Mortal Kombat - MK round 3: Cassie vs. Erron Black

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Description: "CASSANDRA CAGE. You have done quite well for yourself, with two memorable performances. You've done the Cage name well. For this next match, we have done you the honor of placing you against one of our finest. I am sure you and ERRON BLACK will have much to talk about at the Kombat Tomb."

The Kombat Tomb is a place built more for the dead than the living. Everywhere there are low stone slabs and leering skulls, reminders that this is as much a graveyard as the ominous stretch of ground surrounding the foot of the tower. It is a grim place for a fight. After all, it is more than likely one of the combatants will find a permanent home here by the end of the upcoming contest.
Erron Black seems unreasonably relaxed for a man who's day might end with him entombed in a stone sarcophagus. He sits slumped forward on the edge of just such a grave, left forearm braced on his thigh. Balanced upright between his knees is a curved bone sword with a crude leather grip, its sharp tip scraping gently against the stones as his right hand sets the weapon into a twirl. Slowly it spins, pommel wobbling against his palm within the cage of his spread fingers.
Sharp blue eyes focus impassively on the spinning weapon, what is visible of Erron Black's masked face conveying a sense of long suffering patience. It is a look of casual boredom. The expression of someone who has gotten very used to waiting. After all, the Outworld mercenary who sits quietly on the tomb with his hat resting beside him, backlit by the orange sky, is a very old man. Despite the messy light brown hair and muscular build, Black is old. So old. And old men are nothing if not patient.

Shang Tsung really seems to want to have Sergeant Cassandra Cage spend a lot of time in the tombs.

Ignoring the fact that he tried to kill her the first big night on his miserable island, this is the second round of this tournament where he's sent her to this tower to fight. The fact that last week she ended up getting ambushed by another person trying to jump into the tournament instead of her intend opponent doesn't really make much of a difference.

Shang Tsung wants Cassie Cage dead.

And Cassie Cage is going to make life as hard for him as she possibly can.

"Alright, Clint, I suppose we should get this started before you start trying to have a debate with a chair."

If you're going to make an entrance, a quick snappy line is as good a method as any when you're a Cage. Dressed in full mission body suit, Cassie finishes climbing up onto this level, reaching behind her to unbutton the clasps on her holsters as she moves to get a better look at Black.

Cool blue eyes lift to take in Cassie in all of her snarky glory, watching with idle interest as she reaches back to unsnap the safety straps on her weapons. His cold coal-rimmed gaze narrows just a fraction as he considers her words, long sigh gusting through the slits in his mask.
"You got guts, kid. The fact you're fightin' me proves your somethin'." The mercenary drawls, his voice a deep, smoky baritone. As he speaks he closes callused fingers about the hilt of his sword, stopping its rotation and reaching with his free left hand to retrieve his hat. Pressing the battered black hat down atop his head, he hoists himself to his feet with the soft jingling clatter of gear and bullets.
A distance of perhaps 10 yards separates the two combatants as Erron begins to advance. With utter casualness he swings his sword up and rests the flat of the blade over his right shoulder, head tilting forward just enough to cast the majority of his face into shadow. His battered leather boots crunch softly against the dusty stone floor, eyes flashing golden in the shadow of his hat brim.

Reaching down into one of the pockets of her gear, Cassie pulls out a piece of gum, unwrapping it with one hand before popping it into her mouth. She lets the sound of Erron going through the motions fill the air for a bit as she gets the gum going until she can blow a quick bubble, getting her head back into the game.

"I'm here because your boss, Lo Pan, is doing everything he can to get me dead, but he's not very good at it, even when he gets to cheat." Despite the wad of gum in her mouth, Cassie's words come out clean and clearly sarcastic. "Since nobody else has really wanted to consider listening to my clearly superior ideas of making sure that some crazy guy doesn't take over the world, and you're gunning for the other side to begin with, why don't we cut the idle chit-chat and just get things rolling so I can make my way to the big guy and save the world."

There's a hell of a lot more confidence in there than Cassie's actually been feeling. She's been feeling like she's just barely made it out of each fight she's been in here by luck, but if the bright yellow shard posing next to her dogtags is willing to keep this going, she might just make it out of here alright.

COMBATSYS: Cassie has started a fight here.

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Cassie           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Cassie equips a vibrant Dusty Yellow Soul Shard.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Erron Black has joined the fight here.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0      Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Erron Black equips a gleaming Canary Yellow Soul Shard.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

"Huh." Is Erron's only response to Cassie's blast of scathing sass, the softly grunted exhalation full of dry amusement and vague interest. If nothing else she has his attention, glowing yellow eyes flicking over her gear-covered form. checking her for weapons, probably. or maybe checking her out. Who knows what sort of women they have in Outworld. Aside from the princess they're likely all four armed lizard people and mutated demon freaks.
A slight shake of his head is Cassie's only warning before he bolts forward, swinging his sword down from the shoulder into a quick, casual swipe for her left ankle. But that is nothing more than an opening distraction for the swift left jab aimed for her gum-chewing mouth, followed by a hard right knee aimed to try and double her smaller form over just long enough for him to sweep the pommel of his sword up and smash it into the side of her head. He does not talk as he fights, which is a shame.If he really were Clint he'd probably have some snappy one liners of his own.

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the spread of the lightning nerves.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Cassie dodges Erron Black's Kombo.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

If there's one thing that Cassandra Cage has learned throughout this tournament so far it's that you really don't want to let people start hitting you if you can avoid it, because the people here seem to be inclined to hit like the truck (see nearly being burned to death by some strange four-armed girl on what could have been an otherwise nice beach).

Swords are also high on the list of things Cassie isn't looking forward to having used on her, which perhaps leads to the yellow outline forming around her as she suddenly ducks to the side before the first hit can come in, managing to roll with left ankle coming up first and leaving nothing but air for the sword to pass through. The heavy glow around her gives her more than enough from there to keep managing to duck and weave at a remarkable speed in her efforts to keep some breathing room (aka room between her and attacks that would keep her from breathing due to the whole maybe dying thing).

"Actually, now that I get a good look at you, you're really more Mad Max or like... Steampunk bullshit. I'm leaning Mad Max because you don't have any random gears or goggles on your look."

Throwing out a quick verbal jab does nothing to slow Cassie pulling a good deal of distance between Erron and herself before the glow starts to fade, plenty enough space for her to whip back with both hands and draw the pistols from her back holsters, unloading a rapid flurry of shots on the masked cowboy.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black dodges Cassie's Blood Splat.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Black's sword parts the air with an audible 'VWOOSH' as Cassie dodges backwards in a halo of golden energy, the tip passing several inches before her chest. In the shadow of his hat his glowing eyes seem to narrow, but rather than calling on his own shard to try and follow the nimble girl he hangs back. Space grows between them as the mercenary slides his curved sword over his shoulder and into the straps of its makeshift sheath.
"No idea what you're talking about, woman." Erron drawls dryly, poised and ready as he watches her hands begin to drift backward toward her guns. For one such as he, likely the greatest gunslinger alive today, the much younger fighter's draw seems to happen in slow motion. Back, back her hands drift, fingers spreading in preparation to grab, and still Erron waits, poised. Her fingers close around the grips, begin to lift. The barrels clear the holsters, both begin to rise...
Moving with the speed of a striking snake, the cowboy throws himself forward and to one side, impacting the stone floor shoulder first. With a loud clatter of metal on stone, he rolls behind one of the shallow stone coffins and takes cover as bullets rain down around him. Stone chips and fragmented metal wiz past him as he lies flat on his stomach, scarred left hand reaching back to palm a smooth glass ball from a pouch on his belt. In silence he waits, gauging the moment...
As Cassie's fingers are squeezing out the last two bullets of her barrage, a fist-sized glass sphere comes arcing up from behind Black's tomb. Catching the orange light ghosting in through the arched windows, the sphere shimmers dully, some sort of shadowy mass shifting and swirling deep within it. The ball passes at least three feet over the top of Cassie's head, coming nowhere near to hitting her.
Could Black have missed?
With a soft grunt, the Outworld mercenary springs from the ground to the top of his sheltering tomb, golden eyes taking in the scene before him in a fraction of a second. The next moment the heavy revolver that had been strapped to his right thigh is magically in his hand, the draw almost too quick to follow, and the loud 'BANG' of a shot rings out through the chamber.
Fire and smoke billow from the barrel of Black's gun, following the single bullet that streaks across the room toward Cassie. The round buzzes past the young woman too quickly to follow, and drills into the glass sphere just before it can drop behind her back. The shell cracks, and from within the sphere bursts a roiling cloud of sand. The mini storm flares with sudden rage, wind and grit blasting out in all directions. If Cassie is not quick enough to stop it, the sandy tornado will smash into her back and blast her off of her feat toward where Black is standing atop his tomb.

COMBATSYS: Cassie blocks Erron Black's Badlands.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

There might have been a time when a strange object being hurled in your direction and apparently missing might have been considered unimportant by a soldier, but Sergeant Cage has been fighting in a world where IEDs are frequently a bigger threat than the enemy's guns, and right now her head's damn near on a pivot with how quickly she starts to take into account just where it's all going.

As the gun comes out, both threats become far more easily dealt with by one simple action: diving out of the way.

Something is about to go big, and Cassie tucks and rolls, coming back up in a low crouch with her arms covering her face as she tries to make herself the smallest target possible just in time to weather the storm from the explosive sand blast (that would have been further weakened if she'd been able to get a new pair of sunglasses on this island).

The instant the storm is passed, though, Cassie bolts right back to her feet, barrelling in on Erron with no time for a quick one-liner as she comes to a halt just inside of reach and then suddenly whips back into a backflip, her foot suddenly humming as a green aura covers her boot as it aims to slam right into Black's jaw as she flips back.

COMBATSYS: Cassie successfully hits Erron Black with Rollin'.
- Power hit! -

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Erron's eyes track his opponent with calm calculation as she tumbles free of the blast, twirling his revolver through his fingers with effortless skill. It is an action that seems more force of habit than flare, something to keep his twitchy fingers busy. However, as Cassie regains her feet and begins to charge, he flicks his wrist downward and sends his gun neatly into its holster.
There are no words. Poised and ready, Black once more times the approach of his opponent, arms out slightly to either side and face cast into shadow. His golden eyes gleam, patient and predatory. Ready.
Or so he thought.
The sudden flare of energy along Cassie's boot catches him off guard. For a split second he hesitates, considering whether or not he should dodge fully away and abandon his plan. It is that second that dooms him. Making up his mind to stay in as close as possible, he begins to dodge backward away from the rising foot. If he hadn't taken that split second to think he might even have made it, but unfortunately for him Cassie's toe clips him right on the tip of the chin, hitting that sweet spot that blasts his head backward and sends him staggering away on his heels. Reaching the end of the sarcophagus, he attempts to step off and catch his balance, but he is too far gone. Stumbling over the edge he falls backward and smacks the back of his skull on the edge of another stone coffin, grunting in pain as he aborts out into a sideways roll.
Springing back to his feet, Erron glares toward his opponent, light brown hair hanging loose and messy. Somewhere along the line he must have lost his hat. This removes the shadow from his face, revealing the deep lines on his forehead and the slight smudges in the wide ring of coal encircling his golden eyes.
"Huh." He grunts, but this time there is no humor in it. That last maneuver has clearly pissed him off. Lifting a hand to tug his mask back into place, he steps forward and vaults over the edge of the coffin, flinging himself toward Cassie as he reaches over his left shoulder to jerk the long-barreled rifle from his back. Sliding it free with his left hand, he easily twirls it across his body, boots thudding to the stones just in front of Cassie as he winds up his shoulders and brings the stock of the heavy weapon swinging down and around in a vicious uppercut, attempting to pay the girl back in kind.
If he can stagger her with the brutal bash to her chin, he will whip the weapon about , lever mechanism working with a soft series of clacks, and seat the butt against his shoulder. Then, from nearly point blank range he will sight and fire the weapon with an enormously loud 'BOOM', attempting to drill the high-caliber bullet directly into her center mass.

COMBATSYS: Cassie endures Erron Black's Ace High EX!

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Alright, so far the big problem with this gunslinger is that he's really quick on his feet and hard to pin down. The idea of having to face someone else making use of firearms also isn't high on Cassie Cage's list of ideal situations, but she's actually been in warzones, so aside from the fact that his weapons of choice seem to be around a 150 years out of date, it's really not that big of an issue.

No, the big problem is making sure you can actually hit the guy, and if all she's got on her side is the element of surprise, then she's going to have to take a few big risks to get out of this in one piece.

Seeing Black go for the rifle and then rush in is a big issue: the weapon's essentially useless at close range due to the length of the barrel, which means he's not going to be playing it straight. As he rushes in, Cage decides to stand her ground, looking for an opportunity amongst the confusion, she actually takes the hit to the side of her chin with a wince, clamping down on her gum to avoid losing it (and potentially biting through her tongue), then plays up the pain before the barrel aims at her. The instant before he manages to fire, she knocks his aim aside so that it only manages to go off on her flank, the bullet itself failing to penetrate her tactical body suit, but the impact is enough that she can feel the start of a massive bruise along her entire side in the works as she drops down to her knees letting out of a sharp cry of pain.

And then, in the instant that he should be moving in for a follow-up, she springs the trap, suddenly pulling her fists up as she slams them into his crotch with a two-hit kombo, treating his nutsack like a punching bag.

"Ding! DONG!"

COMBATSYS: Erron Black channels the spread of the lightning nerves.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Erron Black blocks Cassie's Nut Buster.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Having just repaid the mouthy girl with her own hit to the chin, Erron's focus snaps back into line. She has proven herself to be resourceful if nothing else, and it would be a mistake to count her out already.Even if she is a woman.
Throwing himself forward through the cloud of smoke still gushing from the end of his rifle,the mercenary tilts the rifle before his chest and clutches it in both hands, prepared to block the attack that he is sure will be coming. That bullet didn't strike her anywhere near a fatal area, and he knows it. However, as he clears the smoke he finds her on her knees, apparently in pain. And then it all becomes clear.
Just like a woman to go straight for the nuts.
Turning in mid lunge, a brilliant flash of golden light flares to life and races along Erron's left leg as he brings it up just in time to catch first one, then the other fist on his armored shin. The sound of fists thudding into metal rings out through the chamber, the impact of the blows enough that the cowboy can swing his weight forward and toss himself neatly over her head. Landing in a neat crouch just behind her left shoulder, he twists suddenly and leaps, attempting to crash heavily onto her back and use his now unglowing legs to pin her arms to her sides. If successful, he will use his forward momentum to drive her chest-first to the stone floor, rifle butt descending in a quick yet brutal blow to the back of her skull.
Assuming he can pull off the maneuver without a hitch, the cowboy will then roll quickly to one side, bracing the butt of his rifle against the ground and using it to kip neatly up to his feet.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black successfully hits Cassie with Wrangler.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Cassie has ended the fight here.

There isn't a lot of room to maneuver right now, especially not when Cassie's got to deal with the pain of a gunshot getting way too close to getting inside of her for her comfort, and with her fists not finding their mark, she doesn't have the same room to try to recover that she'd been bargaining on had Erron ended up doubled over in pain.

Next best strategy is to attempt to wriggle out of the hold part way through before she can hit the floor, but every motion she makes right now is met with the ringing pain in her side, slowing her down, making it too hard to get as much motion as she needs and so she finds herself planted on the floor with the back of her skull being rocked hard enough by the butt of Black's rifle that she's seeing stars.

"Okay, Jesse James, I guess we're gonna see who makes it out of the OK Corral."

It's a giant bundle of mixed events, but quite frankly, Cassie Cage is in a lot of pain and not really in a position to get her Old West history sorted in its correct order. With little room to move, she uses one hand to push off the ground in a quick side roll while her others at first seems to just be aiming to help prop her up, but as she pops back up to her feet (with a sharp wince through clenched teeth), it's already managed to draw her pistol as she goes for a snap shot to help open up some breathing room.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black channels the glare of the vicious eye.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Erron Black overcomes Blood Stain from Cassie with High Noon EX.

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Cassie [E]       1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

A dry, dusty wind blows in through the arched stone windows as Erron regains his feet, lifting the tattered remains of his dirty brown poncho and floating it flappily about. Bright gold eyes narrowing beneath his wind-whipped hair, Outworld's lone cowboy stares down hard at Cassie while jamming his long-barreled rifle back into the leather sheath on his back.
"You 'bout ready to quit, kid?" The merc queries dryly, hands hovering over the butts of his pistols as he takes a couple of steps back. That last hit might have knocked the sense out of her, if she had any to begin with. But no, she's still in the fight. At least she's tough. he can give her that much.
Having opened up some space between himself and his wily young opponent, Black tracks her sudden roll with sharp-eyed attention. Once more it is as if the girl is moving in slow motion. Gear clattering, she tumbles sideways and springs to her feet, the barrel of her gun beginning to twitch toward his legs...

A flare of vicious yellow bursts from deep within the ancient man's eyes, seeming to fill the room in a single, furious moment between heartbeats.
Two shots ring out simultaneously through the open chamber, Both of Erron's hands having gone from hovering at his sides to holding pistols quicker than the eye can follow. The shorter gun in his left hand is smoking, as is the weapon in Cassie's own grip. And there, if time could stop, one would see an odd object hovering in the air between them. The mysterious object is made of metal, its lumpy form spinning in place as it plummets toward the ground. In fact, upon closer inspection it might appear to be a bullet, or, two bullets.Two bullets fused into a single mass by immense heat and pressure.
Time resumes, and the longer pistol in Erron's right hand bucks, followed by the left, then the right, then the left once more as he attempts to pepper Cassie with bullets. Apparently, shooting his opponent's rounds out of the air isn't enough to break his concentration.
This is why he makes the big bucks.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black successfully hits Cassie with High Noon EX.

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Cassie [E]       1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

"Fuck this Equilibrium bullshit..." is all Cassie can manage before a hailstorm of bullets comes flying past her own. Surging with speed, she aims to do everything she can to get behind one of the nearby pillars before the wave of pain reaches her, but it's hard to outrun bullets (Erron Black is a total liar about that), and it's only perhaps luck that keeps her from being hit anywhere vital as sharp cuts form all over her body to release streams of blood.

"Okay, between the two of us, I'm clearly more the cool Christian Bale type, which means you're Sean Bean, and we all know what happens to him in every movie, so why don't we skip ahead?"

Throwing out yet another reference that it's highly unlikely the gunslinger will actually get, Cage manages to pull herself back up to her feet and suddenly starts to glow with a yellow aura as the shard around her neck starts to get to work. Surging forward with her gun still in hand, she's practically on top of Black before she even starts to aim, suddenly whipping it up to unleash two quick shots aimed at both of his knees in an effort to drop him to the ground, then pulling off a shot aimed to take the hat right of his head.

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the glare of the vicious eye.

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Cassie [E]       1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the strength of the killing fist.

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Cassie [E]       1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Erron Black blocks Cassie's Between The Eyes.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Stepping forward through the haze and smoke clouding the air around him, Erron flicks both revolvers into effortless twirls. The heated barrels whistle through the air from the speed of the motion, both guns transforming into circular blurs. The speed of their rotation pushes the smoke yet further from Black, revealing him silhouetted against the orange sky, nothing more than a deadly, golden-eyed shadow.
No time to reload, no time to talk. Besides, Cassie is handling that just fine for them both.
Throwing himself forward, Black meets Cage's charge head on. The shift of her aim is met by a stuttering sidestep in his forward charge, her first shot sparking noisily off of his right shin protector. Her second shot tears a bloody gash through his left thigh, but by that time he is upon her. Both guns snap firmly into his palms, the merc catching them out of their spins just in time to swing his longer-barreled six gun up and jam the hammer into the trigger guard of Cassie's automatic. The shot that should have caught him in the head is halted, the metal hammer of the mercs gun now locked behind her trigger preventing it from being pulled. Twisting the two weapons, he attempts to force her own pistol up and away while swinging his shorter left-handed gun hard for the side of her temple.
The opening pistol whip is followed by a hard forward shove as Erron tries his hardest to tackle Cassie to the ground and drive his right knee hard into her gut. Right hand continuing to work at keeping her gun locked with his, he brings his left pistol to bare, pointing the weapon squarely at the young blond's forehead. With his weight pressing down on her and his yellow eyes staring into her with cold disregard, she may have only a moment left to live...

COMBATSYS: Erron Black channels the veins of the burning blood.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Erron Black channels the glare of the vicious eye.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|=======\=------\1  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Erron Black successfully hits Cassie with Goner.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

This is bad.

Really bad.

With her bullets never seeming to find their mark, Cassie Cage has been put in a spot where she's backed up into the corner and struggling to find any way out. The fact that Black apparently knows everything about guns, even guns that were invented long after his out-dated ass should have hit its expiration date and been dumped in some mislabelled grave in a ghost town, makes things really challenging.

The fact that she can't seem to find any way to avoid being slammed into the ground with a gun in her face is even worse. At the moment, there's only really one thing she can do, and that's pull out all the stops she's got left. Her body begins to glow bright yellow as her Soul Shard seems to be giving everything it's got left to keep its owner in one piece.

And then it all starts with a quick swipe of the baton for the side of Erron's head.

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the veins of the burning blood.

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Cassie [E]       1/----===/=======|=------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the veins of the burning blood.

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Cassie [E]       1/-======/=======|=------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Cassie channels the strength of the killing fist.

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Cassie [E]       1/-======/=======|=------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

COMBATSYS: Erron Black dodges Cassie's Caged Rage.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

If Erron Black were only a cowboy he would have died alone in the desert decades ago. It is that bit extra, that gritty, bloody part of him. That cold, snake-eyed devil in his heart. That undefinable part of his being that allows him to summon a fraction more, something, than the next man. That is what has kept him alive these many, many years. And so it is that as he bears down upon Cassie, the golden light fading from his dark blue eyes, that she can see only coldness and death in his pupils. It is him, or her, and he isn't about to die here.
He is almost too slow.
AS the yellow energy pours out from Cassie's body, the cowboy throws himself up and back, weapons disentangling with a harsh jerk. He is still in mid kipup when her baton swishes beneath his chin and whispers across his throat, coming close to taking his head clean off his shoulders. But close, as they say, is no cigar.
The mercenary's revolvers slap into their holsters even before he has fully regained his feet, his backward lunge taking him a good 3 feet from the powerfully glowing woman. As boots scrape across stone he flashes his right hand over his shoulder, curved bone sword sweeping up and out of its sheath in a single, blinding stroke. Air parts before the descending blade, whistling past the tip as Black throws himself back into the fight.
There is nothing fancy about the cowboy's advance. Charging forward, he attempts to weave around the flailing baton and sweep his left boot in for a vicious kick to the side of her head. Blood sprays with the motion, pumping freely from the nasty gash her bullet left in him, but he doesn't seem to notice. He seems intent on planting his boot firmly upside Cassie's head, before bringing his sword thrusting down in a two-handed stab for the center of her chest.

COMBATSYS: Cassie dodges Erron Black's Ash Hopper.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

With Erron hauling back off of her, Cassie finally has an opportunity, even if she doesn't manage to connect. In an instant, the young soldier is back on her feet, slipping away the collapsible baton on her belt as she eyes the gunslinger and tries to get a feeling for just what he's planning to do.

The instant his foot starts to leave the ground, Cage is already of the move, ducking off to the side and leaving a trail of blood across the floor where she rolls, catching in a low position before popping back up to her feet with one of those smirks that's just there to try to get in your opponent's head.

"Maybe you should have stuck to the rodeo, you'd do a great job as one of the clowns."

It doesn't matter right now if Black has any idea what she's saying, she's just got to try to keep in his head, throw him off his game and take advantage. The other step in that is retaliating with her own kick, drawing her leg back and then aiming to slam him with a solid boot in the stomach to send him reeling.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black dodges Cassie's Back Kick.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Breaths coming a bit heavier now, Erron tracks the tumbling girl with narrowed eyes, flicking sand from the end of his sword as he stalks in a slow circle around her. His weathered boots kick through piles of the gritty debris left over from his initial sand bomb, causing each step to fall with a gritty crunch.
A spray of thick sand is thrown into the air as Cassie's oncoming kick forces him to dodge quickly back, feet shuffling and sword whipping in an immediate counter stroke just to force some distance between them. The look in his dark eyes has grown harder yet, calculating as he shifts into a counter clockwise stalk, progress marked by the steady crunch, crunch of his steps. His sword point drifts back and forth, posture loose in the shoulders and alert.
"Reckon this is where it ends. Damn shame. Could almost make somethin' of yourself." Erron states conversationally. it seems as if he is enjoying this. Something about the way he moves suggests that the struggle has awoken a craving within him. A desire to see this through to the end that was not present when they started this fight.She has become more than a job. he will remember her.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black twirls his revolvers and waits.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Cassie just can't seem to land a break against the gunslinger, and her body is in terrible condition after all of this. With Erron Black seemingly preparing to fire on her, she just doesn't see much of a chance to get out of this alive.

Just like Shang Tsung has wanted this entire time.

"I've made plenty of myself, and I didn't even have to run off to join some asshole conquerer in another dimension to do it. Maybe you should reconsider your priorities and realize that Earth losing this tournament means shit's going to get bad for everyone?"

"Or maybe I'll just have to find a way to put you out instead."

It hasn't worked for her so far, but there's not much else Cage can think to do at a moment like this, as she whips out both of her pistols and starts to fill the air between her and the gunslinger with lead.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black blocks Cassie's Blood Splat.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1  [E] Erron Black

The quiet, sighing grunt that escapes the gunslinger's mask sounds more regretful than anything. But, if he had further words to trade, there is no time for them.

Black's sword slips from his fingers and impacts the sand with a soft 'wmph,' the mercenary's attention suddenly consumed by Cassie once more going for both guns. It hasn't worked for her yet, but, well. Third time's the charm?
Stuck out in the open, and lacking the full body armor of his female opponent, Erron is forced to make due in the only way he can. Both forearms snap up to interpose themselves between his valuable organ bits and the barrels of the weapons, the first bullet smacking into his thick leather bracer with a heavy 'THMP.' Stepping quickly backward, he flicks his arms higher and lower, catching one, two, three more bullets on the hardened leather before his heel bumps up against the side of a sarcophagus. Throwing himself backward, he tumbles into cover and hunkers down to avoid the continuing storm of bullets.
Metal hisses and sizzles against flesh as the lodged bullets burn in their armor prison. In places, Luckily, that self same sizzling is what keeps blood from welling up past the imbedded bullets and dripping all over the damn place. Treated leather can save your hide, but it was never designed to fully counter the piercing power of a bullet.
Mentally counting off the number of bullets fired from Cassie's pistols, the cowboy rolls onto his belly and reaches back to once more slip the lever-actioned rifle from his back. Eyeing the mechanism carefully, he works the slide, chambering the first of the remaining rounds with a soft 'slkchk.'
Mental countdown of his opponent's bullets hitting zero, Erron rises up on his knees and braces his rifle atop the coffin, sighting down the barrel toward where he knows her to be. With a rapid, mechanical series of actions he fires, cocks, fires, cocks, fires faster than a man has any right to. So fast, that the loud 'BOOM BOOM BOOM' of the high-caliber rounds never have time to finish echoing through the chamber before the next is sounded.

COMBATSYS: Cassie dodges Erron Black's Deal In Lead.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

The world is on the line.

Okay, so there might be a lot of other fighters in this tournament fighting for the fate of Earthrealm, but if nothing else Sergeant Cassandra Cage is a symbol. She was the first person to fight on the side of the Earth at the start of this tournament. Shang Tsung attempted to game the system by removing her from play.

And symbols are important.

Sure, everyone knows that Johnny Cage is kind of a tool, but he's inspired a bunch of kids in difficult situations and given them motivation to keep moving forward.

And Cassie never would have made it into Special Forces if it weren't for Sonya Blade mentoring her when she enlisted.

There's no way she's going to let something like a shit ton of bullets put her down in a moment like this.

As the bullets start flying, Cassie brings in every bit of training she has to get out of the way, ducking behind pillars to narrowly escape a few close calls, charging from them whenever Black might have gotten enough time to figure out a new angle, and throwing him completely off his game...

Right up until the rifle's empty.

"Considering I've had to dodge RPG fire, you're not as scary as you think you are!" Cassie shouts as she twists out from around cover and comes barreling down on Erron with everything she's got. A green, glowing aura comes into being around her body as she comes leaping over the coffin the gunslinger was using as cover and goes into a rising kick aimed to catch him clean in the jaw as she rockets up, and then suddenly twists midair to come flying down from above with a follow-up.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black dodges Cassie's Assault Force.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

All around the battling pair, signs of their struggle mark the once hauntingly pristine tomb. Sand has scattered itself all across the floor, stray bullets pock the stonework, and a curved sword of bone lies abandoned in an open area between two sarcophagi.
As Cassie comes hurtling out of the smoke, Black drops his rifle with a loud clatter and throws himself flat on the floor. Dust puffs up around his chest as he lands hard, but there is little time to linger. Balling his scarred hands into fists, the ancient merc springs up beneath the rising kick and swerves neatly to avoid the descending follow up.
It is as Black is weaving off to Cassie's right that he suddenly whips his right hand up, fingers opening to loose a cloud of gritty sand squarely into her face. The maneuver is snake quick, meant as a simple distraction so that he can vault up onto the coffin behind her and put all of his weight into a vicious roundhouse punch aimed dead for the base of her skull.
Perhaps the fate of the world is resting on her shoulders. But if that is the case, Erron Black has been paid to make her drop it.

COMBATSYS: Cassie dodges Erron Black's Dirty Move.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

As Erron goes for the blinding maneuver, Cassie is already quick to react, twisting out of the way on her heel and opening up just enough space between them that there's no hope of reaching her in a single vault. It's enough that she can keep her eyes on him the entire time.

"Nice try, Dale Gribble, but it's going to take more than pocket sand to throw me off my game. But I suppose at a time like this I just need to try to beat some reason into you."

With a quick grab and a flick of her wrist, Cage whips out her baton once more and lunges for Erron, lashing out with a wide sweeping strike with the baton as she hopes to catch him in the side of the head and ring his bell, opening him up as she attempts to leap up onto him and put him to the ground with her on top, in a perfect position to just unload with a relentless series of blows from the baton.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black dodges Cassie's Brutality.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

"Hr." Is Erron's only response, the quiet grunt speaking more of exertion than real annoyance. Having traded positions with the girl, he landing on the coffin and she on the ground before him, he fishes a shiny metal object out of his right pocket and sends it flipping airborne with a ringing 'ping.' That done, he has just enough time to spring backward off of the grim platform and avoid the whooshing swing of her club.
The cowboy's boots crunch down into the sand and skid, the momentum of his leap continuing to carry him backward. He pays that no mind, however, his dark eyes instead tracking a single silver coin as it flips end over end behind and above Cassie's head. The small treasure twinkles in the orange light, falling, falling, falling...
In a motion likely familiar to Cassie by now, Black's right hand flickers in a lightning-fast draw. In fractions of a second the heavy revolver clears its holster and is tilted up for a snap shot from the hip, bullet exiting the chamber with a sharp 'CRACK!'
At almost the same moment there is another ringing 'PING' from behind Cassie, and the bullet that has whizzed passed her ear changes directions. the coin that had been tossed goes spinning off into the dark while the bullet reverses course, attempting to imbed itself soundly in the base of her neck.

COMBATSYS: Erron Black successfully hits Cassie with Money Shot.

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Cassie [E]       0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0  [E] Erron Black

Given the chaos of the fight, there's no real opportunity to take stock of things, and so a single coin being sent flying past her can be an easy thing to miss in the moment. The fact that Erron is drawing out his gun is what really puts Cassie on edge, and as soon as it comes out, Cage ducks to the side before he can pull the trigger, mistakenly taking the shot as a misfire and considering it an opportunity.

With everything she's got left in her, Cassie lunges forward with an elbow strike aimed to crush Erron's nose behind his mask and then draws back her baton to unleashe a rapid series of blows to his dace.

Unfortuntately for the younger Cage, the bullet was a bit of a boomerang, catching her in the neck as she swings.

She can't move.

Can't stand.

Sergeant Cassie Cage hits the ground with a limp thump.

COMBATSYS: Cassie can no longer fight.

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Erron Black [E]  0/-------/-----==|

COMBATSYS: Erron Black dodges Cassie's Ugly Stick.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Erron Black [E]  0/-------/-----==|

As Cassie comes charging in for one final strike, Erron meets her eyes. There is, suddenly nothing there. No calculation, no coldness. Only a faint light of satisfaction shining through an overwhelming emptiness.
The mercenary steps to the side and allows her opening elbow to blast past him, standing beside the young woman as the bullet impacts her neck with a meaty 'thwap.' There he stands as she collapses to the ground, body limp but not quite dead. Not yet...
Now she's dead.
Moving off from the head shot body sprawled face-down in the sand, Erron Black takes a moment to reload his guns, chest heaving in a tired, world-weary sigh.
Erron Black wins.

Log created on 21:25:45 11/08/2016 by Erron Black, and last modified on 08:36:40 11/13/2016.