Description: Lord Ozomu may have brought Zabel Zarock back from the dead, but Zabel isn't exactly the grateful type, and he's tired of being expected to work off his debt. He sets off to resolve the matter, only to find that someone has beaten him to it... and that Jedah isn't in the mood for someone to come kicking down his door.
Out in the Italian countryside, we find a peaceful scene. A meandering road leads through some empty plains, toward some foothills on the horizon. The last farm was a few miles back, and out here there seems to be nothing much but a peaceful drive on your way from point A to B. Except that there is a branch that leads off the road, with a gate across it, leading to a long road up into the foothills, and an isolated castle. Very picturesque, quiet and peaceful. Only the first point holds true for long, though.
A faint roar in the distance resolves into both engine noise and blaring music, as a black convertible comes racing up the road. It's painted with flames along the sides, and it's doing well over 100 mph, until it comes to a screeching halt, fishtailing around until it faces up the road leading toward the castle. It rumbles up toward the gate, idling there for a few moments as though the driver expected them to be open. Then the car reverses for a short distance and the engine revs, before the vehicle surges forward and crashes through the gate with a sound of tearing metal and shattering glass. It lurches for a moment after getting through, then a twisted metal post from the fence shoots out of the wheel well and the car zooms onwards, toward the castle.
The castle landscaping is tended with great care. The grounds are spotless, immaculate. The servants had been replaced over the years, but the man who assumed the Dohma legacy had a silver tongue, a way with words that allowed him to retain staff who had the good sense to not question the master's word. For any reason whatsoever.
The drive up to the castle is... uneventful, to say the least. It's in absolutely pristine condition, because until just a few minutes ago, there had been staffers here. Everything is in perfect order.
Except the lanky figure standing on the top floor of the castle. Arms propped on a parapet, the 5'8" figure wearing a prim, proper overcoat in indigo is... Well, one would figure he'd be watching the setting sun, from where he was standing. But no, he's watching the figure come rolling up the drive. There was a rather loud racket outside, after all, and it did not escape the lord's notice.
He does not look pleased, not nor does he seem particularly -displeased-. Just ambivalent, wistful.
"I trust you'll see to fixing that gate. It is rather rude to damage someone else's property." His voice has no trouble carrying, despite the considerable distance between him and the intended recipient of his voice. It's outdoors. His voice should -not- carry.
But if one listens closely, one might be able to hear the voices of... others, alongside his own, a light audio 'texture' of a sort, not enough to mar the clarity of the voice, but enough to throw its... nature into question.
It's odd to hear a voice out of nowhere, and especially to be able to hear it over the ear-bleeding volume of the music that's playing, but hey... The driver is used to odd things. "Sorry about that, couldn't find the key!" The car screeches to a halt as it pulls up to the castle and the pale-skinned man inside slams a gloved hand down on the door and vaults himself up and out of the car. No seatbelt, of course. He's shirtless, wearing a lot of studded leather, and despite having the physique of someone in good shape, his pallor speaks to being extremely ill.
Zabel looks around, taking a few strutting steps closer to the castle before shouting, "Oi, Ozomu! I'm not feeling the love here, mate! I know I'm a bit early, but you can't even come down and see me?" He flexes the fingers in one hand with a series of pops, gazing toward the upper floors of the castle. Oh, he'll show that bastard for all the times he's looked down on Zabel Zarock!
Ozomu. The name is familar. And odious.
It may be nigh impossible to see the sour look upon the noble's face as Zabel Zarock makes his appearance. It's a long way away, after all.
A bit early, the man claims. The highborn noble shakes his head, turns away, and disappears within a scarlet doorway that hadn't existed just a moment beforehand.
A second scarlet doorway opens directly behind Zabel, attached to a section of blockwork which should never, ever have had a door to begin with. The door creaks open, at which point the material of the door might be a bit more... apparent.
Shiny, wet, blood.
As the door opens, a yawning purple-and-black chasm can be seen behind it. Definitely not part of the wall. And the figure opening the door is definitely not Ozomu.
"I regret to inform you that you are late, not early." Standing just a few feet away, it's now possible to see the man's refined Italian features, his swept-back flaxen hair. His slender build. His long indigo overcoat, nothing like the verdant greens preferred by Ozomu.
The door shuts, and shudders for a moment before fading to nonexistence.
"What business do you have here?"
Zabel doesn't jump, but he does turn around quickly when the door opens behind him, revealing... some guy he's never seen before. Zabel has been to the castle before, most notably after first catching Ozomu's attention, but he never really had any interest in getting to know any of the other occupants of the place, so he wouldn't recognize most of Ozomu's servants. But... late? "Oh, fer... The boss man's out, is he?" Zabel gives a frustrated sigh, running a hand backwards through his lank hair.
A few gears start turning in Zabel's head, though. He was hoping for the element of surprise against Ozomu, and attacking him the moment he returns home, that could work. And so, ignoring the question, he asks, "So, when's he gonna get back, blondie?" He crosses his arms, leaning back against the stonework and settling in, like he intends to wait.
"I'm afraid you've come at a time most awkward. And moreover, it seems you have me at a disadvantage." The noble bows his head, making an expansive gesture to indicate the rest of the castle grounds. "You see, this is, was, and always has been, a castle in the possession of the Dohma family. The... Lord Ozomu of whom you speak, was merely a trusted friend of mine."
A dark smile creeps across the face of the lanky man. "Once," he amends.
The noble clasps both hands together before him. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Jedah Dohma."
The lanky noble takes great pleasure in amending further: "I can assure you, Lord Ozomu will -not- be returning. So I ask again... have you business here?"
As the conversation continues in this vein, Zabel's shadow ripples for a moment, and a purple head with a single large eye rises partially out of it. The eye focuses on Jedah, then widens in alarm before the head ducks back down into Zabel's shadow and vanishes. Zabel, for his part, doesn't seem to have noticed it. "What, you mean he's already dead?" He looks rather dismayed, this not having been one of the potential outcomes that he had been trying to think of. "And he didn't even bother to tell any of the people here that he had THE Zabel Zarock working for him?"
Zabel just shakes his head in disappointment for the poor, benighted souls who aren't familiar with him. Then he looks back up, meeting Jedah's gaze. "So, that makes this your place, then, and you're 'Lord' Jedah? Well, I guess you deserve to know, then. Ozomu's the one who responded to my soul sacrifices, and unleashed my true potential in exchange. He's had me gathering more souls for him since, in exchange for more power. But then I thought, "hey, why not cut out the middleman?" and now here we are."
Pinpricks of red light form in the depths of Zabel's milky eyes as he begins to grin. "So, thanks for taking care of Ozomu for me, but it looks like things are still only half done." There's a flare of energy around Zabel as large portions of his flesh flake away into ash, revealing bone and muscle in patches across his body and leaving his face a leering skull with glowing red eyes. "I came all the way out here, might as well finish things!" And then Zabel lunges toward Jedah, reaching toward his face with one palm open. Rather than trying to grab him, though, the bones of his piece out from his flesh, forming a spear jabbing toward Jedah's face.
COMBATSYS: Zabel has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Jedah has joined the fight here.
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Zabel 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Jedah
COMBATSYS: Jedah counters Fierce Strike from Zabel with Nero - Fatica.
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Zabel 0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0 Jedah
"'Lord' will work nicely," Jedah agrees, keeping his hands clasped before him as he studies Zabel. Gauging his expression. The highborn seems comfortable. Placid. And completely unthreatening to the rocker.
He does find the history of his underling Ozomu to be... fascinating though. Gathering souls? The gourmand could not gather them himself? Oh... that's true, Ozomu always was the lazy sort.
As Zabel's skin begins to burn away... Lord Jedah seems completely unfazed. He's just some noble, this should be terrifying, right? No... the unremarkable noble doesn't show anything but a confident smile as Zabel reveals his terrifying true form. And as Zabel reaches for his face... Zabel may find that it's just not there. In its wake, there are only three streams of inky red blood, hovering in the air.
These streams of red are agitated by Zabel's forward momentum. Disturbed, the rivulets of blood ripple -- and in a mere instant, Zabel will find himself surrounded by a sphere of the red substance, the displaced volume held aloft for just a moment.
The noble, meanwhile... is standing a good three feet back. Stroking a chin. "I suppose we may as well." His fingertips are still spouting streamers of red blood, cascading to the ground at his feet. He lifts his hand, closing his fingers together, and the curtain of blood narrows to a simple cylinder.
He peers back at the hovering globule of blood, tilting his head to the side, as the blood has, by this point, solidified into a solid shaft of iron. And as he lifts the hand further, the pool blood separates from the ground, forging itself into the head of a scythe.
Clamping his hand shut on the weapon, he pirouettes in a sharp 360 motion, taking an overhanded swing at the trapped Zabel Zarock, piercing the bubble in two, and providing an appropriately painful response to the rocker's attempted /murder/ of the noble.
"Please note that you are now, officially, trespassing."
Zabel struggles to get free of the sphere engulfing him, but it doesn't do him much good, at least not in the time available to him. He's sliced by the scythe, leaving a large gash in his chest, but with rather less bleeding than Jedah might be used to. Also less screaming, as the ghoul doesn't seem overly perturbed by having been cut open. "Well, once I take over the place, it won't be trespassing anymore. So it'll all work out, then!" He grins, though it's somewhat difficult for him not to, given the lack of flesh on his face.
With a disturbingly high-pitched laugh, Zabel suddenly starts spinning around on one leg, his body contorting in a manner that's painful to look at as he becomes a rotating blur with spikes sticking out from the side. He launches at Jedah, sweeping across the ground and then actually launching up into the air.
COMBATSYS: Zabel successfully hits Jedah with Death Hurricane.
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Zabel 0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0 Jedah
Jedah frowns: his scythe could have easily killed a human, bisected him in twain and ended the matter entirely. Let alone a simple zombie, with significantly more mass. Moreover, his brazen, disrespectful attitude leaves much to be desired.
The laugh... well, Jedah can appreciate a good laugh. It has resonance. Presence.
He appreciates a bit less the fact that his aggressor is now a whirling dervish of bladed fury. Despite his earlier speed, he'd... actually expected Zabel to be writhing about on the ground right now. He takes several cutting slashes to the face and upper torso, staggering backwards.
Likewise... were Jedah human, he'd be blinded, and maimed. As it is... his scythe clatters to the stonework. The noble is no longer human, though, doubled over in pain. He curls a hand over his face. Eyes turn dark. And when he lashes his hand forward... it seems that every limb has doubled in length. His arms and legs are significantly wider across as well, and the highborn's skin has taken on a blue pallor. He, too, is a darkstalker, as Zabel can likely appreciate.
"Clearly I have something else to despise my treacherous confidante for," he states wryly, his raking strike at the flying Zabel now amplified by terrifying, four-foot-long talons of blood, solidified into sharpened, razor-tipped blades.
COMBATSYS: Zabel blocks Jedah's Medium Strike.
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Zabel 0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0 Jedah
As Jedah's talons comes slashing in toward him, Zabel's ribs extend and form a protective cage around his torso. The flesh around the edges of the protected area is sliced up, but the larger part of Zabel's body remains intact... or at least as intact as it ever is. Still, it does appear that he has to spare at least some thought to defense, even if he shows little reaction to actual injuries. The ribs suddenly snap back into place as Zabel's spinning comes to a halt, leaving him momentarily hanging in the air as gravity fights back against his upward momentum. "You can talk it over with him soon enough!"
Zabel flips around in the air, extending one leg like he's planning on dropping an axe kick on Jedah's head. Except the flesh of his leg splits open as bone spikes emerge down the length of the limb, and then begin to move at extremely high speed, turning the leg into a horrifying chainsaw, still descending toward Jedah.
COMBATSYS: Jedah dodges Zabel's Skull Sting.
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Zabel 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Jedah
The highborn bloodweaver witnesses his strikes lashing against solid bone with some amusement. This one has grown considerably with Ozomu's tutelage, he realizes. "Ozomu has a silver tongue. It was the first thing I cut out," lies Dohma, glancing sidelong at Zabel as he withdraws his fearsomely elongated talons, closing his eyes in a sensation of mild pleasure.
The pleasure comes from the transition to his true demonic form -- no longer must he beat around the bush with the darkstalker before him. Horns, not unlike those of Ozomu, erupt from his temples, curling around to point at the base of his neck. Overall, he looks the same, just taller. Bigger. Stronger.
And oddly, harder to hit. For as Zabel closes in with his leg transformed into a chainsaw, the rocker may once again find Jedah absent -- his form blurred as it had transitioned ten feet to the right.
"Come, then. Share with me some more amusingly pathetic attempts at murder." But when, or if, Zabel turns to watch, he'd be seeing Jedah's shoulder. And the scythe has snapped back to his hand. When the bloodweaver swings this time, it will be an attempt to take Zabel's bony legs out of the equation -- a massive swing with the bloody scythe that could cut through bone as easily as butter.
COMBATSYS: Zabel fails to counter Fierce Strike from Jedah with ES Death Phrase.
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Zabel 1/----===/=======|====---\-------\0 Jedah
Zabel plants his feet solidly on the ground after landing, swinging around to face Jedah in time to see another swing coming in. The rocker holds his position, shifting into a stance of leaning back slightly. There's a quiver from the shadow beneath his feet, and then the eye peeks out again, but once more cowers away in fear. A look of confusion and then anger crosses Zabel's face as his gaze flicks downward. "Le Marta, you-" And that's about as far as he gets before the scythe hits him at roughly knee height, shearing right through his legs and sending him tumbling to the ground, arms flailing for balance.
The ghoul curses as he starts trying to push himself up off the ground. One might normally consider this a futile endeavor, but the flesh and bone at the stumps of his legs churns, reaching out toward the severed limbs and already starting to knit together with them. An ability that might make him seem unstoppable, if one didn't notice the lights in his eyes starting to dim a bit.
Jedah frowns visibly at Zabel, completing his swing and resting the scythe on his shoulder. "I... must applaud you for your initiative in coming here to dispatch Ozomu."
It's about then that the scythe ripples, sways, and snaps. Multiple fissures form along its length, and blood seeps forth from the breaks as he speaks.
"If I had known you were coming, of course... I might have been swayed to let you take care of the deed."
The scythe has shattered by this point, crumbling into fragments held together only by a muscle-like connective tissue. Jedah lets go of the scythe, letting it hover in the air, and reform into a circular configuration. And then it splits apart into two crescent-shaped wings, as the noble spreads his arms wide.
"But you stand in /my/ presence now. And quite honestly, you don't stand a chance in hell."
It's at that moment that Jedah leaps head-first at Zabel, with no real preface. His hands are pointed backwards, blood spraying from them in small geysers. But as he nears Zabel, the blood sprays have taken on a life of their own, forming vaguely orb-like 'sprites' that are circling around him like a scientific illustration of the electrons in an atom. When he lands just before Zabel's feet, he he twists sharply -- his wing -also- taking on a life of its own as it slashes in an upwards diagonal towards the rock-and-roll zombie -- those sprites converging as if to augment his attack with a furious, blistering heat.
COMBATSYS: Jedah successfully hits Zabel with Random Strike.
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Zabel 1/----<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0 Jedah
The wing hits Zabel, digging into him with enough force to launch him into the air, leaving him open to the bloods sprites which converge on him from all about. The ghoul gets spun about as he's battered about, before finally crashing down in a heap, prone in front of Jedah. The skeletal fingers of one hand curl inward as Zabel pounds a fist on the ground. "Le Marta, get your ass out here, right now!" Zabel surges to his feet, the purple familiar held in one hand as it begins twisting about, shapeshifting into a massive chainsaw. Meanwhile the lights in Zabel's eyes flare as his body begins bulking up, growing more muscular, while energy crackles over his body. "If I let little things like that stop me, then I might as well have just stayed dead!"
In addition to having put on muscle mass, Zabel seems to have acquired a significant speed boost as well, leaping toward Jedah with the chainsaw held high, and then swinging it around like it weighs nothing at all, slicing at Jedah in a flurry of blows. He darts around while he does so, as well, making the direction of the next attack even harder to predict.
COMBATSYS: Jedah wards against Zabel's Ultimate Undead.
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Zabel 0/-------/-----<<|====---\-------\0 Jedah
The highborn is... irritable. The day had started with his revival after a hundred years. And now, as the sun is going down, it seems to be ending with this unwashed commoner challenging the right of the noble to rule the domain he'd reclaimed perhaps an hour ago. A hundred years lying in wait, and already people are trying to knock him off the pedestal.
And what the hell is a chainsaw anyway? Is that something new? In Jedah's day they made guillotines and sharp pointy things and they -liked- it.
"That's what you bring to the table? It reeks of Ozomu even more strongly than you do." He indicates the massive chainsaw of course -- but properly, he'd meant La Marta. Curious little construct, that is...
But the noble can be impressed later. He flashes a haughty smile back at Zabel as he lifts from the ground, hovering just a few inches above it. The series of attacks is definitely fast, and definitely powerful, but Jedah is, in this instance, faster. His wings twist forward, wrapping around his shoulders like a cloak. When the chainsaw swings towards his left, Jedah twists to his right, allowing the chainsaw to cut into the live iron edge of his bladed wings, sparks flying. When the chainsaw swings towards his right, Jedah bobs to complement. The entire time, he watches Zabel's eyes, a haughty sneer in his expression.
"I tire of this exchange!"
Each spark that flies cools into a coagulated droplet of blood. The wings may have looked like they took no damage, but that's only because Jedah made it -look- like they're unblemished. He suspects there will be many challengers to his throne, and the more Zabel can make it sound like he -had- a chance, the harder it will be for him to keep his rightful role.
Which is why he brooks no further resistance. With Zabel so close, and so recently buffed up around the arms and shoulders... Jedah goes right for the throat. His forearm detaches, halfway through -- the bone making a sickening snap, the tissue shredding apart as he wills his hand to separate from his body, connected only by two solitary blood vessels.
Should he connect with Zabel, the transferred momentum will suspend Zabel a good ten feet back. But that's not all -- Jedah would also dig his talons into Zabel's neck, opening up a direct conduit from his sanguinary vessels into Zabel's body. He would then pump gallon after gallon of his fel blood into Zabel -- to such a degree to cause -considerable- pain. Even to a Darkstalker.
And then the aggressively donated blood would erupt outward. Violently.
COMBATSYS: Zabel dodges Jedah's San - Passare.
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Zabel 0/-------/-----<<|=====--\-------\0 Jedah
The light in Zabel's eyes starts fading again, and his extra muscle fades away as Le Marta slips from his hand and vanishes back into the ground. If he were still a mortal, Zabel would probably be panting for breath at this point, to say nothing of the issues with bleeding profusely. But he's no longer a mortal, and with the body he has now he can pretty well keep going until he just can't anymore. And, of course, do plenty of things that would be difficult, painful, or impossible for a normal person. Like evading Jedah's grasp by suddenly bending his spine at a right angle, yanking himself away while leaving his feet planted on the ground.
Putting down his hands, Zabel shifts his weight away from his legs, while craning his neck forward to keep looking at Jedah. He seems to be lacking in quips at the moment, but he's certainly glaring. And then he kicks off the ground with one leg, while sweeping the other up into a kick aimed at Jedah. Bone spikes erupt from the limb again, but this time shooting out further, forming a buzzsaw rather than a chainsaw. The technical differences may be lost on Jedah, but the fact that it's whirling pain should be pretty obvious.
COMBATSYS: Jedah blocks Zabel's Strong Kick.
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Zabel 0/-------/------<|=====--\-------\0 Jedah
Slumbering a hundred years can get one in the mood to get out and stretch one's limbs -- literally if necessary. So while Jedah is =claiming= that he's bored, and he is indeed getting frustrated... well. The chance to claim his revenge on Ozomu after so long in wait was a definite rush. Crushing an upstart would-be usurper to the throne? Bonus.
If he can only manage to grab him. He hadn't expected a right-angle bend. That's... interesting: it brings a half-smile back to the noble's long face.
And then, with his thumb, he slices a slit across his wrist. Blood streams out, dribbles into the cracks of the stonework at his feet. "I... have not been back long. But I do have a plan."
As he speaks, the blood slides forward towards Zabel. It's almost unnoticeable unless one happens to be looking at the stonework itself -- it speeds along a circuitous path through the divides between each stone.
"And I also have a... proposition that someone as doggedly determined as you may find... enlightening."
By this point, the blood is nearly at Zabel's feet -- and it takes on the aspect of a disembodied giant hand, reaching forth to snatch him in its grasp.
COMBATSYS: Jedah successfully hits Zabel with Prova - di - Servo.
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Zabel 0/-------/------<|==-----\-------\0 Jedah
Its hold on Zabel complete, the hand repeatedly slams him into the stonework, time and time again. As this slamfest continues, Jedah... actually seems somewhat disinterested, casually reaching into his overcoat for a piece of parchment. Blood streams from his wrist onto the paper, writing a contract out. "Ozomu does not have need of your services. And I do not -need- you. But I could -use- you. You will serve me... or I shall destroy you."
Slam! Jedah does not seem perturbed, even as the ground shakes with each impact. Slam! Instead, he quietly places a piece of parchment onto the stonework before him -- and the blood-hand makes one final, bloody impact -- crashing Zabel's face down into the parchment contract. Close enough for his fading eyes to see.
"We have an arrangement. Whether you accept it or not is immaterial."
While Zabel is quite resiliant, and able to heal up from many injuries, there's still a limit to how /fast/ his body can repair itself... and the unholy energies powering him need some recharging after being strained enough. Which is to say that while being slammed into the stonework repeatedly isn't the end of the world for Zabel, shattered bones do take some time to pull themselves back together. And so after his thorough smashing, Zabel remains on the ground for some time while his body repairs itself, at least enough to move again. He curses under his breath, but even he knows that he's not up to Jedah's level... yet. And if he wants the same deal as Ozomu? Well, he'll get what's coming to him, too... Eventually. Not that Zabel seems inclined to verbally acknowledge the contract, but his sullen glare and the fact that he's stopped attacking speak for themselves.
COMBATSYS: Zabel takes no action.
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COMBATSYS: Zabel can no longer fight.
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Jedah smiles, looking down at Zabel. He could easily take out anger and frustration on the new recruit under his wing -- the first of servants he could even -feasibly- trust, none of Ozomu's retainers being worthy to the task. On the one hand, he would want to speak to
"Ah, the fiery passion burns within you still. But believe me... power unimaginable will be ours for the taking. As you get stronger..."
He looks down at his hands. Forearms completely healed, showing no signs of degradation. Zabel's regenerative capabilities may be taxed, but Jedah's are still fully intact.
"... so will I."
COMBATSYS: Jedah has ended the fight here.
Log created on 14:57:33 12/20/2014 by Zabel, and last modified on 09:59:07 12/21/2014.