SNF 2014.12 - SNF: Audience with a God

Description: He must get the word out. A heretoforth unknown Chinese man has surpassed all expectations and prequalifiers of the event to appear in the upper echelons of the no-holds barred battle event--finding himself on the very sands of the Promethean Colosseum. Commanding great power, he has come looking for the best of the best, to warn them of a great and coming evil. Unfortunately, the person he stands across the sands from today is the great evil that has already arrived. Underneath the eyes of an audience hungry for violence and in a brutal battle against a tyrant who sees far further than he should, will the gods come down on the side of righteousness? Or will they end up bleeding in the sands, just like all the rest!?

The sands of the colosseum would run red with blood this weekend. That was what the fight promoters promised. That is what the crowd, more ruthless and bloodthirsty than a normal event audience, came to see. The seats were packed, the prior events that had played out before their eyes swept way in the sands, the structural damage hastily repaired, the stage set for the next battle.
This one promised to be something beyond what most had ever seen. The promotion said the event in the Promethean Colosseum would be a homage to the old ways, where fighting was no mere sport, where battle was a means of survival and domination. It asserted that contenders here would be the strongest, greatest warriors the world could find in this day.
Such a claim seemed preposterous. All but a few of the mighty and great ones of the previous generation had slipped from the public eye years ago. As fighting became more public, more ostentatious, more tame, those who had a taste for blood found their appetites unsated by the new flavor of fighting that was sweeping across the world.
But one such man has decided to put the to the test. To the public eye, he is a Champion of Battle of a generation that no longer cares for the spotlight, Rugal Bernstein. It has been years since he fought in the open, finding the magnitude of his power and talent wasted on the foes that could be found for him. Fight theorists often wondered where the violent genius of combad vanished to.
To those in the know, he is the vicious arms merchant at the head of 'R', a powerful underground arm's distributor. A majority of the assault rifles, RPGs, explosive devices, and other instruments of war in many of the Third World nations were put there by the heartless cartel. The rumors about the man were many, each even more gruesome than the next, about the lives destroyed, people slain, and despots crowned or deposed all because of the whims of the man that would fight here today.
His entrance is not ostentatious. Even the introduction from the event organizers is brief.
'Entering: Rugal Bernstein. Undefeated in any fight on record. Entering the arena after five years away.'
He certainly looks like a normal man to the untrained eye. Tall, but not outlandishly so. Well built, but not to an extreme degree. He walks with calm confidence, feet slipping into the sands as he strides toward the more central area of the arena. The veteran martial artist is clad in a sharp red-orange suit with a white dress shirt. A thin black scarf hangs around his neck, dangling down to the level of his knees. His hands are in his pants pockets as he moves. His dusty blonde hair is at neck length.
Stopping near the center, the sands of destiny blowing about him whenever the occasional gust of wind picks up, the man waits. From the distance of the audience it would be hard to notice that only his left eye is huma, his right eye a small composite piece of cutting edge cyernetic technology allowing him sight beyond normal where a normal eye should be.
Patiently, calmly, he pulls his hands from his pants pockets. From another pocket within his jacket, black, leather, fingerless gloves are produced and pulled taut across his hands, one after another.
He has slim expectations of this event and, should even those fail to be met, someone will pay the price. The Tyrant of Combat does not move idly. He has been promised war within the colosseum and he damn well get it. If his time has been wasted, that will be the last mistake of someone's life.

Raiden has... actually never fought for pulic amusement. Not that he remembers, anyway. But he's been finding out more and more that others know him, as if he HAD come to this place before. Perhaps he has, he just doesn't remember. It's hard to tell. But right now, what he's concerned about is getting through THIS fight.

The martial artist that's calling himself 'Lei Gong' is just as understated. He walks to the ring, dressed in clothes that are not quite what the typical Buddhist monk wears. But it's close enough that the average person wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The hat should hide his blank white eyes, at least until things get crazy. Though maybe he's a blind monk. Who knows?

Anyway. He walks into the arena quietly. And that much is understated. Though maybe because he's such a relative unknown, and Rugal's such a well-known name, perhaps the announcers seem to think he needs the extra press. Because suddenly the announcer calls out, "AAAAAAAAND NOWWWWWWWW... THE CHALLENGEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER! Our challenger this match is a dark horse, a newcomer to Saturday Night Fight. 'The Bolt From the Blue'! 'The Thunder God'! LEIIIIIIIII GOOOOOOOOOOOONG!"

Rugal might just see Raiden's jaw twitch a little. Because seriously. What even the hell?

Somewhere, unseen, the announcer responsible for that introduction suddenly feels a cold chill wind down his spine....

Eek, crowds. Nightwolf has never been able to deal too well with rubbing shoulders with rowdy people.

It had been the Sin Eater's idea to promote the message of the defense of Earthrealm through the media, and though he truly didn't care much for these events, Nightwolf felt compelled to see what kind of mess he had gotten Raiden into. The God of Thunder he may be, there are many people in the realm that have powers rivaling those of deities, and Rugal is one of them. What on earth is the leader of the R group doing here is beyond him, though a the very least Nightwolf can take some comfort in knowing that he did inform the God of Thunder of Rugal's might in the power point presentation he did.

Seriously, he put a lot of work doing that, Raiden better not have forgotten.

Somehow finding his way in the front seats, because people preferred not to be too close to this kind of spectacle, the Apache munched on an apple whilst watching the fighters be announced. He's wearing the usual disguise he wears when mingling with people, make-up to hide his face tattoos and contact lenses to cover up his white blank eyes. Its there that the shaman realizes that Raiden suffers from the same white eye problem. Maybe he ought to tell him to wear contact lenses too.. provided he doesn't melt them with his electricity or something.

As the challenger approaches, Rugal Bernstein seems more interested in the fit of his fingerless gloves, eye focused on his hands as he tugs them into place, one after the other, seeming to be in no rush. In front of cameras and thousands of spectators, he is the picture of composure. Here upon the sands, he is King. And monarchs need not concern themselves with the attentions, expectations, or opinions of their subjects.
Only when the announcer begins spewing his drivel into the speakers does the Master of Battle glance up, taking in the stature of the man destined to be his opponent this day. A challenger, or meat. That remains to be determined. His gloves on tight, the man lowers his right hand to his side, held slightly out a little, fingers open. His left hand is held out at an angle, bent at the elbow. The thin, black scarf resting open against the back of his neck is clenched there, between his fingers, as he idly folds and unfolds a small length of it in contemplation.
The twitch in the jaw might be noticed. A rough, deep chuckle escapes his lips. "Trouble yourself not with the insects and their noise. Today, your battle is with me, wanderer."
How they found someone to face him is a matter of some question for the man. An unknown name at that. Lei Gong.
"Thunder God. Presumptious." the man declares. The thought that there are yet men powerful enough to challenge him is an intriguing thought. But is this truly the case? Or is it merely a circus with which he has wasted his time this day?
"Titles cannot be given, they must be claimed. Come." His right hand lifts, his sleeve trimmed to the perfect length, his suit impeccable. Fingers gesture in the universal gesture of daring someone to make their move.
"I am your audience now. It I that demands entertainment."
His right hand drops back to its lower position as Rugal stands up a little more straight.
"Show me."
His living eye narrows, mouth curled into a faint scowl beneath his moustache.
"The power you wield."
It would become clear to Raiden, with his gift, his insight, that there was a spark of something immortal in the blood of his opponent. The black hearted man was by no means divine but... the slightest tinge of something about his power seems to resonate with powers no mortal man should possess...
For now, the Lord of War waits, another gust of wind rushing through the arena as the entire crowd falls silent, breathless with anticipation at what is about to begin.

COMBATSYS: Rugal has started a fight here.

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Rugal            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Rugal takes no action.

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Rugal            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Raiden has joined the fight here.

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Rugal            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Raiden

Regarding the announcer's drivel? "...Someone will be spoken to quite sternly after this." Yeah, he wasn't happy about that, either. At least it seems to indicate that he's not overly proud. Though it seems like 'Lei Gong's opponent is! At the mention of 'entertaining' Rugal, Raiden frowns slightly. It looks like Nightwolf's information was right...

Oh yes. Raiden remembers that presentation. Rugal wants to see his power? "Very well then." He moves into his stance, and then cups his hands in front of him as if holding a sphere-shaped object between them. In short order, bolts of lightning begin to leap across his body, crackling across his form and lighting up the area around him. Lightning begins to gather in his cupped hands... it grows stronger... and stronger....

COMBATSYS: Raiden charges his next attack!

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Rugal            0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0           Raiden

The observation is made as Lei Gong begins to gather power between his hands. The monster he fights seems at least amused that he possesses energy in the first place. But as his strength continues to swell, the expression in his foe's face shifts from passing acknowledgement to a hint of curiosity.
"I wonder."
His voice is a growl as he begins to stride forward with that same confidence he exuded when he entered in the first place.
"Lei Gong... was it?"
The suited man transitions from walking to surging forward with incredible speed in an instant, the sand exploding up behind him as he leaves a wake of gale force winds swirling back in to fill the vacuum behind him. The ends of his scarf snake out behind him like dark tendrils in the wind.
"Has heaven sent you to punish me?"
His is accompanied by a dark laugh as he weaves in close to the Thunder God.
"Or for you to die?!"
He's taunting the man now, weaving to the left, his powerful arm swinging along with the movement as he recklessly targets Raiden's jaw with a crushing right hook. It wouldn't end there, however, as the man leans the other way, swinging his left in with a second hook with piston-like force. The swift, brutal boxing combination is finished with a short uppercut with his right, packing the kind of strength that can shatter stone.
"You have only one chance to survive here, Thunder God!"

COMBATSYS: Raiden blocks Rugal's Strong Punch.

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Rugal            0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0           Raiden

Raiden's rather stuck in place as he draws his power in to make a decent showing of strength. Not specifically for Rugal's entertainment, more for a good showing. So he's rather not able to dodge the blows at they come. But he does manage to raise his arms to block the blows from hitting him directly in the face. The punches still hurt, with the sheer force that's behind them, and this close that is apparent from his wince.

However, going melee also allows Raiden a chance to attack as well. He pauses only long enough to notes, "We shall see." And then he releases the lightning gathered in his hands, hoping the close proximity will make the attack explode against Rugal's abdomen.

COMBATSYS: Rugal blocks Raiden's Empowered Lightning.

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Rugal            0/-------/------=|=====--\-------\0           Raiden

With the final blow of his three fearsome punch combination, the adaptive brawler slams his left foot down against the sand, raising his right arm forward, bent at the elbow, forearm upright. Even in the briefest of moments before Lei Gong responds by unleashing that built up power to explode against him, he is studying the Thunder God up close and personal. Extending his own aura into his raised forearm, the man is able to resist the full magnitude of the point blank surge of power and prevent it from inflicting its full potential harm against him...
But the fact that he was pushed way all the same, sand raining down around him as it finally comes to rest after the explosion launched the fine grains into the sky, is proof that Raiden's lightning had force behind it. Lowering his arm, a faint tinge of smoke rising up off his slightly scorched sleeve, Rugal nods his head slightly.
"You are worthy to be fought for real, then." His cybernetic eye is scanning the battlefield furiously, feeding knowledge and information to the Master Class martial artist.
"Perhaps you may even prove worthy enough..."
He surges back on Raiden in an instant, a glint of red flashing in his artificial eye as it responds to the unending drive the Tyrant of War possesses for being the undisputed best fighter in the world.
"To join my gallery of subjects-"
His left hand would smash outward, going for Raiden's throat. Should he get a grip on the other man, it would be with the force necessary to secure him tightly, lifting him off his feet with his own incredible arm strength.
"I would be willing to find you a place among them! Hahaha!"
If the Thunder God is unable to escape in time, he might find himself in a curious position of finding out what his particular shocking power feels like as Rugal slams his right fist forward with crushing force toward his sternum to stagger any resistence, then lifts it up to join his left hand at his opponent's neck.
Suddenly the crackle of lightning surges along his own brutally strong arms as the Monster of 'R' exhibits the very impudence of attempting to assault the God of Lightning with a steady stream of electric chi of his own!

COMBATSYS: Raiden interrupts Scorpion Deathlock from Rugal with Sudden Energy.

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Rugal            0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Raiden

"Hrk!" It's a surprisingly human sound Raiden emits, finding a hand around his throat with more force than he expected. However, he is quick enough to get his other arm up, against his sternum, to keep the full force of that fierce punch from impacting with his chest. It still hurts, though. But as Rugal charges himself up with lightning, the Tyrant of War can see a literal spark in the blank eyes of 'Lei Gong'. And as he bares his teeth, he presses the attack nonetheless.

He frees himself from Rugal's grip in an interesting way. He disappears. Literally. Though he reappears a few inches back from where he'd been standing, and presses his attack. "I will never..." a punch swung at Rugal's face, "...bow down..." another punch at Rugal's face. He charges a quick ball of lightning in his hands, which he ALSO flings at Rugal's face. "--To ANY MAN!"

Nightwolf will admit that he was somewhat worried when he saw Rugal managing to grab Lord Raiden by the throat and lift him up. Could this man's power truly be so great?

And yet Nightwolf's faith is rewarded when he sees Raiden slip out of the grapple through his powers and counter with a powerful series of attacks.

"Yes!" In an outburst of uncharacteristic excitement, the shaman accidentally punches a man's shoulder without realizing it. Coughing afterwards and apologizing he regains his composure and continues watching the fight.

Rugal finally gets the display of power he was looking for. For a moment, as his powerful grip secured itself around Raiden's throat, he couldn't help but chuckle.
"Hmph. Just a man."
The Thunder God proves otherwise, however, slipping from Bernstein's grip in a manner entirely unexpected, his form becoming pure energy beneath his grip, leaving the fighter's hand to clench brutally hard over empty space with enough force to compress the air out between his fingers as vapor.
The Thunder God reappears in an instant with Rugal's hand still outstretched, leaving the man in poor position to callusly defend himself now, the blow to his face staggering him slightly, followed by the second that turns him a little the other way. They aren't the punches that will shatter tyrants, however, and he is already whirling back to strike out with retaliatory force when the final blow of the combination is unleashed - a lightning blast to his face that forces the veteran back a step.
Pausing, he lifts his left arm up to wipe across his mouth, brushing away a stray trace of blood as he begins to chuckle again. "Good... good..." Perhaps he has realized the folly of using lightning against /Raiden/. "I was beginning to think the world too boring."
The suited man explodes forward again, his right leg leading the way as he aims to drive it into his opponent's chest. Only of more pressing threat is the shimmer of razor-edged energy along his foot that threatens to slash in even further than his heel would strike if his attack is not avoided.
"But you need to learn your limits!!" he roars mid-motion.
He would follow up with a second, sweeping kick with his left, the foot bearing that same distinctive chi that seems to slice through the air as he moves with the sound of an infinitely fine blade. He would finish with a crushing overhead strike with his right hand, intending to smash the divine being into the sand, only to grip him in the process, heft him back up, and then bodily slam him right back down.

COMBATSYS: Raiden endures Rugal's B's Destruction.

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Rugal            0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1           Raiden

Raiden's all ready to block. Except he hears that knife-blade sound going through the air with the chi. And doesn't really feel like running the risk of losing an arm to a block. So he quickly drops his arms. That's about when the knife-bladed chi slices across his chest. It splits the fabric there-- and the skin underneath, and Raiden emits a hiss of pain.

...The really odd thing? The spray of blood that the chi-blade coaxes out? It's not red. The droplets that sprinkle upon the sand are a bright, electric blue that literally sizzle in the sand briefly, literally melting where it hits and leaving blue-colored round globules of glass in their wake. Huh.

At that point though, Raiden can only minimize the damage as much as possible, try to roll with the hits. The overhead strike brings him down to his knee, and the lift-and-slam does exactly what it's meant to do, leaving the Thunder God prone.


Once more he disappears, his form reappearing in place, now standing up. He's trying to move quickly, before Rugal expects him to, and reaches out. He tries to grab hold of Rugal's shoulders, to pull him forward and off-balance, so he can execute two quick punches to the stomach. They hurt, but that's not the danger. The danger is when Raiden raises his hands, one at the level of Rugal's throat, the other at the solar plexus, and tries to electrify the Tyrant of War! Provided he can stun Rugal enough with this, he will draw his hands back for an exploding lightning burst from an open clamshell position of his hands.

COMBATSYS: Raiden successfully hits Rugal with Divine Power.

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Rugal            1/----===/=======|=======\===----\1           Raiden

Slamming Raiden down at the end of his combination, Rugal stands up straight. Against most foes, that brutal assault alone would be enough to end them. Few would have the power to stand, let alone continue fighting beyond that. Many would breath their last - but such fodder was not his interest here. The more he saw of Raiden, the more the Mogul of Arms sees of Raiden's techniques, the more he begins to realize there is far more to this man than a simple wanderer out of the shadows.
His eyes radiate with power - those are not the eyes of a normal man. A sennin, perhaps? A holy man who has transcended? It is hard to keep the lightning captured for long. An instant later, Raiden is on his feet again, defying normal limits of human mobility. Impressive! But it's the blood that catches his eye, his cybernetic replacement already scanning it to identify it down to its sub-atomic construct.
Equally impressive is the way he gets a grip of the suited brawler. Rugal swings his arms upward, ready to dismiss the hold on his shoulder without further regard, only to find the lightning reflexes of Lei Gong allows the equally fast monk strike lower. Bernsteins's stomach is solid muscle but even he is rocked by the blows, bending forward a little, his guard dismissed for a fleeting moment.
It's the powerful lightning, straight from the divine source himself, that finally sends Rugal staggering backward, whatever read his cybernetic eye was getting on Raiden's nature cut short by the oversurge of electricty that courses through it. "Tch." A spit of blood to the side.
"At last..."
A grim expression washes over his face now. He has seen enough to know that he stands in the presence of the supernatural; enough to know that there is more to be discovered about this one.
He says nothing else, however - flashing forward in an incredible explosion of speed. It is with his right leg that he attacks, once again infused with that vipro-bladed chi he had just used previously. Kick after kick would be launched in an instant with his right leg, slashing and cutting away.
"Where have you come from?!"
He would reach out with his hand again, this time going for the front of the holy being's robes before flipping him over to slam him to the ground - if successful, the monstruous fighter would hurl his heavenly foe skyward before leaping up afterward with one last, scything sweep of his right leg and one final dose of that slashing, merciless chi of his!!

COMBATSYS: Rugal successfully hits Raiden with Genocide Heaven.

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Rugal            0/-------/------=|=======\=======\1           Raiden

Between the shock from 'Lei Gong' and the fast way those components seem to decay when exposed to air, the blood actually breaks down before Rugal can scan it completely. What he does get: that blood is charged. Literally ionized. Which is probably why the sand under it melted-- the discharge of electricity is what did it. Sub-atomic components? O3, copper, corticotropin, and a MASSIVE amount of something that may be adenosine triphosphate. Far more than is normal for human blood. The globules left behind, though, are made of only glass and ozone, giving them their electric blue color. None of the blood has remained behind.

The answer to Rugal's question will have to wait, though... Raiden's strategy is normally to counter mortal speed with lightning speed. But he himself seems to have little defense against lightning speed. He can only brace his muscles to mitigate the damage of that blindingly fast flurry of kicks, each one backed by that cutting and slicing chi. Raiden manages to keep his face out of the blender that Rugal's made with all that footwork, but his torso is not so lucky. More of those blue globules form as his blue-colored blood spatters the sand.

One good thing. Whichever way this fight goes, Rugal is likely to have a fortune in costume jewelry gems once this is over with!

Still reeling from the flurry of cutting kicks, Raiden's shredded robe is easily grabbed, and the Thunder God is flipped, then sent skyward again, and then brought back down to earth painfully. Perhaps a sign that Lei Gong is weakening, is that he does not disappear from the ground and reappear standing up this time. This time he gets to his feet normally, like a man. He still does so quickly-- a rising windmill takes him to his feet. And he too then slowly wipes an oozing of blood away from his lip. As for the answer to Rugal's question? Perhaps the answer is predictable.

"Defeat me, and then you shall know."

Though instead of attacking? Raiden folds his hands before him, as if in prayer, and dips his head. Somehow... SOMEHOW! That conical hat has mostly managed to survive the battle thus far. It has a few chunks taken out of it, and it shows his eyes. He seems to have closed them, and lightning surges almost gently along his frame. He seems to be biding his time for the moment.

COMBATSYS: Raiden enters a meditative state.

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Rugal            0/-------/------=|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Raiden

Rugal lands from the sweeping scythe kick that struck Raiden while airborn, one hand slamming down into the sand as he impacts the ground, throwing up a plume of powder that hides him from view for a few precious moments. By the time it has finished raining down around him, he is standing upright again, his hands lifting to his jacket to adjust it casually, then a shrug, another tug at the end of each of his sleeves... there, imaculate. Except for the scorch marks. The droplets of blood on his white shirt. And the layer of dust that he absently brushes from his shoulder.
Slowly he winds his right arm up, popping it a little, his left arm rubbing at his shoulder. His expression is one of dark intent but for the moment he bears neither malevolence or anger at the Thunder God where he lays. Merely concentration. Is that it then? No... he suspets not.
There is no surprise to be found in his chiseled visage as Lei Gong gets back up to his feet with a warding sweep of his arms that would have guarded him from any follow up attack had Rugal tried. The condition is met and Rugal chuckles, a grave sound from deep in his throat.
"Only two types of men make demands of me, wanderer."
His own right hand lifts, fingers spread out and stretched forward. Red fluid drips from them as if from no where. Blood? But who's? Certainly not Raiden's. Droplets of crimson victory splash against the sand that is all too eager to soak it up.
He clenches his fist, producing a squishy sound as the manifested blood splatters and then dissipates as if it was never there in the first place.
"And gods."
His hand lowers then, his human eye closing for a moment. The cybernetic eye in his skull has finally rebooted from the earlier shock trauma, however, and it is with that which he observes Raiden's pious gesture and patient meditation.
"And I will destroy them all equally."
A vow spoken without reservation or second thought.
"Very well then."
There is a red glimmer in his cybernetic eye as it ramps up even further.
"In keeping my resolve, I will also satisfy your demand." A soft grunt is heard.
"You will get your wish. Lei Gong."

COMBATSYS: Rugal calculates his next move.

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Rugal            0/-------/------=|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Raiden

Raiden knows he is being observed. He can feel it in the way that the metal eye focuses on him, the sensation of being watched. It seems his apparently blank eyes see much more than they reveal.

Rugal's careful observations will catch the ever-so-slight smirk pulling at the corner of Raiden's mouth, pulling it into a grim smirk. It's not meant to mock Rugal, no. Rugal has more than proved his worth as a Kombatant, his strength, and done much to convince Raiden of his threat level. Raiden will have to take care to watch for this one in the future. But his smirk is for the irony in that statement.

Fools and gods, hm? Ironic indeed. He is, however, smart enough not to volunteer any information just yet. "We shall see," he notes quietly, shifting back into his fighting stance.

Rugal's eye sees much here. Nan chuan. The stance is heavily influenced by nan chuan, but incorporates other styles as well. His moves thus far have been mostly been some combination of nan chuan and jujutsu, with some judo and tae kwon do. He uses them in a fluid, seamless way; this is no patchworked martial art. It all flows together like rivers merging into one.

And it seems that Raiden's going to give him something ELSE to observe! He rushes Rugal, all but flying, his feet skimming the sand and barely leaving marks upon it. His arm draws back, his body crackles with violent electricity... and he aims what is probably going to be a punishing, lightning-infused uppercut at Rugal's chin!

It's a good sign that 'Lei Gong' has most DEFINITELY gotten serious. Because even if Rugal manages to dodge or block, there is one thing that's going to be clear as day, either by the amount of air that whooshes past in the event of a dodge, the force of the blow in the event of a block, or indeed if the strike hits full-strength. A strike such as that would have quite literally OBLITERATED a normal man.

COMBATSYS: Rugal stops God Fist from Raiden with Dark Barrier.

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Rugal            0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>-\-------\0           Raiden

The All Seeing Eye - Rugal's cybernetic replacement for an eye ripped loose by a Prophet of Wind, a powerful scanner beyond anything most modern science can conjure. It did not come cheaply - obtained from an organization even more underground, more in the shadows than 'R'. But in this moment, it is turned upon the Thunder God himself, scrutinizing every aspect of his form. His energy, his style, his movements... some rumor that it can read thoughts, though that is certainly preposterous. But what it CAN do is read intent, electric impulses spreading out to put muscle tissue into action, enabling movement and attacking. He can see it before it should even be possible through that glimmering red glowing eye.
He doesn't respond to Raiden's answer now. That he is observing with furious intensity is beyond question. It is rare that he has seen form so perfected, movements transitioning so naturally... he would refuse to admit it, but the man's ability to blend styles into one perfected form rivals even his own incredible mastery of martial arts.
But that isn't all. Of utmost interest is the sheer POWER coursing through the man. More and more he wills his eye to scan, to measure, to relate back to him countless figures and calculations, all processed in a nanosecond. This is... incredible. He must know more. If he was not already driven to succeed before, he is even moreso now that knowledge hangs in the balance!
When Raiden moves, the Tyrant of War responds. The time to do so is almost impossibly small, so fast is the attack hurtling his way. The gesture on his part would seem effortless for the minimal movement it requires - it's all the motion he can afford, his right hand twitching at the wrist, fingers splayed forward and open - in the path of the lightning fist a discus of swirling, miasmic energy suddenly surges into being out of no where.
At the point of impact, forks of lightning explode out everywhere. Even in the bright afternoon sun, this display of illumination is blindingly bright, forcing many to look away or shield their eyes. The explosion rumbles throughout the arena, sand flying up into a dust storm of catastrophic proportions, radiating out away from the two men. "HA!"
Raiden would understand the sickly green energy for what it was - disintigration chi, absorbing the power fed into it, be it kinetic or lightning. It doesn't come easily, however, as Rugal is forced backward, the soles of his shoes sliding over the exposed surface of the arena floor now that the sand has been blasted away from the two.
Teeth are grit, the man having to reinforce his right arm by gripping it with his left, pouring even more chi into that barrier between him and Raiden, allowing it to absorb and rip apart the energy fed to it by the exchange. "HA HA HA!"
Finally it is enough, the attack has been halted, Rugal staggering back a step, his left arm releasing its grip on his wrist, his right arm lowering as the Dark Barrier swirls in on itself, collapsing back into whatever nothingness it was conjured from.
A slow exhale escapes his lips, his suit-clad chest heaving, before Rugal begins to laugh. "Yes. THIS is battle! Experience beyond anything anyone else can understand but us, here and now!" The man seems to be nothing shy of thrilled with the Kombat to be had here.

Scanning... scanning... scanning...

So much information. But above all... yes, sheer power. 'Lei Gong' is charged with electricity, all over. He's generating it from inside himself. He IS a storm.

Raiden sees the force dissipate against Rugal's shield, and even though he can see the force he takes to stand against it, he's not about to stay in melee range with Rugal when the shield finally comes down. He teleports back out of melee range, still in his fighting stance when he reappears. The words from the Lord of War bring a frown... but he narrows his eyes.

"Your words bring memories," he states. Memories of Outworld and its bloodthirsty, barbarous denizens, to be more specific. Of course he's NOT going to be more specific, not yet. Though the tone of his voice and the way his eyes have narrowed states that those aren't pleasant memories, so too much more specificness wasn't really necessary. Not now, at least.

He thrusts out his hands, one in Rugal's direction, and one directly in the opposite direction, and a bolt of lightning explodes from each hand. Though Rugal will find out that the bolt at his front is not the only danger. If the Lord of War's not very careful, he might take a bolt to the back, too!

COMBATSYS: Rugal blocks Raiden's White Lightning.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Rugal            0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0           Raiden

There is only so much that cybernetic eye can accomplish before even its capacity is surpassed. There is a pause in Bernstein's analysis, his human eye narrowing, his focus shifting to the side slightly. The readouts the technomagic eye provides... are /impossible/. Finally, its capacity glitches, a buffer overflow somewhere perhaps, numbers switching from huge to negative to finally scrambled characters in attempting to quantify the amount of electromagnetic energy is rippling through the being in front of him.
If Rugal wanted a challenge to face, if he wanted something exciting... he's definitely been given it.
The two disengage, the Dark Barrier collapsing away, Raiden drawing back to reposition for his next tactic.
"Do they now." the indomitable Arms Merchant rumbles, his feet finding traction on the now solid surface of the arena floor, the sands scattered to the four winds all about them, leaving the men with solid ground now.
His left hand finds the end of his thin black scarf and begins folding it over his and under his thumb passively. Waiting now. It seems the Storm Bringer has earned his reprieve from the aggressive Arena Lord following his considerable show of power.
But Raiden will detect something else from the monster of a man - a lingering presence of that virulent green chi made manifest by Rugal's last technique. It effuses throughout the arena floor, a presence unseen but undeniably felt. It saps at strength, sucks away at energy, not to empower itself but to disintigrate it, fulfilling its purpose as a destroying aura of one of the most powerful beings alive on Earth.
"It is not your memories I am interested in, Warrior Priest."
He begins to stride forward, his arms out at his sides now, his chest bared, as if he feared for nothing, as if he expected that he could advance unabated if that was his will and there was nothing that could be done about it. It is when the Twin Lightning is unleashed that he moves. Both hands slam outward, his torso turned to the side - one forward, one backward, his eye never leaving Raiden for a second even as the powerful crash explodes against his outstretched palms and - visible to the Thunder God's eyes - the extention of the Tyrant's formidable aura, causing the deadly electricty to splash over his extended limbs, sizzling, crackling, but not damaging him as much as it seems like it /should/.
"I will break you!!"
The energy hasn't even fully dissipated when the man in military-red surges forward with new brutal speed. The gap between the two is closed in an instant and - to mundane eyes, it would almost see as if Rugal had exploded /through/ Raiden, materializing just behind him, so impossible is his speed that not even a blur of movement was visible. Of course, the truth is more brutal, as the Thunder God would feel should he not escape the assault - seven different vorpal chi infused punches and kicks would have been inflicted upon his body in that microsecond of time... And should he be staggered, the Dark Beast he fights will be right there behind him, powerful hands reaching out to grab him, to heft the Divine Messanger off his feet, and body slam him right back down to the solid, barren earth.
Earthrealm can be a brutal place.

COMBATSYS: Rugal successfully hits Raiden with Vanishing Rush.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rugal            0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Raiden

Raiden can feel the strength being drawn from him. Not drawn into Rugal, though, it doesn't seem. Just... drawn away. Pulled into that sickening green energy and pulled away, somewhere he can't get to it anymore. It's even visible-- the lightning sparks around him, then is suddenly wicked away into the aura. He's startled, and even as he moves to try to evade... he can't.

Those seem to be the kinds of attacks that Raiden has much less defense against. When an opponent moves as fast as Raiden-- perhaps faster than, in Rugal's case-- the Thunder God seems to have a lot of trouble with this. Evidenced when, despite his efforts to evade, the light-speed strikes land on his torso, wringing a surprised and pained cry. He tries to recover, to get out of the way, but the grab takes him off guard... then takes him down.

Raiden is smart enough to get away from Rugal with a roll before getting to his feet, and then pushes to his feet. The charge of Lei Gong's body is starting to dim, the lightning less visible, only briefly sparking around him. He appears to be breathing more heavily, too, and his stance is somewhat looser.

In fact, it's not a lightning attack that Raiden comes back with... but a simple front kick. Perhaps the successful drain on Lei Gong's power has affected him more deeply than Rugal thought.

COMBATSYS: Rugal fails to interrupt Front Kick from Raiden with Genocide Cutter EX+.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rugal            1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1           Raiden

Hurling the Thunder God against the soil did not seem to be the end of Rugal's plan, the man stomping forward, bringing his foot up, then crashing down, shattering the earth where Raiden had rolled from just an instant prior. He was on the warpath now and his assaults would not abate until either he was satisfied or stopped.
His living eye snaps up to take in the condition of Lei Gong once he regains his footing just out of reach but then the man strides forward, rushing now, feet moving swiftly over the ground as he leans into a dangerous sprint, arms out at his sides, fingers extended, eager to grasp hold of this prey that has proven so incredibly interesting for him this day.
There is no time for words, the men colliding in an instant, the wanderer's foot snapping out and Rugal's retaliation in kind with his own leg. Only Raiden will recognize that swish, that slice of bladed chi trailing behind-
The margin of error in this exchange is dangerously slim but it is his foot that finds the chest of the Tyrant first with a satisfying crunch, pushing Rugal back just far enough that when his vorpal edged scything kick swings up, he is just out of reach.
His shoe-clad foot would slice up just shy of reaching Raiden's torso, though it might nick his hat in passing as Bernstein rises into the air then falls back to the ground a couple meters away, landing with a crash on his feet, one hand brushing against the ground briefly for support before he rises back to standing. One need not be divine to read the building fury in the man's expression, his composure throughout the battle finally being shaken by the failure to connect with one of the most dreaded, horrific attacks in all the known world.
For verbal commentary, however, all he can offer is a reluctant acknowledgement.


The scything chi-blade takes a chunk out of the front of the conical hat, even as Raiden turns his head. How the HELL has that thing managed to not get destroyed?! These two are fighting like demons-- probably much to the glee of the bloodthirsty audience, mind-- and that hat is still mostly in one piece! Although now his blank white eyes can be seen much easier.

The sparks across his body are almost spastic-looking. Like a shorting-out electrical device. Perhaps indicative of Lei Gong's state. He is weakening. But he's not down yet. Oh he sees that fury. Acknowledges it with a nod. But that energy drain has faded. Which means he can draw upon it again.

And draws. And DRAWS! He shifts his stance lower, feet shoulder-width apart, and begins to move his arms slowly before him in curcular movements. The electricity around him grows stronger and stronger, brighter and brighter. In the sky above them, a storm cloud begins to form, from seemingly nowhere, rumbling in warning. The very air feels electrified...

COMBATSYS: Raiden charges his next attack!

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Rugal            1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1           Raiden

Given the survivability of Raiden's hat, it would be reasonable for audiences to begin to wonder if IT was the source of his magnificent power. Facing across from each other, the two Lords of Battle stand at odds. It is time to settle this maelstrom of war, this harbinger of things to come.
As Raiden's power surges, so too does his opponent's. The Dark Beast he battles has exhibited a number of threats - electricty, vorpal edged energy, and even chi dedicated to the concept of unmaking. But in this moment, a new shroud begins to build around the Tyrant - for as bright as the lightning is surging around Raiden, as menacing as the building cyclone overhead might be, Rugal's own presence is no less forboding s cloud of darkness against the light.
Black, miasmic energy seethes off of him, wreathing his powerful frame like a cloak and building at his feet like a pyre of of ebony flame.
"Hm... Yes. Come then."
His arms are extended out to his sides, inviting attack from the Messanger from Beyond.
"It is time."
His hands clench, his arms still held out at his sides.
"Let this be decided between us, Lei Gong. We have tarried too long amongst these sands."
Anyone could sense it now. The energy in the air is oppressive, the audience muted, many finding themselves unable to breath, so great is the magnitude of what they have been granted vision of. The ground at Rugal's feet begins to tremble, the sands vibrating over the soil, given to dance at the swell of twisted power he demands answer his call.

COMBATSYS: Rugal gathers his will.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Rugal            1/---====/=======|=======\=====--\1           Raiden

Raiden's pure blue-white lightning. Rugal's dark, malevolent flames. The auras clash spectacularly in the ensuing moments, almost as if reaching out and trying to tangle before those who produce it do. It's a stupendous show of power amongst the two Kombatants, one that will surely be talked about after this battle, no matter who stands the victor at the end.

Which makes it all the more sad that the amount of electromagnetic energy in the room might just short out cell phones and cameras! Unless the shielding in this area is thick enough to keep all their combined power within. This is truly a clash of gods!

Rugal's statement gets a nod. "Then let it be decided!" Raiden agrees, his voice a growl. Teeth bared, he emits a growl and crosses the distance between them, lightning flowing off his form, leaving blue-white streaks in the air. This close his eyes can be seen clearly, the blue lightning emanating from them, the blankness lit from within.

As he crosses the distance, his fist is drawn back, crackling with lightning. And he tries a tactic from before, a monstrously-powerful upward punch. But here, he's backed it with the force of the mass of electricity that he's gathered around him!

COMBATSYS: Rugal fails to counter Empowered God Fist EX from Raiden with Gigantic Pressure.

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

COMBATSYS: Rugal can no longer fight.

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

The moment Raiden breaks his stance to surge forward, so too does Rugal Bernstein. Leaning forward, his arm out at his side, his fingers claw through the air. The black shroud that had built up billows out into a plume of crimson energy, becoming viscous as blood strewn across the sands, an all new level of hell unleashed.
A scream of tormented souls shriekds out from that dark pit Bernstein draws his strength as the man, the fluidic crimson chi melting away his suit jacket and burning at his own flesh with acidic tenacity as he speeds forward across the sands of fate heedless of harm he is doing to himself in the process. To answer undeniable power with equal force, there are no limits he would not subject his body to.
A roar thunders forth from his throat as at last the two maelstroms of power collide - Raiden's storm of lightning and resounding fist against Rugal's banquet of blood and horror.
An explosion errupts at the epicenter, a blastwave radiating outward, smashing into the walls and protective structures with enough force to shatter several of them. Stone supports crumble to dust as a plume of debris washes over the audience, blinding them to the conclusion of the exchange for several seconds.
Finally, out of the Fog of War, Rugal Bernstein staggers backward, a garish wound across the front of his chest visible through his rent shirt where he had charged forward into the fist of the Thunder God, his hurbis taking him one step further than wisdom would dictate.
Another step before he stumbles, dropping to one knee, his left hand catching against the soil for support as blood drips into the sand from the wound in his chest.
He can't let it lend like this. This was just the beginning.
"Heh. Heh. Heh."
Those lightning empowered eyes of the Divine would detect it easily enough, the surge of dark intent, that earlier spark of something supernatural billows into the forground within the ebony heart of the man who would be a god.
All he need to is tap into it, his strength would be redoubled, his body able to be forced to continue in spite the damage it had suffered. It would be worth it to crush the wanderer's head beneath his heel even if unleashing the full extent of the Orochi's blood within him would very well destroy him. He would savor that moment even as he died-
Teeth grit, his eye closes, the man shudders and pauses.
This is not the time.
An intake of breath before he stands upright again, his blood drenched hands lifting to grip the edges of his shreaded suit coat, adjusting the tattered garment back into position as if it wasn't completely destroyed.
"I said titles were earned, not given."
He dusts at his shoulders, scattering sand and additional droplets of blood in the process.
A tip of his head to the side in acknowledgement from the defeated veteran.
"Thunder God it is, then." states the deep voiced man, a tinge of bitter amusement in his voice.
"I will be watching you."
His foot crunches against the dry earth as he turns at last to return back the direction he came. It's true then. There are battles worth fighting once again. At last his ennui can come to an end.

Yes, indeed. Raiden sees it. He sees the surge, the dark power much like that he sought to combat. The crying of souls in torment, something drawing them to Rugal. The God of Thunder draws back, preparing for that swelling surge of dark power to crest. He had little left in him to defend against whatever else the Tyrant of War could throw at him. But he was drawn to fight such darkness, so that others would not have to...

Thankfully, even as he draws back, readying for another round-- one that would most certainly be the end of him-- the swell ebbs, and flows away. Raiden draws a breath, exhaling it in a sigh of relief that's audible from where Rugal now stands. He's not about to be murderized this time, good.

And as Rugal speaks, Raiden shifts again, to stand straight. "ChÚng rÓng," he offers to Rugal, in perfect Chinese. A humble salute to a defeated opponent who definitely gave the winner a run for his money. "Few could be called a god before you. You are a formidable opponent." Pause. "...I expect this will not be the last time our paths will cross. I will also be watching." And as Rugal turns to leave Raiden raises his hands to chest level, meets his hands before him fist to palm, and bows. He is, however, still watching Rugal. 'Never lower your eyes to an enemy', after all.

Raiden has sent a message here. And he will send one more. Before that loudmouthed announcer starts up, Raiden turns to the crowd, looking directly at those 'camera' devices. His voice fills the arena. "People of Earthrealm, hear me! Forces amass in the darkness that seek the destruction of this realm! Those who are brave enough, strong enough, to fight, seek me out!" He raises a hand into the air, and a bolt of lightning leaps from his hand to the sky, hitting the storm cloud still lingering above and lighting it up with lightning.


His form begins to disperse, melting into a cloud of blue-white ionization. And then with a sharp <CRACK!> of thunder, leaps upward in a bolt of lightning. And he is gone. The storm cloud rumbles overhead for a moment more, and then begins to disperse.

Attuned as he is to the leylines of energy, Nightwolf's initial bout of energetic excitement to the fight had turned into a deep silence. The massive energies of light clashing against dark resounded deep in the pit of the shaman who could only stare in shocked thinly veiled horror of the two titans clashing against one another. The very thought that he may soon be facing darkness of such magnitude is a troubling one, though those thoughts give way to the more pressing matters of trying to keep up with these two.

Finally, after the final blow is struck, Nightwolf's trance breaks and he blinks rapidly feeling the force of good overwhelm the negative energies, tossing them asunder. Even if the ever present glimpse of evil can be felt on Rugal, the shaman knows that he will not rise again to continue, the day where the forces of good will face off against evil has not yet truly come.

The Sin Eater finally sinks back to his seat when Raiden sends the plight of the Defenders of Earthrealm to all corners of the world. The initial steps of their plan set into motion.

"It has begun.." Whispers Nightwolf.

Its only then that he realizes there are heavy beads of sweat running down his face.

Log created on 19:44:43 12/13/2014 by Rugal, and last modified on 23:21:34 12/14/2014.