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No title.
(2013-06-08 - Now)
No description.
Akari Seran There are many many dead here with the young woman, arranged around the edges of the makeshift clearing as if they were audience members watching the stage of a theatre in the round. Shattered fragments of ruined bodies and trees - chunks of raw flesh, jagged bone, mangled trunks, and the like - litter the place. The violence wrought here has not come from the battle fought on this day. No, the scene before her is not one of war, but of madness.

Akari stands atop the jutting surface of an impossibly wide stump protruding from the forest floor, it's edges still lousy with a multitude of uneven splinters the size of daggers. The towering trunk which used to rest upon this mighty mass of bark and wood lies toppled to the side, felled by a single powerful blow that nearly severed it completely from the ancient roots. It remains connected on one side, warped and bent pieces of wet fiber extruding between the two halves like some horrible jack-o-lantern.

The corpses that surround the berserker are mangled in ways that seem impossible considering the lack of heavy ordinance, almost as if they have been detonated from within into messy piles of gore and fur. Here and there can be found a few traces of what they once were - misshapen jaws filled with curved teeth, dismembered limbs that bend in the wrong places and sprout terrible scything claws, faces filled with inhuman hunger and multitudes of alien eyes. These used to be monsters.

Akari sits casually on the stage that she has created for herself, legs crossed beneath her as she drums the fingers of her lone hand against the surface of her cheek. She's been waiting her for the better part of an hour now, come at the appointed time to deal with this rat-man who has the nerve to challenge her on mere repuptation alone. The local denizens proved a moderate distraction but now she's starting to get bored. Bored is bad.

"Shouldn't he be here by now?"
Aeschere Childs Bored is bad. Let's not have bored. It's even getting to Aeschere, a bit; in this brief calm she meticulously cleans her weapons, and attempts to scrub the ichor from her new armor dammital. While the stone-god girl only comes in one flavor, the little lancer is appearing in her best finery and full battle rattle. She's probably having somewhat more fun with this idea than Akari.

"Well you did, Akari, see the traffic coming in." Positively beastly, it was. "Perhaps he thinks it's a tactic of some sort? To disrupt your focus perhaps and leave you open to Odin's Teeth I don't know, he should have definitely arrived by now." Run out of diversionary tasks, she shrugs elaborately and resumes pacing the arena.
Faruja Senra Maybe Faruja should have flown. The monsters encountered along the way were a touch stronger than the rat had realized, delaying himself and his companion for a time. Luckily, the magery of a Certain Fire Lady and his own skills proved more than a match for the creatures that would have made them into their next meal. By the time he arrives, Faruja looks none worse for wear; something that no doubt shall change soon!

Almost immediately upon entering the area that is to be their arena, the Burmecian pauses, a briefly horrified look upon seeing the long-dead corpses scattered about. "...Dear /Lord/! These poor souls." Faruja stops, crouching to pay his respects and condolences to the fallen, before realizing they're not alone. Bowing to the pair of women, he finally addresses them, armor shining in the light.

"My most sincere apologies for our tardiness, the denizens of the forest proved more troublesome than anticipated. Lady Seran, I presume? Thank thee for granting me this honor, and the pleasure of thy time. Lady Childs, Lord bless my dear."

Turning, he gestures to the woman he brought along. "Allow me to introduce my second, Lady Maira."
Maira bot Maira was pretty flattered when Faruja wanted her to be his second. At least until he explained what that meant, at which point she was more flabbergasted than anything. Well, suppose he'd like to have another healing presence around!

Maira's eyes are wide as she looks around at all the pieces of beasts, then toward Akari and Lady Childs.

Akari Seran The crackle of snapping twigs and shaking leaves alerts the pair of Alexander refugees at about the same time as Akari's stone-sense manages to pick out the movement of the new arrivals from the background radiation of monsters and fauna roving about the wilderness.

The geomancer's head lifts upwards, swiveling to bring her empty white eyes to bear on the templar even as her brow furrows downwards in a dark frown that forms almost immediately. She stares at Faruja and his companion for what seems like a long time, allowing her unusual method of vision to compile a more complete mental image of the figures that stand before her in her arena of carnage.

Despite the density of the trees preventing almost any windflow from reaching the small clearing, a soft breeze suddenly kicks up and circles around them in a gentle caress. Akari's long bundled hair and Aeschere's fine clothes don't even ruffle in the least which seems to indicate that the strange gale is limited only to the nezumi and the mage, feeling them out and filtering every aspect of their shape and dimensions back to the one-armed girl.

Finally, the blind demi-god gives an amused snort and turns to peer over her shoulder at her companion. "You're right, he talks just as fancy as he writes."
Aeschere Childs Akari is (potentially) spared Aeschere's sour responding look, though the opposing party can appreciate it fully. She has no time to snark, though, introductions are being made. "Senra Ser, good health to you I hope." She sketches a salute to the rat. "And, Maira, it is? I am Aeschere Childs," a bow, "second to Akari Seran,
Aeschere Childs Akari is (potentially) spared Aeschere's sour responding look, though the opposing party can appreciate it fully. She has no time to snark, though, introductions are being made. "Senra Ser, good health to you I hope." She sketches a salute to the rat. "And, Maira, it is? I am Aeschere Childs," a bow, "second to Akari Seran," a nod.

"You, uh..." The girl seems pretty unnerved by the set design. "You don't have to worry, any threats here were cleared hours ago." Chera straightens her spear and returns to a neasy stance. "I suppose excepting us."
Maira bot Maira curtsies to them both, pursing her lips nervously, anxiety for her friend present. "It's um...nice to meet you both then...Yes, it's Maira," she replies, then looks toward Faruja. What is she suppose to do here? Just root for him? She's a pretty good cheerleader!
Faruja Senra The Templar's clothing sways in the breeze, single eye squinting just slightly as he notes the other woman's attire. Or more accurately, it's lack of swaying. Strange. Combined with the macabre arena, the Templar is quickly on guard, taking a small step to keep himself in front of his far more squishy second. Perhaps a bit paranoid, but the ratling's learned to not underestimate others in this crazy new world(s).

The stare's a bit unnerving, too. Receiving a snort in response, the rat simply /sighs/ in exasperation. "...Children these days." He mutters to himself. Clearing his throat, he pins a smile to his muzzle. "Ahh, yes, it must seem so very quaint. My dear departed Mother once said that 'twas as if my very tongue was borne purple with the lily's petals emblazened upon it!" Comes the self-depricating humor, before he gets a look from Maira. To the point, rat!

"Ahem, yes, to the matter at hand! Allow me to lay down the ground rules for those amongst us whom are not used to, ahh, structure in one's bouts. Our Seconds are to observe, and ensure that none interfere with our duel nor any cowardly tactics such as poisons, or deadly traps are laid beforehand. So too are they here to affirm the outcome of the duel. As for ourselves, one must cease should the opponent fall unconscious, or yield. Finally, should both combatants seem as though they are like to slay one another outright, 'tis the duty of a Second to call the end to the duel and assist the injured."

With a fluorish, the ratling bows, removing the spear from his back. Notably, the points aren't quite as sharp as one might expect; a duelling spear, made to prevent the worst of injuries, though still quite painful and potentially lethal with enough force applied.

"Any questions? Should naught be asked, Lady Seran, the first strike be thy own. If 'twould please the Lady, hold naught back. 'Tis thy full fury I seek. I shall do the very same, as I am able. Lord protect we sinful souls upon this day of honorable, righteous conflict! In the name of the Holy Prophet! Faram!" A hand crosses the air, and the Burmecian sets himself into a guarding stance. The ball's in Akari's court!
Akari Seran The young woman listens as her opponent-to-be rambles on about various things, none of which interest her in the slightest. Faruja's attempt at humor is lost upon the sour expression that plainly marks her disinterest in his words. Her chin docks with the surface of her palm once more in a bored fashion as the rules are laid out.

"Tch. He asks me not to kill him. Then he asks me not to hold back. Which one is it?"

Akari clambers to her feet without much grace and scratches at her nearly naked torso with all the tact of an ape waking up for the day. She seems wholly unconcerned with any of these details, though the spear does seem to pique her interest.

Wandering directly up to the templar, she reaches out and presses the flat of her palm square against the blunted tip of the weapon. Her frown deepens a little and she levels a disapproving glare at Faruja.

"What is this, grade school?" She gives him no chance to respond, turning on her heel and muttering something under her breath. Clearly he doesn't know who he's dealing with. Perhaps a little demonstration is in order to get his mind in the right place.

Akari stomps roughly back the way she came, stopping before the great ragged stump of the tree that she had felled in her previous scuffle with the monsters. She pauses for a moment, tilting her head to the side as if pondering something, then she just shrugs and lifts a foot high into the air.

The impact of her heel on the edge of the stump sends a shockwave through the entire clearing as if a thunderbolt had exploded in their midst. Chips of wood erupt in a fountain of deadly dagger-like splinters as the entire thing tilts sideways. The ancient roots shriek and crack as they are ripped whole out of the ground, masses of wet ropey tendrils the size of a man's forearm snapping and stretching as the center of the clearing gives way to raw destruction.

Akari withdraws her foot from a massive imprint and bends down to wrap her slender arm around the edge of the upended stump. The thing is easily ten feet in diameter but she rips it free of its web of liferoots with a single tug, holding it under her bicep like a comically oversized discus. The girl spins in place, a single full rotation, before letting the massive chunk of wood fly in Faruja's direction. The throw is poorly aimed or perhaps intentionall wide but it crashes through no fewer than a half dozen equally monstrous trunks, felling them like a flying sawblade befores it momentum is arrested by the woods.

The geomancer waits for her unfortunate sparring parter to deal with this, her hand resting on her hip as she watches his reaction. "Still glad you brought your toy spear to school today?"
Aeschere Childs This is the part where Chera gets the hell out of the way. That's her job, here, anyways, like Faruja just said; stay out of the way and watch. Akari's opening salvo does a great job of corralling the seconds into the section of the clearing that she hasn't picked up to throw at her opponent.

"He did tell her not to hold back," she comments parenthetically to Maira, after verifying that they aren't about to catch any of the hell flying Faru's way.
Maira bot Maira winces and looks to Chere, blinking. She doesn't even know what to say. She just cheers Faruja on. "You can do it Faruja! Don't like this snarky talking girl get under your skin!" she cries.
Faruja Senra Quickly, the young woman starts to grate on his nerves. Whatever good grace he tried to instill within his opponent is lost. /Grade school/? The Templar scowls. "Now, now, now! Hardly am I some sort of barba..."

Then Akari Seran upends the massive stump with a heel, sending shards of the ancient wood scattering, the Templar quickly moving to deflect...only for them to go wide. Fully focused on his opponent, all thoughts of talk ended, only for her to toss the remains of the stump. Watching as trees are felled with the ease of a knife through butter, the Templar stares at the destruction left behind, stunned.

It's broken by the source of the destruction. Staring her in those pale eyes, slowly, a grin comes to his muzzle; inching its way upwards as though trying to consume his face. Hands come together as he claps, voice ringing out. The Burmecian /laughs/, pleasure evident in voice and expression, tail swaying all the more rapidly.

"By Ajora! /EXCELLENT/! I had expected much,, my, my, 'tis the Lord's own truth, the rumors did thy strength naught a hint of justice! Sincerest of apologies my dear Lady Seran! 'Grade school' indeed! Allow me to rectify this most grievous of insults at once! Should we both survive this day, consider a night's tab for my rude behaviour!" Having therefore sufficiently doomed his coinpurse, the rat gets on with dooming himself, slamming his blunt weapon into the ground.

Plate mail clanks and leather stretches as the rat's legs bend, spring-like muscles soon launching him high into the air. Staring down from the heavens as he floats in that way only a Dragon Knight can accomplish, he incants, white swirling around his hands. "Warp" mutters the rat, gravity kicking back in, before he falls.

Another gust of wind picks up, unnaturally so, as a vortex of white reveals a massive halberd. Grabbing hold of the almost axe-like weapon, he performs a brutal overhead swing, sending him falling all the faster towards Akari. The weapon's head glows a fierce white, almost burning to the touch, as Faruja no longer holds back his holy powers. Hit or miss, the combined power of the rat's speed and the weight of armor and weapon could easily split what little remains of the poor abused tree stump!
Akari Seran It takes several moments for the trees behind Faruja to topple over, their towering forms creaking and snapping as branches break like wooden bones in the plunge to their doom. As always, the delinquent makes her mark wherever she goes. It took centuries for those majestic forms to rise so high and it will be equally as long before the wound to the forest will heal completely.

Akari's reaction to being applauded is not particularly favorable. She growls at Faruja, teeth bared in an open show of aggression at what she believes to be open mockery. It's the exact sort of thing the pompous rich kids would do back at the Academy - the ones not too busy running in terror, atleast.

There is little time for her to spit out more of a response before the dragoon takes to the air. Unknowing to Faruja, his first move is one of the best he could make. By seperating from the ground he's essentially robbed her of the ability to track his movements with any sort of precision. She feels his magic gathering, hears the wind whipping mightly as the polearm plummets towards her but there is naught she can do except bellow a scream of frustration as she swings blindly at the incoming threat.

The blade of Faruja's halberd comes down like a guillotine but instead of malleable wood or weak flesh, it strikes a surface as strong as the most dense stone. Akari's fist slams into the curved metal, her knuckles catching the narrow edge between their grooves and halting its downward momentum utterly. For a moment the two are locked together in an epic clash, a pair of flesh and blood statues amid the calm of the forest.

Akari recovers first. Her sideways punch pushes the deadly blade off-course and it slams home into the soft earth with a muffled thump and an explosion of dirt geysers up around them from the impact. The girl spins easily, her strange almost simian movements carrying her into the templar even as she deflects his attack with blind luck and raw ferocity. Her shoulder meets his armor at the chest and she barrels ahead like a bull who's caught the matador in its sights, aiming to carrying him off his feet and flatten him against another of the mighty trees.
Faruja Senra The wild strike, though strong, misses as the Templar changes his trajectory through traditional Physics-Breaking Dragoon Cheating, quite simply shifting in the air away from the hit. Though normally one to take things on the chin, he's already quite sure many of those strikes would slay him outright if unmitigated.

However, his own strike is to prove as ineffective, as the young woman proves herself impossibly strong. Even all of his own strength proves useless against such herculean power, mentally making comparison to Sanel. An angry Sanel, and much less cute and innocent at that.

There's no time to react, a shoulder crushing him into a tree, the ratling spitting up phlegm and a spatter of blood. Armor creaks as he's lifted from the ground in the impact, dazing and denting the armor along his back.

If nothing else, however, amidst the rat-indentation now within the tree, the Templar is quite durable for being so short. Dropping the cumbersome halberd, a shortspear is summoned instead, the Templar simply placing the tip upon the girl's head. Rather than stab, he coughs out words, barely able to incant with the crushing shoulder-slam.

"..sorb the sky and strike! Lightning Stab!"

Holy Lightning descends, twin blades of energy crackling and scorching the ground as they rise, the force of the blast enough to blow others in the air. With luck, the strike will give the rat some breathing room!
Akari Seran The sensation of being pressed between Akari's shoulder and the tree is not unlike that of an unfinished blade being smote upon an anvil. The force behind the impact is great but, despite the request that she display her full strength, the girl holds back so as not to render their potential future employer into a bag of jellied flesh and powdered bones.

She holds the templar aloft for a few moments, grinding the hard edge of her shoulder into his breastplate which earns her a few ominious creaks as the metal begins to deform and the tree's wood buckles. However, before she can flatten him or shatter the tree apart, his spear comes to rest on her head.

Akari balks at this, expecting him to make a jab for her eyes or some such, but the muttered words are recognized as incantations. She pulls her head away from the weapon, intending to use the flat surface of her face like a wrecking ball against his own enlongated snout, but the holy thunder from above catches her in the act.

Not a moment too soon, either. Her muscles seize up as electricity dances freely about on her exposed skin, contorting her painfully to the side and sending her flying haphazardly past the rat end over end until she comes to a rough crash on the forest floor.

The girl twitches a few times as the last of the magic resonates through her body but she quickly regains her footing, shaking her head vigorously to free it from the numbness that now permeates through her flesh. Her anger suddenly flares as she renews her focus on Faruja, jaw clenching ferociously and muscles going taut.

There is a deep rumble from the ground around them as she shunts the power of the earth into her body, hardening her flesh and renewing her vigor. But more obviously, the ragged stump of her right arm becomes noticably less empty. Stone flows like water, erupting outwards in a singular burst before hardening into the familiar shape of a human arm. The rocky limb bulges and flexes in counterpart to its twin, shifting and moving with the ease and suppleness of flesh.
Faruja Senra Even if she holds back, the grinding feeling is far too close to the sensation of one of Sanel's crushing hugs. Only with less love, and more anger. The thought almost brings a smile to his muzzle if it weren't for all of the horrendous pain. Instead, it's a grimace of a person trying to not cry out aloud in pain. Clenching his teeth, he works through the pain in time for his technique to do its work.

Thud! Faruja falls muzzle-first, almost comically so. Using his short spear to lever himself up, he lays a claw upon his now bent, deformed chestplate. Ripping away the last bit of leather holding it in place, he lets the piece of metal fall away. Sigh.

"Lord in heaven, /another/ ruined armor? Brother Zephyr will have my tail..." He mutters, a quick warp spell sucking up his halbert, only to deposit it in his hands.

With the girl on her feet, Faruja bares witness to her more unique powers, as the one-armed woman rips herself a new limb from the very earth. Were he concerned with winning, he'd attempt to destroy the limb, or perhaps try to toss her away from the earth that is so clearly her element. Instead, he takes the opportunity to cast spells of protection and healing upon himself, lessening the damage done to him by the woman. If he's to test his own strength, Akari must show him her own!
Aeschere Childs It's... well. You shouldn't call her uninvolved, even if she is foresworn from intervening. Aeschere's childlike awe of Akari's talent is gradually waning with continued exposure, but the girl is still a semi-literal force of nature. It's kind of like picking a fight with a hill.

Faruja's technique fascinates her, too, though; she is not, at least at the moment, the kind of Lancer that grows up to be a Dragoon. Ser Senra /moves/ a lot more than she would. And he's a far better mage, which doesn't help Chera at all. But either way, this certainly looks to be a much more entertaining fight than they'd feared.

Akari's state is still hard for her knight to read; she's still moving, so she'll have to assume she's fine. The Templar will have his trail, oh yes he will.
Akari Seran More magic dances through the air at the rat templar's fingertips and Akari doesn't wait to see what further tricks he has up his sleeve. The ground beneath her feet explodes as she kicks into motion, literally leaping so hard that she flies across the small gap between them like a human cannonball.

A fierce berserker battlecry heralds her attack followed by a single titanic swing of her earthen fist. Chakra flows freely through her faux arm, pure rage channeled into spiritual energy through a mixture of ancient techniques and raw unique talent. The unnatural anger that has been her constant companion since childhood thwarted most attempts to drill common martial arts such a meditation into her mind and she eventually learned that blinding fury can be a centering point for one's spirit as well.

Harnessing her battle lust, Akari focuses the rampant power into a single point at the end of her knuckles and the impact carries with it a reality-bending force. The air distorts as if suddenly reflected through murky lens, a wave of pressure attempting to annhilate all traces of magic within the templar's demi-human body.

The brawler crashes to the ground as she strikes, reuniting with her source of strength. She plants her feet heavily in the packed soil and fallen leaves, bonding with the earth and becoming as one with its implacable fortitude in preparation for the inevitable counter strike.
Faruja Senra /There/ she comes. It's been some time since he's fought an opponent as ferocious, and never with such anger and power all in one package. Akari Seran proves exactly what he had been looking for. Despite the danger, the potential for death, a genuine smile hangs on the rat's muzzle the entire time. Never before has he /enjoyed/ a duel so much. Impending pain and suffering are a paltry price to pay for future dividends of strength, and good ol' fashioned having fun with a fight.

The punch hits with the force of a train, the rat's lightning reflexes saving him. An incantation blurring, impossible force meets the strength of magical shielding. Shattering like so much glass, it nevertheless buys the rat enough time to step back once. Having fought in militaries of one kind or another since his mid-teens, it's all the seasoned knight needs.

Foot slamming into the ground, the magic-sucking Chi of Akari meets the point of a Halberd. Burnt arm and burnt-side of his face held towards the strike, he keeps his vitals guarded. There's no time to dodge: instead, with all of the great strength possessed of a Holy Dragon Knight, he thrusts the blazing white tip at the very point of the woman's strike. Robes rip away, bandages seem to simply cease to exist, and gauntlets creak and chip before giving way. Pieces of his own armor embed themselves in shoulders and now bare chest. For every bit of magic ruined, the fires of Faruja's zealous soul well up in defiance, facing the fury of nature with the steadfast stubbornness belonging to a Shield of the Faith, a Shrine Knight.

The metal of his weapon gives way long before the rat does, cracking in three places under the stress. The head of the weapon goes flying, splitting two trees and ruining yet another glorious bit of wood. Slammed backwards by the final impact, clawed feet dig in as he's thrust back, even his powerful legs unable to stop the remains of Akari's great power. The final piece of his weapon grazes his face, adding another scarr to the ruined mess of burnt flesh along his face and side now tinged crimson with flowing blood.

Coming to rest, Faruja is soon with another spear. Much like the dueling spear, this one is indeed sharp. He learned his lesson. Falling to a knee, he catches his breath for a moment, before pushing himself up. Bones creak, as though barely able to stop themselves from breaking under the geomantic goddess arrayed against them.

There's no words this time, only a moment of silence as Faruja reaches deep. Lighting up the forest around him, holy light flares about the Templar in a palpable show of righteous fury. He'll be damned if he allows himself to be driven by so easily. Mind set upon the disgrace he may suffer, he leaps, shallow and quick. The strike is simple: a textbook Jump, but the force behind it is that of faith, pride, and duty; the impact causing a flash of holy fury to explode from the weapon's tip. Blinding, searing, it's as though the hungry light seeks to devour all that would oppose it's wielder.
Akari Seran Again the templar barely escapes the heavy-handed wrath sent his way. Akari bellows her frustration at being unable to land a solid blow but her quarry takes to the air as she lunges again and her fist whips out through the empty air, sending up an explosion of pressure that denudes the forest floor of grass for several feet.

Though she cannot suffer from the blinding light as she turns her gaze skywards to track the leaping rodent, the flash of holy power is quite palpable and poignant. The tip of the spear catches firmly on the edge of Akari's rock-hard abdomen, the grove of her ribs acting as a perfect backstop for the deadly weapon's downthrust. A cry of rage and pain echoes through the forest as the potent magic combines with merciless steel to create a diving wedge that slowly gouges into her flesh like a chisel.

For the first time in days of constant battle, Akari bleeds.

As is usually the case for the frenzied berserker, however, she was already in the process of striking back. Her fist darts through the air, geomantic power surging to life in the form of a bright red haze as the friction fo her punch literally ignites the air before it. A laser of pure red hate erupts from her knuckles and the templar is completely engulfed in searing light that carries him well clear of Akari before his weapon can do any more damage.

Akari staggers backwards and falls to one knee, clutching a hand to the wound. It is not terribly deep; she's suffered far worse from mere blades but the lingering touch of the holy flames remains. Her flesh glows white hot around the wound as if it were heated metal or molten rock. The girl quickly scoops up some dirt from the ground and presses it against the gaping injury. A hiss of steam and a wisp of smoke fills the air but she manages to stand without much trouble a moment later.

"Hmph," she snorts at him through clenched teeth, fists balling up once again with barely restrained aggression. "That all you got?!"
Faruja Senra Red light, and the force of flaming hate send the Burmecian flying, managing to keep hold of his weapon this time. A scream rips from his muzzle, old fears and terrors of a night long past assaulting him with more force than any physical attack could. Landing in a heap, he tumbles and writhes for a moment on the ground.


As Akari tends to her wound, the ratling finally snaps out of it, wounds forgotten as he recovers from the rare break in his discipline.

"...Apologies, M'Lady." Mutters the rat weakly, clenching his cross with a free hand; the icon having remained undamaged miraculously. Banishing his fear with a prayer, he gazes at the woman with renewed concentration.

"It seems I've much to learn yet. Indeed, you are the mountain I must throw myself against if ever I seek to fight the Fell beasts whom stalk these worlds."

Thrust! The rat doesn't move. "Armor shan't help the heart stay sharp! Shellburst Stab!" A crescent of holy power descends, slicing through air and tree alike, seeking to strip the woman of her great durability.
Akari Seran Slowly, Akari is beginning to get wise to the strange variety of sword magic that the templar employs. As his incantation begins to leave his furry snout she leaps forward - only to get intercepted by the powerful magical blade.

The energy erupts from the ground below her, scything upwards in a blue arc of quicksilver light. It crashes into her with all of its holy might, thrusting her upwards like a ragdoll, but this time the heavens fail to penetrate her incredible guard. Filled with fresh vigor, the geomancer rides the momentum through the air, twisting herself into a proper projectile with the business end of her fist leading the way.

Faruja is treated to an odd shadow of his own dragoon tactics as the girl falls on him from above, driving her knuckles downwards like the hammer of an angry god. She hits the ground hard and the shockwave sends tremors throughout the entire clearing, the earth seeming to quaver at the furious girl's might, upsetting any attempt to stay standing and making the flurry of punches that come on the tail end of this assault all the more difficult to evade.
Faruja Senra Using a Dragoon's tactics against a Dragoon may have been a mistake. Faruja reads the falling girl's projectile-like trajectory with the ease of a proper Lancer, the crushing strike grazing against the tip of his weapon. Shifting his feet, he doesn't resist the power of the woman. He quite simply /can't/. He merely applies enough force, using all of the strength in his rather well muscled upper body to redirect it aside and let her own momentum do the work for him. Shockwaves have his bones ratling, the male gritting his teeth as he waits for the further fury of the angry young brawler.

Falling to a knee under the blows aimed at him, it takes every bit of swiftness he has to deflect the blows aimed at him, pointed spear's edge meeting each and every rapid, powerful strike. Each time, he's driven further and further into a crater made by Akari's brute strength. At this rate, he'll be buried alive. Ducking beneath one of Akari's punches, the Templar closes the distance, practically nose-to-abs with Akari. Instead of a spear, it's first the business end of Faruja's sharp claws, even without their gauntlets as sharp as the spears he wields. So too does he use them like one, stabbing at abs, chest, and even the girl's throat. Any other opponent, and he'd be far more merciful. But here, he needs every trick he's learned in a lifetime of fighting and knight'ing to live.

Hit or miss, the powerful legs of the rat lash forward, backflipping in an attempt to catch Akari's jaw with the power of a Dragoon's kick, only to leap up and away with her face as a springboard. Barring any attempts on the monk's part, he'll land gracefully outside of the land's new pit.
Akari Seran Akari's attacks are unlike any soldier or trained fighter the rat has likely ever faced. Though she strikes with skill and a sort of natural grace, it is overshadowed by wild feral aggression and swiftly mounting anger that seems to have no source. The empty whites of her eyes seem to almost glow with the force of her rage, and every swing of her fists is puncuated with an almost desperate cry as if his ability to withstand her punishing strength only drives her deeper into the battle frenzy.

The claws do literally nothing to the bare exposed skin, her rock hard abs making a mockery of his natural weaponry by refusing to yield all but the faints of tiny scratches upon their smooth surface. His frantic attempts to find /something/ that will give way do produce one result, however. The thin layer of gauge that encircles her nearly flat chest gives way to the slicing claws and the only scrap of cloth she was wearing above the waist falls to the bloody ground in a small heap.

The girl doesn't even flinch for a moment, the loss not registering as important through her red fury. She contines to hammer away, attempting to get ahold of the slippery knight but he outmanuevers her a final time, using her very face for a springboard in a bold manuever. The snap of teeth smashing together rattles her skull as she attempts bite into the offending foot like some wild animal but fortunately for Faruja's tootsies, she's a little too slow.

The reprieve he receives upon escaping her reach lasts hardly long enough for him to take a breath and then she is upon him again. Her speed at crossing distance is incredible, powerful legs brimming with the same geomantic might propelling her across the gap in a single bound. Again her chakra-infused fist swings outwards with its universe-bending might but this time it is not alone.

Akari gives another cry of rage as she lands and the moment her foot hits the soil again four more stony arms burst into existence upon her shoulders, each as life-like and menacing as the other. She does not waste any time on pointless posturing or exhibition. Her array of endless fists becomes a tide of hammering blows that turn the air into flashes of dark grey knuckles as she tries to bury the rat with one overwhelming assault.
Faruja Senra Now seeing more of the girl than he bargained for, the Templar doesn't have time to blush. Far too concerned over his life rather than the girl's modesty, he doesn't offer a robe. Mostly because Akari had reduced it to scraps scattered about the forest floor. He's got bigger problems right now. For instance, the blurr that is Akari even as he wiggles his toes, checking to make sure he didn't lose any of them in his gambit.

Five fists assail him this time, the rat's eye widening again. How many can she produce? His next question on the strength of each arm is neatly answered as they come flying at him.

Each fist barely misses the rat, death swooshing past with enough force to blast him back every time. Stripped mostly of his armor, the rat's even lighter on his feet, leaping back with a graceful dancer's agility combined with experience. A lot of luck, too, as the rat desperately avoids being flattened.

"...Such fury, oh Child of Wrath. What hath given thee such rage? Pain? Hatred of the world? Doth thy very soul rattle against the cage of the world, yearning for freedom from the ways of others?" Questions the rat aloud. The bleeding heart portion of his soul is what allows her to finally connect, distracted enough to be grazed by her fist. Right in the chest, a horrific crunch fills the air as ribs and bones shatter, the male sent flying to land in a heap. Writhing and coughing up blood as well as a tooth or two, he cradles his abused chest. He /swears/ that his very lungs were flattened for a moment, breath coming slowly and raggedly.

Lesser Burmecians would be dead. Yet the scarrs and blackened flesh on his body pay testament to the rat's durability, and sheer will to live. A prayer on his muzzle turned to jumbled words in the horrific pain, he stands slowly. Every movement is agony. The Templar lifts his blade, glowing white, before giving a scream of suffering. Abused, battered bones and muscles strain as the Burmecian returns the favor; rushing at the many-armed woman, twin short spears from his seemingly endless stock thrusting out at the woman as he attempts to gain some form of momentum. Many of the flurry of blows are mere feints; his true target is where he had wounded her earlier in the abdomen, trying to strike hard and worsen the damage he'd already done.

To break a mountain, one must find every crack, and turn them to gaping chasms.
Akari Seran And like a mountain, Akari weathers everything that the rat has to offer her with his gifts of pain.

Every thrust and stab, feint or not, is met by cold stone and flesh that might as well be. The holy blades bite into the dense granite limbs, carving deep scores into their elaborately crafted surfaces that create jagged fissures which slowly spread up their nigh indestructable lengths. The berseker woman pays no heed to this threat, either too lost in her combat trance to notice or more concerned with keeping the searing touch of his weapons at bay.

In the end they create a stalemate. Akari's fists eventually smash the spears apart, twisting their glowing tips into useless scrap and fracturing their hafts into little more than toothpicks. However, she pays the price in the form of her many arms, the magics overwhelming her ability to keep them properly formed.

A stonty fist smashes into Faruja's shoulder but the impact shatters it apart, sending shards of flaky rock showering around them. The next swing catches on the haft of a spear, crumpling it easily but like its twin the limb explodes into rubble. Over the next few moments each deadly impact signals the destruction of another arm until Akari is left with only the one she started with.

Sucking in air heavily, the girl glowers at her opponent, willing him to fall through the sheer intensity of her rage. She rushes in again, lashing out with her feet as well as her fist this time. There appears to be no end to her stamina but her attacks are less ferocious for the moment as if she need to recover a small measure of endurance or is merely probing for a weakness.
Faruja Senra Faruja swiftly loses track of how many weapons he's lost today. He'll have to deal with the Church's annointed blacksmith later. He has stone fists to crush.

Every strike and impact shakes the muscle and bone in the rat's arms, sending chills of pain down his own shattered ribs. Breathing just as heavily, his strikes meaning little to the power that is Akari's geomantic prowess, the Templar soon finds himself down to a single good spear.

It brings a renewed smile to his muzzle; the very spear left behind by one of his squadmates, now dead. Melancholy mixes with fond memories, the thought of meeting his fallen comrade too early (and the resulting tongue-lashing) spurrs him on to weather the frightening blows of the woman.

Feet and fist and pure anger strikes out at the rat, the Templar's own reserves running quite low. Falling on sheer stubborn willpower, the pummeling he takes is to sides, arms, and legs; just enough to harm horrifically, rather than break outright. Compared to her strength earlier, he can take the blows handily.

Deciding enough is enough, the rat grips his weapon and leaps back. Thrusting, there's no incantation as lightning falls, another blade of the holy fury of Faram lashing out at the girl. Nor does he cease; Pouring all of his energy into a litany of ferocious Holy Spear techniques. Lighting and fire and pure purple crescents rain upon Akari in desperation, tearing wood, dead monster bits and blood, and earth apart.
Aeschere Childs Bounded Fields are just one of many areas of magic in which Aeschere has extensive theoretical familiarity and literally zero practical competence. Between the two of them the duelists have chewed this patch of former forest into soup; she'd worry that someone might notice if she thought that someone could do anything.

Actually, damn her eyes, the thought that runs through Chera's mind as she ducks for cover from Faruja's latest assault is whether they'd evict her if she was connected to this mess. She has a strange preoccupation with having a residence, lately.

If the good knight is really making a thorough tally of available weaponry in the arena he will not have failed to note Aeschere's spear; it's a bit long for his apparent taste, but any prod in a storm, eh?
Akari Seran Akari presses down on her opponent, pressuring him, giving him no where to go. It is not only her titanic might that has seen her victorious over the years of lonely wandering but the ceaseless vitality that her connection with the earth provides. She is like an avalanche, an unending storm of pebbles and rocks crashing down around him.

The desperation of his efforts to survive her wrath is becoming apparent. Like before, magical blades of various sorts lash out from above and below, their holy energies scathing her flesh and leaving ugly red abrasions where lightning and flame strike her body. The girl is battered about, each blow sending her staggering one way or another, until a final burst of magic hurls her skywards once again.

The momentary disconnect from her wellspring of power is uncomfortable and the bruises that adorn her body seem to grow all the more painful for those few awful moments. But, as always, gravity comes to her rescue soon enough and she flops artlessly down on her back against the blood stained grass and the fresh layer of mulch that used to be many of the trees around them.

Akari's stone sense kicks in the moment she touches the ground and she realigns herself with the tenacious templar. She has to admit, he's fared far better than she expected from someone who sounds like a pompous politician. But, she will be the victor here. A life-time of battle experience and an unstoppable martial technique will see to that.

Repeating a scene he's seen many times now, Akari dashes towards him with reckless abandon. Her stone fists reform as she approaches and they resume their blinding flurry of punches, broken up occassionally by synchronized strikes from several at once that imapct with their combined fury.
Faruja Senra Faruja is on his last legs. The woman's great power is matched by her durability, as his holy fury seems insufficient to end the girl's wrath. Truly, she's a sight to behold, not that the Templar can really admire too much when her fists once again assault him.

There's no more fancy dodging, or graceful moves. Just desperate dives away from stone fists. Every movement leaves more of the rat's blood on the battlefield, some part of his mind recoiling in horror at how close he is to simply bleeding dry. A swift, light cure takes care of the immediate danger of death, giving him a touch more energy as well.

His speed gives out, the rat's legs simply refusing to work at a crucial moment. Though the will is strong, the body is far too weak, and those stone hands hammer into his chest and legs, tossing him like a rag doll into, and then /through/ a tree trunk. Only a last-minute Protect spell saves him from death, landing in a broken and exhausted heap.

Right next to Akari's spear. His last remaining one had been embedded in a tree some ways back. Gripping the piece of metal, he levers himself to his feet, finding to his chagrin that one of his legs is indeed broken. Vision swimming, darkness ever seeking to take him, his eye slowly closes.

For a moment, the rat's mind no longer resides with the furious woman. Surrounded by the fury of his soul, the Templar reaches. Just as when he was in Alexandria's dungeons, just before his outstretched tips lays the seeds of power and glory. Hidden strength just at arms length. So close, yet it seems as leagues away.

The Templar reaches, grasping but a mote more of power. In his body's desperation, the soul acts, the second drawing easier, but by no means near enough to grasp the weapon that is his birthright.

Perhaps the sliver of strength will be enough to save him from losing everything in this reckless duel. Eye going wide, red orb quivering, the impossibly small shard of white energy hovers at the tip of Aeschere's spear. The rat takes a single step, more of a hop forward, falling towards Akari with what strength he has left.

A deafening explosion erupts, the column of white light that the mote erupts into likely visible for miles as dirt, debris, and tree is reduced to little more than ashes from the might of such wild, barely contained energy. Faruja tightens his grip, willing his own strength to lessen, to not take the girl in his own wild gambit to survive.

Despite the damage done to him, he can't help but like Akari Seran. Bravery, even if formed in the fires of pure anger, is something he can respect. Hopefully he'll be able to make good on that promise of booze some time.
Akari Seran Faruja comes falling from the sky, streamers of white fire trailing off his weapon and enveloping him like visions of angelic wings. Unfortunately, he makes the same mistake as before by showing concern for the girl's well-being, as if anything short of a divine intervention would stop her.

Akari looks upwards as her opponent drops down from above as he has done many times now. She does not bother trying to dodge this time, she merely reaches out with her upper stone arms. They snap shut like the jaws of a crocodile around the tip of the lance, catching it in midair and stopping Faruja's deadly plummet as if freezing reality in a single frame.

The sudden stop is more than enough to jar the already weakened templar's grip and when he inevitably falls free her fist is there waiting for him. A single solid blow hammers in towards his chest, a crushing impact that could easily shatter every bone in his body if she so desired it. But this is a duel and despite the maddening scream of rage echoing through her body, threatening to overwhelm her control as it always does, she manages to keep from diving over the edge of insanity.

The blow is still more than enough to create a bone-jarring explosion around the impact point and before Faruja can go sailing off a second violent concussion assails him as she swings the lance around like a baseball bat.
Faruja Senra The stone fist falls, Faruja no longer able to retain his grasp upon his weapon. By now, he's been so beaten that he barely in registers the mind-numbing pain as he's sent flying, the mere act of raising his arms to keep his skull from being caved in sending shivers through the body that barely registers his mind's commands. When he lands, he no longer rises.

Yet neither does he yet grow still. Writhing, breathing shallowly, pain assaults him all at once as he finds himself rather unhealthily conscious and far to aware of it all. A hand crawls to the shattered remains of one of his spears, only the tip and a bit of metal remaining.

It's all he needs. Hand trembling, he whispers an incantation, the broken Burmecian's holy powers drawing strength from desperation and faith.

~Holy Explosion~

Akari Seran Akari doesn't immediately rush after the fallen templar this time. She can tell he's pretty close to being done for and in her present state she doesn't trust herself to be able to contain her 'enthusiasm' for battle well enough not to kill him.

That is until the orb of holy light engulfs her in a blistering shell of hellish fire.

With a roar of anger the girl turns and glares her hatred at the source of the killing flames. She struggles to hold back the desire to smash the life from the mostly already dead rat but even so she needs to do something to put him down for the time being. Lacking much in the way of gentle beatings, the geomancer instead turns to nature for aid.

Her foot slams down with enough force to rock the land and a small fissure forms along the forest floor. It zigs and zags crazily in a zipper pattern but eventually finds its way beneath the fallen templar. The earth below him shifts violently, heaving him painfully into the air several times. The tremors also bring down large piles of broken branches from the mangled canopy of trees, quickly burying the rat beneath a small mountain of detrius.
Faruja Senra A fissure opens up beneath the nearly boneless Burmecian, the Templar hardly able to defend against falling branches and heaving earth. Ow. Ow! He's like some kind of bloody, burnt flying rodent only without wings. Eventually, he's covered from toe to chest in branches. Normally, he'd be able to wiggle his way free, but the fact he has a broken leg makes any sort of actual escape impossible.

Still, he struggles, with all the tenacity of a trapped animal. He even manages to shift enough branches for a hand to come free. A single digit is raised aloft.

Coughing up a small river of crimon, he grins. "While...*hack*...'tis hardly my desire to...*cough*...cast doubt thy talents by yielding while consciousness yet ho...*hackcough*...holds..."

Some small amount of sanity overcomes his desire for strength and trials. "Considering that I can no longer move, it seems as though the day is thy own Lady Seran. Well...*hack*...fought." Warp. Wind flares in front of Akari as he uses the last of his magic, the white vortex spitting something out into her face!

Face, meet robes. Faruja pointedly looks away from Akari's chest.

"...My apologies for thy garments." Cough. He's back to 'pompous politician' with a side of 'gentleman rat'.
Akari Seran The struggled words of the templar cause some of the tension to release from Akari's body. Though her fists remain tights balls of rage ready to hammer away at the slightest hint of subterfuge, the young woman exhales harshly, her hot breath causing a wisp of steam to appear in the cool air that vents much of her built up frustration and aggression with it.

She hesistates for several moments, not wanting a sudden unexpected flare of anger to catch her off-guard, which ends up being a good thing when the robes suddenly fly into her face. Akari doesn't flinch or stagger at this but her expression speaks volumes as to the levels of 'unamused' she is experiencing.

Several more seconds pass by before she manages to grunt in annoyance at his antics but she slips the robe over her slender body after allowing the multitude of stone arms to crumble away into dust.

Now decent enough that Faruja can't complain, not that he's really in a position to anyways, the girl makes her way over to him and begins the process of unearthing him from the rubble. She's not particularly delicate.
Faruja Senra Faruja really wishes he could stop that blasted nosebleed. At least this time it's mostly because he's had his face slammed into the ground multiple times. Though he'll admit, for all of the pain he's currently wallowing through as he's dug out, the Templar is pleased with the outcome.

He now knows how much farther he has to go, and whom to come to with renewed strength and vigor. Plus, he can't help but be impressed at how she managed to so thoroughly defeat him! When she finally drags him out, he simply flops against her, remaining annoyingly conscious; though from every wince moving makes, he'd likely prefer unconsciousness.

"Ahh...before I forget." Hey, is that his teeth over there?

"Hired. Now let us find our Seconds before my bones decide to slip from my flesh in horror at more abuse. The offer of drink stands for thy companion and thyself, as well." Because there's nothing better after a beating than beer. Now excuse him while he uses the brawler girl as a replacement for his shattered limbs.
Akari Seran Akari just snorts in mild disbelief. She wonders if she damaged the part of this creature's brain that discerns reality. Most people in his condition would be looking for a few weeks in bed, not a night on the town.

A simple nod suffices in response to his request and she turns around expecting to find Chera waiting for them - except there's nothing but dead trees and upheaved earth. The geomancer tilts her head in confusion then sighs when she realizes she must have taken off to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. That girl needs to toughen up.

Maira is no where to be found either, apparently having decided on a similar course of action. Both could probably be found without too much trouble, however. In the mean time, Akari simply hoists her new employer up by his shirt collar, dangling him over the ground like a young puppy as she heads off in search of the healer.

This scene contained 38 poses. The players who were present were: Faruja Senra, Maira bot, Akari Seran, Aeschere Childs