Taishokan - Yukar #2: The Lost Fang

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Description: A story of choice and consequence and the lengths one might go to reclaim what was lost. A reminder that not every step for good is rewarded with success. Sometimes, the way can be quite long.

In spite its name, Mount Osore is less a mountain and more a wide, flat valley of ashen grey amidst a ring of unwelcomingly sharp mountain crags. A grey blue lake, its surface unearthly still, occupies much of the caldera of the long dormant volcano, while the rest of the region consists of rocky, uninhabitable stone, pebbles, and dust. During the day, a persistent layer of thick, low cloud cover lingers overhead, washing out shadows and leaving the entire locale feeling unnaturally stifled. At night, a deathly stillness settles over the valley.

Steam vents, boiling pools of sulfuric acid, and an almost complete lack of life signs likely contribute to the idea that this region is one of the few remaining active gates to the underworld in the world. Spend a night choking on its fumes or listening to the sound of silence along its bone dust trails, and it becomes difficult to not be a believer.

There is one haven from the bleakness of Mount Dread, however - a Buddhist temple - Bodai-ji - situated near the entrance, established well over a millennia ago and still maintained even into this modern day. For some, it is a tourist site, for others a place to hold memorial for the spirits of loved ones lost. For one, it is a stopping point along the way, a shelter to recover her strength before the final leg.

The night was spent conversing with the monks that house the temple and they provided the young traveler with a place to stay in exchange for the fascinating stories she shared well past sunset. When she left the grounds the next day, it is difficult to discern the time of day. As ever, the thick, grey haze conceals the sun, leaving the ambient light feeling flat and lifeless. Once the young looking pilgrim from the past steps past the temple gates and descends further into the valley of bone, she soon becomes the only splash of color against the grey gloom.

The robe she wears is white, pristine but for where trail dust gathers around the lower hem. A crimson and azure geometric pattern borders the ankle length garment, the reds matching the red of her well worn, soft leather moccasins, the blues reminiscent of the sharp, steel blue of her eyes. At a low crest in the path, she pauses, eyes sweeping across the valley for as far as she can see. She knows it well, even though it has been over two hundred years since her feet last passed this way. It was here heroes gathered from around the world to face a threat common to them all. No region was too far, no nation safe from the corruption that was seeping into the crust of the Earth from this very broken place.

%She closes her eyes briefly, a moment of silence for the fallen. Not all the heroes who stepped foot within this dominion of the dead survived. Every step forward was paid for in blood as walls of demons, undead, and horrors unimaginable exacted the ultimate toll from many of those who were willing to sacrifice everything to save their homelands.

Nakoruru continues deeper into the mists, eyes glancing over landmarks that would hold no meaning to the living, yet mean everything to her. There she sees the spot where the powerful Wan-Fu, a royal rule of China, stood tall and mighty, his muscular body shielding her from the bone raking claws of undead hordes, allowing the swordsman Haohmaru and herself to continue deeper toward Mizuki's hidden shrine. When she glances toward a narrow space between two tall rocks, she prevent the memory of Neinhalt Sieger's valiant last stand, the Prussian knight wrestling with a titan of youkai, his left arm already shattered, his right encased in a mighty war gauntlet. When Mizuki was at last slain, and the few survivors limped their way out of this hellish place, the knight's body was a broken mass of bone and blood. His remains were returned to the European land he so boldly died for.

Shaking her head, the ebony haired swordswoman sighs softly. The air is cold, winter settles in early in this region, but for one who's veins flow with the blood of the Ainu, it will have to get far colder yet before she would know discomfort.

All around her, echoes of the desperate war against Mizuki Rashojin and the unfathomable darkness known only as Ambrosia ring in her ears, the shouts, the cries of pain, and the death rattles of the fallen still fresh to one who lived the horrors.

She never thought to return here. As expected, the scars linger, the memories painful. But Kamui Kanna - the Lord of Thunder himself - sent her this way. To what purpose, she cannot even begin to imagine. Is it a test? A trial to see if she could face the harrowing memories that flood to the surface of her thoughts now? Or is there another reason the True Stormbringer Dragon has sent nature's young avatar into such a desolate place?

Sighing softly, Nakoruru reaches behind her waist with her right hand, fingers closing over the grip of her sheathed short blade to make sure that the weapon sits loose and ready to draw.

Finally, she holds her right arm out to her side, bent at the elbow, "Mamahaha!" she calls out, her voice sounding small in the dampening fog. The beat of great wings seems to come from afar at first, but then draws near, before the feathered shape dives down through the haze and settles, her sharp talons gripping the white wrist guard the falconeer wears on both forearms.

A gentle beast is paid the great hawk now perched on her arm as Nakoruru resumes her journey deep into the caldera, passing fumaroles and boiling mudpots as she goes. "I suppose," she states quietly to her sharp beaked friend. "I am not the only survive from that time. Thank you for your company, friend."

She leaves the small clearing, taking the old hidden path that curves around the lake, her feet taking her ever closer to the place she remembers only in her most grievous nightmares.

The energy of Nakoruru's lost sword has been all but lost after being thefted. Someone, quite competent, appears to have greatly suppressed it despite being activated. A trail of wayward breadcrumbs, made all the harder by requirements to double back and investigate what seemed to be dead ends once more. If not for the whispers of her primal gods, it could be a hopeless quest... if it not already is. That such lead to the vicinity of this particular area might bode ill. Her weapon, after all, is one of the most ancient and potent relics when it comes to protection of the natural world. An area of such pained nostalgia, as well, testing the avatar's resolve...

Yet nearing the ancient caldera, Nakoruru might find a chilling sight. Four poles have been sunk into the stone near the constantly hissing fires that boil within. Tapping into the powerful magic of the place, it has created a shimmering portal; one into the tomb of a long-sealed horror. Supposedly an ancient being that devoured worlds, bound centuries past by the scarcely successful efforts of the nation's greatest hunters and sealers. The arts to prepare such are known to very few... let alone the knowledge of what lays beneath... 'Osorezen', a place of power thought to be one of the nearest to Hell.

Were she to peer within, amongst the broken green rocks pulsating with power far below, she would see a figure in a dark grey cloak. He is pointing Nakoruru's sword towards the orange and purple shrine with sigiled gauze-bound arms with golden armor across the forearms, pointing it at the great monolithic eye. Arcs of energy are whirling around, licking the massive figure, as malignant energy seems to build up.

This person... they are trying to damage the seal!! Yet more troubling might be that her sword should only even be useable by a pure-blooded Ainu, someone who's bloodline is tied deeply to the earth and nature spirits...? Yet this heavy miasma, this cloak of demons, is so dense and heavy that the hapless buried soul of her brethrin might be almost impossible to see amidst the countless shadows, shackled and sleeping in this nest of foulness...

Her footsteps slow as she gets deeper into the misty region, the dread the caldera is known for worming its way into her heart. Of course she knows she will not find Mizuki Rashojin there, the beautiful miko who fell to depravity in a single moment of careless hubris. For those who wrestle daily against the machinations of demons, there is no moment of reprieve, a chance to let down one's guard... not even for an instant. This was the lesson Mizuki learned too late, becoming the unwitting tool of Ambrosia itself. And for that mistake, thousands died and the world of the late eighteenth century was shaken.

But that was so long ago. Now, only memories could possibly exist. Memories, and ghosts of fallen friends and allies.

But as she gets closer, that uneasy sense that there is more than the past waiting ahead of her becomes stronger with each step. And then finally, she stands at the ledge, looking down to where the hidden shrine was built so long ago. The place she drove her sacred sword into the heart of her erstwhile friend, Mizuki, and put an end to the dark calamity.

The look of confusion on her gentle features is immediate. There shouldn't be anyone here. And there DEFINITELY shouldn't be any dark powers being channeled, or her heirloom blade of the mountain, or the gauze-wrapped stranger. For a moment, she pauses, eyes flashing over the sight before she blinks, then scrutinizes it a second time. This isn't an echo, a memory, or an illusion?

Has taken her sacred fang.
And is using it to break the mighty seal.

By instinct, she wants to reach for the blade at her back. But for the moment, the great hawk still occupies her right forearm, the feathered sentinel studying the same sacrilegious sight as the young swordswoman. Whoever this is, he has gone to great lengths, securing her sword, and setting up this ritual - a ritual that is by no means basic in its execution to say the least. One false step and it could very well consume the cloaked channeler himself.

Slowly, her study shifts from the apostate responsible for this heinous atrocity to come to rest on the eye itself. Not only is the man dangerously competent, he is on the verge of succeeding.

Her eyes blink back to her precious relic - the Chichiushi - the blade of obligation for generations of warrior priests before her. She was the last of her family to take it up just over two centuries ago and when she answered nature's beckon to sleep, it was with her... or so she thought. When she awoke just prior to the great and abominable tournament of Mortal Kombat, it wasn't with her. She can scarcely imagine the path it has gone to bring it to this point, not does she hardly care.

Her arm flicks up a little, sending the bird to flight, as she leaps down, landing softly on her feet in the unhallowed crater. "You are hardly the first to meddle in dark matters here." Her right hand slips behind her back, fingers closing readily over the grip of her kodachi - a borrowed blade from a pure maiden, it has yet to ever claim the life of another. Perhaps this is the day that legacy changes.

Its pommel is icy cold to her fingers. "Why, brother," she asks, calling him by the only moniker that makes sense. That he can send energy down her weapon's glimmering blade tells it all. Through his veins courses the blood of her nearly extinct people. She studies him, her gaze piercing, her voice soft yet not drown out by the churning energies.

"Why would you try to release that which legends past died to lock away?"

She asks the question, but she is not here simply to implore by word of mouth. Slowly, she draws her kodachi, a hiss escaping the sheath as mist broils out from around the weapon, spilling from the sheath and flowing off its edge as partially transparent curtains.

"I don't understand... but this will be your only chance to desist." Her expression reflects an intense, underlying resolve, not quite anger, yet not quite compassion or mercy either. "And then you will return to me my sword."

In claiming the sword as her own, she is claiming to have stepped literally out of legends. The old story singers of the Ainu would speak of her - Nakoruru, nature's chosen, champion of the wilds and protector of her people. An audacious claim to be certain, even if her garb, her pale skin, and her blue eyes match the identity of one of Kamui's people from the north. For the stories of Nakoruru have her passing from this existence over two centuries ago...

This must be why Raiden sent her here. This is the next step along her way to following the will of the Kamui and in arming herself with nature's power. Putting an end to the ill intent of this lost brother, however, is no less important a matter.

Observing this strange person, Nakoruru's first thought might be a fallen sealer as well. Only there's something strange about the energy surrounding him. There's some untold, endless series of demons locked within, so many dense and myriad forms that they are difficult to isolate alone at all. One seems to be spread, like a spider's web, the proverbial head of this chimera. And indeed, deep within, is a somehow untainted soul, trapped, locked, buried far out of sight. Sleeping. An Ainu brother, pure and true.

"...Oh? You... I know that scent..." A male voice, deep yet still young. Yet there's a cadence to it, as if the one who uses it is somehow more sinister. "The hypocrisy of nature, am I right...? Creatures like me... we are born natural, as any other... but in your judgement, you deem us worthy only of destruction..." There's no doubt, she speaks not with someone of her near-dead lineage. But something else. Something old, like her.

"Is that... mist? How nostalgic. I haven't been able to use that power... since being trapped in this shell. Well." Suddenly the stolen Chichiushi seethes, covered in a thin taint of purple soul energy. Crackles of energy from the two nearby orbs shoot out and contact it, before Makai suddenly hurls the weapon through the air.

"...It seems your pity was ill-suited. Is it because..." He turns his head, revealing the crimson oni mask, purple essence seething from the empty sockets. "...I wear the skin of your people? Oh great Nakoruru." He speaks this with derision. He knows what his host knows, but even before then, words of the silent fang haunted him when he roved the lands, far weaker, far smaller.

The spiraling sword impacts the central eye, impaling the fetus. Makai has fled far to the side, as the air roars and howls with the energy of Hell once bent on sealing, yet now betraying those ancient guards. Suddenly a great pulse of energy thrums within; blood pours out, crimson tears running down, as the writhing demonoid shape within begins to shriek. "Taishokan... does that name mean anything to you? The beast from Mortal Kombat is not the only one capable of devouring worlds... so powerful was he, in ancientmost time, the Elder Gods themselves descended to strike him down in mass. Only his severed head survived... and still, when it awoke... greatly weakened, and at a fraction of his strength... this very world quaked and rumbled, barely restrained with the most desperate of measures..."

The iris begins to crack and break away, before something seems to press out of the hole. A great eye, perhaps fifteen feet around; sickening grayish-yellow skin surrounds the majority, forming bloodshot lids before the single crimson iris. The sword is impaled on the middle as it struggles and shudders, pulling against the remaining bindings of the ancient seal. Long lashes, like a sea of spears, thrust out above and below those lids. A few droplets fall down; splashing on the ground, hissing and sending up horrific gouts of mist, eating away at it immediately.

"Eye of Taishokan...!! My name is... well. Of little importance. I offer you wholeness. I offer you rebirth!! The Elder Gods might intervene if you try and feast on this plane again... but annihilating every living being on this planet... something so mundane is far beneath their notice!!"

With a last struggle, the massive floating eyeball rips free. Looming high, dark shadow cast down over Nakoruru. It's squinting and tearing up from the sword lodged in its eye, but slowly swivels down to peer between the pair. And then focusing on the maiden herself.

"Begin your vengeance... on one of those related to the fearful humans that locked you away!!" Makai then hefts up his hands, and a great bolt of purple lightning flashes out, hitting the eye. Immediately Makai collapses, having sent a great amount of energy into the weakened vessel... before the Eye of Taishokan seems to bulge out, crimson veins throbbing upon the white planes of its eye, black blood continuing to seep from the embedded sword...!!

COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan has started a fight here as a boss!

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COMBATSYS: Nakoruru has joined the fight here in the center.

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                 Nakoruru         0|-------|------=

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru is empowered by Nature's Fury!

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|------=

Judged a hypocrite by the voice that appears to control the hidden swarm, Nakoruru's eyes narrow slightly. "A simple defense," she replies softly. The feathered predator she brought with her hovers above and slightly behind the young woman, contending with the currents to maintain her lofty position with ease. "But when an infection runs rampant, nature provides the cure. It is balance she seeks; the very balance you and your kin will ruin if unchecked."

Her steel-blue eyes flick to the sword of her calling, passed to her after her father fell in battle. In taking it up, she accepted the mantle of Kamui's Chosen. Yet here the divine instrument is; being put to use to vile ambitions. Eyes widen as power surges into the sacred edge. Is she too late to stop the rite, then? She starts forward, left hand outstretched, only to hesitate when he turns toward her.

"Skin stealer," she spites with distaste. Within the multifaceted psyche is a lone soul of one who must surely be experiencing anguish in its purest form. As a child of the Kamui, and a sealer no less, he must know perhaps more than most the utter sacrilege his body is being forced to comment. "What was his name." she demands, extending her right hand to point her borrowed kodachi's blade toward him.

Mamahaha cries out as the blade of Nature's Wrath pierces into the grotesque image, its razor's edge allowing it to sink deep, and Nakoruru turns to look toward the point of impact, her body tensing even further, winds whipping about her body, sending her long, ebony hair to twirling at her back, the flaps of her robe smacking against her pant covered legs. Her left hand lifts to keep her hair from blowing over her face as she turns her shoulder into the wind and looks up at the bleeding crack that shouldn't be.

The next pulse is nearly deafening as ancient seals are stressed, nearing the breaking point, but still the desecrator is heard above it all and the young woman's face pales then braces, arms moving just enough to keep her balance as the earth itself trembles at the horrid awakening, the great eye tearing free, little by little, of the timeless bindings that had held it in place. And there, embedded in its iris, is her sword, nature's fang, the Chichiushi.

The sword maiden takes a few steps back at first as the controlling demon welcomes the horror back into the plane of Earth, undoing countless ancient bindings with the ritual complete. "You..." she gasps softly, fingers tightening on her gripped blade. The time to strike is now, while it is still weak, barely emerged from its sepulcher. "What have you done-"

He isn't finished, the Swarm Lord unleashing bolts of crackling energy, infusing the newly awoken nightmare with enough energy to get by on.

Teeth grit tightly as she whirls, kicking up ashen dust as she faces the hovering monstrosity. "I will deal with you in a moment." Right now, she must stop the disembodied eye from coming to whatever passes for its senses... and she must get her sword back before it tries to flee into the grey haze covering the desecrated site.

"Mamahaha!" she exclaims, knees bending slightly before she springs into the air even as her great hawk glides into position, giving the featherweight girl a taloned leg to grab onto with her left hand, before springing forward into a falling arc, twisting so that her right side faces the eye, her sword arm swinging from low to high with a reverse grip on her misty blade.

The intent is clear enough - a potentially deep gouge into the demonic iris as she falls, gashing its surface open even if that means spilling more of its acrid fluid!

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Eye of Taishokan with Power Strike.

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                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|-----==

"Nature. What is nature to you, woman?" the panting Makai states from his perch on high, arms limp before him as he crouches almost inhumanly to peer, wreathed in shadows beyond the crimson of his mask. "You speak of infection. But it is those diseases, the insects, that truly own this world. How can you claim to be the embodiment of Nature's path, when you are so keen to cut off something born true in this world...?!"

At the question of his name, just a lean shrug. "Masaru, I think. He was Makai for the Ametsuchi clan. His people protected as vassals. Such a sad story. One cannot build a nest of hornets and become upset when eventually they rise against you..."

The transformation causes some amount of curiosity from Makai, who tilts his head sideways to look towards Nakoruru. So this is her true power...? How interesting. It's not a dissimilar technique from his own...!

The eyeball, still disoriented and partially blinded, still moves rapidly. An attempt to hover up and backwards fails, the speed that the eye moves remarkable. The blade tears deep into transparent tissue, slithering up against the crimson iris. There's somehow a shriek, appearing to emanate from the beast entirely, as opposed to from anything remotely mouth-like. Lids clamp shut, closing around the embedded sword, as it twists back and forth, spraying blood and tears to hiss and sizzle on the ground. And then suddenly there's a sickening noise, as countless nerves and blood vessels erupt from behind it. They sway in the air slowly, dripping blood, throbbing and pulsating audibly. The eye snaps open once more, staring intently at Nakoruru... before suddenly the eye shoots down low, running just barely above the ground. A vast wall of homing white flesh, trying to thump against the girl and drive her back... before flicking those lashes, stiff and hard as tree limbs, to bowl her on her back.

And then lunge up, to begin repeatedly thumping it's squishy weight upon her in obvious rage!!

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru blocks Eye of Taishokan's Ocular Buttling.

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                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|----===

The Ametsuchi family name is hardly unknown to her, their legacy dating back to far older times than when she walked the earth as a mortal girl. In his simple answer, much is explained - the unorthodox sealing techniques known among those who placed their lives on the line to hold back the tide of youkai. Times have changed and no longer does every rustic village need worry of being lost to a stampede of demons unchecked... but that doesn't mean the war ever end. Not like it ever could.

Nakoruru's slash cuts deep, severing the moist flesh of the seeping eye. But she saw its reaction to her swift assault - it began to move almost before she did, as if anticipation, glimpsing just that split second into the future and trying to act accordingly.

As she lands with a soft step, she sweeps her sword out to the side, sending droplets of that burning fluid scattering along the ground, each forming its own small tendrils of smoke as it sinks into the dust. To look upon the young warrior with eyes far from mundane is to see something unusual indeed. Unlike the myriad of trapped spirits within the shell of poor Masara, she is definitely a singular being. Yet to say that her nimble body harbors a soul is only true in the sense that one might say the wild forest itself has a soul.

Nature's will incarnate, she moves with the wind, the mighty hawk beating wings backward to reposition herself away from close proximity with the hovering abomination. But now she has the eye's full focus, such as it can possibly be around the blade protruding from its iris, and Nakoruru is forced to defend herself against a most unexpected tactic as the acid weeping ocular organ surges straight for her, attempting to barrel her over and crush her?

Then again, looking at the thing pragmatically, it does seem bereft of many options more complicated than this rather brute force approach.

Nakoruru begins escaping backward even as it surges. Now that it zips along the ground, the magnitude of his size compared to the diminutive sword maiden is difficult to comprehend. That this monstrosity is but the eye of a much larger danger is a startling thought. Her retreat keeps her from being crushed by the impact, though she is forced to brace behind her blade, left palm against the flat of her sword as she is driven back, feet digging grooves in the ash colored sediment that covers the crater floor.

The sweep of trunk-like lashes would be enough to completely take her off her feet if she was not already moving with them, pressing out with her feet to kick off the uprising ebony tendrils to take to the air, a soft hiss of breath escaping her lips from the jarring ascent, the evasive maneuver enough to spare her any risk of being steam pressed to pulp against the ground.

Already airborne, she needn't utter a sound for Mamahaha to swoop into position, moving on instincts shared with Nature's Warrior. The transition from retreat to offense happens in an instant, her left hand gripping Mamahaha's leg just like in the previous attack... Only this time instead of needing to spring forward, Nakoruru dives from the sky directly for the top of the Eye of Taishokan!

Flipping forward, she thrusts her sword out in front of her, a vibrant aura of chi issuing out from around the sword like a cone of rainbow colored fire.


Her trajectory would take her into an angled piercing of the eye's top-side flesh, a surge of purifying chi accompanying the violent slash. Her own course would to continue down at that tumultuous angle, sliding along the round and kicking up a new cloud of dust hopefully swiftly enough to avoid getting struck in the back.

COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan blocks Nakoruru's Kamui Mutsube.

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                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|----===

Makai seems to have no interest in getting involved; he appears weakened, but not so much that he's harmless. If he's truly on the side of this peculiar eye, then shouldn't he be trying to intercede on it's behalf? Those strange tenebrous nerves flit around and grasp the hilt of the sword after momentarily dismissing Nakoruru. That it wishes to be free of it is clear, but despite flexes of power likely magnitudes beyond the nature maiden, it doesn't budge. Can it really be stuck so deeply? Something seems strange about it's energy still, and the great broken womb of it's prison remains surging with power, rather than diffusing into the surrounding area as might be expected...

"Taishokan is not it's true name... this is the eye of the King of Oni himself, one of the original and most powerful Spirit Kings. He scoured his land so bereft of chi, that he tore open dimensions to devour others...! Hahaha! He was foolish, to not realize for all it's richness, this world is SPECIAL...!!"

The eye twitches, glancing at Makai a moment with obvious sentience and understanding. How can it even hear? Still, this gives it a moment's weakness. Yet it's defense is mundane. The eyelids close once more, shimmering with a pulse of blue energy. Her sword impacts it firmly, but seems not to bite within, that inhuman skin -- thin though it is -- reinforced by a monstrous battery of energy.

Yet the eye remains closed for a few moments, trembling. Clear liquid hisses and sizzles, seeping out amongst the lashes. And then the lid *FLICKS* open; and heavily chi-imbued acidic secretions flare out in surprising quantity, descending in a heavy blanket to try and literally splash upon the maiden. Flesh and clothing might be at risk, as the ground begins to dissolve into an unholy sluge, roaring pillars of dense smoke billowing up the moment it makes contact...!!

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru fails to reflect Acid Rain from Eye of Taishokan with Kamui Rimse EX.

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                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|-----==

Sliding to a stop, Nakoruru whirls back around, the core of her back and forth fighting style already becoming clear as she leverages her mobility to keep the much larger foe struggling to keep up. The words of the eye's benefactor are certainly heard by the young woman fighting to contain the freshly awoken horror, but her focus is on the eye itself, finding it still closed when she turns to face it, her blade still drawn even as the wreath of multi-hued chi fades, becoming briefly a transparent prism-like field of energy then vanishing all together.

Faced with a giant eye of uncertain ability but more than certain thinking capability, she hesitates. Could she even carve through its protective lid? Perhaps - though not without some effort if her last glancing scrape against its surface membrane is anything to judge by. But closed as it is, seeping burning liquid along its lashes, she pauses for a fleeting moment to reconsider an approach.

"Then why would you want it loose?!" she finally exclaims back at the crimson masked man. "You have to live in this world too. What home is a planet of ash and fire?!"

The eyelid opens with a sudden surge of movement, vicious acid flung into a wide spray before it with the sword maiden directly in its path! Turning toward the right, her left hand snaps out, wrist flicking, and unfurling as if from nothing is a large, vibrant sheet of cloth with a crimson border similar to her long robe.

The Kamui Rimse, a second sacred artifact bestowed on her the day she accepted her burden at such a young age. It ripples with an intense concentration of pure energy, free of the corruption that fills the air all around her, and with the sound of a whip cracking, she manages to scatter aside many of the droplets aimed her way.

But even in success, she is overcome by the volume of acid pouring down around her, the second wave of the burning drops splashing against her before she can snap the cloak back the other way. A sharp cry of alarm rings out as she recoils, thick acid splashing against the girl even as she scrambles backward in a desperate attempt to escape the cesspool of tears blending with the ashen dust to form a deadly mud and noxious mist.

The splash points are abundantly clear, from where her right wrist guard melts away, leaving burned skin along her forearm, or where the left shoulder of her robe blackens then slips, her sleeve falling free. A thick splotch on her right leg burns through her thick robe and the once-white pants beneath to hiss as the flesh of her thigh is suddenly subjected with agonizing pain.

Stumbling into a scramble to desperately gain some distance, she wraps the white cloak around her, hooding her head beneath its cover. It is not enough to undo the damage already inflicted, but its curative properties are already serving to neutralize the acid that lingers on her burnt form, attempting to reduce it to harmless water instead. Lacking such a healing artifact, the risk that it would simply continue to burn her to the bone is strong, and even now she limps, favoring her left leg.

"Oh? So when a creature like this threatens it, suddenly a monster like me can claim it's his world?! Hah! The Taishokan will devour all life... and by that, I mean the ENERGY of life. Creatures like me, beasts of corrupted power... we'll repopulate what is left of the world, scraped clean by appetite of a greater being..." Makai exhales slowly through the mask, seeming to have fully regenerated. Strange; it's as if he's drawn the power of those countless entities within himself, focusing it and thrumming such through his being. His own combat abilities are nearly impossible to fathom, like trying to determine how mighty an ant hive might be, but...

As Nakoruru staggers backwards, the festering acid continuing to hiss and burn, she will find amidst the wild lights of this power-saturated plane, a great shadow suddenly casts over her. The great eye has shifted through the air and settled in front of her, lids wide. Impaled iris narrowing like a cat into a mere slit, the myriad tendrils and optic nerves splaying out behind. Then, beams and motes of energy begin to condense, whirling in streams and flashes, building up not only it's own inner powers, but that of the surrounding area... the ground hums, pulses of pressure and force sending the building mist and rubble scattering away.


COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan begins drawing in lines of power towards its iris!

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [       ||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|-----==

Covered by her draping white cloak, only her face and feet are visible, the young woman a specter of white and crimson as she retreats back from the disembodied ocular organ. The cloth may be doing its work to mitigate some small amount of the damage the last attack inflicted, but the miraculous heirloom is only good for sustained, long term healing. The young sword maiden is left to her own devices to survive the immediate danger.

"Are you so certain," she replies, lifting her face as to be visible beneath the hood of her ameliorating sheet. "That you know the mind of the ancient oni?" A shadow falls and she finds herself face to face with the sealed eye, the girl lowering her body slightly, feet bracing against the ground, her arms moving out to her sides beneath her cloak, causing it to stretch out almost like wings. "You may be old,"

She sucks in her breath briefly, feeling the thrum of building power, the tremble as the earth itself holds its breath in preparation for what the eye might unleash as it opens and calls power to answer its demands. "But the timeless a far harder to predict than you may know." There is a wistful note to her voice, a hint of reflection on personal experience. Few among the living today can claim to have come face to face with many of the eternal beings known as gods.

She sucks in her breath, trapped beneath the piercing glare of the menacing eye as intense power answers its call. There can be no retreat while her own weapon remains embedded. But one glance from the edge of her vision tells her that the masked channeler is looking distressingly strong himself. There can be no fighting the both of them at once, but perhaps there is still a chance to act swiftly enough to wound the newly awoken monstrosity enough to slow it and buy her time to focus on the one that would see it loose?

With a whip of her left arm, she tears the cloak from off her shoulders in a swirl of white, already stepping forward into a dash. She moves as lightning, sprinting through the acidic mud, each footfall finding a safe spot to land.

Within two more steps, she's leaning further forward, her sprint even faster, her torso only a couple feet from the ground. Her blade in hand, Nature's Warrior finally bursts into a fast dash, vibrant energy, so full of life and potential, surging into the length of her kodachi. Her last attack had been against the top of the eye, but this time she is going low, literally seeking to slip beneath it with a grievous chi imbued slash beneath it, hoping to escape the trajectory of whatever power it builds and come out on the other side into a forward roll through the dust, ending up in a low crouch.

The cloak she discarded is left falling through the air at the location the girl was an instant before before it shimmers and collapses into a mote of pink motes of life that quickly sparkle than vanish away, the scent of a crisp Autumn breeze left lingering in the otherwise putrefied air for a fleeting moment.

COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan blocks Nakoruru's Annu Mutsube.

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [         ||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|----===

"I know the desires of spirits, demons and darkstalkers more than you might think." the looming figure states from above, continuing to patiently observe the fight, his attention appearing almost uncomfortably focused on Nakoruru; peering at her very essence and soul, given his dead eyes can take in none of the demonic light. "Yet the eye before you is timeless as well. They say that it's owner existed since the Spirit Realm first pulsed with life, at the time of creation. You should be reverent; are you not one keen on nature as well? This being is truly divine...!!"

The eyeball seems to be giving absolutely no notice towards Makai, or actually any particular reaction to the conversation beyond that earlier telling glance. Yet attempting to feint the eyeball is truly a foolish cause. It seems entirely unfooled, swiveling along with the advance. As the swirls of power form towards it, a shimmering shield of cerulean energy crackles into being, and her weapon rakes across it. It still cuts deep into the fleshy skin beneath the lower lashes, yet a distressingly shallow blow.

And then, suddenly there's a great eruption of power. A condensed beam of raw energy shoots out and impacts the ground a couple meters from Nakoruru. And then the eye swishes, raking it like a laser across the battlefield. A great, meter-deep gouge is disintegrated, striking across the backdrop and destroying ancient stone, worn rope, and dangling seals. Only the craggy shell of the false eye that once contained it remains unscarred by this almost wild attack. Then it shimmers away, as the eye begins to rise higher, now difficult to reach without some athletics able to reach nearly a story...!!

COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan successfully hits Nakoruru with Empowered Impact Laser.
- Power hit! -

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [                    |||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     1|-------|=======

Makai says, "i mean if an oc made something like the eye at r2 i'd be like, wow, you went out of your way to not maximize any of this"

The press of her blade finds no purchase in the shielded surface, the sentient eye responding to her application of chi with an escalation of its own ethereal defenses. A soft cry escapes the young woman's lips as her slash is rebuffed, but her momentum continues forward as intended, converted into a swift forward roll to land in a crouch, left hand buried in ash colored dust. With a blur of motion and a trail of drifting mist, she seals her kodachi back into the sheath behind her waist with a quiet click.

She recognized the response in the hovering threat - that it can move and position faster than almost anyone alive. Considering its gargantuan size, the alacrity with which it pivots to keep aim on the swiftly moving girl is only further testament to the magnitude of power contained within.

And this is merely the eye of the world eater?

Still crouched, she glances over her shoulder, ebony tresses adorned by a crimson ribbon framing her face as she watches. Every muscle in her body is tense, the girl wound up to spring out of the path of the impending attack. She has only seen a limited degree of the great eye's potential attacks which means she will have to decide in an instant the necessary means of escape.

Steel blue eyes don't blink once as the power swells and when it takes its shot, she believes herself ready to escape it, lunging to the side into a roll from where she had been crouching, then moving with the momentum of her attempted escape to her feet in order to sprint perpendicular to the devil eye's expected attack.

What she hadn't anticipated in her attempt to escape, however, was the prolonged nature of its ability to project power at such magnitude. The laser bursts forth, eradicating a patch of ground where she hadn't even been in the first place, before it violently carves a swath across the crater, moving far faster than the sword maiden can hope to sprint.

It blasts her full on in the side right through her center, the destructive energy smashing into the comparatively tiny fighter before completely overcoming her and blasting her out of its path. Any cry of pain would be more than drown out by the sound of earth and stone shattering all around her. A wild, uncontrolled tumble through the air follows as the laser finishes its sweeping path of destruction before she smashes down into the dust and slides several meters. Landing on her side, she rolls once, face down, her arms up near the level of her head, her face hidden, the damage is readily visible on her right side where her robe has been burned through and her skin beneath severely scorched.

Where she a normal fighter, the young avatar may have been unmade in an instant, just as swiftly as the inanimate debris that were pulverized for the lack of a strong enough aura to survive. But even being spared instant dissolution to stray atomic particles, the girl lies still. Overhead, the winged raptor circles, an echoing screech of alarm reverberating off the sunken walls of the hidden arena of desolation, but still Nakoruru shows no signs of movement, the pesky trespasser apparently haven fallen to the demonic blast.

But after the hawk's seventh cry, there is an answering sound that drifts in from the mist. A haunting howl that seems to come from the north, then a moment later from the west, then one from the peaks of the bordering mountain top to the north.

The sound of clawed footprints scraping along the ground echo from every direction in the circling haze until the fog itself begins to coalesce into the figure of a large wolf that stands adjacent to the fallen girl, its large size and thick fur obscuring her from view for a second.

And then a hand comes up over the back of the wolf, fingers gripping its thick fur for support, followed by the young woman that rises to her feet, head bowed slightly. The mist that had gathered scatters as if driven by a brief, fierce gale as Nakoruru lifts her face to glare back at the Eye of Taishokan.

Her eyes burn with wild purple that matches the violet geometric pattern visible along the border of her torn and burned garment. Even the scorched, dusty ribbon in her hair matches the royal purple hue, and about her figure swells an aura of vibrant, living green that seems woefully out of place in this dead caldera.

Her left hand lifts to flick a length of her pitch black hair back over her shoulder while her right arm bends at the elbow, her right hand gripping the pommel of her sheathed blade. The wolf that stands in front of her reaches almost shoulder high on the girl, his face turned toward the demonic organ as well, teeth bared, a deep, reverberating growl at his lips. Though his left eye is closed by a cross-slash scar, his right eye radiates the savage ferocity of a guardian spirit enraged.

"Hmn," Nakoruru muses softly. "What negligence of man would leave such a site unguarded..." A soft sigh escapes her lips, "In a world where bodies are piled like cordwood in the pursuit of crude black ooze... not a single sentinel stood watch over this place of great importance."

The sword at her back is drawn, mist once more slipping from its surface. "No matter... First your pet, then you."

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru unequips Nature's Fury.

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [                       ||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru         1|-------|=======

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru is empowered by Nature's Wrath!

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [                    |||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     1|-------|=======

"...! Tch." Makai actually looks rather upset when the annihilating laser manages to actually strike Nakoruru, the true capabilities of the Eye having been long lost to time and scriptures since being sealed away. One might think the strange possessed Ainu was hoping the embodiment of nature would prevail, an odd thing given he was the one that just released the creature. As the hawk begins to descend, the eye begins twisting and shaking, blinking rapidly in an attempt to dislodge the sword once more. Those grotesque nerves and tendons from behind flitting around to grip the slender hilt as best it can, but all this manages is new gouts of dark black blood and no progress. Behind, the multiple seals and powerful magic continues to crackle and thrum...

Makai watches the encroaching figure, but makes no mention of it. The Eye either does not see, or does not care, making no apparent reaction. Only when there seems to be a different transformation does it stop, pivoting to stare back at Nakoruru. Now there appears to be rage; whatever shift has been made within Nakoruru appears to have angered the ocular beast.

"My, my. How scary. Your aura is immense! I would stand no chance against you in a straight conflict." Makai almost coos down. He can tell, despite such things, that Nakoruru is still badly wounded. Then the eye is floating forward, air billowing behind as the fel power within propels it with surprising speed that belies so much moist white mass. The crackling aura of energy is made manifest once more, as it attempts to slam itself into Nakoruru and her pet, using mass and speed in the most basic fashion; eyes closing at the last moment to better protect itself, beyond the omnipresent hilt that jutts out...!!

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully aids herself with Kamui Sentek.

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [                |||||||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     1|------=|=======

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru full-parries Eye of Taishokan's Threatening Butt!!

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [                |||||||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     1|---====|=======

On her feet, the young woman stands behind the huge wolf, the battle-scarred beast standing in front of her protectively as the last chunks of dislodged rocks and debris rain down around the two. The tension on display when she fought before, that alertness that drove her to flit about the crater in hopes of evading the colossal eye, seems replaced with a dispassionate calm. A brisk wind seems to ripple around her, ruffling clothing that still bears the scorch marks and holes of one who has suffered grievous injury from the monstrosity, but she doesn't move with any of the tender concern for a wounded leg that she demonstrated earlier.

Her short blade drawn, she steps forward, lingering wisps of viridian swirling around her and where they fall against the dust, the ground becomes damp as if having been graced with a drop of life giving water. Her eyes sweep across the summoner, locking on his mask for a long moment as he calls down at her, but after a moment, her gaze locks once more on the infuriated residue of ancient history.

"You should have stayed in your cage," she states, breathing in deeply then exhaling. Blood drips down the white of her robe, seeping into it from the point of impact of the tremendous laser against her side, forming an ever expanding streak of crimson that has started to drip against the ground as she walks forward, approaching the eye without any hint of trepidation.

"A lesson I will be happy to teach you." she continues, her tone shifting, almost an edge of malice in her tone for the silent observer.

The great wolf strides after her, his head lowering only briefly, his nose sniffing at the ground where his ward's blood drips, before his teeth are bared and a deep growl rumbles in his old throat.

The eye attacks, unafraid of the diminutive fighter it has already inflicted so much pain on, but she leans forward to dash in to meet it, her own teeth bared slightly, as if in grim consensus with her canine accomplice.

Like an unchained wrecking ball, the behemoth eye slams down toward its small target in what might be considered a rather questionable tactic perhaps brought on by seething rage rather than ruthless eyeball tactics.


The two move as one, the wolf bounding back even as Nakoruru leaps along with him, her light frame landing on the back of the beast as its legs claw into the crater wall, then press off, launching the two high into the air, a trail of vibrant energy sparkles lingering in the wake of their blurringly fast ascent.

Above the eye is when the girl drops free, falling into a steep dive, sword gripped in both hands, a thick barrier of multihued energy rippling out and around her body, creating the appearance of a rainbow colored meteor plunging for the eyeball's thick top.

The massive target finds itself being attacked from other angles in the same instant, the great hawk diving from an angle toward its exposed nerves and tendrils, its own body equally engulfed in chi. And finally, the wolf, free to move once Nakoruru has disengaged, dives toward the front of the eye, its mouth open, jaws snapping out... and attempting to bite down hard on the pommel of the embedded relic.

Nakoruru's own plunge would hardly end with a single falling stab - and should the eye fail to escape, she would secure a place atop of it, gripping hold with her left hand, using her right hand to begin carving away, indifferent the possible gore she would be cutting loose in a bid to render the newly awoken fiend more vulnerable!

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Eye of Taishokan with Elerush Kamui Rimse EX.
Grazing Hit

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [                 ||||||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|------=

Makai leans forward more, curious at this strong shift in personality. Although he would have felt uncomfortable going against her head to head before, in this situation it seems clear that she's far beyond him. So the old tales of Nature's avatar are not simple exaggerations, hmm...? A good thing he remained to observe. A piece of debris abruptly falls towards Makai, but he casually flits up his hand. Despite seeming to barely brush it, the heavy lump of stone flows with a casual brush as if weightless, impacting into a small crater in the ground beside.

The eyeball now has it's full horrible attention upon Nakoruru, seeming to understand the depth of her power. The sword remains embedded, and the current inhabitant likely can feel it's power very much active. Yet it's almost clumsy assault is easy to deal with, the primary threat of it's generated energy not at the forefront. Bouncing off the ground with an almost comical squishy noise, the eye still whirls around, seeing Nakororu just prior to her descent.

There's a surge of cerulean power, and the eyeball moves sideways. The blade misses scantly, severing the ground deeply and sending a great broken line that reaches all the way to the opposing wall. Yet the bird suddenly sinks claws within it's side, the wolf biting down and latching on the blade. The eye whirls then, trying to close massive lids in response to that dangling weight, and Nakoruru's flurry of assaults -- forced to be done from the ground as her mounting missed -- tear into the base for a few moments before it rushes up out of reach. A last furious twist sends the large creature away, hassled nerves and tendons twisting out to further drive away the bird.

For a few moments, the eyeball begins to quiver with ocular rage. Then suddenly it stops. The massive influx of chi from the nearby statue begins to abate. The air appears to become devoid of energy in a heartbeat, leaving it dry and lifeless. A great, cold chill would fall over Nakoruru, and the shadow of some incredible power looms within the eye... like the head of a glacier in a distant dark sea. It's scale unable to be fully grasped, nor how deep and true it realms.

A great heartbeat thrums out, kicking up a cloud of dust. Makai goes tense, before cursing and leaping up to grip the open portal and drag himself out. "Damnit...!!" Whatever might be about to happen... the accomplice doesn't want anything to do with it.

The iris of the creature slits together, before abruptly there's a great flash of crimson light. A huge beam of it's vision bathes the area in front of it, centered on where Nakoruru stands. Instantly, matters begins to disintegrate. Stone falling to dust, dust falling to smoke, smoke falling to nothing. Beginning to carve out an incredibly broad and deep chasm, huge swirls of crimson, crackling power flowing and arcing like serpents within the Eye of Taishokan's unholy gaze. The full, destructive power of a divine being's rage assaulting creation itself, attempting to unmake all that falls upon it's vision...

Including Nakoruru, if she and her entourage are unable to slip aside. Luckily, unlike the prior attacks, it seems the eye cannot shift it's gaze after activating this... if she can manage to either get away, or somehow guard herself...!!

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru blocks Eye of Taishokan's Gaze of Death.

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN                          
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                 [                     ||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|---====

A cloud of dust is kicked up where Nakoruru lands hard, the fierce swordswoman already in motion as she flicks her blade to a reverse grip so that she can stab backward even as she turns toward the uncomfortably close fleshly side of the gigantic organ. The weapon sinks deep, the chi coursing along its edge surging in to deliver a far deeper, penetrating spike of damage toward the fiend's center than her shorter weapon would imply possible. The damage is rendered worse when she tears the kodachi free, flips it back to a normal hold, and begins slashing rapidly, slicing of chunks of demonic meat and gore with no hesitation, even as droplets of its acerbic blood splash against her.

A glimpse of her face would only suggest that she enjoys the evisceration in progress, small as it may be compared to the whole of the monstrosity.

Of course, the great eye has two other threats to contend with, the chi encircled hawk clawing and tearing at vulnerable points near where the tendrils splay free from its more hardened shell, and the wolf, dangling perhaps painfully from the sacred relic piercing the monster's iris. The trio are relentless in delivering a trifecta of attacks, refusing to relent until at last the eye escapes, warding off the feathered raptor, shaking loose the bloodthirsty wolf, and finally moving beyond the reach of the sharp clawed Nakoruru.

She pauses then, her blood soaked weapon at her side, acidic drops slipping to the ground and sending up wisps of smoke. Her arms are pockmarked by small burns and even her stained, torn, and dusty clothing bearing tiny holes with scorch marks around the ring. But she pays that all no heed, flicking her weapon hard to the side, discarding more droplets of acid without second thought.

The gaze falls upon her then, the thing responsible for this catastrophe clawing his way into a portal in desperate escape, and the young woman stares back without flinching, a tiny presence in the desolation of energy expanding out from the disembodied eye. "You will find no welcome in this world, Taishokan," she murmurs, Shikuruu returning to her side as she stands facing off against the colossal threat. "Much has changed since your dissection and sealing. The world is full of forces fully capable of stopping you."

The iris narrows, the pounding silence of all the stolen energy causing Nakoruru's voice to sound robbed of its echo, muted in some way by the aura that expands out.

"Tch," she grunts, turning her left shoulder toward the eye, "Shikuruu!" Her left arm flicks, her swift movement happening the instant the massive column of focused energy washes completely over the location of Nature's Avatar in an instant. Before, she had made attempts to escape the wrath of destruction projected by the eye. This time...

The energy fades inevitably, the surface of the earth gouged out behind the point where she stood, a new canyon descending into a shallow angled hold drilled into the mountainside... all laid to waste in an instant of unfathomable fury, but for the small patch of ground just before the opening of the pit. The space where Nakoruru stands, the girl hidden behind the sheet of cloth that remains pristine white, its borders royal violet and earthen browns. Once more, the Kamui Rimse has spared the girl, the indestructible cloth rippling with ameliorating power. As the last vestiges of the eye's wrath fade, the cloth is flicked aside, cracking like a whip, Nakoruru standing up straight, her wolf having cowered behind her to weather the storm of annihilation.

"Is that the best you can do?" she asks, her voice bearing a scornful edge. In spite her defiant tone, being at the epicenter of destruction was not without its price and it shows. The lower half of her robe has been burned away along with her pants below the knees, her skin scorched from where the potent energy must have curled around the edges of her barrier cloth.

Kamui's Chosen takes a step forward, then glances down at her bare leg, her moccasin gone, burns so savage as to leave blackened muscle and even glimpses of scorched bone. But she seems not alarmed in the slightest, taking another step as if to test its viability. Almost impossibly so, the savaged limb supports her just fine.

Another step forward and she lifts her right arm. The damage there is just as severe, likely from having braced the corner of her sheet against the disintegrating ripples curling around it. But her hand, savaged as it may be, still grips her sword, and as she looks back up toward the eye, she seems unconcerned. "Is that it, then? Do you think yourself so powerful as to assert your will here?"

The massive wolf steps up to her side, his own fur scorched or burned away in many places, but he moves as a beast unaware of such damage. "Well then."

She flicks the cloth away from her left hand into open air, the shimmering sheet falling apart into vibrant, rich violet motes of light. In the same motion, she vaults onto the back of the best, leaning forward, as he launches forward. "Let me show you the folly of your arrogance!"

Both mount and rider become encased in energy as the wolf sprints along the ground, a blur of motion until finally the wolf rockets up at an angle, leaping and propelled by the built energy of life coursing through it. From its back, Nakoruru launches herself even higher, ascending up potentially past the eye's gaze.

Should Shikuruu strike an unarmored point, the beast's trajectory may possesses enough force such that it pierces through, tearing into the eye, a blazing comment of nature's fury that plunges into the deadly core even at risk of its very existence.

Nakoruru falls moments later from the apex of her incredible leap, her blade sheathed, her right hand reaching out, bloodied and torn, seeking a hold on her own sword in an attempt to rip it free from the iris at last!

COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan endures Nakoruru's Amube Yatoro EX!!

                          EYE OF TAISHOKAN
  [                                                      |||||| ]

                 [                     ||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|-======

Good. It would have been troublesome, had she been defeated.

The eye seems exhausted, having hardly regained its true strength. Makai may have infused it with power, but that had been exhausted by the ruthless gaze of the creature. Yet it seems to somehow understand Nakoruru's goal... when she lunges forward, it makes no attempt to evade. This might seem unusual, but an opening is likely not to be denied. The wolf tears into it, ripping through that armored skin, plunging into delicious eyemeats. Highly acidic blood gouts out, likely covering much of the wolf's frontal half, a great danger even with the terrible wound inflicted.

But the eye ignores it. Starting intensely at Nakoruru, energy begins to coalesce, swirling towards a point in front of it. She grasps the sword, and then for a brief moment, the weapon flares. The seal is broken.

The thrumming stone statue of an eye splits, cracks, then falls to rubble, crushing the ancient shrine beneath it. Immediately there's a great burst of power, and the eye fills not with the power of something demonic, but with a rush of a God. It seems her weapon had been the last chains that kept the Eye of Taishokan tethered, and by removing the weapon, it is no longer bound here...!

As way of thanks, the Eye suddenly condenses it's powerful inner energy. A narrow laserbeam, perhaps a foot around, flies out at rapid speed. To make matters worse, as the monstrous organ moves to track Nakoruru in it's irrevocable gaze, it turns in midair, bending at ninety degree angles. Again and again, it about, attempting to chase the girl until it can impact her, trying to wind around her cloth if it moves to intercept, tear, disintegrate, destroy...

And then Makai descends from above, landing atop the eye. A powerful seal has been formed in his right hand, bound multiple times. It's clear now he has spent hours, perhaps days, carefully forming, folding, and kneading this energy, and had stored it in himself. All the ominous energy he had... it was all here, and had Nakoruru instead fought him, he had no power to defend himself.

It is all for this. His hand strikes down, and hits the eye. Countless silver chains boil out, flitting to wrap about the eye tightly, winding like a cocoon. It reacts with violently thrashing, firing blasts of visual rage, razing lines across the ceiling and walls, before finally the entire fifteen-foot remnant of an ancient force of nature is wrapped head to toe in sealing chains. The last of the prepared incantation is unleashed, before countless spears of shining purple manifest in all directions. The impale the eye in countless spots at once, sliding to the heart of the divine. Some essence escapes...

And Makai inhales deep, drawing it into his mouth, swallowing...

A moment later, the chains shatter. The eye quakes with power, entire room shuddering. Makai is flung off, landing on the ground and bouncing away. Badly wounded, weakened by whatever Makai did, the Taishokan remnant then whirls to stare upwards, and a great beam erupts into an air, blowing through dense stone to show the sky above. And then it rushes upwards, bleeding tendrils trailing behind, to vanish into the air, leaving the panting demonologist behind... "Haaa... haaa..."

COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan can no longer fight.

                 [                     ||||||||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     0|-------|-======

COMBATSYS: Eye of Taishokan successfully hits Nakoruru with Homing Lasers.

                 [                          |||| ]
                 Nakoruru [E]     1|------=|=======

As driven fighter's fingers close over the grip of her heirloom blade, the gemstone in its pommel darkens from bloody crimson to a rich violet matching the time-lost warrior's ribbon. In spite her injuries, she never stops moving, feet planting, hand tightening, and then her body taking to the sky once more as she backflips away, reclaimed weapon in hand.

Her landing a second later is rough, her grievously injured leg seemingly barely able to keep her upright. When she staggers forward, she seems for a moment more confused than in pain, as of puzzling why the savaged limb is unable to do what she wants when she attempts to take another step. The debilitating agony one might expect for someone as wounded as she appears to be does not seem to register. Rather than collapse, she grits her teeth, hopping forward with an awkward stumble, attempting to compel her body to comply through sheer unbreakable willpower.

But with her next footfall, it's clear that all the determination in the world cannot compensate for a disabled ankle, and with a gasp of surprise, she falls forward to one knee, right hand sinking the blade of her weapon into the dirtt, left palm pressed down in the ashen dust to keep her from falling face first against the ground.

Immobilized, there is no hope of escaping the threat of the concentrated energy guided by the eye's unbreakable focus. Instead, she stays crouched, left arm lifting from the dust as she attempts to whip the sacred cowl back into position, to cover herself from the unblinking eye's glare. The impact of energy is more than she can withstand even with the divinely infused barrier, however, the force bowling her over out of her desperate huddle, striking her in the back with the last ounce of energy the demonic eye deigns to expend on the endeavor, leaving the wounded warrior prone, right hand still gripping her sword.

Meters away, the battle scarred wolf tears free of his suicidal lunge into the eye's, the last remnants of the vibrant energy that had encased his body in his reckless lunge fading as he lands bodily with a wet, sticky thud against muddied dirt. He lies still, his matted fur melted away in places, bleeding, raw flesh, muscle, and bone exposed from where the acidic mucus did its worst. Whatever energy empowers the antient guardian to fight for his ward has expended itself in that single suicidal strike for now the beast doesn't move.

The fallen Ainu sealer is left to complete the ritual toward which he had devoted his all, binding and enslaving the indomintable menace from the past with the release of so much built up power. The stone altar shatters, the shrine destroyed beneath collapsing rubble, and the sleeping eye of annihilation finds itself subjected to a potential new master. An era of keeping the dangerous threat sealed has come to an end.

Makai lands, the behemoth's eye rocketing off into the sky as if flexing the freedom it must have lusted for throughout eternity, and as the echo of its thunderous ascent reveberates throughtout the deadened land, Nakoruru finally moves, her left hand planted as she presses herself up to her knees, face lifted to find the gasping seal breaker. Blood seeps from the corner of her mouth, the robe over her upper back seared with darkened, cauterized flesh visible beneath.

By all rights, she should be dead.
For as immoblized as she is, perhaps she might as well be.

"You..." she gasps, her voice wet and her words punctuated with a cough. "Do you think to raise yourself-" She coughs again, head bowed briefly, "A pet god?" There is a hint of a smirk at the thought. "Those from across the divide will never be controlled by an abomination such as you."

She braces her right foot against the ground as if thinking to lunge - an impossible feat given her crippled left leg. But there is one last observer of the calamity here, the winged sentinel swooping down from above with a warning cry.

"Not that you will ever live to see the fruit of your destructive labor."

Both hands grip her blade then, holding it tightly right as Mamahaha flies against her back, the raptor's talons seizing the belt at Nakoruru's waist, the bird's supernatural might lending enough momentum to heft the girl into a forward dash along the ground, the bird's power of flight her borrowed mobility for one last, desperate lunge.

The collision course would of course be into Makai, vibrant chi wreathing the reclaimed sword right as Nakoruru draws it up over her head with both hands. The great hawk would release her just in time, swooping up at an angle to take back to the air as the seemingly unstoppable girl attempts to plunge the purified, sanctifying weapon deep into Makai's chest in the very act of crashing into him.

There is little by way of grace in the assault, but the attack is empowered by a wrath of a world betrayed, of a nature spirit angered, and when she strikes, there should be no question she is attempting to end the wretched torment endured by the vessel bearing the Butcher once and for all!

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Nakoruru can no longer fight.

Makai struggles to stand up, his own exhaustion of an entirely different sort. He might have skill, but even after drinking in those corrupted leylines, manifesting enough strength to even slightly hinder a weakened fragment of the divine is a monumental effort. He can see now why it took grand teams of master demon hunters to deal with these creatures... and why powerful areas like Mt. Fuji were vital. Drawing in a breath of it's essence, he felt a strength beyond limit, an irrevocable will and drive, that mortal ropes would struggle to even hinder... magnificent.

"C-control it...? Hah. That's foolish... did it look like... I managed to control it, even in the slightest?!" Makai laughs, before the bird seems to change things. He believed the eye might kill her, or at least wound her, but her assistant allows Nakoruru to cross the path between herself and Makai. He stumbles backwards, and then whirls up his hand. The blade slithers down as his palm brushes the steel, singing away his gloves, causing the golden forearm guard to hiss. Somehow, despite her drive and force, it diverts slightly, striking him in the shoulder instead.

He slams into the ground as the sword goes deep into the stone, causing a sudden gasp of pain. The blow definitely pierced a lung, but he was wise enough not to shift it towards his heart. "H-haha... trying to kill me...?! What would that solve... maiden? Already..." Beneath his crimson oni mask, dark energy surges. A ripple of energy, before a great centipede slithers out from underneath him. It's massive, and potent -- if it did not choose to beeline towards the exit, with her sword impaled as it is, could she have defeated it? "...I'm having a little trouble keeping my host inside me..."

He tries to take a breath, but coughs roughly instead. A trembling hand then grasps his mask and draws it upwards, to reveal a lean face. One unmistakeable. An Ainu, of seemingly the purist blood and descent. A young male, although his eyes have the dimness of blindness. Blood stains his lips and mouth. "I possess one of your kin... if you slay me, all you do is execute an innocent, release countless youkai, and set me back slightly... are you sure that's the right course of action?"

Overhead, the winged predator circles. Out of the three that remain, the feathered sentinel seems the least harmed. The wolf has yet to move from where he felt. Nakoruru is situated on Makai, her featherweight body unlikely to keep him immobilized for long, but the stone piercing blade in his shoulder might be a hindrance. With the way she presses her weight into the small sword, however, it's clear that she's doing everything possible to keep from collapsing against her pinned prey.

This close, he would see the truth of it - the secret to her resilience. In spite suffering damage that should cause wracking pain, she hardly breathes, instead of bighting back the threat of unconsciousness, her eyes are sharp, focused. She has not died to the catastrophic harm done to her because she is debatably alive to begin with. It is an essence almost more spirit than human with which he grapples now. That she coughs at the blood filling her lungs is more a reflex of one who once knew what it meant to be mortal rather than a dying body's attempts to delay the inevitable.

Even still, she is far from unstoppable here - the divine eye demonstrated as much, and her weakened condition is a far cry from the battle readiness with which she fought the demonic organ. Her eyes stare at the mask as he speaks, her hands pressed tightly against the top of her weapon's pommel for support, her ebony hair spilling down around her face in long tresses mixed with blood and dust.

He speaks to her and she glares, her breaths barely perceptible, her eyes showing no sign of forgiveness. She glances away only briefly when the slithering youkai slips free and rushes to its perceived liberty beyond, but then her focus is back on him, blood trickling down her forehead between her eyes.

He sheds the mask while uttering his questions and she blinks but once, her arms trembling to keep herself upright. "You could search..." she voice almost a hiss between clenched teeth, "For a thousand years..." She leans forward more then, looking face to face with the demonologist. "And never find so strong a soul to claim as your own."

Her left hand slips from her sword to smack against his chest, a bracing motion rather than any attempt to pin him down, while her right arm pulls, intending to draw her blade again. "Masaru's sacrifice will not be in vain, one life lost so that you cannot continue to benefit from the Ametsuchi's centuries long mistake."

The corner of her mouth curls up slightly, "Let loose your swarms. Compared to the Eye of the Oni King, they are nothing."

With an unsteady arm, the trembling warrior lifts her bloodied weapon, ready to kill the mortal host beneath her without any sign of reservation!

Makai can see nothing; but he can feel rather intensely the strength of her spirit. It seems that the condition of her vessel is not nearly as impactful as it might be were she of her own mind. How unpleasant it will be to the girl, when her flesh is returned to her. Makai as well seems much the same. Although physically impeded in breathing, there's little sense of the normal shock and agony that being stuck like a pig with a blade should inflict. However, the condition of the two is quite different. She is retaining what power she still has, as it leaks away. And he is recovering what he spent. Which would win such a race if things remain as they are... might not be on the nature warrior's side.

The blade begins to slither free from Makai, and his response is strange. A hand snaps up to grasp over Nakoruru's own, slowing her attempt to draw it free. Then his other moves as well. An awkward situation, where yanking the sword out might be the worst option possible. "Haa... hahaha!! I tagged the eye... I know where it is!! It will find the other parts... if... if you kill me... then nobody will know!! Haa... the Maw is already free. It can hide between here and the Spirit World!! Without me... without the Eye... you will never find it, until it's too late!! Of all the parts... the maw is the most autonomous!! The most capable of breaking the other seals unseen until too late!!"

Over the top of him, her blood stains his chest, mixing with his own seeping from the deep stab. As she starts to pull her blade free, clearly intending to draw it out so that another lethal strike can be attempted. The vibrant energy that had accompanied her previous strike is gone now, leaving just the blooded, burned girl, her sword, and the man she is trying to kill. Overhead, the feathered raptor continues to circle, the beat of her great wings audible above the stillness that otherwise reigns deep in the crater.

Her attempt to draw the long knife is halted as the now unmasked man's hand lifts to clamp down over her trembling fingers. Teeth grit as she's stopped short, unable to wrest it against his hold. But as he begins to speak again, she ceases trying to struggle against his hold, her shoulders hunched as she continues to lean forward, still propped up by her left hand. He would feel the tension leaving her right hand, no longer fighting his press.

She bows her head, eyes closing as if listening the words issuing forth from his mouth. Words about what he has set loose. The ominous warning that the Maw roams free. The threat that the living beacon she's straddling, there is no hope of tracking the two loosed threats. The consequences of taking his life now may result in further calamities later. Which is the greater risk? To kill the summoner now? Or to let him go and see what havoc he leaves in his wake?

He might feel the tension in her body, a moment of decision, a point of no return. Her right hand slips down, out from beneath his own, her arm snapping behind her back, leaving the kodachi embedded in his chest. It was another blade she had arrived to the fight with, fingers closing over the grip of her dead sister's heirloom, drawing it out with a hiss of released mist and frigid air.

The motion happens swiftly, her quick drawing techniques a blur for mortal eyes, the glimmering, frosted blade hefted up over her head. Not once had it ever taken a life when it was in her sister's care. But this is hardly a time for sentimentality or regret. Dark violet eyes close, the moment of execution is at hand. There is so little time, if she can but finish the task...

Blade poised to drop, arm trembling for a brief moment, she hesitates, eyes blinking open halfway, shimmering, steel-blue irises taking in the sight of the man beneath her with bleary confusion. Finally, her left arm gives way, elbow buckling, the young warrior collapsing forward against Makai, her sister's kodachi piercing the stone just above his shoulder.

Makai's panting heavily, knowing full well that every second is vital, here. It is another moment his own strength returns, and another that Nakoruru's wanes. The time and vulnerability it would take to release one of his loyal demons is too long; she would manage to wrench her sword free and end him in the attempt. The risk of weakening his barriers is too much. A more sentient beast might take advantage of his state, and destroy them both... as he is now, there's little chance he could leash them again...

Her hand moves and draws the weapon. Makai's teeth grits, and he shifts as well. But by the time he begins to maneuver and intercept, the weapon clacks down beside his head. Frost burns his bare cheek, and it takes a few moments to understand what happens as the slender girl slumps upon him.

...hah. She was willing to do it. How impulsive. The summoner had not been deceptive, in this particular case. All he did was link his essence to the Eye. With it, he can follow, like having a piece of string attached of infinite length. Given that the entity is liable to fly high in the air, it might be troublesome indeed for any other in this world to easily divine it's presence in sufficient speed for it not to roam somewhere else in the meantime.

A hand shifts up to shove Nakoruru off to sprawl beside. He then grasps the hilt of the sword, and with a hiss and building tension, rips it free in a spray of blood. Rolling over atop the other Ainu, he pushes up and raises the sword. This one is too dangerous... if she breaks his vessel, then his agenda will be pushed back by months, or even years...

And the soul of an Ainu is amongst the most delicious of meals.

Yet the sword suddenly thrums heavily. Welling up within him, a great burst of power. The Butcher is startled for a moment, before vanishing as a deep, ragged breath is taken. The sword clatters to the ground as the cloaked man falls backwards, clutching his shoulder as it bleeds as if belatedly being affected by the wounds.

"...?!" Rolling over onto the warm stone, Masaru gropes blindly, feeling the whirl of powerful energies. What is... where is he? How long has it been? The ancient weapon, awoken by Nakoruru's hand, allowed the scant remnants of the host to awaken. Yet it's... no. He's... already losing himself...!

A hand reaches out and grasps the sword once more. Again the warmth surges through him, and his mind thrums stubbornly at the surface. Clawing himself away from the fallen girl as it rasps behind, a great split slowly forms in the air, warbling before ripping open. An ancient, gigantic being, looking shriveled and skeletal, leans out. One good eye is twisted around, as poisonous gas rushes out and spills around him. Nakoruru's bird is likely of sound enough mind to rush to her aide and beat those wings, to keep it from reaching her.

"N... No..." Masaru hisses. "Stay... back..." Yet a giant hand extends, gently grasping the hapless figure. Panting amidst the acrid miasma, the Ainu sealer realizes his fate. This must be the Butcher's failsafe... some bound entity able to breach from the Spirit Realm to retrieve him, when weakened or in danger. Damnit...

As the beast draws itself into the void, Masaru looks at the sword with sadness, before grunting and flinging it to clatter near Nakoruru. If only... he could somehow let her know... And then the wound in space ripples shut, hissing before the whirling miasma starts to disperse amongst the broken ruins and leaking chi of the failed seal.

The sword possessing a strange bloody handprint on the pommel, and being rather far from where she ended up, the only clue to what took place after.

Mamahaha dives swiftly until coming to rest just a few feet over the still young woman, beating her wings violently to create a vortex of current around the small, bloody place occupied by Nakoruru. Hovering in place more like a hummingbird rather than a great hawk, she keeps the spot safe from the miasmic fog spilling forth from the portal, her all-seeing, golden brown eyes watching as the briefly cognizant man is gripped then hauled to a place beyond this world.

Only when the portal is gone does the bird wisk over to the dirtied large square cloth left on the ground from where she had born Nakoruru into one last, desperate lunge to take the wretch's life. With mothering care, Mamahaha drags it over to the girl, draping it over her, landing briefly at points to peck at corners and tug it into place over her unconscious ward.

Nearby, the two heirloom blades sit discarded, one embedded in stone, the other partially covered by the ash colored dust filling the basin. The wolf that sacrificed himself to plunge bodily into the abominable eye lies still, leaving the hawk to conduct her work alone.

Finally, she perches on stone adjacent to the nearly dead girl, the dusty white blanket with its crimson geometic border keeping the Ainu warrior covered. It will take a long while for the ameliorating energies abundant in the divine gift to mend such grievous wounds, but that is its potential.

And until that late hour, Mamahaha will maintain her lonely vigil.

Log created on 00:24:35 11/07/2017 by Nakoruru, and last modified on 11:45:17 11/22/2017.