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View Full Version : The Hero of New Salem: Serif Winters VS Feather 'Strikebound' Jameston



Crank
02-19-2016, 09:55 PM
ayamketimun, if you return from wherever you dropped off the grid to, please let me know. I really don't like claiming forfeits.

Anyway!


The Hero of New Salem: Serif Winters (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?92943-Serif-Winters-The-Hero-of-New-Salem-Back-to-Battle) VS Feather 'Strikebound' Jameston (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?98428-Strikebound-%28a-k-a-Feather%29-Currently-Battling-Serif)
Bolas, Knife & Gravity Altering Talisman VS Impact Absorption & Pistols

”What do you mean you aren’t a gladiator?”

“Precisely that.”

Unadulterated confusion flashed on the redhead’s face, her perception of the tattooed man before her flickering back and forth like a flame in the breeze. As he dug through the suitcases he brought to the cheap motel however, her look went unnoticed. After clearing her throat however, she made herself heard. “The RHG aren’t assassins, Serif. They can’t just send one of their people to attack some random civilian.”

“Assassins slay specific people, Annabelle, and that was no random assault. I’m their target.”

“But the RHG wouldn’t-”

“They did.” Withdrawing a photograph from the luggage, he turned to depart his room only to see the woman block the doorway. “Please move.”

Her emerald eyes drilled into his bright sapphires. “And if I do? What are you going to do when you get to the RHG building?”

“I’m going to speak with those in charge.”

“And in what tone with you be doing that?”

“This doesn’t concern you, Annabelle.”

“This does concern me! Have you seen my lobby? All the blood you spilled in my lobby?”

“I was defending myself. And I recall the man saying you’d be reimbursed.”

“You didn’t even try talking to him, and that’s not why I’m fired up! There was a fight out of the blue at the motel I manage! What if I had people inside? It could be death to my business, them, I’m already going to have to close for a few days -which my dad is going to love when he finds out- and you can bet every ounce of ink on your body they won’t cover my downtime! I’m just as invested in this as you are.”

“I highly doubt that.” Serif went to step forward, but the woman wouldn’t budge. The wailing of a siren could just begin to be picked up underneath the ambient music from the hall. “Annabelle, please move.”

“If you storm the RHG building, there will be dozens of other fighters, just like Proton, all bent on killing you if you start something.”

“Then I’ll make sure I’m not caught on my way to the top.”

“Listen to me, dammit!” Cracking on the curse, her voice emitted a shrill screech. “You need to talk to these people, Serif! That’s what they are, okay? They’re people. Sometimes good people who listen and talk back. And what do you mean you won’t get caught? You can barely walk! You’re bleeding, broken and exhausted!”

His eyes narrowed as the sirens grew louder, but she continued holding her ground.

“Then what do you suggest.”

“They’ll be sending someone here to buy my footage. Just wait here, I’ll do the talking.”

“And why is that?”

“...Have you listened to yourself lately?”


///////////////////////////////////////////////

There was just something about violence that just so… unifying? Malcolm Mars felt his body tremble with how accurate the word felt. Somehow, one way or another people always came together to destroy each other, and somehow, one way or another, people always made a profit from it. A second shiver gripped Mal’s body, but what he couldn’t shake was that somehow he ended up being a part of it.

It started innocent enough, just a gag application, but when he was called for an interview he couldn’t come up with a lie convincing enough to miss it, and when he was there, he started internally justifying it. His goal was to be a CSI, and exposure to scenes could give him a closer understanding how it all happened, especially if he watched the fight after the fact.

But as he watched a crew of EMTs and paramedics drag a young man, broken and bloody, hardly moving, into an ambulance, he felt the last few strands of his faith in his ‘job’ begin to slip. Heaving in disheartedly however, he moved forward, pushing through the doors before him. Natural light poured in behind as he dragged his feet into the dim motel, sunshine dancing on the shattered glass, juxtaposed entirely to the scene before him. Craters seemed to be in the walls, and blood stoaked the carpet. Splattered splashed along the walls and origins points for injuries seemed far too high to be possible. Faint stains looked to be transferred along the ceiling and more was dripping off the walls. It was almost like the building had revolved for the two to fight.

“You’re with the RHG?”

Snapping back into reality, Malcolm’s head darted to the voice, stumbling to find words to reply with. The faint tremble in the girl’s tone pulled at the strands keeping himself together, and his own stuttering did nothing to ease matters. “Uh, y-yeah,” His entire neck tingled as discomfort seized him, breaking eye contact before even seeing the girl, “Why?” Before she could answer, it suddenly clicked that the gladiator who damn near killed the other neither left with the EMTs or was anywhere to be seen. “And wh-”

“Why?” It suddenly became aware to the intern that his missing man wasn’t the only thing he should be afraid of. “There was a brink-of-deathmatch in my motel! What if I had clients?”

“Knowing this town it’d be good for business…”

“Even when you’re sending a trained swordsmen to fight a citizen?”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

Finally, Malcolm’s eyes met the redhead’s glaring green pair, serious as disease. “...Did Proton fight someone other than Serif Winters?”

“Oh no, they fought alright!”

Confounded, he squinted at her.

“What?”

“Mr. Winters registered himself as a combatant weeks ago. He just had his demonstration last night.”

“What?”

“You heard me.” His pride at using her line died as her glare hardened, “...Unless you meant him and the guy whose hand he hacked off-” Her eyes popping told him that wasn’t the case, “-butthat’ssincebeenclearedup. Uh. What did he tell you?”

“...That he’s not a gladiator.”

“Then he lied to you.”

“Don’t you dare accuse me of that.”

The intern jerked at the new voice. Although just above a whisper, it was absolutely seething with rage, and the body it went with didn’t exactly calm him down. Coated in more ink that any gangster would dream of, a galactically tattooed man limped towards him, one hand bracing his clearly aching back as the other clutched a blade, the cause of most of the crimson stains. Malcolm swallowed hard.

“I swear, this is just a summer job!”

“Serif! I specifically said I’d do the talking!”

“Actions speak louder than words.”

“What does that mean?!”
“What does that mean?! Jinx.”

The alleged gladiator sighed at the woman before facing the man once more. “Be honest with me and no harm will befall you.”

“No harm’s befalling him anyway!”

“It’s not?”

“Annabelle, I have no time for his games. I’ll do what I must.”

“Words speak loud enough! Just ask me what you want to know!”

Serif’s brow furrowed. “Why did you say I was a gladiator?”

“Because you are!”

“And why is that?”

“You signed up!”

The warrior stomped a step forward. “I suggest you rethink your answer.”

“We still have the footage! Hell, we even aired some of it when we got a message from The Messenger confirming you went through with your entry battle!”

“My…” Serif’s gaze wandered before a sudden click struck his mind, burning wrath ravaging his body, actively having to fight the urge to lunge over and slice him open, “A man is dead and a child is lost!”

“I only work here!”

“Serif, calm down!”

“Her abductors are over a half day ahead of me, and you’re telling me it’s because you think I enrolled in your petty sport? I don’t even know this land! She could be anywhere, alive or dead!”

“What the hell do you want me to say?” Reduced to a petrified shriek, Malcolm leaned back as far away as possible as he held his arms up to protect his face, as if it’d do him any good, “Ask the fans in the arena, I don’t know!”

“You d-”

“Serif! Thousands of people pay to watch these fights live… He might actually be onto something.”

Eyes burning like an exploding blue star, it took more than a few deep breaths to even begin to lower his voice. Trembling a few feet away, it took just as long, if not longer, for Malcolm to start to stabilize.

“Y-you j-just need an opponent to get in...”

Silence locked them in like a freeze frame, Winters’ cyan irises studying the shying man like an answer key. After what felt like hours to the panicked person, he finally spoke, unable to muster anything calmer than a growl. “Make it happen.”

“He means ‘please make it happen’. And ‘I’m sorry’.”

“No I don’t.”

“Hey! Look who’s finally awake!”

A low grumble drifted through the line as Feather dragged the phone closer to her face beneath the covers. “Do you have any idea what time it is this time?”

“Do you?”

Sunshine was bleeding into her motel room through the ragged curtains she’d fought to close the night before, but with eyes clamped so tight duct tape couldn’t do better, she genuinely had no idea. “Of course I do.”

“It’s 12:53.”

“What?”

“Knew it. But anyway!” Feather flinched as Owl clapped loudly into the device, glistening hair a disaster as she suddenly sat upright, “You need to wake up, I found an opponent for you! But how late were you up last night?”

“The Wi-Fi here is garbage, there were a lot of forms to fill out and a lot of terms to read. I don’t know, late? Who am I fighting?”

“‘The Hero of New Salem’, Serif Winters. He’s got a background in hunting, but from what I’m looking at, guns aren’t part of his arsenal.”

“What else would he hunt with? A bow?”

“La. Lots of them.”

It was way too early for that to make sense. Scanning for her brush, Feather finally started putting herself together. “Lots of ‘la’s?”

“Bolas. The thing on the string you throw to trip an animal? Well, apparently, this guy uses them. Getting tangled aside, they shouldn’t give you much trouble if what I’ve heard about you is correct-”

“What’ve you heard about me, exactly?”

“-But the metal ones would be worth watching out for. And how do you feel about knives?”

“They sting I guess? I mean, I’m not worried. Is it just a normal knife?”

“Great!”

“You can’t just cherry pick the questions you want to answer, you know.” Satisfied with her hair, she finally brought her laptop to life, screen already filled with pictures of a man with more ink than a graphic novel. “What do you want with this guy?”

“Honestly? This one’s more for you than me. You need to start your career with a win to get anything out of it, but also because there are some real monsters you might come across in this thing, and it’ll be nice if you could gain an ally.”

“But if he’s a cakewalk, why would I want his help?” Cycling through a few more pictures, a distorted frown conquered her expression without warning. “This guy? This guy’s going to help me?”

“You’re looking at the picture where he just stabbed the guy, aren’t you?”

The picture was so pixilated it could’ve been taken from a phone five years ago, but there was a distinct red streak coming from the blur she assumed was a knife. The guy he did it to had a sword at least, but she could almost hear his horrific scream through the image. “Yeah. Are you sure this guy’s a ‘hero’? But why would he help me? Or why would I want him to help me, for that matter.”

“Because he’s going through what you are.”

An elongated sigh drifted from her as she clicked a few of the other links she had, just a PDF and couple video files. “Right. So to get him on my side, I’m going to fight him. That’s how it works here?”

“Hey, I didn’t make the rules.”

[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]

Sitting in the clinic adjacent to the RHG building, Serif felt self loathing burn his insides as every minute slipped by. After chaos broke loose on The Messenger, he was minutes behind Olivia’s abductors, but fighting the current to swim to shore and collapsing in exhaustion as a result added almost ten hours. Two more after his engagement with Krystal, another before his introduction to Proton and now…

His eyes closed as he did his best to internalize his wrath. 48: That was always the magic number, the ticking clock to have a chance to solve a case, only to see it shatter into a fraction when it passed. At a quarter in he had almost nothing. If he believed in a god, any god, he would’ve prayed the RHG were involved just so he’d have a straw to grasp in the growing current. Knuckles popped as he clenched his fists, but a gentle palm found his shoulder in strong contrast.

“Hey,” Annabelle’s voice had a tender melody as she practically whispered in his ear, “Sometimes throwing a Hail Mary works.”

“I don’t know what that means, but thank you.”

“Just one more fight, okay? Get patched up and hang in there.”

[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]-[]

’This is Olivia Topaz!” Serif’s booming voice burst like thunder against the chaos of clamoring fans, suddenly silenced by the strike as he tore a photograph out of his vest, “She’s an eight year old child who left her home with dreams in her eyes! Olivia wanted to see things, see things of wonder and watch what she’s never even dreamed of! Her only sin was the desire to know what lays beyond, and know what she could never otherwise comprehend! Her hopes perished before she even set foot on this land. A man who watched her grow was slain before her eyes, a man she could rely on, an man she depended on. The man who could bring her home is rotting beneath the sand, and now she’s petrified and alone, in an unknown land of death and terror! Olivia is an innocent blessing to all those around her, and now that beacon of joy risks fading into the abyss. All I ask is that you help find her. All I ask… is that you help me save her.’

“Hey, we’re almost ready for you.”

Nodding slowly, Serif’s eyes cracked open. Tingles spiderwebbed across his body as whatever painkillers he was injected with pumped through his blood, hyper aware of his fresh bandages as he rolled his shoulder. Boots kept his toes off the chilled steel floor, and a small slit beckoning light into his dark waiting area was the only thing that gave him illumination, albeit in an unsettling orange tone. His arms folded as his barricade began splitting open, walking forward only when the RHG worker before him motioned. Stepping from shadows to light, explosive applause burst from the football field sized arena. Thousands of fans fought to be heard, warring for the camera to pan across their war-painted faces as an announcer’s voice cut through the crowd as the first gladiator ignored them all, observing his surroundings while continuing his stride.

“Ladies and gentlemen!”

Serif’s boots failed to sink into the sand with every step he took, quickly concluding they only coated the surface for visual reasons, but pricking his finger against a nearby cactus proved not everything was a prop.

“Introducing the first combatant, Serif Winters, the Hero of New Salem!” Although he was still unknown, the crowd somehow gained a second wind while the gladiator’s gaze continued to wander. There were dozens of the desert plant scattered throughout the area, paired with sporadic boulders and what looked to be a pond in the center. “He may be just another rookie, but you have to admire his heart! Official for only half a day, this little bugger’s already got three-”

’Three?’ His footing faltered for a moment.

“- fights to his name! Let’s see if he can keep his winning streak going against some even fresher meat! Guys and gals, please make some noise for Strikebound, making her gladiatorial debut!”

Mixed into the applause like Captain Morgan in Coke, cat calls and whistles dominated the airwaves while the far gate open. Imperfect vision prevented Serif from seeing much more than a blur with a blonde ponytail, but as the two casually, much to the distaste of the formerly electrified crowd, continued their strides forward, she came into his focus. Judging by her outfit, she wasn’t dressed to be ogled. Wearing a tan trench coat more patched than his battered body, little skin invited starting, and even though it didn’t go all the way up to her neck, a navy blue T-shirt blocked any sight of chest while trousers dropping all the way down to her combat boots blocked anyone with a foot fetish.

While some men in the audience were disappointed that the latest lady gladiator was going to be less of a femme fatale and more of an actual gladiator, her outward appearance almost made the hunter respect her. Almost. There was focus the bright green eyes baring him down, but a nonchalance under it was unmistakable.

’You don’t care that today could be the end?’ His cyan set narrowed on her, suspicions bubbling to his surface as she strode the last few paces. As anticipations rose, the irritated clamor from waiting fans faded, now in a hushed anticipation.

Finally within arms reach, Strikebound paused, doubt making her body slouch as she sighed heavily. Her arms crossed as she searched for words, and while whispers started throughout the live crowd, she began mumbling beneath her breath.

“This is not the way to make a first impression.” Trying and failing to force a smile, she dragged in another inhale in an effort to recover her composure, but before her lungs could even finish filling in all the crisp, glorious air, she’d soaked in, it burst out in a vicious strike. Her eyes blasted open as the weight of a 180 pound force railed into her body, lifting her off her feet and crashing on top of her when she slammed into the earth. A cool steel pressed against her throat before she could even process what was happening, but when she went to open her mouth, Serif’s free hand covered it.

“I’m not here to play games, and I’m not here to make friends,” His blade threatened to break her skin as he put more pressure behind it, voice low and dark as his black ink as he stared her in the eyes, “This is your only opportunity to surrender.”

The silence of the lambs gripped the crowd as the gut wrenching quiet tip-toed by, Strikebound’s gaze having enough heat to make a forest fire look like a blizzard. Slowly, Serif moved his palm as he pushed the blade tighter.

“Say it.”

“Oh they’d have to censor what I want to say!”

The hauntingly tense atmosphere erupted like dynamite with applause when a crack bounced off the walls. The hunter’s head recoiled as blood gushed from his nose, edge of his knife viciously gliding across the young woman’s throat when she’d lunged it forward in a headbutt. A fist smashed his ribcage before he could think, and while he started falling back, Strikebound rolled out from under him, wailing him with both feet and launching him into the air.

The lingering affects of his painkillers were the only thing that kept the reopening wounds on his back from paralyzing him in agony. A cloud of sand bounced with him on the initial impact and skid marks lined his arms as he rolled along the sand while his numb body tingled. Finally coming to a stop against a rock, a grunt expelled from his lungs before his shook his head, blinking his bewildered eyes.

Just like with Krystal, there was hardly a trace where his blade had dragged along her flesh. Papercut-like damage at best, she sprinted towards him as he climbed the boulder at his back, sheathing the blade he was beginning to doubt and exchanging it for a bola from within his vest. Lifting it high above his head with one stone gripped, the other stone spun like a helicopter blade. Trying to beat the throw however, Strikebound’s feet shoved off the earth in a dash, but with sudden ferocity he launched it at her, rushing through the air in a three foot wide blur.

No amount of jump rope could have prepared her for the attack, but as she leapt into the air and tucked her knees, she came close at least. Before they could quite ball to her chest, the rope ensnared her ankles, coiling her feet together with the rage of a serpent while the force forced her into the first half of a flip. Her forearms braced for her face as she did her vertical one-eighty, but it still smashed against the ground like a failed skateboarder, legs almost kicking the back of her head as her spine seemed to bounce from the impact. Eyes squinting to block the falling sand as she fell on her back, she could only think a curse before the next spherical stone sped exactly into her vision.

The entire stadium flinched at the horrific thuds that seemed to echo each other, rock bashing into her right eye and then her skull smacking into the ground in what should've been a bone shattering bang. Sand drifted into the air under the impact, and although the girl remained still, the absence of any cracking unsettled the hunter. Jerking his rope back to return a stone to each hand, the hunter cautiously hopped off his boulder, carefully watching the woman below him. His body tingled in doubts of the battle’s end, but if his edge couldn’t cut his foe, he’d have to make blunt force work. Pacing to her place on the ground, his keen eyes observed her. Strikebound looked more like she was playing the part of a corpse than an actually defeated enemy, but Serif could see her chest rise and fall with each slow breath she took, and although her eyes were shut, he could see the movement under the lids tracking his own. Brow dropping as his eyes narrowed, his gaze slowly made their way down her body, for the first time noticing the black bars protruding from her jacket pockets.

’You’re armed?’

Temptation gripped him as he stared at what he was certain were the handles of a pair of pistols, but as a cold sweat dampened his head turned his palms clammy, he shook free of the thought. Looking back to her neck, he had a better idea how to end the fight. Squeezing his right stone as he dropped to his knee, he inhaled a sharp breath before ripping it to the sky. A piece of him wanted to look away as he slammed it down, but in a flash like the Flash, she rolled from the attack at an impossible speed, letting a metallic clang resound as Serif’s stone struck the stadium below the sand. His neck snapped up to track her, but already to her feet, she spun sharply and lifted one from the earth.

The impact was the first real shot the crowd felt. Roars of glee echoed the arena as the hunter’s neck jerked to the side, a stream of blood flowing from his busted lip before falling his hands and knees. Painkillers finally wearing off, he could feel his skull throb as his heart pounded while the sting of his skids began fading in like a movie soundtrack. The deafening chant of the crowd muted their hero’s dash, ramming her boot into Serif’s ribs and feeling them crack under her strength. The blow physically lifted the man as her foot rose, and despite all the chaos in the audience, she still heard his shriek. His eyes were clamped in agony while his mouth opened so wide it threatened his jaw before he returned to the sand, impact expelling another tortured yelp. Coughing up blood as he fought to keep his eyes open, he squirmed on the ground, feeling Strikebound’s cool shadow over him.

“Like you said, I’m not here to play games, but I didn’t come to make new enemies either,” Her arms folded as Serif’s medication parted to let him feel the full anguish of his one-day-war, “Stay down, and we can call it a day, alright?”

Further crimson hacks stained his leather as he tried to reply, but voice too weak to be heard, she had to lower her head to hear it. “Death of the day is death of my mission.” His hand seized on the sand beside him, and out of her eye-line, it was too late when she saw it swing at her. In a smack that echoed the arena, his palm stuck at her cheek, opening at the last second and reaching around to get as much sand in her eyes as possible. More shocked than damaged, she recoiled as he staggered to his feet, limping terribly as she rubbed at her burning emeralds. Furious as the second cheap-shot at the fight, a fire burned within her as water dripping from her tear ducts threatened putting it out, but even though Serif staggered, he’d still already created a distance.

Or he thought he did, at least. Almost back to the battleground oasis, he glanced back as her vision recovered. No longer seeing a painful blur, she charged him close to double the speed of her initial sprint, causing his mind to scramble to connect the dots. In his desperation, he didn’t have much more than a scribble mark for a completed picture by the time she was upon him, but as she leapt to the air like a superhero with a readed a superman punch, he felt like Lex Luthor with no kryptonite. Broken bones incapable of taking another speeding truck like impact, he dashed out of the way rather than plotting a counter. He felt wind rush against his features as he leaned the last few inches out of her range, but when she landed, she dashed back at him with more of a matchable speed.

Lacking the time to run this time, his only option was to stand and fight. A quick jab tried blacking his eye, but a quick duck dodged the blow, although his screaming ribs made him break even. Balling his fist to retaliate with an uppercut, he jerked himself upright, but before knuckles met her jaw, his mind’s eye saw the scribble for what it was. Frantically opening his palm, a teeth clamping blow became a push to the side of her face, making her stumble a step closer to the pond as she pivoted her body, elbow first. Bone smashed his jaw, and as the resulting bite tore the skin in his cheek, welling a warm, coppery fluid within his oral cavity, his theory felt proved.

“That all you got? You’ll have to hit me harder than that!”

The sand stained scarlet with his spit. “And why is that? Does pain make you more than human?” Clutching his bruised waist, a smirk found his face when shock found hers. “You aren’t the first witch I’ve met who’s aided by self mutilation. You simply don’t need to bleed.”

“You’re covered in more blood than ink. You really think that matters at this point?” She approached as he backpedaled. “This is a losing battle for you, you can barely stand, you can’t win a fight head on and you can’t run fast enough to rely on range, even if it could help you. The crowd already hates you, anything you had to prove you ruined and all your enduring is getting you is a longer hospital to stay.” A faint splash interrupted her as Winters stepped in the pond. “How can you win if you’re not going to hurt me?”

“Not everyone dies in pain.”

“I know what a quick death is, Serif, but I could get shot in the head and live.”

“And not every painless death is quick.”

Water crawled up the hunter’s shin as he made his way deeper into it, but it wasn’t until her own boots touched the liquid that his words made sense. Her eyes bugged as Serif snatched a bola from within his vest, and while she went for a gun, he cracked it like a whip, coiling below her knee while she raised her weapon, yanking it before she had him locked. Squeezing instinctively as she lost her footing, a hail of gunfire destroyed the airwaves as the weapon arched, riddling the wall and bulletproof glass behind them full of slugs before her back splashed in the shallow water.

Tearing her foot free of the rope as her eardrums rang, she scrambled to stand back up, grip still seizing her gun before a foreign palm seized her wrist. Her teeth grit as Serif fought the gun from his body, but with his right hand still cradling his broken ribs, her other remained free. In a blink, her left snatched her backup while the tattooed man’s exhausted eyes filled with dread, but bullets were flying before he could bat it away.

Four rounds went off before his palm forced the barrel to his side, first grazing his hip, shredding through his leather and skinning a few layers of skin before embedding itself in stone, next two piercing him just a couple inches higher and closer to the center of his body. The wrathful slugs ripped through his flesh like drills, ending in a burst of blood when they shot out the other side, while the last rammed into his cracked rib, fracturing it further before striking another and coming to a stop just below his skin. The entire pond turned red as fluids poured from Serif’s quaking body, creeping darkness empowering his need to fight while his strength sank like a ship taking on water. Every nerve in his body screamed to his brain, but deaf from the shots and the beginning of numbness overtaking him, he did his best to overcome it as his leg slipped behind Strikebound’s.

Using his weight more than his power, he twisted to the side, broken rib stabbing him with pain like a knife to the heart, but when the girl’s footing faltered and she submerged, he hardly cared. Six inches shorter and over fifty pounds lighter, dread overtook the woman. Her mind roared at her to hold her breath, but in a panic, bubbles raced to the surface like an army as she screamed, wounded knee of her battered foe pinning her below ripples. She kicked and flailed like there was no tomorrow, splashes of the horrifically thick red water making the events all too real to the crowd, and as if it’d do anything, she drained the last of her bullets from within the pond. Her empty chest constricted, begging for air and her brain felt like it was going to explode like a grenade if it didn’t get any oxygen, but without physical trauma to activate her powers, she couldn’t overcome her enemy’s natural strength. All she could do was plead, but without a voice to beg, she could only convey it with her terror ridden eyes.

If only she weren’t all but invisible.

With the sandman practically breathing on the back of his neck, early afternoon looked like the dead of night to Serif. A growing cold traveled his veins, shaking limbs desperately doing all they could to keep his reaper at bay. Between his insides draining, pain impaling him with each minor movement and the woman’s thrashing, the blood-soaked hunter knew losing his grip assured death. Either his from the barrel of her gun, or the damnation of his mission from losing time impossible to recover. Mind fading, he did anything he could to keep himself awake and able. Thoughts of home swelled his brain like a tumor, the illuminating smile of his sister, laughter of his best friend and the encouragement of his gymmates. The gentle kiss of the crisp clean air, the lush green forests New Salem held to behold and the peaceful flow of the river gliding through the town.

His grip seized tighter under thrashing water as determination boiled his remaining blood. Everything he loved could die a memory if his mission failed. He’d never see a soul he ever loved again without Olivia’s safe return, which in turn would be an impossible feat without the aid of the strangers that populated the savage lands.

Forcing his eyes open as the fight faded from Strikebound, his blurry vision finally saw hers shut. Her small body fell limp in the crimson water, limbs floating up as her life faded into a flicker. Narrowly holding on himself, Serif finally removed himself from her, watching her rise to the surface before dragging her to the sand beside him. Slowly, his palm slid to her wrist to feel for a pulse, but without feeling of his own, he’d never know anyway. His senses were dead and body pleaded for collapse, but as he dug into his pocket to pull out a polaroid, there was one thing that needed to be done before he allowed it. Fingers soaked in blood, the photo was damaged before it even left his vest, and it’s unfolding left it tinted entirely in crimson.

“This…” Ears still ringing, he couldn’t even hear himself speak, weak voice airier than a balloon, “Is Olivia Topaz…” His body began to sway, legs quivering as his strength abandoned him, “...She’s an eight year old child...” Unable to stand any longer, he collapsed to his hands and knees, and with a head far too heavy to look up, he begged to the sand under him, turning crimson as his wounds poured into it. “...Help me…”

Limbs finally giving way, darkness devoured him as he fell into the sand entirely, a pool of blood forming beneath him. Pain radiated his body like the sun of agony, and with a dull ring making him otherwise deaf, all he felt was scared and alone. Unaware his hand was even moving, his feeble fingers slowly reached to Feather’s twitching digits, gripping them before finally falling limp.

“...Help me save her…”

“Serif? Are you alright? You look… tense.”

In two words: He was. Strapped into the seat beside Annabelle as she drove her decades old black sedan, his wide eyes were locked on the road before them, unblinking and close to watering with his hands clenching the cushion and door in a death grip. Shaky breaths vibrated out of him, and his mouth curved down in disgust as the vehicle continued to rattle along the rundown road, escorted by the RHG van.

“Sare? Are you sick? We can ask if they have medicine when we get there. I mean, if they want you for a fight, you kinda-”

“I can’t talk.”

“The hell you can’t! Look, I get that you’re going through some stuff, but you litterally brought it to my place of business and got blood all over it. I shouldn’t be helping you, but I am anyway, so at least humor me, alright?”

Fighting the urge to blink, his eyes squinted while he shifted in his spot as his eyes finally began to water.

“...Why can’t you talk?”

“I’m about to vomit.”

“Oh.” Slowly, her finger found the knob for the radio. “But like, when you're going to, let me know.”

Urako
02-23-2016, 08:22 AM
Well I will say i'm a bit surprised he actually killed Feather. Of course it's common and fine in RHG and wRHG, but I didn't expect it from Serif.

Crank
02-23-2016, 02:39 PM
Heh, she just needs CPR, he just couldn't feel her pulse either way and didn't really do anything about it

Urako
02-24-2016, 07:41 PM
You don't need to come up with an excuse as to why Strikebound is alive. It doesn't bother me, I just wanted an explanation as to why Serif killed him when his personality and past habits show he wouldn't. (Side note: am I misreading him? It says he can do bad things for good people but would he if he had other choices?)

Crank
02-24-2016, 10:51 PM
Heh, it wasn't an excuse, when I wrote it I planned on Feather having survived the encounter (and hoped to work with ayamketimun for a small crossover at some point in the future), but as far as his willingness to kill her (or the other people he crossed paths with so far) goes, when he's defending himself in what he views as life or death, his opponent living doesn't matter. He needs to survive to find Olivia to get home, and he wouldn't risk that by opening himself up with pulled punches. Additionally, he has a pretty bad taste from the RHG in his mouth. They've sent people to attack him, twice, which played a direct hand in losing Olivia initially, as well as many of the other injuries he sustained. It's partially their fault, they've left him weak and they're making him lose precious time.

Furthermore, the gladiators are in a blood-sport intentionally, so he essentially has no faith that good people are lining up to beat/maim/murder one another. He doesn't know Feather's backstory, but he sees that she's one of them, and he knew going in that he was in no condition to let it go any longer than it had to. He was just there to get his message out, he doesn't care if people who spread death die or how they do it.

Context for the first encounter would largely determine how things would go with him. He's heavily on guard at the moment and hugely suspicious of everyone (except Annabelle), but like, if you met him at a Starbucks getting a coffee or some other casual thing, he wouldn't go straight for a face-stab or something.

Unless you were like, one specific person. Then maybe.

Urako
02-25-2016, 06:33 AM
Heh, it wasn't an excuse, when I wrote it I planned on Feather having survived the encounter (and hoped to work with ayamketimun for a small crossover at some point in the future), but as far as his willingness to kill her (or the other people he crossed paths with so far) goes, when he's defending himself in what he views as life or death, his opponent living doesn't matter. He needs to survive to find Olivia to get home, and he wouldn't risk that by opening himself up with pulled punches. Additionally, he has a pretty bad taste from the RHG in his mouth. They've sent people to attack him, twice, which played a direct hand in losing Olivia initially, as well as many of the other injuries he sustained. It's partially their fault, they've left him weak and they're making him lose precious time.

Furthermore, the gladiators are in a blood-sport intentionally, so he essentially has no faith that good people are lining up to beat/maim/murder one another. He doesn't know Feather's backstory, but he sees that she's one of them, and he knew going in that he was in no condition to let it go any longer than it had to. He was just there to get his message out, he doesn't care if people who spread death die or how they do it.

Context for the first encounter would largely determine how things would go with him. He's heavily on guard at the moment and hugely suspicious of everyone (except Annabelle), but like, if you met him at a Starbucks getting a coffee or some other casual thing, he wouldn't go straight for a face-stab or something.

Unless you were like, one specific person. Then maybe.

It just seemed kind of strange since he put effort into sparing Krystal and Proton. At least at the end. And it doesn't help that Strikebound even offered to end the fight. By the way, how would you feel about facing me some time when i'm not so busy?

Crank
02-25-2016, 03:45 PM
I'd be more than happy to, just hit me up!

And actually, he didn't. He only turned back for Krystal after he found out he was wrong about her, and with Proton, he considered finishing him off, but didn't because he was out of the moment and was more concerned about who send him. What set Feather apart from both of them was that he needed the win to try to raise mass awareness about Olivia so he couldn't back down, Feather proved right away that it'd take much more to defeat her when she showed him that his knife wouldn't hurt her, and that it remained in the moment until the bubbles stopped. He was close to blacking out towards the end of it, so he didn't see her give up under the water, but he did ultimately drag her out of it once he was sure she wasn't a threat anymore.

I hope that clears things up!