Description: "We need no reason to fight. We fight because we are needed. We will be the deterrent for those with no other recourse. We are soldiers without borders, our purpose defined by the era we live in."
IKARI BASE, SOUTH AMERICA.
The sound of helicopter rotors chopping through the air heralds a return to Headquarters of the recently-deployed Zeta Unit; and with them, comes the General of the Soldiers of Fortune himself. The helicopter has barely touched down inside the moutain base, rotors still spinning, before Codename: Heidern jumps out of the side, ducking his head to avoid the spinning blades and moving away from the vehicle.
He's consulting with one of the Officers from the mission as the two walk, Heidern's usual olive-drab trenchcoat being whipped about as the Helicopter finally powers down. "I'm going to need the latest intel on the NESTS Cartel, Lieutenant..." he half-whispers, half-grumbles, eyes scanning up and down the landing bay, watching to make sure everyone is doing their assigned job.
Having done a cursory investigation of the Japan situation, and having found nothing more than more questions than she had answers, Leona had returned to Ikari base to ruminate on the situation and to report in. Only, there wasn't anyone to report to. So she waited, and she thought, and she cooled her heels in the only way she knew how: mostly via punching things and physical distraction.
Leona was in uniform, more out of nerves and misplaced concerns than anything else. She waits and watches the landing of the helicopter. She waits when she sees her commander, her adoptive father, and the one she waited to speak to on the matters of what she confronted while in Japan. Her face an impassive cypher, she just waits, and yet every part of her was tense. There was no ease going on with her, just a tightness about her as she contains herself at an attention that's not expected of her.
Heidern's keen eye (singular, thanks Rugal!) spotted Leona's trademark hair before the Helicopter had even properly entered the Ikari base - his eyesight remaining keen throughout all his years. As he walks up to her, his face remains neutral beyond meeting her glance and giving a firm nod. He spends a few more moments with the Lieutenant and intelligence officer that disembarked the Helicopter with him, muttering gruffly just below his breath.
He may love every member of the Ikari as if they were family - though he'd never go so far as to admit it - but recent development with the United Nations have shown him that NO organization is safe from infiltration. He may trust his adopted daughter with his life, but a Private only recently recruited? No; things at the Ikari Base have become more tightly-run and secretive these past weeks as world affairs spin out of control.
Dismissing the Lieutenant with a vague grunt and motion of his head, Heidern turns his attention fully to Leona - that girl he took up and trained all those years ago. The closest thing to family he has left, thanks to that bastard Rugal.
The thought of his nemesis doesn't even register on his face, however, as his hand swipes up and removes his beret from the top of his head. The hair remains smooth and perfectly fixed despite his recent return from active operations in another theatre.
"Leona. It's good to see you." He'd tell her to be at ease, but he hardly raised her that way. No, instead there's almost a vague sense of accomplishment when he looks the tough soldier he managed to raise. "Anything to report? I hope the men are prepared for what's to come." Calm, clipped tones, but his good eye has a certain glimmer in it as he speaks to the girl.
Leona snaps a quick salute to Heidern when he reaches her. It only lowers once the Lieutenant is gone and she takes a short, hesitant breath stifled under her decorum and precise words. "Sir, I have investigated into the Japan situation. It's," a hesitation, her eyes cast downward for a moment, "Unexpected developments. If I may speak with you in private, sir."
Leona waits for a replay, her chest not moving, her breath held in a bundle of controlled nervous behavior. Not a soldier asking for privacy for security reasons, but a daughter asking her father for a favor. "I don't think the landing field is the best place for this," she clarifies, providing a not so subtle hint to her concerns.
Acknowledging her salute with a brief inclination of his head, Heidern makes a mental note that - even in these troubled, uncertain times - his 'daughter' manages to maintain proper composure, keep up military standards. Nodding his head in agreement, the 'General' (of sorts) begins to walk away without another word - though he imperceptibly glances at the reflective side of a nearby VTOL vehicle to ensure Leona IS following him.
Passing by numerous soldiers and engineers, there are a few who pause a moment before saluting firmly - it's obvious that with his attentions spread elsewhere and the world spiralling out of control, that discipline has slipped in his abscence. Something to be correct, surely.
He slows his pace somewhat as he reaches a dead-end in one of the corridors. Glancing quickly behind him to ensure they haven't been followed down this rarely-used path. Once confirming the lack of soldiers or additional footsteps, Heidern strides up to the wall and presses a sequence in the tiles with a mumble.
"You're right, of course," he says as he enters the hidden room - which opens into a sizeable meeting area, complete with board-room table, numerous chairs, charts, maps, and radio equipment. Some kind of back-up safe room? "I never thought I'd have to use this goddamned place just to talk to my own daughter..."
And so Leona follows. She's silent, staring straight ahead, calm and steady and not betraying herself as they pass soldier and engineer of the sizeable Ikari force. As she passes what passes for her family in a sense, she reflects back on Japan and further back on the small village in Brazil. The red mist. The boiling blood. She closes her eyes and focuses on a small spot in the back of Heidern's head.
Inside of the safe space, she relaxes inasmuch as she can relax. From tense and stoic to merely sedate. Her arms slip cross behind her back, but on the hole, her posture loses a great deal of weight. All the same, she stares with some distance as she recounts. "There was a man in Japan. He was threatening civilians. I stepped in. He was ranting. He seems to believe there is some sort of connection between him and myself. A connection with blood. And," she pauses, "I have little reason to doubt him. There's a feeling in Japan. It reminds me of before you found me. I can't say what would've happened if a blonde woman, some sort of police officer in a very strange uniform hadn't intervened."
Though likely imperceptible to all but those who know him best, Heidern also relaxes slightly once away from the eyes of his fellow grunts. He's fought beside some of the men and women on the base for years and years, seen countless battles, survived conflicts never written about in the history books... and now, seeing the United Nations so subverted, for the first time ever he has real reason to look over his shoulder in his own Headquarters.
It's not a feeling Heidern welcomes; but he's used to far worse. Moving around the long table, glancing at Leona occasionally in the reflection of the room's walls, he strides to the radio equipment and picks up a manila folder laying beside the microphone. Opening it, one gloved hand comes up to rest on his chin as he both listens intently to Leona and reads through this dossier. Suddenly, his attention snaps back up to his daughter; "A connection? By blood?" grunts Heidern, noticeably intrigued - or as much as his impassive face ever shows, "This man - you didn't recognize him? I assume you were thorough enough to search through our records of individuals matching his description. Do we have a name?"
He pauses, then noticeably exhales and closes the dossier, placing it back on the table and moving towards Leona, "I'm not used to knowing this little. The United Nations, contracting with Mad Gear... I thought the world had gone mad before," he shakes his head, reaching out to put a hand on Leona's shoulder, "I need everyone to be ready for what's to come - but if the UN can be subverted, how many of our men might have already betrayed us? I need you to keep eyes in the back of your head, Leona, even around here. You're capable, but if anything ever happened..." he says, trailing off into grumbling. He's already lost too much; he gets the feeling the worst has only just begun.
Leona shakes her head, her eyes close and her lips press into a thin line. She doesn't shy away from the hand on her shoulder. "None. I can't remember much of what happened during it. I, think I lost control of myself. Because of him, or because of what's in me, I'm not certain. Perhaps both. It wasn't until after that I regained control of myself. I tried to find the officer, but I couldn't. She fought with guns, but none that I've seen before. She also works for an organization she hesitated to speak of. Her name is Noel. I suspect she has more information than she let on. She also helped me." Her explanation comes with a small sigh. "If I were more capable she wouldn't have been hurt as badly as she was."
Her eye close a moment and she looks back at Heidern. "I understand, sir, I will be more careful. I allowed myself to let my guard down around an opponent that was more capable than I had considered. If I hadn't had traded words, perhaps I should've struck first. I won't allow it to happen again, sir."
"We all make mistakes, soldier," Heidern responds quickly and firmly to Leona's last statement, "I'm walking proof of that. What we do is try to survive, to learn. So, no, I won't expect it'll happen again - will it?". At that, he can't help but raise the left side of his lips up in a momentary smirk - Leona has the same drive, the same resilience, that let Heidern carry on after being physically and emotionally damaged by Rugal Bernstein - after they slaughtered the leadership of the Ikari Warriors all those years ago. She could be his own flesh and blood.
"But if this man provoked this reaction from you, it's important we track him down again.." he says, quieter than before, staring intently at Leona - trying to read something off her face, perhaps. His mind makes a mental note to check the database for any and all information regarding this 'Noel' character - they clearly need to have a chat, if there's even the slightest possibility of identifying this mysterious man. "You need to be careful, Leona. Now's not the time to lose control - you're one of the few around here I know I can trust with my life. With the lives of the men and women serving under me. If I lose that..." he pauses...
"I can't do it alone. We all need to be more disciplined. Better. If we're to face what's coming."
A single, deep breath and Leona Heidern nods. "No, sir, it will not happen again," she tells him. "I will not allow you to lose anything more. I can't allow you to," she assures with a fierce look in her eyes. "I won't hesitate the next time I see this man. You've taught me how to control what's within me," She looks down at her fist, which has been clenched tightly, and releases her grip. "There is something down there. Related to all of this. Whatever they are fighting over, it cannot fall into anyone's hands. I believe we may have to move in force. However, I would like to return there again myself. I know Faolan, and Clark are there, the three of us should be able to handle things with the help of a small support unit."
She looks at her father, and at his good eye. "And it may be useful to have you with us, sir. We, I, may need you." She looks to a spot past Heidern's head. "I think I may need some practice, if you have the time, sir."
Staring right into the eye's of the young woman he raised as his own, Heidern considers her words carefully - he's considered opening the range of operations regarding the issues in Japan, but with the issues within the United Nations, he's been far too busy chasing information regarding the NESTS Cartel or possible traitors within their own ranks. In his focus on securing his own organization, Heidern has let issues abroad gather momentum... now, is there ANY stopping things?
"I have men conducting thorough interviews at present, to find a small group who we can rely on in these matters. Men and women confirmed to still be loyal. Once I have some idea of who can be trusted with this Cartel exerting so much influence, we will be ready to bring more force to bear against the issue. I've let other matters blind me," he says, shaking his head and moving dropping his hands into his coat pockets as he moves back away from Leona.
Moving deftly to a switch on the reflective metal wall, Heidern clicks it down - the table and chairs falling into a recess in the floor, the radio equipment moving behind a hidden panel and sealing itself. Suddenly, the hidden radio and planning room is little more than a large, empty area. No mats or anything to break a rough fall - but then, comfortable has NEVER been the Ikari way.
Turning back to Leona, he smirks from across the room - the first open show of emotion during this entire exchange, beyond a faint glimmer of affection in his eye previously. He doesn't remove the coat, and he's still clutching his beret in one hand, but he calmly glares at his daughter all the same. "No more weakness. No more hesitation. The Ikaris need to remember who we are. Every one of us."
COMBATSYS: Heidern has started a fight here.
Leona sets her hands behind her back. She knows there's much going on in her father's head. This challenge is not simply for her benefit. There's so much she wishes she could express. Much she wishes she could do in a situation like this. And perhaps some would find it strange that this is the avenue she finds comfort in, but it is the one she knows best. It is simple, but confusing, but there is no person she trusts more implicitly than her father.&r&r&t"I understand, sir, I expect it will do well for all of us. And you do only have one eye, sir," a joke, perhaps, maybe, just completely missing the point, it's hard to tell when Leona lacks a certain degree of inflection. "Yes, sir," she says, slipping a foot behind her, reading for the fight. She has to be strong. She cannot forget who she is. If she did, then she can only see more and more cases like Brazil. She would not be weak, not for their sake.
COMBATSYS: Leona has joined the fight here.
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Heidern 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Leona
For a moment, Heidern just stands tall, staring across the room at Leona through his one good eye - watching her movements, noticing the change in her stance, watching for any signs she hasn't been keeping up on her training. This is an opportunity to make sure Leona is at the top of her game for the war to come - and Heidern is certain there will be a war. There's no way for the planet to reverse it's path - there must be resolution.
"There will be blood, Leona..." he whispers, shaking his head as he moves his eyes downward, for just a moment.
When his gaze comes back up, Heidern rockets into action - his long, olive-drab trenchcoat suddenly off his torso and being tosses across the room at Leona.
Behind the article of clothing, Heidern moves swiftly - hoping to see if Leona is quick enough to respond, to spot the distraction for what it is, and to focus on the attack coming BEHIND it.
Once he's cleared the distance between the two of them - his long, Austrian stride carrying him quickly across the safe-room-turned-training-area - he moves to the right, spinning around the thrown trenchcoat and opening the spar with a wide, sweeping overhead kick - aiming a knee at his daughter's shoulder.
He may not be Father of the Year in terms of niceties, but at least he's not aiming for her head - even still, the speed and determination of his movements make it clear he intends to push Leona in this match. They ALL have to be at the top of their game, if any of them hope to survive the coming weeks.
COMBATSYS: Leona blocks Heidern's Steiner Gale.
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Heidern 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Leona
A clever feint, but Leona is steady and attentive. She isn't feeling the rush of blood, the itch under her skin of the Orochi power tugging at her insides. She is in the moment and focused on the moment in time. When Heidern comes around the jacket, she moves her shoulder, sets her arm and squares her stance. The hit comes, and she moves with it. Rolling with the blow, keeping close, staying on the in-fight. Her hand lashes out, a whiplike strike with a knife's edge. A quick, snakelike strike as taught to her by her father. Not to throw everything into the first assault, but to gauge and establish a pace of the fight. A testing engagement of her father.
COMBATSYS: Heidern blocks Leona's Jab Punch.
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Heidern 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Leona
"Good," grumbles Heidern semi-approvingly as he catches the blow with his forearm, distributing the force along the limb - he barely budges beyond the swift motion necessary to block the attack. Even so, he can feel Leona's strength even when holding back - and he's been careful to teach all his soldiers not to over-extend themselves in combat.
"You haven't lost your edge, soldier," he says - voice firm and professional, not betraying any familiarity between the two. There's a time for familial affection (rarely), and a time for seriousness. This is, obviously, the latter. He takes a quick half-jump backwards - opening up some space between the pair, and giving Heidern more of an opportunity to watch Leona's stance, to observe the way she translates tactical knowledge into a fighting situation. There may not be grades passed out at the end of it, but Heidern still regards her with the eyes of a teacher, waiting to be impressed by a student.
"Soldiers die when they over-extend themselves," he comments calmly, one gloved hand moving up to slick his black hair back and to the side. He's still holding that beret in one hand, as he gestures his daughter forward with the other.
COMBATSYS: Heidern calculates his next move.
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Heidern 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 Leona
No words from Leona. She watches, keeping on her back foot, arm out in a check position. She sees it's her time to strike. Move forward, down, up into the air. She vaults as high as the limited ceiling will allow, taking a route she considers unexpected for the interior location. A close in turn in the air, her heel coming down at Heidern. She is barely one to talk when she's not in a fight. Now that she's focused, she's silent. But if anything, here is where she feels most at ease. Even if Heidern isn't showing familiarity with her, the fact that he is respecting her, pushing, testing her limits and understanding of what is inside of her, that is all the familiy she can ask for. One willing to trade blows for the good of each other, and with an understanding.
COMBATSYS: Leona successfully hits Heidern with Strike Arch.
-*- DEVASTATING HIT! -*-
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Heidern 0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0 Leona
That silence. That determination. That will. That sense of strength, underneath the exterior. It's the same traits that made Heidern take note of the girl in her youth, and if he hadn't seen those things... well, it's unlikely he'd ever let himself get attached to someone who DIDN'T have that strength again. He knows what it's like to lose his family; and he's raised his 'daughter' to be able to handle herself...
If he were the type for gratuitous shows of fatherly pride, he'd likely be grinning ear-to-ear even as he takes Leona's heel firmly to the right shoulder - the impact enough to drop him down onto one knee momentarily. THERE'S the girl he raised.
Without so much as a word he lunges upwards, attempting to grab Leona about the waist as he rises back up to his feet. If he manages to connect with his grab, he'll carry her up off the floor and back down onto it headfirst in a brutal suplex maneuver. Assuming, of course, the resourceful soldier he raised from childhood doesn't elude his grasping arms.
COMBATSYS: Heidern successfully hits Leona with Critical Drive.
-*- DEVASTATING HIT! -*-
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Heidern 0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1 Leona
Perhaps hitting the strike so well caused a delay. Perhaps the fears inside of her of letting go are holding her back in some way. Perhaps it's just that her father is still that far ahead of her in raw skill, but after she lands, Leona is helpless to do anything as she's bodily raised and hammered into the ground. Her world a blast of stars and a rush of blood.
She rolls to her feet, free again, and stands crouched, low to the ground, a steady, staring assassin's look in her eyes. From the position, her arms spark to life. Her arms come up in a flash. They cross in front of her and with a slashing motion, she brings to light a ball of energized air. The power within her creating a sphere of slashing, angry ki energy. She's not out of this fight yet.
COMBATSYS: Heidern just-defends Leona's Voltaic Launcher EX!
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Heidern 0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1 Leona
"I'm pleased to see you don't hold back," says Heidern - taking the moment to quickly regain his footing after the vicious suplex, "even against me."
By this time, it's clear what Leona is up to - Heidern not moving in to interrupt her attack... not that there would be time to do so, given the speed of his daughter. No, instead he has to deal with the attack in a different manner.
"This future.." he says gruffly, slashing up and across the front of his body with body his arms - creating a wave of blue energy that immediately begins to be tested by Leona's blast of energy. Heidern grits his teeth behind his makeshift shield, concentrating on keeping out the chi energy, keeping up his defenses.
"..has no place..", he continues as he weathers the storm, the chi finally beginning to let up just as his own energy defenses begin to give way under the attack.
"...for mercy!" he finishes, as the waves of energy dissapate in front of him - revealing the Ikari General to be completely unhurt by the massive burst Leona had unleashed. He explodes forward, one hand attempting to grab hold of Leona's right wrist and keep her in place, while his other hand lashes out with a swift, gloved backhand across her face.
"Trying our hardest.. it's not enough anymore!"
COMBATSYS: Heidern successfully hits Leona with Jab Punch.
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Heidern 0/-------/--=====|=======\===----\1 Leona
Leona turns to block into Heidern's approach, but he's already gauged her. He grabs her arm and delivers a belting blow across her face. She lurches to the side with a grunt, her high ponytail waving back and forth, almost coming loose. Her eyes open, she doesn't move. She feels the itch within her. Her lip curls into a smile and she starts to laugh. "No mercy for the killers of villages?" she asks, lips curling back to a rictus grin as he wrist turns to hold onto Heidern's. Her free hand lighting up into a blade of crackling, angry power as she turns upwards to drive into her own father's chest with a belting, broken toned laugh.
COMBATSYS: Leona successfully hits Heidern with Leona Blade EX.
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Heidern 0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Leona
Nodding firmly, Heidern shows his teeth in a grin for the very first time since he's set foot back in Ikari Headquarters - still the daughter he raised... or was Leona always bound to end up this way, and Heidern was simply there to hurry her along? Either way, it's clear he approves of his adopted child's warrior spirit - if anything, she seems perhaps more eager than usual. But then, recent events have taken their toll on EVERYONE, including the 'General' himself - he never would allow Ikari discipline among the grunts to get to the point of anyone considering treachery... but, here we are.
At least he still has Leona, Clark and Ralf. THEY would never betray him. They're all he has left, his REAL family - and although he cares for each and every loyal soldier under his command... those three are the foundation which help him bear the heavy load of leadership.
The sudden speed with which Leona strikes takes even the seasoned warrior by surprise - perhaps the meeting with that mysterious man DID awaken something inside her. The C.O. of the Ikaris' grin turns into a momentary frown as he considers the implications of this - also at the thrusting palm launched towards his chest, the crackling blue energy tearing at the front of his uniform and cutting into his steel-like flesh. It's enough, even, to draw blood from the man - as he's pushed back by the sheer impact of the blow, one gloved hand rising to clutch at the wound on his chest as he stares.
There's a moment of silence, and then he speaks - his gravelly voice breaking the tense atmosphere of the room; "Not... bad," he says, grunting, "Still got that killer instinct yourself, I see," Then, he brings both arms swinging up from his sides in a similar cross-movement to the one Leona employed earlier, sending a blue crescent-shaped blast of energy hurtling towards the blue-haired soldier. "Think fast, soldier!"
COMBATSYS: Leona dodges Heidern's Cross Cutter.
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Heidern 0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0 Leona
Leona laughs when Heidern falls back. She sees red. There's a burning in her. Her grin is distant, separate from her wide, wild eyes. The crescent of energy cuts through the air toward her. She simply turns aside from it, letting it pass her by while she lowers herself. She launches herself forward, laughing brightly when her limb lights up.
She sees no family here. She just sees another thing. A person to hit. To open up. The rush of blood hammering in her ears. Something is indeed awakening inside of her. And so much of her wants to see what's inside of Heidern. Quite literally. She closes in on Heidern, dashing forward. Toward his legs when her arm crosses her body and slashes wide at his legs to cut the man legs clear out from under him.
COMBATSYS: Heidern counters Ground Saber from Leona with Killing Bringer.
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Heidern 1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0 Leona
"Good!" comes the shout of approval from Heidern as Leona deftly manuevers around the crescent wave of energy. He might be known as a disciplinarian and all around gruff and unapologetic C.O., but he still believes in recognizing skill when it's called for. Particularly when it's a show of skill by the very person he spent years and years of his life training, personally. The satisfaction of a job well done.
As his daughter comes rushing towards him, the General imperceptibly shifts his stance - his one good eye narrowing as time seems to slow, analyzing the young woman's every step towards him, the slightest tic from her muscles, the littlest hint towards her intentions...
And there it is. Grunting to himself as he spots her next move, Heidern lashes out into action - right palm leading the way forward as he meets Leona mid-stride. Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense - and so he lashes out before his daughter even has the chance to sweep out her leg.
Catching her in the stomach with his deadly palm - Heidern, however, DOESN'T thrust his razor-sharp hand INTO the woman's flesh. Instead, he just grips her stomach firmly, fingers pressing into her midsection as he saps the energy from her very body.
"It's enough, Leona.." he says, using her name instead of 'soldier' for the first time in the fight, whispering as he holds her close in his deadly grasp - letting up on her stomach somewhat as he does so, "You've proven yourself. I don't need another soldier laid up; especially not my best."
He seems to be giving her an out, though he still holds her close - in case the soldier decides she hasn't quite proven her point yet.
Leona belts out, her laugh discordant when Heidern cuts through her wild, unfocused approach. "No mercy!" she calls out, punctuating her broken snarling and laughter. She hangs from Heidern's arm like a puppet with its strings cut. Her hand moves toward the explosive hanging from her ear.
But she doesn't activate it. "Leona." Her name spoken to her, whispered to her. Her hand falls and she falls forward against her father. Her hands come up to grip at his arms. She clutches at him. She doesn't cry. She doesn't sob. She just goes still and stares at the floor, her mouth hanging open slightly. She is still and nearly limp for a long moment, and then she starts to shiver wordlessly against Heidern, her commanding officer, her father.
COMBATSYS: Leona has left the fight here.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Someone who knows Heidern well, who is watching closely enough, might notice a moment of concern crossing over his eyes as he stares at Leona, captured on the other end of his arm. Something IS different, he notes mentally - reminding himself to look into this 'mysterious man' as soon as possible. There may be something TO this 'blood connection', other than cryptic talk and mystery.
Something real. Something, perhaps, dangerous. He's seen that look in his daughter's eyes before, and he knows that while it can drive her on with greater strength than others are capable of... it can also be a destructive force, to everything around her.
He noticeably relaxes as his arm is clutched, a concerned look coming across his previously neutral face. There's a moment's pause as the woman trembles against him, and then he releases her midsection - secure in the knowledge that he's facing his daughter, and not... that other thing.
Reaching out with both arms, he grabs his daughter in a rare, firm embrace.
"Whatever you do, my daughter..." he says, his voice rough and hoarse as he stares down at the top of Leona's head, "Don't let go, don't give in to your blood."
He doesn't say it outloud, but it's surely understood... if the time came where Leona had to be taken down, permanently... Heidern would be incapable of doing so.
"It's over, kiddo," he says softly, patting her hair and grabbing her shoulders to hold her at arm's length - watching her face with concern, "It's over... It's okay..."
COMBATSYS: Heidern has ended the fight here.
Log created on 15:02:15 10/28/2017 by Heidern, and last modified on 19:08:55 10/28/2017.