NFG Season Two - Odyssey R2 - Underworld

[Toggle Names]

Description: The word is out that an exclusive new bar named 'Underworld' has opened on the southernmost tip of the Greek mainland. Notorious nightlife lovers Empusa (Zarine) and Hecate (Iris) are both eager to gain entry, but when they arrive, there's only enough room to admit one more!

The caves of Matapan are both the path to the world of the dead and a hopping party spot. For her next fight, Zarine has been sent to embody the creature Empusa. Which she had to do research on. Making her legs different is basically impossible, so instead she chose the other path. The beautiful woman who feasts upon men sleeping by the side of the road.

Which is to say she did nothing at all and showed up as herself.

In a small cavern off to the side of the main Party Venue, Zarine waits. Her dress blends in with the dim light, but her pale flesh almost seems to glow in the darkness like some kind of beacon. She stands in silence, her eyes closed, listening to the thumping music that pounds through the tunnels, her sheathed sword in her left hand while she waits for her opponent. She won the last one, but can she win this time? She is patently unsure, but she will do her best.

As still as a corpse, she stands in the dark, awaiting the witch who comes to face her.

COMBATSYS: Zarine has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Zarine           0/-------/-------|

During the first round of the second season NFG's opening tournament, Iris Osterlund wasn't actually available. The reason why is she was on the isle of Cyprus studying with, of all things, a blacksmith... or more accurately, a blacksmith who specializes in the working of copper, iron, and bronze that was common in the area during the age in which Greek myth was created and passed down.

She even made a xiphos on her own. A terrible, terrible xiphos that probably wouldn't cut silk, but it got made! One step at a time.

Now, however, she's ready for her first real fight since the end of the previous NFG. The British magus hasn't actually done any of that in the interim, but she's also had a lot on her plate personally speaking, especially since the revelation that her sister isn't, in fact, dead, and that there is some sort of Thing On The Horizon for which fighters with magical knowledge will be useful. It's sort of a grim setup, which is perhaps why "go clubbing" as a fight premise feels like a nice break for her.

As Iris makes her way down the shoreline toward this "party cave," she takes a second to just... enjoy the sapphire stretch of the Mediterranean stretching into the distance, a bright moon carving a path of white-silver on the surface. She's supposed to be Hecate in this little matchup, and Hecate was a goddess associated with the moon, so maybe this is a good omen?

What Iris did NOT anticipate was walking out of the sandy cave exterior and into a freakin' rave. The wizard's eyebrows arch up as she walks through the 'venue', looking for the NFG people and her opponent, the Legally We're Claiming She's Not A Vampire, Zarine.

Finding them all, the rainbow-haired Brit takes in her opponent's appearance and smiles, a little. Still not 100% sure how she feels about fighting a vampire -- and unlike the in-denial hosts of the NFG, Iris can definitely sense Something here that suggests the story is probably true -- but in truth, the same could be said of fighting a wizard, so no sense in creating an imaginary prejudice.

"Nice dress," Iris says, by way of greeting. "You seem more likely to be at home here than I would, so let's hope you win and get to hang about here to your heart's content." The entire thing is said with an easy smile that emphasizes she's just bantering about, at the very least.

The Brit is loosening up when the duo get the signal to kick things off, and at that, Iris puts on her game face and nods at Zarine. "That's our cue. En garde!"

Taking the initative, Iris decides not to try her luck with a rapier against someone who probably has considerably more fencing training than she does; instead, the magus kicks off the ground toward Zarine, extending a hand and summoning a one-handed mace in a burst of rainbow light, the mace head rimed with glittering frost. When she gets in range, Iris swings once, then again with the mace at her vampiric opponent, before bringing up her left shoulder, seemingly for no reason... except that a small, round shield appears on that arm as Iris finishes the would-be combination by attempting to shield bash Zarine away and create some distance between the two.

COMBATSYS: Iris has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Zarine           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Iris

COMBATSYS: Zarine blocks Iris' Teiwaz - Prism Blade.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Zarine           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0             Iris

Zarine, despite the NFG's attempts at Darkstalker Erasure, is a real vampire. Bloodthirst and sun allergy included. She's still not quite sure why Gears and other sorts of beast-folk are fine, but she is continually misrepresented. It's quite offensive. Still, she bears it with regal poise (most of the time), even when they send her to the Rave Cave to fight.

Thusly, Iris finds her standing in the dark, the faint light feeding through the tunnels to the empty cavern making her red eyes gleam slightly. She seems to have no issues seeing in the dark. When the wizard arrives, the vampire inclines her head slightly, white hair falling over her shoulder. She smiles slightly at the compliment. "I find it gives me the proper mix of elegance, ease of movement and, if my opponent is foolish enough to find me attractive, distraction." There is a -lot- of leg on display.

She gestures a bit, lifting her left arm and sweeping it. "I have spent much time in dark caves. This is nothing new to me. ...Though the party next door is rather unusual." When the signal hits, she sets her feet, reaching over with her right hand to draw her sword, her left hurling the scabbard away. It makes no sound of impact.

Iris charges with a mace, and Zarine counters, parrying the strikes awkwardly, though her inhuman physical strength is easily felt. She prepares for another mace strike, and instead only has a split second to bring her blade up to catch the shield. The clang echoes through the chamber, and Zarine is sent skidding backwards with a grunt, feeling the vibration of the impact through her hand and shoulders. "...Intriguing."

With the little space given her, Zarine sweeps her free hand along her long, thin blade, the weapon igniting in black fire. She lunges, thrusting in a feint before she pivots, spinning in a swirl of dress and bone white hair, slashing at Iris.

COMBATSYS: Iris blocks Zarine's Black Planet.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Zarine           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Iris

If Zarine's never seen Iris fight, then the Brit's weapon summoning style might seem a little strange, but the vampire certainly has no problems dealing with Iris's attack with her smooth parries. By the time Zarine decides to strike back, the mace in Iris's hand is gone, having vanished back into the ether, but the shield remains, and it's the perfect tool with which to defend against the post-feint slash. Normally black fire and a wooden shield wouldn't mesh... but if the shield winks out of existence a moment later, then it's not really a problem, is it?

Still, as the Cantabrigian ducks back a step or two afterwards, she's rubbing her arm; a shield is good at keeping you from getting cut, but there's still the matter of the jarring physical impact. "I don't know finding you attractive is foolish or not," Iris Osterlund, Bisexual Icon, says carefully. "But I'm sorry to say I'm probably past the point of being distracted by pretty girls."

Social media gonna have a field day with THAT exchange.

Changing her strategy a bit, there's another flicker of rainbow light as a light, silvery chain appears in Iris's hands, clenched in both fists. Ducking forward, the magus looks like she's going to try and strike Zarine in the shoulder with it... right before ducking low, almost baseball slide-like, and swinging the chain out like a short-range whip, looking to snag the vampire's ankles and drag her to the floor with a vicious backwards yank. Sometimes... gorgeous gams are a weakness.

COMBATSYS: Iris successfully hits Zarine with Medium Throw.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Zarine           0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0             Iris

Whatever field day social media has will only fuel Zarine's online engagement. She's still not sure what this 'OnlyFans' thing is she keeps reading about in the comments. Maybe she should look. That is neither here nor there. What is, is the fact that Iris is a Weapon Wizard. The mace and shield go poof, only to be replaced by a chain. Zarine's eyes narrow a bit.

She shifts her stance, swinging her sword behind her and bringing her left arm forwards and up, prepared to tangle her arm in it. The swing starts, and the vampire moves to intercept, buying the feint. Instead, she gets tangled and dragged to the ground. This is unfortunate. And slightly annoying.

Zarine grunts, worming free of the chain, sliding backwards on the ground and pushing herself back to her feet. She makes herself move quickly, even if it's a little unsteady. She's trying to catch Iris before she gets up. Catch her how? She hops a little bit away, her sword blazing with power, and she swings it. Razor ribbons of black magic swirl through the air at Iris, seeking to slash and tangle. It's not quite a chain, but it might just do.

"Alas," she replies with feigned distress. "I will have to work my wiles on someone else."

COMBATSYS: Zarine successfully hits Iris with Ribbons.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Zarine           0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0             Iris

Now, that's unexpected.

Someday, away from this context, Iris and Zarine could have an engaging and enlightening discussion about the nature of 'black magic'. As it is, right now the Brit is getting the business side of said abilites as she stops her slide in a crouch, ready to get to her feet. It's the fact that it IS magic that makes the hairs on the back of Iris's neck stand up, makes her head whirl to fix on the attack with perhaps a little more speed than normal, but it doesn't help.

The wizard hisses in pain as the sorcerous ribbons lash around a leg, yanking her closer, never mind the agony that courses through her as a result of the attack itself. Close range with an armed fighter isn't ideal; after all, Iris's own style is much more hit and run than traditional weapon style tactics.

One thing she's hoping Zarine isn't counting on or paying attention to, however, is that the chain Iris just used to attack her *hasn't disappeared yet*.

Flicking a wrist out, Iris attempts to use it to snag Zarine once more, but this time, the grab for her wrist or forearm is no feint; instead, it's the magus's attempt to yank the vampire *even closer* and... well, Iris attempts to use her free hand to punch Zarine right in the jaw in the process.

What? Just because she summons weapons doesn't mean she HAS to all the time.

COMBATSYS: Zarine blocks Iris' Armed Combo.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Zarine           0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0             Iris

There aren't too many people around with enough sorcerous knowledge to speak to Zarine on her level. While she isn't a dedicated practitioner, she knows enough to make herself incredibly dangerous. She would never call herself a sorceress or witch, though. She is merely a Vampire Noble, and magic is part of it. Usually used how she uses it, unless it's one of the mental manipulators. Those are arguably more dangerous.

That has little to do with right now.

Iris rushes back in, swinging the chain. Zarine buys the feint, lifting her arm to catch it. She grunts as the metal slaps her arm and winds tight, followed by Iris coming in close. This may be the screenshot of the fight, the two women bound together by a chain, faces inches apart.

Until Iris reels back to punch, anyway.

Zarine is caught, so she does what she can. In this instance it's call upon the power of her unholy blood to make herself tougher. This means that she absolutely feels it when Iris hits her in the face, but it does far less damage than it would have otherwise. Her smile is serene, almost gentle. Except for the glint of fangs. That adds a threatening aura to it.

She stares Iris in the eyes for a moment, likely continuing the screenshot heaven. It's over fairly quickly, though, as her sword hand, not bound up in chains, ignites in black fire. She draws it wide and, using Iris's proximity, lashes out with a viscious pommel strike. She's aiming for the clavicle. Somewhere soft and where it will hurt, but also possibly do some damage.

COMBATSYS: Zarine successfully hits Iris with Sunless.
- Power hit! -

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Zarine           0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1             Iris

Okay. This got very real, very quickly, and the smile is gone from Iris's face.

Since the camera is already apparently in tight closeup on these combatants, people may notice that, as the chain disappears from Iris's hand and she processes just what it is Zarine is up to, the British magus makes a sudden and swift gesture with the index and middle fingers of that now-free hand, drawing a glowing shape in the air that flickers blue, then vanishes.

Smart viewers, or those with a dictionary of the Elder Futhark handy, will notice the vaguely Y-shaped Algiz, the rune symbolizing protection and defense.

It's not the pommel strike that's the real problem, though it certainly doesn't help any. For Iris, it's that despite being of a magical persuasion, her defenses against energy are not any better (or worse) than the average fighter. After all, the Brit isn't really a battlemage; she's an enchanter who decided to put her skills to work. Zarine's precision blow and black flame result in a really inelegant-looking backpedal and flail as Iris is sent backwards from the blow, rolling somewhat on the cave floor to get the fire out. When she gets back to her feet, burns and bruises visible, it is clear that a switch has flipped, for her.

Running a hand across her mouth, the wizard studies her opponent very carefully. "Okay," she says, eyes narrowing. Guess I have to step it up a notch or two," she says slowly, shaking out her hands, never losing eye contact with Zarine.

Then she vanishes.

Appearing *behind* the vampire, Iris extends a palm toward Zarine's back, entire hand surrounded in a chill aura of blue-white. If the magus can strike her before she turns around, great; but all she REALLY needs is a moment of contact...

COMBATSYS: Zarine interrupts Hagalaz - Ragnarok ES from Iris with This Corrosion.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Zarine           1/------=/=======|=======\==-----\1             Iris

The point of the touch is to imbue the frost swirling around Iris's hand to her target, which manifests as chains of ice that will lock her in place... at which point Iris disappears AGAIN. Then she reappears, her truesilver replica of Joyeuse in hand, the rapier's length crackling with lightning, to strike from another angle. And again, and again, and again -- each new appearance is a new a weapon, a new aspect of the storm -- ice, thunder, wind -- and a new angle of attack, before at the very last, Iris would lash out with the same silver chain from before, looking to whip Zarine into the distance.

Of course, if the vampiress is crafty, there are plenty of moments into which she could wedge her own counteroffensive, here...

It's amazing. Zarine hasn't gone berserk once during this fight. She's being pushed, Iris is no pushover, but she seems much more comfortable with the state of her power, and she hasn't been driven into a corner of injury and rage. This could change, but so far, she seems to be holding herself together.

She manages not to wince as Iris goes tumbling, she honestly didn't intend to hit her that hard! It was a fluke. An accident, but this is still a fight. Heartened to see the magus rise to her feet, Zarine prepares to meet her assault head on, but it doesn't come. Instead Iris pulls a trick Zarine herself has done many times, vanishing only to reappear at a different angle to strike.

The bad news for Iris, is that the vampire bursts into a cloud of white mist, her hand passing clean through. The good news is that some of the chill still manages to get through, making the swirling cloud sluggish. So much so, that Zarine is forced to reform early and face off against the flurry of rapier strikes.

Metal strikes metal as Zarine is on the back foot, pressured hard as she parries. A few thrusts sneak through, punching into unbleeding undead flesh, making her grunt. A mighty thrust is thrown, and the vampire pivots, the blade skimming inches in front of her chest. As Iris's blade pulls back, Zarine strikes. Her own long, thin blade whips forward, tapping Iris's blade up and away, only for it to move impossibly fast and slash back at the wizard's body, aiming to strike center mass with a staggering blow.

Iris has no space to complain, being a weapons-based fighter herself, but as a vampirically-empowered sword sends her not quite flying, but definitely more than staggering backwards with a bloodied front, she might consider starting to use Nerf weapons in the future.

The technique she used on Zarine -- who hits predictably hard -- was a calculated risk, for one important reason: as Iris has said to multiple people, short-range teleporting is mostly math. You have to predict, anticipate, and plan for where you AND your opponent are going to be, and if you plan on teleporting a bunch of times in a row, you have to absolutely commit to the bit. It's that necessary focus/commitment that, ironically, is what allows Zarine's precision strike to lever through and disrupt it all.

When the Brit gets back up, she's clutching her stomach, feeling blood seep through between her fingers. Having picked up the pro fighter's typical resilience, she's not in any danger, but that doesn't make it pleasant. "Hm. Not how I anticipated that going, I admit," she says to Zarine with a faint, sardonic smile. "But I'm not out of this yet."

This technique has served her well in her last few fights, but Zarine appears to be fully on her game right now. Expending so much energy in one go is a gamble... but considering her physical state right now, it's basically her only choice.

For a potentially confusing moment, Iris takes her fingertips -- glowing with rainbow light -- and draws a line of runes in the air before her. For someone who can READ runes, they don't necessarily signify anything in particular, but when the 'sentence' is complete, there is a... palpable change in the air.

The Brit raises her hand upward, before shouting "Come, Valhalla's arsenal!"

She brings her hand down.

On cue, the sky above Zarine in a relatively big circle suddenly becomes alive with shapes and motion. Swords, spears... medieval weapons of all kinds, seemingly hanging in the air -- many of them with blades coruscating with ice or thunder -- hover... and then fall.

Vampires don't like the sun, but unless she does something about it, the rain's about to be nearly as bad.

COMBATSYS: Iris successfully hits Zarine with Laguz - Rain of Blades ES.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Zarine           1/-======/=======|==-----\-------\0             Iris

One thing Zarine is not prepared for is attacks from above when her opponent is not up there. Vampires, while some have some skill in magic, don't usually spell sling like that. She feels the power crackle, and by the time she realizes what's going on, it's too late. The elementally enhanced conjured weapons start to rain down, and Zarine kicks the ground with a heel, trying to backdash out of the way. It's not fast enough. She should have transformed into mist, but it's too little too late.

Rlemental power roars, mixing with the terrible metallic impact of weapons striking stone, and the vampire is consumed by it, making Iris lose sight of her for a moment as the full fury is vented upon the undead. As the final clangs echo into the tunnels, everything goes silent save for the thudding of the bass in the rave cave.

The stillness shatters as the pile of weapons explodes outwards, revealing Zarine in a cinematically shredded dress to maintain NFG rating limits, the vast amount of terrible slashing wounds closing slowly as her vampiric blood ensures her survival. Her eyes glow a baleful red as she holds her right hand out, summoning her lost sword to her grip. Her left extends as well, streams of dark ichorous blood flowing from her closing wounds to spiral into her palm. When she closes her hand, the blood erupts, forming a copy of her blade.

Now she's dual wielding.

She quivers, maintaining control by the barest thread, tilting her head slightly, her fangs now prominent and threatening. "My turn."

She launches herself at Iris in one final gambit for victory. She flickers, preternatural speed hurling her past the wizard, twin blades lashing out once. She flickers, changing her angle of attack to do it again. And again. And again. A white and crimson blur, Zarine give almost everything she has left to try and win!

COMBATSYS: Iris parries Zarine's Sisters of Mercy!

[                         \\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Zarine           0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0             Iris

Later, when she has time to think about this fight properly and look at the VOD, Iris is going to think to herself: 'making a sword out of blood is actually metal as hell'.

IN THE MOMENT, however, the Brit -- who thoroughly spent most of what she had left in the tank on that assault -- has to deal with an extremely agile and furious vampire who has a not unjustified axe (or in this case, sword, or more accurately two swords) to grind with her opponent. All she's thinking right now is probably unprintable for the NFG's international captioning team, but the gist is written all over the magus's face.

The fangs aren't helping either.

But as previous NFG fights have proven, when the chips are absolutely, positively down, and it seems like everything's on the line, it truly as if some hidden switch flips in Iris Osterlund's subconscious that turns on abilities she possesses, but doesn't always seem to have the acumen to use consciously... and if there's ever been one of those times, it's now.

As the first paired strike comes for her, Iris finds herself summoning a quarterstaff on impulse, suddenly interposing it between Zarine's eldritch vengeance and her own all-too-mortal flesh. The staff cracks, and then disappears under the fury of Zarine's assault, but as the next strikes come, now it's a wooden kite shield in Iris's hand that shoves the weapons aside before splintering, then disappearing. Then a greatsword. Then a halberd. The weapons themselves are weak, unable to stand up to Zarine's fury, but they are ENOUGH to buy Iris just a moment, as they shatter, to escape harm, time and time again.

And yet, at the end of the fight, her outfit will STILL show slashes and tears and cuts, despite this... because that's how narrow these escapes are.

Right until the LAST one, when instead of summoning a weapon, Iris simply vanishes... and then reappears overhead, her truesilver rapier in hand, as she drops out of the sky to make her own attempt at ending this fight here and now!

COMBATSYS: Iris successfully hits Zarine with Raido - Solstice Journey EX.

[                             \  < >  ///////                       ]
Zarine           0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0             Iris

Zarine radiates steam after she comes to a halt. Her physical wounds are closed, but she has burned so much of her blood reserves that she is starving. She borders on losing herself to the hunger, falling into a ravenous beast that will run over to the rave cave and begin feasting. This cannot happen. She fights it, holding it back with every ounce of will she has. Her whole body shakes with the effort, leaving her distracted. The sword of blood evaporates into crimson smoke, the power consumed.

Iris teleports again, dropping from above with her weapon of truesilver. The vampire reacts without thinking, swinging her blade upwards in a final, desperate strike. The metal cries as it cuts through the air, pushed by flagging inhuman might.

Whether Zarine hits Iris or not, the truesilver rapier punches clean into the vampire's body, puncturing in at her clavicle and on down through her body. This too will be another screenshot for the ages. Zarine's fingers tremble, and the blade falls from them, hitting the ground with a final clang. She's not far after it, sinking to her knees, held upright by the blade impaling her. When it is removed, she slumps to the ground like a corpse.

Because she is one.

She'll get up later once the handlers retreive her. They've learned to have blood bags on hand after last time.

COMBATSYS: Zarine can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Zarine successfully hits Iris with Bury Me Deep.

[                                <
Iris             1/------=/=======|

COMBATSYS: Iris takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Iris can no longer fight.

A fight in which the special effects budget for the NFG has been blown *in its entirety* by a single matchup. That diving teleport trick typically involves throwing the weapon first, which gives Iris a little more time to plan and make it safer for her on the proverbial backswing. In THIS instance, however, she was running largely on adrenaline, which means when Zarine makes a desperate final swing at her, there really is nothing to do but try do block as best she can...

...if her weapon weren't currently 'trapped' by her opponent.

The result is that as Zarine goes down, that desperate final swing all but smacks Iris out of the air like a baseball swing, sending her (and her rapier, the motion pulling it free) sailing across the room to slam into a cave wall before bonelessly falling to the ground, sword clattering down next to her.

Good thing nobody was here for post-fight commentary because there definitely won't be any!

Log created on 22:47:12 03/14/2024 by Zarine, and last modified on 07:21:38 03/20/2024.