Gallon - Night in the Woods

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Description: A huntress seeks a target within the dark forests on the edge of Southtown. She finds the werewolf, Gallon. As many have tried before, she attempts to hunt the beast. As some have found before, the man once known as Jon Talbain is no ordinary wolf.

La Huesuda, an up and coming luchadora by day, hunter of the supernatural by night, is far from home. Ever since visiting the ruins of Celle Ligure, she has been slowly gathering info on the various goings on across the globe related to the Makai realm. Information gathering isn't glamorous work, but it is a vital and necessary part of her duty. The existence of a particular werewolf has caught her attention, and the trail has led to the dark forest outside of Southtown.

She barely speaks Japanese, but she isn't here for sightsteeing. Her gray eyes shine eerily from the eyeholes of her skull mask as she creeps through the forest, pausing to look for signs of a large creature's movement - claw marks, disturbed foliage, animal carcasses. The forest is eerily silent due to the density of the trees, and no light shines through, but she finds this calming. This feels like her element, away from the bright neon and noise of Southtown. She briefly considers training here at a future point. But the stray thought is filed away, as she focuses on the task at hand.

There is no peace in the mind of John Talbain, the creature known as Gallon. The doubt in his mind roils; a stormcloud on the horizon. He hasn't spoken to his erstwhile protege, a combatant in the King of Fighters tournament, in some time. He knows she has a vicious potential to her, a beast of her own, and he suspects he is failing her in his own projects.

Projects that are bearing little fruit. Seeking out the previous winners and victims of Jedah Dohma's machinations has proven a dead end; few seem willing to watch the man with any intent. The only ones he has seen take after the potential threat is the Librarium. But they do not sit well with Gallon. He has seen their kind before. He knows what their fervor and self-important zealotry can bring. And he is no man, nor a beast, willing to put a shackle about his throat.

And then came the subject of the strange man. At disadvantage, Gallon stepped in to stop the insect beast that the strange man summoned to the world. He could not stop the man, fully, but the insect was dead. Gallon only hopes that he stalled the curious man long enough so that others might see to ensuring the safety of the forest and the city of human and Darkstalker alike.

He sits in a butterfly position, eyes closed, claws up and resting on his knees. Each breath he takes a deep one, in through his nose and slowly out through his closed fangs. He is not at peace, but he is seeking it. And the quiet night is allowing him some semblance of quietude.

His nostrils flare. A new smell. Human. His eye snaps open, golden, staring. A low growl rumbles in his chest. He is not amused at being troubled once more. Not while he seeks so much to escape the wolves in his own mind, harrying his sense of justice and duty. With a huff, he quells the desire to seek out this intruder, and his eye closes again. Not taking the offensive today, Gallon bides his time and seeks his silence.

La Huesuda continues to walk. As she walks, she thinks. Of what she has learned about Jedah Dohma, the threat he carries. Of her encounter with the annoying but non-malicious Darkstalker boy; her first fight against the bat woman aligned with Shadaloo that ended in a length hospital stay for the luchadora. Her foray into punishing wicked beasts has not taken the path she initially thought it would. This Gallon...she knows he has taken lives, yet he seems to stay out of people's way. Can even the most bestial of non-humans stay on the righteous path? She does not know this. Perhaps she will find out.

She eventually walks into the clearing where the werewolf is meditating. She stands there, silently staring at him. Then she kneels and clasps her hands. "Santisma Muerte, you are my protection from all harm," she mutters quietly. "You keep me safe from crime, you shield me from the storms that life puts in my path. You wrap your wings around me, and protect me from my enemies. In you I place my whole being, without any regrets or fears, for I know in my heart the trust I seek to keep me close to you."

She stands, walking forward while continuing to stare with no discernible emotion in her eyes, coming to a stop a little closer. "You are the one called...Gallon?" she asks. Her accented voice is low and solemn.

Politeness, it seems, is the order of the day. And a religious one. Gallon's ear flicks at the prayer. He can certainly hear it, and every one of her movements. The scent of her clear in the air to his inhuman senses. He allows her her time, though his ears point toward her so that he can glean her position without having to see. The Man meditates, the Beast bides his time.

"That is the name I've been given," he assents, finally opening his eyes to take a look at the latest girl to come find him in the woods. At least this one isn't attempting to burn down the forest to get at him. He isn't allowing much of a word in edgewise as he follows with a brusque, "What is it that you want?"

"You," She answers, standing with her hands crossed over her chest like a corpse laying in a coffin. "You are not like those I hunt. You have slain, but never the innocent; you, I am guessing, attempt to stay on a path of peace." She tilts her head down slightly, maintaining her stare. "But I do not know if such a thing is possible. Not with the beast in you. So, I am skeptical. I came to see for myself." Her hands lower and her hands tighten into fists, as she rolls her neck to loosen up the muscles.

"That, and a question: what do you know of the one known as Jedah Dohma?"

A scoff. Gallon shakes his head and closes his eyes. There is a ghost of a deprecating grin on the wolf's maw as he responds. "Where I on a path of peace, I wouldn't be here as I am," he tells her, "Peace does not care for innocence or guilt. I am a beast, as you are, as are all Men."

But the question comes, and he inclines his head, eyes opening. He opens his mouth to speak, but closes it in short order. He reads the woman's posture. He nods in understanding. "I know he is responsible for pain and misery of many. He is ambitious, and gluttonous. And that his extended hand in Southtown is surely obfuscating a dagger in the other." He begins to unravel, pushing to his sharp clawed feet. He stands hunched, slightly leaned, a beast's posture at odds with the precise poise of his meditation. The Man and Beast in him is in balance tonight, and he feels that wisdom.

"Do you think, hunter, that you will put a stop to his machinations on your lonesome?"

The masked luchadora doesn't respond to Gallon's comment on peace. She does, however, respond with a firm "Yes!" to his question. "If that is what I must do to vanquish the unrighteous, the monstrous, then I will do whatever it takes. Even if I die in the process...and become embraced in the arms of My Lady Death." Her voice finally takes some level of emotion, though perhaps her inexperience is showing. Despite her grim determination, she is still a green warrior.

She spreads her legs and assumes her fighting stance, slightly hunched with her arms out. "If you are in control of yourself, then I will see through our fists and claws." The luchadora then dashes with surprising speed, launching herself to perform a dropkick with both feet straight into the werewolf's chest.

COMBATSYS: La Huesuda has started a fight here.

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La Huesuda       0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Gallon has joined the fight here.

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Gallon           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0       La Huesuda

COMBATSYS: Gallon interrupts Strong Kick from La Huesuda with Climb Razor ES.

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Gallon           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1       La Huesuda

Passion. Inexperience. A fool. The proclamation from the luchadora flattens Gallon's ears. The cold, predatory creature that was Bulleta somehow seemed more relatable in that moment. Less naive, less zealous, at least. But this woman, with her drive, she may be more trying.

His lip pulls back in a snarl, revealing his teeth and his opinion. Fighters speak with word and action. Their style is their language, and Gallon feels when two lay it bare in dire combat that two can truly understand each other. And here, he sees the recklessness on display. The foolhardy demeanor that might gain respect from spectators in a sporting event, but here find only derision. With a howling flash, Gallon isn't where he was a moment ago. He's low, crouched like a beast. He waits for her to throw her everything at him, and he rolls with the kick. But as he rolls, flipping backward, he drives his razor sharp footclaws up into Huesada's back, low and lumbar, where the soft organs are. Striking with a Man's precision and a beast's predatory instinct. The driving blow a further catalyst for Gallon's spiralling backward motion, where he lands with full poise. Standing tall arms low and ready with an almost ballet-like standing posture.

"Ask yourself that question before you fight me. If you are naught but passion, you will die like vermin by Dohma's hand." He scolds the girl in a rough hewn, thoroughly British accent. "Control yourself."

La Huesuda is surprised by the swiftness of the response...and the subsequent power behind the blow. The claws dig into her back and tear, blood spraying onto the grass as she falls, landing hard on her side with a loud groan. Pain and heat overwhelm her senses, yet she still struggles to her feet, swaying as attempts to stay standing. She's already beginning to sweat and her body seems to shake; the power of the blow is now clear to her. Suddenly, she feels the overwhelming disadvantage between herself and her opponent. It doesn't feel good at all.

"Que Chingados? You...nearly took me out in one hit..." she marvels. Begrudingly, she knows the beast is right. Huesuda struggles to accept this fact, breathing heavily. The blood flowing down her back makes her feel a bit lightheaded. But she is not yet ready to yield. She follows Talbain's advice, slowing her breathing as her chi aura begins to manifest. It is black and shadowy. She crosses her arms over her chest again, her gray eyes shining almost ghostly white as she focuses inwards. Her blood begins to clot more quickly, and the burning starts to fall to a more tolerable ache. She then sticks out a hand and beckons the werewolf for another.

COMBATSYS: La Huesuda gains composure.

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Gallon           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0       La Huesuda

Jon Talbain stands firm. Watching the young woman struggle with a high look about him. He stands as a teacher watching a fledgling student learn the reality of what she has gotten herself into. And he carries that displeasure through to the bestial nature of his face. "I don't want to kill you," he tells her. "I only ask that you learn from this."

He lashes forward, running on all fours, the earth tearing up under his claws. A zig right, then a zag left, he leaps into the air. A pouncing beast arcing high, his tail trailing like a flag. He shoots downward toward the valiant Luchadora, his weight and speed aiming to drag her down and roll her violently, to kick her off and away, using momentum to fling her toward a nearby tree.

COMBATSYS: Gallon successfully hits La Huesuda with Beast Roll.

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Gallon           0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1       La Huesuda

Huesuda watches Jon's movements with an analytical focus. The futile feeling is put aside to focus all her mental effort on the fight at hand. She watches him zigzag, and when he comes down from his spin, she's ready. He does drag her down, and it's a hard impact, but she shifts her body with the kick, his feet barely striking her. This results in her avoiding smacking against a tree, instead landing off to the side, breathing deeply and giving a little 'hmm.'

She leaps, grabbing onto the nearest branch and flipping herself over it, coming down at the werewolf. She latches onto him but swings her beyond around his torso like a writhing snake, repositioning herself to his front and wrapping her legs around his neck. She uses her momentum to pull him forward, to slam him onto his back. A classic hurricanrana.

COMBATSYS: La Huesuda successfully hits Gallon with Death Rattle.
# Disabling hit! #

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Gallon           1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1       La Huesuda

Swift, planned, the girl is focused and speaking her language as she should be. A grappler moving in, staying within his reach. She can angle, twist, and turn better up close. And La Huesuda is rewarded by the sickening crack of the werewolf's head against a broken up root.

He lay, but not for long. He twists, something wet cracks and creaks, and then he's standing on fours. A line of blood mars the fur down his forehead, but it's drying quickly and soon there's little evidence at all of the snapping maneuver the young luchadora pulled off. But the wolf shows his approval with a solemn, unspeaking nod.

The moment's peace doesn't last, the teacher in Gallon is proud, but relentless. He's once more at La Huesada with supernatural speed. A stunning heel palm strike for the girl's forehead, with a fluid, practiced push and a leg sweep to follow. Not the moves of a beast, the Man is fighting, and he is fighting with the athletic poise of a kung fu practitioner.

COMBATSYS: La Huesuda fails to interrupt Combo Grapple from Gallon with Blooming Lily.

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Gallon           1/------=/=======|=======\=====--\1       La Huesuda

Huesuda notices something about the movement of the wolfman, and moves to try and intercept his fist before he can strike her...but her calculation is off, and she pays for it with a smack to the forehead. Despite the mask, she feels the impact, and the following leg sweep sends her sprawling to the ground again. "Oof!" Her head is pounding, vision colored by spots which clear.

Down she goes. "You believe in your cause, but that is not enough. You must temper that fire or you will burn out. Or worse, you will burn those you care for." He speaks low, sharp, chiding a student.

The werewolf continues his press. He moves like a flash, and out from the sash he wears rakishly at his hips, he pulls a set of nunchaku. With fluid precision and lightning speed, the werewolf swings in for the grappler with practiced form and flow. Short huffs of breath come from the man. A blunt lesson for the woman, never believe that a Darkstalker is simply a beast and will fight like a crazed animal. Never believe a Darkstalker will only rely on power and supernatural might to best an opponent. Truly, when confronting the monsters she wishes to fight, Gallon believe La Huesuda will have to learn what it means to expect the unexpected.

COMBATSYS: Gallon successfully hits La Huesuda with Million Flicker.

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Gallon           1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2       La Huesuda

Huesuda's eyes stir, looking away from Gallon as he mentions loved ones. She thinks of Silvia back home, who is aware of her activities but not privy to the full details. She breathes out harshly, Talbain's words sinking into the back of her mind.

She readies herself when the nunchaku come out. But the wolf is fast. He is right; she is not prepared to face a supernatural foe who fights beyond wild instinct. She attempts to block the strikes, but he blows past her defenses easily, the rods smacking into her from various angles. Each blow sends fresh pain through her body; she can feel a bone crack. When the assault is over, she's freshly bloodied, bruised, and looking like she's on her last legs. She sinks to a knee.

But she was not quite done yet. She wished to demonstrate the full extent of her power. The luchador rises, still brimming with chi. Suddenly, her legs snaps out in a superkick to send Gallong flying backwards, aimed specifically for two trees behind him. Between these trees, ropes of shadowy chi form to catch him and give slightly, then fling him upwards like rubber bands. Huesuda will leap into the air after this happens, grabbing him in a headlock and pulling him downwards for an air-to-ground DDT. Face meets dirt.

Of course, whatever the outcome, she herself will now be laying on the ground staring up at the sky, no energy left. "I yield," she says weakly. "You are right. Everything you say...I have felt inside. But I didn't want to acknowledge it."

COMBATSYS: La Huesuda can no longer fight.

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Gallon           1/-----==/=======|

COMBATSYS: La Huesuda successfully hits Gallon with Day Of The DDT.
- Power hit! -

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Gallon           1/--=====/=======|

COMBATSYS: Gallon has ended the fight here.

She sinks. Yielding. Gallon begins to tuck his nunchaku away. And in that moment, he learns a lesson about allowing opponents the benefit of the doubt. The Beast will surely rage at the Man for this act of callous disregard of a threat. But that will have to come after the battering he receives.

Sent skyward, a look of shock on his face, caught off guard and without time to avoid the brutal lifting kick, he is a the mercy of gravity and whatever power the woman yields to lash him back toward earth. Where, once more, he crashes with his head firmly planted against the soil. Standing like a post for a solid moment, he crumples down and it's then that he hears the admission from the young woman.

With a snarl, Gallon is quick to his feet. Under his thick layer of fur, the bruises and wounds of conflict are already mending and patching themselves. The same power that's allowed him to live as long as he has with nary a sign of age. "I could rip out your throat and let you breathe your own blood for that deception," he spits as he rubs the pain from his head. "But it was my mistake," he adds, swallowing his pride, "For underestimating the drive of a young woman."

With still significant bitterness, the wolf takes a cross-legged sit at La Huesuda's head. Where he closes his eyes and grumps to himself while she makes her admissions. "Don't pad my ego," he says, "I'm only right because I know your drives first hand."

"You could...but you won't," Huesuda says. She with a long, pained groan, she forces herself up, sitting up like she was popping out of her grave. She slowly, with more grunts of pain, turns herself around in a seated position to face Gallon. "Misreading an action can also be risky, would you not agree?" she adds, holding an arm over her stomach.

Despite the blood leaking out of it, she does not pull off her mask. A luchador never takes off their mask in public. "...I apologize for disturbing your meditation," she says after some silence. "I had to be sure. It is clear that...I have much to learn."

She is right. He won't open her up. She annoyed him, but she wasn't Bulleta. Not in her curious league. That was a young woman that had already well proven herself as bestial as he could be. There was something understandable about that one. But this girl that stays bleeding and pained, she is different though no less able to learn. At least, she would seem at first.

Gallon smiles as much as a lupine muzzle allows at the lesson he learned at her hands. "I have a student who teaches that very well," he tells La Huesuda before adding, "And I hope you may never meet each other." That seems not a joke as his face falls dour.

A low growl, a huff, but a slow nod. "Apology accepted. And you do have a deal to learn. We all do. Never forget that. Tell me, why is it that you hunt my kind? What point is it when there are so many human monsters that need attention?"

Huesuda looks at him, her gray eyes slightly softened from the earlier piercing, guarded stare. They still seem to shine even in the darkness of the forest. " all happened very suddenly. I remember it was very dry that evening in the village. Hot. I was on vacation there. I don't know if it was a raiding party, or what, but monsters attacked seemingly from all sides. Many died. I remember crawling to a shrine, and...I felt her presence. Sante Muerte, Lady Death. I lost consciousness."

She pauses. "When rescue came, the doctors, they said I died for a few minutes. They revived me in time. I took it as a sign. A sign from my patron that I must combat those that lurk in the dark. To enact justice on the unrighteous." Another pause. "When I'm not wrestling, that is. I also take pride in my lucha libre."

She rolls her neck. "You are not wrong. Make no mistake: I like to hunt cartel soldiers and murderers too."

Talbain nods. He closes his eyes as he listens to the story. He holds no expression. Inside of him listens Beast and Man. They consult the other. They debate and argue inside of his mind and his soul. Though in the end, Gallon must admit that they are him and merely represent his own fractious opinions.

He pricks at the ground with a long claw. And after he considers and he thinks, he opens his eyes. "You are a werewolf," he tells her.

"...Que???" Huesuda exclaims, stirring in her spot. "What do you mean? The last time I checked, I don't grow fur or howl at the moon."

Talbain nods. "You were assaulted in the night, wounded, a survivor from the violence of beasts that hunt under moonlight," he explains slowly, his hands resting on his knees. "You survived what should have killed you. But what came from the violence is one that also lives in violence. You hunt now, as they did. The prey is different, but the hunt is the same."

He lifts a hand to place, very gently, a claw at the mask the woman wears. "You change. You have a face different from your own, but you know it is as real and truly yours as it may ever be. Ergo, werewolf."

Stunned, the luchadora's jaw drops slightly behind the mask, staring at Gallon as the revelation hits her. Then, she laughs. It is dry and low like her speaking voice, but a laugh nonetheless. "Oh, my're right. It's so absurd to think, but...ah. Truly, it's Her guidance that brought me here." She sighs, mulling over their similarities. "Damn. What a world we live in. A world that has produced us." She grunts as she shifts her weight. " name is La Huesuda. Well, /a/ name."

A long, slow shake of his head. He knows the similarities. He has seen them in many people. He knows what it is like to lose. To watch as those you love are taken from you. He knows the rage that builds up, and the beast that comes forth. It unleashes upon the world and once it is out there, there is little one can do to put it back. One cannot unring a bell, after all. And it seems that this girl is one more that has been changed by cruelty in the night.

"Power, speed, these are ours to command and to control. My blood raged, I lost that control, for that, I am bound to looking like this. I presume you wear your mask with a fervor as stolid as my curse." He shakes his head and looks out to the distance, where just peeking through the trees there is the sparkle of lights of a great city of Man.

"Mankind fears us. It doubts us. And not without cause," Gallon admits, "I don't ask they think us harmless. I only ask they treat us knowing we are as dangerous as they are, but no more than they are."

"This mask...yes, it is my face. I am the avatar of Lady Death," Huesuda says. "I am...also an outsider among humans. Not just for worshipping a death saint." She rests her chin in the cup of one hand. "I don't know when that day will come when what you ask becomes true. All I know, now, is my mission to fight the wicked. No matter the shape." She struggles to her feet. "I think...I would like to train more with you. The road to getting stronger is long."

Gallon takes a long and slow breath. He exhales. Another one. One similar to Bulleta, but not exactly like it. One younger, less hardened, less like himself. Perhaps, he thinks, he can learn from this one. He can find the strength that has eluded him in his solitude. He knows, the summoner proved, that he is incapable of doing things on his own. But then wolves were always stronger in a pack.

"If you wish," he says, still not entirely sold on the idea, at least openly. "There is much to do here in Southtown. I believe that tower bodes ill for the future. I will be in this forest. If you come here, I will find you." he has already scented her blood, finding her will be easy if he chooses.

Perhaps this one can find something better to be than a beast.

Log created on 15:43:10 08/08/2019 by Gallon, and last modified on 00:30:44 08/09/2019.