World Warrior 2023 - R1: Kindred Swords

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Description: Ky Kiske and Ryu Hayabusa meet atop the windblown ramparts of Castle Illyria, with skybox brought to you by the Alps. Swords are crossed, friendships reaffirmed, and duty acknowledged as the Dragon Ninja seeks to match the unusual State's foremost King in all-out combat.


Sunset is a relative process when one observes it from a valley deep in the Albanian Alps. Earlier than many more homogenous surrounds, the scorching daystar dips below the crest of the highest ridgelines, its beams split into brilliant lingering luminescence in the form of shadow-banded rays across much of Illyria.

As these fade, the sky takes on an ever more vibrant hue of saturated pastels-- pinks, lavenders, silvers amidst the striated cloud cover. Proper twilight comes later, as the vivid hues fade to muted echos, a subtle and expressive canvas stretched across the expansive vistas beyond the castle ramparts of the Illyrian citadel.

It has been too long since Ryu Hayabusa has come to this place; too long since he has reaffirmed his commitment to the same cause as that of the Sacred Order. Too long since he's taken counsel with the Kings and their idealistic court. Since the seals were breached at sacred peaks and ninja fortresses throughout Japan's most sacrosanct places of power, it has been monsters. Hunting them. Investigating their origins. Working rituals and violent reprisals necessary to reinforce the lines sealing one world from others; some far darker than this one.

Somehow, despite the warding and technology and expertise guarding the citadel, tonight Hayabusa rectifies that long oversight, appearing on the ramparts of the castle as if on the wind itself. He perches on the very edge in iconic shinobi fashion, his features hidden behind mask and cowled hood, his sleekly modernized yet traditional armor augmenting many key critical junctures on his honed form without adversely impacting the Dragon Ninja's agility.

They say a ninja should never reveal his tricks, and it's because in this case, the answer is simple. Of course, some less humble than Ryu might also call it 'epic'. From a spy plane far over the Alps the Dragon Ninja jumped, unassisted, from the very boundaries of low orbit. Terminal velocity is just a necessary facet in the equation of executing several of his Clan's techniques, and so Hayabusa fell. Or more accurately, the Shinobi Prince dove.

Precise on target;
rumbling murmur on the breeze;
the falcon descends.

It is not for an ambush that Ryu Hayabusa travels to Illyria for, however-- but a tournament bout. A World Warrior round with Ky Kiske, one of those aforementioned Kings of this illustrious, if imperiled realm. And so Hayabusa waits, breathes, listens to the breezes through the mountains in turn.

When a true ninja seeks to make his entrance, there are few ways to bar his entry. Fortunately, today he wishes to make his presence known rather than enter undetected.

Ky Kiske is on his way to the courtyard when a squire makes his way in a full sprint to intercept. Ky does not slow his steady pace nor change course even when the squire practically slides to a stop near him.

"Your highness, there's a nin--"

"Yes," Ky nods amicably. "It was only a matter of time, no? We do have a match scheduled." Ky continues his advance, the squire following in a slow if confused jog.

"Ryu Hayabusa. Welcome to Illyria. Or should I say welcome back?" Ky gives the shinobi a smile, open but subdued. "Would you like some tea?" Ky's hand rests on the hilt of his sword, Thunderseal.

"Or would you prefer to get started?"

The Hayabusa Clan is its own Sacred Order. Monster hunters and guardians of the realm since before reliable, recorded history; the destined champions of the long gone, typically forgotten Celestial Dragons. The Keepers of the Balance in this deceptively precarious nexus of realities.

It is indeed a welcome return-- Hayabusa has won King of Fighters alongside one of the knights errant of this very order; has fought to defend its borders from the entities that once sought to devour it. The vigil he and Ky Kiske keep is quite similar, and that fact is not lost on the Shinobi Prince.

"Ky Kiske." The Dragon Ninja greets the King of Illyria as an equal, not out of hubris, but in tones of quiet respect. "Tea would be appreciated." Hayabusa confirms, and then also confirms the other option offered. "... Though perhaps after we are finished here."

From his agile perch on the crenellations the Dragon Ninja rises to his unassuming, lithe height, turning to face Ky. Ryuken rests comfortable at his side within its polished saya, tied with a crimson sash to the armored Shinobi's waist. His left hand is guarded by the twin blades of a rather unique tekko-kagi, bound to his fist by a tempered armored gauntlet. One of four pieces to the Kata Kara Mokin Tsume; a quartet of talons for each of a practitioner's limbs. Today, it serves as a particularly dangerous buckler to a duel of blademasters.

"Whenever you are ready, I am prepared to engage you." The calm, matter-of-fact ease with which the Shinobi Prince declares this is enough to instill just a bit of chill in the hearts of the wise; murmurs undertoned with oathsworn ability from this humble, polite young man who has slain more beings than many standing militaries.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa has started a fight here.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa equips the Falcon's Talons.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/-------|

Leo may be unhappy with Ky meeting Hayabusa back in Illyria when he finds out, but ninjas are often found only on their own terms. Such is the way of the shinobi.

"Of course," Ky turns toward the squire that greeted him earlier--then past him to another knight. "Tea, please." He smiles at the squire, who seems on the edge of his seat already. "Keep it warm until we are finished though, if you would?"

Drawing his sword with a smooth motion, Ky assumes a forward stance, sword raised high and forward in one hand. It's a position more akin to a fencer than the longsword would normally imply. As his grip tightens around it, blue electricity crackles along the edge of the blade.

"Let us go, then!"

Ky's movement forward is as much step as it run, a singular smooth motion to close the distance. It becomes more complicated when step gives away to slide, the knight going to ground into a low kick that's punctuated with a singular horizontal slash.

COMBATSYS: Ky Kiske has joined the fight here.

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Ky Kiske         0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

COMBATSYS: Ky Kiske successfully hits Ryu Hayabusa with Stun Dipper.

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Ky Kiske         0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

It's an entirely different affair, squaring off against one such as Ky, versus hunting down a deadly spectre from another world; or, indeed, many of the angrier members of the Warrior community. Still, all the honor, duty, and politesse in the universe don't counteract the danger that King Kiske represents.

The Dragon Ninja drops his guard low-- but instants, a hair's breadth too late. And that leaves him pivoting sharply, harshly but gracefully, as the knightly blade rises-- and threatens to bisect him. It is a shallow cut and a ragged gout of lightning that catches him instead, Hayabusa twisting on one anchoring foot away and around that stroke even as it draws first blood.

"And so we shall." Ryu observes, with something a few notes too dry to be simple irony. As his pivot settles into a ready stance, one motion fluidly becomes another, and the Ninja Master's legs flex subtly, launching him into the air. It seems, by all appearances and instincts, that the Dragon Ninja means to come down atop Ky in some brutal weapon strike-- but instead, his velocity on the descent indeed redoubles-- but to a point just /beyond/ the Lord of Illyria.

Indeed, Ky would be a pommel horse at best in the technique that suddenly seeks to draw and thrust the point of Ryuken into Kiske's side in the last moments of landing; right into his back, should the King's footwork similarly fail him.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Ky Kiske with Falling Falcon.
- Power hit! -

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Ky Kiske         0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

Ky too faces a different sort of threat with the Dragon Ninja. He is a man most commonly faced with Darkstalkers, Gears, and, in truth, NOL agents with more ambition that good sense. Hayabusa's approach has been more deferrent, but with no less might behind it. It's a show of restraint, not weakness, that Hayabusa came to Illyria with such civility.

And as such, King Kiske can only meet that decorum with honorable combat. To do anything less would itself be an insult.

As Thunderseal draws blood, Ky is left vulnerable for a brief instant himself, low to the ground and out of stance for his aggressive advance. Wherein normally he might backstep, roll, or parry with his blade to handle the retort, he finds himself over-extended and off-balanced for only a moment, and that moment is all that the Dragon Ninja needs to create an opening. Hands plant on his shoulders and the blade goes for his side, meeting only a miniscule defense in Ky's light chainmail and whatever lingering magic surrounds it. As the blade pierces, the Illyrian king pushes off with palm and boot to try and widen the distance between them before Hayabusa can press the advantage.

But Ky does not leave his retreat unguarded; with an arc of lightning and the brief flash of a magic sigil, Ky interposes a blue-white blade of lightning between his arm and the advancing ninja before sending it rocketing forward.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa dodges Ky Kiske's Stun Edge.

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Ky Kiske         0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

In truth, the two men are more alike than they are different-- a rather unusual perspective, even among their peers, to be sure. Not many royals are duty bound to slay demons from around the time they are capable of lifting a sword.

It's no surprise that of all the various hunter organizations in the world, it's the Order of Sacred Knights that the Hayabusa Shinobi find common ground with more often than not; more often than most. The NOL would really prefer to put all Ryu's Stuff(tm) in a vault, for one thing. Or distribute it to mentally unhinged practitioners of all stripes; not that we're naming names, Kisaragi.

Still, the memes about western longsword being just like Japanese katana will definitely resurge in viral impact, now.

The sigil flares to life between them, and Hayabusa shifts a half-step back, turning to face Ky sidelong. The arc of chi surges forward, and the Dragon Ninja simply vanishes from its path, so abrupt is his nearly perfectly vertical leap. Turning an agile, singular backflip, the Shinobi Prince drops back to the ramparts, several crenellations from where he began this bout.

A simple nod of respect belies the intensity with which Hayabusa centers his attention on Kiske; makes it easy to miss the whispered murmurs of ancient jutsus that draw the wind through the valley to embrace him, that intensify the pulse of power through this very place in a subtle but building reverberation.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa calculates his next move.

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Ky Kiske         0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

Ky has gained the ground he wanted as the Stun Edge separates them. Having a moment to breathe, the Frenchman raises his sword again and respositions into a stance with a higher guard. He steps to the side, gradually, imitating a stance that mixes Savate with his swordplay as he turns the handle of his blade in his hand once, then again.

Like Hayabusa, Ky knows what the NOL would like to do here all too well. For Illyria though, it would not only be its weapons but its people. The King tightens his grip on his blade.

When he springs into action it is sudden and sharp. He leaps forward into an overhead strike, filling the air with the smell of ozone as lightning arcs along his sword and stays there, a lingering, pulsing charge as he takes the weapon with both hands and brings down the overhead swing.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa interrupts Greed Sever from Ky Kiske with Severing Devil Wolf.

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Ky Kiske         0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

The moment to breathe passes swiftly for both men. The wind tugs at Hayabusa's crimson sash, this indicator suddenly shifting to blow wildly away as Kiske closes the distance between them in what seems like a single lunge; less than the blink of an eye.

Sacred blade meets sacred blade as Ryuken comes free of its saya in the same instant that the Dragon Ninja leaps -forward- to meet the stroke in midair, lightning crackling along his limbs as the strike is deflected by nigh-indestructible steel; the fang of a Celestial Dragon, they say.

Lesser weapons would be cleaved in twain by either sword, and their resounding clash reports like thunder through the valley, rumbling the ramparts themselves. Like a whirlwind, Hayabusa pushes off the guard into immediate riposte, the clawed talons on his left hand ripping out across Ky's chest, the Dragon Sword following through in a quick blur of repeated strokes, intent on opening a number of quick cuts with the scalpel geometry of the blade's boshi and kissaki.

The Falcon's Talons add their raptor's edge to the somersaulting ascent, and the Dragon Ninja clears Kiske, trading positions in an agile arc through the air to land a short span up the stonework pathway, a sharp chiburi spattering blood onto the crenellations as the last scion of the Celestial Dragons draws a deep, steadying breath once more.

In a moment, the two crash like thunder as blade meets blade. Lightning arcs and sparks fly in the meeting, and cloth is torn into as Hayabusa ripostes into an opening that lets him tear into the vestments of King Kiske's knightly order, shearing clearly through fabric and biting through the mail underneath. Ky is immediately forced on the defensive as he tries to break away from the furious combo, changing positions and sliding back on his heels with a trail of blood and torn fabric.

But despite heavy breaths, Ky does not yield even a moment's respite before he resumes the offense. Surging forward again, the knight breaks into a short run, closing the gap as he draws back his sword. His grip tightens with both hands as he prepares the brash, two-handed swing as he nears the illustrious ninja.

But then Ky immediately feints, using his improved grip to maintain hold on the sword with one hand while the breaks away. A brilliant burst of lightning erupts from his freed palm, exploding with an immediate flash as the sphere envelops the space immediately before him.

But before the energy has even faded, Ky has twirled his Thunderseal into an underhand grip, going low with his approach. He launches upward first with a rising slash, then shifts the sword to the other hand to release a second burst of lightning--perhaps the thunder that always follows the flash. But even as he does, however, blood drips from his previous wounds and dots the Illyria castle grounds, a loosed link clattering into the small puddle.

COMBATSYS: Ky Kiske blitzes into action and acts again!

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Ky Kiske         0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

COMBATSYS: Ky Kiske successfully hits Ryu Hayabusa with Lightning Sphere.

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Ky Kiske         1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Ky Kiske's Lightning Javelin.

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Ky Kiske         1/------=/=======|=======\===----\1 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

The maelstrom is unleashed-- and redoubled. It is nothing that Hayabusa did not anticipate; but anticipation and preparation are different equations. Still, he makes a remarkable show of it, all things considered. Drawn in by that surging gravitational sigil, the eye of this storm is not the most peaceful place to be, but the most painful. The Dragon Ninja redoubles his guard within the hurricane, katana crossed over bladed gauntlet as the wave crashes all around him, rather than entirely -through- him.

In the wake of this onslaught no distance is lost-- indeed, this circumstance comes entirely by Ky's design... but the Shinobi Prince does not hesitate even an instant to see to capitalize on that proximity himself. Ryuken draws blood from his left palm, and then that injured fist lashes out.

From within the surging chi, from beside the striking longsword comes that bladed gauntlet in a formidable rocket of an uppercut, one meant to launch the King of Illyria violently skyward. From there, he would find himself intercepted by a translocating Dragon Ninja, who would embrace Ky from an inverted perspective, tightly; too tightly.

... And then the Dragon Ninja would drive the opposing swordsman in a brutal corkscrew headfirst back into the stonework of the rampart walkway beneath them.

COMBATSYS: Ky Kiske blocks Ryu Hayabusa's Izuna Drop.

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Ky Kiske         1/-----==/=======|=======\=====--\1 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

One might say Ky Kiske is unprepared for Hayabusa's swift retort. As blade clashes with blade, the knight seems ready to overpower the ninja until the Illyrian king suddenly finds himself on the defensive Dragon Ninja not only breaks through put pushes him back for the launcher intent on setting up for a decisive blow. The gauntlet slams against Thunderseal with a cacophony of steel on steel, and into the air the knight goes.

But once in the air, Ky makes a desperate gambit. Still reeling from earlier hits, fresh wounds still dripping steadily through tattered cloth and mail, Ky crackles with electricity. In that instant he moves like lightning, twisting to strike the ground before they land and soften the impact with a flash of power. Even so, Ky finds himself half tumbling, half rolling away from the exchange and certainly not arising from it unscathed.

Nor is he down, however. As he pulls away, Ky thrusts forward with a quick, testing jab; it is a weak strike compared to others earlier, but it also serves its purpose of providing shallow cover for his recoup.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa counters Quick Strike from Ky Kiske with Mekkyaku - Ranryu EX.

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Ky Kiske         1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|======-\-------\0 [E] Ryu Hayabusa

Ky seeks cover, recuperation; the Dragon Ninja's goal is neither taking nor allowing succor in this instant. The winds that gathered around him surge red in the midst of that translocation, and as King Kiske mounts what defense he can-- and it is impressive indeed, pain notwithstanding-- the blood-tinged aura around Hayabusa does not dissipate.

An inversion becomes half a backflip on his own descent, the Shinobi Prince landing lightly on lithe limbs, the charge of power within him visible in the half-transparent surge of crimson wind around him; through him.

Ky does a skillful job of expertly creating distance, danger between himself and the Dragon Ninja-- but once more, this does not prove to be the Ninja's agenda. Weaving to his left, the Falcon's Talons collide with that thrusting, legendary stormsword, the ring of metal on metal resonant even as the Shinobi's sidelong trajectory becomes a high-velocity, lunging slide.

A snapping armored boot crosses the last span still separating Ryu from Ky in that last instant, inside the blade's impressive reach, launching the King of Illyria skyward. Before that momentum can fully abate, Hayabusa rises below into a followup uppercut, driving his empty fist into Kiske's torso before leaping into midair to meet him in a shoulder charge; a tackle that impacts like a torpedo, a tremendous shockwave of crimson wind blasting in an omnidirectional wave around the warriors.

"This has been well fought, Ky Kiske." The Dragon Ninja murmurs as he gracefully drops to poise that defies his pain, his exertion upon the ramparts. There is no gloating, no overconfidence in the assertion; but one way or another, the bout's culmination lies before them.

Until that moment comes, none can be certain of its true shape...

Ky Kiske is resolute in the face of adversity. Against a formidable opponent, it is one's duty to rise to the challenge. Even so, Ryu Hayabusa keeps raising the bar higher with each passing moment.

Ky's blade does not find purchase in the ninja himself, instead meeting metal with a iron clang as the blade is deflected upward. The ninja goes low, and Ky does not meet him before a combination of flows sends the Illyrian King skyward, then backward, finally crashing to the ground with such impact stone is upturned and dust fills the air.

But within the dust, lightning crackles, dancing within the clouds and bouncing from particle to particle.

Ky suddenly splits the clouds as he rushes out of them encased in a great sphere of lightning, bolts arcing off the barrier as he charges back toward Hayabusa. He coughs, sputtering blood, but he does not stop.

"Indeed, Sir Hayabusa! But I am not yet ready to yield!"

COMBATSYS: Ky Kiske can no longer fight.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Ky Kiske's Ride the Lightning.

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Ryu Hayabusa [E] 1/-------/=======|

That Ky's bleeding wounds threatened to take him out of the fight was known to the Dragon Ninja; that the King of Illyria was capable of ending the fight in his favor before that moment /came/, also a reality Ryu recognized. What Hayabusa is less predictive on is the sheer magnitude and intensity of that last effort, and in the span of an instant, King Kiske looks poised to end it just thusly.

The Shinobi's gaze darts left, right, but all he has the moments to do is leap upwards, curl in around himself, and be met by that maelstrom of unleashed lightning. Its current rips at his armor, seeks to surge up his limbs, but the Master Ninja's inner will is formidable-- alongside the flexed bend of crossed arms and tucked legs-- and much of the destructive force is deflected outwards.

Still too is Ryu blasted along its course. Driven backwards, pulsing upwards, the Dragon Ninja finds himself launched mid-defense right off the side of the castle ramparts. Did the storm turn the tide? Force Hayabusa beyond even his own remarkable limits? Instants later the answer becomes apparent: Hayabusa reappears as the camera pulls back, hanging from the stonework by the claws attached to his left fist.

Inverting with a lithe heave, his feet leading his ascent back to the castle walls, the Dragon Ninja flips with agile acumen despite the harsh battle, touching down on the crenellations once more... and giving a respectful nod towards Ky Kiske. "Nor would I have asked you to."

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa has ended the fight here.

As Ky crashes through like a human maelstrom, Hayabusa demonstrates in turn how he has survived as a hunter of monsters and a slayer of evil. The brunt of the knight's assault fails to strike Hayabusa due to the shinobi's intrepid dodging, and, with time, Ky comes to a stop.

Breathing heavily, Ky stands, sword extended. He continues to stand for several lingering moments before dropping to his knees and struggling to keep himself upright by using his blade as a cane.

"Well fought. ... very well fought."

Ky collapses, and the the gathered knights moved to take him to have his wounds tended. Others move to speak to Ryu Hayabusa to offer the same.

As well as tea.

Log created on 15:06:11 09/09/2023 by Ryu Hayabusa, and last modified on 13:47:19 09/21/2023.