Description: When the perky explorer - and FightTube sensation - Lyraelle Darkheart unearths an ancient tomb beneath the desert, she attracts the attention of a mysterious stranger who seems to know more than he should. Will she accept the advice he offers her? Will shorts become a regular part of her wardrobe? Find out all this *and more ;)* inside!
It's easy to believe that, in the 21st century, the world is a known quantity. Humanity has penetrated every nook and cranny that the Earth has to offer; and with satellite tech researched, the global fog of war has been dispelled forever.
Yet, there is still magic and mystery in the world for those who seek it. Not every site of antiquity has been exhumed; some remain untouched, as if a veritable shroud of obscurantism prevents them from being disturbed or tainted by external, modernizing and commodifying forces.
And it's Dark Heart Enterprises' ambition to change all that.
The chamber is pitch black, as it has been for a thousand years or more. And then, slowly, with a protest of stone groaning against stone, ancient mechanisms turn, and a piercing crack of sunlight seeps in, slowly washing over the floor, revealing a layer of dust that sits over everything. The first flow of fresh air of the millennium arrives to blow the dust across the floor, revealing the ornate, yet primitive carving work that covers the massive slab tiles along the ground. As the sunlight creeps further, reliefs along the walls can be seen, as well as a passage leading further into the structure.
"Oh, wow! Are you getting all this, minions?"
In spite of the sweltering desert heat outside, the Demon Queen is the most dressed that she's been on-camera in over a year. Her normally barely-clothed backside is currently covered by a pair of khaki hotpants, and she's wearing a pale green tank top, her pink hair pulled into a bum-length braid and a pair of brown boots on her feet. It's a pretty clear cosplay reference, though she hasn't bothered to change her hair colour or do anything about her black horns or her purple wings emerging from her shoulder blades, assuming she could - and her spaded tail is there, peeking out of her shorts and flicking as though it belonged to an excited kitten.
Meanwhile, behind her, a trio of imps follow: the first, a portly red imp in a brown fedora and safari shirt, the second a bearded and muscular but short yellow demon in a hawaiian shirt and holding a video camera, and the third a spindly green-skinned imp in a tunic, brown trousers and boots, his fingers wringing his lips as his teeth chatter.
"M-mistress, are you sure we should be here? What if there... there might be... traps?!" the green imp stammers, his voice cracking meekly.
"Don't be silly, green minion," Lyraelle says with a heartwarmingly adorable smile as she looks down over her shoulder at her fretting follower. "Of course there's traps."
As she says so, she sets a foot forward, daintily and precisely pressing her toe into an indented shape on the floor and pushing down. A grinding of gears can be heard, and, a second later, a dart shoots out of the mouth of a monstrous relief in the wall, whistling past the group of minions before they can even duck. While the red and yellow imps flinch, the green one lets out a piercing scream and falls over.
"Now, stop ruining this for me! It's like, the unboxing video of the decade."
As the tomb-raiding celebrity succubus steps further into the tomb, the other minions turn around to stare at the green imp, waiting.
Red Minion crinkles his nose.
"No wonder her Majesty insisted you wear brown pants for this."
"Sh-sh-sh-shut up!" Green Minion whimpers.
Standing in the antechamber, Lyraelle takes a moment to breathe in the musty air, closing her eyes as the gravitas of the place seeps in.
"I was right. This place is gonna make a bitchin' Midnight Channel stage."
Suddenly, the succubus' pointed ears prick as the stone door starts to slide shut once again.
"Your Majesty!" Green Minion calls out, the others turning with too much hesitation to try and stop the door or put themselves on the same side of it as their mistress. Meanwhile, Lyra Croft's green eyes remain shut until the door closes before opening once more.
"Coulda /warned/ me about that part," she says with a slight tinge of annoyance in her voice before she starts to progress further into the chamber, step by step, carefully planting each foot on a seemingly random set of tiles, even ones whose symbols remain hidden under the dust - and yet without triggering any of the myriad deadly traps remaining unsprung in the millennia-old tomb, progressing ever further toward the burial chamber at its heart.
Elsewhere within the tomb, a cloth-wrapped finger lifts away from a small stone tile with a closing eye carved into its surface. There is a click as the little mechanism begins to reset, but the being before it has already turned away. In a fluttering snap of loose brown cloth it vanishes through a narrow rectangular passage, swallowed up by the gathering darkness.
The three scrambling imps are treated to a final glimpse of their mistress's back as the doors both before and behind them slam shut with thunderous finality. Caught within the short corridor that slants down from the outside entrance toward the antechamber proper, the trio are plunged into near total darkness, their only light provided by the camera cradled in Yellow's hands.
There is a moment of stillness. A beat in which they can appreciate the oppressive stillness of the tomb, the musty smell of the air, the potential for death that lives within every wayward step. And then...
The view through Yellow's camera drops a good six inches toward the ground before it is caught and swept upwards, leveling off a touch higher than the crown of the demon's head.
The camera's focus sweeps away from the smooth expanse of the closed chamber door and pans across the wall with enough speed to make any potential viewer dizzy, catching a brief glimpse of red as it drops lower to focus upon the back of the fleeing minion's head.
What happens next is difficult for the naked eye to follow. Foot coming down upon a dusty floor tile, the red-skinned imp flinches, hearing the quiet click of his doom, and is swept tumbling to the floor at the same moment as an object whistles across the screen in a blur of motion. Panning first to the left, the view lingers on a crumpled fedora pinned against the stone wall by a metal spike as long as a man's forearm. It then sweeps down to where the now hatless Red lies sprawled in a dizzy heap upon the ground. The Imp's eyes have just begun to lift and focus when a flutter of brown robes wafts into the bottom of the frame and a cloth-bound foot strikes the imp precisely on the point of his chin, sending his eyes rolling up into the back of his skull.
A dry, pleased little chuckle tickles the edge of detection as the camera sweeps up and around to take in a blank patch of wall, black-wrapped hand reaching out to press 2 invisible points that cause a section to slide away, opening up a new passage into darkness. It is down this tunnel that the view travels, turning to spiral up a tight turn and emerging atop a narrow decorated ledge that traces the border of a huge, dust-filled room.
Tilting downward, the view tracks across the open space until the pink-haired sensation herself is centered in the shot, caught in profile as she makes her way across the dusty tiles with the grace and confidence expected of a queen.
"You didn't ask."
The dryly amused response drifts down to her from high up and to her right, emerging from a male figure shrouded in loose layers of robes. Falling in layers of unpatterned rags, the robes vary from dark brown to tan, breaking up his outline and making his exact size and dimensions difficult to judge. Scarves of black, brown, and white drape from its head and arms, shrouding the figure's face and coiling tightly around hands in feet in the style of an honest to god mummy. The only hint that the creature beneath might be more than bones are the wisps of long white hair that have escaped through gaps in the drapings, floating around the being like moats of dust.
"This is not a place for the living. Especially one so young."
Continuing in a quiet, conversational tone, the figure holds Yellow's camera focused upon Lyraelle with a steady hand. There is no discernible anger radiating from it. No haunting rage. In fact, even to the demoness's trained senses there is nothing. No roiling mess of soul power, no thriving vitality. Only a ghostly emptiness in the shape of a man.
"I think you should explain."
Even through the solid stone door, above the clicking of her boots on the tilework, the sounds of something almost certainly bad happening to her minions reaches the ears of the celebrity succubus. Her lips form a pursed semi-smile, and she only hesitates a moment before skipping to the next stone as she hums a ditty inside her sealed mouth.
"Hmm hmm hmm... hmm?"
Lyraelle stops and swivels from the waist up as her feet remain split between two tiles, her pink braid swishing as she looks up and over her shoulder to the right, green eyes turning upward through the darkness. It would be impossible for normal eyes to see, but still, somehow, the Demon Queen's gaze seems perfectly capable of piercing the blackness as it sets on the shambling mass of robes.
One supposes that succubi do have darkvision, after all.
"What the fuck?!"
Apparently caught off-guard, the succubus is also caught on night-vision camera using language she'd normally refrain from. Her expression shifts mercurially, within moments changing from a placid almost-smile to a blank bemused stare to a scowl.
"YOU shouldn't be here!" she declares, as though the robed figure were the interloper in /her/ domain - an attitude not exactly alien to the self-styled monarch. She hops forward, clearing the end of the trapped tiles with a final leap to land on the smooth stone floor beyond and scattering a cloud of dust around her shins before whirling back toward the intruder with indignation, planting her hands on her hips.
"Nobody else should even know about this place! You - did you follow me here, or are you some kind of mummy? I don't take kindly to grave robbers!"
What, exactly, Lyraelle intended to do in the tomb that was more noble than grave robbery isn't quite clear - especially as it appears that she was making her way to some kind of sarcophagus at the far end, too covered in dust to yet discern the style of its decoration. Whoever or whatever it may belong to, there's a plentiful amount of ancient treasure around it, including coins and various works of art in different precious metals - though it looks as if it was once a much larger burial hoard, having been partially looted at some earlier point in history.
"Identify yourself, or I'm gonna use you as a featherduster!"
The head beneath the coiled scarves tilts, shifting to track the bouncy succubi's progress forward off of the tiles. Whatever he might be, his camera work is perfect, hand gliding sideways to keep her squarely in frame despite him not even looking through the viewer.
"Should I not?"
Which 'should' he is responding to is difficult to tell, but the tone behind the quiet murmur is not. Quietly amused, playful in a way that is both fond and patronizing. Certainly not the tone a stranger should use when addressing a queen, but not openly mocking either.
"Follow you? No, not at all. I was here first, and the lure of worldly desires hold no sway over one as old as I."
Stepping further along the 2 foot ledge of decorative carvings, the drifting mass of rags and robes parallels Lyraelle toward the back of the chamber, the dusty floor a good 7 feet below him, ceiling a foot or so over his head. The decorative ledge runs all the way around the room, molded into the top of arched tunnels that vanish further in, and forming the floor of smaller rectangular passages high up in the walls, most of which would be hidden to an eye less adapted to the dark.
"You have suggested a good question, however. Why is it You are here? Surely their are easier ways to obtain gold."
"Here... first." The green-eyed succubus' response is so laden with incredulity that it comes more as an accusation than a question, one slender eyebrow rising in disbelief. She's still continuing toward the sarcophagus and the burial offerings that have been left around it, but her gait is slow; wary, but unintimidated.
At least, that's the impression that she's giving off.
"In a sealed tomb full of death traps. So, what are you? Some kind of grave guardian? The current tenant?"
The demoness squats down, swiping up a single coin off of the edge of the pile and turning it over between two fingers before lightly dispersing the dust on its face with a puff of air from her luscious lips. Her tail, which had gone somewhat tense and rigid, starts to sway cat-like once more as she straightens up, turning to show the coin to the thing in the rags.
"Gold, sure. Gold coins minted back before Caesar crossed the Rubicon? Usually pretty hard to come by. I'm not in it for the money, though. I think all this belongs in a museum as much as the next spunky spelunker."
She slips her hand behind her and tucks the coin away in the snug back pocket of her shorts, giving a look that almost defies the cryptic crypt-dweller to do something about it as she does.
"Preferably /my/ museum. That's not the main reason that I'm here, though - I'm here because I like to take a personal hand in scouting the best locations for the Midnight Channel's match cards. When you're the indie contender, you've got to make up for budget with style. Like David picking the best stones to take down Goliath."
Lyraelle cocks her head to one side as she eyes the heap of hair and fabric.
"I'd ask if you've heard of the Midnight Channel, but I'm guessing you don't get good data down here. Then again..."
Her eyes narrow.
"You're not exactly speaking the language the people who built this place did, either."
Her eyes narrow further.
"Hey, is that my camera?"
"A guardian, yes. One who has been here for longer than either of you." the mysterious being confirms, words emerging in a language so ancient that most scholars can only guess at its pronunciation. It is a risk to reveal his hand so early, a calculated gamble to see if his guess is correct. As of yet he has no proof that she is what he thinks she might be, but there have been...hints.
Coming parallel with the sassy girl's posing form, the ragged creature peers at her through layers of scarf and drifts of hair, white eyes blank and unreadable within the shadows of his clothing. They are not the eyes of a mortal, but that much was obvious from the start. They do not burn with energy, however, nor does the figure put off any particular vibe of malice.
"This?" the being asks in English once more, blank stare dropping briefly toward the camera that has caught every saunter, bounce, bend and curse of the sultry sorceress. "Such an interesting creation. I will be borrowing it for the time being."
"But, ahh." gaze returning to Lyraelle and her flicking tail, "That is not so important. I am aware of the Midnight Channel, and what it does. So curious that one who is not interested in gold would choose to run such a business. Curious indeed."
The camera isn't attached to a live stream, at least - the 'unboxing' of the tomb was always meant for a special documentary, something to be edited and prepared for some exclusive audience - perhaps a Patreon bonus, or extra content for the Midnight Channel, or, as is looking ever more likely, footage for Lyraelle's personal archives - if she can ever get the camera back.
Still, whether or not the footage may ever see the light of day - literally, at this juncture - the succubus seems to have a certain instinctive awareness of the fact that she's on camera, shifting from pose to pose with an air of enticement that one can only assume is more for some future audience than the mysterious guardian in the tomb. Her hands rest on her hips as she faces the guardian directly.
What comes next would almost certainly confirm for whatever future audience should view the footage that, like most reality television, this is less documentary than orchestrated cinema.
"'Either of us,'" the succubus says in the same tongue that the ragged guardian speaks. "There's only one of me here, and it goes without saying; after all, I'm younger and prettier than you."
To most, it would be unintelligible, and yet as with the guardian, it's spoken with the same native precision and inflection, with minimal allowances for the demon girl's own accent.
She punctuates the words with a wink.
"Don't get me wrong, handsome. I'm into shiny things - but I certainly don't have to stoop to robbing the dead to make ends meet. There are sooo many lovely minions willing to support what I do; I just want to make them as happy as they make me."
She tilts her head, smiles, and makes a V with her fingers next to her horns, looking right at the camera and winking as she does so.
There's no doubt about it; she knows her audience, even when there is no audience.
"Is that why you're here?" she asks, suddenly straightening and placing her fingers nearly over her lips, eyes widening with dramatized realisation. "This is definitely the furthest anyone's ever gone to try and get a one on one with me! Honestly, it's pretty flattering."
"Flattered appreciation is the correct response for my arrival," the guardian confirms, words soft and dusty. "Unfortunately, so few respect the old ways, and those who do have mostly gone mad."
Though the demoness has denied the truth between them, internally the stranger is certain his guess is right. The native response, that playful wink. Even this much gives him plenty to consider. But perhaps he can get a little more.
Balanced effortlessly in one hand, the camera is adjusted slightly then zoomed to get a perfect framed shot of Lyraelle's trademark pose, lips curved into a glowing smile and fingers spread beside her horns. As the zoom draws back the perspective shifts angles, retreating to a full body shot as the one operating it lowers himself into a graceful sit.
Having folded himself into a cross-legged lotus beneath the concealing shroud of his robes, the mysterious figure maintains that position on the relatively narrow ledge, shifting the camera to a balanced hover upon the tips of his right fingers.
"It is the nature of a queen to crave admiration from her supplicants, and the mark of a good ruler to provide that which their people crave. And yet..."
Cloth rustles as the being's head tilts in the other direction, face turning half away to focus just one of those milky eyes on her through a gap in his scarves. Around it she can just make out weathered brown skin and white lashes, though perhaps less wrinkles than she might expect.
"Death matches. Places of power. The pull of external forces you could not fully understand. You play a dangerous game, young queen, and I am curious if you understand just how dangerous."
As the thing in the layers of cloth speaks, the young succubus steps over to the edge of the sarcophagus, sweeping her hand along the edge of the stone container to scoop away the dust settled on top of it before bending down low to level her lips with the lid and blow the rest away in a billowing cloud, showing off a strong set of lungs in addition to her other assets. Turning around, she plops her bottom down on the edge of the grave box and rests her hands on the smooth surface, now shown to be sculpted with the shape of some ancient warrior in Macedonian armour - presumably, an image of the figure once held by whatever remains lie within. She folds one leg casually across the other.
"Has anyone really died in those death matches, though? I'm pretty sure that I could call up any of them for a chat right now. I hope you're not just here to try and get the recipe for the secret sauce I've been using to spice things up."
Her ponytail sways, nearly touching the sarcophagus as she leans back and looks up at the seated guardian with a faint pout on her lips.
"And I'm sure that I don't know what external forces you think are pulling. I mean, aside from the usual ones; that's just something you make peace with as a girl who likes to dress up on the internet."
She smirks knowingly.
"Speaking of which, obviously I know that I'm playing a dangerous game - I've dressed for the part, after all," she says, indicating her outfit with a gesture that starts at her chest before moving down to her shorts. "My question is, what game is it that you think that I'm playing?"
She bats her eyelashes as her green eyes linger on the guardian for a moment before flitting down to the camera. While the camera isn't able to catch it, there's a sense of infernal energy that the guardian might feel building, like a gun loading, both barrels resting pensively on the recording equipment.
"You made the mistake of choosing an honorable man." the figure points out dryly, calmly dismissive of the succubi's attempt to down play the fatal nature of those matches. "Unfortunately, this - sauce - is not quite so secret as you think. Using it puts you in the eyes of dangerous forces. You thinking it is unknown to others leads me to believe you do not know how exposed you are."
With how dry and patient the response is, it is difficult to tell whether he is matching her banter for banter or simply stumbling into innuendo while hers fly over his shrouded head. If it is a dry wit it works, and if it isn't, well, he's surely wandered into a territory he is wholly unprepared for.
Having tracked Lyraelle's grand reveal of the ancient sarcophagus lid, as well as the flirty show that followed, the camera now tracks up and away from where she sits pouting up at it, taking in the walls and ceiling with methodical slowness. It remains blissfully unaware of the danger it is in, happy to go about its job recording everything its unblinking eye sees.
"By bringing the realms closer together with your constant tampering, you have become a player in the fates of both. Think of it as paddling out into a river in a canoe, only to find you have been swept out to sea. Now your boat which had been so suited to your task is far too small and fragile. There are others that sail those waters in grand ships, but to enjoy their safety you must join the crew, or take one for yourself. Do you understand?"
For the time being the hand holding the camera remains rock steady, fingers moving with easy confidence to guide the shot back down the wall and onto the lovely sorceress. However, unlike the happy little device, the one holding it is in no way ignorant of the danger pointed at it. For the time being he does not need to respond, but there is a sense that he is paying closer attention, a sharpening of the eye behind the mask.
If what the guardian is revealing to her is news to Lyraelle, she's not showing it. That invisible, simmering heat behind her emerald eyes remains such - felt only from a distance, the threat yet to manifest. For now, the camera continues to record, the hidden factors in the Demon Queen's calculations apparently adding up to an acceptable sum for the present.
"So, what you're getting at is that I'm playing some new Uncharted Waters adventure game, and you're... what, the tutorial bird?"
She looks askance with a smirk, ponytail swishing, before looking back toward the ragged heap.
"Well, what can I say? I've always wanted to be a Pirate Queen. Like that one girl, with the submarine? Totally kawaii. I mean, I'd definitely go for the blouse and leather pants look..."
In a moment of sheer egocentrism, Lyraelle seems lost in a fantasy about herself, a grin on her lips and distant look in her eyes. After a moment, they flit back toward the guardian.
"So, are you gonna come down here and really get to know me, or what? I think this conversation could get a lot more interesting with the camera off..."
As intensely suggestive and playful as the hell-maiden's low tones and the glint in her eye may be, there's also something vaguely predatory seeping into her demeanour, like a cat that thinks it's found a mouse.
"Join you?" the sentient pile of rags asks with the barest hint of amusement, "You would not like the consequences."
Glancing down toward the camera for a second time, he considers it and what it represents, allowing a moment to stretch between himself and the eager queen. He is not watching as she looks away, but the camera is. The camera is always watching.
"My understanding of, games, is limited. But if you like, consider me to be the starting pistol."
Leaving Lyraelle to draw her own conclusions, the dusty guardian reaches over and calmly deactivates the camera. Legs unfold beneath his robes and he stands with effortless grace, turning the object side-on to the succubi so she can get a good look.
"A lesson, from the very old, to the very young." he murmurs, milky eyes remaining focused on the device. "I hold in my hand the only surviving record that this tomb exists. With no more effort than a thought I could destroy it. In a single moment this grand tomb could return to total obscurity, left to fade away into the darkness of the past. Dead, and forgotten."
A soft, gleeful chuckle drifts from deep within the rags then, pale eyes closing as the creature enjoys whatever thought has suddenly tickled him. It does not last long, a short three chortles of sandy pleasure that fade away into a long, dusty breath. The blank eyes open once more, focus upon Lyraelle's beautiful face with unreadable indifference.
"Of course, the same penalty can befall the living. Not only death, but total obscurity. Gone, and forgotten. More gods have been forgotten than are remembered."
Lifting the camera in a soft gesture toward the succubus, the guardian begins to turn away toward a nearby rectangle of darkness, indifferent.
The seductive lounging on Lyraelle's part, a trap far more obvious than the many that fill the tomb, doesn't manage to bait the guardian in - as expected. The succubus queen rolls over, up onto her hands and knees on the sarcophagus, her tail swaying in the air behind her. There's something very feline about her; from her predatory, yet playful pose to the way that her green eyes gleam in the darkness as they focus intently on the robed figure.
Something behind them seems to change, subtly, at the mention of the possibility of fading into utter obscurity. In that moment, two minds become one, and in unity, they decide to act.
"You can't just leave me on that note, old man. I'm not satisfied yet~"
And then, with startling speed, the honey-tongued hell-maiden pounces, launching herself off of the sarcophagus and up through the gloom in an attempt to tackle the elder guardian to the stone floor and pin him down.
COMBATSYS: Raiden has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle has joined the fight here.
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Raiden 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Lyraelle
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle successfully hits Raiden with Power Throw.
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Raiden 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Lyraelle
The guardian has time for a single step into the narrow corridor behind him before Lyraelle announces her intentions. Whether the attack surprises the being is difficult to say, for as fast as she is she still has plenty of time to see the figure slow to a halt and drop his head forward in a posture of somber exasperation.
Half a breath later the succubi's ample front crashes into the guardian's back, small hands latching on as they are flung forward to the ground. It is in that moment between falling and impact that the elder acts, right hand flicking upward in a casual motion that sends the camera rising smoothly toward the ceiling. That done, the being accelerates his forward fall by bending at the waist, impacting the floor shoulder first and rolling to send his pretty passenger diving forward over his body toward the stone floor beyond. It is a slick maneuver, oiled and practiced as any martial arts master.
Ending the forward roll with his heels beneath him, the flowing mess of rags comes easily to his feet, rising up behind the succubus with his wrapped feet planted between her knees. From there it is an easy enough thing to snap his left hand out for her tail, attempting to close surprisingly strong fingers around the tip and use it to jerk her backward to her feet, wings and shoulder blades crashing into his chest a moment before his right hand sweeps up and delivers a one-palmed clap to her pointed ear, driving her sideways to try and bounce the other side of her head roughly off the wall. If he can ring her bell, his foot will lash out and stomp on the back of her left knee, buckling it to the floor and planting there to keep her kneeling in place while his left hand keeps an easy grip on her tail.
So fluid and continuous is this series of movements that the rag-clad figure has time to extend his right hand out to his side and allow the camera to land lightly in his palm. The final and most humiliating step of the combination comes immediately after, when he swings his right foot up in an attempt to snag one wing out of the air and drive it toward the floor, toppling her over sideways and holding her pinned beneath his spread feet.
There are no words.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle blocks Raiden's Kombo.
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Raiden 0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0 Lyraelle
The succubus skips off of the guardian's back, landing in a wide-legged crouch with the fingertips of her left hand splayed against the stone, working in tandem with her boots to slow her skid across the dusty surface.
"Ooh, pretty spry for your age," she says with a look over her shoulder, grinning with mischief. In the culmination of a coy conversation between two cagey characters, it seems that the guardian has perhaps outplayed the she-fiend too well; the same feline curiousity that is the undoing of many a cat has drawn the queen to call the rag-man's bluff.
Playtime has been initiated.
The tail is grabbed, pulling the succubus hips-first up onto her feet with a cry.
The prehensile, rubbery appendage writhes defiantly in the guardian's grasp, but it's not trying to simply slip free - it seems as though it's trying to slither around the wrist that's holding it. It certainly seems to have a will of its own.
The hand comes up and claps the hellish royal's right ear, driving her against the wall, but she manages to brace the impact by planting her palm against it, resulting in just the tip of one of her black horns smacking into the stone. Nevertheless, the stomp against the back of her knee does manage to force her down onto it, at least for the moment. With her faculties still functional, though, the pinning of her wing by the guardian's other foot is less than fully secure.
"Mmm, that was smooth. Either you've been getting creative, or I'm not the first demon lady you've put in this position," the fell temptress taunts from her submissive position, turning her head over her shoulder and batting her eyelashes - as the green irises suddenly ignite with a viridian glow, a split second before her literally-smouldering gaze sends a pair of burning streaks through the stale air toward the ragged guardian, threatening to scorch him or, at the least, force him onto the back foot and off of hers.
COMBATSYS: Raiden blocks Lyraelle's Balefire Gaze.
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Raiden 0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0 Lyraelle
The thing about true immortals is, they've been around for a very, very long time.
"You are not my first." comes the dry response, the guardian's blank white eyes peering down into Lyraelle's with cool indifference. It's a shame the camera isn't still running, as many men would literally kill to be in the position the figure finds himself in. But to him? Well, this is just another Tuesday. If his hands are occupied he will use his feet, and if his feet are occupied, well, there are always other options.
A lesson the succubus herself seems to have learned, judging by the sudden brightening of her playful gaze.
Releasing his grip on her writhing tail, he steps off of her calf and plants his heel on the base of the squirmy appendage, pinning it down between his foot and her khaki-clad bum. This frees up his empty hand to reach down and block the twin lasers of her hateful stare, wraps smoldering as he contains the baleful energy neatly within his palm.
"I think you should stop." he suggests, the last of the Viridian energy roiling away to reveal patches of weathered skin through holes in his smoldering rags. It doesn't seem like the attack did much more than distracting him, and even that only for a moment.
Reaching down the rest of the way, he attempts to take hold of the pink-haired demon's left horn, pulling sharply upward even as he steps off of her rump and wing. With raw strength that belies the lean build under his rags, the guardian attempts to haul her up to her feet and twist her around to face the opening of the narrow passage, the two of them briefly standing very close. A neat side step caries him fully behind her, and a moment later she feels a wrapped foot bracing against her rump to try and thrust her flying back out into open air...
COMBATSYS: Raiden knocks away Lyraelle with Front Throw ES.
- Power hit! -
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Raiden 0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1 Lyraelle
As the demoness is launched back out into the main chamber, a glance over her shoulder would reveal the rag-clad man turning away, quiet steps carrying him deeper into the pitch blackness beyond.
Considering the disadvantage that the dusty guardian holds in terms of available appendages compared to the demon queen, he's handling the situation pretty well. Her gaze forces his hand off of her tail (to the seeming displeasure of the thing, given the way that it tries to pursue his arm once released), but his foot is soon pinning it against her backside instead, causing it to twitch (the tail, not the succubus' backside).
"Maybe I will, if you can remember the safeword," Lyraelle sing-songs back in retort to the aged entity's assertion that she should stop. "Besides, if you can handle a little heat... I think there's still a lot of fun to be ha-aaahhhh!"
The pink-haired hellion is hauled up to her feet and twisted around by the horn. Her tail's natural inclination to lunge for the ragged man's leg proves detrimental - she attempts to sidestep, but the renegade appendage actually pulls her backside with it, positioning her posterior perfectly for the wrapped foot to push squarely between her hips and send her flying back into the chamber.
The demoness flies haplessly through a tangled, long-abandoned colony of spiderwebs before smacking face-first into a low-hanging triangular protrusion descending from the ceiling like a man-made stalactite.
"Who even /puts/ those things there?" Lyraelle laments as she pulls away, wings beating to keep her aloft as she rubs her reddening cheeks with each hand.
Turning around to see the guardian once more moving to depart, she glowers. Playful as she may be, the succubus is a creature of the deadliest sins - and with her Pride knocked temporarily out of commission, Wrath steps up to the plate to pinch hit.
"You stay right there, mister!!"
Regressing from composed queen to petulant princess, the she-demon whips around, wings flapping hard as she tilts down into a dive toward the departing defender.
"We're not done -playing- yet!"
By the time that she's sailed back into the passage, gracefully tucking her wings to slip through the narrow entryway, the demonette has built up a tremendous amount of speed.
And, in a move that may be curious if not expected, depending on how closely the guardian has studied Demon Queen Lyraelle's attack patterns, she apparently intends to weaponize that speed by folding her wings and turning around in the air - then attempting to crash into the ragged man rear-end-first, intent on knocking him down and pinning him either beneath her or against the wall using her demonic derriere.
If she manages to do so, her tail will make yet another attempt on his person - attempting to coil around the nearest available limb and squeeze, to pin and siphon and taste whatever power the apparent immortal might be hiding - and sate that cat-killing curiousity, whatever the consequences may be...
COMBATSYS: Raiden blocks Lyraelle's Royal Requisition - Dark Queen's Throne.
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Raiden 0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\-------\0 Lyraelle
The thoughtful hum of the guardian echoes ahead of him through the dusty passageway even as the succubus closes in from behind. In one sense, her persistence is a good sign. It shows strong will of a sort, and a willingness to put herself in harms way.
On the other hand, not having the good sense to recognize when she's beaten is horribly inconvenient in the moment. But such is the beauty of mortals. Even if they have another riding their back.
To Lyraelle's eyes, the elder's turn is slow, almost considerate. Turning casually about to face her, he watches as her wings are pulled in tight, lithe form twisting through the air to present her heart-shaped weapon. Were she able to see him, her pride might be further stung by the utter lack of interest in his milky eyes, the being considering the oncoming attack only for what it is: a problem.
Left hand coming up from his side, he plants it firmly against the bottom slope of her backside, torn cloth tickling the back of her bare thigh. Fingers curling around the curve of her leg, he lifts up even as his body drops, left knee striking the stone. From there it is easy to guide her flight cleanly over his head, fingers releasing just moments before her rear cheeks smack the stone wall at full speed. However, despite all that her ever-curious tail does manage to lash down and curl tightly around his forearm, the greedy appendage tugging hungrily at the power contained within its prey.
And getting nothing.
Whatever this creature is, it rejects the sucking pull of her tail with blunt pressure, knocking the questing fingers of her soul roughly back into her own body. So fierce is the rejection that it is still vibrating between them when the faintest rumble tickles the tips of the succubus's ears, the stones beneath her bare skin trembling beneath the power of some distant, horrible sound.
All at once, the guardian kneeling beneath her feels, larger somehow. Where once his presence was tucked away, utterly neutral and impassive, there is the sense of something enormous stirring, the weight of its attention turning toward her even as the cloaked being lifts his bowed head to stare coolly up into her pale face.
"Enough." he commands, that single word holding more focused menace than a mountain of standard threats. Lowering the camera gently to the ground, he turns his other arm over and clamps his fingers around the coiled length of her tail, attempting to prevent any kind of escape.
Only then does the ragged man stand, dragging Lyraelle's tail up with him. Moving with liquid grace, he drives his now cameraless hand toward her chin in a vicious uppercut...
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle parries Raiden's Krushing Blow!
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Raiden 0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\-------\1 Lyraelle
The demonoid lady-missile can feel herself make contact - briefly - before her rear end is redirected to smack into the wall of the passage at high speed. Luckily, her posterior seems prepared for the punishment; she scarcely flinches, only momentarily shutting one eye at the collision. She smirks - the tail has caught its prey, and that's the important thing - but the smirk quickly fades as the fierce rejection of the being's aura denies the covetous queen the taste of its essence. Her ears prick at the distant sensation, the synapses beneath her skin lighting up as the guardian's true nature begins to reveal itself.
The green in Lyraelle's eyes is wildly alight with manic desire. Try as he might, the guardian's attempts to quell the hellionette's hubris only seem to further expose the bottomless well of envy within her. It's in her nature to come, to see, and to conquer - not necessarily in that order.
Unfortunately, she isn't learning her lesson yet.
The tail looses from the guardian's grip a moment before the hand can drive into Lyraelle's chin, a lightning-fast spin freeing her and placing her behind the immortal and leaving the devastating fist to smash into the stone -
- obliterating the outer layer, a network of spiderweb fractures instantly splitting the wall into thousands of shards that clatter to the passage floor with a calamitous crashing sound.
Lyraelle persists in not learning her lesson, for where others might see a narrow escape from a world of pain, the Demon Queen only sees a power that she wants.
"Oh, lovely~" the succubus says with an almost-sighing sound as she flaps her wings to lift off the floor, "You're not holding back for me anymore!"
With that, she darts at the guardian, attempting to catch hold of any part of the being that she can. If she manages, then, with raw supernatural might, she'll attempt to swing around and slam him into the wall before spinning around, her foot igniting with infernal flame as she attempts to kick him against the stone surface.
There's another power beyond the wicked flame gathering in that foot - one that, should she find any purchase against immortal flesh or immortal stone, would be unleashed with a crackle of thunder and a burst of primal electricity...
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle issues a challenge!!
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Raiden 0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\-------\1 Lyraelle
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle successfully hits Raiden with Fell Swoop EX.
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Raiden 0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Lyraelle
A single white-hot pulse of frustration blooms within the being as its fist meets only stone, ancient knuckles holding where the element does not. Before his blank eyes stretch the ever-changing strands of fate, webs of circumstance that warn him of what might happen if he were to reveal himself too early.
And yet, that tone. The taunting playful mania, something in it touches a part of him that burns to quiet it. A part that he is just able to control.
Jerking his hand free of the wall, he pushes off from the floor in a alluringly quick side step, preternatural reflexes warning him as the flapping succubus sighs her pleasure. For having shown no particular special powers of his own the aged guardian is fast, but despite his speed her eager hands tangle in layers of cloth and hair, pulling him up short.
"Hmph." is all the figure has time to grunt before he is yanked backward off of his feet in a manner not dissimilar to how he treated her earlier, lean form whipped through the air to slam shoulder-first into an unbroken section of stone.
Rebounding off of the wall, the ragged figure whirls on the spot, coming face to flame with her oncoming leg. Dodging backward, he just manages to avoid taking a boot to the nose, the flaming kick ploughing squarely into his chest and driving him back against the wall, followed immediately after by the booming surge of raw, primal energy.
And that's when things get strange.
Though the infernal flames seem to take hold much as they did before, the lightning that follows strike's the creature's body and dances across it without touching cloth or skin. Rags smoldering away to reveal further flashes of tanned skin beneath, the white-haired creature fixes its hard gaze upon the greedy demoness's face and brings the will of uncountable millennia crashing down upon her pink-haired head. Suddenly the corridor seems far too small, the elder being much too close.
Lightning still dancing across his body, the ancient being tilts its head, once more seeming almost, amused? With how close she has crowded him, that look might not be altogether pleasant to see.
"Is that so?"
Zapping and crackling with barely contained power, the primal chi snaps along his body to gather in a buzzing halo around his left hand, its bluish light sending insane shadows spasming across the walls. Shrugging away from the stones, outfit torn and burning, he reaches up to grab the clingy succubus and release his hold on the power, there being more than enough of it to surge through her scantily clad form and blast her backward across the narrow tunnel to smash hard into the wall behind.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle endures Raiden's Back Throw!
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Raiden 1/-----==/=======|=======\======-\1 Lyraelle
The threatening crackle of primal chi commandeered by the guardian draws Lyraelle's gaze as she holds her leg extended against his chest. Her green eyes flash blue in the overwhelming brilliance; the sheer power of a being able to domineer such energy (borrowed as it may be), along with the overbearing gravitas emanating from the steadily unveiled entity, lay bare the danger of the situation that the pink-haired hell-maiden now finds herself confronted with.
The guardian breaks free, his hand pressing against her chest through the cotton fabric of her tank top.
And, in a telling exposition of the twisted depths of her psyche, Lyraelle's lips spread into a pearly gri-
The expression doesn't have time to take hold before the thunderous discharge sends the succubus flying back into the fractured wall opposite, wings smashing into it first, quickly followed by her horned head and back. The electrical continues to buzz through the demoness' body as her outer clothing catches fire, a cleavage window smouldering through her tank top where the guardian's hand pressed previously before the blackened garment falls to pieces completely - as do her shorts. Within seconds, she's down to a miraculously-spared pair of purple thong panties, matching brassiere and socks, her boots, shorts and tank all in a pile at her feet.
A shudder runs through the demoness as she closes her eyes - though whether it's from the electrical aftershock lingering or something else is hard to tell. She opens her eyes again.
Now unfettered and possibly unhinged, Lyraelle rises to the escalation - lunging back across the narrow passageway sidelong, attempting to smash the point of her elbow into the elder's chest with another crackling discharge of that same primal chi in spite of his seeming immunity to its effects. She'll then try to follow up the opening attack by reaching for the guardian's arm to try and pull him into a doubled-over position before lifting one of her now-bare legs up scandalously high before hooking it over the being's back and under his other arm, positioning the back of his head underneath her hips and between her thighs - so that her serpentine tail has another chance to slither down and attempt to wrap around his neck, tightening in a way that would constrict the breathing of any mortal man and attempting once more to draw forth the being's essence with even greater vigor and audacity.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle successfully hits Raiden with Royal Prerogative - Covetous Clutch.
~~ Alluring Hit! ~~
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Raiden 1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Lyraelle
Rather than fading, the aura of power emanating from the guardian seems to grow stronger with every passing moment. Though the last of his gathered charge sizzles away with the ashes of Lyraelle's clothing, When her green eyes next open she can tell that something has changed. There is a shift happening beneath those rags, one that is much more dangerous than the sort she usually gets when a man sees her in this state.
Does he have more?
A quick lean to one side slips the sparking elbow spiking in toward his chest, blow blazing across cloth as it threads the gap between torso and arm. The grabby hand that follows meets that of the guardian as he reaches up to intercept it, fingers lacing through hers as she jerks him forward toward the loving embrace of her bottom half.
In a similar maneuver to the start of their tussle, the elder harnesses the forward momentum and accelerates it. What might have been a bowing stumble is instead converted into a forward roll, shoulders and back brushing between the inner curves of her thighs as they close behind him, catching hair, robes, and her own wrist as he drags her hand through behind him.
It seems as if he might have escaped the maneuver entirely, right up until her lashing tail comes whistling down to snap firmly around his throat. Catching the elusive creature firmly in her grasp, she begins to pull, to claw even more greedily at the force that had so recently rebuked her. And this time, it's different. Where once there had been nothing, a blank wall of obscuring indifference, now there is a lone spark of sizzling power. Perhaps a leftover bolt from her original attack? Or maybe something he managed to scavenge from the elbow strike he was just able to dodge. Wherever he got it, the sizzling bolt rushes forth to meet her, sending tingles of power shivering out from the base of her spine as her tail draws the energy in.
Caught hunched on one knee behind the pale curve of the demoness's barely covered hips, the guardian pushes himself slowly to his feet as what she initially mistook as a trickle of power doubles, then doubles again. A veritable river of energy rages forth at the greedy urging of her tail, sizzling down its length and spreading throughout her body in waves of nerve-sparking power.
Twisting his fingers free of their clasped hold, the being finishes climbing to his feet and turns about to face her bare back, the coarse fabric of his rags sliding free of her gripping thighs and falling to drift lightly around him on currents of snapping static.
"You wish to see?" comes the quiet voice of the guardian, though where once it was dry and dusty it now crackles softly with barely contained power. "Very well. I'll show you."
Left hand lifting to close gently around her tail just below where it grips him, he reaches out with the other to slip his fingers beneath her pink braid and grab her firmly by the back of the neck. Shoving her forward toward the wall, he attempts to pin her there, face and chest crushed into the unforgiving surface.
The river broadens into an ocean. The ocean into a planet, and the planet into a galaxy. Having attached herself to the divine conduit of the storm itself, she gets a brief glimpse of the immensity of the god, an entire realm of energy funneled down into a man-shaped vessel, power given limits and rules merely to exist on the same plane of existence.
The god stirs, and its attention falls on her, gazing at her through the link she has forged with it.
The wall beneath Lyraelle shivers and quakes as a single peal of thunder rips open the sky beyond the tomb, shaking the place to its foundation.
"Let us hope, we do not have to meet again."
That said, Lord Raiden calls upon his power for the first time, a current of energy rushing into him from the other place and gathering around the hand that still grips her tail. Bluish white light fills the hallway with the intensity of the noon day sun, banishing all shadows as he releases the stream of gathered lightning down the length of her tail, feeding it to her in a raging stream that would reduce a lesser being instantly to ash.
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle fails to interrupt Heavenly Hand from Raiden with Royal Requisition - Dark Queen's Throne.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Lyraelle can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
The tail seizes hold, and the demoness drinks - finally finding that taste of power. It's familiar, somehow, and so is the urge to gorge, the sensation first a tingle, then surging thunder through her veins. She had resisted, before - repulsed by the compulsion and the danger. She hadn't known what to expect, then.
This time, though, there is no internal conflict - just a reckless ambition to test the limits of what borrowed power her demonic body might be able to contain.
"Yesss," Lyraelle groans in response to the guardian's question, uncaring whether it was rhetorical. She's seized by the tail and neck, shoved forward so that her cheek and chest press roughly against the cold stone, offering little resistance. Cut off briefly from the power source, it seems that the demoness can think of little more than re-establishing that connection, regardless of the context.
Sensing the rise of the pure power once more, the foreign electricity that has come to inhabit the succubus in her more violent moments surges in kind. And as the God of Thunder allows his full power to be felt through her tail, the succubus thrusts her hips back - a wild attempt to wrest control of the situation, not to escape, but to dominate, her royal hubris flaring as the clashing thunders rock her frame. Before she can try to force herself on the ancient guardian one more time, though, she loses control completely - the electricity overwhelms her as she lets out a cry, the power exploding through the passageway and driving her back into the wall. Her fingers trail dark marks down the surface as she collapses, slumping forward completely, her face against the wall and knees barely propping her up. Her entire body twitches, arcs of electricity running through her and smoke rising off of what little remains to protect her modesty - completely spent, like an addict that's just had the biggest hit of their existence.
While a typical mortal might be nothing but ash themselves, the Demon Queen remains, her only motion the involuntary convulsions and her shallow breathing. There's no telling how long it could take for the demoness to recover.
And yet, despite her vacant stare, she almost looks like she could be smiling.
Only once the primal force within her has been overwhelmed and her own mind blasted into a mess of randomly firing synapses does The light in the corridor begin to dim. Releasing his hold on the succubus, Raiden allows her to slide down the wall onto her face and knees, gazing down at her smoking body as residual bolts of lightning jump and sizzle across the rags of his tattered clothing.
"When a god speaks," he murmurs, the blazing light of his eyes beginning to dim toward the milky blankness of his disguise, "heed him."
The last of the light leaves the smoke-filled corridor, lightning vanishing into the Lord of Thunder as if it were never there. Leaving his opponent mostly naked and smoldering on the ground, he steps quietly down the corridor and stoops to retrieve the miraculously undamaged camera, drifting form vanishing into the darkness of the tomb without a backward glance. It will be some time before her minions wake, and even longer before they will be able to find her, but she will leave this place a much wiser demon. Or, at the very least, a well satisfied one.
COMBATSYS: Raiden has ended the fight here.
Log created on 16:38:53 03/28/2021 by Raiden, and last modified on 22:02:21 04/01/2021.