The Descent - Round 1 - Dying To Live

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Description: Together in Japan's Ruined Temple, a man who cannot die and a woman who can hardly bear the thought of living are afforded an opportunity to seek common accord through the language of violence.

There exists throughout the world places where the veil between mortal existence and whatever unknown lies beyond has been damaged or worn thin. Places forever scarred by a history of extreme violence and death, or locations damned by sacrilege so severe that the ground itself is stained with transgression for generations to come. It is fitting, perhaps, that The Revenant Queen has selected such blighted locations as the venues of her most dangerous game.

The history of this ruined temple in a rural, remote area of Japan exemplifies the dark nature of the Queen's preferences. The site has been abandoned for decades and to stand in this place is to bath in the lingering evil that permeates the air around it. The main structure, a dilapidated wooden temple, continues to stand in spite the ravages of time, as if in defiance to the cycles of nature that that would seek to reclaim this place and erase such a blemish from the land. A wooden sign, crooked and barely attached over the main entrance, bears the carefully etched message:

'Enter those who suffer, and within you shall find peace.'

But there is no peace to be found within or without. Stone grave markers, cracked, broken, and toppled are found within the courtyard in front of the temple, and long-dead trees line the perimeter. A square stone brick edifice with rotting, wooden scaffolding once housed the large metal bell that sits half-sunken in the mud several meters from it, and several crows perch on the beams beneath what little cover the nearly collapsed roof affords.

The dark energy in the air is hardly helped by the weather. Overhead, the sky has taken on an unnatural dark crimson hue beneath a thick layer of dark storm clouds. In the distance, thunder cracks and lightning flashes, heralding a the pending deluge, and occasionally the splash of a large rain drop can be heard landing in one of the murky pools of water covering the uneven surface of the courtyard. It won't be long now before the storm pours.

Into this place, a column of inky black substance surges up out of the ground, looking almost like a plume of dark smoke but too thick, too opaque to simply be that. It rises up to roughly two meters in height, bubbling and expanding at the base as well, before it bursts into a spray of oily liquid and mist. As thick droplets of the unctuous matter splatter back down around the ground, a slender figure has appeared from the center of it.

A young woman hovers, her head bowed, the toes of her feet mere inches from the courtyard's surface. Long violet hair flows down from her head, with two long locks framing her face and falling down to the level of her midriff, and the rest of her voluminous hair bound by a golden ring into a long, open ponytail that falls to the back of her thighs. A two-piece dress of a white, backless top and short crimson skirt tied just beneath chest level cover her frame and near-black violet stockings cover her legs up to her thighs where they end in golden bands. The collar of her top is folded right over left, after the manner of burial robes. Her sleeves are detached, covering only from her elbow down, an inner layer of white and gold, and and a long, trailing, outer covering of dark violet that matches her stockings.

The young woman's head is bowed, her eyes closed, her arms at rest against her sides as she hovers in place. And behind her back, a three golden triangular relics with purple gemstones orbit in a triangular formation, a golden ring of luminescent energy linking through the base of all three. A long light purple decorative horn projects over her forehead, attached to a golden ring that encircles her head beneath her hair.

Slowly, the young woman's head lifts and her arms raise slightly from her sides, her hands hanging limp at the wrists, moving more as if the limbs were being pulled up by an unseen puppeteer's strings than moved by muscle. Izanami's crimson eyes open, her irises bearing black concentric circles in place of a human pupil. And as she awakens, shadows beneath the red sky begin to move along the ground, taking on a life of their own. Dark shapes shift near the tombstones, only ever there at the corner of one's eyes. An energy builds throughout the site of ruin, as if a new unlife was being breathed into this abandoned blight.

The world knows her as the Imperator Librarius of the Novus Orbis Librarius. But those who have been around far too long, who have seen far too much of this world, would know immediately that the creature appearing in this profaned venue is no human. The body itself, while clearly supernatural, bears no aura of antiquity - it seems to be of more recent make. But the presence housed within is another matter all together.

COMBATSYS: Izanami has started a fight here.

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Izanami          0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Raven has joined the fight here.

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Izanami          0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Raven

'Seek the Descent. Seek supremacy. Seek your place among the legends of tomorrow.'

It was a message sent to many legends and prodigies throughout the world of warriors; an invitation to the sort of battle that often comes once in a lifetime.

Or, at least, the average human lifetime.

To someone such as Raven - whose real name had been lost in the sands of time centuries ago, and who had witnessed similar events in his countless years - it was not as novel a proposition as it was to the more youthful fighters that made up this era's greatest combatants... but it was an interesting one, all the same.

Certainly, it was not one he could ignore. He found himself so very, very bored these days.

And so, he came here... to this ruined and cursed temple in rural Japan, a place he had been before... numerous times, in fact. It had long been his duty - albeit a self-imposed one - to observe the happenings of both worlds, the human and the ethereal. And this place had been the venue for many happenings throughout recent history, and even more before that; the energy in the air, detectable only by those with the affinity for such things, was proof enough of that.

It was dark. Oppressive. Almost electric, in a way... like an arcane and otherworldly potential still lurked in the very ground itself, waiting to be harnessed... or unleashed.

No sooner has the enigmatic and revered young woman known as Hades Izanami made her arrival, than the sound of a single bird cawing cuts through the rumbling of thunder in the distance. It seems to draw the attention of the numerous crows perched on the beams underneath the heavily-damaged roof, their necks craning towards the source of the sound as a newly arriving crow - slightly larger than the rest, but looking oddly lean and thin, almost sickly - descends towards the ground.

With the bird mere feet from touching the soil, a sudden flash of lightning bathes the area in a blinding, white burst of light. And when it fades enough so that the surroundings are visible once more, a strange, thin man crouches on the same spot that the crow had been flying towards. The individual cuts a rather strange figure, with long, lanky limbs, a midsection wrapped in bandages and an ornate - yet tattered at the ends - black cloak, with hood lifted up to cover its stark white hair... and perhaps oddest of all, one of its eyes seems to have an ancient golden coin in place of a typical iris and pupil.

From the vicinity of this bizarre creature, a voice - smooth and slow - seems to emanate out, low and quiet but, strangely, still rising far above the sounds of the approaching storm and falling raindrops.

"Ah, so, the Imperator has arrived... and so, too, has the Watcher..."

The words come out from Raven's mouth, lips barely moving as if the words themselves were simply sliding out from between them, unbidden and effortless as the breeze. He lifts one hand to his face, the long, metallic needle attached drumming against the pale skin of his cheek as he tap-tap-taps it rhythmically.

"Or... whatever they happen to be calling me these days. So many decades, so many names, it's all so... tiresome."

Though his voice sounds tired and half-asleep, there is a certain gleam in his mismatched eyes rather than the usual blank, emotionless glare. Perhaps the promise of violence from such a formidable opponent has lit a fire in his body... or at least provided enough interest to cut through the fog of ennui that generally surrounds him.

"It's been so... long... since I've had the promise of a challenge the likes of which Queen Sindel has offered. You'll forgive me if I don't waste time chatting, I hope...?"

After uttering those last words, Raven moves with a speed that seems at odds with his previously lazy, dozing demeanor. The hand that had been tapping away at his cheek flashes through the air with blinding speed, moving first towards the inside of his cloak - snatching a long needle not unlike those attached to his fingers - and then whipping out in a diagonal arc towards the ruined, patchwork ceiling.

With a flick of his wrist, the projectile is tossed not at the Imperator herself, but a point on the ground between them and to their side. Glowing red and wreathed in some bizarre energy, it strikes the ground at an angle; and rather than imbedding itself into the dirt, it ricochets off... slicing back up through the air, and towards Izanami's position.

Despite having the opportunity to take the initiative in this battle, Raven does not rush in as others might. Though he does not possess an ounce of fear in his body, he can sense what lurks beneath the surface of this strange woman... and her reputation is one that precedes her. To rush in foolishly would be to court disaster; even for a man such as Raven, who wishes for nothing more than his own demise - a thing that doesn't seem possible to achieve, despite his best efforts - he has no intention of disrespecting her ability with such a foolish gambit.

Best to play it safe... and see if the near-religious fervour which the men and women of NOL view her with is a deserved one.

COMBATSYS: Raven successfully hits Izanami with Schmerz Berg.

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Izanami          0/-------/----===|=------\-------\0            Raven

Facing the crumbled bell tower, the Imperator's crimson eyes flick to the side to follow the glance of the crows toward another that bears a sickened mockery of their form. Her lips pressed to a thin line. Without moving her head, her eyes continue to follow the approach, unblinking in the sudden flash of bright white amid so much darkness. When emaciated avian form gives way to that of the slender immortal, Izanami fixes the new arrival with a baleful stare. Hovering a few inches off the ground, she keeps her head tilted forward, eyes rolled up just slightly, giving the sense that even though her hovering only equalizes their difference in height, the Librarium leader is still somehow looking down on the one who stands before her.

She's quiet as he speaks, offering nothing so cordial as a greeting or even a nod of acknowledgment for the match that has already begun. When she has been seen on camera, encased in layers of imperial regalia, she has been seen being charismatic, charming, and even, in the right contexts, smiling. But there is no pretense here - they each know enough of each other's nature that to pretend otherwise would be folly. She offers no reply to his rhetorical question either. Given the way her brooding stare has yet to falter in the slightest, it's a wonder if she's even heard a word he's said.

Only when he makes his move, his hand an almost imperceptible blur as he produces a long needle from his cloak, that she seems to actually react, head tilting up a couple of degrees. And when he whips the projectile out, the violet-haired woman glides backward and to the left at such speed as to mortal eyes it might have looked more like a teleport between the two points.

But her anticipation of the attack's trajectory proves faulty as the needle rebounds off the ground straight for her. She does react, her left arm sweeping up and moving in a circular motion in front of her, long dark sleeve trailing behind, as if to deflect the needle, but it ends up piercing directly into and through her right shoulder where it comes to rest. A small amount of blood seeps out of the front of the wound, and a larger volume sprays out the back, falling to the dirt - far from the first blood to soak into this soil.

Her previously impassive expression registers surprise, glancing down to look at the protruding needle, as if baffled how such a thing could even happen. Her left arm reaches over, fingers clamping over the base of it, and she pulls the weapon free, letting it fall from her hand to the dirt without further consideration. The open wound left behind bleeds what seems to be normal enough looking blood, but to his eyes, he would see the mending process already at work, the blood flow slowing noticeably already.

Looking back up at him, Izanami grits her teeth in visible annoyance. "Watcher, Observer, Bystander... meddling individuals displaced from the flow of time." Her left arm slowly lowers back to her side, hand hanging limply at the wrist, as when she first appeared. "Irreverent to the promise of the grave that gives mortals their purpose... their drive."

This time when she moves it actually is to teleport - vanishing from where she levitates in a plume of that same black oily substance she had manifested from originally. Reappearing at his right side in an instant, her right hand is already slamming out, palm forward, targeting his ribcage. But it isn't the physical impact that would be most threatening - but rather the ebony necrotic power that threatens to inflict decay on any matter it comes in contact with, be it flesh or otherwise. Evading or guarding against the palm strike would not leave one safe, however, as she slides down almost as if collapsing to the ground, left knee bending while her right leg slams out toward Raven's nearest leg with a second potential dose of that dangerous energy. Only then would her left leg straighten, her body drawn back up as if pulled by strings until she is once more levitating.

"How can you have any drive at all with such a meaningless existence?" she wonders out loud in the process of attacking. His testing shot was successful for certain, but it seems now Izanami is more than eager to bring the fight to him!

COMBATSYS: Raven blocks Izanami's Thunderbolt Lance.

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Izanami          0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0            Raven

As soon as the projectile is sent through the air, the crouching man stands to his full height and begins to move. Not a frantic dash to take advantage of the diversion, as one might expect; instead, it is a slow, almost laboured affair. It seems like he's in no hurry to get anywhere, limbs hanging loose and swaying in the growing breeze of the approaching storm.

Even as his projectile ricochets off the ground and manages to catch the Imperator unprepared, there is only the slightest glimmer in his overwhelmingly exhausted expression.

Perhaps once upon a time, he would feel some satisfaction at landing the first blow against such an infamous, revered, and powerful figure; particularly one with such an arrogant and aloof demeanor as this woman possesses... but those days are gone.

There is no joy. No satisfaction. No bloodlust or anger at being so obviously looked down upon. No desire to prove her opinion of him wrong, to show the Imperator that he is her equal.

What purpose could accomplishing such a feat possibly hold for a man who has lived for nearly a thousand years? Who has experienced the highest peaks and lowest valleys of existence, for what seems like an eternity?

No. No emotion. Only vague interest, there for a moment and then gone.

Not even the look of surprise from Izanami - after the glowing metallic needle strikes home and draws blood - is enough to elicit any expression or utterance of joy or mockery from the ancient observer; merely an eyebrow raised for a fraction of a second, as he mentally notes the trajectory of her defensive motion and speed of her reactions... and the healing process, which is already at work the moment the projectile is removed from her body.

"Mmmm..." hums the mysterious man, as if a belief of his - in regards to the nature of this opponent - has just been proven correct...

And then, she speaks, as Raven continues his inexorable and glacially paced stroll towards her. Her words draw out a small upwards twitch of the man's lips, as she gives her opinion of his kind... not entirely inaccurate, as he knows many of his 'sort' who frequently interfere in events both mortal and otherwise. Even the ambivalent, apathetic creature that stands before Izanami at this ruined temple had once attempted to assist humanity in its constant struggle for survival and advancement...

...but that was long ago. He is no longer the type to involve himself, beyond that which his effortless quest for pain drives him to.


He has no time to say anything but that single word, before a pillar of viscous, black energy appears to consume the young woman.


He sounds neither surprised nor overly impressed; and when Izanami appears suddenly at his side, the previously lackadaisical man reacts with the same blinding speed he had thrown the projectile with. Her first strike is blocked, as Raven sweeps his tattered black cloak into its path... when her palm strikes the fabric, it begins to rot away from whatever bizarre power she's harnessing.

But Izanami is not satisfied with one attack, following up with a kick at his left leg that seems to radiate the same dark energy. Unable to block with his cloak a second time, Raven is forced to lower one arm towards the kick, and her leg ends up striking the metal spikes that are fastened to his index and middle fingers on that hand.

The arcane, ancient metal actually begins to corrode, as the rot caused by Izanami's strange aura begins to travel up the nails and into the flesh and bones of Raven's fingers... and though it does not spread far before being overcome by the immortal's own overriding healing factor, it is enough to cause a sharp glance towards the Imperator from the Watcher.

And then, she moves up and away, and begins to speak again... and Raven gives her the courtesy of listening.

While Izanami appeared to have no interest in answering his rhetorical question, Raven is far more willing to engage his opponent in conversation; one can never know precisely where that rare moment of amusement might come from... it does him no harm to provide an answer, and perhaps there might be a fruitful discussion to be had in the midst of their battle.

He doubts it, but it costs nothing to pursue the possibility.

And anyway, to become Imperator of the Novus Orbus Librarium, one must surely have some hidden depth beyond the smooth, charismatic demagoguery they show the world at large.

There is something more to this young woman, that much is obvious. The way she speaks, the way she carries herself here, away from the public eye... the inner wellspring of power that someone as ancient as Raven cannot help but sense lurking underneath her more benign outward appearance.

She is more than the Supreme Commander of the NOL. But what...?

What is she?

For the first time in what seems like forever, there is the slightest spark of curiosity in the immortal's mind; a sensation that he had almost forgotten bounces through his brain...


A single word, barely above a whisper, repeated back at Izanami as Raven glances up at her levitating form.

"For what purpose...? To what end...?"

The lanky individual lifts one hand up to his forehead, flicking his index finger up at the hood covering his head and knocking it back to reveal the white hair that hangs down around the massive spike that runs from the center of his forehead, through his brain, and out the rear of his skull.

"Glory? Strength? Honour? Even speaking those words is... exhausting..."

A yawn - either performative to make a point, or genuine in its boredom - is exhaled into a waiting palm as the immortal taps his right foot on the moist dirt underneath.

"I exist, is that not punishment enough...?"

Raven gives his opponent little opportunity to respond, as he drives forward in a flat, tired monotone given with minimal effort and barely audible above the thunder cracks and rainfall.

"I've seen everything. I've lived everything. Nothing new... under... the... sun..."

With a sigh after those words, Raven crouches low and leaps up into the air, high above the hovering form of Hades Izanami. His own body seems almost weightless, not levitating by way of some arcane power but genuinely being carried up by some unseen breeze... he hangs at the apex of his leap, still and motionless but for the fluttering of his cloak in the gathering windstorm as he stares emotionlessly down at the form of the Imperator.

"Unless... you have something to show me...? Something rare, something... interesting..."

With that final statement delivered, the immortal begins a rapid descent through the air, back down towards his opponent. As he hurtles down towards the earth once again, the lanky man tucks his legs back, his bony knees leading the way as the velocity of his collision course with Izanami's skull increases.

COMBATSYS: Izanami blocks Raven's Himmels Knie.

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Izanami          0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0            Raven

Izanami doesn't pressure following her pair of strikes, content to linger back then, giving the Watcher time to respond. It would be possible to glean that at least, on some level, the violet-haired woman is curious about the deathless recluse, eschewing the opportunity to keep pressure on him to actually hear his response, her baleful gaze never leaving him. That she identified him as an immortal at first glance is clear enough, but beyond that... are her accusations shots in the dark? Assumptions made based on interactions with others over whom death seems to have little sway?

A subtle tilt of her head to the right as he speaks hints at muted surprise from the Imperator. Perhaps her initial guesses as to his nature and motives were just that - guesses.

But the more obvious reaction comes when he draws back his hood, revealing that the spike that had only been seen from the front was in fact piercing through his head and out the back of his skull. Izanami's crimson eyes widen at first, then narrow as she leans forward slightly, hints of her brow furrowing beneath her spiked crown.

At seems, at least, one among the two of them has definitely been shown something they didn't expect.

"Then you don't..." Izanami muses over the rain dampening her long hair against her back. "Fight against death?"

%If anything, his tone, his mannerisms, and the hard-to-miss fact that he has a spike clean through his head all suggest that he would /welcome/ it, if only to experience something he hadn't already seen so many times before.

She looks up as he takes to the air, eyes following his ascent. Her hair whips about her shoulders and back, getting wet as the intensity of the rainfall picks up, but still not drenched enough to cling tightly against her frame.

He drops from above, his knees leading the way, and she raises her right arm in a circular motion, bringing her forearm up over her head, leaning her head back some at the same time, as if intentionally avoiding trying to spike him with the violet horn of her crown - decorative rather than embedded like his spike.

His knees collide against her thin arm and Izanami is pushed backward, still gliding such that her toes are inches above the ground. Her limb felt normal - strong but with the slightest bit of give expected of skin and muscle. There's time for him to land before she brings her right arm down, and this close it would be hard to miss that there is something off about the young woman's right arm pit. It's only visible for a brief moment before her arm drops back into place at her side, but... was that a ball joint?

"Is that not your drive then?" she wonders. Her voice bears a certain lyrical nature, tones rising and falling in ways that are not typical to human speech. "To experience something new? Perhaps you do understand the burden of being cursed with undeath." While her initial words for him were condescending, it's impossible to miss the curiosity the young woman has for an immortal being that seems to hold contempt for his prolonged existence.

"That spear through your head... did you hope for escape from this dreary world?" Encountering a possibly suicidal immortal seems to have confounded the Librarium leader. "If it is the gift of death you seek..."

Izanami lifts her arms slightly out to her sides, leaning forward. She darts in then, rather than teleporting, gliding just inches over the damp soil, leaving a plume of displaced rainwater in her wake. Her mouth is open with lips drawn back from her teeth, a somewhat unhinged look on her face. "You need only ask."

Her hands reach for Raven's neck. There's power in those slender limbs in spite the lack of muscle to justify it. If she gets a vise-like hold around his throat, she will attempt to lift him up off his feet briefly, before bending forward to drive his back against the ground. She would attempt to pin him there, standing over him, her hands still around his neck... and then comes that necrotic, black energy once again pouring down her arms, this time attempting to test his immortal healing by attacking his neck directly!

COMBATSYS: Raven counters Reach of Annihilation from Izanami with Kein Herz.
- Power hit! -

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Izanami          0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0            Raven

As the rainfall quickens and intensifies, an odd phenomena unfolds; namely, that the rain seems to fall everywhere but onto Raven's billowing cloak. His pale skin and white hair remain completely dry as water pools on the ground far beneath his floating body; even when his cloak twists and moves in the wind, the rain seems to shift with it to avoid landing upon the black, tattered fabric.

If he were the more expressive sort, he might actually chuckle as Izanami asks him if he doesn't fight against death; the idea is laughable, but even cutting through his apathetic nature to speak in low, hushed tones requires titanic effort on his part... laughing seems like too great a burden to add to those which already weigh so heavily on him.

All Izanami receives in response is a slow shake of the immortal's head, before he begins his descent towards her, knees-first.

The strength evident in her thin arm - as she blocks the entirety of his weight, ceasing his momentum completely - is hardly surprising. One does not become Supreme Commander of the Novus Orbis Librarium on charisma and public speaking alone.

Once it becomes clear his attack will not break through the young woman's defenses, Raven's body is once again lifted up onto the breeze as he floats backwards through the air before finally landing in a lazy crouch several feet away. Mismatched eyes stare up at the still-hovering form of his opponent as one of the glowing-red spikes attached to his index and middle fingers idly scratches the underside of his hairless chin.

Again, he seems perfectly content to listen to the words that come pouring out of Izanami's mouth in oddly melodic tones. There was once a time when he would have matched her curiosity with his own; the olden days, when he desired to learn the true nature of not only his own curse, but of the material world... and what lies beneath it. Granted, he can no longer summon up the same enthusiasm that he once displayed for the grand mysteries of life and the universe, but there is an odd satisfaction - perhaps even a fleeting nostalgic twinge - that comes from watching Izanami try to puzzle out his nature and philosophy.

Raven patiently waits for the strange individual to finish speaking, offering a subtle nod as she pinpoints the precise reason for the massive metal spike he'd driven through his own brain centuries ago. It is only when she begins to glide swiftly towards him that Raven rises up out of his crouch, his rail-thin body looking like it's in real danger of toppling over in the wind.

If one didn't know any better, they might guess the sickly-looking man is terminally ill, on his last legs, one foot already in the grave...

...if only.

As Izanami offers him a way out of this tiresome, never-ending existence, Raven smiles; a warm and genuine expression that supersedes his previously impassive demeanour.

"Oh, that would be lovely..."

His tone is wistful, hopeful, as though he truly wishes he need only ask for the sweet embrace of oblivion to be granted it. It is, after all, the only thing he desires after countless human lifetimes spent wandering this earth.

As the unhinged visage of Izanami rapidly approaches his position, Raven watches through heavily-lidded eyes that seem to possess no sense of fear or urgency. It's only when she reaches her hands through the air to grab at his neck that he finally takes action, sighing deeply as he lazily lifts one hand into the path of the woman's approach.

"...if only such a thing were so easy to accomplish..."

And just like that, Izanami will find her progress arrested; a glittering, shining blue disc of energy manifests itself between her and Raven, preventing her from reaching his throat. As the woman's hands touch it, whatever power it is that she has harnessed seems to have a near-immediate effect, as veins of inky blackness begin to spread through the glowing blue-white energy of the manifested defensive wall.

While the corruption continues to spread slowly through the shield, Raven only raises an eye at the uncanny effect Izanami's touch is having on it. Cracks form in some areas, as the energy itself seems to rot away into nothingness around where her hands have touched it.

Before she's able to force her way past it, Raven lifts one hand and snaps his fingers; the effect is instantaneous, as the shield shatters with the sound of breaking glass, allowing Izanami to move forward...

...right into the path of a wide, upward swipe from one of Raven's arms. The glowing-red spikes attached to his middle and index fingers slice up at Izanami, with the immortal kicking off the ground to gracefully retreat several feet backwards in the aftermath of his counterattack.

His feet landing in the wet, muddy earth with nary a sound, his eyes never once break away from Izanami as he watches and gauges her reaction.

"You might well be the one... but I fear such a feat will require more effort on your part..."

With an uncharacteristic flourish of theatrical energy, Raven spreads both arms wide to either side, his cloak billowing in the breeze as he raises his voice just above a whisper.

"Now come... strike me down, if you can..."

The violet-haried woman's initial response to the barrier that denies her a grip on the throat of the willowy man is simply to try and overpower it. Leaning against it, palms pressed flat, fingers splayed, lips drawn back in a snarl, she regards the man seen dimly through the barricade with fierce, crimson eyes. And in this, the veteran of more fights than almost anyone living on Earth will notice the peculiar direct, aggressive approach the Librarium leader has to combat. Rather than the refined martial mastery common to most fighters at this level, she seems intent on simply overwhelming with ferocity and the threat of her clearly deadly power. There's an almost simple honesty to her assault - though few alive would likely live long enough to appreciate it if facing Izanami in combat.

The corruption spreads from her touch, seeming to wither and decay the barrier of pure energy as if it were made of solid matter. There is a hunger to the black void spreading across the shield and a gleam of manic self-confidence in the visage of the woman generating it, as if certain that any moment now his barrier will fall and she will be free to carry out her plan.

When the shield at last shatters, Izanami rushes forward with even more eagerness than she displayed when first charging, clearly having put no thought into how easily she would be caught off balance by one who has not only prepared for this moment, but controlled the exchange such that it will inevitably turn out favorably for him.

Another flash of his arm, the slash of spikes clawing their way through the air before he disengages in his unnatural way, and Izanami comes to a stop, her hands clapping against each other right where his throat had been an instant before, more inky energy oozing from between her clasped fingers, dripping to the dampened soil, staining it black.

The Imperator stretches back to standing up right, her spine curving then straightening back out as she resumes hovering inches off the ground. Lowering her arms to her sides, the obsidian energy having vanished from her fingers, she glances down to study the twin slash marks across her midriff - two thin cuts through the white and crimson layers of her clothing and the bleeding lines in her pale flesh beneath. There is no indication of pain, no sign of fear at the drawn blood as she looks back up at Raven, her expression once again calm - the complete opposite from the look she had only a moment before when eager to crush his neck and rot away his throat.

Unlike his imperviousness to the conditions, the rain falls readily on her, now drenching her long hair against her shoulders and back, thick locks framing her cheeks and several strands falling down across her forehead at an angle to rest between her eyes along her nose. Rivulets of water roll down her form, along her legs, and fall in steady drops from the ends of her downward pointed toes into the mud beneath her.

"So it would seem." Hades Izanami replies, the lyrical nature of her voice the same as before. She doesn't seem offended or frustrated at his resilient defiance of her deadly touch, simply acknowledging his assessment as accurate.

She studies his open invitation to try again, to make good on her offer, to deliver the gift she promises to have just for him. "It is good to resist as you do..." her mouth shifts from a thin lipped stare to an eager smirk, "There is no pleasure to be had in squishing insects."

Once more, she leans into a forward glide through the rain, water droplets spraying in the air from her drenched hair as she closes in on Raven once more. No teleporting, no attempts at deception or clever feints. Just pure, feral intent. She leans low, her chest just two feet over the ground as she fully commits, holding nothing back from the attempt, raking her right hand out low through the air, a swath of that black necrotic power of hers trailing behind it, threatening once more to desiccate anything it touches.

But as she twists her body hard to the left, her legs crossing fluidly over each other as she moves with the momentum without losing control.

But this time, it isn't just her malignant energy that Raven has to watch out for, as the moment her back is turned mid-attack, the three golden relics suddenly surge toward him, each ablaze with a golden flame of cremation. If not avoided, they would crash through him in their triangular formation and then, just as suddenly as they were launched, surge right back the other way from behind him on a violent return trip to hovering behind Izanami's back.

The heat radiating off the Magatama bits would be enough to reduce normal people to ash, to cook them to the marrow of their bones. Of course, the Watcher is made of sturdier stuff than most...

COMBATSYS: Izanami successfully hits Raven with Rite of Peace.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Izanami          1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0            Raven

Indeed, the disconnect between Hades Izanami's smooth, public-facing persona as Supreme Commander of the NOL and the raw power and vicious intent pouring off of her in this battle away from prying eyes does not go unnoticed by the immortal. He knows full well - from lived experience over centuries - that the deadliest men and women often hide in plain sight, putting on an act to all but a select few, keeping their real capabilities and true selves out of the spotlight unless strictly necessary.

It is hardly surprising to him that the Imperator is such a case; he had long suspected that there was more to the head of the Novus Orbis Librarium than meets the eye. Only fitting for the leader of an organization that also seemed to hide a darker side underneath their front of public service and maintaining peace.

To her words, there is no reply.

Likewise, he does not take actions to defend himself once his opponent begins to glide towards him. He merely remains standing, a singular spot of calmness in the midst of the storm that rages above them.

Raven knows full well that he is courting death by inviting an assault from such an individual; he is, in fact, counting on such a thing. This woman might well be his one chance to free himself from the exhaustion of existence, from the pain of living, from the agony of consciousness.

He has no intention of letting such an opportunity escape him... it had been so long since he faced a foe he truly believed had any chance of cutting him down and putting an end to his suffering.

And so, he stands firm, his body swaying in the breeze as his feet remain firmly planted in the wet, soggy earth underneath him. The Watcher seems fully accepting of whatever his opponent has in store for him... and as she rakes through the air towards him, the black energy - the death - that follows her limb washes over him.

The effect is noticeable the moment it touches his pale skin, as his body begins to blacken and fester where that strange power made contact. Raven's only reaction is to glance down at the rotting flesh with a raised eyebrow, as the red energy surrounding the needles attached to his fingers seems to die off, like it too were being smothered and consumed by Izanami's necrotic energies.


He only has an opportunity to hum curiously, before the secondary phase of her assault strikes him. The floating relics speed towards - and through - his position, carrying with them a heat the likes of which he has never experienced before... temperatures higher than what a hundred crematoriums working full-blast around the clock could possibly create strike him like a wall of hellfire.

His skin begins to blister and crack, his natural eye popping and oozing out of its socket as the gold coin that serves as his other eye also begins to meat from the unnatural, all-consuming heat... fortunately, the horror show that is the effect of Izanami's attack is cut short, as his billowing, tattered black cloak catches fire spectacularly; and so, the destruction of his body is hidden behind a wall of flame that roars and rises off the fabric of his clothes.

And through it all, Raven doesn't make a sound. No scream for mercy, no exclamation of joy at being gifted that which he desires above all else.

Nothing, but for the crackling of fire and burning flesh.

After several seconds, the rain finally begins to fall upon his fiery form, as whatever energy was keeping it from landing on his body seems to wither and die along with his physical form in the wake of Izanami's overwhelming power.

And as the rain extinguishes the fire of his cloak, the smoke clears to reveal Raven's body...

...he's still standing.

And more shockingly, his body - blackened and charred by the flames - is already in the process of healing itself, restoring him to his pale white colour as his flesh and skin reforms as if it weren't just the victim of a flash incineration. Even the cloak which caught alight seems completely fine; the fabric bearing the same tatters he came into the fight with, but no visible damage aside from that.

" close..."

His voice is different... no longer the flat, tired monotone he had been speaking with previously. It is hoarse, emotive, with an edge of longing and desire to it that it did not have minutes ago.

" very... close...!"

Raising his voice at that last word, Raven stands up straight, his body no longer limp and swaying; he stares across the distance at Izanami with fully healed eyes, the golden coin seemingly having reformed itself just as the rest of his body has.

On his face, the faintest hints of a smile...

...but Izanami has no time to ponder its meaning, as Raven's right arm suddenly moves through the air. While the Imperator might believe herself safe from an attack - standing outside his reach - she will find herself surprised when his shoulder dislocates itself along with the numerous bones in his arm, allowing the limb to stretch impossibly far as he aims to stab the two spikes on his fingers straight into her eyes in a blow that carries with it a strength that seems out of place on his wirey, lanky frame.

"Try... harder...!"

COMBATSYS: Izanami endures Raven's Fierce Punch!

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Izanami          1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0            Raven

The three components of the Magatama return to their place behind Izanami's back, a golden ring of energy once more appearing to link all three in their calm spinning orbit. The flames of purification that coated them a moment before is no where to be seen but the intense heat lingers still. A steady sound of hissing accompanies the small cloud of steam forming overhead, as the rainfall evaporates a few feet before it would strike the glowing relics.

Izanami levitates calmly in place following her assault, unaffected by the proximity to the heat, arms once more lifted slightly from her sides, hands hanging down limp from each wrist. Her expression is dispassionate, observing the results of her stark escalation in destructive power unleashed on the world-weary immortal. And within moments, she has her answer, as the lingering flames are suppressed then extinguished entirely by the steady fall of rain.

Lightning cracks across the crimson sky, bathing the region in pure white light, and deafening thunder is only an instant behind as the Watcher continues to stand where he was, his cursed body recovering from the fires of obliteration before her eyes. The answer is clear: he deserves more.


The sound is contemplative.

"I understand more now the accursed existence you suffer. It will take more to break the shackles of life that torment you. You have my full attention. I promise you an experience that can only be appreciated once, for beyond it is oblivion, nothingness, and the hope that ever-turning wheel of fate might grace you with a better existence... when the cycle of creation begins anew."

As the golden coin reforms itself where an eye should be, Izanami closes her eyes, bowing her head slightly, and sweeps her arms up over her head in a circular motion, until her palms nearly touch. And as she does so, twelve gray, skeletal arms, each ending in a hand with inhumanly long fingers and clawed nails, stretch and unfold from her exposed back. Lowering her arms back down, she keeps her palms upward, her slender fingers folded half closed into a lose cupping shape. Moving in unison with the violet haired woman, each of the twelve arms also lowers, forming a spider-like fan of limbs, and the hand of each limb adopts a different gesture with its fingers. Someone as long lived as Raven would recognize them easily - the sacred mudra, found in the precepts of the world's oldest religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.

The symbol of knowledge, the symbol of consciousness, a gesture representing the freedom from fear, and one that conveys the granting of wishes or mercy. Even others among the twelve show signs that have been lost to time, the contortions of the fingers required impossible for human hands, their meanings known only to so very few - death, destruction, and the void.

And as Hades Izanami invites The Twelve into this world, the profaned temple grounds seem to stir while a suffocating, crushing presence radiates out from the woman as the world around the two begins to decay even further. Meanwhile, the moving shadows that rippled along the corners of one's eye from when Izanami first manifested are alive now, taking on the shape of claws, bodies, and faces. From drenched soil, rotting hands break through, clawing for freedom from graves, marked or otherwise. And between the dead trees shift ghostly figures, pale blue, sickly green, or glowing with the crimson hatred of vengeance for a life 'unfairly' taken.

Mortals unprepared for such a trial would perish, their bodies rotting, their souls ripped free by the power centered around Izanami in this moment and it is into this shadow of death, Raven whips his arm, the sounds of bone breaking and snapping audible, clearly callus to the forces gnawing hungrily at his life force. His glowing spikes spear forward, finding no resistance, no last second defense or attempt to elude, finding their mark directly into the closed eyes of the Imperator. The impact knocks the young woman's head back, the twelve arms from her back reeling as well, before she comes to a brief stop, head lowered, a soft giggle escaping her lips as her hovering steadies.

Lifting her face toward Raven, he is greeted with a visage marred by bloody holes where eyes were, with tears of blood streaking down her cheeks...

And in the next instant, she is upon him, surging forward, The Twelve's arms widening, clearly ready to grab for him, while Izanami's own arms remain at her sides.

"May you go with no regrets, no words left unsaid, no thoughts unpenned, into that lasting repose promised to all life, tormented Watcher."

And then, when she's so close as to potentially press her body against his, The Twelve reach forward, closing in around him, attempting to pull him tight against the Goddess of Death, securing him in their unbreakable grip.

COMBATSYS: Izanami issues a challenge!!

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Izanami          1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0            Raven

COMBATSYS: Izanami successfully hits Raven with Melancholy Death Arc EX.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Izanami          0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1            Raven

The arms of the Twelve are crushingly strong as they close in around the Watcher, enveloping him in a skeletal embrace and drawing him tight against the woman that has promised him an experience unlike any other. Her own arms come up to wrap around his waist, her head bowed slightly, the stone-like spike of her purple crown jutting up just to the side of his own head.

Time stops, lightning frozen in the blood-tinged sky, raindrops locked in place, the storm a still photo rather. Even the restless dead of the profaned temple are subject to the demands of time, no longer able to move either.

But two are free - The Watcher and the Goddess of Death pressed against him, tears of blood staining her eyeless face.

"Everything is empty... everything is nothing," she whispers. "Time to depart this ineffable dream, this transient nightmare."

Around the two, reality shatters - the sound of infinite plans of glass broken by an infinite storm of bricks, the spinning shards falling to pieces, all of the universe crumbling. The sound of the raging of the storm, the sight of the blighted temple, the smell of rain soaked mud, the sense of being held in a crushing grip, all crumble away as if the illusion of existence was at last annihilated.

Instead, the two are in a world of energy, a world of potential, of ideas, concepts, and horrors unbound. There is no ground beneath them, no sky above, only an infinite, incomprehensible 'there' in all directions.

The names of it are many. Chokhmah, The Akashic Records, the Backyard, the Boundary... Simply being within it for an instant is enough to wrap and ruin most mortal life. And even the strongest minds that ever lived will eventually snap under its pressure.

But this world of reason and madness would take no such toll on these two new inhabitants - those displaced from time can wander here for a while. No, their true destination is one step beyond the Boundary - this is merely a rest stop on the journey.

Here, Izanami stands apart from Raven, the arms that were attached to her back now fully wrapped around him, their bones having become chains of unbreakable metal. Her left leg is straight down as she hovers over nothingness, her right leg pulled up, bent at the knee, turned out slightly to her side. Her left arm lowered against her side while her right arm is held up high, middle and ring fingers closed, while her others are extended - the Mudra of Vishnu, credited with creating the universe by the oldest major religion to survive the test of history. Her face is lifted to the eternities above, causing her slender back to arc gracefully.

The Watcher would likely recognize the pose from antiquity - the first step of the Nataraja - the sacred dance of Shiva that was supposed to bring about the destruction and restoration of the universe in the endless cycle of the eternities.

Meanwhile, motes of whirling royal purple flame begin to appear around Raven and a larger purple bonfire swirls up around him as he is held in place by the chains of death. Through the fire swirl strings of glyphs from all number of languages, magic given almost physical from here in the Backyard, and with each passing instance in time, the chains of sacred characters draw ever tighter around him.

From the depths of the fire, four monoliths of dark stone, each bearing a different crimson eldritch mark, surge up around Raven. Energy thrums around them both, building in intensity along with the all-consuming flames.

From within the base of the violet pyre of oblivion, twelve large, human skulls, their eye sockets glowing purple, their naked mandibles pried wide open, manifest around him. Each of them crowds in closer to Raven, accompanied by skeletal arms reaching up for him, moving as a ravenous horde that desire nothing more than to feast on his eternal life until sated. As one, they smash into him, biting, clawing, scratching, tearing.

The voice of Hades Izanami is heard, disembodied from the form of the young woman not far off but rather vast, echoing from all sides at once.

"I invite you, Watcher, to my world."

As she speaks, Izanami slowly lowers her head, her raised arm sweeping down, her lowered arm mirroring it as it sweeps up to meet it, the second step of the Nataraja... a performance for one at the end of time.

Tension builds as she brings her hands closer together, until the heels of each wrist are nearly touching, right hand bent upward, left bent downward, maintaining the same mudra as before. A rush of sensations, excruciating as they are incomprehensible, would hit at that moment, easily drowning out any awareness of the hungry undead attempting to feast on him: the sensation of being crushed to an atom, the sensation of being stretched out infinitely into a flat plane, of being broiled in a supernova, while also witnessing the heat death of the universe. All sound is lost, surrendering to an unending, inhuman, piercing screech accompanied by a dark, deep malevolent chuckle, and the violet flames vanish.

Color leeches from reality as they leave the Boundary behind to enter a new world of only blacks and whites. The black of the skulls' dead eyes and empty mouths. The black of the monoliths surrounding Raven, each thrumming with forgotten power. And the white silhouette of Izanami, still frozen in the second step of the dance to end the world. Only, instead of her blood-streaked visage, the teethy rictus of a skull and two empty, pure black bony eye sockets as the Goddess of Death pulls back even more of the illusion.

Time is difficult to perceive here - as a concept. Has it been minutes? Days? Centuries in this place?

Slowly the Goddess of Death lifts her skull-like face toward the Watcher while still balancing on one leg, and that same voice continues, "And now to claim my due."

The cold white silhouette of the creature twists once before surging forward, her right hand extended, fingers straight out, her arm lancing through the chest of Raven as if it were made of steel.

"This is the end, my gift to you," she whispers, the voice coming from the skull-like countenance next to him, her arm still piercing straight through him and out his back. "At long last."

She arcs her back suddenly, ripping her arm out of him, tearing life from him as if it were something one could grab hold of. Into this monochromatic world, a third color invades, a fount of blood from the hole in Raven's chest and Izanami basks in the show as crimson victory stains the world red.

Back at the temple, rain continues to fall around the hovering Izanami. She lifts her head slowly, sightless eyes still closed, the arms of The Twelve no where to be seen... and exhales a soft sigh as she relaxes her fingers out of the mudra and lowers her arms back to her sides.

"Promises, promises..."

That word, repeated once, is the only reply that Izanami receives from the enigmatic immortal in response to her monologue. He hardly seems intimidated; not even hopeful that she might be able to follow through on her words. Many had made such bold claims in the past, and he has yet to meet one who is capable of following through on their promises to end his torment with the sweet gift of oblivion.

Why should this woman - even with the strange necrotic power she wields - be any different?

And yet, there is still a chance she might be the one he has been waiting centuries for. Raven cannot imagine that there is a more fearsome opponent in the entirety of this tournament than the one who stands in front of him here and now. There is no need for him to fight back, to try and progress further in the hopes of meeting someone who can bring him the end he so desires.

Perhaps Queen Sindel knew the mysterious Wanderer's true purpose for accepting her invitation, and decided to gift him with a match against the one person in the tournament capable of granting him his wish. Or perhaps it was merely fate that saw him matched against Hades Izanami in the first round.

It makes little difference to him why they're both standing here; merely that they are, and this may be his best chance of leaving this exhausting world behind once and for all.

A tilt of his head as he watches the skeletal arms manifest from behind the young woman, before Izanami gestures with her hands... an arcane symbol, rooted in mysticism and ancient religion. The significance of it is not lost on Raven; he'd spent decades upon decades studying such things, in the hopes of discovering some path to the afterlife that had been denied him. But every mystic, every wise man, every zealot he'd ever encountered had been unable to accomplish the impossible; and so, his story continued, until it finally brought him here.

He can feel the energy of the area shifting, becoming sinister and more oppressive as Izanami's machinations seem to open up a gateway to another world. A suffocating aura the likes of which Raven cannot properly recall encountering seems to settle onto the temple grounds, bringing with it apparitions from beyond the grave; or from somewhere even darker.

As Izanami rushes towards him - allowing his needles to jam into her eye sockets with barely a pause in her momentum - there is no effort made to position himself defensively. No evasive manuevers, no counter attacks, nothing.

Only acceptance.

The skeletal arms wrap around him, crushing him against Izanami's body as bones and ribs inside his slender body begin to crack and pop from the pressure. Again, there is no wincing or utterance of pain from the all-too-calm individual. He has suffered so deeply for so long, that this is merely another chapter in the endless, torturous story that is his life.

She whispers to him, promising a long-awaited departure from the pain of the flesh, the misery that has come to define his entire existence for nearly a thousand years.

His only response in the face of such an offer?

"Yes... yes... please..."

No sooner have those pleading words left his slackened mouth than the world around them seems to dissolve into something else... for a moment, Raven thinks back to the moment he was given the questionable 'gift' of immortality. That strange realm he was transported to, as he lay bleeding on the soil in medieval Germany, centuries ago. A place where the rules of reality held no sway, where he experienced lifetimes of pain until all emotion and feeling was stripped away from his mind, body and soul.

But it's different than that.

He has little time to contemplate the true nature of this place that he has been transported, before Izanami's summoned skeletal creations descend upon him and begin to tear him apart.

The noise might be confused for screaming at first, but it's not... far from it, in fact: Raven is laughing, high and shrill and manic as he suffers a torture that would drive most insane, if they were capable of surviving it.

Truth be told, the Watcher is unaware of the last time he had experienced a pain so sharp, so severe, so all-consuming as he is feeling in this moment that seems to stretch on for eternity. His face - previously an apathetic and emotionless mask - is wild-eyed and grinning as he feels himself ripped to shreds by the strange powers of the Imperator.

Is this it? The moment he had been waiting so long for? Is this the gift he has been seeking for lifetimes?

The moment of climax comes, as Izanami drives her arm into his chest, piercing his sallow chest and exploding out his back as she leans in to whisper.

"Thank... you..." comes the low, rattling hiss from the lungs of the dying man, seconds before the Imperator rips her arm free - along with an eruption of crimson blood.

Raven collapses to his knees, eyes blank and clouded over, already-white skin turned ashen and sickly as death finally consumes him. The assembled crows watching the battle from the ruined roof of the temple begin to caw deafeningly as one, as if mourning the loss of one of their own. A carpet of black descends upon him, as the birds swoop down from their perch to peck away at his pale, dead flesh, covering every inch of his body until he is buried underneath beaks and wings and claws.

Izanami might believe the matter to be finished. She might truly think that she has done what none could accomplish throughout hundreds of years; ending the life of the Undying Disease, the Watcher, the Wandering One.

Until the carpet of crows covering him suddenly explodes upwards into the air, taking flight and leaving Raven's body visible once again...


With a deep sigh, the immortal stands out of his crouch. The wound in his chest remains wide and gaping, showing through his ruined ribcage and missing heart, out to the other side. It's a gruesome sight, but Izanami has likely seen worse.

One trembling hand comes up to touch the borders of the wound, as the skin and bare, bloody flesh begins to slither and knit itself together underneath his tracing fingers.

The swaying of his body is more pronounced, his skin whiter and more sickly than it was previously, his breath deep and ragged as the agony of the injury continues to dance around his mind.

He's smiling; but behind the grinning, exposed teeth and wide eyes, there is a melancholy that is even more pronounced than it was before.

Like he finally glimpsed that which he desired most, only to have it torn away from him at the last moment. Thrust again into this cruel, cold, boring world, to wander again, likely until the globe itself stops spinning and the universe collapses in on itself.

His tired, sad eye stares directly at Izanami, as his smile slowly disappears from his face as the exhaustion of life once again settles over him.

"Well... I appreciate... the... attempt..."

COMBATSYS: Raven looks bored...

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Izanami          0/-------/=======|=======\======-\1            Raven

Anyone trying to observe the match in any way would have experienced something that might leave them questioning the reliability of their own senses. From the moment Raven's spikes stabbed through the Imperator's eyes to now, it was if time and space hiccuped, the universe blinked, and perhaps the gods changed their mind and inserted their own edits. No one would be able to describe what happened between that moment and now in any way that seemed rational. All they would know is that one moment, the two were fighting, and the next moment, the one with the spike in his head was crumpling to the ground, dead.

The rainfall has slowed now to a light but steady patter, while the lightning and thunder have waned. The crimson stain in the sky seems to have been washed away by the passing storm, leaving only dark overcast clouds. The woman with violet hair hovers in place, head slightly bowed, water drenching her hair and soaking through her clothing, causing it to cling tightly against her frame as she seems simply to wait in the presence of the deceased. The Mad Architect would not be pleased with the damage she allowed to happen to this vessel, she was sure... he would no doubt lecture her on what a rare specimen it was, and how she needed to make it last until her grand plans were complete... but he would fix it all the same.

It was no small matter to claim the life of an immortal. The details of precisely how to go about it would vary depending on just how the individual was cursed with life. Some who claimed immortality were merely impervious to the toll of aging, but their longevity could still be ended with the slice of a blade. Others were chained by intricate magics that would need to be unwoven to secure their freedom from this vale of tears. But then there were those who's existence defied the normal concepts of life, who were damned to endless life by powers beyond magic. Was it the gods? Fate? Some fundamental, cosmic necessity that they suffer forever in this world?

Izanami's head tilts to the side slightly as the birds collapse down on fallen, a loud, cacophonous noise echoing throughout the area of the profaned temple. She doesn't move as the flock presses in, covering the ruined figure from sight - a burial in feathers for the Watcher.

But the murder of crows disperses, leaving the immortal behind. That it really is him, and not some kind of magic trickery to create an illusory double, is evidenced by the open cavity clean through his torso where, in another place, another time, Izanami's arm had destroyed his heart. The Librarium leader's head lifts slightly, her eyes still closed, blood seeping down her cheeks, diluted by water, forming light crimson tears as she seems to regard Raven.

"It seems your fate is linked to the fate of this world," Hades Izanami observes contemplatively. "Until the day of its ruin, you will be cursed to walk this earth... and you will walk it alone." Her lilting tone carries beneath it a hint of sympathy for the Wandering One's plight. Izanami drops slowly, feet finally touching the mud of the courtyard, her arms folding loosely over her stomach.

"But that ruin may not be as far off as you fear, Watcher. Now is not the time, but..." her voice fades as she seems to consider for a moment, a mysterious smile working its way into her pale features, "All things must end eventually."

She breathes in then exhales softly. Suddenly, another figure is at her side, completely concealed in a black cloak tightly wrapped around, with a peaked witch's hat atop its head. It hovers silently adjacent to the Imperator as she opens her mouth to bid Raven farewell.

"Until we meet again..."

A spark of magic and both the cloaked figure and Hades Izanami suddenly vanish.

COMBATSYS: Izanami has left the fight here.

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

COMBATSYS: Raven has ended the fight here.

Log created on 13:50:23 07/05/2022 by Raven, and last modified on 10:33:41 07/21/2022.