Description: Neo League! Rock and Eagle start off the new season with a match in front of a newly-opened nightclub. Will it be bouncer or bouncee who wins the day? (Winner: Rock)
Good old foggy London. To some, a trite, overused descriptor. To others, a grim reminder of its horrid air quality that its inhabitants should be worried about taking into their delicate lungs. To most of the world who would be watching whatever fights were on tonight, the site of a most exciting battle between young, prime talent with a troubled past only brought more and more into the spotlight with the fall of Geese Howard's corrupted, rotting empire... and a face that had not stepped into the limelight in roughly four and a half years.
A face who had hired other people to do much of the thinking for him in terms of making public appearances recently. Keeping schedules is such the bother! So many places to be, so many shows, and only so much time (and in some instances, patience) to give! After a couple of appearances in performances that were largely lip-service towards the efforts to raise money for Southtown's reconstruction, a man found himself cast into the Neo League with the barest notion of consent (...and thought) given across a few hastily asked questions roughly 48 hours ago.
But with the backdrop of a street in front of a grand new nightclub opening, he'd give it the same old college try as anything else - with a gentle smile, a bit of flair, and a showman's attitude to give those spectators just another good show. Isn't it all that's important?
"Reintroducing to the world once more!" Booms the announcer as people huddle around the designated spectator zones marked a little haphazardly with traffic cones and railings on either side of the front entrance and across the street. "Standing 183 centimeters, weighing in at 75 kilograms! The man who awards no mulligan! The bird of prey himself, from the nightclub nearest to you," which - sadly - is perhaps not even an exaggeration in the face of the physical and logical impossibility of him presently working at any given nightclub that would indeed be 'nearest' to any single given viewer, "EEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAGLEEE!!"
From behind the doors, the man wipes off his own grimace at this particular set of announcements. 'Bird of prey,' pah, they always use that one. But the moment those double doors open, he's all smiles and movement, whirling forward like a top with sticks spun out, meticulously planning this entrance over nearly six straight hours of practice as to get used to the concrete and how he'd have to shuffle his weight to twirl himself this far out without a break in speed or loss of balance right until the gap - which he minds with a long, graceful hop that ends in a bow to the side of the audience he's facing, turning back to wave once to those off to the side of his initial spin.
He wouldn't admit it but that 'long, graceful hop' was actually him nearly falling flat on his face. He prays that is not an ominous sign, given his opponent.
Well. Young Rock Howard, scion of the late(?) great Geese Howard, is doing little to help the air quality of foggy London. In fact, he's probably contributing to it by a great amount, as what he is doing is really -not- what one would call 'eco-friendly'. But that's for a bit later. Right now, it seems, Eagle is having the limelight--and more power to him. Everyone's gettin' pumped up, for the fight, for the nightclub, because Eagle is just so goddamn dapper. It's a great atmosphere.
And it's into that atmosphere that Rock will arrive--but just a bit late... it's intentional, though. He waits for the crowd roar to die down a little--just a bit more--and then it can be felt, first. A deep, basso thrumming, a regularly-paced growling rumble that can mean only one thing--and so it does, as the people in the street part for an enormous old bike, a 'chopper' by American standards--one that, for all its size, is otherwise tastefully appointed. Astride it is Rock, with his favorite gloves on, goosing the throttle to keep the thing going at about 5 kph--very slow.
He rides up to the barrier that marks the 'fighting area', stops the bike with a flick of the wrist, kills the big gas-guzzlin' engine with a twist of the key. The announcer picks up his own thread just as a professional would. "Aaaaand our challenger! HAILING FROM SOUTHTOWN!! Weighing 70 kilos, standing 178cm tall...!! YOU'VE SEEN HIM BEFORE, FOLKS!! ROCK!!! HOWARD!!!!"
Throughout all that, Rock's getting ready, tightening straps and zipping sippers up. "Hell yeah," he shouts, easily heard to most of the crowd. "NOW THIS IS HOW I LIKE IT!!" Vaulting the barrier, he lands with a surprisingly heavy *thud*, bringing his hands up into stance, his red eyes focused on Eagle, a grin on his lips. "I'm gonna take this TO THE LIMIT!!"
COMBATSYS: Rock has started a fight here.
Rock's little bit of tardiness gives Eagle just a bit of time to keep the crowds held while some people murmur about the whereabouts of the would-be challenger. It's just parlor tricks. Little bit of stick juggling here, some more waving there, a blown kiss towards whatever part of the audience he deems appropriate, just some of that.
All of which disguises that little bit of tension under the showman's charming exterior. Rock's name is not particularly held in highest regard in the circles Eagle is a part of. Back when Geese called the shots, there were plenty of little nasty things spread about the boy through the usual venues - enough so that even after the crooked man's fall, his son still carries that... shall we say, mystique. The usual frustrations aside of not being able to just take aside whoever he's working with to choreograph their movements, there is almost no better an individual to be matched up against for a grand comeback on the global stage.
The chopper roars through the streets to signal Rock's arrival. It's only when the announcer speaks that old Eagle over here actually acknowledges it (perhaps through the intensity than the actual contents of the announcement). Just a little late, should have expected that from all he's heard... and riding that noise through the streets, at that! But, he supposes it's in their blood. The Southtown sorts have always had that rugged edge to them. That city become the holy land of all that is street fighting for a reason, after all.
Rock's spirited cries are met with a hearty chortle more by reflex, giving his sticks one last fancy set of spins before thrusting one into the air in front of him with such strength that one can hear the loud 'swish' of air being forcefully removed. One of the cameramen nearby gets windblown hair as a reminder to step back some.
"Shall we dance?" Eagle asks in a much more reserved tone as a counterpoint to Rock's over-the-top yankee-esque bravado. Contrast is, after all, a great way to get the fans to identify with whomever they will for a bout, a season, or even an entire career.
A scrutinizing eye is laid upon the psyched-up Rock, product of that slight bit of discomfort the very threat of spontaneity and unrehearsed performances putting on that little bit of additional pressure to be ready for that first blow, that first exchange - that first fight.
All of this, if mostly because he almost tripped in his entrance. In an autobiography he would publish later, he would have to grudgingly admit that he may have been the only one to truly put so much worry into a salvaged misstep.
COMBATSYS: Eagle has joined the fight here on the right meter side.
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Rock 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Eagle
COMBATSYS: Eagle focuses on his next action.
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Rock 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Eagle
Rock is -not- his father's son. In fact, he's been disowned, but few really know that--Geese isn't into airing his dirty laundry, and so he lets Rock keep using the name. Probably because there's no real reason not to--if he did, Rock would probably take Terry's last name, which would be insulting, and because he probably has some faint hope that Rock will come back to the Howard family, covered in glory.
When he comes in, he takes in Eagle's appearance quickly. Blond, powerful muscles, 'elegant' look... two short staves. Hmm. The Howard boy is already considering his options against the bouncer. It's obvious he looks tough, the question is, how tough is he, and what are his weak points? Rock doesn't go into battle half-cocked, usually, but he's not -terribly- good at being passive, either. So his red eyes narrow, his good cheer not going away, but becoming muted, serious intent and concentration coming to the forefront. "Dance? Don't know about you, guy, but I prefer to -fight-." But... mmm. What to -do-... Rock knows his opponent isn't just standing there.
But, the hell with it. Rock starts a forward run--but it turns into a quicker lunge--and one that ends up with him leading with his left elbow, looking to plow it right into Eagle's chest.
COMBATSYS: Eagle fails to counter Medium Punch from Rock with Canterbury Blue.
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Rock 0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0 Eagle
It appears rudimentary enough on the onset. To say that Eagle is used to slower opponents is hardly an understatement! They're easier to read, easier to pick movements on the spot and - as he would ultimately say - much easier to control. Pace. He confuses Rock's initial forward bluster for something that would be straightforward to deal with based on that little forward run following his boast.
Raising a leg and one arm behind him, he spins a stick about with such speed as to appear as a sphere for the cameras. He is tardy to getting the other stick up before him, wasting precious time preparing and bracing for whatever assault with a playful 'come hither' gesture. Hither, the elbow comes.
It is not just the delay of adopting the proper stance to catch (or minimize the impact of) the attack - it is outright underestimating what the young Rock Howard has to bear in terms of sheer ferocity! The elbow doesn't just plow into that stick, it all but pushes the end of that stick /into/ Eagle's chest with such strength that the older man's lungs empty on the spot with a low wheeze and a grimace... made worse by having only stood on one leg for balance.
He tries to salvage this mistake by falling into a backwards roll to give the appearance of a measured defence, but that wheeze and the short delay before he's back up on his feet would speak the truth more openly to those who seriously analyze these battles. In that span of time, all the same, Rock holds the momentum of the fight and the opportunity to push in harder if he is of the mind while that pompous celebrity inwardly pampers his carelessness.
Impact one. Rock's elbow impacts the stick, and the stick impacts Eagle's chest. The hit gives Rock a bit of a grin--okay, a bit -more- of a grin, even as he comes to a halt, more of that dust trailing behind him in a cloud. It was a good effort--Rock might've tried the same thing, himself--and as Eagle throws himself into a backwards roll, the Howard scion pursues. But not in the traditional manner, oh no--he's not running after the bouncer.
Instead, in his left hand is a burning purple glow, the gathering of Rock's ki energy, a flaring, purple, flame-like energy. It's different from his father's--Geese's chi tending towards a more pure 'blue' color--but it serves Rock well enough. He takes a halfstep forward, putting his right leg in front, clearing the path as he sweeps the arm forward, his voice taking on a slightly deeper tone as he shouts, for focus and tradition: "REPPUKEN!!"
The end result is a slashing, wedge-shaped chi projectile slashing along the ground, right towards Eagle.
COMBATSYS: Rock successfully hits Eagle with Reppuken.
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Rock 0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1 Eagle
Eagle would not just credit Rock with the strength of a spry young man (if perhaps grudgingly), but also with a most impeccable sense of timing... if after the fact. Currently, before said fact, his only true window to react is just as he gets up and sees little flecks of chi sparking up to his field of vision. It's much too close to set up a swing and hope to get away with it and - if only to stay on his two feet as much as give those watching a good bit of fun - makes the rightful assumption he should hop above it within those fractions of a section he has to decide to move.
Move, he does, a little hop at the encroaching burst of chi that slices the air from the earth it travels. It is hop 'at,' not 'over' as he intends as he - once more - underestimates the actual height it can reach as that uncomfortable tingly sensation feels like it is slicing right through his lower leg, a momentary grimace in mid-air even as he adopts a fancy little pose with his sticks crossed in front of him that he ends with him on one knee as he wonders, very briefly, if he still has his lower left leg while the sensation of pain is trying to keep up.
"Well played," he adds in only a slightly less cordial tone as he shifts his weight onto his less-aching leg, a bit short of where he intended to be assuming he cleanly went over it. Yes, the boy has talent, quite. He has clearly learned from some of the best. There is probably a four letter word or two circulating his mind over his numbed leg but - as always - attempts to put a spin of good humor into it.
Which ends up being necessary for his own ego when he nearly trips trying to take off towards Rock, but a mistake that could still be salvaged all the same as he tries to wrap an arm around Rock's upper body as if to give him an embrace - pointing his free stick towards Rock in a playful gesture if the boy even allows him to get an arm around him before coyly raising his stick up and trying to bop the boy on the head.
It is his hope that this particular gesture will at least be humored, all the same, for the briefest breather if nothing else.
COMBATSYS: Rock blocks Eagle's Head Cracker.
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Rock 0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1 Eagle
Rock's grin widens--grows a touch less cocky. "Thanks," he replies, simply, moving forward--as is Eagle. But Eagle isn't just moving forward, he's attepting to bulldog the young man--with the additional promise of pain from one of the short staves. Rock lets the man come at him, choosing instead to slip Eagle's grasp at the last possible moment, twisting away and taking only a slight impact from the street before rolling upwards, off his shoulder and back up onto his feet.
Interesting technique," he says, and he sounds like he means it--he's not taunting the bouncer. "Why don't you try one of mine!" And then Rock is running forward, again, dashing all out. Just before he reaches Eagle, though, he seems to, unaccountably, -speed up-, blurring just past the Englishman to end up, ostensibly, behind him--and ducking low, Rock's gloved hands snatching out for Eagle's ankles.
Should he get that grip, he'll suddenly stand, shifting his weight, his momentum, hurling Eagle up and 'behind' him, turning and whirling his arms in a flourish before turning towards where Eagle will and.
If he doesn't, well, he looks kind of silly, ducked low and grabbing at absolutely nothing.
COMBATSYS: Eagle blocks Rock's Shinkuu Nage.
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Rock 0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1 Eagle
Funny thing is, in slipping out of Eagle's technique before the worst truly comes of it, the bouncer actually manages to bean himself in the bicep. There's a slight chuckle from the audience as he flinches from it just a bit. He knows how much that stings! Pah, should've figured he wouldn't have stood all the way still for that. A laugh is a laugh, even at his expense. An expense one of his assistants will likely suffer when all's said and done, but British comedy is but one of the finest!
"By all means," Eagle invites with his sticks crossed before gesturing to Rock again, who runs at him with that usual speed. How best to meet it this time, Eagle wonders (without having much time for wondering, measurably less than the time he would have for losers which isn't much to begin with) as Rock all but... disappears?
Disappears about as quickly as his sense of balance when Rock snatches his weaker ankle, swiftly evaded - in a sense - with a forward roll that is a bit rough against the asphalt but puts significantly less distance between them than might be intended on Rock's part, on top of going the way Rock didn't intend to throw him - his emergency roll halted when the inertia behind a nearly successful toss is properly neutralized by motion.
The closest thing to a clean break Eagle has obtained in this comeback bout, he takes this little break to spin his sticks. It gives himself a refreshing breeze as he shakes his head, nose upturned with just a touch of an arrogant smile.
"If that is all, perhaps I should ask for the cheque?" So says Eagle, whose one-liner might be writing one that, by all appearances, his posterior couldn't cash following such a useless gesture. He halts the spin with the meeting of his sticks in front of him in a cross formation, as if sharply swinging from playful boasting to what some would call his game face for that moment of peace.
COMBATSYS: Eagle gains composure.
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Rock 0/-------/----===|=======\=====--\1 Eagle
Rock is hardly put out by missing an attack on Eagle. Hell, he was, in an odd sense, hoping for it! He hates fighting pushovers, which Eagle may or may not be, but Rock isn't sayin' anything about it for now. Looks like the crowd's still behind the hometown boy, at least, for which Rock, an American who is familiar with the ferocity of hometown heroes, can nardly blame them. He does take a moment, brushing his right hand through his hair.
"Nah, man. Don't worry. We're not done yet--that was just the appetizer. The main course is comin' up--!" Eagle might need a rest for a moment, but Rock isn't willing to give him as much time as he might think he needs--instead, he's coming forward again, moving smoothly, with a swift, assured confidence... his arms bobbing minutely, kept in a raised guard position.
One last quip: "We've still got some stuff to put paid to!" That is said as he snaps out a swift, low right roundhouse for Eagle's knee--Rock's ride-booted foot making a quick arc that ends with a snapping forward motion--more of a harassing attack than a real damager.
COMBATSYS: Eagle endures Rock's Light Kick.
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Rock 0/-------/----===|=======\=======\1 Eagle
At least this boy is willing to play with banter! A sense of showmanship is so hard to find these days - one of Eagle's initial hesitations with putting his name back on that Neo League list when you have so many blokes out there just going for that quick, nasty little finish only notable for who or what goes down - not so much as how they do. How often is it that someone digs through back archives and finds themselves fast forwarding until they see who was declared the winner? Far too often this millenium!
"Well then!" Eagle humors him as Rock closes the distance which is something that should not be humorous at all to a man of sense whom has already suffered some injury. The leg he is putting more weight on is a plenty visible cue of how he handled that splash with the Reppuken. "Just desserts!"
It's somewhat of a risk on Eagle's part, but he motions to place his weaker leg in place of his stronger one when he sees that Rock is choosing to go low, rising it just a tad. It proves a clean hit, threatening the British bouncer's balance as he twirls... but not in place!
One of Eagle's eyes shut at the surge of pain that runs up an already aching leg, but this is the point of no return - he makes due with the way his body turns, arms and respective sticks out to either side as he starts to twirl forward at the low Rock.
Some may question the wisdom of rolling with such a high-angled attack against someone who is crouched low to begin with, but none can doubt the power it potentially packs as the air loudly parts from wherever the human helicopter spins in its war path towards one Howard named Rock.
COMBATSYS: Eagle successfully hits Rock with Manchester Black.
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Rock 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Eagle
Rock's kick was not worth what he pays in turn--he's entirely -too- close when Eagle starts spinning, those staves cracking his head three times before he can throw himself backwards. "Goddamn, gonna have a bruise... guess I deserved that, gettin' cocky..." He touches the side of his head, wincing. Tender, but not broken... "Right then," he says, still grinning despite the pain that just flashed through his head. "Glad you're no pushover," he comments, shaking his head out a touch. "But don't think you've stuck me with the bill yet!" Hell, Rock's feelin' pretty good still, now that the initial pain is easing--good enough to move forward again.
He 'feints' attacks, jabbing at where Eagle is, though he's still nearly an arm's reach out--jab, then he jabs again, and then he throws that low kick--only halfway through, he extends it upwards, turning it into a front heel kick.
An attempt to literally catch Eagle looking, the execution puts Rock in an awkward position for a moment, but he'll recover soon enough...
COMBATSYS: Rock successfully hits Eagle with Aggressive Strike.
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Rock 0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Eagle
The actual hits of stick versus skull do not register very hard against Eagle's grip, but that last rotation where he doesn't feel any sort of resistance is as good a cue as there is for him to stop, lowering his injured leg down and starting to sway subtly with one stick raised and the other lowered while Rock takes his licks.
"Still a little wet behind the ears?" So says a man who has been in relative obscurity these last five years, speaking to a young man who has already seen plenty through his short life. Any consideration for this is a bit lost in the heat of the moment when witty banter and hard-hitting blows are the primary forms of communication between a fine fighting performance. Sympathy, before its end, is for the losers (or accidents which might get you sued for exorbitant amounts of money, either or).
He watches Rock's distance-testing jab. The reach advantage is Eagle's - but Rock's closing speed is not to be underestimated as he prepares to move in himself. He is met with that second jab that registers against the scar-less side of his face. That alone does not register terribly much in itself other than a quick turn of the face.
It's the low kick that is the real catcher! He moves the weaker leg back as the feint is misinterpreted (or, perhaps, interpreted as intended) that sees a foot planted firmly in the center of Eagle's face - spittle coming out of either side that glitters fabulously under the overhead lights and messing up an otherwise neatly combed moustache that has up until now avoided direct confrontation, a loud grunt as his upper body recoils. His heels dig into the asphalt to stay standing, his consciousness growing muddled after such a great shock. Between this and his leg - not to mention just a little shortness of breath stemming from that initial stab at his own chest - it is a safe assumption that he does not have much in the way of fight left.
'Much' is not 'all!'
Doubled over a little low when trying to steady himself, he works up a smirk on the side of his face that is without a scar, finding that one extremely tiny window of opportunity to work with even in the face of overwhelming speed, power, and skill.
"Hup!" The man suddenly calls as he thrusts his left arm forward with such strength as to carry himself with it, trying to stab Rock in the chest with one good, hard thrust. There is a momentary pause that largely stems from Eagle's attempt to keep his balance on a bad leg before he continues with a series of roughly eight more thrusts in rapid succession.
COMBATSYS: Rock counters Oxford Red from Eagle with Gedan Crack Counter.
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Rock 0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Eagle
Rock pushes backwards. It's just a step or two--but it's all the time he needs to prepare himself. Even as he's backstepping, he replies, "There's always something to learn, even for a master." And he isn't a master, not yet--hasn't got the qualifications. But, if it makes Eagle think he's a master... well, more power to him. Rock's certainly putting together a masterful defense--his arms raised, eyes narrowed yet again.
... there. There it is. That first thrust--Rock doesn't deflect it away--he traps the arm, just for a moment, and then pushes it hard, jolting Eagle out of position, off-balance, and opening him to a semi-unusual manuever--a quick, hopping heel kick that appears, from an outsider's perspective, to flip Rock completely over--but the kick lands, and then Rock does, and soon thereafter should be Eagle.
"Good fight, man," says the young man, committing a tactical blunder he'd not make anywhere else--he turns and walks away, before he confirms that Eagle is, in fact, 'down'...
There's always something to learn, even from a master. Perhaps our British friend here would do well to heed the words of this young man as he appears to pull off nearly effortlessly - in spite of a poorer tactical position for a split second - the same botched maneuver that kicked off the fight. The art of redirecting an enemy's blow while applying an unstoppable blow in short order. Though their differing ages and amount of fighting experience are both measurable in decades, none can doubt that the ultimately superior performance by a country mile belongs to Rock Howard.
The heel kick digs into the back of the man's head that he hits the asphalt like a parking car (...if parking cars were prone to falling face flat when hit with hopping heel kicks, perhaps a better analogy can be suggested here), just barely supporting himself with a stick and a raised arm.
Precious seconds pass. Rock compliments the fight and starts to move off. Inwardly, the man's woes pile onto one another - such a sudden finishing blow before they could have expressed their very finest, so soon! But, most infuriatingly - a legitimate grievance - the ref does not immediately call Rock's victory like he should.
This would later be found to be some sort of arcane ruling about what sorts of positions, states of injury, and amount of time staying down constitutes a decision, as Eagle is back within roughly a full second of the proper call time. The ref won't call it, so with the last of his strength, he follows after Rock and decides to do the proper calling himself.
"Our victor this evening," Eagle clears his throat while blood drips out of his right nostril, the statement perhaps Rock's cue that he's not getting away so easily! "For a superior performance, I hereby decree this fine young man the victor."
This is when he takes a completely uninvited attempt to wrap an arm around Rock and just merely take a bow (with hopefully Rock being cordial to this idea even unspoken and unrehearsed).
It's a friendly enough gesture in itself, Eagle's attempt to squeeze out any last bit of ability to perform to at least give that sort of thing. Given that his balance is shaky and he's about ready to just collapse on some clinic bed or another, though, he accidentally exerts enough strength that this may be reasonably interpreted as an actual assault.
COMBATSYS: Eagle can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Rock blocks Eagle's Quick Throw.
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It's what he gets for being so cocky--Eagle proclaims him the victor... and then he's gettin' the good old-fshioned squeeze play. But he endures--and when Eagle starts go down, Rock quickly shifts gears, slipping under the man's arm, holding him up 'til the medics arrive. "Seriously, man, you fought well," he says, as he brushes off the medics--*he*d oesn't need medical treatment, he's fine--!
Extricating himself from both the medics and some screaming girls who want him to sign the -oddest- things, he gets back onto his massive bike, the one he rode in on--and starts it up. That engine's roar fills the air with a shattering sound, one that only fades several seconds after the bike's been driven off, or so it seems to the onlookers...
COMBATSYS: Rock has ended the fight here.
Log created on 20:37:50 02/26/2010 by Rock, and last modified on 06:04:19 02/28/2010.