NFG Season Two - Odyssey R1 - A Rock To Tie His Face Around

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Description: Supposedly, Ajax took on Hector using a lot of rocks. One supposes punches with the solidity of rocks are almost as good, though they aren't great throwing weapons unless you're a robot.

Scholars would generally know that the name 'Ajax' was most commonly associated with the son of Telamon, Ajax the Great, whose military successes against Greece made him a hero of the nation of Troy. Some smarty-pants might also know of the son of Oileus, Ajax the Lesser, whose... military feats made him a Trojan hero. ... Weird, maybe there just weren't that many badass names to go around back then.

Of course, more folks in the West might know of the 'Ajax' line of household cleaning projects, not knowing of the nefarious and underhanded wit involved in its tagline: "Stronger than grease!"

Oddly, those references were relegated to the sixth, seventh, and eighth entries on Ishida's search. The first two pointed to information on a Dutch football club, and the next three pointed to outdated posts for a deprecated web technology. Ishida, dealing with the Mycanae Campground's limited wifi bandwidth, gave up after the fourth and resolved to get an early start.

He's been doing squats ever since. Even with several plates' of weight on the bar, he cycles through the exercises with an oddly serene smile on his face. His muscles -- plainly evident, even through two layers of uncombed silk -- show that he wouldn't have issues keeping it up even longer, should he need to. It... might be clear that Ishida finds his inner strength within the rigorous discipline of a daily routine.

A few dozen fighting fans have already started to make their way to the campground's clearing, interested to get a sneak peek at the latest additions to the New Fighting Generation. It's quite likely, though, that they're less interested in the unassuming Japanese fighter -- and moreso in the son of two motion picture superstars, if the number of eminently signable Smithson and Powers merchandise in their greedy little hands is any sign of their intentions.

Henry finally makes his appearance, just in time not to be considered late as seems to be a habit of his. And while he does know the legend of Ajax and Troy, after all his father did one movie on the Trojan war and one TV miniseries, he's forgone any of the usual preperation his upbringing might have urged him to do for the fight.

For one, he didn't get any acurate costuming for the fight. He's still in his school uniform. Maybe there's some sort of deal between his school and the NFG that keeps him in it, or maybe it's just easy for him at this point. Though he does shrug out of his blazer and hands it off to one of the support staff as he gets closer.

The other concession he didn't make was his weapons. The targe he carries is much to small for a proper period shield, and the long sword is considerably longer than the more appropriate xiphos, but its not like he has access to his family's rather considerable armory at this point. No, just what he brought with him. He slips his sword from the sheathe with a rasp of metal on steel, and hands that over as well.

But making thos changes might also hurt his objective for signing up for this in the first place. To be seen as a real fighter.

Stepping more into the designated combat space, it may seem like he's not giving the crowd much attention, but as he walks closer his sword dances in his hand, going through a few spins and slashes at the air as if he's simply warming up his sword arm. But they're a bit flashier and showier than need be, so it might be for the gathered crowds benefit.

"Looks like you got your wish early." He says to Ishida in a calm but friendly tone as he comes to a stop several feet from the other fighter. He rests the flat of his blade on his shoulder and grins. "Well, I hope I live up to the hype."

Ishida was told about the costumes. He'd even nodded -- which the NFG official took to mean agreement, rather than a simple acknowledgement that Ishida had heard him.

... So he's not in costume as Ajax. If anything, he might be in costume if a wuxia movie were being filmed here instead of this particular fight. So when he looks up to see Henry approaching -- in a school uniform -- he just smiles, because that's pretty much how he'd expected to see the young man. He lifts the bar overhead -- it wasn't -that- heavy, really -- and sets it down before him. Then he hops briefly on his toes, swinging his arms back and forth to get the blood flowing, as he closes the gap to meet up with Henry.

"It is as you say, yes. It is good to see you again."

Ishida seems pleased that Henry had followed his interview responses. And for a moment, he glances aside, in thought.

Three seconds later, his eyes cast back to the much taller Pacific High student.

"... Hype? I am not sure I understand."

He presents a self-effacing smile, pressing his fist against a palm, and bows his shoulders humbly.

"Though. I do feel that we both have much to learn."

There is no visible change in his demeanor as he rises back to his full 5'2" height -- though, there is an odd stillness that seems to radiate outward from him. A calm, waiting to be broken by the tides of battle.

Although his hand is blocked from view by the shield, it's easy to tell Henry is undoing the buttons on his vest for a little extra mobility, which he tests by moving his shoulders one his hand returns to his side.

He doesn't get into explaining hype, instead just offering a smile and a shrug. But he does return the bow, well practiced if a little off from having the sword out and ready.

"Well, no use putting it off." He replies, feets shifting into a ready stance as he brings up his shield, his sword pointed towards Ishida over it. It looks like he's resting the flat of his blade on the edge of the shield, but it stays a centimeter or so above it, laser straight and unwavering.

"Ready when you are."

COMBATSYS: Henry has started a fight here.

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Henry            0/-------/-------|

Ishida is, for all intents and purposes, a very serious individual. He arches an eyebrow as Henry declines to explain the 'hype', but it isn't in a judgmental way -- from his unbroken eye contact, Ishida seems as if he'd honestly wanted to know what was up there.

But with Henry declining to elaborate, the qigong student sincerely doesn't put any further thoughts in the matter. He nods quietly as the Pacific High student readies himself -- and raises both hands in knife stance to match. His right foot draws back, pressing into the grass.

And the blades of grass begin to press flat in a small radius around him.

"... I am ready. ... Forgive my ignorance, but do we need an official to begin us?"

COMBATSYS: Ishida has joined the fight here.

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Henry            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Ishida

Henry's eyes flick over towards the match referee at Ishida's question, a little motion of his head in the NFG official's direction. This time a woman with a rather sour expression that might just be an unfortunate application of her lipstick. She's watching the pair and when they decalre they're both ready, she calls out for the match to begin.

Henry wastes no time in launching his first attack, quick as a viper strike. One might think the sword and shield would weigh him down, but there's a good reason he eschews armor unlike the other kinghtly combatant in the NFG, he's light on his feet.

His stance shifts, his rear leg sliding forward in a quick step as he thrust forward with his sword that was already pointed towards Ishida's core.

No artful slashes or acrobatic maneuvers here, no, the first round is something special. Everyone is an unknown quantity, he's seen none of them fight, and for now Henry needs to test his oponent's guard before he can start looking for openings to exploit.

COMBATSYS: Ishida blocks Henry's Quick Strike.

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Henry            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Ishida

A sword confers upon its wielder a number of advantages against an unarmed warrior. Reach, lethality, and intimidation are all magnified to a formidable degree. For most, the advantages are nothing to shrug off.

However, one of the enigmatic warrior's understated strengths may be that very guard that Henry is testing. The qigong disciple takes no step to avoid the strike -- indeed, he lunges forward into the fray. His leading arm rises to answer the challenge; metal blade parts fabric and bites into the young man's flesh as he steps forward. He grunts from the injury as his rising arm redirects the blade away from his core, a nearly vertical line of crimson evidencing the swiftness of his motion.

But once compelled into motion, Ishida is difficult to stop. The resilient challenger will offer his own rebuttal: three rapid punches delivered swiftly into Henry's guard.

COMBATSYS: Henry blocks Ishida's Medium Punch.

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Henry            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Ishida

A shield also offers its own advantages. Sure, it may not be as intimidating or sharp as the sword, but there's no denying the usefulness of a disc of metal reinforced hardwood to put between you and your opponent. Something Henry takes full advantage of as the punches instead dully thump on the rivetted surface of the shield.

Some of the shock of the blows still pass up into Henry's arm, shields aren'y perfect, but they keep the brunt of the force away, and it gives him a clue as to how hard Ishida can hit.

Red chi flicks along the length of Henry's blade, whispy ribbons gliding along the sharp edges.

Shield still placed before him, he brings up his sword..

And strikes it along the rim of his shield, sending a cascade of glittering red sparks into the air between him and Ishida, hopefully using the distracting maneuver to allow him a few steps back.

COMBATSYS: Ishida endures Henry's Hound Couchant.

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Henry            0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0           Ishida

Defense is every bit as crucial as offense -- and Henry proves that he's got plenty of that on his own. Ishida seems to nod with approval at the way his opponent handles the blows. It wouldn't be the first time Ishida has punched metal-backed hardwood, and it certainly won't be the last as he continues to press his assault.

Henry may find, though, that getting out of Ishida's reach may prove more difficult than he'd envisioned. While the Japanese fighter may not have anticipated the use of sparks as an offensive tactic, he -- oddly enough -- doesn't seem to be deterred. Ishida seems to disregard the threat to his person, even as the sparks slam into his flesh and shirt, leaving behind black scorch marks alike as the toughened fighter presses forward. He grunts -- however slightly -- as he barrels forward, hoping to make the most of his drive.

His goal would be to continue striding forward, so that he can capitalize on his momentum. With a small hop forward, he'd hope to drive a slashing chop downward at Henry, before following through with a quick backhand -- and then swivel his trailing fist forward into a stronger punch aimed at sending his opponent flying backwards into the nearest picnic table!

COMBATSYS: Henry counters Taken for Granite from Ishida with Stag Guardant.

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Henry            0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0           Ishida

Who knows if the audience is enjoying the exchange so far, but Henry, well he's definitely enjoying himself. It's a display of technique over flash, even with his shower of sparks fading in the air.

"Rivals or friends." Henry says softly, taking a quick step back even as his opponent maintains pressure. "I'm enjoying this so far."

As Ishida launches his assault he finds something in the way of actually reaching Henry at each blow. Henry brings up his sword to intercept the downward chop as he would with any swing of a normal weapon, and a quick flick of the wrist repositions the sword between him and the backfisted strike. Its not a light sword either, but Henry wields it with the ease of a sword half its size.

It's the dhield that comes in to intercept the third strike, but he doesn't just position it to guard, instead he swings the front of his shield right into the oncoming fist. The same red chi that flicked along his sword earlier swirls along the front of the shield, blasting outwards as he impacts the normally defensive equipment right into Ishida's oncoming fist.

Throughout his training, Ishida has found himself more or less rooted in place. Fighting against an opponent is a new element -- and one that seems to be providing a challenge to him.

It'd be tough to see it, though; the only emotion shown on his face has been determination. At least, until the third collision between fist and defense results in a quite different exchange -- a sharp eddy in the qi currents that catches the Japanese fighter off-guard. His fist isn't so much rejected as *repelled*; Ishida finds himself flung harshly onto his side as if he were kicked back by the bumper of a pinball machine's. Grass and soil are blasted free, becoming a miniature shower in Ishida's wake.

The Japanese fighter looks down at his fist in wide-eyed surprise. His knuckles white, his flesh seared red, perhaps as an aftershock of the close encounter. And then -- he smiles.

"Rivals or friends," he echoes, pushing back to his feet. And with that smile still intact, he gives a brief nod, sealing the deal. "I am as enjoying this as well."

But with as much as he has taken in damage -- the new entrant to the fighting world has a lot to learn about actually -striking-. He's mostly used Chinese boxing techniques before. But as he recovers, he tries something new -- lunging in with his feet for a strike at Henry's shins, hoping to poke under that shield of his. And if he manages to land with that, he'd wheel upward with a backhand, seeking to knock the American off his feet!

COMBATSYS: Ishida successfully hits Henry with Aggressive Strike.

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Henry            0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0           Ishida

Henry walks a fragment of a semi-circle around Ishida, flipping his sword in his hand in a bit of a showy move, the metal glinting in the light. He still has a showman's habits, no matter how much he wants to prove himself, but he's also trying to position himself so he doesn't get trapped between his opponent and the picnic table.

It's perhaps the change in style that catches Henry off guard. He may be used to live opponents, but sparring is not a true fight. Expecting more fist strikes, his feet remain open, and one down side of a shield is it does occasionally block your line of sight. The blows connect one after the other and Henry goes sailing back a couple feet.

Luckily, stunt training comes with 'how to fall lessons' and a moment after he hits the ground, he kicks his feet into the air, performing a kip-up to get back to his feet, taking only a moment to readjust his grip on his sword. "Good one." He says, properly admiring of the quick change up.

The California teen doesn't waste much time on assessing the situation, finding it more important at the moment to keep the pressure on. A couple quick steps brings him back in sword strike range of Ishida, his sword immediately coming up in a hip to shoulder slash.

COMBATSYS: Ishida interrupts Medium Strike from Henry with Cornerstone.

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Henry            1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0           Ishida

In practice, an attack succeeds if you simply avoid losing your balance afterwards. Practice is a conduit to a perfected state of existence, one in which the threshold between thought and execution is as minimal as possible.

The reality of a fight has proven to be more punishing than that. His moves were executed with the same practice and rigor -- only to be deflected by a shield, or repelled and warped about by a strange energy. It's a compelling challenge, and one Ishida is developing a taste for.

He takes stock of Henry's graceful, practiced recovery -- and nods quietly at the compliment. "Thank you," he notes. He makes a mental note of the social grace -- and tries to remember that in the future.

There is not much time to think further on that topic though, as the swordsman lashes out with his sword. Like the kip-up, it's a practiced gesture, and one Ishida can 'read' clearly from his study. And as the Japanese fighter has shown before -- he is okay with making trades for the greater benefit.

Ishida steps -into- the blow, turning his left shoulder upwards into the blade. Against a samurai, perhaps that would be suicidal. But Ishida knows from his background studies that Henry has more focus on stage fighting. And he does not expect a deep follow-through once contact is made.

The blade bites through the uncombed silk of his jacket, down into corded muscle. But Ishida knows the shield is out of his path at the moment, and seizes the opportunity to plunge both his palms forward at Henry. A powerful strike aimed at blasting him backwards. Perhaps his changed angle takes him out of the picnic table's vector -- but backwards, all the same.

"Your form is good," he comments. "... Efficient." An attempt was made.

Henry grunts as the double palm strike makes impact, and he goes sliding backwards along the ground. However his sword is quickly stabbed into the ground in front of him, giving him a third point of contact and allowing him to stay on his feet. It carves a furrow in the grass, straight as a plow line, and Henry eve grimaces at the thought of the sharpening he'll need to give his blade for that maneuver.

PErhaps its a showy enough recovery that it's hard to notice the fact that his targe has slipped loose of his forearm and he now grips it by the edge as his other hand remains on the hilt of his sword.

His shield arm swings back, and his targe flares with red chi once more. Whipping his arm forward, he sends the shield spinning along the ground with added backspin, the energy flaring into a giant buzz-saw like wheel around the defensive item he seems to lik to use for offense as much as his sword.

The attack zips forward, carving another line in the ground parallel to the one made by his sword but headed in the other direction towards Ishida, the back spin aded to send it flying back towards Henry at the apex of it's journey.

COMBATSYS: Ishida blocks Henry's Leviathan Naiant.

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Henry            0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Ishida

Ishida seems a bit surprised as the sword is used as leverage to keep his opponent from sliding backwards. It seems... unconventional. Maybe even anime-style.

Seeing the furrow in the ground brings a small smile to his face, at any rate.

It does, then, surprise him slightly as he sees the targe gripped by its side, rather than by its central arm straps. Not to mention the American's red flare. It's... an alarming color, isn't it? Ishida draws in his breath, using that instant to prepare himself. He can still feel the blood dripping along his back, but he pushes that thought to the back of his mind as he sees the shield rending its own path across the ground. Rather than moving to avoid the strike, he drops to one knee, doubling up forearm against his right shoulder. Looking away as he rams his upper arm and hip into the shield, presenting as large a surface area as possible to mitigate the damage. Cloth shreds, welts are formed, and darker splashes of crimson are cast free from the brilliant red light as the shield arcs its way back to its wielder.

Ishida lets out his breath through clenched teeth, as his forward ramming motion also serves to bring him back to a standing position. He bristles, slightly, as he shrugs sensation back into his throughly numbed arm.

"Impressive," he notes, surprised at how Henry is able to retrieve the defensive weapon. And, a moment later, he adds with a faint smile: "I had not expected an attack such as that."

He does not wait too much longer though. The qigong practitioner lashes out with a scything heel kick for the thigh, before withdrawing his foot and snapping it into a thrusting kick aimed at Henry's core. He expects a sturdy defense -- but he's decided that it's more important to keep up the flow of combat!

COMBATSYS: Henry fully avoids Ishida's Medium Kick.

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Henry            0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0           Ishida

Henry snags the shield out of the air, slipping it back into place with the ease of someone who knows his equipment. "Thanks, it's one of my specialities." He replies, accepting the compliment with a smile and a nod of his head. Polite as could be even in the middle of the fight.

As Ishida launches his next attacks, Henry stays where he is with his hand on the hilt of his still planted sword.

As the first strike nears, he uses his sword as a pivot point and lets himself half-fall half-spin out of the way, his handhold keeping him up right, thn he dips low to slip under the kick.

There's a good reason he doesn't wear armor, stunt work is half acrobatics, and it seems in his training he didn't skimp on those lessons, either.

He finally pries his sword free of its planted position and using his momentum from the dodging acrobatics, launches himself into a complete spin, sword extended, the chi the once more flares along the length of the blade leaving the after image of a crimson ring floating about him for a moment after the maneuver.

COMBATSYS: Henry successfully hits Ishida with Lion Rampant EX.

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Henry            0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1           Ishida

Nearly all of Ishida's attacks had, in some way, hit something. This is the expected course of action, the expected pace of battle. So when his attack does not, in fact, -hit-, confusion tugs at his eyebrows for the moment in which he shifts his balance to compensate.

It's that moment that costs him, though -- for while he's processing the evasion, he doesn't account for the possibility of an incoming attack. Henry may be just out of reach, but his slashing sword is not. The crimson chi does what the earth-dulled blade alone could not -- carve an intense swath of pain into Ishida's side, forcing him to stagger sideways.

The pain is intoxicating.
But something else rises up within him.
A reminder of the times his skills were -truly- needed.
A message that -discipline- will carry him through.

Ishida draws his breath through his teeth. He clenches his fists, pressing his treads into the soft earth. Blood begins to stain the uncombed silk -- yet he presses through with determination. And when he releases his breath, it's with another compliment: "Good!"

For the adrenaline is now starting to kick in. And Ishida surges forward again. This time, he leads with his left arm -- a driving forearm smash to open up Henry's guard.

And then he will surge forward again -- not with his fists, but with his forehead, aimed to smash into the armorless knight's chest. And should that land, Ishida would swing his foot high -- and then drop his heel like a guillotine onto Henry's shoulder!

COMBATSYS: Henry blocks Ishida's Fissure King.

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Henry            1/------=/=======|=------\-------\0           Ishida

Breathing heavily, Henry lets a small smile of triumph slip through as he feels the blow land a solid hit. He's not sure how much longer his defenses can hold up to Ishida's pounding strikes, and his better option but more difficult one is to just keep anything from landing.

That shield though. Henry favors the smaller targe, true it provides less barrier, but it also gets in his way less, and he can move the arm bearing it more easily, so when that initial smash comes in, it thumps off the wooden exterior of the shield.

And he quickly places it between himself and that headbut as well, another solid thunk of wood being struck echoing through the campsite.

Henry doesn't even wait to see what might be coming next, he dives off to the side. His blade licking out to try to claim at least a grazing strike as he duck into a forward roll, followed by a somersault to once more land on his feet in a crouch with his sword held out to the side, a little less steady than it was at the beginning of the match.

He's beginning to run down.

COMBATSYS: Ishida interrupts Evasive Strike from Henry with Rockslide.

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Henry            1/----===/=======|=====--\-------\0           Ishida

Ishida was able to study how fighters had used their weapons in the last NFG season. He may not have had any practical experience, but he was able to envision the various scenarios from the perspectives of the on-screen fighters. It's just that, well, he can't remember any of them having a shield quite as mobile as Henry's, able to weave in between the broad strokes of attacks.

The impact of his forehead resonating through hardwood leaves his skin white for a moment. It's... well, a reminder that heads are a weapon to be used sparingly.

His followup though -- it buries his heel a few centimeters into the ground, leaving him momentarily rooted in place as the more nimble American leaps away. Brow furrowed in concentration, he nods in approval as his gaze turns to meet Henry's.

He reads the moment -- can see the desire to escape in the swordfighter's motions. He can see Henry trying to zig one way.

And he leans in, stepping out of the hole so that he can drop his elbow on the opposite side of the blade. The motion results in the blade taking a shallow bite of his side -- but it also means Henry's escape would be delayed a moment, lest he drop the sword.

That moment is long enough for Ishida to whip his knee out, and unfold his leg into a sweeping kick that knocks Henry off-course!

Panting through his greet teeth, Ishida releases the blade and pulls free. He nods back -- a pained smile on his face, but a smile nonetheless.

"Your reach presents some... interesting challenges."

There's one thing Henry can't do, and that's to let go of his weapon. Can he fight unarmed? Sure. Is it optimal? No. So he keeps his grip on his sword even as Ishida uses it to drive him off course.

He still goes skidding away, senging up puffs of dirt and dried leaves as he skids to a halt, managing to keep himself at least partially up with the help of the edge of his shield pressed to the ground.

"Takes guts to wade into combat against a blade unarmed." Henry add, not that he feels guilty using one. They all had the option, so in his mind it's fair.

He smiles to Ishida, a smile that's half grimace as he shifts causing a bolt of pain to surge through his arm. "That's going to be stiff come morning." And probably swollen and bruised.

But he only wastes so much time bantering. He slips forward once more, blade crossed in front of him. But instead of a direct assault on Ishida, he aims to take a slice at his side once more, as he tries to slip past. Which is immediately followed by a quick pivot that brings Henry around, shield staps grabbed in his fist to use the targe once more as a bashing instrument as he puts all the strength he can muster into an crouching uppercut meant to launch Ishida into the air.

Should that connect, Henry leaves the ground as well, chasing his opponent into the air, where he brings his sword up over his head, red chi flaring off the edge like a massive pair of wings, which he brings down in a heavy chop meant to send the airborne Ishida hurtling back down to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Henry successfully hits Ishida with Phoenix Issuant.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Henry            0/-------/-------|=======\=------\1           Ishida

Henry comments on the 'guts' of challenging a blade while unarmed. Ishida had given the matter some thought before -- and reasoned that while armed fighters had a reach advantage, ultimately the fighters without seemed to do okay as well.

With a quiet smile, he responds: "I would say: It takes guts to open one's heart to new experiences."

With a determined mind, anything is possible. This belief carried himself through an unimaginable tragedy, and he firmly believes it will carry him through this NFG season.

Which is good, because a moment later, he's been completely unmoored from the ground. Deceived by the tricksy evasion, and caught unaware by the shield bash to his tender side, his defense starts to crumple. But it isn't until he'd found himself himself in the air that he really starts to show signs of panic. His hands reach out, grasping for air; sweat starts to bead at his forehead. His flight is cut mercifully short by the followup attack though -- a sword that swings overhead, then slices down onto his shoulder and slams him furiously into the ground.

The ground welcomes him, wrapping around him like a dried, forgotten catcher's mitt -- hard, and -loud-, but still making the tiniest effort to conform to the caught Ishida. It may have hurt -- but even with that pain, terra firma is far more comfortable than open skies. As the red haze of Henry's attack clears, the Japanese fighter pushes free of the soil crater he'd been slammed into with a pained groan.

"I hope the ship comes back soon. I will need a good soak."

Grimacing, he clenches his fists together and stomps his foot on the ground. It seems as nearly -every- one of his muscles does the same, as the flecks of soil on his outfit fall to the ground at once from the shuddering stomp.

But then his eyes turn to Henry. And that thin smile appears once again.

Ishida suddenly surges forward. He hopes that Henry had enough time to recover from being chased around before -- because, once again, the hunt is on. And this time, Ishida is lunging forward, swinging his arm in a high overhand arc -- to try and strike him with a dazing overhead blow from the underside of his fist! He'd follow up afterwards with a clearing backfist from the same hand, hoping to make up for lost ground.

COMBATSYS: Henry blocks Ishida's Kids Wanna Rock.

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Henry            0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1           Ishida

"You and me both." Henry intones after he lands, hardly as graceful as he would like, as he stumbles slightly. But the fight is not over yet, so with gritted teeth he brings his sword back up. Worn out in so short a time. This was far different than sparring.

HE takes one step back as Ishida comes charging in. Like with the previous overhead strike, Henry brings up his sword to intercept the blow, but the sword isn't steady, which makes him bring up his shield as well, bracing the blade against the targe, taking the strike with a slight buckling of the knees.

His crossed defenses shift to take the other blow, getting a grunt from Henry in response. "And a cold compress." He mutters, and he's not even the one beating his fists on metal.

His response is a simple one, he needs to open up room. Reach is good, but having an opponent inside that reach is quite a bit more awkward. He dances backwards, a quick shuffling of his feet along the ground as he swipes his blade in a horizontal slash through where he was standing and a couple feet further away to hopefully either catch Ishida or ward him back to open some breathing room.

COMBATSYS: Ishida endures Henry's Random Strike.

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Henry            0/-------/-----==|=======\==-----\1           Ishida

At the moment, Ishida knows he's hurt -- but he doesn't -feel- hurt, so it must not be all that bad. But he's also never -voluntarily- put himself through this kind of torture test before, either. He has almost no concept of what his true limits really are -- just the knowledge that perseverence can pay off in some vague, unknowable sense.

So no -- the dull pains of his hands slamming against metal don't register to him, either through his hardening training, or through an adrenaline haze, or both. But he can understand Henry's feelings all the same: a cold compress -would- be good. And Ishida nods in commisseration.

Henry brings his sword to bear once more. It's a good plan -- but it's one that the range-disadvantaged Japanese fighter is opposed to. The sword is swept in a lateral strike. And Ishida -- rather than dodge, or block -- pivots so that he can take the sword head-on. Or rather, to let it strike both of his palms at the same time.

His hands shudder backward from the blow. Crimson fountains erupt from his hands -- the earth-dulled blade is enough to crack his skin. And in Ishida's adrenaline-addled haze, he acknowledges the reality with grit teeth -- seeing the spray, but not really -feeling- it. It was all calculus to him: 'catching' the blade head-on keeps Henry from making his escape.

After all -- he doesn't need his hands to strike, per se. As soon as the blade is halted, Ishida makes his counterattack. He slides sideways, plunging his elbow into Henry's core. And then he wheels about to slam a rolling sobat kick at Henry's midsection -- and if he connects, he'd twist about to carry his momentum into a second sobat kick to follow up.

It's quite possible that if Ishida understood his limits better, he might not have chosen such a path. But that's why he's here -- to learn those limits in battle.

COMBATSYS: Henry dodges Ishida's Rolling Stone.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///                           ]
Henry            0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0           Ishida

It's one of those moment that will no doubt be clipped in an effort to be made into promotional material. Two worn out fighters still displaying an almost dance like coordination in the middle of their fight.

The moment he sees his blade isn't going to connect with a more sensitive spot, he hops slightly, using the reverse momentum of his blade halfting to push him away from Ishida, its just enough that he can dance back with another shifting of his feet away from the elbow to his gut. Followed by another quick shuffle of his stance to slip aside from the kick.

The Californian just refuses to let himself be pinned down.

He makes a third back step which places him on the bench of the picnic table, then he kicks off the edge of the table itself, putting himself into the air over Ishida. It's a familiar look, but this time his target isn't airborne, and the flare along his sword isn't quite as showy.

The thing with longswords is their ability to cut isn't what makes them potent weapons. It's their weight and momentum, even a dulled longsword can still crush what it comes in contact with. And that's now bearing down overhead with Henry's own weight added to the mix, the blade glowing a bright crimson.

COMBATSYS: Ishida blocks Henry's Hawk Descendant.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  /                             ]
Henry            0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Ishida

Ishida is... perplexed by Henry's speed. It's frustrating for his elbow to miss its mark, but years of conditioning from his parents have taught the young man to refrain from airing his concerns unasked. And besides -- after just a moment of thought, it's clear to see just how much of a feat the tired American had been able to pull off by getting -away- from him in such a manner. And to step back twice more, afterwards.

But even with all that... Ishida still feels like he's able to hold his own here. He's never felt this -good- before -- to be challenged by someone of his own skill level, to press himself right to the edge of consciousness, and not even -feel- like that's what is going on. It's a rush -- and now he's feeling a bit hooked on that. It's with that in mind that, again, he declines to get out of the way of the strike -- rather, crossing his forearms and absorbing the brunt of the dulled longsword that way.

There's just one difference.
This time, he feels it.
The pain sears through his forearms.
The sweat rolls off his brow.
And for once -- blackness begins to crowd in on his vision.

He won't give up though. Not yet. For as soon as Henry springs free -- Ishida gives him one more burst of speed, lurching forward. His fists whip out to deliver one short, abbreviated punch after another -- rolling fists, in the Wing Chun style. He presses forward in an unbalanced state, shoulders outpacing his hips and feet. He raises his head - and then lurches forward violently, hoping to slam his forehead down yet again, with enough force to stop a raging bull.

It's just that -- with an attack -that- committed, in his current state...

The blackness takes over.
And he passes right out in the midst of his attack -- one that's likely to end with him faceplanting right into the grass and dirt of the Mycenae Campground. A rewarding rest for a hard-fought battle.

COMBATSYS: Ishida can no longer fight.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Henry            0/-------/--=====|

COMBATSYS: Henry blocks Ishida's The Hard Place.

[                        \\\\\\  <
Henry            0/-------/=======|

Henry lands in a tuck and roll, and without Ishida down, he preps himself for the next counterattack. There's no fancy acrobatics this time, no nimble dodging. He's not sure he has much of that left in him, it's exhausting, especially hauling around the sword. So he stays crouched, making himself as small as possible as he brings up his shiled between him and Ishida.

He keeps up the wooden wall between him and the flurry of blows, bracing himself as much as he can under the assualt, but even the shield being punched into his arm starts to take its toll.

And just as he thinks his gaurd might drop he hears one final landing, but this is Ishida hitting the ground.

Henry lowers the shield and regards his opponent with a shake of his head. "You did not make that easy." He says, even if the other man can't hear him.

He tries to get to his feet for a moment, which is enough for the referee to call the match.

Then as if all the energy suddenly leaves him, he makes a few stumbling steps over to the picnic table and drops on the bench with a heavy thud, placing his sword across his thighs and patting the blade. "Thank you."

As the medics rush over to begin tending to the fighters, he attempts to wave them off to Ishida, at least until he's told someone else is tending to him.

COMBATSYS: Henry has ended the fight here.

Log created on 18:32:24 02/14/2024 by Ishida, and last modified on 07:45:05 02/18/2024.