The Black Dragon - Black Dragon R2 - A King's Welcome

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Description: Once again, there's villainy afoot in Southtown! While normally content, or at least willing, to leave such matters to the NOL on their established turf, it seems that the powerful magic knights are struggling to contain this blitzkrieg assault. Suspicious that the shady organization may itself be tied to the invasion in some manner, Illyria's greatest warrior and king himself sallies forth to investigate the matter. However, as if he were expected, his transport is greeted at the borders of the city - not by a royal welcome but a rather unfriendly looking guard!

"Are we withdrawing, sir!?"

The words come over the din of rifle fire, the Raven Guardsmen up in the bulwarks struggling to hold the cordon. The masked guardsmen, dressed in the guardsmen armor of scale mail over a body suit of crimson, had withdraw from his tower; after a concrete chunk of rebar was hurled through it, the squard was forced to the ground in an acrobatic tumble. Like his brothers and sisters, he was wearing the raven-like gasmask, hiding his expression. His tone would not betray his fear. There were only three squads at the bunker checkpoint: there were only so many ways out of the city on foot on a lockdown like this. The Raven Guards weren't actually deployed to defend the checkpoint in the northwest of the city: Szabolc had adopted it as a headquarters for operations across the city. The Novus Orbic Librarium had called the Houses for support for the Southtown defense. The Raven Guards had secondary goals outside of the security of the city, of course. But those goals were on hold, when the monsters were at the gates of the cordon checkpoint. Now, only 20 men and women were defending against an unknown amount of werewolves. And... and the Minotaur.

Szabolc shakes his head.

The silver-haired man in his late middle ages. He body is narrow and fit, his shoulders broad, and stands at a clean two meters tall. He is garbed in the commanders garb of the Raven Guard, a teal-blue armored coat covering his whole body, all the way to his heeled boots of gold and steel straps. His arms are peppered in scaled plate, the feathered motif typical of Raven Guardsmen. His legs are similarly armored, though only the faintest hints of this can been seen with the longcoat in place. A singular black tie hangs from his neck, with the white collared shirt giving a formal air to his armor. A massive cloak, studded with gold buttons, carries around him, the exterior silver white, while the interior is rich crimson. His face is lean and narrow, with a long chin, high cheekbones, and cold blue-steel eyes. A silver mustache garbs over his red lips, which never so much as hint a smile. The man is at attention, at alert, attuned as he is with his surroundings. Every breath he makes is done with the tight-gripped control, every motion is made with deliberate precision. He was looking at the last hold of the bulwark; the steel gateway, a holdover from the Gears War.

It was beginning to fall.

"Sir, there are too many of them." The guardsmen states quickly. "We aren't going to hold it; if we retreat, we can regroup. We can still retreat-" "We can still retreat, Elek, after we slaughter as many as we can." Szabolc states grimly. His tone is deep, with a gravelly air of command that rumbles deep in his lungs. He loosens his broadsword from his simple strap of a scabbard. IT's a cast work, with its pommel, the handle, the blade, and the hilt all are part the same piece of metal. Bandages are wrapped around the handle, giving a grip for the man's gloved hands. A great groan comes, as another hammer batters the gate. The hinges were twisting more. Szabolc is unmoved, as he slips into his resting martial stance, sword out to his side, his left shoulder leaning towards the gate. He raises his hand, giving a circular manuveur. Without even looking, the guards begin to move from the bulwark posts on the walls, leaping from the high points towards the rooftops of their quarters. "Commander Szabolc, please, The Patriarch told us only help as much as we needed, without risking our lives!" Szabolc huffs, a sardonic smirk spreading tightly across his lips. "And so we shall. But I will not just roll over to let these creatures spread to the rest of Japan. The outpost has not fallen yet." Elek exhales, as he stands by his commander, falling into the low martial stance of the guardsmen, his claws spread out wide as crouches down. Waiting.

It wasn't long.

The barrier snaps in half, to the sound of a bellowing roar. The horned beast rips through the barrier, as the werewolves come pouring in. Szabolc raises his blade, his steel-blue eyes locked into the beast's own crimson. A purple light builds deep within the simple weapon, as another fussilade of rifle fire comes, silver bullets piercing past the bovine monstrousity into the wolves around. Szabolc knew in his heart that the outpost would fall. He knew that he might not survive this battle. And he knew that the Patriarch would consider the loss of every life to be an unforgivable crime against the House of Podiebrad. But unless there was a miracle?

He would do whatever he could to fulfill his duty to defend and protect this land.

Somebody is praying for a miracle. Somewhere, somebody is listening...

"Magicus telum!!!" come the shouts from up above, followed by a brilliant flurry of light that begins lancing down from fog shrouded skies. The assault raining down into the rampaging horde and summoning a displays of fire that blossom upwards in numerous explosions raining debris, dirt and limp wolven bodies.

Modern Day Knights, armored in blue and silver, bearing the sigil of Illyria, Illyricum, plummet from above with whirling interlocking magic glyphs flaring to life about their feet to slow their descents and bring them into the chaotic fray sending the cadre charging into the werewolves to bolster the efforts of the fortress defenders. Above them, robed in blue and white, Illyria garbed magicians and magic scientists ready another barrage of magic while standing atop magic seals holding them safely in the sky, away from the melee. And above them, one of Illyria's newly minted Airships, casting shadow over the fortress and hovering overhead like a set of wings seeking to shelter the besieged location.

"Grave crimes deserve??" bellows a deep voice.

"Grave punishment!" thunder the knights flanking the golden and brown robes speaker.

"Petty crmies deserve??"

"Grave punishment!"

"Yes!" Leo Whitefang spins his Iron Cross Swords to life. Magic and chi infusing them to cause the cross swords to blaze into life as zweihander sized blades, "And only -I- may pardon!"

And so the Sacred Order joins the fray. Unasked for. Unannounced. Simply here, right on time, to try and preserve lives and turn the tide.

He knows that voice.

As the minotaur just about comes down hard on Szabolc, as a pack of six werewolves encircle in, everything freezes as the first explosion comes. It was like a missile barrage. And it doesn't end. All eyes, monster and man alike, look up at the airship that had broken through, the miracle having descended as if from heaven itself. Some knew what the sigil meant. Most didn't. But Szabolc himself cannot help but stare up, as the great boom comes. Grave Punishment has been offered, to the crimes of nature.

And the tide turns.

The werewolves could just barely handle the rifle fire. But when the magic barrage comes from above, the wolves start to scatter and panic. Where the Raven Guard was once fighting for their lives, they were now merely support for the surge of reinforcements, sniping and leaping to pressure and chase the werewolves. Morale was shattering for the beasts. But not the Minotaur. The towering, horned monster was either too thick to understand the danger, or too angry. He charges, gripping a two-handed axe, swinging it hard at the Raven Commander. Szabolc grits his teeth as he weaves around the dropping axe. He tries to slip in, to slash at the ankles of the Minotaur. Instead, he is met with a open backhand of the towering creature, knocking him backwards into a tumble. Rolling in, Elek tears into the flank of the massive monster, dragging claws from low to high. Not enough to stop it, but the great cow was distracted. He flings his axe around, trying to chase the nimble guardsmen as he dances high up, rolling away. The beast was furious still, refusing to escape.

Enraged, but starting to become a single towering figure alone inside the base, as the wolves are routing or dead.

Speak loudly and don't let them see you sweat. Truthfully this is but a small group of volunteer knights that wanted to assist Southtown and not an official red-tape embroiled response from a sympathetic nation. They're small in number..but effective. Their size meaning that they must strike hard and fast with a destructive surgical insertion into this chaotic swarm of demon beasts and scatter them like dried leaves into the wind.

So a typical Sacred Order mission. Being limited on numbers and resources and having to still go into the gates of hell itself is..par for the course.

For his part, bluster and bravado aside, Leo Whitefang blitzes and blazes through the battle field with swords whirling and spinning as he cuts down any creature in his path on a direct rush for the minotaur. The soldiers have the werewolves in hand but this beast is a beast beyond them and he knows this well.

He's also somewhat confused. "The reports said nothing of this sort of creature. I thought this was merely an issue of wild werewolves!"

But he poses this question not really expecting an answer. Merely speaking his own thoughts aloud as he bounds atop a piece of fallen rubble and uses it to leap a staggering distance towards the flank of the minotaur as it pursues the raven commander. Both of his Iron Cross-Blades sing as he spins in mid flight and brings them across the giant creature as he passes, landing in the Brynhildr stance, ready for a retaliation.

Like a reaper, Leo's arrival to the battlefield is the final step to victory.

Two limited forced, combined together, overwhelms the Darkstalkers. What few that linger too long in the chaos, is swiftly torn down by the descent of Leo Whitefang. The barrage of magical fire from above moves away from the outpost, as the horde is driven back to the city, tail between their legs. The tide was turned, and now, ebbing back to the depths of the city. In this moment, Japan was spared from a terrible fate. All that was left was the Minotaur.

And that was being eviserated by Leo Whitefang.

The Minotaur lets out a great groan as it struggles and fails to intercept Leo with the great sweep of its axe. Stumbling in agony, the monster's dull eyes shift from the commander, straight to the king. It's torso and abdomen were torn open, it's thick leather hide rended open. It's back was turned to the rising Szabolc, the commander drawing his sword back. The Minotaur charges at Leo, axe in hand.

But there was something around its throat.

Szabolc's arm was extended, and his sword was as well. The weapon, glowing with a deep inner light of soul-blue, was now stretched. The edge now was wrapped around the beast's throat, strangling and stunning it for a moment. Szabolc is jerked around hard by the great beast, the commander not ready for a rodeo of this caliber. But he didn't need to bring the beast down. He didn't need to slay him. The cold steel-blue eyes cast towards the Second King, as he forces his feet hard into the ground, twisting back as he braces. The great beast's tongue lolling out as it desperately swings its the axe, trying to drive it hard into Leo.

Finish him.

Less than an instant is all it takes. Leo crouches and the next blink of an eye sees him airborne, having already sailed skyward and past the Minotaur in a spinning arc with his blades trailing flesh and blood behind them. Iron Chi blazes an aura of silver and gold that follows the movements of the Second King as the blades pass through the creature in an attempt to claim its head if not its entire upper third of its torso from the cleaving power in the strike.

"Eisensturm!" is Leo's shout as flips at the arc of the leap and then comes down towards the earth and impacts solid and hard. A slide of a few meters occurs which he uses his swords to bring to a halt. Finally, he stands, turning as his Iron Cross swords shrink back to their original size.

Leo stands, finally, back to the minotaur and a steady stride occuring as he starts to approach Szabolc. Apparently there's no need for him to attempt to confirm the kill. Perhaps a king needs no visual confirmation of success and simply 'knows'.

There is a roar from the Minotaur, for a moment.

It stops short, as Leo cleaves past. And with it, the outpost, only but a minute before was at the cusp of total collapse. The whole of Japan at danger of rampaging Darkstalkers. In but a moment, fortunes and fate was reversed, to the distant sound of fireball explosions and animalistic whining and whimpering. The battle was over. Defeat was snatched from the maws of the Darkstalkers. A nightmare was ended. And now, as Leo finishes his opening assault, he was coming to the commander of the mercenaries.

Szabolc does not thank him yet.

"The inimitable Leo Whitefang." Szabolc states cooly, his gaze locked just past Leo Whitefang. He steps aside slightly, keeping just out of the way of Leo's stride. He knew this man well. Szabolc draws his arm back; the iron of the blade returning back into it's simple broadsword shape. "Or I should say, King Whitefang. The Lion of the Sacred Order. The unspoken hero of Europe against countless foes. I remember you quite well in your youth." Szabolc looks up into the sky at the airship, his blade pointed towards the ground at a 45 degree angle. "You have just saved Japan from years of misery... and denied the Hunter's Guild decades of reliable work."

There is movement now.

There should be applause, cheering, a roar of support at the saviors. But there was just one man clapping, a single guardsman who was whooping and cheering. He is cut short as he takes an elbow to the ribs. Szabolc had not given the order. And now, through unseen cues, the Raven Guardsmen were adjusting their positions. Elek was moving, positioning himself at Leo's unseen flank. No guns were trained. But they were not put away either. Szabolc's expression is otherwise unreadable; a blank facade of intensity. He shifts his gaze, now looking directly at Leo Whitefang. "Have you come as Illyria, or the Sacred Order?"

There is a heavy thump, as the torso and head of the Minotaur collapse in two pieces.

Leo does not take any sort of open umbrage to the lack of gratitude nor does he indicate if he percieves the presence of any under current of hostility. On the contrary he's rather used to thankless work, especially at this particular juncture in time. If anything, he feels it makes him seem all the much more aloof, proud and magmonious. The work of a king is a thankless one and yet it must be done for the greater good, after all.

Either way, he offers Szabolc the briefest of glances and instead returns his gaze to sweeping over the fortress in a calculating manner while approaching the commander.

"Hmm..not likely." he answers, probably referring to the first of Szabolc's statements though he leaves unclear if it's the comment on Japan or the Hunter's Guild that he's remarking on. Then.

"Does it matter if we come in the name of Timbuktu? We are here and we are here to help. Southtown seems a perpetual gateway of sorrows for Japan. I'd like to know what's going on and I"d like to know why and more importantly how it can be stopped."

He finally puts the full weight of his gaze on Szabolc and raises an eyebrow "You men are with the Hunter's Guild?"

It certainly did not matter for the people of Southtown.

Szabolc knew that Leo Whitefang was being as forthright as a man of his sature can be. And yet, he stubbornly refused to simply admit it. And the question comes, on who are they. Hunters? Szabolc falls silent a moment, straightening his stance. He casts a gaze to the watching Guardsmen in their posts above. And a voices rises up, from one of the soldiers.

"We are the Raven Guard!"

Another voices comes out, a woman's.

"The scourge of the Carpathians!"

Around the Guardsmen, voices call out, as they each answer Leo's question, men and women calling out.

"Hunters of those who stalk the night!"

"A sanctioned order of the Magyar Katolikus Egyhaz!"
%"One of Twelve founding members of the Novis Orbis Librarium!"

Vampire Hunters!



"And Mercenaries for Hire... s."

"For the House of Podiebrad, May It Endure For A Thousand Years!"

And all but Szabolc cry out in unison, stretching their arms out in a salute, before they bring a claw to their breast.

"By The Patriarch!"

The call rings across the outpost, as Szabolc looks out to his soldiers. "We were once your allies, before you became king." Szabolc states grimly, facing Leo straight on. "We are mercenaries for the NOL now, King Whitefangs. And you come with the insignia of Illyria." Szabolc sweeps his blade up to the airship. "That marks you an enemy of the NOL. Now I ask once more, with the utmost respect." Szabolc bows his head once. "Are you coming as Illyria?

"Or are you coming as the Sacred Order?"

Leo WHitefang is silent as the proud decleration of allegiance and status is made. His eyes flicker across those who speak and the rest of the soldiers under Szabolc's command and then back over to his own Sacred Order soldiers who stand resolute, stoic and silent. Not reacting openly to the words being shouted forth by their counterparts.

Finally: "Illyria is no enemy of the NOL. We've even had an ambassador for an extended stay and review of our doings. NOL simply has no power in Illyria and our allied states. Many nations would agree and hold similar stances." corrects Leo evenly. "Unless...the NOL -wishes- to be an enemy based upon their doings and experiment gone wild such as captive Darkstalkers running loose? It certainly wouldn't be the first time for such things.."

His tone is even as he returns his gaze to Szabolc and then he finally answers ore directly.

"So we didn't have time to change our clothes or scrub the insignia from our ship. We come as neither but as world citizens who have the power to effect change and wanted to do something while time was of the essence. This isn't a Sacred Order mission nor Illyria intervening where it isn't wanted. We are volunteers who wanted"

"You put us in a difficult situation, King Whitefang."

Szabolc's expression is iron; it conceals the soul crushing conundrum he was caught between. Staring away from Leo, he does his best to justify his chains. "Honor and Duty drive the heart of the Raven Guard under my command." Szabolc sends a cutting gaze across at the guardsmen above. They immediately fall into parade rest, falling silent. "Honor compels us to invite you in open arms, King Whitefang; your intentions are noble, your talents in desperate need, and there is no man I would consider more of an honor to fight beside in defending this city, and I mean that without any diplomacy." A smile comes across the lips of Szabolc, as his chest rises. In his eyes, the light builds. This moment was something he had long wished for; to strike down a monster alongside the greatest warrior of the Whitefang family. And then, after that brief flash, the light fades away with the smile. "I must take you at your word; you have come to help! But that is only what Honor demands. Safe passage. Warm bunkers. Personal escorts across the city." He shakes his head solemnly.

"Duty demands we move to capture you now."

Szabolc turns swiftly, bringing his armored hand forward, palm up. "Whatever the NOL has told you with their diplomats, I do not know. What I do know is you and King Kiske have bounties upon your head, which is to be acted on when you leave your gilded prison of Illyria. You have left." He turns towards the shattered gate, grimness sinking deep within. "The House of Shimotsuki has lead the forefront of securing this city with its corp of engineers; Lieutenant Katarina would love nothing more to be served stray Illyrian soldiers in shackles." He turns back to Leo, shaking his head as his stony gaze begins to crack. "In spite of their noble intentions. In spite of their heroism. In spite of our desperate need for reinforcements. And that would be the will of the Patriarch. Instead of us dying in battle against the Darkstalkers, we will die in vain as we exhaust ourselves fighting a pointless battle against honorable foes. That is what duty demands, King Leo." The mask of despair spreads over the face of Szabolc, as he lowers his eyes. "Right and wrong. Duty and honor. It is time to decide."

And Szabolc sweeps his blade to the Squards above.

"Soldiers! We are at an impasse! Do we fight these men, as Duty demands? Or we give them safe passage, as Honor demands?" And the soldiers break into a jibbering; a murmur in a strange tongue, the chattering like crows squawking above in their thick Hungarian dialect. Words break in English; "Fight him!" "Run away!" "Let them pass!" But objections grow more heated. Shoving is seen, as folks point up to the airship above. It's easy to translate the pantomime of explosions coming down. But a single word begins to rise up, a single squawk. First a single voice. Then a dozen. Soon, the whole group of mercenaries is squawking the single word. Szabolc nods knowingly, as he turns to Leo Whitefang, to translate. "A well spoken idea. My men advises there is only one path forward." He levels his sword out, pointing it towards the Illyrian King. "Honorable single combat, to spare the unnecessary loss of lives of the men."

"A Duel, King Leo, between commanders."

"Ky should have -no- bounty on his back. If he does then we -are- at war with the NOL and we will bring them down with what the knowledge we have." snaps Leo. The sanctity of Ky's nobility and the worlds view of him is first and foremost on his mind. The rest of this all be damned, it seems. He took the false nonsensical bounty to spare Ky the headache of having to deal with it so he could represent Illyria properly as the First King on the world stage while Leo dealt with matters as the Second King in the newly birthed nation. If that's been altered..

"You are only as bound as you choose to be 'commander'.." He is calmer now though his tone is stern, "This is a waste of time and resources. You know who I am and how important I am and you know the danger in Japan and yet you want to wrestle and grapple with rules, regulations and morality at a time like this?"

IF Ky were here..he would accept in a heartbeat. Not out of confidence but out of empathy and a desire to be held to the highest standards.

Leo is not Ky. He is far more pragamtic and even critical of Ky's behavior in such scenarios. And yet..the challenge has been given. He sets his jaw firmly and sweeps his gaze over the soldiers on both sides. The Sacred Order cadre is small but gifted and powerful with supernatural talent and magical arts. Magicians are present, a giant knight easily comparable at least to legends like Zangief in proportions and wielding a massive enchanted hammer. Swordsmen and lancers more. Archaic fighting bolstered by magic and chi to make them more dangerous then any mundane armed battlion with standard armament. And yet..

"Fine.." Leo says eventually, "Let's get this over with.."

"If it was only that simple."

Szabolc states, looking far away. Leo was correct. Ky Kiske had no bounty. There would be no prize from the NOL just yet. But... The Patriarch had a special offering if the King of Illyria presented himself. He would be satisfied with nothing more than to spend a moment or three alone with the blonde-haired knight, to plumb the depths of his betrayal for the sinister satisfications of the leader of the House of Podiebrad. He would not allow this.

Even though Szabolc cared little for Ky Kiske.

Szabolc draws his breath, as the soldiers spread out around their commander. In turn, the Raven Guards hoot and whistle a moment, most leaping down in acrobatic tumbles to line up on their side, before falling into attention. A make shift ring was formed. "But thank you, King Whitefang, for satisfying the request of an old man." He brings his sword back, drawing it against the back of his opposing forearm, before gripping the handle with both hands. Transfixing his gaze towards Leo Whitefang, he gives his nod, as he begins to fight for honor and duty together.

"Let us begin."

COMBATSYS: Szabolc has started a fight here.

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Szabolc          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Szabolc focuses on his next action.

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Szabolc          0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Leo Whitefang has joined the fight here.

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Leo Whitefang    0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Szabolc

"Hmm.." Leo raises both of his large arms upwards and then brings them down, iron chi blazing furiously around them and extending the massive twin Iron Cross Blades out to their full sizes.

"It's as simple as your convictions allow it to be. You choose one route or the other and embrace it with all your heart. That is the destiny of a king -and- a commander."

He drops into a combat stance, an almost predatory like crouch with both of his arms brought before him and his hair bristling upwards in a mane like halo over his massive form. "You want a duel so don't think I'm going to hold back!"

And with that he dashes inward, rushing in with both of his swords to try and cross the commander up with a double slash and blazing iron chi behind the arc of the blades.

COMBATSYS: Leo Whitefang successfully hits Szabolc with Kaltes Gestober Erst.

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Leo Whitefang    0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0          Szabolc

Leo's wisdom does not fall on deaf ears.

Szabolc knew he would have to choose one or the other. A duel did waste time; it did solve nothing as perfectly as one or the other. And yet, a King. A Commander. A Patriarch. Szabolc was not worthy of the title. No, not capable. The shame is locked away with a key, as his opponent falls into his combat stance. He would not reflect now. As the man begins to move, he twists his sword around, spinning it.

The sword becomes a shield.

A buckler, more like it. The iron weaves and changes as a purple-blue light flashes within. It is like a sculpter's clay. It is strong as iron when Leo comes upon it. Unfortunately, it is insufficent to deflect both of the searing blades. But one slash is so deflected; the other one rending through the scaled armor severely as blood splashes out. Szabolc turns, giving a grunt of pain as he lets the buckler absorb the impact on the other side. He was stepping backwards, conceding ground. He raises the buckler.

And it transforms again.

Shifting it's shape, it becomes long and narrow. A spear? A pole. Not a long one by any means, but Szabolc drives the tip straight to the ground as his cape billows, movement coming with iron-clad focus. Answering Leo's own opening, he vaults forward, bounding off the weapon as he uses it to spring back into the King feet first, a staggering driving kick straight for Leo's chest. A single Raven Guardsman cheers.

He is quickly silenced by an elbow to the ribs.

COMBATSYS: Leo Whitefang blocks Szabolc's Nothing To Lose.

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Leo Whitefang    0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0          Szabolc

A reosunding meaty thud occurs as Leo spins and brings both of his arms up, crossed across his chest, to meet the driving kick head on. He skids back a few feet before shifting his stance slightly and bringing an arm up to grasp for the outstretched leg.

The look on his face is..inscrutable at first glance but a deep look into his eyes by one close enough to do so and with enough skill to read it would show he is..impressed. Curious about the weapon being wielded as well. Many questions race through his head but they must be held for later. This man wishes a duel so he will get his wish. First blood has been drawn and Leo intends to maintain the advantage.

A heartbeat within heartbeats is the time he uses to spin and turn. He swings around, using his prodigious strength to try and flip Szabolc over and bring him back down to the ground, hard.

COMBATSYS: Szabolc counters Quick Throw from Leo Whitefang with Moonlight Nocturne.

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Leo Whitefang    0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0          Szabolc

Momentum, ebbing and flowing.

As Szabolc surges in, the momentum of Leo was rushing in. The two were in tandem. Hand out, the polearm was already morphing, already writhing into a new shape. As his kick is deflected, the commander demonstrates the finesse of the Raven Guard in full gusto; he backflips off. A hand comes to grab his leg, and a smirk comes from the Commander.

Catching a raven was dangerous business.

He is slammed to the ground, as the weapon transforms again. In a flash, Leo would find the iron suddenly around his shoulder, a cord of metal lashed on. The flip comes as Szabolc stretches. There is a grunt as he hits the ground, but the other leg sticks out as he pulls his arm back. The momentum was continuing, as the reversal takes place: Szabolc was now flipping Leo over -him-, using his own strength to bring the momentum back around. With a great groan, he slams Leo on his side. The impact comes, and szabolc launches up. The metal slithers off of Leo, as it takes the shape of a hammer. The commander raises high up, and lands with a single bodyblow right into the chest. A staggering counter-attack.

But thankfully not a penetrating one.

"You've got some trickery in you." says Leo, a grim smirk on his face as he recovers from the blow with a rough wheezing cough and his body bounding backwards with the force of the impact..rolling back up into his combat stance. A stance from which he launches forward at the commander in a blazing blur of browns, golds and silver.

An instant later and he's airborn, spinning and descending downward with a overhead kick as his swords once again imbue with the second kings brilliant chi.

If the kick lands or no, the swords come in again, slashing upwards and trailing jagged claw like slashes through the air as if the very claws of some gargantuan lion was swiping out at the Raven commander.

COMBATSYS: Szabolc blocks Leo Whitefang's Blitzschlag.

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Leo Whitefang    0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1          Szabolc

"It pales to your strength, oh King."

There isn't a hint of sarcasm as Szabolc withdraws the hammer. Already, he transformed it into a buckler again. It was well timed; he would not have had time to think for as quick as Leo Whitefang could move. The kick connects with Szabolc's buckler defense again; he was exposed and losing his footing. But he was not destroyed, he was not defeated. The morphic weapon was ebbing and flowing as he needed. While it worked well against the kick, the followup slashes are too much for a perfect guard. Szabolc's scale mail is rended once more by the waves of energy that pass through the shield; only the blades themselves are deflected again. Fresh blood and burns expose out, as the commander groans in pain. The shield splits totally, a normal barrier would have been destroyed.

But it was reforming again, as Szabolc leaps.

Front flipping up into the sky, he brings his hands together upon the shield. The iron stretches out thin and wide; a normal blade crafted in such a flimsy frail way would fail. Even the handle and guards were gone; just a thin, long slab of bladed iron. But with both hands on it, that purple-blue light suddenly erupted over it; the energy managing to keep the now sculpted zweihander intact. Szabolc was iron-focused; he wasn't holding back either it seemed. It was a crude, hideous weapon: but Szabolc was falling now, and bringing the full force of the weapon with severing, cleaving power straight down at the King. This was the kind of attack that would fell giants and monsters.

And Leo was in its path.

COMBATSYS: Szabolc successfully hits Leo Whitefang with Vampire Killer.

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Leo Whitefang    1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1          Szabolc

Both of Leo's twin great blades hurtle upward in an attempt to deflect the incoming destructive attack. He braces against the earth and the three blades meet in an eruption of chi and magic and pure physical force. The Zweihander skids along the twin Iron Cross Blades as Leo shifts his stance to try and divert the pure force involved is not nearly enough to completely save him and an instant later there is an explosion of dust, debris and light as the Zweihander touches down and blood is spilled.

The Sacred Order finally does react. One soldier calling out, "King Leo!" while others shift uncomfortably in their armor and yet they do not intervene.

And it is wise that they do not as the swirling cloud of dust blasts way to reval The Second King, garb tattered and a deep slash across his torso - but his body unbowed as he thunders, "The roaring lion does not bow but prowls, seeking whom he may devour!" He falls into his combat stance again, both blades raised and a wild grin on his face, "The whole earth is his hunting ground and all living things his prey!"

With that he suddenly vanishes. A sudden burst of speed that removes him from sight only to blur into vision behind Sszabolc with a slash dragging jagged wave of chi following behind him followed by a sweeping gesture of his sword to try and draw the commander in closer to him.

This is then followed by a leaping spinning attack as iron chi blazes around the king on his upward arc!

COMBATSYS: Leo Whitefang blitzes into action and acts again!

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Leo Whitefang    1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1          Szabolc

COMBATSYS: Leo Whitefang successfully hits Szabolc with Klingenetz.

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Leo Whitefang    1/-------/=======|=======\=======\1          Szabolc

COMBATSYS: Leo Whitefang knocks away Szabolc with Eisen Sturm.

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Leo Whitefang    1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2          Szabolc


The Sacred Order might not have reacted. But the Raven Guards sure did. As Szabolc unleashes his coup de grace, the vicious 'Vampire Killer', a chattering of squawks and whistles come up from the guards. Szabolc evens his footing as he lands. This was a duel. He meant everything he said about Leo. His respect for him was sincere. But battle ran deep in the blood of the Podiebrads. To do anything less would be an act of disrespect. Something the Patriach would do. He returns the weapon into it's einhander form, as his soldiers cheer him on.

The shouts stop, as the dust clears.

Szabolc knew that this moment would come. He was not fighting for hope. He was fighting for duty and honor. When Leo gives his verbal retort, the commander felt the blow in his bones, before it could even begin. The flash of speed comes, and there isn't even time for the shield to manifest. He was in mid-turn, instincts driving him, as he takes the backslash. He is drawn in, cape in tatters as he is gasps. He tries to escape this time; but the speed was too great. The leaping spin comes, and Szabolc is cleaved up in the air, before falling into the dust. There are no cheers from the Raven Guardsmen. No sense of retaliation, either. Just the watchful eyes of the guardsmen, well experienced in the spectator bloodsport. They wait.

Szabolc rises.

Body drenched in his own blood, there is a ringing sound. Steel eyes, vengeful presence. Body bloodied on both sides. He stumbles as he walks, his liquid sword becoming a cane, to catch his fall. Leaning over it, his body aches with age and weakness. Impossible. "But Ravens dare where the Lions prowl... for the dead belongs to the Crows!" Szabolc pushes off his cane, the weapon suddenly scattering around him in embrace.

And he charges.

Shredded Cape fluttering behind him, a cloud of dust bursting around, he charges straight at King Leo, a trail of blood splattering behind him. the amorphous spiral of his blade swirling around him in long tendrils. When he reaches the king? He would bring his free arm around, to grip Leo by the shoulder. With the other? He would thrust his arm in, the weapon suddenly taking the shape of a spike...

COMBATSYS: Szabolc can no longer fight.

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Leo Whitefang    1/-----==/=======|

COMBATSYS: Szabolc successfully hits Leo Whitefang with Invitation From A Crazed Moon.

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Leo Whitefang    1/--=====/=======|

And Szabolc pierces in Leo's torso.

The commander locks eyes with the king, as he focuses. Leo would feel it. The iron beginning to move. Tiny needles writhing, twisting, digging. Szabolc was using all his strength to keep it in. It was spreading, worming. Writhing upwards now... towards the heart? Szabolc's jaw tightens, as he does everything he could to keep the focus, blood now trickling out from the inside of his eye. He tightens his grip, almost ready to rip it free in a final splash.

And suddenly, it all relaxes.

Szabolc's eyes roll back into his head. He slumps forward into Leo. Limp. Unconscious. The blade recoils out from Leo, the blood pouring from the single wound. A sword again. Szabolc doesn't even fall away yet.

It would be up to the King to decided what happened next to the commander.

Leo staggers, eyes bulging out and teeth gritted in pain and also a burning fury that seems to want to well up out of him like an enraged lion.


He begins, holding his ground and focusing his efforts on simply living as he feels the atttempt for his heart and the threat of potential disembowlment should he relax in the slightest.

The Sacred Order knights see this as well..and they are furious. "It is an attempt on the king's life!" shouts one.

"Folly! This was another NOL trick!" yells another.

"King Leo!" shouts a third.

"They're betrayers!" declares a fourth.

Weapons are drawn and magic arts begin to be summoned, including healing arts desperate to prevent any loss of life. The ground shakes as the massive hammer wielding knight pulls the chi-tek weapon forth and slams it down in a challenge for the Ravens, daring interference.

"HOLD!" commands Leo who reaches forward and grips hold of Szabolc with an iron clad grasp that defies the wound Szabolc dealt. "I SAID HOLD." he repeats, warning the knights to stand down. He then eyes Szabolc, staring right into the aged commanders face and quietly mutters,

"Where the -hell- were you when the Sacred Order was recruiting for its members..."

He then releases the man with a slight shove, intending on him to fall and he himself turns, standing upright to face his soldiers, unbowed despite the wounds:

""The definition of "defeat" reads "The fate of those who fight me!"" he thunders which calls out a resounding echoing set of cheers from the Sacred Order knights. Quite noticably, he doesn't move any further though. He'd probably collapse if he did. But healing arts are incoming for him and the commander.

For a moment, it looked like it would break into a melee.

When Szabolc surges in, the Raven Guards start squawking and chattering. Rifles are drawn out... as some of their -own- interfere. "Hold! Please hold! It's good!" A woman's voice rises up. But it's the call of Leo that stalls the infighting. And when Szabolc is shoved off, the defination comes, the cheers of the Illyrians come. Strangely enough, when Leo calls out his defination?

The Raven Guard cheers as well.

Not all of them, of course. Some seem to be looking away, personally offended at the loss. But the chattering comes around across the guards. There isa flash; one of the guardsmen had taken out a camera, and was taking pictures of Leo Whitefang from various angles around him. The contrast between a commander and king was no more clear now than before. Even the giant bruiser with the hammer was getting pictures of him. Even now, the soldiers were clearing the way, some approaching Illyrians with chattering celebration, recaps and opinions on the fighting, critiques and complaints about -both- sides. The House of Podiebrad seemed to have it's own opinions on bloodsport. Elek, for his part, does not leave Szabolc's side, even when the healers come.

He is the first to help Szabolc up, when he awakens.

When the healing comes, Szabolc jolts awake, eyes snapping back to life. Gasping for air, he groggily rises up into a sit. Shaking in place, he casts those steel blue eyes towards the King. He clears his throat, taking his composure back as slowly, gingerly, he rises back up into a stand. He sheaths his sword into it's simple strap. "I concede." HE states. As if he hadn't already conceded by falling unconscious. "The day is yours. Thank you, King, for entertaining my wishes and the wishes of my soldiers. You will have safe passage as long as the Raven Guards stand fast." As much as that might mean with the thin mercenary force that existed." Not even an apology for the entirely lethal final attack? Or maybe, because he did not feel it was needed. He lowers his eyes. "Keep towards the south; we have a presence in Pacific High. And beware the Tower." He states.

"We have reason to believe that Majigen is involved..."

"In some ways you could be said to be a stiff-necked man but instead I will say you are a man of conviction and determination. I think I will put that next to your name in my dictionary.." muses Leo after the commander finishes speaking. "

"You risked much in the name of 'honor'. Some might say to much. -I- might say to much. But at the same time you accomplished quite abit as well. I will accept your protection such as it is and continue on to Southtown."

He considers the rest of the mans words and then nods his head in thought, " do not think that the NOL is at the heart of this? Come now, your contract doesn't involve covering for them, I'm sure. If you say it isn't them..I'll believe you."

The Raven Guard and NOL were... well, the term might be kissing cousins.

"I have not seen the NOL up to anything unforthcoming." Szabolc admits this with mincing words, uncertainty between his loyalties. "If the NOL was betraying the people of this city, the Patriarch... would have consulted us before forcing us in the front lines." He seems equally uncertain of that. Resolve quickly heartens him. "No, they are not behind these monsters. We have a clear duty in stopping an evil. We have our suspects; and the most suspicious is the Vampire Savior-" A round of boos and hisses come from the soldiers. "-The Vampire Savior Jedah Dohma. The NOL wants nothing more than to rid that blight from this city, as us as well. But we have no proof he is behind it, even with these creatures murdering and savaging in the streets." Szabolc stands up fully, sweeping his arm gingerly. "The foul-blooded abomination is using some sort of cut out, some sort of front to send these monsters without violating those laws. We just don't know who. Evidence! We would knock down the walls of the towers, but it would be a crime against humanity... and bring a new wrath upon our heads." Szabolc did not show his fury in his stoic face.

But his tension could be tasted.

"I will expect the same. Once the city is secure of the monsters, our priority will be finding what evidence we can on that hideous creature's schemes against this city. And when it is uncovered... then we will put an end to these shadow wars in this city. Illyria and The House of Podiebrad may be enemies out of this city." They were? Don't question it he's rolling. "But against this enemy, we will unite as brothers! I swear if we learn more, we will share it with you as long as the Patriarch does not forbid it." Szabolc vows, bringing his palm up. Elek, nodding his head, quickly steps over, and slices open Szabolc's palm with a claw. The commander nods firmly, his blood pouring from his palm. "This oath I bear with the vows of the House of Podiebrad." He declares, and Szabolc extends the bloody palm to Leo Whitefang. "You do not have to share in this oath; our oaths are ultimately to ourselves. But if you should uncover anything on the enemies behind this..."

"Will you share the same with us?"

It is a strange, distorted, mirror that Leo is looking at as he studies Szabolc, listens and then lifts his head up slightly as the blood oath is made. This could have very easily been him. Perhaps had not Ky Kiske entered the picture and forced a one sided rivalry, shifting Leo's focus towards other probably would have been him in attitude and nature and sense of tradition and duty.

But it is not him. He is to worldly, to pragmatic, and to a full of Lion's Pride to be a Raven.

His hand clasps Szabolc and he nods, "We will share. And there's no need to be enemies based on obligation and a false sense of tradition." He senses the tension and also the uncertainity and minor cracks in that resolve easily enough. "The greater good is more important, correct. Such is the sacrifice of a king.. -and- a commander.."

He releases the hand and then gestures to the Sacred Order troops, "We're going!"

COMBATSYS: Leo Whitefang has ended the fight here.

And with that, the duel ends.

Szabolc himself saw a reflection in the king as well. Not the same vision, but similar. An admirable warrior, an inspiring leader... forced to come to heel by a beautiful counterpart. A figure that had somehow out done him in every way. Szabolc cannot see the humbled man. He only sees a man that was forced to be brought to heel by an ignoable figure. A figure that had lead the Sacred Order into betrayal of the likes of the NOL, of the House of Podiebrad. And all, as the rumors go, over a woman. Szabolc saw himself in Leo. But he would never see the real King, until he could see past his own obsessions. Elek mutters to Szabolc. "Sir... aren't we... didn't the Patriarch say...?"

"Honor and duty are black and white, Elek."

Szabolc's words are steady, as the Raven Guardsmen begin to spread out in their squads; they would need to refortify the outpost. "Right now, our duty demands we defend this city, we find the source of the evil, and we reveal it. Our honor demands that whatever respect we are given, we return. Even with our rivals. Our duty lies with the Patriarch; it always lies with the Patriarch. But our honor comes within." Szabolc looks at the departing Sacred Order troops, his expression grim. "If the Patriarch wants to comprimise our honor?" The commander brings a hand to the handle of his blade.

"Then let him try."

Log created on 10:12:08 04/10/2020 by Duke, and last modified on 11:47:12 04/14/2020.