Mortal Kombat - MK Round 1: Reptile vs Eadni

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Description: Shang Tsung: "REPTILE. Find the old woman who spoke out of turn at the reception. EADNI, I believe. I find those of loose tongue somewhat ill of manners. Perhaps she will find herself more amenable to your brand of conversation."

This was a cursed place.

Living Forest, The Coward's Terminus. Amongst the writhing vines and cursed dust was a sign bearing these words. The grounds of the grove was saturated with death. Human and animal remains scatter throughout the forest, some only the barest of bones, while others were still fresh. The stench of scum, earth, and decay hangs heavily in the air. Every so often, through the path, a bush rustles, a moan is heard. Most disturbing of all, was that some of these vile oak bore faces. This was a corrupt place.

And this was a blessed place.

After all, Eadni lived by the enduring wisdom that on a long enough timeline, every cursed turned into a blessing, and every blessing into a curse. The sheer magical power of this island sang to her, a whole-throated song pouring out. And it was fell magic, unnatural and alien. It was the corruption that defined corruption. The twisting of the natural state by outsider means. This was the simplest and most subtle of means of invasion, to distort the ecosystem itself. Eldritch locations like this had to be deciphered, however. Alien means with natural magic... there was riddles in the nature of the magic.

And Eadni was going to understand it.

The witch was amongst the branches of one of the visaged trees, and with a borrowed form. She seemed somewhere on the border of girl and woman, and young, lean form. The girl is dressed in what could charitably described as dyed burlap, wrapping around her form loosely, concealing her figure. Her hair was black and shiny in the dim pre-dawn, and a thin sheen of dew covers her pock-marked, freckled face. Her eyes are black, pure black. Her feet are bare, and somewhat twisted and gnarled. But a smile was on her lips, as she kicks her legs idly on the branch on the tree. A thin, green mist was crawling beneath her, hanging close to the ground. It was slithering like a snake, winding and wisping. Brief flickers of violet energy run through the wispy tendrils, as it almost tries to claw around. It would find her soon enough.

And she would speak to it as well.

She wasn't attempting to steal the power of the island; she was not so ambitious, and her time here would be short. No, up on her branch, she was communing, letting the forest speak to her. To tell of its pain, the suffering, the diesease, the rot, the corruption, the agony that ran through this concentration of foul energy. Every wave of raw emotion rushed over her, surging straight through her with the like of spiritual rage only found in battlefields and genocides. Every story comes with the faintest of smile on the lips of the witch's young form.

And there was so much to tell.

The Sorceror had a great many things to discuss, a grand agenda to get to. All he asked of the masses assembled at his feet was their attention. It was a monologue, not an open forum.

The earth witch had spoken out of turn. Instead of quietly coming to grips with the information given, she sought to hasten the pace. To not only challenge Shang Tsung's presence, or his role in gathering the mightiest fighters of Earthrealm in one place. To not only cast a shadow on what till then had been a relentlessly optimistic view of the proceedings. But, through Shang Tsung's own response, she would attempt to show that her defiance would be met with little more than a grin and a simple dismissal from the Sorceror.

The public will see a kind arbiter mercifully answeing a question.

And then there are private responses -- those that show that brash temerity against the Master Sorceror is not a laudable endeavor.

The trees will not judge her -- they are trees. They speak the witch's language. But amongst them are legions of other entities: souls, creatures, innumerable entities banished from so-called "civilization." And among them is one predator with the ability to camouflage himself within the trees, to move silently and invisibly amongst them.

The Zaterran knows these wilds well. He has carried out the will of the Empire and its retinue for centuries. The trees may whisper of him, but they speak no ill of the chamaeleon who sprints through their midsts.

The branch upon which the witch is perched sways. The addition of a weight to the willowy stick is unmistakable -- as if someone had leapt upon it. The shift cannot be mistaken for the wind, for the wind does not alter the flow of chi, the wind does not have a singular mind to give it purpose, and the wind does not receive any particular greeting from the trees upon its passing. The wind will not judge -- it is simply wind.

The air before Eadni ripples, not unlike the surface of water as a pebble is skipped across it. As the air displaces, the identity of the camouflaged intruder becomes clearer by degrees -- the bone and leather-clad fighter from the preview of things to come, the one whose fate was reversed by the pulsing of a green crystal.

The branch bows, as the figure outstretches his clawed hand to Eadni. And yet, the fighter known as Reptile does not seem particularly perturbed by the height -- he is just as comfortable standing with one foot in front of the other upon the branch, as simply as if it were merely a line drawn into the ground far below. His split-toed sandals make balance less of an issue than shoes would.

The pouch that housed the green gem is gone. Instead, the faint pulse of crimson emanates from the gaunt, hollow eyes of the skull anchoring the center of his skeletal drape of armor.

The creature speaks from behind his mask. "You have been chosssen..." The eyes narrow to slits. "... for Kombat."

COMBATSYS: Reptile has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

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                                  |-------\-------\0          Reptile

COMBATSYS: Eadni has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

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Eadni            0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0          Reptile

The trees told her.

It began as a murmur, before it became an obsession. These trees loathed the living, the mobile. It was the kind of impotent rage that only the dead could carry. For a living forest, she could sense how close to the dead it was. The interloper could not be seen; even the witch's senses couldn't pick it up. No smell through the rot, no sight, no sound. Only the moaning of the forest. Her attention shifted away from her communing, and around her surroundings. Scanning. Watching. The movement on the branch actually comes as a surprise, electing the girl to draw up her gnarled feet, bringing her knees to her chin. Pivoting, the young girl stares across to the familiar creature. The facade of a frightened young girl, staring into the depths of certain death. And then, she speaks.

"The heart of the forest senses us, child~"

The girl's words are soft, almost too bright. "You see the mists below?" She begins, looking down at the green cloud below. Already, they were stirring, growing thicker and thicker as the occassional flashes of purple intensify. "They are yearning, clawing for us. You are very brave to come into these woods. I doubt it even listens to your master." The girl rises up into a stand, the branch somehow mustering both of their weight. She was shorter than the assassin. But the insidious presence of the girl began to flow, as the forest grows quiet.

"Unlike you, of course~"

The girl stares into Reptile's own eyes, black pools into reptilian slits. "Your master is sorely mistaken if he thinks will survive this tournament unscathed. I know all too well the illusions of grandoire sorcerers like him represent; he is but a pawn playing pawns, desiring so much more. And if he thinks sending one of his minions will teach me a lesson, well..." And one her eyes suddenly flares with a yellow light.

"I think he needs a lesson on how to treat his seniors~"

The witch pounces, surging at Reptile as she leaps. Sweeping her arms around, her limbs begin to twist and lengthen, cracking they nearly double length. Aiming to bound for the creature's face, she would attempt to wrap them around. Should she entangle her arms around the saurian, she would squeeze, wrapping them tighter and tighter as she constricted... before she would throw back her head at the jaw, revealing rows after rows of splinters, embedded with iron teeth, all on the lower half of her head. And simply, she would sink the teeth deep into the creature's neck, snapping it like a vice into him.
o pull a tearing bite from it.

COMBATSYS: Reptile dodges Eadni's Don't Say A Word.

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Eadni            0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Reptile

It had taken Syzoth quite some time to track down the witch, but there was no doubt in his mind that the 'girl' standing before him was the one and the same as the old crone. He may not have had the trees to share reconnaissance with him as she has, but the expert tracker's keen sense of smell would not be so easily decieved.

The eyes were the same, the scent was the same.

The girl draws her knees close to herself. Fear -- it's an expected response, though one out of place. Perhaps the predator -was- wrong? The thought occurs to him, for only a moment -- until she speaks of the heart of the forest, proving the wisdom beyond her years.

The sense of wizened condescension was the same, as well.

The Zaterran does not need to look down at the green clouds, mired with the bursts of purple. It's a garish mix, though not one to concern the Outworlder. "Might makesss right." It is a tired aphorism to be sure, but the words hold much more relevance to those from Outworld than those from earth -- fighting is an inescapable way of life for those of the war-torn world. "The foressst lissstensss, as do all thingsss with a ssself-pressservation inssstinct..."

The saurian creature blinks back at Eadni, its nictitating eyelids flicking past with quiet ambivalence to the burgeoning threat. Fear is a scalpel wielded deftly against humans, but Syzoth defies that classification in many more ways than one. The words are registered, but actions speak louder than words -- actions such as the limbs elongating to become more like vines than human appendages.

The hunter lurches hard to the side, dropping momentarily out of sight as the limbs whistle harmlessly past. Even a last-moment adjustment by Eadni will fail, as the Saurian plummets towards the ground below -- only to have his downward velocity slowed to zero. The wily predator had leapt onto a lower branch, his substantial weight causing the limb to sag. He bends at the knees, dropping his center of gravity as he skulks along the branch...

A moment later, the springiness of the branch overcomes the downforce applied by the Zaterran. As it snaps back to its former position, Syzoth uses the branch as a springboard to vault high into the air.

"The massster will do as he pleasesss!" hisses Syzoth as he arcs through the air in a move that seems like it will send him hurtling past the felwood witch. But just as he is passing, he aims to lash his hand out, dragging the claws of his left hand against her right side. If he is able to slow himself by using the witch as a brake, all the better -- he would use the momentum to pull her off-balance as he continues revolving past her. His right palm would slam into her back -- or the closest approximation. An orb of green chi would force its way out of the pores of his right hand, passing through the membrane and into the wood witch -- and then detonate violently, sending Syzoth hurtling backwards, to say nothing of its explosive effect upon her.

COMBATSYS: Eadni dodges Reptile's Just Hatched.

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Eadni            0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Reptile

Nimble creature.

Eadni's lunge is swiftly evaded, but not through mundane means. No, she had expected that he would try to dodge. And to drop below? Not surprisingly either. The Saurian had moved to a lower branch, leaving Eadni to wrap her arms around the tree branch she was on. Entangling herself with the branch, she winds around, staring back as the creature springboards back. The palm slams hard into a woody frame, before exploding. The branch snaps, unleashing a howl of pain from the tree below as bloodied sap oozes from the mangled remains of the branch.

"Listening is not concession, child~"

The words come from the same branch below, the witch on all fours, twisted backwards. She was facing away from the attacker, her head back to it's visage. Her attention was on the tree. She was running her hands on the trunk, tracing her fingertips. She was doing some kind of ritual on the tree. The screaming begins to die down, into a comforting whimper. "Are you bound to service, or simply serving willingly? These sorcerers... it is impossible to tell where charisma ends and coercion begins. Of course, I expect what will be said, is that you are a loyal, willing servant."

"But then, you seem nothing more than a hatchling."

The witch pulls her finger tip away from the tree trunk. Already, eldritch energy flows burns bright yellow upon a rune traced onto the tree. A the whimpering becomes a moaning, and then, a chanting. The witch's call had entered the forest. The heart was lethal. But the flesh of the forest... the detritus, was already answering her call. Below, the bones below begins to shudder, twitching as spiritual energy fills them. Pieces of flesh and fresh corpses writh and slither, as the verdant mist thickens. An invader had come.

And it was being welcomed.

Eadni turns back to the trunk, dropping into a crawl as she scurries along her branch low and fast. "Tell me, hatchling. I know the servant of every sorcerer has treachery lying in their heart. What is your secret? Where do you hail from?~" She coos softly, as she continues her low hustle. Her gnarled hands and feet click along the branch as she moves like a centipede. She winds around, leaping down to another branch, before springing off herself to a higher branch. Lashing out with a gnarled hand on the passby of her attacker.

To claw at the shins of the saurian on the pass.

COMBATSYS: Reptile blocks Eadni's Medium Punch.

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Eadni            1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0          Reptile

Syzoth's explosive attack was dealt just as if the branch was Eadni herself -- the Saurian has trouble telling where the tree stops and the witch begins. He will not take a chance of missing his mark simply due to her machinations. Though Eadni may be avoiding the nonstop stream of pop-culture references that the Sergeant had unleashed against him, the fact remains that the words of Earthrealmers are not to be trusted -- and the actions trusted even less.

The branch gives way beneath his acidic explosion, green droplets splashing into some of the lower branches and drawing some mild yelps of pain from the tree. Syzoth would rather -not- injure the tree, but he cannot afford to take chances.

In the face of an accusation that he might be turned against his master, the Saurian smirks behind his mask. He would gladly expound upon the many ways in which the witch has read him wrong. But he will not expound upon them now, not as he falls to a lower branch. His reptilian eyes narrow upon the crawling Eadni, puzzled at first by her centipede-like locomotion before writing it off as normal.

That's when he catches sight of the yellow rune. The Saurian winces, recoiling away from that light.

"Your wordsss will not sssway me, crone. Thisss is -Kombat-."

When the crone leaps at him, he swings himself sideways, thrusting his armored forearm into the gnarled hand of his attacker, warding it off. He staggers backwards, surprised at the witch's strength from such a passing blow, but manages to keep from falling off his branch thanks to the split toes of his footwear.

"Thisss hatchling hasss been around for centuriesss... " That is all he is willing to offer as a response to the probing questions. He leaps up to the branches to close the gap to the witch, and wheels around with a roundhouse aimed at knocking her off her perch -- and quite possibly slamming the crone's back against the trunk of another tree in the process.

COMBATSYS: Eadni blocks Reptile's Front Kick.

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Eadni            1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0          Reptile


The word seemed distasteful to Eadni. It was.. almost comical. As if it had meaning. As her run by comes, it does just enough to heckle the assassin. As she takes her place on the upper branch, however, the toxins continued to infest the tree. He didn't intend to harm the trees... but after all, his main goal was to deal with her. Who knows what kind of secondary damage he could do?

And then there was the primary damage.

The Saurian corners Eadni, and unleashes the kick. The crone's form winds up her arms, entangling in themselves as she uses them as a buffer from the kick. The smile is sweet as the blow comes, sending Eadni hurling through the air. Shuttling through the tree tops, her body does strike the other trunk. Or at least her feet: She lands both of her gnarled feet against the trunk, stopping the momentum harshly. It would almost seem that the main impact was negated.

Except her arms dangled down, snapped at the elbow.

Half hanging on her arms, black tar oozes from the broken limbs. The smile endures. Twisting her feet around, she stares across at the reptile, raising her hackles sinsterly. "Child, you are fertile for treachery."

"Maybe mother needs to plant the seed~"

The witch launches back across the tree tops, bounding the distance with a long leap. A long leap was risky, opening her widely for all kinds of response. But the momentum... the witch was hurtling forward with broken arms. Twisting herself in the air, she brought her two legs forward, straighting them to drive them straight into the Saurian's own chest.

All while the rune continued to glow, and the pieces below writhed with life.

COMBATSYS: Reptile interrupts Medium Kick from Eadni with Hybrid Krush.
- Power hit! -

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Eadni            1/=======/=======|==-----\-------\0          Reptile

The Saurian's acid wreaks the most havoc at the temperature of a human body; it loses some potency within the lower ambient temperature of the Living Forest. It would not be the first time the Saurian fights within the boughs of these trees, and with luck, it will not be the last.

Behind his mask, the Saurian grins -- noticeable primarily in the uplifted cheeks as they press against his reptilian eyes. Even though his attack appears to have been mitigated by the witch's machinations, the Saurian can't help but view the arms hanging limply by Eadni's side as a sign that he's doing something right. He widens his stance upon the branch, clawed hands curling up defensively as he paces closer to his tree's trunk.

"My allegianssse is resssolute, proven by sssenturiesss of passst hissstory..." His voice is confident, steadfast -- showing no sign of wavering. Slavish devotion to the Sorceror and the Emperor is encoded in the Saurian's every action, reinforced with daily affirmations and harsh discipline. The slightest slip-up in front of either authority would place his entire bloodline in jeopardy of final, absolute extinction.

Eyelids blink at the black tar oozing out from his opponent's limbs. The witch has already shown a number of forms, but the hunter's sense of smell won't be swayed by the obvious physical changes. He senses weakness -- but, judging from what he knows of the witch, expects that it could simply be another manipulation on her part. Syzoth will take nothing for granted.

The witch has proven evasive in the past, as even his faster attacks have whistled past her to no avail. He may have the home turf advantage, but the witch is undoubtedly within her element. If she wanted to avoid Kombat, she could easily disappear if she so chose. Syzoth crouches in anticipation.

It becomes clear that she does not wish to flee as she hurtles feet-first towards him. He sees this as a signal to counterattack -- she's committed to the attack vector, and failing any trickery, she won't be able to get out of his path earlier.

Syzoth's arms begin to glow with a wellspring of green energy. And a mere moment before Eadni's kick lands upon him, the Saurian vaults towards her, with his glowing elbow leading the charge. He was even a bit faster than he expected, her feet hurtling past his head with only fractions of an inch to spare. But his glowing elbow is able to land a hit, cracking against Eadni's hip and violently rocking her to the side. His concussive chi does not burn -- it's meant for breaking bones rather than dissolving them slowly, unlike his potent acid attacks.

A moment later, another tree branch behind Eadni groans loudly as the Saurian's feet contact it. Reversing momentum sharply, he springs off the tree and slams another chi-infused elbow into her back, juggling her into the air for a moment as Reptile regains his footing on the branch.

It's only then, as the witch heeds the call of gravity, that Syzoth hammers his chi-infused fist upwards, finishing off the assault with a powerful uppercut.

"Your wordsss mean little..." he comments, steadying himself on the branch as it flutters in the wake of the series of attacks. "But keep talking... sssee how far it getsss you..."

Why would she flee? Certainly, if it became a matter of mortality, it was obvious to flee. And yet, for the witch, flesh was eternal. To be branded a coward in the face of a young sorcerer like Shang Tsung? It would set a bad precedent. No, Eadni was content to be slain again at the hands of an assassin than show any cowardice. Obedience and deferance was reserved for the likes of Lord Dohma and similar figures. But for a prissy poodle of a servant, hoping to steal away power of his own?

That deserved only insolence.

Eadni could not break from her commit. She had expected that she would be batted aside. That was part of the plan, the ritual. It needed sacrifice. It was just a question of who. As she comes hurling in, the creature stops it dead with a single blow. A crack is heard, as the witch's brittle body is snapped. Black blood, smelling heavily of turpentine, pours from her hip. The blow to her back audible and visibly snaps it, the half-formed child-like body being broken like a bundle of sticks. As the final uppercut comes, it snaps her neck, letting it dangle loosely behind her back on near threads as she comes up... and falls down. And yet, soft words come, as the broken body falls to the ground. "All I need is what you've given me, hatchling~"


Broken arms, back, and body, Eadni does not hit the ground. She barely manages to stop herself, by forcing herself towards the face on the base of the tree. She clings to the trunk, as the idle mouth of the tree opens wide. Driving her broken legs to the lower jaw, the mists suddenly thicken. The walking bones and corpses, dragging themselves around, shudder in the mist briefly, before they are torn apart by SOMETHING. Flesh and bones are scattered upwards, thrown towards the tops of the trees, as something becomes enraged. The mists roll like a wave at the base of the tree, as they envelope around her torso. The purple energy crackles, as the mist thickens around her. The yellow font glows bright above, but the mist soon turns the outline of the witch into a simple shadow. In the cloud, between sparks of violet energy, one could see that the witch was struggle to stay out of the maw, as if a force was pushing her in. Soon, a second figure could be seen, of that of a man, the shape of the knees and elbows were clear, trying to force her in. A cracking is heard, followed by a deep, feral groan. Until finally, a snapping sound is heard, as the shadows are pulls straight into the maw of the tree.

The mists thin.

The smell of turpentine growing thick in the air, as a thick, tarry substance oozes from the maw of the tree. The remains of the creatures animated by the witch's ritual magic lay broken on the forest floor. Broken, but still twitching. The font of energy remained on the tree, still burning bright. The mist grows thinner and thinner, before becoming absolutely gone. The only sign of the witch is what was still in the crushing maw of the tree. The stench was strong. The magic was lingering. But there was a clear ending to this fight.



"Hm mm mm..."

Was the building sound, as the branches shudder. A feral howling returns, one of pain, of agony. The visage upon the tree begins to retch, the black tar boiling from its mouth. Swiftly, it ignites in a verdant flame, a fox fire consuming the frame of the tree. Harmless to the touch, outside of a tingle. And yet, as this one tree goes alight with false flame, the energy starts to spread to a nearby tree. Spectral forms was bursting from the earth, rising with the feral howling. Something has changed. The font would be glowing brighter than it ever was. But the font wasn't an arcane symbol, no.

It was now a singular, glowing eye.

Bursting from the trunk, encased in the bark of the tree, emerges the witch. Her form was mangled and twisted, black blood oozing from both the tree and her body from the return. She was buried up to her waist into the trunk, still pulling herself out with knotted, half-formed limbs that were like the very trees. They were not fully healed, she was not fully healed. But the source of her return was obvious on her blank stump of a face, only barely keeping the faintest appearance of a humanoid shape.

A beard drawn from her face, formed of rotting bark and writhing worms.

An aspect of the power she had borrowed. The miasma of green mist and purple energy sparks from her, pouring from the her form. The frame of Eadni was now much larger, much leaner than the shell of a small girl. Her arm, now nearly the as thick of as one of the tree limbs, lashes out, attempting to wrap long, stick-like fingers around the assassin. Should she get her grips, she would twist, continuing her emergence as she would hurl Reptile down below, towards the trunk of another tree. The ritual had been satistified.

And now she can channel the heart of the forest.

COMBATSYS: Eadni successfully hits Reptile with Medium Throw.

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Eadni            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0          Reptile

As the witch sails through the air, Syzoth crouches down onto the branch, gripping onto it like an arboreal monkey. He briefly considers the thought of pursuit, but in the wake of the devastating onslaught he had dealt to her half-formed body, the the natural-born killer decides to wait it out and see exactly what happens to the witch.

His patience is rewarded as the witch appears to fall into her own pre-concocted ritual -- a swirling maelstrom of bones, withering flesh, and acrid mist. Clear lids slide over the Saurian's slitted eyes as he shuts his nostrils, a hiss drawing in the last breath of relatively fresh air before the cloud of mist takes over. He views the yellow font of energy with some alarm, but he seems to be taking much more amusement in the wizened old tree getting himself a snack.
And why not? It's not every day the grizzled tree gets to consume a passerby, after all...

Syzoth's eyes grow larger as the tree begins to shudder. He stares back at the font, its transformed state becoming clear. Breath is exhaled sharply -- the turpentine scent completely disregarded as instincts take over -- he may not know the new form of his aggressor, but staying in place against an unpredictable foe is just asking for a beatdown. He vaults from the branch to a different, lower branch.

Kombat is not over. It has merely taken another form.



The Saurian's wariness is rewarded to one degree as his escape route is cut off by Eadni's re-emergence. His eyes narrow, face contorting to anger behind his mask. The shuddering of the branch -- courtesy of the witch -- keeps him from regaining his full balance, delaying his attempt at leaping out of her grasp. Limbs wrap around the unsteadied Saurian like vines, twisting his upper and lower body in different directions.

The process, thankfully, does not last for long before Syzoth is hurled downward into another tree trunk, with a loud -thunk!- sound. Pitching forward, Syzoth lashes his clawed hands out, gaining purchase on another branch. Swinging himself up -- it becomes clear he's not -as- hearty and hale as just moments before. While the hunter's capable of balancing himself, one hand reaches towards the red gemstone on his belt.

With a burst of red light, the Soul Shard within gains eminence, the brilliant crimson tinge infecting his olive flesh. One shade of the unholy color consumes him completely, while an even deeper shade of scarlet illuminates his discrete blood vessels. The creature lurches unsteadily on the branch for balance, clawed hands snaking out unsteadily.

Another moment passes. The Saurian leaps into action. He does not get fancy -- he just aims for momentum and damage. The first strike is an intent to rake his claws across her bark. The second is more brutal -- a bark-splitting strike to punch right through to her black, tarry heart.

COMBATSYS: Reptile equips a twinkling Crimson Soul Shard.

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Eadni            2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0      [E] Reptile

COMBATSYS: Eadni equips a glimmering Flaming Yellow Soul Shard.

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Eadni [E]        2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0      [E] Reptile

COMBATSYS: Reptile successfully hits Eadni with Back Punch.

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Eadni [E]        2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0      [E] Reptile

he form of a destroyer.

The essence of the forest fills Eadni, the aspect of it upon her face. As she tosses the Saurian away, the crone not quite free of her trunk. The rebirth of the witch continues, as she draws herself longer and longer. Her hands reach up to the upper branches, as she attempts to pull herself out, before the counterattack comes. A singular effort comes, as she tries to rip herself free and away.

But she is not fast enough.

A heart, as black as it might be, was not where the creature struck. But instead, the witch's chest collapses, caving into a thick, sticky wound. The witch hisses in pain, the expression still blank. But the damage was seen in every movement. Her new form was still broken, still recovering. Every movement comes with a threatening groan of a collapse. The witch was falling to pieces, in the face of such a trained, practiced opponent. She was no warrior. The witch finally falls down upon the branch, nearly nine feet in length as she fully pulls free.

And the entire tree uproots itself.

The host tree, ripping its roots from the ground, begins to amble forward, the branches shifting. Eadni rises back up, and takes a great leap to the top of the tree. Wrapping her long claws around two poins at the top of the tree, it continues its charge as it dips low, twisting its out branches to whip them around. It was charging, rampaging, attempting to take up. The witch's yellow eye flares, as the eldritch wildfire suddenly shifts from green to yellow. The tree, aflame with that harmless energy, does as the witch commands as it charges towards another living tree.

To smash Reptile into it, into legendary wreckage.

COMBATSYS: Eadni channels the strength of the killing fist.

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Eadni [E]        2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0      [E] Reptile

COMBATSYS: Reptile channels the glare of the vicious eye.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Eadni [E]        0/-------/<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0      [E] Reptile

COMBATSYS: Reptile fails to interrupt All Fall Down from Eadni with Uppercut.

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Eadni [E]        0/-------/<<<<<<<|=====--\-------\0      [E] Reptile

Syzoth is just one being -- the last surviving specimen of the terrifying race of Saurians. He serves the Sorceror and the Emperor with slavish devotion, carrying out their will with brutal efficiency largely out of respect for their fearsome abilities. Most of his targets are softer, smaller -- are able to be torn apart by his natural capabilities.

And then there is Eadni, standing before him. As a fighter, her reactions are nothing special -- every action gains a simple and direct reaction. But as an eldritch spirit capable of animating primal forces, her skill is unquestionable. Syzoth knows the tapestry of the Living Forest as well as the back of his hand, but now that said tapestry is changing before his very eyes, he feels woefully outmatched.

The Saurian's fist is matted with tar and shattered scraps of bark as he pulls back from the tree calling itself Eadni. He snarls from behind his mask, cursing to himself -- the black goop won't stop him from doing what he wants to do, but it will make kombat considerably less fluid. He leaps backwards as the witch ascends to the treetop, but finds his stability faltering as the entire tree lurches out of the ground.

Syzoth falls, a shrill howl whistling through the grate of his mask. He makes a last-ditch grab for the branch upon which he stood, securing the hold and using it to swing himself to a lower branch.

Part of him begins to sense what is happening -- the very landscape shifting. Perhaps it is an earthquake -- but knowing the eldritch soul above him, he doubts it. His scales ripple, doubling upon one another. He draws in upon himself, his skeletal frame becoming as compact as possible in defense of the oncoming attack, whatever form it may take. Wary, he curls his tarred fist close to his ribcage, scanning back and forth between the trunk of the moving tree upon which he stands, and the Forest around him.

And then, the intent of the Destroyer becomes strikingly clear -- to crush Syzoth between one trunk and another. A roar escapes the Saurian's maw as he charges forward upon his haven branch. The Crimson Soul Shard upon his waist glows, and his entire form becomes indistinct in the midst of his forward thrust. Several shadowy images of crimson, all moving in the same direction : directly for the tree controlled by Eadni.

It is not so much a fool tilting at a windmill when the windmills are actually the aggressors here.

A tar-coated fist slams into the thick bark of the antediluvian tree. It blasts a hole into the bark, thick sap spilling out as a chunk of the tree is shorn away. A second fist follows, as Syzoth continues chopping his way through, aiming to carve himself a hollow into the tree, so that the ancient tree itself can absorb the fallout from its treacherous charge.

With two more strokes like that, he might have accomplished his goal. But even the speed granted him by the Soul Shard's wards cannot change the fate -- chopping into the very heart of a tree this bitter and gnarled is a near impossibility.

Syzoth finds himself slammed between two hardwood trees. Bones crush, organs are compressed. The pressure would cause serious ruptures to a human -- the Saurian remains intact only due to his hardy construction, his scaled flesh.

As the smashing trees separate after impact, the Saurian falls away. Bruises throughout his musculature become apparent as black stains against the crimson-laced hue of his skin. The bruising will take some time for his unique physiology to heal -- the crushed ribs, perhaps longer. Syzoth wheezes, his claws dug into the bark of the ancient tree.

And he begins to climb up, grunting with each torturous vault upwards. The Saurian is determined to bring this fight to its proper conclusion -- to bring glory to his Sorceror.

Any monster hunter would tell you.

Eadni was far weaker, far more frail than she seemed, even as a brittle witch. Where a typical creature would bleed, she would snap. Where a typical monster would bruise, she would shatter. Compared to humans, mere flesh and blood, the damage one could inflict on the witch was well beyond what should be with immortals. She wasn't fast, and while she was physically strong, there was something very clumsy about her technique, as was very apparent in the first round of kombat. No, her strength wasn't in her.

It was where she was.

Channeling the mystic power of the living forest, ensnaring it into her command and her power, and turning the very environment into a weapon. That was all the magic of the witch, that was all the power. The tapestry of nature was being shaped into her will, transforming it from a hostile effigy into something far more focused. And this natural force, this natural power became her cloak, her mask, her armor, her sword. The first two blows, however, nearly was enough to stop her desperate charge. The witch pauses, the tree groaning as it stops for a moment. But a pause... was a collapse, as momentum continues its carry to crash forward into the other tree. At first, Reptile is simply pinned. But as he slipped away, he might see the effect of her magic was striking.

And the branches intertwine, melding into each other.

Wood melts into wood as the trees merge. The twisting of bark and trunk was coming between the two living trees, the ghostly green flame pouring. The other tree does not fall, but writhes, as the ethereal wildfire spreads. The green mist pours around, as the heart of the forest struggles, battles against the witch's enslavement. And yet, the witch, still bearing the aspect, Eadni picks down through the bramble of the branches, her long limbs delicately and swiftly picking through the mess of branches as a spider in its web. She was nearly nine feet tall now, with her limbs nearly as long. She was covered in the oozing black tar, her chest still an open sore where the light above could occassionally peek through. But it was becoming obvious now that her black blood was thickening, and reforming. Her limbs were thickening, her body recovering. She was climbing down as Reptile climbs up, to meet him face to face.

A skull in her hands.

It was not a human skull. The horns and sharp bridge where the nose is made that obvious. The lower jaw was missing. But one eye was burning with a green flame, darker and more violent than the eldritch bonfire spreading around. "Time, hatchling. Disloyality, betrayal, isn't proven in centuries, but in moments. It isn't a question of if you will betray, it is a question of when. Time, hatchling, time." Stopping just above the climbing Saurian, she raises the skull forward and downward at the Saurian. "And there is always more time~" The skull shrieks as a single beam of emerald flame jets from it a singular eye. The jet burns more real than any of the ghostly flames, consuming the skull as she unleashes her magic.

Just as shadows begin to form amongst the maze of limbs around them.

COMBATSYS: Reptile blocks Eadni's Shut Your Eyes.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Eadni [E]        1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0      [E] Reptile

The Saurian's claws dig deep into the bark as the two trees merge together. He knew that the process could happen over time, of course, but having one tree literally graft itself onto another while he's still attached is kind of... weird.
Syzoth continues to scale the tree, shoving the bizarre thoughts of emerald flames and tree copulation out of his mind. His goal, of course, is the nine-foot-tall behemoth climbing down to meet him.

When he looks up, though, the human skull dangling in the crone's claw gives him pause. A scowl forms behind his mask -- is it a simple focus for her powers, or is it the thought that a human skull should -scare- the natural born killer? He gets his answer quickly enough, as Eadni talks down to him as she might one of her children. With quiet self-assurance, she understands the Saurian -- could even possibly sympathize with his desire to rejuvenate and revitalize his species, independently of the Empire of Outworld.

Eyes narrow to slits. He prepares to leap away -- the reptilian is in a terribly precarious position, and all the witch need do at this point is simply release -- her tree-forms weight would surely pulverize the last scion of the Zaterrans into bonemeal for her eldritch rituals.

She does not. Emerald flame erupts from the skull's eye socket. The claws of one arm and toes digging into the bark for purchase, he raises another to shield himself.

The Saurian hisses, the sound masking a fierce growl from the back of his throat. The tar and bark collected on his arm, as well as the leather straps holding on his bone armor, are burned away, atomized by the corrupted flames. The wristguard falls away to the forest floor below, in the wake of the mist and the chasms carved into the floor by the ambulating tree.

Syzoth hisses.
Then he releases altogether.
One branch bobs, as he uses it as a springboard to bound higher into the air.

And in the midst of an eyeblink, Syzoth has completely disappeared from sight, melted invisibly into the tapestry of the forest.
The predator is assuredly still there, hunting -- the fact that tree branches all around Eadni are bobbing and swaying in a discordant fashion is enough to assure the witch of that. But actually catching sight of the predator as he springs about beneath the forest canopies?
That just got tougher to do, as even a direct inspection of the reptilian predator would reveal only the subtlest of disturbances in the air.

He was too vulnerable before -- his machinations had inadvertently put him directly in the path of her attacks. And he knows she's building to -something-, which he will need to put a rapid stop to. But now... masked by the forest itself, he can strike from any vector he pleases...

COMBATSYS: Reptile focuses on his next action.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Eadni [E]        1/------=/=======|

What was built was already in motion.

Already, the spiritual forces around were beginning to come together. Ghostly figures were assuming vessels of bone. Skulls and femurs were flitting through the branches, infused with lost souls. Upon the mixed trees, the pair howl in agony as their bodies are twisted and mangled. Strange, alien growths of neon-red sprouts burst out from the bark of the tree, filling with eldritch life as new trees grow upon trees, budding into more of the chaos. The bark of the trees was swimming, as roots run through its skin like veins, oozing black blood and violet energy as it leaks green miasma. And yet, as the jet of flame fires out, the Saurian doesn't remain. He disappears. Eadni pauses a moment, in her position, her expression still blank. She was listening. Smelling. Feeling.

And she had nothing.

There isn't silence, as much as Eadni needed it.The witches feet and legs spread, gripping the branches around her. And slowly, she winds her legs her legs around the branches, like ivy. No. The Saurian's own aura was melded into the ambient levels. Eadni wasn't moving from her spot. The tension was tightening, as the moaning and howling continues around them. The wildfire spreads, and Eadni... twists her legs among the mangled, merged branches, as she curls her arms backwards, winding them tighter and tighter. Her body winds as well, curling around and around itself, as the face remains blank.

Finally, she speaks again.

"A long time ago... too long ago, there was once a sorcerer." The witch's tone is as a grandmother would tell a bedtime story to a child upon her lap. "This sorcerer was the master of life and death, but yearned for greater power. He found that path to power in a distant God of Death. He served this god, seeking to bring the whole of the Earthrealm into a singular sacrificial altar to it. And yet, for all his service, for all the suffering and darkness he brought over the world, he ultimately served himself. At the cusp of armageddon, when his god was at its most vulnerable, he betrayed him, seeking the power of the god himself, and turn the altar into one for himself. His betrayal came to ash, and both god and servant was banished far away from the Earthrealm, sealed away from their powers." There is the sound of moaning wood, as her arm spirals tighten further. The trap was set now. The question was, would she spring it, or her assassin? "Are you the sorcerer, child? Are you the god?"

"Or are you at the altar?"

COMBATSYS: Eadni focuses on her next action.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Eadni [E]        1/------=/=======|

COMBATSYS: Reptile has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Eadni [E]        1/------=/=======|=====--\-------\0      [E] Reptile

Syzoth's presence is not localized to any one place. One moment, the leap might be heard to Eadni's left -- the very next, to a point in front of her. And then a position behind her right shoulder. The Saurian knows the forest well, and he plans to make full use of that knowledge in staging a counterattack against the witch. He might not be able to defeat the towering sentinel she has forged around herself, but if he can separate her from within...

Is it too late, he wonders? Did he spend so much time strengthening his own position for a final charge against her that she was able to fortify her defenses? It is a tough call -- and a reality he must face when he stares at the back of the wood-clad witch, hearing her tale come to an end.

The words ring with truth, even if he knows that they are no more than a fairy tale meant to bring down his defenses. The tale, of course, differs from the line of thought provoked by it. The witch speaks of the allure of power -- the allure of violating the terms of Mortal Kombat, ensuring that Shang Tsung's power remains limited -- and that he can be thusly killed, rather than simply having the betrayal 'turn to ash.'

Seeds of doubt. Seeds of betrayal.

Are you the sorcerer? Are you the god? Or are you at the altar?

Syzoth will contemplate this tale another day. For right now, the plan is already in motion. From a high angle over Eadni's left shoulder, a willowy tree sways, slinging him forward like an arrow from a bowstring. The air pulses in coruscating patterns of light as Syzoth hurtles forward, palm-first, towards Eadni. Should his alpha strike connect, the coruscating cloak would fall away from him like a snake's skin as he springs backward to the tree. Using it as a foothold, he would slam a second palm into her from the side, before grabbing onto her by the shoulders. His mask would fly aside, allowing him to vomit a liter of corrosive acid all over her facial features and shoulders, searing through her bark and blinding the witch -- and quite possibly -worse-. Only once his deadly payload is delivered would he twist around, grab her by the back of the head-amalgam, and slam her face-first towards the ground far, far below.

Then, he might see the witch on his own terms once again, torn from the suit of bark-laden armor she has constructed for herself...

COMBATSYS: Eadni channels the strength of the killing fist.

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Eadni [E]        1/------</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0      [E] Reptile

COMBATSYS: Eadni counters Ravenous from Reptile with Gave My Love.

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Eadni [E]        1/----<<</<<<<<<<|==-----\-------\0      [E] Reptile

Every second is like a stone on the back.

Even stationary, the witch's power grows. Her control, her command over the field of Kombat was tightening. The window for Reptile was withering away; the foreboding pressure of the battle was encircling tighter and tighter. The shadows moving through the branches were taking concrete forms, the shape of people, the shape of knights of old, the shape of warriors. It was a blessed corruption, the presence of the witch twisting and transforming the twisted, controlling and commanding. Reptile had come here to punish the witch. Now, if he didn't stop the witch, her eldritch magic might leave a deeper imprint on this island, the presence of Eadni beginning to run deep in the Living Forest. A branch shakes, the air pulses-

There is a cracking sound.

The alpha strike doesn't make it. The entire form of the witch shifts. The grip her feet had on the branches below tighten, crushing the tree limbs. Her eye erupts into such a piercing yellow, that her skull peels away, blackening from the raw power as it comes into a crisp on her flesh. Her coiled arm explodes outward into a snap, the crack coming from the brief sonic boom from the supersonic speeds. It ignites with emerald, yellow, and actual flame, the soul gem's power mingling with the arcane magic and physical ignition. The blow was swift, and the force was the full power of the entire witch into point. Not simply arcane, but pure, physical force. The point on impact was precise, and pregnant with the purpose: aimed right for the cheek of the Saurian, to slap him in the face. The limb shudders on impact, as a second crack is heard. The witch's limber body turns, as the other arm uncoils.

It was time to finish this interloper.

The attacking limb still burns with eldritch and mundane, as it hangs limp at her side, smoking. "An altar~" Was the coo as she releases her legs from the branches. Her still good arm rises up, gripping a single branch with one hand as her attacking limb recovers. She dangles, as her legs hang limp as well, letting the crushed branch fall below. "This forest will be the altar. Tell me, hatchling. You would die for your master."

"Would you die for mother?~"

Against a less wily opponent, Syzoth's committed attack may have had better odds. Against the tree witch, however, his plan to strike from behind may have been startlingly transparent in retrospect. Not only would it be the expected approach vector, but the ancient crone can -sense- the energies of the forest moreso than actually seeing them with her own tarred eyes.

The Saurian flinches, curling up as his attack hits nothing but air. He tries to alter his flight path with a quick twist to the side, but the blindingly fast retribution from Eadni catches him squarely in the cheek. The camouflage effect ripples way from him as he reels backwards, flipping end over end. His head catches upon the nearest branch, knocking a chunk of the hardened wood loose in the process. He flips over more rapidly afterwards, his own limbs flailing for purchase in the midst of his uncontrolled spin.

Mercifully, his downward trajectory is halted by a loud thud as he collides with a neighboring tree trunk. Wheezing as air is forced from his lungs, the Saurian reels forward, falling for a good six feet or so before finding another branch to serve his purposes.

His shoulders and head pitch forward -- the creature is beginning to resemble a hungry animal more than an upright humanoid after the toll this battle has taken upon him. Trying to outsmart the witch has not been the best course of action for the savage Saurian: his attempt to reposition himself for a furious onslaught of attacks has only left him worse off than before. Fresh blood seeps from his head, shoulders, and arms, courtesy of his latest rapid-fire tour of the forest environs.

Unmasked, the Saurian spits a glob of green acid onto the branch before him, glaring up at the witch. If he cannot beat the witch at her own game, then he will fall back onto techniques that do work -- unrelenting violence. He smears his right foot against the verdant acid, then his left foot.

And then the Saurian begins sprinting forward, using his toe claws to dig into the branch. One bounce will send him flipping into the air.

Earlier, he would have needed a moment to steady himself. But this is part of another plan -- the execution of the natural born killer's agile mastery of the verdant environment. The branch is coated with a spray of acid from his mouth as he flipped towards it -- but when he lands, he instantly begins to slide forward, the bulk of his forward momentum leveraged in a high-speed power slide across the surface of the branch.

His toe claws would dig into the feet of the creature currently serving as the crone's armor, preventing her from getting away. And if he connects, he would wrap both of his feet around the construct most resembling an "ankle". With a flare of red energy from the gemstone upon his waist, he would then jackhammer his hands forward in a rapid three-hit barrage of punches against Eadni.

It may seem futile -- but the direct application of leverage isn't -just- intended to batter a hole through the crone's wooden armor. It's also intended to destabilize her to the point that she falls to the forest floor.

COMBATSYS: Reptile channels the strength of the killing fist.

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Eadni [E]        1/----<<</<<<<<<<|==-----\-------\0      [E] Reptile

COMBATSYS: Eadni parries Reptile's Slithered!

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Eadni [E]        1/----<<</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0      [E] Reptile

The power was in apex.

Knocking away the assassin, the witch sensed the ending. As the Saurian grows more and more feral, the witch grows more and more restrained, more focused. The faceless hag moves like a monkey around the nest of branches, the merged and twisted trees still moaning in agony. Maggots ooze from her beards of rotten bark, the aspect sways with the deft and boneless movement of her long limbs. Everything around them was a trap, everything was a danger. Unrelenting violence was often all one needed to damn the witch into an early grave. Already, Reptile was hurling himself straight back, as the witch continued her deft approach. The toe claws dig into the base of the feet of the aspect, gripping tight. For a moment, it looked like he would have his grasps.

And it falls away.

The bark sloughs away like a glove, the exposed thin limb underneath exposed as she abandons the armor almost flawlessly. Her whole body whips around in tandem, the arms above holding on tight. Without armor, she was weak. But now, ripped free, the legs surge back.

They wouldn't let him get away.

The witch's limbs could shift from being stiff as tree trunks into as limber vines. Now, those elusive legs were now lashing out at the Saurian, attempting to wind around him like snakes. Should they get grips on him, they would entangle and ensnare him. To bind around his thighs, crushing him, trapping him, forcing him close. A dangerous notion, a dangerous place. But Eadni was aiming to capture him. To hold him right where she wanted him. To hold him right where she needed him. To hold him ready for...

The conclusion of Kombat.

COMBATSYS: Reptile channels the strength of the killing fist.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Eadni [E]        1/------</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0      [E] Reptile

COMBATSYS: Reptile fails to interrupt Come A-Creeping EX from Eadni with Hybrid Crush.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Eadni [E]        1/----<<</<<<<<<<|==-----\-------\0      [E] Reptile

The bark sloughs off right underneath him. The approach was correct. The intention was correct. Everything was perfectly viable -- except the notion that the entirety of the form presented as the Destroyer was to remain intact for the duration of Kombat.

With widening reptilian eyes, Syzoth's realization is communicated in its entirety. The Saurian scrambles up the falling bark for purchase, to no avail. He struggles to gain purchase, only to realize the battle he's losing entirely. Leaping backwards, the Saurian attempts to make the best of it -- to slam his heel on the branch, mindful to dig his claws in to counteract the slick surface applied by his acidic saliva just moments before...

In the attempt to compensate, however, is when Eadni's vines lash out. Unable to shift his momentum without sacrificing his position, he lurches hard to the side -- right into the enveloping grasp of the vines. The Saurian struggles in the grip of his opponent's tendrils, swatting back at the witch's advances.

His bared daggersharp teeth are no longer held back by a mask -- like his vambrace from before, the leather straps holding it in place had been severed in earlier attacks. Congealed blood which had begun to dry splits open again from the ferocity of the Saurian's resistance.

In the end, though -- Syzoth is caught and left exactly where Eadni wants him. Trapped. He glares back at her, the red flare of the Soul Shard at his waist flaring with impotent rage -- unable to make good on his attempt to present Eadni with a warm Outworld welcome.

Deception and Illusion.

The witch's true power was originally concealed in the form of a child. And now, as she wrapped her tendrils around Syzoth, the sheer presence of Eadni was readily apparent. The Living Forest was twisted in her favor; the heart was hers. Winding the crushing limbs tighter and tighter around the Saurian, the only facial expression was that singular glowing soul gem, forming an eye. The eye looms back. Eadni had her prey.

All the was left now, was a message.

"Sweet dreams, hatchling~" Was the words, so sweet, so soft. And Eadni releases from the tree, falling to the floor below. Drawing back her legs, she winds back, building up momentum and power. Gravity would be her charge. The eldritch wildfire snuffs out, as the energy flows away and straight below her. A fat, puckered sore builds in the ground below, as the green energy builds into a point. Seconds become eons, as gravity brings the full force, as she aims to smash him.

Straight into the heart of the strange, bulging point.

COMBATSYS: Eadni successfully hits Reptile with When The Bough Breaks.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Eadni [E]        0/-------/-------|=====--\-------\0      [E] Reptile

And Reptile is slammed, back first, right on top of the building mound.

Eadni's one good arm catches the ground, and nimbly, the witch rights herself upright on her feet again. Gesturing in the air before Reptile, there is a groaning. And then, with a volcanic eruption of eldritch flame upwards, a singular tree, burning with a neon red light, rips through the center of Reptile, splitting him apart into an explosion of force. Eadni's good arm lowers, as she stares blankly ahead with her eye. The tree, covered in the entrails of the Saurian, wastes away into ash. And then, a crack. Her good arm lashes out in the air.

A single tendril snatches the Saurian's head before it could fall.

Trapped like a wild animal in a noose trap, Syzoth struggles valiantly against the pull of the tendrils. Fatigued from the extended conflict, and its necessity of vaulting from one branch to the other simply to maintain proximity to the earth witch, even the natural-born killer finds himself at an impasse. He finds his hands and feet bound tightly to himself. His arms crush audibly against his ribcage, shoulder joints dislocating from the severe pressure. His legs writhe about, knees banging against one another in an attempt to make the living entombment somewhat more bearable.

Mercy is not in the eldritch crone's intent, however. As Syzoth affixes a baleful glare onto the crone, she leaps downwards, hurling the entrapped Saurian down into the singularity spawning below. The crushing of the tendrils seems merciful when compared to the fall from such a height. The abrupt halt at the end of his downward journey is powerful enough to fracture the saurian's skull, to shatter the vertebrae of his spine. The Saurian's agonized roar is loud enough to echo all throughout the Living Forest.

And even then -- the suffering is not yet complete, as the burgeoning energy continues to mass. Syzoth pulls his mouth shut, forehead creased in agony as he resolves to maintain some sort of dignity in the face of such considerable odds burst of sanguine energy cleaves the Saurian in two. Ribs are torn asunder, shattered from the concussive shockwave unleashed by the crimson energies. The shoulders rip apart from their sockets, the legs remaining set only due to their relative distance from the central locus of the attack -- and the noble Saurian's intestines shower outward with such wanton abandon, as if a shotput were dropped in the midst of a pot of spaghetti.

The upper torso is devastated -- the spine shattered, the clavicles and scapulae ripped loose and scattered like forgotten playthings as the Saurian's severed head is lifted from the macabre disaster. Aside from the grisly intestines spilt forth, the remainder of the lower half of his body was spared most of the wrath of the explosion -- only the pulsing gemstone from his waist shows any signs of vitality, the detached limbs showing no spark of movement whatsoever.

The head though... as lifted upwards, Syzoth's teeth are pulled shut. It is not until the tendril wraps around his skull, pulling it close, that the rebellious Saurian looses his final statement upon the Witch of the West...
In that he opens his mouth, vomiting the rest of his acid reserves upon the crone. His eyes grow glassy. But as life ebbs away from his expression, and his dagger-sharp jaw falls limp, the Saurian remains resolute in the knowledge that he did not go quietly into the night.

COMBATSYS: Reptile can no longer fight.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Eadni [E]        0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Reptile successfully hits Eadni with Weakened Toxic.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Eadni [E]        0/-------/-------|

The aspect melts away.

The armor over her falls away, the last remains of the aspect falls apart. The beard of rotting bark and maggot is ripped away. The heart of the forest is released. The green mist thickens almost instantly, as the last cries of Syzoth still hang in the forest. Purple energy flares. It wouldn't be long before retaliation would come. And yet, the witch looked at her prize. If she could smile in this form, she would. Eadni had responded to Shang Tsung's welcoming. And she would send her thank you card post haste.

And it spits on her.

The point blank spray of acid strikes her solidly, consuming her chest. Pain runs through, as the vile toxins react and devour as she actually recoils in surprise. The witch hisses, as she nearly hurls the head aside. "Impetuous whelp~" She snarls, as the toxins dissolve her body. With the magic waning down, she could feel her chest cave again. She would need respite, she would need to recover.

But first, payment due.

Her soul gem of an eye burns brighter, as she draws the souls from her oppponent, drawing them within her own power. The rest of the flesh, the spiritual essence, would go to the heart of the forest. A dim light fades around, and the green mist suddenly recoils away, retreating. That was his payment, his offering. Not the last of its offerings, either. The soul power would fuel her, as she dug out her territory on the border between worlds.

It was time for the message.

Turning towards one of the ancient bones, she writhes her long, twig-like fingers on her still embered arm. She had hoped that the Saurian would be the one bringing this message. But unfortunately, her... gusto in destroying him had destroyed precious materials. She would need to find a new ribcage. The ancient ribcage shudders, as a vague shadow is pulled from a nearby tree, and forced into it. The ribcage splits open. The individual ribs twitch, and then, wriggle like the legs of a crab or spider. The cage moves on it's own accord, using the ribs as the legs, the spirit compelling it. The remains of the spine drags behind it, as it approaches the witch. With digust, she drops the head upon the animated bones.

"Bring This To Shang Tsung." She commands.

And the elemental spirit obeys, crawling away with the head balanced precociously on it. Shang Tsung would recieve his message. What would come next... may be endless escalations between the witch and the sorcerer. So be it. If he wished to bring Mortal Kombat to her?

Then she would wait, ready to bring Mortal Kombat to him.

COMBATSYS: Eadni has ended the fight here.

Log created on 11:58:48 09/12/2016 by Reptile, and last modified on 15:22:38 09/20/2016.