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Knights of Shadow
(2013-03-28 - 2013-03-29)
No description.
Ramza Beoulve Fluorgis. The City of Flowers did not seem so aptly named when the blazing desert sun was at its zenith.

The armored young man was baking in the heat, and despite his addition of a cowled white cloak, he found he had to frequently take swigs from a canteen, and wipe away droplets from his brow. He wasn't trying to conceal his identity overmuch, Fluorgis was outside the Church of Glabados' jurisdiction, and few people in the city had ever heard of him. Some travelers may have had a few double takes as they saw his face, but he thought nothing of it. The Church already knew he was here, after all. What more could they tell them?

He'd been rather cryptic about why he wanted to see Fluorgis' Airship Port with Artemis, only that he wanted to know what the average ship was capable of. Given that the Church of Glabados was planning to ambush them upon their departure from the City, it was a reasonable measure for him to judge all potential points of egress.

He appeared to be in fair spirits, though he was still sore and aching from their training exercises from earlier that day. As time crept forward, he found himself perusing some of the merchant stalls, never lingering too long lest he be caught by one of the hawkers trying to sell him a worthless knick knack.
Airships. Useful tools to get around the world with simple ease. Sometimes though for your own resources you must rent an airship or even forcefully take one over. That was the case of this one airship you see.

The Dark Knight needed means to get around further, so on a simple airship that was transporting a small group of people, the armored man with his 'merry' men, stepped onto the airship and killed everyone on board. As for the heartless that were created, most of them were killed off. Most of them anyhow.

When the airship boards, though late, its doors open and the ramp is extended out. First there was nothing until a single heartless came to jump out. However a dark tendril lashed out from the depths within the airship haul before red eyes burned out from the darkness within.

Soon a single boot stepped out onto the wood of the ramp. Dark mist moving around where the boot landed down. Then there was another step and more dark mist covered the ground. The very armored figure had wisps of mist flowing down from his armor as he moved across the ramp. The leathery cape barely moving as those clawed finger tips flexed gently.

The red eyes scanned over the area as workers quickly started to move back and away. Those red eyes glowing from the darkness of the helm that shows no face behind it. They look to each person with a predatory stare. He then continues to move forward once more. Each step methodical. Each step precise.

Several dark armored figures come walking out behind the Dark Knight. They held no markings on them, only there simple black armor and very simple knight like helms. Unlike the Dark Knight before them they had normal eyes and their skin color could almost be made out.

The Dark Knight then slowly turns to face them as they step out, though some linger back as he turns to face them. "Remain with the airship." His voice echoes by virtue of the helm with a deep tone. "Make sure none board and if they try," He then turn away. "..kill them." Then the Dark Knight continues on his way past one of the men who was in charge of handling the airship landing and departures. The Dark Knight stared at them with his red eyes before he took off a pouch and then dropped the pouch onto the ground before the man, "There is your fee." He says with a calm, almost emotionless tone before he walks on.
Artemis Eurus The masked bodyguard walks by his side, her eyes always roaming, her ears always listening. In a crowded place it would be easy to stab Ramza in passing with a poisoned dagger or some such. Someone had to be paranoid, and Artemis would be watchful enough for the both of them. She's not sore from their practice, that had actually been a rather light day for her.

"This city is too damn hot Ramza. I could get you out of here. We'll set a meeting place with the others and all leave separately to avoid notice," she says, leaning in to speak quietly.

It is then that her senses come alert, the presence of Heartless nearby. The feeling of darkness, of emptiness...Artemis' hand moves to the hilt of her blade. "On your guard Ramza," she says quietly, then turns toward the dark night that steps off the airship, narrowing her eyes beneath her mask.
Ramza Beoulve The very pulse of the market was directed by the steady throng that streamed in and out of the airship port.

So when the screams began, just a scant few moments after Artemis had called attention to it, the pulse began to quicken, and grow irregular. The arrival of darkness had not gone unnoticed, and soon panic set in as whole crowds of people tried to rush out of the district, some literally trampling over others. Others stood frozen in terror. And still other, more adventurous individuals gathered closer to see what exactly was amiss.

Not many had actually seen what exactly what was going on, and it probably only took one individual to initiate the chain reaction that resulted in such chaos and disarray. The young man quickly reached over to help up a lady that had stumbled before she was crushed underfoot, before he pushed himself through the rush of the crowd alongside Artemis. As they tried to thread themselves through the mob, he would put a hand on Artemis' back, murmuring an incantation. "Precious Light, armor us and protect us. Silent Light, shield us from all iniquity." A shimmering crystalline field of light purple hues appeared in front of each of them, which then faded away to near translucence. Artemis would feel that it was always present though.

Once he had forced his way through, he finally caught sight of the advancing figure that wore the Umbra as easily as if it were a cloak. The more heedless civilians were in danger, and so he'd call out to them. "You must away! Flee! Don't bar his path!"

He wasn't immediately threatening the Dark Knight, but he was trying to light a fire under the civilian's arses, hoping they'd take a hint and get away. The Knight would almost certainly recognize him from the myriad of wanted posters and handbills that the Church of Glabados peppered around the world with his face upon it.
The Dark Knight continues to walk. He does not even seem concerned about the people here or there. The people running or the people who are just making a very wide path. He just continues to walk forward. After all, if those fear his presence, then so be it. His objective here is more of one if a simple affair then that of combat.

Yet combat was mostly the case when he comes and he would welcome it from any who desired a bought.

Those red eyes continue to scan the area. Searching. Looking. Judging all who are before him. His eyes slowly trail over to Ramza who casts his light spell of protection and is working his way of clearing people. Then over to his body guard who seems already prepared in combat. Now though, now he would not make the first move.

In closer inspection there was also no weapons on this man, no weapon at all. Just the armor, the dark mist, and the sense for those who could pick it up of true darkness from the heart.
Artemis Eurus Artemis would also to to help encourage the civilians to flee, trying to keep everyone calm as she directs those who are panicking toward a way out, otherwise placing herself between the dark knight and Ramza, placing her mind in the realm of battle, expanding her focus as she assumes a strong defensive stance. "Odin, bring me strength. Bring me victory," she says quietly, her hand still poised on her katana's hilt. Her every muscle screams readiness and focus. Strength.

As the dark knight turns his crimson gaze toward her and Ramza, she greets him. "Warrior, what is your purpose here?" she calls to him, her voice a challenge.
Ramza Beoulve The Knight wasn't attacking, though the palpable aura of crepuscule was even more stifling than the desert heat.

He let Artemis do the talking initially, focusing instead on the flight of the civilians. After most had seen sense and gotten out of the way, he'd hail the man with a calm voice. "Ser, my name is Ramza Beoulve, and while I would not mind exchanging idle pleasantries; I feel it might be best if we forestalled such. Might you consider passing through in a manner that doesn't frighten the folk of this city?"

There was nothing in his mannerisms that indicated that there was a threat in his voice. In fact, he would seem almost entirely relaxed if not for the darkness the man was exuding.
Angantyr Vespar There was another source of darkness, this time coming from the opposite of the dark knight.

Behind Ramza and Artemis.

Angantyr walks, eyes blazing towards a collision course with Leon. The man's very nature calls out the Mercinary, before he even gets there, the dark mace comes to his hands, and power exhudes from the Mercinary...and he forces it out through his body. The dark energy whisps around him, before merging into his very armor, and there was a transformation. The dark chain becomes plate armor, made of the abyss itself. The armor is all encompassing, as the head snaps up, two red eyes focused on Leo as he moves beside Ramza and Artemis.

"He is not something you can reason with, he is here for a reason, and it is not very likely that reason is peaceful." Angantyr says immediately, the darkness exhuding from him almost seems limitless...almost like HE is a source. "First Vampires in the Glabados Church, and now power dark knights walking unchecked through peaceful cities. What is the world coming to." Angantyr says sarcastically.
The Dark Knight comes to a halt as he is addressed. His red eyes look over to Artemis, before the move over to Ramza. He stares at them both equally in time. His hands calm by his side. Then here comes another Dark Knight yet there was something different about this one. There was light in his heart, just as these other three. Yet still darkness loomed, like all.

This causes the Dark Knight to tilt his head slightly at Angantyr's presence. Yet no words are spoken, not right away. He just stands there. Calmness. No real emotion. Then his voice speaks with that deep vocal nature that echos. "I have traveled here to test the light of those present. Though I was not expecting for two warriors of light to respond by my sheer presence alone." He sounds interested by this before he red eyes look to Angantyr. "..and a warrior of light who summons that of darkness." He tilts his head the other way. "..or is your heart more dark I wonder."

He then extends out his hand. Soon the dark wisps off his armor move into the air to form a shape out of nothing, before it soon takes corporeal form of that of a sword. "Show me your strength." He says with his voice still remaining calm, before he focus his gaze on each of them. The dark mist under his feet expand out a bit, before he suddenly vanishes in a blink of dark fog, before appearing behind them. His sword lashing out for each of them. The very tip of the blade taking on a ghostly image with each strike as it attempts to rend into their very soul.
Artemis Eurus Artemis' eyes turn toward Angantyr as he approaches, edging closer to Ramza. She can tell almost immediately however, that Ramza is not Angantyr's target. What a pair these two were! Both dark knights of a great deal of power. It seems this would be an interesting day.

When he speaks, Artemis inclines her head some to Angantyr in greeting. She doesn't exude power, either dark or light. She exudes...confidence. She does not let everything she is capable of out. Artemis is simply ready, and perhaps, a bit excited, her battle lust prickling. No surges of darkness that Leon could sense would accompany this however. Artemis is almost like a blank slate.

Vampires in the Church? Well well well...they'd be having a talk later. Artemis is just going to assume Ramza knows this man.

Artemis loosens her sword from its hilt in preparation, nodding to Angantyr and Ramza. Today would be a test for many of them.

The darkness is summoned, Leon disappears, and Artemis takes a breath.

She turns then, quick as a striking snake, dashing through the ghostly strikes of the sword as they scrape against her armor, trying to penetrate her presence--but she has zeroed in on Leon. She brings flicks her blade in a quick feint height, then drops down, turns, and aims a brutal strike to the knee in counter.

But she doesn't stop, flowing seamlessly into her next strike, bringing herself upward with the strength of her legs to attempt to slam the pommel of her sword under the chin of the Dark Knight, taking one step back to then deliver as quick but powerful kick to the solar plexus.
Angantyr Vespar "Tch. Light?" Angantyr spits towards Leon. "You're the first to say that." He says, and immediately swings back on the Dark Knight as he attempts to get behind him. Angantyr's fist clashes with the sword, before the clash forces Angantyr back...a bleeding hand for his efforts. The mace comes down, smashing into the ground of the desert city and narrows his gaze towards the Dark Knight.

Angantyr can feel this darkness, his own mace coming back into his hands as he weilds the massive weapon in one hand, his eyes trying to follow the Dark knight...

Then he lashes out, aiming to try and drive his hand towards the Dark Knight again, aiming to try and drive his fist forward, aiming to not just strike, but SHATTER the magic and darkness used to bolster his own defenses. Angantyr wasn't set just to let that be it, swinging his mace in a massive arch, darkness rushing out all around him in a whirlwind attack, aiming to try and crush his legs in a brutal smash. Slowly, he levels the mace down again, aiming to prepare himself.

"We have buisness, Dark Knight. I do not appreciate those who strike out at people I align with." he pauses, "Except Judge bunny. You can pretty much kill him, she's basically worthless."
Ramza Beoulve And then Angantyr. It came to pass that the two figures felt almost indistinguishable from each other, and Ramza began to doubt his previous intention to hire the man. He'd been hammered enough by techniques that involved tenebrosity from Goffard, Lucavi, and Templars alike that the atmosphere brought no happy memories to mind.

The cold rationality in Angantyr's voice is what swayed him away from the thought of reneging before any agreement was made. This was not a man controlled by what dwelled within him.

That he brought word of vampires in the Church didn't particularly suprise Ramza, though he'd certainly follow up on that later. After all, he was one of the few people in the world that believed that the Church of Glabados was headed by a council of legendary Archdemons.

Ramza Beoulve was flabbergasted by what the Knight of Darkness had to say. "That's madness! Why would you attack us merely to test our strength? Don't you care about the consequences? The lives that might be lost as collateral damage?"

They seemed like perfectly valid questions to the youngest son of the Beoulve family, but the Dark Knight's response answered the questions for him. As the man's sword lashed out at his soul, he'd instinctually dive to the ground, picking up a rock and flicking it in the direction of his helm.

While it seemed to be an ineffectual gesture, Ramza would use his new lowered position to clasp his hands together. Using a simple Geomancer's trick, he'd coax the winds to pick up in an area around the Dark Knight, the buffeting winds seeping into his armor and lashing him and any magical protections he had.

Raising a hand, he'd allow the power of a simple spell to thrum through him. "Strike the ground with glittering blades!" And then seemingly out of nowhere, a bolt of electricity would arc down, choosing the path of least resistance through the armored figure, into the ground.

And then he'd charge at the man, bringing out his Cinqueda from its sheath. He didn't actually use the blade in his assault, using it more as a sort of parrying blade to try throw his sword out wide, before repeatedly lashing out at him with his offhand fist. Despite the man being heavily armored, each time his fist struck, if it struck, he'd feel a staggering amount of force in the blow, as he used a simple monk's trick to channel a small amount of his Chi into each punch.
What light he could sense from the heart within Artemis vanishes for a moment. Those red eyes staring her down in just that instant. It be like a heartless confused by a meal they swore was there suddenly gone. It was also enough of a distraction for her counter with her blade to seek into the darkness of his armor. Yet there was no screech of metal. Only the flare of darkness that gets ripped off, before it attempts to regather itself once more.

Then her blow for his chin comes, he pulls his head back, where a tendril of darkness suddenly rises up and blocks away the blow and attempts to hold her in place. Yet she was strong enough to break away where he kick connects. The boot does hit a solid material and he is shoved back a bit. Yet no grunt of pain comes, no sign of pain even in his eyes. Instead he just continues to stare at her with his puzzled look, before he narrows his eyes as if trying to will past her defenses.

He doesn't have enough time though to refocus back on Artemis' heart. Instead here comes the other dark knight with a Mace. He 'blinks' out of the way, moving around to the side of Angantyr. His red eyes follow him. Judging him slowly. "Your heart knows goodness. It knows the light. You seek that."

The hand goes to slam in and it only impacts the darkness. This was no magic. What Angantyr impacts is the very will of this Dark Knight's heart. Yet the fist does break through a second turn, the Darkness moving out and seeming to attempt to almost 'eat' Angantry's own darkness. As if trying to feel it out. Yet once more the armor was untouched. Even as the Mace came down, and the Dark Knight slid away, pulling back his own darkness away. The Mace does move through where the darkness was weak, screeching across the black metal behind. However the armor was already starting to be mended as the Dark Knight moved in with a twirl to bring down his sword with the ghostly tip at the other dark knight once more. "Yet your heart is touched by darkness. Though what kind I wonder."

His presence still remains calm and lack of any true emotion, even as his red eyes go to set on Ramza. "There lives will not be meaningless. For there hearts will feed my own strength, just as this test will answer my question on the power of warriors across these worlds." The attacks from Ramza come in true and they knock the Dark Knight back.

About half way through this it shreds apart the darkness around his armor before he 'blinks' back and then slides across the ground. The shoulder pauldrons suddenly morph down as the cape loosens a bit. Those red eyes stare at each of them, before he stands up straight once more. The dark mist start to gather around his armor once more. His red eyes then narrow for a only a moment, before his Soul Blade begins to glow blue. He then slams it into the very ground. Then three runes form under each of them as massive ethereal crystal swords slam out from the ground. The blade then attempts to encase them within its blue crystal form, trying to freeze them in place. Then while his blade glows he slashes it across the sky. Several streaks of dark energy fly through the sky, reaching out to destroy the crystal swords and shattering them with those who were held inside.

Then the Dark Knight blinks forward as each start to fall. It was done in less then seconds. He strikes out his blade in passing by each. The blade blazing in blue fire as it takes an ethereal form. Seeking out for there life force as it passes through. Seeking it out to replenish the darkness own from within.
Artemis Eurus Though she's no dark knight, that has to be a first for her as well. She almost laughs. On the periphery of her awareness she is keeping track of Angantyr and Ramza--especially Ramza. She knew he could handle himself, and this would be a test on just how well he could do that. Still, she would be ready to leap to his defense. She didn't necessarily need to be breathing down his neck. Who in the world was Judge Bunny?

Ramza's words are exactly what she would expect from him. Of course she wonders the same thing, Artemis just realizes the pointlessness of asking.

Artemis smiles, sensing the Dark Knight's puzzlement as he tries to sense her heart in the void. Very well, whatever he is looking for, she will lay it out before him as he moves back and summons the runes beneath them. Her sword lights aflame as she tries to counter with a blast of fire, but she in encased. The crystal surrounding the samurai shatters, and as soon as she can move she is bursting through the shards toward Leon.

Then the blonde warrior 'blinks' just as Leon does, seeming to slip through a hole she'd created in reality. The distance between them is covered in a split second, her sword slashing high horizontal, downward diagonal, then she turns, reverses her grip, and attempts to impale Leon on the blade.

If it is successful, she will twist the blade before she yanks it free and falls back on the defenses.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr is caught in the crystal, the force of the attacks driving pieces of his own armor off. He draws in darkness to restore the armor, not unlike Leon's own abilities. Where Leon was cold and emotionless, Angantyr was agressive and fiery. He didn't back down, he pushed forward. There was no hesitation, nor was it reckless abandon. The fighting style was simply one of aggressive when Leon encases...ang shatters the bonds moments latter, the mace tearing through it, before it swings again, aiming to draw off the Knight's armor with the swing of the mace.

The darkness, Leon can feel, is like staring into a pool. There isn't just the darkness between the stars...there was SOMETHING here. And he can feel it stare at him.

"It's called the darkness of having <GOOSEHINK>ing awful ancestors." he says, before aiming to come back towards the Dark Knight...

And then Ang's right arm shifts into some sort of claw, red claws aiming to try and grab Leon and LIFT him straight up. The claws dig, aiming to tear at his own darkness, trying to devour it completely...

The blood shed by the warriors up to this point suddenly pools around Ang, before even LARGER claws tear through the blood, repeatedly aiming to tear and swipe at him, trying to tear him limb from limb, before Angantyr's claw tears free, aiming to try and tear the knight's armor apart.

Ramza Beoulve Ramza didn't know what horrified him more, the casual cruelty about the man, or the attack that followed.

As the runes formed beneath him, he would attempt to shore up his magical barriers, as the crystalline purple enchantments flared to life and became opaque. As the crystals encased him, he'd be frozen for a moment, the enchantments threatening to crack under the weight of the assault. When the crystal shatters, he'd find himself on his knees, gasping for breath, only to skip backwards to prevent the blade strike from becoming a killing strike. Battered backwards, he would clutch at his chest with a single hand.

The young man would clasp his hands together, his breathing quickening as a look of determination appeared on his expression. "I won't.. allow that. What about my life is worth this gruesome examination? There is nothing that makes it more precious than anyone else's. I won't stand idly by and allow others to suffer and die to your whims."

This was going to fatigue him more than he knew. Such spells were barely within his ken. "Bright light..." The sky above the Dark Knight would grow still, and white hot brilliance would shine down, pushing against the darkness. At first it seemed like it would be a losing battle, but it would not dim. "....shine down on bloody impurity."

Glittering orbs of light would descend, and while the Dark Knight would feel their presence, they wouldn't actually do him any harm, it might have been puzzling as they initially seemed to dissipate, smothered by his darkness. But then the Dark Knight would feel their continued presence, glowing with white hot judgement at his feet. Bolts of light would abruptly surge through him, ascending skywards until they dissipated, and the light vanished abruptly.
All the attacks come in and with it the darkness around the Dark Knight extends out. The mist becoming thick and heavy around him. Each strike slams into the Darkness shield formed around him. Each impact starting to shatter it. Each one starting to break it down. Yet there was no laughter. There was no screams of pain. There was only those red eyes staring. Staring in the deep void of calmness.

Sword drives in, Mace's swing, Each impact chipping away at the Darkness, before it explodes out in wisps thanks to Artemis' final strike. The darkness then starts to swarm back around the Dark Knight once more. There was that stare once more at Angantyr. Those red eyes staring at him. "Your darkness is not pure." Is the only reply the other Dark Knight seems to gain.

The claws come in and the Dark Knight only allows Angantry to rip away at the remaining darkness around him, before the claws at last start to slash across the dark armor. Screeching of metal with each strike, yet before those claws can get a good hold, the Dark Knight 'blinks' away. Yet when he comes to a sliding halt, blood does drip down form his arm where the leather was pulled away at. However as the blood drips onto the ground, the darkness that remains covers over the blood, causing it to vanish, as it also shield over the would on his arms.

The darkness Angantry's attempts to eat away though was not that of magical darkness, it was something much deeper. Like what you expect to find on a heartless or even a shadow lord; even that of Riku. There was something /very/ wrong about it.

However Ramza's attack of light slams down on the Dark Knight. It crashes down and finishes what the other two have worked to achieve. From there powerful attacks allowed for Ramza's own to make it through.

Yet, Light feeds Darkness.
Darkness, enjoys the Light, yet fears it. Fears it for powerful enough light can tear it away. It was a cruel, odd circle that Light and Darkness play. Perhaps why it was so much easier to consume a heart of light, then it was the magic of.

Slowly the Dark Knight starts to rise, his own dark energy wrapping around him, masking over the scars on his armor from Angantry's masterful fury and Artemis artful sword swings that broken down the earlier shielding. It swirls around him. He looks tired, worn down as hissing smoke rises from the top of his armor from what Ramza had performed. Those red eyes staring him down.

There was enough data on two, but not really on one. He have to push this further. He have to see what comes from this. Defeat, yes, there was always defeat. He was, however not out to win. Just push, nudge, test. Seek through the light, pluck out he facts. Even with darkness, he would do the same.

Soon the darkness spreads out from the Dark Knight. It becomes a heavy fog of darkness. The ground becoming hard to make out. Yet from the darkness glows a massive rune on the ground. The Dark Knight is no where to be seen however. No where until he lands down from the sky, slamming his glowing blue blade into the very ground. It shatters the rune and massive crystal crimson swords start to fall from the sky. Each of them aiming down to imprison the warriors here on the battlefield.

If they are caught in the Crimson blades, they will have there life energy drained from them. Being pulled out of them into the Soul Blade raised. Using the energy to remind the scars across the armor, using it to rebuild the energy. Drawing the life essence from them and into himself.

Once the Dark Knight raises down his sword in a sweeping motion, all crystals crimson blades; those that caught those within or not, shatter into shards into the very darkness that starts to bend itself once more around the Dark Knight, he red eyes peering right at Angantry. The look of curious judgment. The look of waiting to see what the other Dark Knight will attempt now in this final moment.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr's darkness was not just magical. He didn't draw on magical darkness, it was something natural, something inherant in his body, something natural and terrible at the same time...but that was the thing, it was /natural/. He weilded it like an extention of himself, the darkness responds to his swings, to his aggression, and even to personality. So when a crystal sword fell towards Angantyr, his right hand moved out, catching the blade in his hand. Darkness covering his hands as he narrows his red eyes towards Leon...and SHATTERS the crystal with his powerful hands. The force of the attack sends Ang backwards, causing him to reel from the aggressive counter. However, Ang swings again, blocking the powerful second swing with his own mace, aiming to drive the force around him...and harmlessly deflecting it off of his armor. There was nothing final about it, Angantyr did what he always does...he pushes forward.

Angantyr was familar with the Shadow Lords, Garland was his mentor, the anchient thing teaching him how to control the natural font of darkness in him as a younger man, a power that would eat at the world around him uncontrolably.

Riku was also known, the two having had fought before, two powerful darkness users training themselves on their violence.

Angantyr's Mace was back out, aiming to try and swing it UPWARDS towards Leon, aiming to try and dislodge him from the ground, before, he swings the mace back down, darkness streaming off of it as he aims to try and drive him back from the blow...and he launches forward.

Then, without mercy, he swings the mace down in a motion...and then back UP. Crimson energy coursing through the blade, aiming to try and drive it through the man in a powerful blow.

Ramza Beoulve Ramza realized with but a glance at Artemis that she was in worse shape than he was, and while he knew that she had declared herself as Oathbound to be his guardian, he found that he couldn't hesitate to protect her as he would any other member of the /Braves/.

As the Dark Knight began what was sure to be his assault, Ramza would rush in front of Artemis, directing his battered and cracked crystalline shield upward. As the first crimson blade descended, his barriers shattered entirely. To his credit, he stood his ground, not really expecting to survive what was coming. On reflex, from his training, he'd clasp his hands together against the Crimson Blade, as if it were an entirely mundane blade. To his suprise, he was able to pluck the crystalline sword out of the air, and cast it aside.

He had absolutely no idea how he'd managed that feat. No training as a Samurai could prepare anyone for grasping crystalline blades of pure darkness.

He wasn't so lucky when the second blade sank deeply into a gap in his armor.

He would feel the soul-crushing sensation as his soul was rended and his life force leeched out of him. And then the sword exploded inside of him.

Coughing up blood, he would fall to his knees, shakily pressing a hand against the wound. "Life's refreshing breeze..."

He couldn't finish the traditional incantation, as he suddenly doubled over in another coughing fit, but thankfully the spell's power was already working at his wounds, the breeze of divine wind extending to Artemis as well.

As his body was being knit back together, he'd breathe raspily, stating aloud. "That's enough! End this madness! Spare them!"

It registered dimly to him that Angantyr would never accept that, as the other man pressed in for a killing blow.
Artemis Eurus Yes, this is a powerful foe. He wields the darkness masterfully. He is like no Heartless she has ever fought before.

Artemis is....practically elated.

She lets out a laugh as she dances back from Leon and the darkness shrouds the ground, ready for him when he descends.

What she is not ready for however, was Ramza's fool heroism. Artemis shouts, "RAMZA!" as he places himself in front of her, trying to shield her from the crystaline blades that rain upon them. Her eyes are aflame with anger....and shame, and fraught with indecision. But for now, overall, there is anger.

Artemis reaches down, grabs Ramza by his armor, and physically hauls him behind her, growling like a beast in the wild. Now, darkness begins to flood her, but even in it there is something shining at the center. Is rage not sometimes righteous? Does light not sometimes burn?

Artemis reaches to her waist, brings up what appears to be a flask, and drinks it before tossing it aside. She then raises up her blade and runs her hand across the edge, lightly, enough to bloody it, her green eyes wild as she begins to sing a battle-song that sets her heart to pumping like war drums in her ears. No, this is not over.
Angantyr was indeed someone of strength, but he was not on the edge; yet perhaps this is due to training, or perhaps due to something else. He was not on the edge where he required the light from hearts to survive. He was-- fortunate in that front.

However Darkness calls to Darkness. The two will always clash. No matter the form. No matter the style. When two forces of the same met, they would meet with massive results. This was no difference on this battlefield, on this very day.

Angantyr comes with his mace and the Dark Knight blinked back on one swings. Parried the next with his Soul Blade, Blinked to the side, but as the Mace came down, it slammed him hard enough to puncture the regrowing darkness and slide him back. The armor scathed once more, even as it started to work on repairing itself once more. The darkness infusing itself to protect itself.

Those red eyes met the other. He was almost blinding out all around him. Those eyes almost started to shift to orange. The humanity in them almost starting to fade.

The Darkness was hungry from this transaction. The Darkness wanted..

The Dark Knight closed his eyes and when he reopened them they were solid, glowing red once more. The calm demeanor never leaving him. There was no anger in those eyes either as he glanced over to Ramza requesting for this to end. "Spare them?" The Dark Knight asks, his voice still remains calm. He just stares for a moment. His eyes shift to Artemis, then to Angantyr. "Very well."

He then stands up straight as the darkness still attempts to 'heal' itself. Though failing in some ways. It would take time to repair the damage done. Time was something he had. "This test is now over." He places out his hand and the Soul Blade vanishes into dark mist. "I look forward to meeting you again." His eyes skim over them all as he creates a portal of darkness, similar to that of what the Shadow Lords create, yet something about it is off. Only powerful enough for one. Only attuned to one.

He bows his head only slightly to Angantyr before he moves to step through the dark portal, yet in that very last moment he 'blinks', the portal closes. He blinks to a roof, then to another, about this time a shadow of an airship moves overhead taking off with quick speeds, at which it seems the Dark Knight 'blinks' up too.

Yet, no citizens were hurt from this transaction. No structures damaged beyond the very ground they stepped on. It was all contained and kept in one, simple, area.
Ramza Beoulve And then Artemis yanked him behind her like he was some sort of child, or pup that had done wrong. He gave her a sheepish look of sorts, but he still stood by what he'd done.

Rising to a standing position, he'd look ready to fight him to the end.

Imagine his suprise when the Dark Knight acquiesced, and left. He could only stand there and gawk for a moment, before his look of bewilderment became cold and analytical. "He had no quarrel with us after all.. It really was some sort of sick jape."

He'd give Angantyr a puzzled look. "What was he? Have you ever heard of a Shadow Lord testing people in this way?"

He'd glance sidelong at Artemis, his voice sounding slightly embarassed. "Uh, how do you fare Artemis?"
Artemis Eurus Artemis had not expected the Dark Knight to suddenly leave, right after she'd begun her battle song, truly getting into the experience of battle. It like being brought to the brink, then deprived of release.

When Ramza asks how she fares, she turns around, sheaths her sword, and slugs him.

"You have shamed me Ramza Beoulve. I am not some wilting flower for you to throw yourself in front of," she growls, then turns. "We will talk more on this later."

Artemis turns her full attention on Angantyr, expecting that he will have answers to Ramza's questions.
Angantyr Vespar Angantyr recoils from the blow, but Leon was already on the retreat. He stopped...he could have followed through, and he was probably going to hurt painfully. Angantyr's own body had been pushed lately, the fight with the Vampire having had taken more out of him than he admitted. He doesn't push it when Leon retreats...there was some honor there. This was not the place of their final fight, or even a true battle. Finally, the mace turns back, sliding into a holster on his back. He turns to Ramza, looking at him and Artemis for a moment.

"To test the light, and I guess to test my Darkness." he says, "Maira a friend of mine had reported to me what he did to her near Traverse. When I felt his presence, I came running to try and force him away from her...and the town." he says, "And yes, a Shadow Lord Named Garland does, to those he deems worthy of being trained." he shrugs. Angantyr turns away, to go back where he came, but he pauses to look at Artemis, "A strange thing to say. Shame you? I dare say you shame your leader by calling him out in public. A good leader, can not lead from the back. He must lead from the front, to protect those under his command. Your pride will bring you to an early grave, and what will the young lad do? To me, he looks to be someone who would greive the loss of a matter how insubbordinate they maybe."

Angantyr says his peace, and continues to walk.
Artemis Eurus Artemis sighs. "I am his bodyguard, not him mine," she replies, then begins walking in the other direction, answers had.
Ramza Beoulve Mayhaps he really was a touch naive, since he truly didn't expect that.

He was clocked cleanly, and landed on his arse.

He didn't grunt or moan, but he did put up a hand to massage his cheek and felt fortunate that he wasn't spitting out teeth.

If he were any other sort of commander, he might have yelled at her publically, shamed her further, fought back, or discharged her.

Instead he rose, and nodded to Angantyr in thanks for his answers.

When Artemis turned to leave, he would follow after her but otherwise would not say anything to her, not yet.

This scene contained 26 poses. The players who were present were: Angantyr Vespar, Ramza Beoulve, Leon, Artemis Eurus