SNF 2014.12 - SNF: Absolute Darkness

Description: Deep in the dark catacombs under the Destruction Zone, Baiken enters in search of a mysterious being deep inside - Ermac, the conglomeration of souls. Away from the sight of anyone else, who is going to stand victorious deep in the darkness? <Winner: Ermac>

This isn't an official match. Baiken already had one of those. (She won.) She didn't care very much about it, as these things go; the warm-up was a good thing, she supposed, but it wasn't why she came to watch and participate in the Gods of the Arena matches.

No, what Baiken came for was to hunt. These things - especially mysterious things, like this one - tend to attract the weird and the strange, the eerie and the inhuman. And she's gotten the hint that there's one hiding down here: an enforcer who uses bizarre, unnatural powers. She hasn't felt it herself - yet - but it's only a matter of time.

She knows that he's in here somewhere, and that's why Baiken has come in after him.

The depths of the tunnels are dark and disgusting. Baiken does not care about the disgusting; she's walked through worse, though she is staying out of the deepest parts of the muck, moving lightly up on the edges, where she actually has stable footing. There is no sunlight here. Baiken has a light, but it's currently off; she walks through darkness, her single eye half-closed, making her way by sound and feel.

It's time to hunt.

Dark, warm, and close.

The fetid stench of human waste has combined with that of rotting garbage to create a dense perfume that lies heavy in the air. The stench is so thick you can taste it.

The tunnel Baiken finds herself in has a slight downward slope to it. This gives the warm black water a gentle but insistent current, urging her ever downward past rusty chain hangings and oozing piles of indefinable filth.

Eventually the tunnel floor flattens out, and the stuffy pressure of the walls falls away as the duct empties out into a large half-submerged chamber. The air in this room is even thicker than that of the tunnel, the water warmer. Hot banks of rancid steam rush past Baiken's face.

it is very dark.

It is mostly quiet.

The sound of lapping water skips around the chamber, rolling back on itself after bouncing off of the bare concrete walls. Rusty chains creak softly as they swing from their loose brackets.

And there...A soft splash from further on in the chamber.

Ghostly green lights shift through the darkness perhaps 50 meters ahead of Baiken. The lime green stars put off just enough illumination for the silhouette of a figure to be made out, crouched atop a pile of collapsed cement. The dark water swirls gently around its perch as it reaches down, lifts a head-sized chunk of cement in one gloved hand, and deposits it into the murky water with a soft 'plop'.

Whatever the figure is doing, it's attention is focused down toward it's work, back turned to Baiken. Those green lights attached to its person must be the gems of the creature she is tracking.

COMBATSYS: Baiken has started a fight here.

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Baiken           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Ermac has joined the fight here.

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Ermac            0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Baiken

Baiken can handle the smell. She's been in worse situations. She doesn't /like/ it, but she doesn't like a lot of things about her life. That's how it goes. She's focused enough that what she worries about more is her footing; it's slick and slippery and she can't always see what she's stepping in. Worse, she sometimes makes noise when she's walking. Noise is unacceptable.

She paces down, deeper into the darkness before the tunnels flatten out into rooms. She does not immediately enter it, but presses herself against the wall, just letting herself listen. The steam isn't an impediment to that, though she can feel the difference in air pressure; something is ahead.

There's noise here now. But it's not hers.

Baiken hears the watery 'plop' from something Ermac does before she sees him; he's around a corner from her perspective. She picks up the pace, peering around the corner as she does, and her single eye sees something it hasn't in a while: light. Eerie green light, but light nonetheless, silhouetting the strange figure.

Baiken holds her breath and just watches for about ten seconds. That's not any ordinary man, she decides; the sense of pressure, of power, isn't the same. Which means he's what she's looking for. Which means... Her lips curl back into a different expression. It might be a grin, or it might be a snarl.

She creeps forward. Quiet, silent; this isn't always how she kills, but she has no qualms about making a fight against something that should not be short and brutal. Baiken gets most of the way down towards Ermac without making much noise at all; little shifts of her feet, the occasional watery sound that is covered up by either Ermac's actions or the water flowing downhill of its own volition.

No, it's just the last few meters that Baiken completely breaks anything even vaguely resembling stealth. Her empty sleeve lashes forward, and a concealed claw on a long chain flies out from it, thrown from inside; Baiken tries to throw it past Ermac, then yank the chain with her still-present hand, dragging him towards her with all of her surprising strength and a loud yell!

COMBATSYS: Ermac blocks Baiken's Kabari.

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Ermac            0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0           Baiken

It is a difficult thing, sneaking up on a monster. Who can say what strange and terrible powers each creature might have? Perhaps it's just bad luck that the creature Baiken hunts today is a powerful psychic.

Palming another head-sized chunk of rubble in his right hand, Ermac seems oblivious to his stalker's quiet approach. Remaining crouched atop the shifting pile of rock, he is just reaching down to drop it into the dirty water when the pink-haired hunter strikes.

The hooked chain streaks past the enforcer's left shoulder and he reaches up with his free hand and grabs the chain at full extension, robbing Baiken of any backward momentum she could have gained for the tug.

"Huhk." comes the soft grunt of thousands of voices as Ermac lunges forward and upright, matching his own strength against his hunter's as she tries to drag him backward. Despite his relatively average size he is hellishly strong.

Jerking hard on the chain, the warrior attempts to drag Baiken forward so that she crashes into the pile of rubble he is standing on, then drops her chain with a soft clatter and whirls around to face her. His many damp bits of dangling cloth throw out a spray of filthy water behind him as he finishes the spin and brings the rock held in his right hand sweeping down in a wide circular strike aimed for the side of her head.

COMBATSYS: Baiken interrupts Random Weapon from Ermac with Medium Strike.

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Ermac            0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0           Baiken

It is hard to pull Baiken by her chain weapon. Not impossible, but difficult. She, too, is much stronger than she looks; for someone that is a short, lightweight woman (as Baiken is a whopping five feet, four inches) she has a lot of upper body strength. She also has incredible balance from years of practice, even given her unbalanced frame - for her missing arm slides her natural center of balance to one side, and it took her years to become as skilled as she is at compensating.

So what happens is that Ermac pulls her forward, but Baiken manages to move with it instead of stumbling forward. She had half intended to run in and meet Ermac halfway anyhow. When he drops the chain, it falls, the claw touching the water before being pulled back into her theoretically empty sleeve. That sleeve still hangs loose, with no real arm inside - but what other tricks does she have in there?

Ermac doesn't get to find out yet. Baiken hits the pile of rubble but doesn't stumble, taking half a step up it and then bracing herself so she doesn't slide. Her feet are dripping, but wet shoes don't seem to cause her much of a problem. When the rock swings for her head, Baiken sways in the direction the rock is moving to absorb much of the impact, then comes up swinging with her sword. This doesn't leave her untouched; it just leaves her concious and without Ermac managing a particularly solid hit on her.

She hears the voice. Voices, really. That only convinces Baiken to fight harder. Her lips curling back is definitely in rage this time, and her swordblow has a lot of savagery behind it rather than finesse, as Baiken lets her fury power her left arm's swing. She yells, wordless, as she strikes.

the blade of Baiken's katana carves a bloody path up Ermac's torso, tearing through cloth and skin from his left hip to the center of his chest. A spray of warm blood fountains out from the wound to splatter across the pink-haired fighter and the unsteady ground beneath her feet.

The rock tumbles out of Ermac's right hand and falls into the water with a loud 'sploosh.', but the enforcer does not fall. He doesn't' even stagger.

Instead he attempts to kick Baiken full in the chest.

Standing above the sword-wielder on the shaky pile of rubble, ERmac snaps his left foot up in a vicious snap kick aimed at her sternum. Blood continues to pump from his open wound, but he stares down past it with blazing green eyes and does not blink.

Lunging down after his initial kick, Ermac sweeps his right forearm around to try and deflect away her Katana, head jerking forward to try and drive his forehead into her nose and force her further down the rubble pile and back into the water.

If he can get her that far he will step down into the water after her, his left hand flicking out to grab the dangling end of her empty sleeve and whip it up and around her own neck in a surprisingly practiced-seeming motion. Jerking the sleeve tight about her throat, he finishes the rather odd combination of blows by bringing his right palm up from guarding against her Katana to deliver a stunning blow to her left temple.

Still blood oozes from his open wound, mixing with the filthy water now lapping at his hips. He seems unconcerned about getting gunk in the open wound. More importantly, however, green light has started to leak from the gems he wears and is gathering into a misty cloud about his body. More of the energy is also gathering on his hands, making him glow like a flickering green torch in the subterranean darkness. The pressure in the air around him increases by the moment, and there is a deep, bone-rattling hum starting to emanate from the creature.

COMBATSYS: Baiken blocks Ermac's Kombo.

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Ermac            0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0           Baiken

Baiken isn't used to dealing with someone so... impassive. Sure, she's fought stoics before, but generally they react when you slash into them. Maybe they don't say anything about it, and just keep coming at her, but there's still some kind of response. Doing nothing at all about it is new and unpleasant.

Even despite her surprise, though, she is fast. Baiken operates on emotion at a time like this, reacting more by instinct and anger than planning. Ermac deflects her katana to an extent, but she keeps ahold of it, moving with the blow. Unfortunately, because Baiken is missing her right arm and her left is dealing with her sword, she has nothing to block the headbutt with except her own head.

Which is what she does. She tilts her head forward so that Ermac doesn't impact her nose - he impacts her skull instead.

The blow is staggering for her, and possibly for Ermac too, though honestly it might not be if he doesn't actually need his biological brain for much. She stumbles backwards, slightly dazed, and he gets ahold of her sleeve for about a quarter second. Then he's holding a chunk of her sleeve. Something sliced it off... from the inside. "Hands off, /freak/," she snarls.

Baiken takes advantage of his sudden inability to throttle her with her own clothes to keep moving, deflecting some of the incoming blows. Eventually, though, she gets to a point she can't do much more, and the energy starts to gather around him. She starts to gather her own power, forcing it through her body, and down - and suddenly, Baiken stomps, foot splashing through the water.


A green square of energy appeared underfoot. Baiken's foot stomps down on one edge of it, and the other end pops up, launching anything stepping on it (including, hopefully, Ermac) straight up with significant velocity. The underside of the square sprays pink chi as the chi-board snaps to vertical, vanishing a second or two after that. Baiken takes advantage of the (hopeful) launch and cover to step backwards, away from the unsteady pile and into the water proper. It's wet and gross but at least it doesn't slide underfoot... most of the time.

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Ermac with Tatami Gaeshi.

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Ermac            0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0           Baiken

Impassive is a good word to describe Ermac. Impassive, mechanical, detached. There is no feeling of rage rolling off of him at being slashed. No irritation apparent at being attacked. Just those blazing green eyes, and his methodical series of attacks.

Flicking the bit of torn sleeve away into the water, Ermac finishes his combo with his right palm pressed against the flat of Baiken's blade, staring past the block at her with what seems like idle interest. He has just started to drift backward a step when she stomps, and the board of chi forms under his feet and launches him straight up into the air.

Blood and filthy water is flung in every direction as the enforcer's upward trajectory ends abruptly against the chamber's ceiling with a wet 'thud'.

A normal fighter might be stunned by such an impact. Ermac, however, is not.

Dropping back down from the ceiling, the bleeding warrior lands lightly atop the rubble pile, the shaky stack of rocks barely trembling. Crouched atop his perch he stares mildly down at Baiken for a moment, the various tattered rapping's hanging from his soaked costume lifting in an invisible breeze. Then, he reaches out toward her with his right hand palm up. The glow around his spread digits grow bright and solid and the deep thrumming hum in the air rises into a vibrating rumble that causes the water around ERmac's little island to dance.

Simultaneously, a green glow starts to form a round the pink-haired hunter. If she doesn't react quickly the energy will solidify and grab her like the hand of an angry god. And, lifting his right hand into the air, Ermac will telekineticly bring her up out of the water. Turning his hand palm-down will cause Baiken to be flipped upside down, and the downward spike of his hand into the rubble at his feet will drive her down through the water and into the ground below with amazing force.

COMBATSYS: Ermac knocks away Baiken with Breakdown.
- Power hit! -

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Ermac            1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1           Baiken

Baiken doesn't care about her sleeve looking a little more tattered than it was before. It already kind of looked wrecked. Her appearance is something she doesn't worry about in the middle of battle. Sometimes she cares; right now she doesn't.

Plus, it's so disgusting in here that she's probably going to burn the whole outfit anyway.

Slamming him into the ceiling, however, had no real response at all. He's hurt (she thinks; it's hard to tell, in the awful light) but he's not dazed, and he's certainly not slowing down. Nor did he respond when she called him a freak. He hasn't said anything but a little sound, deep in his throat.

"Are you intelligent, freak?" Baiken rolls her neck, expecting him to move in for an attack. "Or are you just some dumb brute destroyed by his own power? Not that it will change your fate!"

Ermac attacks - but it's not an attack that he has to move for. Baiken has some experience with being telekinetically thrown around, but Athena laid her hand on her to do it; Ermac doesn't bother, and she has no defense against that. She goes up, trying to shake herself free of the green glow - but it doesn't work, and she slams into the ground hard enough to splatter water - and other things - for meters around her.

Baiken stays down for about two seconds. Then she rises, practically /seething/ with fury. She waits no time at all before she's running toward Ermac, and it looks like a reckless approach at first, a wild rush. It's not, though; it's more controlled than that when you actually look at it. Baiken has her arm raised and across her body, protecting her lowered head and upper torso, her sword held pointing downward - and as she approaches, she turns it into a horizontal slash, right to left from Baiken's point of view.

"Why don't you just /die/ already?!"

COMBATSYS: Ermac dodges Baiken's Suzuran.

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Ermac            1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1           Baiken

The deep hum of power fades to a background rumble once ERmac releases Baiken, the water around his perch falling into more natural waves that spread out from the impact with the chamber floor. The Glow about his right hand also fades back to the light pulsing of soul power, his scarves continuing to swirl about him in a cloud of green energy.

"You do not wish to hear us speak," States the dark figure, his words spoken in a chorus of overlapping voices. The sound is eery and as flatly unnatural as the burning green eyes he fixes on the charging hunter. "You wish only for our death."

Then, Baiken is upon him, her blade whistling through the air.

The mist of green energy surrounding Ermac swirls into a sudden vortex, faces briefly visible straining to escape the fog, and then the enforcer vanishes.

A burst of swirling souls forms beside the pink-haired woman and ERmac appears standing on the rubble just to her right, his glowing left hand already reaching for the side of her head. If his fingers can get a grip he will clamp down hard and drag her around, right hand reaching down to snag her sword wrist and keep her from running him through. Green energy rolls off of his left hand and onto her head as he bares down on her with unnatural strength, attempting to force her to her knees. Then the energy starts to squeeze her skull ever tighter, clamping down like a vice, crushing.

"We have no quarrel with you." Ermac chorus's as he stares down into her eyes. Then, with a burst of strength he lifts her up from the ground and half turns, rubble crunching under his wrapped feet as he attempts to swing her around by his grip on her head and launch her back toward the tunnel she arrived from.

COMBATSYS: Baiken blocks Ermac's Lucidity.

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Ermac            1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Baiken

The green light is essential for Baiken. It's how she locates Ermac more easily - honestly, it's how she sees at all, because she hasn't pulled out a flashlight or anything. She watches him carefully, turning when he moves, her single eye narrowed in concentration.

"I don't want to hear your excuses or your explanations," Baiken spits, "but I do want to know what I am about to kill!" She certainly does not lack confidence despite the injuries she's taken - and she has taken them. She's starting to feel them, her body battered but not quite broken. She slashes - and Ermac teleports.

The light changes. He isn't next to her, glowing; he's some distance away, the light radiating from a different angle, changing the shadows crazily. Baiken squeezes her eye closed for a second, then opens it, recentering herself. But he's grabbing already, and she gets pushed down by her head, his strength increasing -

Baiken twists her head at an uncomfortable angle. In most cases this still wouldn't be enough - but she's slick with whatever is in the water down here, having been smashed into it at a great velocity, and her hair is not in its accustomed tail but a slippery mess plastered to her head.

She slips free of Ermac's crushing grip, taking half a step backwards and shaking her head sharply to get the hair mostly out of her eyes. Stepping forward, Baiken winds up for a horizontal slash, right to left. She follows this up with another horizontal slash, the other direction, taking the other half step and then planting her feet in a specific stance - and then follows up with a single massive overhand blow, putting her entire body into the deadly strike!


COMBATSYS: Ermac blocks Baiken's Tsurane Sanzu Watashi.

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Ermac            1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\0           Baiken

Ermac does not retreat when the huntress escapes him. The jagged wound across his front hangs open, flashes of bronzed skin, a thin layer of fat, and glistening muscle visible through the tear in his clothing. The wound is dripping blood and dirty water, but he ignores it.

Holding his ground, the enforcer waits for Baiken's initial swing to come whipping in toward his left side. His left hand blurs up to meat it, connecting with the flat of the blade and knocking the strike up and over his head. When the reverse strike is swung toward his other side he snaps out his glowing right hand, and the blade slams into a thin layer of force projected across his palm.

But still she comes.

Her final blow descends toward his forehead with frightening speed, but both of his hands lift and clap together, catching the blade a foot above his head. Thin shreds of cloth and skin drift down from his palms, but if he can fight with an open stomach wound he can surely fight with skinned hands.

"We are Ermac." States the enforcer, his layered voices impassive as he gazes at his opponent across the sword they both hold between them. "You will not kill us today." And with those simple words spoken, the glowing figure removes his right hand from the sword poised above his head and throws it forward in a forceful pushing gesture toward Baiken's chest. Again the whole chamber seems to vibrate with thrumming power, and the green glow starts to form around the huntress's body. She has mere moments to act before that hand of god will grab her yet again and throw her backward away from her prey with astounding force.

COMBATSYS: Ermac knocks away Baiken with Surrender.

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Ermac            1/-----==/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1           Baiken

Nobody - /nobody/ - has tried to catch Baiken's sword in their palms before.

Oh, she knows it's possible. It's not a skill Baiken herself is capable of, of course, but it's pretty well established. It's just that nobody ever has the guts to actually try it... until now. Though in Ermac's case, Baiken isn't sure it counts as 'guts'.

Baiken's response is short and to the point; she wrenches her sword back, holding it in front of her, her right leg well further back to present the left side of her body toward Ermac. "Watch me," is her short response, even as she shifts her weight just so, the room thrumming around her.

The impact hits her in the chest, the energy forming around her. Baiken growls - and tries to force herself forward again even as the force becomes crushing. She can't breathe; her ribs feel like they're being squashed. Something against her body jingles - one of the chains for her hidden weapons.

But for an instant, she not only holds her position; she moves forward, her entire body and arm a blur as she passes past Ermac. Her arm /literally/ blurs as she moves, the single slash she delivers too fast to be seen. Ermac may not even realize he's been cut until she sheathes her sword again, a distinct metallic 'clink' as she does so.

But she can't resist being thrown forever, and the energy simply throws her away after a time. Baiken isn't even sure if her slash hit when she goes flying - and hits a wall, causing a completely different crack than the last time she hit something. She slumps down it, unconcious from the impact - but even in that state, her body twitches occasionally as if she was trying to rise and draw her sword again.

COMBATSYS: Baiken can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Ermac with Garyou Tensei.

[                         \\\\\  <
Ermac            1/=======/=======|

After Baiken is thrown back against the wall, the chamber grows very still. The only sound is that of the waves lapping against the walls, overlaid with the echoes of their kombat returning to them from the tunnels.

The deep thrum surrounding Ermac fades, as the souls slowly funnel back into his body. He stands calmly, staring across the distance toward Baiken's half-submerged form, as his left hand lifts to pinch a spot on his stomach just below his chest. Only then does the skin their sag open, his fingers the only thing holding the wound closed enough that his guts don't spill out into the dirty water.

But, despite what should be a mortal wound, the monster does not fall.

Holding his guts inside his body with his glowing left hand, Ermac wades back down into the hip-deep water. Waving his right hand back toward the pile of rubble he had been digging through, he infuses the rock with shimmering green power and lifts them into the air, showing no more strain than he did while throwing his pink-haired attacker.

The rock pile is lowered back into the water nearby, large waves rolling out from it, and a grime-covered object roughly the size of a small fist levitates out of the water where the rocks had been, drifting smoothly into Ermac's empty hand.

Then, in a swirl of souls, the enforcer vanishes.

What was the object? Why was he after it? Why did he leave Baiken alive?

Questions only Ermac can answer, and he isn't the talkative type.

COMBATSYS: Ermac takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Ermac has ended the fight here.

Log created on 16:05:00 12/13/2014 by Baiken, and last modified on 20:40:37 12/13/2014.