Description: An invitation brought me to the mountains of Greece, where I encountered a self-proclaimed 'emperor'. I considered this man, in his opulent surroundings, a joke at first... but he proved to have enough raw power to overcome his lack of skill and finesse. The first time since I began testing candidates for the World Warrior, I experienced something vaguely approximating worry. I look forward to seeing how this mindless brute fares in my Master's house... perhaps Herr Krauser will see fit to put him in his proper place?
The invitation for Blood comes from a mysterious individual, indeed; someone claiming the name Urien, a name that has much intrigue to it. He has been in the occasional public event, and generally been a dominating presence. For someone of his strength, he has made little effort to portray it on the world stage personally, making his request for a fight one easy to accommodate. Urien is precisely why Krauser has chosen this manner of testing -- for the strong in the shadows to prove their merit, not for the weak to battle and fail. A grand estate, almost worthy of Strolheim, is thrust upwards in the mountains along Athen's border. A grand mansion that exudes near limitless wealth, servants would bring Blood through the beautiful architecture and countless ornaments to a grand meeting hall.
Within, settled on a throne, is a lazy-seeming and dispassionate individual. Despite a massive physique and immediate indication of power, there is no noble bearing to Urien. He slouches heavily, knees parted, chin in his fist. A few beautiful women are pressing against him, one fanning him with a giant reed, in a nearly disgusting show of personal opulence. A few people are playing music in the hall, but there's obvious boredom upon the man's face. All this wealth and privilege clearly is doing nothing to make him happy.
"You." Urien calls out, heavy baritone ringing in the hall. The music stops, and attention shifts to Blood. "Give me an invitation and be on your way. I don't feel like wasting my time fighting you." Most strange is the large gem in the center of the man's head. Sensing his power, presently Blood would place it reasonably below himself -- but something is hidden, a suppressed reserve that makes his true capability entirely unknown. But as he is now, his aura and attitude hardly qualifies him for a free pass...
A beautiful estate, to be sure; Laurence Blood's eyes take in every aspect of his surroundings as he is ushered through the gates and into the waiting mansion, nodding occasionally as though he approved of the opulence and class of the structure's interior. So, too, is he impressed with the professionalism displayed by the servants in the employ of this mysterious 'Urien' figure.
When he is led into the massive meeting hall, he offers the seated form of the estate's owner a brief quarter-bow of recognition... though Laurence's eyes noticeably narrow as he takes in the true opulence of the surroundings. Those women, lounging about the area... the stink of hedonism is thick, even in the high-ceilinged hall - and it's enough to cause a slight frown to turn the Spaniard's lips downwards.
An expression of distaste which is doubled, when Urien spits out his demand... this man may have money, land, perhaps even power... but he is utterly without class, no noble bearing to accompany this sprawling mansion built upon a Grecian mountain.
"Herr Krauser is not in the habit of handing out invitations to those who have done nothing to deserve them..."
His reply comes quickly, the frown of disgust curling upwards into a small smirk; obviously taking some pleasure in turning down the demand. Certainly, Laurence's voice remains as smooth and proper as ever, but the glare in his eyes tells a different story entirely.
"You are seated on a throne, but have you done anything to earn your place there? The appearance of wealth means nothing to me /or/ my Master, stranger."
As he continues, Blood gestures vaguely with his right hand at the women, the throne, the ornate decorations of this hall... as though he suddenly found the entire matter beneath /him/, as an agent of Strolheim.
"But I have not travelled all this way to simply turn my back on one so arrogant as to /demand/ something of House Strolheim. Come. Let us see if luxury has truly made you as weak as you seem."
Notably, however, he does not draw his sword; once he is finished waving that hand around the interior of the meeting room, it simply falls to the hilt of his sword. Fingers curl loosely around the handle, yet it remains sheathed in that loop on his belt - dangling lazily off his right hip.
"Unless you think you might buy me off with some trinkets or baubles? I beg you, do not waste your time or dishonour yourself /further/... Face me, or you've wasted my time, /and/ that of a man far greater than you or I."
"This is World Warrior. An event for the strong. As such, I am going to attend." This is called out by Urien, his voice continuing to boom out heavily in the expansive halls. But his attractive Greek features grow harder and harder as Blood continues on, reaching into a bowl of peeled red grapes held by an attendant woman to stuff them into his mouth. Gush of crimson liquid pouring down his chin, staining the expensive clothing he wears; thousands of dollars of tres chic clothes, already ruined. "I was born to be an emperor." he growls out, simply. "Literally. Don't speak of things like bloodline and lineage. A true emperor is not chosen by birthrate. But takes it!! EARNs it!!"
But then the last line comes. A fist slams upon the arm of his throne, the intricate wood splintering beneath. It rings like a bell, and people begin to flee. The girl sets down the wine, the musicians charge towards the door, all moving to part around Blood and escape. There's fury in the large man's face now, teeth gritting almost audibly tight. "Greater... than ME?! This Krauser should be happy I'm even bothering to attend...!! My brother has no interest in his ego and arrogance!!" He doesn't say a word of the fact Gill was considered strong enough to attend and he was not. Slowly he rises, striding down the steps into the front of the hall. "Fine. I'll take this invitation, then...!!"
His arms stretch, and suddenly the gem on his forehead glows bright. Energy surges down his fingers, turning his skin from a tan to an inhumanly dark bronze. Power begins to pour out of him, lightning crackling across his form, clothing billowing wildly in the air of his aura as buttons pop off and tears rip through it. His chin lifts as the last of the infusion flows over, turning his hair into a stark white. Each footstep begins to damage the ground more and more, as his density and weight increases significantly as earthern power infuses his very core.
"I'll teach you why /I/ am going to be the future emperor of this world...!!"
COMBATSYS: Blood has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Urien has joined the fight here.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Urien
While two men are set to do battle a third remains at a distance. A silent observer for the time being. There is no reason for him to interfere. There is only one invitation and Urien is more than capable in getting it Oswald figures. Even so whatever Krauser has planned as drawn the attention of the Irish assassin. To participate himself is still up in the air, but to watch how skilled Blood may be close up admittedly interested him.
Dressed nicely he watches from high up. His gloved hands idly shuffling the cards as he watches the exchange between the two men. A bit of a smirk forming as it looks like the two are about to begin.
The shuffling stops and he slips the cards back in place. For now he has no use for them. He is not going to fight nor does he need a distraction. His full focus on the two men about to clash. While he has heard of Urien's skills he has yet to see them up close and personal as well. A perfect time to get an idea of the strength of both of these men.
The entirety of Blood's attention is firmly placed on Urien, even as the majority of the servants begin to scuttle out of the hall due to their master's gesture of rage. He doesn't even bother to shift his eyes to the side as scantily-clad women, musicians, and various other servants rush past him to escape the fury of the bizarre Greek man.
That gem - once it begins to burn brightly in the center of the man's forehead - seems to capture the attention of the Matador, even more than any of the man's booming words. In fact, Blood hardly seemed to be listening to the man's verbal posturing, that smirk still twisting his mouth upwards.
And then... the power surges off Urien's form, lightning crackling, the floor crumbling beneath his feet as he strides forward. This show of strength is enough to elicit a single arched eyebrow from the Strolheim Lieutenant. But where most men might turn tail and run, or hand over an invitation without a fight, the willpower and strength of character taught to him by the great Wolfgang Krauser perseveres.
He simply stands his ground, allowing the man to finish his speech, before responding in his own level, emotionless tones.
"We." - a spin of his left arm unfurls the crimson cape that was tightly wrapped around that limb, draping it down to cover his torso.
"Shall." - the fingers of his right hand curl over the hilt of his sword, tightening his grip on it and drawing it free from the loop which it rested through. Blood slashes it in a diagonal line in front of himself, a *whoosh* of air being sliced by that deadly-tipped blade.
"See." - that final word is accompanied by a sudden rush of movement from the Spaniard, long strides carrying him across the fancifully tiled floor towards this arrogant 'emperor' - as he called himself.
Closing the gap between himself and the thicky muscled man in a few moments, Laurence drops his body to slide the last several feet towards him. As he passes by the man's side, his right foot lashes out in a kick aimed directly at Urien's shin; perhaps he can topple the mountain of a man...
COMBATSYS: Urien blocks Blood's Ole Kick.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Urien
There's a slow and steady advance. Each footstep sinks almost a centimeter into the reinforced floor, leaving constant prints behind. Tatters of clothing flutter away, singed and burnt; the outfit is not going to survive long beneath this particular flow of power. There's no particular wariness, but this is a mark of arrogance, as opposed to poor training. When cloak and blade are procured, he just grins wildly, but not from a man thrilled by fight. It is the eyes of a sadist. Someone who fights to establish dominance. Someone who fights to hurt others. Disgraceful, but... he might be the epitome of someone who merely wishes to prove his strength to the world.
"Come then, you fleshworm!!"
Twisting, he tenses, hardening the flesh of his leg as the sweeping kick seems to merely ricochet off. A unique defense; raw speed is not well-suited to cracking through his defenses. When Blood shifts to launch himself away, Urien is already heading towards him, charging like some kind of bull in his direction. Hurtling abruptly, bringing down his shoulder in an attempt to slam it upon Blood's chest, before twisting into a brutal standing clothesline as he cackles madly.
"I'LL TEACH YOU YOUR PLACE!!"
COMBATSYS: Blood dodges Urien's Chariot Tackle.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Urien
The Strolheim Lieutenant's foot ricochets harmlessly off Urien's mighty, muscled limb as he slides past. Once some distance is gained between the two - or, at least, Laurence /thinks/ - he springs back to his feet.
It's only a quick glance paid over his shoulder that warns him of his opponent's swift advance. Eyes widening in shock at the pace of Urien's counter-attack, he crouches down to the ground for a fraction of a second - muscles in his leg coiling and tensing - before he leaps up into the air.
A backflip carries him /over/ the charging man, depositing him on the ground a fair distance behind this so-called 'emperor'... and Laurence simply widens that smirk, inclining his head slightly to the side at the man's words.
"Mmm," comes the semi-amused hum from Laurence's mouth as he spins the hilt of his sword around in his dominant hand - almost idly - while pacing around Urien's position in a wide circle.
Blood comes to a halt suddenly, and the sword ceases it's slow spinning. The tip of that weapon is suddenly thrust through the air towards the Greek man, and with that stabbing movement comes a sudden surge of his /own/ energy...
...invisible to the eye, it can certainly be /felt/ in that massive hall - running up the length of the man's blade, through the hilt, then Blood's arm, and finally coursing throughout his entire body.
Brown hair whipping in some unseen breeze, the Spaniard stands up straighter than he was previously - a hard determination crossing over his gaze, as though he were being filled with some fresh reserve from a previously untapped well of power.
"Where might that be?" he asks calmly, begging an answer - in mocking tones - to the man's last statement.
The sword remains pointed through across the distance towards Urien... but in a flash, his left hand snaps down to a spot on his belt. Swiftly gripping onto the handle of a hidden dagger, it's loosed from it's position around the man's waist - and with a quick flick of his wrist, it's tossed towards Urien - the steel of the blade glinting in the light of the massive hall.
COMBATSYS: Urien overcomes Bloody Shooter from Blood with Metallic Sphere.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Urien
Although the attack from Urien was ferocious, he is rather quick when attacking despite his increased weight. The power of his muscles far outweighs any hindrance to his mobility from suddenly weighing nearly a ton, and his arts are trained, efficient, compact. Yet there's a wild violence to it that underlines it all, the feel from clashing with his fists further cementing that this man is little more than a bully. He was properly instructed in the fighting arts, but has no joy in them beyond a tool for dominating those beneath him. There's a distance between the pair, and lightning coils down Urien's arm, fingers splaying as it gathers into a dense ball.
"Beneath my heel!!" Twisting, he then hurls his own assault towards Blood with a snarl. What might be surprising is the blade; it suddenly veers into the ball of powerful forces, crunched into a tiny useless ball, gravitational pull and magnetics intensely deep. It's shockingly quick, accelerating every second, trying to slam into the matador with shocking force!!
COMBATSYS: Blood blocks Urien's Metallic Sphere.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Urien
Did the Spaniard truly believe that this man - so obviously overflowing with power - would be taken by surprise, or injured, by a mere hidden dagger?
It hardly comes as a surprise that he was prepared to deal with it so swiftly and definitively; but such is the purpose of these little 'contests'. To test the capabilities of a candidate in all things - not just raw power, but quickness of reactions, ability to deal with unorthodox tactics...
Laurence's stance remains firm as the ball of energy, seemingly creating it's own gravitional pull, crushes the dagger and then continues to hurtle towards him. Rather than try to dive out of the path - and potentially be pulled back into it's radius - he swishes that customized Matador's cape in front of him.
The layers of reinforced material between that crimson fabric does a decent job of absorbing the sheer impact of the projectile; his feet are pushed back an inch or two, but no more. Once the energy has dissapated, Blood simply spins his arm to the left - the cape twirling to the side as he points the tip of his sword straight at Urien once again.
"Ah, of course," Laurence replies swiftly, only the vaguest hint of sarcasm creeping into his impassive tones.
Again, a burst of energy seems to run through the blade of his weapon - another surge of power rushing through his lanky frame as the 'wind' whips through his hair.
"Come, then. You said you didn't want to waste your time? Let's see how fast you can finish this, 'emperor'."
COMBATSYS: Blood gathers his will.
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Blood 0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0 Urien
There's no need to bait Urien forward. He's charging once more with a somewhat mad laugh, churning up the ground behind from the force of his run; arms pumping upwards sharply, teeth grit, expression intent. It's easy to anger him, obviously. He's growing reckless; but it also seems to sharpen his power and speed, making it quite a risky gambit in many ways. "So you've still not witnessed the gap between us?!" he snarls, before sliding forward as the side of his foot glides in a brutal swathe along the floor. And then he strikes out his right hand, aiming to catch Blood by the throat and haul him upwards with fingers clenching deathly tight. "Hahaha...!! I doubt your master will care about little things like respect. Only strength!! So you better not think you're walking out of here in one piece...!!"
COMBATSYS: Urien successfully hits Blood with Destroy Claw.
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Blood 1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Urien
For such a large, muscular individual the speed displayed by Urien is truly shocking. Even the agile body and practiced reactions of Laurence finds it difficult to keep up with the constant, rushing onslaught by the heavily-tanned Greek man...
The Spaniard's stance begins to shift in preparation to evade the incoming assault, but his opponent closes the last few feet in a sudden burst of speed that leaves him entirely defenseless. Finding himself gripped tightly around the throat, Blood's feet lift the ground as he's hefted up with a terrifying ease.
Unable to speak through his gasping, struggling attempts to breath, the Strolheim Lieutenant's sword drops out of his right hand and clatters on the ground underfoot...
But it's not an accident, nor is it for lack of grip... he lets it fall, to free up both hands. In an instant, Laurence's body is wreathed with a flaring blue chi that burns away at Urien's grip.
Despite the severity of his situation, he's still smirking; and the reason /why/ will be obvious in a moment's time. Pushing both of his palms forward in front of his body, the Matador attempts to launch himself towards the man holding him off the ground - using his chi-wrapped body as a missile to slam into him at point-blank distance.
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Urien with Bloody Spin.
# Disabling hit! #
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Blood 1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0 Urien
The peculiar response to being strangled works as desired; Urien's eyes widen before the escaped matador drives forward like a missile. He tenses himself, muscles hardening momentarily, greatly reducing the damage; still, the whirlwind of chi and impact sends him skidding back a couple meters, finally breaking with a grunt from Urien as he staggers, front of his outfit now shredded to reveal the lean, sleek pectorals and abdomen of the man's almost unnaturally perfect physique. "Tch... I almost felt that." he derides, brushing the back of his hand along the angry crimson lines. Blood would certainly feel that it didn't break the man nearly as much as he would have liked for a clean hit... "Come on, then...! I'm just getting warmed up! Let me make this even MORE pointless for you!!" Both of his arms lift, hands angled towards the ground, before within him a great roar of energy pulses out. Electricity surges across him, skin darkening further, hardening, as a great eruption of power flows out to shake the very room and potentially send Blood himself flying backwards. In the wake, he is significantly armored further, fingers curled into claws, expression far more wild and inhuman as a huff of static-infused air whirls out before him...!
COMBATSYS: Blood parries Urien's Metallic Aura!
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Blood 1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0 Urien
Rather than knocking his opponent away with the velocity and impact of his spinning body, Laurence feels himself strike something more akin to a brick wall than the form of a human being. Sure, it sends Urien skidding backwards - but the shockwave of force rattles the Spaniard's /own/ limbs, and he finds himself ricocheting off that bulky chest. Flipping backwards through the air as a result of the sudden halt, Laurence ends up landing on his feet just inches away from the spot on the ground where he had dropped his sword.
Snaking the tip of one foot underneath the blade of the weapon, he kicks it up into the air - grabbing the spinning hilt with a deft motion of his right hand. The tip spins throughout the air as he twirls the handle around in his dexterous, skilled hand.
Just in time, in fact - for moments after rearming himself, Urien unleashes a burst of energy in close proximity. Swishing his blood-red cape in front of his torso, another flare of blue-hued chi erupts around the Strolheim Lieutenant's own frame, once again radiating from the tip of his weapon.
Though the pulsating power from the Greek washes over him, when it disappates into the air Laurence is left standing unmoved and unharmed... in fact, he's already rushing to close the minor distance between himself and his opponent - not missing a beat, where Urien might have expected him to be thrown backwards by the sheer power arrayed against him.
One does not become a trusted agent of Wolfgang Krauser without exhibiting a few tricks of their own, after all - and although there can be no doubt the sheer power that Urien possesses eclipses his own...
...it is his duty to represent House Strolheim in this affair, no matter what end might come.
As soon as he's close enough to strike Urien, the blade of his sword comes up and slashes out towards the man. Still imbued with his own unique chi energy, the tip of the weapon rakes diagonally and thrusts forward - aiming a total of eight vicious cuts against the iron-like skin of this self-proclaimed 'emperor'.
Not! Good! Enough!"
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Urien with Bloody Slash EX.
- Power hit! -
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Blood 0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0 Urien
Too careless. Urien is in the midst of hardening his body further, and obviously considers himself nearly indestructible; he hasn't finished reinforcing and finalizing the defenses when the blade slashes down into his unguarded body. There's a grimace of pain, but it's a shallow cut. Pathetic. Absolutely pa--
And then a torrential rain of them follow.
Individually they are like papercuts, but the sheer volume tears into him, driving him backwards. He tries to power through, leaning forward a few moments with a roar, but then the last slash cleaves into him for his trouble. He drops down to his knees, thumping his forearm down.
Unacceptable. Wildly he bursts up to his feet, inciting one of the 108 secret arts of the Illuminati. Within this, masterful chi and technique blends, certainly seeming expert in every manner. Rage thrums through him, empowering the energy, as his roar pierces the halls, a great wall of electrical energy attempting to impact Blood and electrocute him viciously before launching him towards the rampaging Emperor.
COMBATSYS: Urien successfully hits Blood with Aegis Reflector+.
! VENGEANCE !
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Blood 0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Urien
Even for a man used to fighting bulls in the rings of Pamplona, the sheer muscle mass and density of Urien's flesh gives him pause, although it does nothing to slow the rate of cuts and stabs he levels up and down the man's form. To be sure, it is not /quite/ like trying to dig the tip of that blade into the impossibly-hard flesh of his master, Wolfgang Krauser... but it is only less so by a matter of degrees.
For all intents and purposes, it is like trying to thrust the tip of his weapon into hardened, forged steel; and when his opponent actually roars and attempts to lean /into/ the assault, there's a brief moment of concern that passes across Laurence's eyes before he redoubles his efforts and forces him back.
When the Greek man falls to his knees, Blood's right arm is aching with the impact of numerous attacks on such a hardy opponent - each powerful blow having rattled the bones in his limb with a whiplash of force.
"You arrogant /fool/," mocks the Matador, voice tumbling out between heavy breaths; /this/ is the man who thought himself worthy of an unearned invitation to Castle Strolheim? Even with his power, his force, his sheer /durability/... to think he believed himself of such a caliber as to be handed an envelope without proving himself, is an insult to the honour of Wolfgang Krauser and his noble lineage.
That blade's hilt rises high into the air as the Strolheim Lieutenant keeps the tip pointed straight downward at his now-kneeling opponent... his free hand comes up to wrap itself over the handle, obviously preparing for a savage downward thrust into the man's shoulder to keep him pinned to the ground...
...but he is not given the opportunity to drive the point home.
A massive, all-encompassing surge of electricity is unleashed - and there is simply /no/ avoiding the assault in such close proximity... Laurence's body jolts as it runs through him, nearly dropping his sword once again - it is only instinct that keeps his grip firm - before being thrown by the wave /towards/ Urien's roaring form.
Unable to compose himself in time to pull off any fanciful manuever, Laurence simply lets the momentum of the blast carry him stumbling towards Urien - the tip of his blade once again flashing up into the air, as he attempts to drive it into the man using sheer momentum.
COMBATSYS: Urien fails to interrupt Power Strike from Blood with Anger Snap Fist.
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Blood 0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Urien
By all accounts, Laurence was set up perfectly here; careening towards Urien as he unleashed the full power of the forbidden technique. A foot slammed down to brace himself, fist flexing as he focused his strength into it with something of a mad laugh. Yet instead the sword lashes out, eyes widening as it impacts Urien right in the cheek; his fist brutally swishes through the air not far from where Blood's head would have been if he didn't slow himself down with the attack, before it rakes a bleeding gouge as Urien recoils once more, grimacing in annoyance as much as building pain. This isn't what he wanted at all. He wanted to break Blood down like an insect... but he is Krauser's dog for a reason, well-trained and tenacious to say the least. "I will BREAK YOU...!!"
Regaining his footing just seconds before tumbling directly /into/ Urien, Laurence rakes the bleed across the man's cheek and then spins on his heels - carrying himself past his opponent as he veers to one side.
As he comes to a stop several feet away, the smirk is noticeably absent as he listens to the threat the man roars his way. There can be little doubt that Blood /knows/ the immense, almost overwhelming power he is facing here today; and is now taking this entire matter /much/ more seriously than he was when he first goaded the man into action.
If he slips up for just a /moment/, he knows the fight will be over... and then who can say what will happen to /him/?
"So you say," says Laurence, with almost inhuman calmness in the face of such a terrifyingly powerful and obviously enraged foe. Could he /truly/ be that confident, or is he merely playing it up as part of his duty in representing the name of Herr Krauser?
His left arm goes flashing out through the air, the loose end of that dangling cape whipping out in an effort to wrap the crimson material around the thick midsection of Urien. Whether he's able to fully entangle the man, or only partially do so, he attempts to follow through with another lunging stab that carries him past the man.
Surely, if he keeps at it, he will /eventually/ break through that iron-like skin of his opponent!
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Urien with Poncho Throw.
# Disabling hit! #
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Blood 1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0 Urien
There's an attempt to shift forward, ruined by the sudden whirl of cape that captures Urien bodily by the head and upper body. The slash rips across his stomach once more, as the crimson parts before his vision and he's only able to see the lavish walls opposite him. A hand touches the side of his body as the reinforced armor finally breaks away; chunks of manifested iron and chi crumbling down, hissing away into energy shortly after.
And then Urien begins to laugh.
It's somewhat crazed and breathless, planting a huge hand atop his face, as he slowly twists around to face the matador. "What is this?!" he hisses out, sounding insulted. He doesn't rampage forward again, off-balance and disoriented as he was by the blow. "Your speed, your technique... far above my expectations... hahaha!! But... you're so WEAK!!"
His arms spread, as energy ripples through him. Rejuvenating his form, as the open wounds compress slightly, cutting off the flow of blood. Revitalizing his worn muscles, neck slowly twisting to the side with a dull crack. "Are you just going to wear yourself out failing to HURT me?! I've no interested in being your punching bag any longer...!!"
COMBATSYS: Urien gains composure.
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Blood 1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0 Urien
The cape wraps around his target, and for the first time in the impromptu match, Laurence's tip actually manages to chip a piece off of his opponent's bizarre 'armour'... were he any less composed, any less professional, he would no doubt utter an exclamation of joy witnessing such a thing.
And regardless, the man's reaction is enough to rob him of any sense of accomplishment... the Spaniard's lips actually curl down into a disapproving frown as he hears the mocking words. This one truly believes that brute force alone can win the day? He believes that, were he to earn a spot in the World Warrior tournament, such blind rage and lack of noticeable technique would carry him more than a few rounds?
He would /love/ to see what Wolfgang Krauser would do to such an arrogant, unfocused, ungraceful foe. Perhaps for that alone, he should be given an invitation... but first, further lessons in humility.
"And how well has /your/ strength served you, dear 'Emperor'?" says Laurence, his usually proper and emotionless voice dripping sarcasm - a rare thing, indeed, but something about this man seems to bring it out in him...
"Embarrassed by a 'weakling', here, in your own /home/? How shameful..."
A spin of his left arm through the air curls the length of that blood-red cape around his limb, wrapping the material tightly so as to keep it out of the way... and that free hand moves over to the hilt of his blade to make it a double-handed grip. No matter his reaction to the man's words, he understands that swift, precise, glancing blows will surely take /hours/ to wear this monster down...
Something more severe is needed.
Striding towards the man, Blood veers to the left and right - spinning on his heels - as he makes his approach as unpredictable as possible... once in range, he lashes out in a double-handed thrust straight towards the man's gut.
Of course, he also understands that single blows will accomplish nothing; so the tip is then pulled back and his grip wheels around - using the handle as a makeshift set of knuckles, throwing a swift punch to the man's jaw. Should all this succeed, he completes the combination by looping one leg behind Urien and attempting to shove the larger man down to the ornately tiled floor of the hall.
COMBATSYS: Urien blocks Blood's Armed Combo.
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Blood 1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Urien
Urien is in an awkward position. He is certainly strong -- more than the vast majority of the world. Yet he is not, and will never be, the strongest alive. A situation made all the worse given his brother, who lays at sufficient heights for such a claim to not be a mark of arrogant ignorance. "Strength is all I know." Urien seethes out, slowly relaxing, trying and failing to regain his senses. He's fighting a man who is a master of baiting out excess motions and punishing them. If this was a battle of skill, Urien lost long ago. He only remains standing due to what he is -- a monster crafted from the Illuminati. And that enrages him more and more each passing second. Is the strength that allows him to keep going even his own?
"Don't even think you can begin to understand...!" For the first time, Urien tries to properly defend. It's a scant success. His hand snaps out, catching the blade and slowing it enough the firm thump to his belly is insufficient to pierce. But it's raked free of his fingers with a grunt of pain, other forearm intercepting the blow towards his head. That whirling leg makes him stagger, but not fall, as Urien roars and twists around, unleashing a backhand towards Blood's ribcage that has nothing but power and speed behind it.
He hates this. Hates struggling. Hates not being acknowledged...!! And he's fighting one of the worst opponents possible... a master at finding, and exploiting, each and every one of his mental flaws.
COMBATSYS: Blood parries Urien's Fierce Punch!
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Blood 1/-----==/=======|======-\-------\0 Urien
This battle may very well appear - to any onlookers who might be watching from the back of the hall - like a battle between elemental forces. Laurence Blood, with the speed and fluidity of air... against Urien, an unmoveable, almost unshakeable mountain of earth. Each with their own strengths, and their own weaknesses...
...though he is landing plenty of strikes on his opponent's form, Blood is beginning to waver - the arm holding his sword seemingly weighted down by the weapon with each swipe or thrust that is deflected by the metallic, impossible-to-pierce skin of the Greek man. Although the Spaniard would never admit it, there was truth in those words earlier; it is a very distinct possiblity that he /does/ tire himself out, simply attempting to put a dent into this monster he finds himself facing.
And on the other hand, the former Matador is capable of moving on instinct alone; decades of practice have given him a sixth sense for danger, and with his foe's wild, unrestrained assaults... he is still capable, even with his stamina beginning to flag in the face of such durability, to evade with a grace speaks to his true skill.
As the vicious backhand hurtles through the air towards him - backed with an amount of force that could shatter concrete - Laurence moves with the swiftness of a man who has spent decades in the ring... first dodging rushing bulls, and then facing off against even deadlier prey under the employ of House Strolheim.
His left forearm whips out, the cape unfurling from around the limb to wrap around Urien's wrist. A yank to the side causes the punch to go wide, barely missing Laurence as he feels the wind whip towards him from the shockwave of force cutting through empty air. Another opportunity... he /has/ to make the most of it...
...how long, after all, can he possibly keep this up? Eventually, he will run out of breath, and then he has no doubt that Urien will strike without remorse, without mercy. Perhaps that is precisely what this 'Emperor' is waiting for?
Blood wastes no more time on speech, on mocking insults aimed towards his deadly opponent; he simply cannot waste the oxygen.
Still keeping the fabric of that crimson cape curled around his foe's fist, Laurence uses the close proximity to bring his own weapon to bear once again. Another vicious combination of slashes and stabs are unleashed... each attack seems to take a bit more out of the Spaniard; and yet, he doesn't seem to stop... nearly a dozen individual cuts are aimed up and down the steel-like, muscular frame of Urien.
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Urien with Bloody Flash EX.
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Blood 0/-------/-------|=======\-------\0 Urien
Well this has proven to be interesting. While Oswald did not see it, he knows well of how Urien with just a bit of help from his assistant took down quite a few people in Metro not long ago. Even the one that Oswald was supposed to not let slip past. Something he hasn't forgotten and a failure he will look to remedy the next time he sees Alma. Yet here Oswald is watching Blood do rather well and at times getting the better of Urien.
It shouldn't be a surprise. Krauser wouldn't be one for weak subordinates, but even so there perhaps was part of Oswald that was underestimating what Blood could do. Under the flashy clothing and bravado he is proving to be dangerous and skilled. That just makes Oswald smirk a bit more.
The battle is far from over. Both men have been exchanging some heavy blows, but the old assassin knows all it takes is one wrong move to turn the tide in a fight. It shall be very interesting to see who comes out on top.
Urien was masterfully trained, but he has never truly used it. He does not spar to improve himself, he does not seek opponents to better himself, and he has nowhere near the practical experience of Blood. This battle should be over long ago; the mountain of an Illuminati is wearing tons of crimson lines, while Blood has been only struck a single time beyond weathering those blows. His fury grows more and more. Turning not into a true opponent, but a force of nature to overcome. Nothing but an angry ball of power to navigate around as the fight goes on...!
The sword clangs off Urien in a rapid series of steel whips, but as the last one rebounds off, the huge form roars once more. The tapestry of his wounds continues to build, exhaling another cloud of lightning-imbued air as he strikes out with his knuckles, massive arm attempting to drive his fist into Blood's stomach and send him staggering backwards. "PATHETIC!! PATHETIC!!"
COMBATSYS: Blood just-defends Urien's Aggressive Strike!
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Blood 0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1 Urien
Blood does his best to ignore the aching sensation in his right arm; just a few minutes spent in battle with this man, slamming his blade off that iron skin, has left him feeling like he was at the tail-end of an hours-long sparring session against a brick wall.
It's only through sheer force of will that he's able to keep his grip so tight on the handle of his weapon; every nerve ending in that limb is /screaming/ at him to drop the blade, begging for just a moment's respite... but Laurence /knows/ that a moment's respite is all the Greek would need to smash him into the ground.
His only hope is to keep up the assault; keeping Urien angry, lashing out blindly. It's his only chance, against a monster who could shatter him into pieces with a single well-placed strike.
He must not allow him the opportunity to do so.
Urien's fist coming crashing towards his stomach, and Laurence takes a half-step back... but not to evade the blow. Rather, he angles his blade down into the path of the man's gut-punch, his knuckles rebounding off the side of the sword harmlessly.
The swift defensive manuever buys him just enough time to utter a few words, before he must leap back into the fray...
"Yes, I agree..." comes the smooth, relaxed voice of the Spaniard in reply to Urien's shouts - obviously another not-so-subtle jab at this roaring, out of control beast of a man.
A quick turn on his heels, brings Laurence's left elbow smashing out for the thickly-muscled frame of his opponent. Another spin follows, with an open palm driving towards the man's chest - just as he drapes the crimson cape from his left forearm in front of his own body...
...using that material to conceal his next attack, the Strolheim Lieutenant's sword once again flashes out - striking through his Matador's cape, the blade once again imbued from hilt to tip in shining blue chi.
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Urien with Bloody Saber Finish.
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Blood 0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1 Urien
This is indeed a sheer raw of attrition; so many strikes bore into this man, and still he comes forward undeterred. Limitless endurance, and a raw physique that seems capable of regenerating almost as quickly as the matador can tear into him. The elbow slams into his ribs, skidding Urien to the right a foot. The palm blow similarly causes him to stagger slightly, before the brutal slash stabs into his chest. For a few moments the iron skin begins to crack, then the weapon rips a bloody wound instead, running up his pectoral as the massive Illuminati roars.
He twists then, grinding his heel into the broken ground, and lashes out to slam his heel towards Blood's chest, intent on slamming into him with as much speed as meteoric force. There's little conscious thought left in the man's wicked expression now, certainly operating only on a raw drive to break. Destroy. Dominate...!!
COMBATSYS: Urien successfully hits Blood with Stab Kick.
- Power hit! -
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Blood 0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1 Urien
Blood can see the assault that's coming his way, but it finally seems like the exhaustion is catching up with him. Attempting to raise his sword, once again, into the path of the savage kick... he finds him limb moving too slowly, the sore, weakened bones and flesh not responding as they once did.
The Matador's seemingly limitless reserve of stamina has truly been drained, throwing himself against such a durable, nigh-unbreakable warrior as Urien.
That savage kick slams into his chest dead-on, and sends him spiralling back through the air with a resounding *CRACK*... the man's agility enables him to twist at the last moment and land on one knee, but the sharp pain that wracks him body with every inhalation of air is a testament to the wicked force of the blow.
Wide, brown eyes stare up at the Greek... in one attack, his opponent has knocked him off his feet...
"What manner of /beast/..." spits Laurence, through clenched teeth as his right arm - still holding onto that sword, but with a looser grip than previously - hangs limply at his side.
The man's chest heaves with deep breaths, sucking down fresh oxygen into his lungs as he struggles to gather his strength. Looking across the distance at Urien, his neutral expression begins to falter - a vague look of worry crossing over his face as he regards the monstrous individual he's found himself doing battle with.
Surely, any other warrior would have already fallen in the face of his skillful assault... and yet, this one hardly seems any worse for wear, despite being on the receiving end of /dozens/ of thrusts and slashes with that deadly blade.
How can grace and finesse - no matter how keen, how practiced, how experienced - face off against a foe of such unyielding resolve and strength? Is he merely delaying the inevitable?
After a few moments, Laurence's fingers once again tighten across the hilt of that sword - his spine straightening, as his breath grows steadier and less ragged. Bringing his heels together, the Spaniard whips his blood-red cape in front of his torse - keeping the tip of his weapon angled down towards the ground - before beckoning Urien forward with a slight nod.
COMBATSYS: Blood gains composure.
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Blood 0/-------/--=====|=======\===----\1 Urien
The roar of energy within Urien continues; he seethes with a combination of deep earth and whirling air, a strange contrast that alone should not be possible. Somehow his vessel endures this, empowering it, either mystical or scientific approaches thrusting him well into the limits of survivability. He begins to march towards Blood with slow, methodical steps, crunching the ground beneath him. Arcs of lightning run across his form, bare fragments of his clothing left beyond a dull silver thong. Eyes glow infernal, the gem on his forehead blazing like a star, somehow linked to his materialization.
"COME ON, THEN!!" he calls out, before crouching down. A moment later and he's hurtling towards Blood. Unlike the matador, he is obviously not even slightly winded, still fresh in terms of his vigor. Rearing back his upper body, he aims to slam down his forehead upon Blood's face, then come to a sliding stop as close as possible as his huge arms thrust up to either side in solemn preparation for his hopeful execution...!
COMBATSYS: Blood blocks Urien's Dangerous Headbutt.
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Blood 0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1 Urien
Laurence's eyes only widen further as he watches Urien stomp forward... the power - which he can not only sense but /see/ - is of a caliber and level only few on this earth are capable of. The dangerous glow in the man's eyes, and that firey energy spewing forth from that gem, make the Spaniard wonder what depths this creature crawled out from.
Surely such a beast cannot be simply a man?
The sudden burst of speed surprises Blood, as those plodding steps suddenly turn into a dangerous charge... the forehead of Urien comes crashing towards his face, and he just /barely/ places his forearm in the way of the crushing blow. The impact rattles up his limb, causing him to move back several feet from the force alone - heels sliding on the polished tile underfoot.
A rare utterance from the usual proper and professional Strolheim Lieutenant; a grunt of pain and exertion, as he desperately attempts to regain some level of composure. Every breath sends a stabbing pain through his ribcage - likely bruised heavily from that savage kick just moments ago...
He spins the hilt of his sword in one hand - slower than previously - before suddenly tightening his grip and lunging out towards Urien's chest... at the last moment, he pulls back. A feint, a desperate attempt to throw the unstoppable opponent off his guard; the blade is pulled back, his grip adjusted, and then a stepping thrust straight for the man's gut.
Blood is moving slower, every moment this battle continues seems to take a bit more out of the Spaniard... while his opponent hardly seems to be missing a beat, absorbing punishment and never ceasing his titanic onslaught.
COMBATSYS: Urien blocks Blood's Random Strike.
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Blood 0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1 Urien
The assault ruthlessly bears down upon Urien once more, but this time he brings up his great forearms and manages to deflect them from his vitals. Hissing across his flesh, gouging more shallow lines, the feedback of lightning thrumming into Blood's body with each strike likely further building up atrophy. His aura at first likely resisted the conductive nature, but now the sudden currents from each slash might be building up.
"Hahaha... give up yet, worm?! Stand down... and give me the damn invitation... and I won't break EVERY BONE IN YOUR BODY!!" Both of his arms then thrust up, exposing his gut before descending in a powerful slam, trying to crush Blood into the very ground before grasping his frame and twisting to hurtle him towards a less molested corner of the meeting hall!
COMBATSYS: Blood parries Urien's Combo Grapple!
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Blood 0/-------/-======|=======\====---\1 Urien
Urien's shouted demand rings through the ears of Krauser's loyal and trusted servant... and for the first time, he actually /considers/ it. Is there any way for him to defeat this man? And what happens when he inevitably loses? Perhaps the only way to survive this encounter is to give him precisely what he wants...
...the thought is there for just a fraction of a second, however, before being dismissed entirely.
The Greek's massive arms are thrown up into the air, making the angle of his next attack easy to predict for the rapidly tiring Matador. Perhaps Blood's only saving grace in this fight is Urien's plodding fighting style... he telegraphs his manuevers with the tensing of those thick muscles; it's enough to allow a practiced, keen mind like Laurence to gauge the angle and style of the next blow, before it comes.
So when the man's limbs come slamming downwards, the Spaniard steps to one side - allowing the fists to smash into the floor, where he once stood. Even from a foot away, he can feel the shockwave of impact. There's an opening, now, for a fraction of a second... before Urien can recover from the missed hammer-blow.
"I fear disappointing my master, more than I fear /you/..."
Suddenly, Laurence drops into a crouch - the lean muscles of his long legs tensing - before leaping up and towards his opponent. Rising up into the air, the tip of his sword comes with him - angled diagonally to rake across his opponent's broad chest as he travels.
COMBATSYS: Urien interrupts Bloody Axle EX from Blood with Dominant Crush.
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Blood 1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0 Urien
"Hahaha..." Urien doesn't even slightly move in response to Blood's easy evasion. It might become apparent he had no intention to far too late. As the matador slithers towards him in the air, suddenly Urien's entire body roars with power. Shimmering for a few moments, giving just enough time for potential regret. Then his right arm strikes the ground, manifesting a massive geyser of power. The column of electrified energy bursts through the ceiling, easily ten feet around him, sending debris and rubble in all directions. Earthen columns of metallic shards run upwards amidst it, and it's clear he is doing little more than simply unleashing the full power within him in a wild storm, allowing it to roll upwards in a long, steady stream.
It finally cuts out with a hiss, Urien finally beginning to pant in apparent exhaustion, shakily getting back to his feet with a slow crack of the neck. "You... still alive?!" he calls out into the battle-broken surroundings, parts of the ceiling caving into the darkness as the lighting was destroyed in the onslaught...!!
Such power... there is simply no defense against a counter-attack of that magnitude.
As the column of energy blasts upwards - shattering the ceiling in it's path, high overhead - Laurence is thrown clear. Only being on the outskirts of the blast radius has likely saved his life; even so, he slams to the ground dozens of feet away - his limp body rolling over numerous times before finally sliding to a halt.
Now that the hall is consumed by blackness - the electrical current having destroyed all the lighting in the area - there is only one sign that Blood is even still alive, let alone conscious... three words, uttered with a pained, laboured tone.
"Sorry... to... disappoint..."
The words, forced out through shockwaves of pain that rush up and down his entire body, are accompanied by a sudden spray of blood that leaves his mouth - splattering all over the ruined floor of the great hall.
Against all odds, the Spaniard manages to force himself back to both feet... he's clearly on his last legs, his stance swaying to the left and right wildly. A sudden grinding of his jaw seems to refocus him - at least, for the time being - as his heels dig into the ground.
When he rushes forward, it's obvious how wounded and exhausted he is - gone are the graceful, precise footfalls of the former Matador, replaced by a veering stagger.
As he clears the final distance towards Urien, Blood drops his shoudler to slam into the man's iron-like chest. He moves in that same instant to wrap the blood-red fabric of the cape around his thickly-muscled form, attempting to entangle him... long enough to unleash another onslaught of slashes up and down Urien's body - ending with a brutal thrust that carries the Spaniard's full weight behind it.
COMBATSYS: Blood successfully hits Urien with Final Death Bloody.
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Blood 0/-------/---<<<<|-------\-------\0 Urien
Urien rolls his shoulders slowly, breath continuing to exhale in slow, steady bursts. Energy continues to simmer and boil within him; it seems to be building up once more, as if the assault just then was little more than releasing everything he had pent up over time. There's no greater respect to the man for managing to remain upright -- no, merely a simple and provoked rage. Again the whirl of clothing finds him, massive hands reaching up to grasp, leaving him open to a brutal onslaught of imbued slashes. Yet Urien seems to suddenly flex, his wounds clamping closed, magnetism thrumming powerfully through his body. The attacks tear new cuts, but they instantly thump shut as well; is he truly immortal, after all? There's a great snarl as he lashes out his heel, right as the final thrust comes out, intent on striking Blood in the groin and sending him flying backwards once more. "I told you... this was pointless...!" he hisses out. "Pathetic worm... refusing to... acknowledge your place beneath me!!"
COMBATSYS: Blood easily escapes Urien's Light Kick!
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Blood 0/-------/---<<<<|=------\-------\0 Urien
Not only are the new wounds opened up by this most recent flurry of cuts seemingly healed over in an instant, but /all/ the harm he'd managed to inflict in this match. Laurence's mouth hangs open in shock as he watches it happen, breaking off his assault early to twirl as far away from this seemingly unharmable monster as he possibly can.
The added distance allows him to somersault backwards, out of the path of Urien's attempted lowblow... he lands in a crouch that /almost/ ends in Blood collapsing on the ground - his legs just barely able to absorb the shock of impact throughout his limbs.
A hand flashes into the inner lining of his vest, and he withdraws a plain white envelope. It is sealed with red wax, bearing the imprint of House Strolheim pressed into it.
"You... want... this?" says Laurence, blood oozing out of his mouth from that monstrous pillar of energy Urien had unleashed in his close proximity...
The envelope is tossed high into the air, where it slowly begins to flutter down to the floor...
"Then... take... it!"
At that last, shouted statement, Blood pulls a dagger from his belt and flicks his wrist. The motion carries the blade through the air - piercing the invitation on the tip, as it continues to hurtle onwards towards Urien's form.
This monster can have his invitation... with a blade attached. He will not be /handed/ one, by Laurence Blood - not /this/ 'man'.
COMBATSYS: Urien just-defends Blood's Thrown Weapon!!
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Blood 0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0 Urien
There's a look of mild confusion by Urien when the envelope is finally hurled in his direction, albeit with a bit of metal attached. His fingers part, swishing out and catching the sword in his hand without much issue. Fingers clench, shattering the steal and allowing the envelope to fall down into his hand. A sort of breathless laugh leaves him then, flicking it aside afterwards. "Here's my ACCEPTANCE!!" He then flexes his hand, charging up a whirling ball of condensed magnetic and lightning force. A moment later he hurls it towards Blood with a great burst of force whirling out, laughing in a manic fashion. ...Probably best for the matador to take his leave. Otherwise, he might find himself broken useless...!
COMBATSYS: Blood dodges Urien's Charged Metallic Sphere.
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Blood 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Urien
So.....it is done.
There is no regrets in coming out to Greece to observe this fight. If anything Oswald got to see what his most recent employer can do in a fight as well as Krauser's right hand man. It gives the old assassin things to think about. Mostly his next moves and if he should decide to change his motives. Joining the tournament himself? He isn't too sure about that, but ther idea is still tempting. At the same time to stay back, observe and watch some of the world's strongest fighters and fight their weaknesses isn't a bad idea.
Information is never a bad commodity and some people that will be in this tournament aren't going to be well liked. For now he just silently gives a nod in approval. Urien has his invitation and it shall be interesting to just see how the hot headed fighter will do when facing against the other elite members of the fighting world.
Well... that might have been a mistake. Still, less risky than closing the distance in an effort to hand the Greek his invitation by-hand.
As Urien's 'acceptance' comes flying through the air towards him, the Strolheim Lieutenant summons up another burst of stamina from his battered, exhausted frame. A quick spin to the side takes him out of the path of the projectile, and by the time he comes to a halt several feet away, his sword is already sheathed in that loop on his belt.
"Come, then... see how you fair in the Castle of Herr Krauser, you arrogant fool..."
In a flash, that blood-red cape is fully unfurled from around his left forearm and tossed into the air separating Urien from himself. A quick turn on his heels and the Spaniard is using the last of his energy to dash away...
...by the time the crimson material flutters and settles on the ground, Laurence is gone... and Urien has his place within the World Warrior Tournament. He shall see, there, how he matches up against those with near-limitless power /and/ the skill to properly wield it.
Log created on 20:17:50 01/23/2018 by Blood, and last modified on 00:13:37 01/26/2018.