a grammar genius but aren't you even switching tenses amidst a sentence while the action appears to be linear? This might be wrong.
There are plenty of examples where you suddenly switched tense aren't there?

I don't think one should do it like that but what do I know? Did you do it like that on purpose?