The Hunter - A Meeting Of Monsters

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Description: In a clearing not far from the bustle of south town, three monsters come together over a mangled corpse. Though each of them wants something different, some creatures just can't play nice.


Somewhere, within the expansive forests that surround the sprawling urban megacity known as Southtown, a creature sits alone beneath the cool shade of the lush green trees. It is a strange thing, misshapen and twisted, it's body warped by the ravages of ambitious science and ruthless experimentation. Grotesque masses of scaly flesh compose its lower body, thick cords of bulging muscle and sinuous tendon bent at the wrong angle that end in several massive black talons of jagged bone. Its left arm shares a similar mutation though rather than lumpy scales it it composed of two sections of interlocked chitin, much like the arm of a crab or insect, though it possess the remnants of fingers that have since become terrible scything claws.

The rest of the monstrous thing disturbingly resembles that of a human girl, perhaps in her late teens. The tattered remnants of a simple sleeveless tank top cling to her modest torso, glued to her dirty skin by sweat and blood and other less pleasant things. Her legs are likewise wrapped in the remains of a pair of military-print cargo pants. A lone pad of some metallic armor plating clings to one of her knees indicating that someone attempted to provide her with some protection at one point but that fuction has long since been destroyed.


The sound of snapping bones and tearing flesh drift lazily through the small clearing as the Hound, for that is what she is known as by those that have deemed to grant her that much attention, feasts on the remains of her most recent kill. At this point it is difficult to tell what exactly that might have been. Bits of red meat stained with gore are all that remain on the handful of bones that she has not yet gotten around to gnawing into bite-sized chunks. Blood and viscera dribble down her chin adding fresh stains to the already nauseating mess on her shirt but she pays this no mind, either not noticing or not caring about her messy habits.

Infact, she seems quite content at the moment, though her reveling in the delicious meal is interrupted every so often as some woodland creature makes a noise in the distance. This prompts an immediate response, her head whipping up as she clutches the remains of her dinner to her chest protectively. Wide eyes that are both human and yet not scan the edge of the trees for several seconds, beady red pupils darting about in contrast to her utter stillness until she is convinced that no threat to her meal is present and continues with her grisly feast.

The odd sound is enough for the 'totally not a bee' to make note of, and in fact, she doesn't make so much of a note of it and actually goes out to investigate. Human, as she looked, Q-Bee did so due to the fact that there was an ONI somewhere around there that would not hesitate to smash her face into two or three grounds once more to make sure she doesn't have a single bit of life left to feed her hive with. After all, she nearly starved her out last time!

Coming across the thing? that is eating, Q-Bee doesn't so much retreat so much as walk over and tilt her head at the object that once was.

"(Oh. It has died.)" She states however clearly, fake eyes blinking at the dead object.

"(Can I have its soul? I'm hungry.)" The girl? proclaims, antennae twitching as she licks her lips, quite hungry after such a ... what, was it an hour or so ago? After all, Q-Bee is always hungry to some degree! As simple as she is, that is. Looking on at Franz, Q-Bee doesn't seem to have any big emotion for or against her. She has never seen her before, but all the same, it is not entirely a threat at the moment. That is good enough, isn't it?

As for why? There are small hives around some locations, Southtown no exception. A perfect position, really. That is why Q-Bee is there.

Despite her distraction, the Hound takes immediate notice of the intruder into the small area that she has declared temporary ownership of. Normally, the animals that live in these woods would give her a wide berth. The smell of the recent kill along with the distinctive predatory odor that she possesses, something along the lines of rotten eggs mixed with sour milk that was left in a compost heap for a week or so, would keep them out. Occassionally a pack of wolves or a bear or some other predator gets the nerve to try and poach her kills but they are either driven away or added to the menu.

This is the first time that a human has simply walked up to her; or, atleast she thinks it's the first time, her memory gets a bit fuzzy sometimes. Whirling around to face the 'girl', the creature rises up onto her haunches and snarls, baring jagged teeth that look like they belong in the mouth of a shark or perhaps a dinosaur. As soon as the bee comes close, she takes an aggressive step forward and slashes her massive claw at the air between them, a warning more than an attempt to cause harm.

"Sssstay back," she growls, her voice drawing out the first syllable in a sharp hiss. "It isss mine!" The creature hunches protectively over the smear of red on the ground and glares at Q-Bee. She holds up a half-chewed bone and bites it, raking bits of meat off the surface with a sickening slurp. "This, mine!" She points at the assorted gore, indicating something that might have been a leg. "Meat, mine! Bonesss, mine! Sssoul, MINE!"

Suddenly, her anger seems to fade for a moment and she blinks a couple times. Her smaller, more human hand goes up to fiddle with something on the back of her neck and she narrows her eyes, looking agitated.

"...which part wasss sssoul... I wonder...?"

With the Hound immediately taking offensive, Q-Bee, as confused as can 'bee', doesn't make many moves - except, of course, to walk back a bit as a massive claw whizzes past, in the short distance between her and the other creature? The abomination that is before her does not seem like a normal demon, nor does it seem like something she, or the hive, has ever come into contact with before.

"(I am still hungry, though.)" Q-Bee protests, antennae twitching as she looks around, then back to the smear of red on the ground, and begins to argue that the meat, bone and SOUL happens to be hers. "(You eat souls as well?)" The Queen asks, eyes of all sorts blinking once in a matter-of-factly statement. Yet of course there's a moment that the Hound asks about Souls, the Q-Bee of the soul bees silent for a moment.

"(If you can't find it, you can't eat it.)" Says the Queen, matter-of-factly, "(So you can let me have it! Then we are both going to be fed!)" Clearly a success for a creature that lives pretty much only off hunger! The body that Q-Bee has is nnot very emotive as she is threatened, the mostly fake face and lack of fear, only directive, causing Q-Bee to not seemingly be affected by the Hounds look. It is not that she is not affected, but rather than the Queen is more intrigued by possible free-meals. It is always a reason to get more social!

"(What kind of demon are you? I have not seen anything like you! There are many demons, but the hive doesn't think that you are one.)"

Q-Bee's triumphant declaration about her inability to find this soul-thing makes the creature gnash her teeth in frustration. There's something about the word that tickles her brain, as if she's heard it before, but after several long moments of hard thought all she ends up with is that annoying sensation of trying to remember something but being utterly unable to do so.

The bone returns to her mouth and she bites down on it with a harsh crunch, chewing the tough calcium with no more difficulty than if it were a giant pretzel stick. She hovers over the remains, still glaring and refusing to budge but it isn't until the question of her origins is raised that she speaks again.

"Not demon," she growls and spits a glob of foul gunk onto the ground in distaste, bits of blood and spittle clinging to her chin. "Hound!" She says the word with almost a hint of pride in her tone. "Thisss one is the Hound."

A light breeze tickles the leaves of the trees, brushing gently over the grass and causing the tall stalks of thin weeds to wave lazily about. The small sounds of the forest drift throughout the clearing, taking on a ghoulish aspect of normality in contrast to the bloody scene that plays out within.

As the breeze dies down, a lean figure in black steps from between the trees down wind of the chatting duo.

The monochromatic man, for it seems to be a man, is garbed in the tatters of what might have once been a uniform. Scorched black combat boots, black jeans full of holes, torn black shirt and gloves. A long black scarf is wrapped about his lower face, though it too is spotted with obvious burns. Over his face and shoulders hangs his tangled mess of black hair, some of which floats free behind him in the light breeze.

There are only two things that deny this man his status as human. Firstly, his eyes. Bright gold and alive with predatory intelligence. Secondly, his aura. A feeling of more. Of something greater than man. This being feels like a warrior of some sort. A hunter.

This is confirmed by the steel-plated crossbow he holds pointed toward the sky, and the pristine silver chain wound round and round his right forearm. Leather bandoliers of silver-tipped bolts cross his chest in an X formation, and a heavy-looking firearm of some sort hangs in a holster at the small of his back.

The Hunter's golden eyes track from Bee to Beast as he lingers just inside the edge of the clearing. Thick bushy brush rises up behind him, coming to the level of his shoulders and offering excellent cover if he needs to retreat.

Excellent cover from normal senses, anyway.

"Such ferocity." The hunter states, voice the raw whisper of flint on stone. Slowly his lambent gaze tracks down from Franziska to consider the carnage she has wrought upon the once living creature. "It reminds me greatly of another."

The man's eyes continue to rove, shifting away, then back to the two figures within the clearing. Constantly moving. Seeking. Expecting the danger that always comes to him sooner or later.

"The one before you comes not from the planes you know. It is a beast of man. Made by man for man's purposes." His voice does not raise as the Hunter speaks, the hoarse whisper just barely able to carry across the clearing.

The tilted head of the bee-woman, though normal humanish yet, makes a sudden twist upwards when the words are there. 'Not demon'. Ah. The hive figures that out now. Of course, as she growls and spits it at her, 'Hound' is clear in what she is. "(You do not look like a hound.)" Q-Bee exclaims, simple as she may be. Of course, they are not alone. Not at all. It is as the HUNTER decides to arrive that the Bee simply watches him, staring towards him as he exclaims a few things. Human. HUMAN.

"(Food!)" The Q-Bee exclaims, mouth watering as she wonders if she should make a stew or just suck a soul, like some kind of succubus! Pointing out, the 'girl' suddenly grows wings - and then there is a crossbow. "(Oh, is that for me, or Hound?)" The bee woman asks, suddenly far more inhuman, body that of some weird human bee hybrid, raising upwards in the clearing. It's not certain at all what to do here.

Well, there is always 'eat. Eat. eat.' but when does the voice NOT say that?

It takes longer than it might have to detect the presence of another person, distracted as the Hound is in her ferocious protection of the meager scraps of dead animal that remain of her kill. Had she been alone and focused she would no doubt have picked up on the Hunter's approach through scent or sound, her body's olfactory senses heightened well beyond that of any human. Sentient paranoia combined with animal instincts have made her one of the most skiddish things to ever live and so it is inevitable that when such a creature become startled it reacts in a very violent way.

The moment that the masked man steps into the clearing, the Hound rears back up onto her legs, snarling visciously as she rises to a slouched stance. The half-chewed remains of her kill are forgotten as her survival instincts take over but she hesitates momentarily, not quite sure of how to react.

The transformation of the girl into something much more alien and deadly is the last straw. She turns, scampering away in a series of rapid lunges that carry the creature into the thick underbrush nearby. The Hound plunges headlong into the foliage, vanishing from sight and within a few moments the sounds of her rapid retreat fade away into nothing. The forest goes still and silent leaving the soul bee and the new interloper alone to play meet and greet.

The weapon cradled in the Hunter's arms remains pointed toward the sky, his gleaming eyes flicking instantly to the Hound as she rears up onto her hind legs. From there they track to the fluttering Bee, sizing both creatures up with a professional's eye.

The Hound is the first to flinch. The sounds of its bounding retreat quickly fading into the distance, the Hunter steps further into the clearing and begins to circle slowly toward the center.

"We now know why she, the first and only of her kind, yet lives. While you, a species that had once numbers uncounted, were nearly driven to extinction." The man states quietly, eyeing the Queen Bee up and down as he stops a good 15 feet from where she now hovers. "There is wisdom in fleeing. I think not that you would find my soul palatable. I am not so human as I appear."

The barrel of the crossbow drops abruptly, the weapon thudding heavily to the ground. Contemplatively, the Hunter rests his lean weight against the weapon's stock, tangled black hair drifting across his masked face.

"I am here not to harm you, young queen, but to strike a deal. You are not so easily found, but I am quite good at finding that which I seek. Will you remain to have words? or will you instead follow the twisted Hound into the brush?"

The Queen watches as the Hound disappears from sight, before the 'non-human' speaks to her. "(But I am already in a deal with tall man. The hive owes him much!)" She responds. Yet the Hunter approaches. As he does, the bee begins to pull away herself, slightly higher... and higher. "(No! No. I will go and find food, then, if there are none he-)" And then she notes the corpse all over is ALONE.

"(Food!)" The bee does not even remotely take a moment, before diving down to the mass of dead body that lays before her. The smear should have nothing left, but the soul bee buzzes, going to work as she seems to almost drink from the smear, swallowing what isn't there - or should be there - as her antennae switch to left, right and center, apparently able to sense... something.

Gorging, Q-Bee steals part of the Hounds kill even if she had no intention initially of stealing - before standing up and wiping her mouth of ... something. "(Delicious!)" She declares, then looks back to Hunter. "(Well, I am not as hungry, but I do not need any words. They do not fill me.)" She answers - not as a joke or sarcasticly, but honestly, simply.

"Words may lead to food." The Hunter whispers hoarsely in reply. Throughout the Bee's meal he had simply stood, yellow eyes observing the grizzly gulping without a twitch. he has seen far worse. he has done far worse.

Holding his new position near the center of the clearing, the hunter lifts his raggedly masked face to scent the air, shoulders rising and chest expanding in a long inhalation. That done, he lowers his gaze back to Bee, fixing her with an unblinking stare. But despite that look his posture remains slouched sloppily over the butt of his weapon.

"The souls of fighters. So bright. So filling." His voice, raw and hard as it is, turns what could be a poetic rhythm of speech into a choking rasp. "Alone such prizes are difficult to grasp. But I could aid you in this. We both desire the vitals of those who fight. But I care nothing of the soul. I must have their blood."

Words leading to ... food?

"(But I had food without words.)" Q-Bee answers quite simply, before he speaks up at it. 'Can aid her'.

"(You can aid tall man, like me, then! Tall man would like aid, I am sure.)" She remarks, before buzzing upwards with singular interest, already peering this way and that, apparently not paying attention in great detail to what the Hunter is saying. "(There is blood down there, you can have it!)" Q-Bee adds, buzzing quite happily now that she has fed a bit. After all, feeding is very important to her.

It gives her some silence in her head and her stomach.

With no great surprise, once high enough, Q-Bee POOFs into a smaller version of herself, the excess energy used causing her much larger form to vanish as a swarm of soul-bees surround her. "(But the Hound may be around and want the blood!)" She adds, not apparently paying much notice to it.

There is a short stretch of silence in which the hunter observes this Queen of the soul bees. head tilting back, he tracks her progress up into the sky, before glancing away once more to scan the surrounding trees.

"I have no use for the blood before me. It lacks strength." He whispers in return, words just barely able to reach Bee through her happy buzzing. Lifting his crossbow from the ground, he circles around the bits of scattered gore, moving to stand over the peculiar marks Franziska's claws gouged in the short grass. Idly he studies them, weapon resting easily over his shoulder.

Perhaps by pure coincidence the loaded crossbow is pointed up in the general direction of Bee. Surely that's a mistake. His back is turned toward her, after all.

"Who is this tall man?" The hunter queries, not bothering to turn around and face the busy bee.

"(Huh?)" Q-Bee does not offer altogether much thought on this question. It is a better question if she honestly offers much thought at all, usually.

"(Tall Man is tall man! He saved the hive and offered it safety as long as we help collect souls!)" Which likely will bee all that Hunter will get from it. Some of the smaller soul bees are laden with soul, some of that of course coming from Q-Bee as she shares the energy for new bee larva that will grow the hive! What a wonderful day!

It's not a very long conversation. Apparently, Q-Bee is very busy.

Amdist the vague bits of conversation passing between the Hunter and the soul bee, a faint rustling comes from the bushes beneath a nearby tree. It isn't particularly loud or obvious but anyone with the instincts of a predator or the awareness of prey would likely take note very quickly. The uneven tempo of the crinkling leaves makes it difficult to tell if the wind is responsible or perhaps simply some brave critter who believes it safe to venture out of hiding to gather food.

Several seconds pass and the noise comes and goes but there is no sign of its cause. Nor does either of the two individuals in the clearing ever get the chance to investigate. A larger much greater sound of snapping branches gives the only faint hint of warning when the true threat presents itself. Letting loose an inhuman snarl, the Hound explodes from behind the cover of a particularly thick section of underbrush some twenty feet away from the conspicuously rustling bushes. She sails through the air in a great leap, claws extended towards the exposed flank of the towering man in a ferocious lunge!

She had been waiting and watching ever since she fled, or since she pretended to flee. These strange individuals were not people that she recognized and even with her spotty memory she has a good sense for that sort of thing. Her 'caretakers' at NESTS had taken great pains to fill her mind with knowledge of all of their enemies should an opportunity to destroy one of these hated foes present itself during her operations but no where had she ever seen a monstrous bee. The mask could hide a face she might recognize but that would require that she take it off first and going back to base without atleast trying to identify such an obviously suspicious person would result in punishment.

The mere thought of that was enough to steel any wavering in her courage that might have been present. At the moment, she has only one foe to face. The bee-thing is an unknown and seemed quite focused on that 'soul' thing, which it seems to have taken in her absence, so perhaps it will remain neutral while she goes about her task.

If not, then there will be two bodies she drags back to base tonight.

COMBATSYS: Franziska has started a fight here.

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Franziska        0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: The Hunter has joined the fight here.

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Franziska        0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0       The Hunter

COMBATSYS: Franziska successfully hits The Hunter with Pounce!.

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Franziska        1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0       The Hunter

Golden eyes shift up from the tracks and toward the rustling of brush while the bee buzzes out her simple reply. those eyes do not blink, nor do they show any sign of fear. From behind a drifting web of tangled black hair, they stare with predatory focus.

The Queen is given no further thought. Whatever the creature was that had departed them. This Hound. it is returning.

But from where?

The man is in the process of lifting his crossbow from his shoulder and stepping to his left when the beast explodes from the bushes behind him. And though he is fast, he is not fast enough. His first instinct is to throw himself violently to the side, attempting to completely avoid the creature as it descends upon him. And though he manages to avoid being smashed beneath its hurtling bulk, the jagged claws of its left paw hook him just behind the right shoulder and tear a bloody path down his arm, laying open his tricep in a spray of blood.

"Hhhhhhhhsh." The hunter hisses through his mask, managing to twist free from the blow before the Hound's claws can tangle themselves in the chain wrapped about his lower arm. Retreating with a series of deliberate steps, he drops his crossbow into line with practiced efficiency, centering the sight on Franziska's center mass before squeezing the trigger.


The heavy weapon's metal arms resonate with a deep thrum as the wire snaps forward and a silver-tipped bolt goes zipping across the distance separating the two combatants. it is not a great distance. Only 12 feet at most, but perhaps the Hound will be fast enough to do something about it.

COMBATSYS: The Hunter switches his Mindset.

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Franziska        1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0       The Hunter

As both Hunter and Hound begin to fight, Q-Bee has ... little to gain from actually engaging! Watching from above, there is an alarmed buzz as the Hound suddenly lunges out at the hunter, especially as he begins to shoot towards the Hound. "(Oh! Maybe they are both hungry?)" Because she is, of course, such a fast learner!

Not that Q-Bee intends on risking her hive on this, she won't even really get involved if she has no need to.

COMBATSYS: The Hunter successfully hits Franziska with Out For Blood.

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Franziska        1/-------/=======|===----\-------\0       The Hunter

The scent of blood invades the Hound's nostrils as her claws find purchase in their target. The man moves quickly, she notes; most others caught by such surprise would have been simply impaled. However, his unusual reactions are not enough to spare him the sting of her carefully planned ambush. Her baser instincts sing in response to the spilling of fresh blood and she wheels around to give chase as the human darts out of range.

The Hunter proves that he is no easy prey. The sharp twang of the bowstring echoes through the clearing giving her only a moment's warning of the danger she is in. That moment is enough to save her life. The thick heavy carapace of her misshapen arm rises up to intercept the crossbow bolt, the Hound intending to deflect it up on its hard armored surface. Instead the deadly projectile buries itself in the thick meat of her bicep and she lets loose a pained screech.

Following the Hunter's example, she quickly retreats from the now uncertain footing moving some dozen paces away putting a fair bit of gap between them. Dropping into a wary crouch, the creature places its uninjured arm on the ground for support and leans forward to take the exposed bolt in her teeth, yanking it free from her flesh. Her eyes never waver from the dark-clad human's form, watching for any signs of aggression or movement. The offending object comes free with a wet pop and she spits it onto the ground, stomping the shaft in half with a snort taking some small comfort in her petty vengence.

Instead of immediately rushing to the attack once more, the Hound keeps her distance and begins to pace slowly back and forth, circling slowly around the edge of the clearing, probing for an opening with quick feints of movement and sudden snarls or growls, all the while keeping her posture low and ready to strike at the first sign of opportunity.

COMBATSYS: Franziska tenses up and prepares to strike!

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Franziska        1/---====/=======|===----\-------\0       The Hunter

Blood weeps slowly from the parallel tears in the Hunter's arm, moistening the black fabric of his shirt and oozing out to fall in a pattering rain on the soft grass.

But still his eyes remain sharp. Focused. He has fought through far worse pain than this, and there is no doubt more to come.

His boots crunch quietly across the springy terrain as he circles a half quarter of the clearing, mirroring the Hound as she begins to pace. However, rather than reverse course to continue the fainting dance, as she turns to trace her steps he stops to brace the butt of his crossbow against his knee. Where once the heavy weapon might have had a crank to wind it, there is now only a jagged splinter of twisted metal. And so, taking the steel cord between gloved fingers, he convulses his torso in a violent crunch. As his knee rams the butt upward, he jerks down with both hands, sliding the cord into its catch with a soft click. From there, loading is as simple as slipping an iron-tipped bolt from one of his bandoliers and slotting it into its groove.

Weapon loaded, the Hunter casts a level look across the clearing toward the agitated monster.

"I care not of your meet. Not of your territory." He whispers, voice course and harsh as desert sand, "But perhaps, your blood."

With that, he slings the crossbow over his back, jagged hooks attached to its underside snagging on his harness. A knife is produced from beneath a bandolier, long and wickedly curved, and he begins to sprint across the distance that separates them. Low to the ground and intent, he twists the knife about, closing the final 10 feet with a lunge and downward stab.

The tip of the blade is aimed for the shoulder that houses the monster's mutated arm. His intent is to drive the blade deep into the meat of her body, then use it as a lever to apply his body weight and slam her face-first into the ground. if that can be done, the knife will be torn violently free and brought down in one, two more stabs aimed at opening quick but bloody wounds across her upper shoulders or back.

COMBATSYS: Franziska interrupts Armed Combo from The Hunter with Double Piercer.

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Franziska        0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0       The Hunter

The Q-bee takes her leave as the fighting begins and grows more intense, uninterested in either difficult prey for the moment - likely because she is a bit less hungry. In normal circumstances, it is likely one may have been prey!

Beady red eyes watch every movement that the Hunter makes as he steps forward to begin playing the game of footsies with his aggressor. The Hound quickly shifts from aimless pacing to pointedly matching the movements of her quarry ensuring that he remains to her fore at all times lest she be put into the disadvantageous position that she hopes to gain over him.

The time that he spends reloading his weapon looks tempting at first. Hunched over, his hands occupied, it would be a simple matter to rush in and strike while he cannot respond. Something deep down warns her that this would not be the case. Having already demonstrated his unusual reflexes, it would be folly for her to believe he could not predict such a move and prepare for it in time. So, she continues to pace, baring her jagged teeth at him in a predatory smirk as if figuring out this little ruse was some great accomplishment for her to gloat over.

The Hunter's words give her a momentary pause and she peers at him warily across the gap between them before responding. "Not yoursss to take," she spits out and lunges forward to meet him as he rushes in for the attack. While the Hunter may indeed be faster and perhaps even more skilled that the grotesque abomination of science before him, his blade lacks something very important in comparison to her terrible claws - reach. Atleast a foot in length each, they easily out range his metal blade and as the two combatants clash together in a deadly impact this advantage makes a clear difference in the outcome.

Scything shears of bone tear into the Hunter's torso, driving into his flesh like spears with the full weight of the creature behind them. She plows into him, a wrecking ball of flesh and scale, driving the man to the ground under her weight and momentum. The hunting knife comes down upon her, slashing at the already wounded surface of her arm but in the chaos of the moment its thrusts go wild leaving several jagged but shallow cuts along her bicep.

The Hound lets out an angry hiss and gnashes her teeth even as she brings their struggle to the dirt pushing her impaling claws downward in an effort to pin her prey to the ground as she hunches over him, scratching wildly with her free hand.

"Here isss your blood!"

The breath is half knocked from the Hunter's lungs as the scaly monstrosity meets his charge head on, reversing his momentum and carrying him backward to the ground.

The grass beneath the struggling predators grows quickly wet with his blood, the Hound's talons tearing what remains of his black shirt to shreds as her claws dig deep furrows in his scarred skin. But above his mask, the hunter's golden eyes glow bright with ferocious focus. The beast atop him could never know it, but there are two battles being fought this day. And at least one of them must be won.

"Hrrrrr." The man snarls wolfishly, managing to bring his chain-covered forearm up and wedge it under the monster's bloody chin. Forcing her head back, he meets her bestial red eyes with his own, the fury in his own shielded, held back.

"Hound." He hisses as he scrapes his knife down her armor-plated forearm, then darts it up sharply in an attempt to ram the curved blade deep into her gut.

"A Pack leader of wolves in two thousand and six."


"A death cult in two thousand and nine."


"A master vampire in two thousand and eleven."


The knife blade darts in and out, twisting and slashing at her gut as the Hunter presses up on the Hound's throat, attempting to force her off by main strength and sheer prison brutality.

"You will be not the death of me this day. A fiercer beast than you lives within me." The words are growled hoarsely as he shoves hard upward, gathering his feet beneath him and surging up from the ground. As he stands, his right foot lashes out in a brutal parting kick aimed for Franziska's hopefully lacerated stomach.

COMBATSYS: The Hunter successfully hits Franziska with Bleeding Hearts.
- Power hit! -

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Franziska        0/-------/---====|=======\-------\1       The Hunter

The chain-wrapped arm slamming into her throat hardly seems to faze the creature as she continues to claw and twist, rending the Hunter's torso with slashes of her human-like hand that seem almost frenzied, the smell of blood and the prospect of a quick victory driving her with powerful fervor. However, despite her advantageous position, whatever inner strength the Hunter possesses is enough to slowly drive her back until only the tips of her claws are able to reach his chest. She flails away anyways, scoring the surface of his flesh with innumerable red lines until it looks like a cat's scratching post.

The blade plunging into her stomach gets her attention. She tenses up immediately, her body wrenching painfully as the sharp bit of steel tears through layers of skin and hard muscle to the soft tissue beneath. Lightning bolts of fire explode in her gut and dance across her torso with each thrust. Her eyes bulge wide in shock and pain staring down at the thin slits of yellow above the mask as the Hunter ruthlessly stabs her over and over in an attempt to drive her back.

It takes three of the powerful thrusts to snap the creature out of her shock. She hisses out a choked gasp and shifts to one side, avoiding the next thrust as she slams her foot into the ground and violently hurls herself backwards. The sudden detachment also has the effect of drawing her long talons from the Hunter's body, her mutated claw soaked with his dark blood even as her own vital fluid drips down to mingle with it on the grass.

Another sounds esapes her lips, a somewhat more pained and pitiful whine. Pressing a hand to her blood-soaked abdomen she staggers backwards several steps, keeping the bulk of her armored carapace between herself and human. Wincing, she opens her jaws and extends a long slimey tongue which snakes down to her belly and begins to writhe back and forth across the gashes smearing some sort of sticky goo on the wounds. The substance, saliva or whatever it might be, instantly begins to congeal in the gaps, gluing them together and staunching the flow of blood within moments.

COMBATSYS: Franziska nurses her wounds for the moment.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Franziska        0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1       The Hunter

Thick, rank blood pours down the front of the Hunter's body, the once pale skin beneath his clothing vanishing under a sticky layer of crimson. More of the stuff drips past his boots, joining an already sizable pool spreading across the grass.

"You have chosen this path, beast." The Hunter grinds out, his body hunched forward slightly, chain-wrapped arm turned inward to protect his savaged abdomen. His merciless yellow eyes are fixed upon the hound, bloody knife flicking gently too and fro. There is no pity in those eyes. No compassion for the wounded monster.

Free hand clenching in a tight fist, he prowls forward out of the puddle of blood, boots leaving crimson prints upon the soft grass.

His first two steps are measured and even. It is with the third that he springs, covering the distance between himself and Franziska in a single bound. As he comes in he lashes out with his fist, dropping his defensive posture in favor of a hard right hook aimed for the Hound's goo-slathered belly, pared with a quick slash of the knife toward her snarling face.

COMBATSYS: Franziska blocks The Hunter's Random Strike.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Franziska        0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1       The Hunter

Her tongue still hanging out, a tendril of writhing pink amdist the bloody mess of her torso, the Hound makes a gutteral sound in response as the last of the vile goo is smeared across her wounds before withdrawing it into her mouth. Her teeth snap shut with a sharp click but her lips remain withdraw in an angry snarl at the approaching figure, her hackles rising as he moves to renew his attack.

This time his assault is not fast enough to penetrate her defenses. She hops to the side, leaning to avoid his fist, while the armored carapace of her monstrous arm swings upwards to deflect the knife with a wild swipe. The Hound capitalizes on this shift and takes a step towards her assailant this time, bringing her deadly claws back the other direction in a broad swing that would have simply disembowled him in one blow had she been putting any real effort into it.

Instead, she uses her own momentum and the gap created by her claws to slide out of range and attempt to take up a position at the Hunter's flank. Her head snaps forward as she does this and her jaws open wide for a moment as a blob of foul viscous goop explodes from her throat towards his face. The dark substance expands as it hits the air becoming a rapidly growing cloud of disgusting bile giving off fumes of such potency that even a momentary contact is enough to induce nausea.

COMBATSYS: Franziska successfully hits The Hunter with Pestilence.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Franziska        0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1       The Hunter

Knife meets natural armor with a loud 'CLACK', the Hunter's blade skittering off course even as his fist meets only air. Already he is back peddling, twisting himself away from the oncoming strike he expects, and which seems to whiff just inches from his stomach.

Remaining close, he whirls about with the Hound, keeping well within the range of those deadly claws. he has felt their sting. Blood still courses down his chest. But he is confident in his ability to deal with them.

Unfortunately, he is not prepared for just how obsessively engineered the monster is. When the jaws open, he lifts his knife, chain-wrapped arm flexing as he prepares to meet a lunging bite with a swipe of his armored limb.

her head darts forward and his arm sweeps up, passing straight through the glob of goop as it expands into a cloud of choking vapors.

Though the Hunter does wear a scarf about his lower face, it is loosely wrapped, and spotted with small holes. it makes for a very poor gas mask.

Golden eyes narrowed, the black-clad man clamps his jagged teeth shut behind the mask and wills himself not to throw up, mind going briefly dizzy as the stinking cloud hits him directly in the face. On instinct, his left hand snaps back then forward, jabbing his knife viciously into where he last saw Franziska's face to be, even as his booted feet carry him backward out of the cloud in three quick bounds. There are no tears in his golden eyes once he emerges from the cloud, but the pale skin of his forehead has gone somewhat green behind his curtain of tangled hair.

COMBATSYS: The Hunter successfully hits Franziska with Medium Strike.
- Power hit! -

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Franziska        0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1       The Hunter

Her ruse a success, the Hound bounds forward to give chase as the human staggers backwards choking on the noxious fumes. She passes through the cloud of gas with no ill-effects, the cloud's potency already beginning to fade into little more than a foul stench, though her genetically-modified physiology is immune to the effects of her own bio-toxins regardless.

A pair of zig-zagging lunges carry the creature from one side to another in an attempt to confuse the already disoriented Hunter but once again his instict, or perhaps simply good luck, manages to save him at the last moment. The hail-mary knife thrust streaks out into the empty space just as she moves in to secure the kill. Blade meets flesh and then bone as it digs into her shoulder knocking her far enough off-course to prevent the initial strike from simply bowling him over.

The Hound screeches in fury and pain but this time she refuses to back down. Scrambling back around for another pass, her massive clawed feet tear at the ground shredded it in her frenzy. This time she aims for the knife, the wicked weapon that keeps hurting her. Throwing herself forward in a blinding flash, the creature swings her massive claws out in a series of rapid slashes and feints in an attempt to overwhelm her target with a series of false starts and seemingly wild strikes. Her true assault, however, finally comes when she simply throws herself at him, jaws gaping wide as she attempts to snag his knife-wielding arm between her shark teeth and start ripping.

COMBATSYS: Franziska successfully hits The Hunter with Bloodlust.
- Power hit! -

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Franziska        1/------=/=======|=======\======-\1       The Hunter

Tearing his knife free of the charging creature in a spray of blood, the Hunter backs into the edge of the brush. Branches scrape across his shoulders as he braces himself for the charge he knows is coming, golden gaze full of pain and fury, though focused. Contained.

He is not ready.

Throughout the entirety of this fight, the beast has been faster than him. Stronger than him. And possessed of a vicious cunning that has caught him off guard on at least two occasions. A pack hunter by trade, The Hunter has not often had to fill so many gaps in his own style at once. He wont' be able to hold it off for much longer.

He meets the Hound's furious charge with harsh acceptance, the fury of her blows forcing him back into the brush. The first couple he is able to parry away with his chain-wrapped arm, but the third slips through to cut a cross pattern across the wounds already decorating his blood-soaked chest.

Letting out a grunt, he attempts to catch the fourth blow with his knife, but the weapon is smashed back, nearly catching him in the face, and the rest of the blows tear into him.

When the bite finally comes, he rams his arm forward into her mouth. As her fangs slice effortlessly through cloth and skin, grinding into bone, he meets her wild gaze over his upraised arm. The knife drops from temporarily lifeless fingers, stabbing point-blank into the grass between their feet.

"Boom." He whispers harshly, a bit of blood falling from his lips. For during the final desperate block, when his arm was captured, his free hand had dropped to the grip of the heavy one-handed weapon at the small of his back.

The barrel of the oversized firearm now jabs Franziska sharply in the stomach. The trigger clicks. A spark is made. And the beast has a split moment to protect herself before an explosion of sharp silver shards will be forced point-blank into her guts.

COMBATSYS: The Hunter keeps on fighting!

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Franziska        1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0       The Hunter

COMBATSYS: Franziska overcomes Blood And Thunder from The Hunter with Scourge.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Franziska        0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0       The Hunter

At this point, the Hound is no stranger to the fight that she has entrenched herself into. This man, this Hunter, has matched her at every turn despite her superior strength and cunning, despite the superiority of her natural weapons and her skill at wielding them in unexpected ways, and despite the brutal ferocity with which she fights. That knife is not the only weapon in his arsenal nor does she expect disposing of it to be the end of his ability to hurt her.

When their eyes meet for a brief moment over the now useless ragged mess of his arm, the Hound does not have the look of wild-eyed fear that a cornered animal might possess as it fights for its life. There is no glazed over stare of mindless fury or feral bloodlust that clouds her vision, blinding her to all but the thrill of the moment. There is cunning there, sharp-witted and dangerous. She wasn't going for the knife because it was the obvious weapon, a shiny bit of metal that has thus far carved many wounds into her flesh and provided her with great suffering.

She wanted him to reach for his trump card.

The instant that the Hunter's fingers go limp and the knife begins to fall, the creature throws herself back in a great leap that puts a dozen feet between them. The make-shift blunderbuss clicks as its hammer comes down but even before the trigger is pulled the Hound has already made her move. Her jaw drops open like before, wicked teeth glinting in the faint light of the forest. Her tongue flicks out and with it comes a most disturbing sound, like that of a garbage disposal backing up.

The flesh around the creature's neck suddenly bulges out as a mass of vile fluid fills her throat and with a great slurping choke the begins to violently eject a stream of dark greenish fluid. The stream of vile liquid sprays across the gap in a massive jet like the breath some horrible puke dragon. The contents of whatever had been used as shrapnel in the Hunter's gun are quickly enveloped in searing bile, slowing to little more than harmless bits of flotsam in the jet of slime, leaving the man himself only moments to realize his mistake and attempt to dive clear.

COMBATSYS: The Hunter blocks Franziska's Scourge.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Franziska        0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0       The Hunter

The Hound may be stronger. She may be faster. The scientists who created her might have gifted her with unexpected tricks, and savage cunning. But The Hunter has killed far worse, damn it. And this creature just made a mistake.

She tried to use the same trick twice.

His piercing gaze tracks Franziska's backward leap, mind automatically calculating where it is she is intending to land. Adjusting his aim to compensate, he begins to reach off to the side. Blood flies free of his recently savaged arm, but he forces his fingers to move. To close around the branch of a tangled mess of brush.


Black powder erupts from the end of his weapon along with the spray of metallic shards, meeting the oncoming vomit with a violent splatter. But as the spray keeps fountaining forward, the hunter snaps off the thick bit of branch with a jerk and swings the thickly leaved bit of plant life around before him.

It is not a perfect shield. Drops of acid splatter around it, landing on his shoulders, forehead and shins with a sizzling hiss. But the majority of the substance impacts the leaves and begin to eat away at them.

Tossing the makeshift barrier aside to bubble and melt on the ground, the golden-eyed hunter holsters his spent firearm at the small of his back. Stooping down, he grips the hilt of his knife and drags it free of the earth, silvery blade gleaming in the shadows beneath the trees. Flipping it over in his hand, he catches it neatly between two gloved fingers and throws, knife whistling across the short distance that separates them as he attempts to sink the blade deep into the Hound's scaly right thigh.

COMBATSYS: Franziska blocks The Hunter's Blood Letting.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Franziska        0/-------/----===|======-\-------\0       The Hunter

After a few seconds of hurling horrifically in the Hunter's general direction the stream of acidic bile finally stops. Letting out a wincing belch, the Hound takes a step back and pats her chest with a balled up fist, making a face that seems to indicate that she finds the taste almost as unpleasant as he did. However, there is little time to clear her throat, for her opponent seems as unwilling to back down as she.

Despite his injuries, the knife is retrieved and sent hurtling in her direction. She twists to the side, turning her body at an oblique angle to the whirling projectile and it simply careers off the scaly surface of her leg rather than plunging deeply into the misshapen flesh but not without leaving a small cut along its surface. Hissing in annoyance, the monsterous girl turns hate-filled eyes upon him once more and begins to slowly stalk forward.

There is little suberfuge in her approach this time for she simply comes straight at him, clearly intent on simply finishing the wounded man off through sheer brute force. This is, ofcourse, another trick. When she draws within striking distance the Hound brings her hand back, dramatically lifting it up as if to unleash a terrible and final stroke with her scythe-like claws. Instead, she kicks him, her massive taloned lizard feet sporting nails of bone almost as big and deadly as those on her hand.

COMBATSYS: Franziska successfully hits The Hunter with Medium Strike.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Franziska        0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1       The Hunter

COMBATSYS: The Hunter takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: The Hunter can no longer fight.

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

Knifeless, with a loaded crossbow dangling against his back and both fists clenched, the badly bleeding hunter digs the burned soles of his boots into the earth. The ragged veil still hides his bloody lips from view, tangled mess of hair hanging in sticky clumps around his face.

No words are said as Franziska closes on him. But where once there was a fierce sort of focus, the man's burning gaze seems to have turned inward. To stare at something she can not see. Still, his stance is not one of a man unalert. to danger, despite the blood that flows so freely from his wounds.

Her bounding advance halts, claw raised and body tensed.

The Hunter stands, fists held out to either side as if waiting. For a brief moment his eyes lose their inward glaze, sharpening on the creature before him as he waits, preparing to slip past the hand as it begins to descend.

But the claw never falls.

A foot lashes out and smashes into his middle, knocking him tumbling backward into the brush. Landing hard on his back, he jerks his feet up, rolling across the ground with a clatter of equipment before rising to his feet, chain-wrapped arm pressed tightly to the wounds in his gut. The final kick seems to have broken something beneath the skin, opening a wound that can not be ignored. Judging by the amount of blood now gushing from beneath his ruined shirt, he doesn't have long to deal with this. A snap decision must be made.

A final glance is cast toward the hound as he slides his free hand into a small pocket of his bandolier. Withdrawing what appears to be a flat glass container roughly an inch and a half wide, he presses it sharply between his gloved fingers.

The Glass cracks, then shatters, spilling something dark and viscous out onto his glove. Even from this distance, the smell it puts off is horrendous. Like ground pepper and roses combined and amplified to a gagging degree. The hunter's teeth clamp shut beneath his scarf as he forces himself to bare the stench, flinging some of it from his fingertips in Franziska's direction before whirling on the spot and beginning to run, the trail of blood he leaves thick and dark. It wont' be hard to track once that horrific stench clears.

An impact followed by a dull crunch fills her senses. Those basic physical sensations shift and writhe within the Hound becoming something more ethereal as they turn into satisfation and glee. She has dealt a mortal blow. That knowledge is clear to her as the man falls away and stumbles to the ground, blood flowing freely from his many wounds.

The ultimate prize is not to be hers, however. Even as she moves to close in and rip away that flimsy mask from his face the Hunter produces one final trick. A scent more foul and repulsive than any she has ever experienced before assaults the girl's senses and she physically recoils from it as if it were a solid barrier. She hisses and leaps away, fleeing from the droplets flung in her direction as if they were bits of napalm. While such a thing might be a potent detterant to any human attacker, against her enhanced smell it's practically nerve gas.

Her focus broken, the weight of the Hound's own wounds quickly begin to take their toll on her resolve in the face of this new tactic. Whatever scent the prey might have left would be burned away by this... odor and there's no telling what sort of traps he may have waiting for her elsewhere in the forest. Chasing a wounded animal to it's lair is rarely a good idea and this simple logic is enough of a reason for her to abandon the hunt entirely.

She's done her job, no one can deny that. Maybe she'll even get a reward for discovering this new person of interest, like a new pillow to lay on or maybe some of those seasoned meats. Yes, that would be nice.

Log created on 20:40:10 06/14/2016 by The Hunter, and last modified on 22:09:54 06/21/2016.